Monday, December 27, 2021

Monday Mini-Reviews: Holiday Reading

 It feels like forever since I've posted anything, but I've enjoyed some family time with holiday get-togethers and our oldest daughter being home for Christmas.

Today is my birthday and our wedding anniversary, but we have no big plans until tomorrow night when we'll go out to eat and spend some time at Hurling Hatchets throwing axes.  

For several years I've snubbed my nose at holiday themed books, but last year I read a few Christmas books, and once again this year I felt in the mood to pick up some feel good books.

The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews- this is Andrews newest book and it is the shortest of the Christmas books I read this year.  Predictable, of course, but fun.  Ivy is newly divorced and buys an old farmhouse sight unseen.  When she is cleaning out what the previous owner left she comes across a Santa suit and in the pocket, a letter.  This letter has Ivy looking for its owner. There was a twist/connection I didn't anticipate as well as a nicely tied up ending.

The Secret of Snow by Viola Shipman - although technically not a Christmas book, the setting - northern Michigan in the winter- is an integral part of the storyline.  Sunny Dunes is fired from her SoCal meteorologist job (replaced by a robot) and finds herself without anywhere to go, except back home.  Sunny left for college and never returned, blaming herself for what happened to her sister years ago.  This is a book about second chances, and while there are some funny parts and some predictable parts, there are also some real threads of wisdom in this winter story.

Christmas By the by Book by Ann Marie Ryan - Nora and Simon own and operate a bookstore in a small town in England.  Nora has assumed much of the financial portion of the job after Simon's heart attack, trying in vain to turn a profit so they won't have to close the store they've devoted their lives to.  A number of characters are introduced who are all struggling with something and find solace and comfort in a variety of books.  I loved the various book titles that are mentioned throughout the book and the bookstore setting and way that it serves its community made this such a pleasure to read. 

The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox - identical twins Charlie and Cass swap places during the holidays as each is overwhelmed by the various pressures they are facing.  Charlie is a reality star who is trying to keep her place as a co-host of a show while Cass is running her family bakery and breaking up with her long-time boyfriend.  It's a little hard to imagine that no one close to these two could tell they have swapped places, but this is a lot of fun to read. There's also some romance thrown in. I found myself rushing to turn pages, and my college age daughter read this one in just one sitting.

The Christmas Boutique by Jennifer Chiaverini - this is the 21st book in the Elm Creek Quilts series. I haven't read them all - and those I did read I can't remember at all because it's been years and years....however, it's fairly easy to jump back in and get to know the cast of characters.  This story centers around the Christmas Boutique that the Elm Creek Quilters are hosting at the last minute due to water damage at the church that normally hosts it.  In addition to that storyline, a variety of characters have their own struggles they are working through.  The Elm Creek Quilters series is where I first became acquainted with Chiaverini, but it is her historical fiction novels that I wait to be published.  However, I still find these nice stories enjoyable and a perfect book to pick up from time to time.

I feel pretty good about getting five holiday books read in December, but I still have a stack I didn't get to.  I doubt I will feel in the mood until next year, but will probably add a few new ones to the stack as well.  

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