Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

buzz books 2014  Mimi Malloy, At Last  blossom street brides (vine)

Review books

three wishes  thursdays in the park

Purchased:

Last week on Bookfan:

Currently reading:

  • Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Happy reading!

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

romancing the duke

  • Title:  Romancing the Duke
  • Series:  Castles Ever After, #1
  • Author:  Tessa Dare
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  January 2014 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  (publisher) As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too.  The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off.  One by one by one.

  • Ugly duckling turned swan?
  • Abducted by handsome highwayman?
  • Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head.  What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

My take:  When Izzy’s father died he left her penniless and, because his heir was a nephew, homeless. So when she receives word her godfather has died and bequeathed her a property she’s thrilled and relieved – until she sees said property. It’s a fixer upper of a castle inhabited by a man who had no idea someone else had taken over ownership.

The man who was under the impression the castle was his is none other than the Duke of Rothbury. Izzy finds out immediately he’s a force to be reckoned with. He’s tall, handsome, and blind. She’s always considered herself plain and at 26 years of age, probably on the shelf. For obvious reasons he can’t believe she’d be drawn to him and she’s not used to attention from a man. Their repartee throughout the book was entertaining.

A plot line about the books Izzy’s father wrote involves devoted fans who show up in costume at the castle. That eventually figures into the main plot (with a twist) and moves it toward a tidy conclusion.

Tessa Dare’s story is fun, funny and sometimes borders on silly. I enjoyed it all and would recommend it for when you need a light and fun read.

Spotlight and Giveaway (US): The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

the comfort of lies

From the publisher:

Since the release of her debut The Murderer’s Daughters in 2010, international bestselling author Randy Susan Meyers has earned glowing critical praise, award nominations, and a devoted readership around the globe for her thought-provoking, emotionally-resonant novels.

Told in alternating points of view, THE COMFORT OF LIES reveals the darkest and most private thoughts of three very different women all connected to a five-year-old girl: Tia, the birth mother; Caroline, the adopted mother; and Juliette, the wife of the birth father. The year their lives collide, the women must confront their choices while discovering sobering truths about their relationships and most importantly, themselves.

Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. A married man and a father, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared and Tia gave the baby up for adoption. Five years later, she struggles with the decision and yearns to connect with her daughter—and her former lover.

Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, had always been a bit ambivalent about motherhood, much preferring the freedom of her childless, work-addicted lifestyle, but attempting to please her husband, she agreed to adopt, hoping her misgivings would disappear. However after five years, she’s questioning whether or not she’s really cut out for a domestic life.

Juliette thought she had it all—a loving husband, two healthy sons, and a successful business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again and she trusted him. Five years later, when Juliette intercepts a letter meant for Nathan containing photos of his daughter, her world crumbles, again. How could he keep this from her? What else is he hiding? Most importantly, how could he deny his daughter?

Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. Her quest leads her first to Caroline, then Tia, and before long, the women are on a collision course with consequences none of them could have predicted.

THE COMFORT OF LIES: A Novel

By Randy Susan Meyers

Washington Square Press/Atria Books || January 28, 2014 || $16.00 || Paperback

ISBN: 978-1-45-167302-9

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“Sharp and biting, and sometimes wickedly funny…Meyers writes beautifully about a formerly good marriage.” The Boston Globe

“Meyers’ complex characters feel familiar yet flawed, and this sharply woven tale demonstrates her uncanny ability to explore and illuminate the nuances of life’s most thorny dilemmas.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

“Meyers’ carefully told story is a satisfying examination of the imperfect paths we all walk.” BookPage

“The characters crackle with both intelligence and wit…Meyers’ women resonate as strong, complicated and conflicted, and the writing flows effortlessly in this sweet yet sassy novel about love, women and motherhood.” Kirkus Reviews

“Meyers has crafted an absorbing and layered drama that explores the complexities of infidelity, forgiveness, and family” Booklist

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About the author: Randy Susan Meyers is a founding member of Beyond The Margins, a multi-writer site dedicated to the craft of writing and the business of publishing. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and has recently co-authored the guide What To Do Before Your Book Launch with bestselling writer MJ Rose. She teaches writing at the Grub Street Writers Center in Boston. Meyers, the mother of two grown daughters, was born in Brooklyn, New York. She lives in Boston with her husband.  (photo by Jill Meyers)

For more information:    randysusanmeyers@gmail.com     *      randysusanmeyers.com 

Buy the Book

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IndieBound »
iTunes »

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Giveaway

One copy of The Comfort of Lies to a US reader

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Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

off the menu out to lunch come home to me the comfort of lies lost lake

Last week on Bookfan:

What I’m reading:

  • The All You Can Dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal

Happy reading!

Spotlight and Giveaway (US): North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo

North of Boston

Like a ship barreling out of the dense North Atlantic fog, comes Elisabeth Elo—a darkly intoxicating, discordantly poetic, gutsy new voice in contemporary suspense fiction. Her novel, NORTH OF BOSTON, introduces Pirio Kasparov, a Boston-bred tough-talking girl, who, in a near brush with death, discovers her extraordinary ability to survive sub-freezing water. Elo’s gritty and gripping voice evokes the full palette of human emotion—it’s one that echoes the likes Peter Høeg, Laura Lippman, and even Dennis Lehane, but is indelibly her own.

Pirio is baiting lobster traps in Boston Harbor when out of the veil of mist comes a freighter, splitting the fishing boat she is on in half—the impact hurling her into the North Atlantic. Miraculously, she survives for hours in the nearly-frozen water before being rescued, though the boat’s owner, her friend, Ned, is not so lucky.

Though the tragedy leaves her deeply unnerved, Pirio is compelled to look after ten-year-old Noah, the son of the late Ned and her alcoholic prep school friend, Thomasina. But, Pirio can’t shake the lurking suspicion that the boat’s sinking was no accident—a suspicion seconded by her deeply cynical, autocratic Russian father, Milosa, who constantly reminds her nothing is ever what it seems.

With the help of a curious journalist, Pirio unravels a lethal plot taking her to the wilderness of the high north. To survive, she must not only overcome the icy water and a deadly betrayal, but she must confront her ultimate challenge: to trust herself.

This immersing, atmospheric page-turner, sweeps you from Boston Harbor to the Canadian Arctic, bringing the entire northern seaboard to life with beautifully haunting prose. But perhaps even more inspiring than the book’s setting, is its idiosyncratic heroine, whose unforgettable voice drives this adventure due north. Already working on a sequel featuring Pirio and the same ensemble cast, Elisabeth Elo is poised to become one of the suspense genre’s premiere female writers.

*  *  *

NORTH OF BOSTON

A Novel

By Elisabeth Elo

Pamela Dorman Books/Viking; ISBN: 9780670015658; On-sale: January 27, 2014; $27.95

ALSO AVAILABLE AS AN E-BOOK

 “Pirio Kasparov is an alluring heroine. She’s sharp-witted, hell-bent on finding the truth, and her narrative voice is laced with surly sexiness. Pirio’s baldly honest, slightly melancholic reflections and Elo’s use of extreme natural settings will have strong appeal for Scandinavian crime fans. An impressive debut with surprising literary depth.” -Booklist (starred)

An utterly riveting debut thriller! Pirio Kasparov is one of the best protagonists I’ve read in years, tough, cynical, wry and compelling.  Her determination to discover the truth behind her friend’s murder will earn your admiration, while her growing desire to be a better daughter, friend, and person will win your heart.” —Lisa GardnerNew York Times bestselling author of Fear Nothing

As someone who has spent her life on the sea, I can tell you that Elisabeth Elo knows her stuff. Terrific fishing details, a fast-paced plot, and a heroine named Pirio Kasparov who steals the show. A great debut!” —Linda GreenlawNew York Times bestselling author of The Hungry Ocean and Lifesaving Lessons

“In NORTH OF BOSTON, Elisabeth Elo has written a modern, sophisticated, and compelling thriller. Her plot is original, her details deft, and her heroine utterly remarkable.” —Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street

“Tough and smart, Pirio Kasparov comes alive in this fast-paced novel of unconventional plot twists and damaged relationships.” —Audrey Schulman, author of Three Weeks in December

“I wish I had a friend like Pirio Kasparov—intelligent, loyal, brave, and funny. From the opening pages of North of Boston I was enthralled and deeply committed to following Pirio wherever her brilliant author decided to send her next. What a terrific novel.” —Margot LiveseyNew York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

“Set on the gritty Boston waterfront, Elisabeth Elo’s novel starts off as a murder mystery and slowly builds into something larger and more disturbing. NORTH OF BOSTON is a gripping and unorthodox thriller, packed with intriguing characters and unexpected twists.” —Tom PerrottaNew York Times bestselling author of Nine Inches and The Leftovers

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About the author:  Elo grew up in Boston and went to Brown University.  She worked as an editor, an advertising copywriter, a high-tech project manager, and a halfway house counselor before getting a PhD in American Literature at Brandeis University.  Since then, she’s taught writing at Harvard, Tufts, and the evening school of Boston College.  She is already hard at work on the second book starring the NORTH OF BOSTON ensemble cast.

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Giveaway

The publisher will send a book to one lucky reader from the US (no PO boxes)

Click here and fill out the form

Giveaway now closed

Good luck!

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

Little Bitty Lies that autumn in edinburgh the all you can  dream buffet Vine- Still Life With Bread Crumbs the memory child 

Last week on Bookfan:

What I’m reading:

  • Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

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Bailey0035

We said goodbye to Bailey last Monday. She was a sweet dog and part of our family for over 15 years. We know Murphy (below, left) was there to meet her at the Rainbow Bridge.

photo

Nora Roberts Land by Ava Miles

Nora Roberts Land

  • Title:  Nora Roberts Land
  • Series:  Dare Valley, #1
  • Author:  Ava Miles
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Suspense
  • Published:  June 2013 – CreateSpace
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  Journalist Meredith Hale’s ex-husband claimed her Nora Roberts addiction gave her unrealistic expectations about marriage, and she believed him. All dreams of happily ever after—or Nora Roberts Land as her mother calls it—went up in smoke. But when her family asks her to temporarily help their Dare Valley, Colorado newspaper, she decides it’s time to change her life and prove her ex wrong. She’s determined to find her own small-town Nora Roberts hero, prove that true love exists, and publish a story about her quest.
War correspondent Tanner McBride has just returned stateside to work for a major newspaper, and the last thing he expects is blackmail. Yet, before he can even unpack, he’s headed to Colorado. His assignment? Make his boss’s ex-wife fall for him and then break her heart. Her article about discovering love à la Nora might air dirty laundry about her marriage to the media mogul, threatening his senate run. The mogul wants Meredith stopped, and he makes sure Tanner has no choice in the matter. . .  (publisher)

My take:  Nora Roberts Land is the first book in the Dare Valley series. I read the second, French Roastlast year and really enjoyed it. Book three is already published and I can’t wait to read it.

Meredith Hale is still recovering from her divorce. Her ex-husband  made her feel the failure of their marriage was her fault. When she leaves New York and her old life for Colorado and a chance to help at her family’s newspaper she decides to see if a happily ever after can be found – just like in Nora Roberts’ novels. When her ex hears about her plans he worries her article will make him look bad in his run for political office. He decides to send Tanner, a reporter, (under threat of blackmail) to pretend to fall in love with her and then break up – all to disprove her story so she won’t publish it. What he didn’t plan on was the reporter and Meredith actually falling in love.

There’s also a mystery to be solved. College kids are ending up in the ER or dead after partying. Alcohol and pot are involved but test results aren’t proving conclusive. Tanner and Meredith investigate and soon become involved in the story they’re investigating. There’s an exciting denouement that kept me turning the pages right through the epilogue.

Ava Miles’ small town series is one I’m enjoying. The setting is great and I like the main characters as well as the supporting ones. Like I said, I look forward to reading the third book, The Grand Opening, soon.

Smitten Book Club by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, Denise Hunter,

Smitten Book Club

  • Title:  Smitten Book Club
  • Series:  Smitten, #3
  • Authors:  Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, Denise Hunter
  • Genre:  Christian Chick Lit
  • Published:  January 2014 – Thomas Nelson
  • Source:  Publisher

My take: When one of the Smitten book club member’s firefighter husband perishes in a fire the town of Smitten, Vermont comes together to help. The book club holds a book sale to raise funds to help Molly, the young widow. While sorting through the donated books one of the members finds an old book of advice for finding a husband. It was written by a local author who it turns out was a relative of the firefighter who died. Not only is the book filled with (somewhat dated) hints to find a husband but it’s been said there are hidden clues to finding a storied treasure.

Smitten Book Club is actually four connected short stories (by four different authors) that cover the first year after the death of Molly’s husband. Each story is about a member of the book club and her journey to finding romantic love. The old book, A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship is passed from member to member as they try to find the clues to the treasure which would help Molly’s dire financial situation.

The authors wrote tales of love, faith and new and second chances. I enjoyed all four stories. If this sounds like your kind of book and you like Christian fiction as well as the Smitten series, I think you’ll like Smitten Book Club.

Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman

survival lessons

  • Title:  Survival Lessons
  • Author:  Alice Hoffman
  • Genre:  Memoir; Inspirational
  • Published:  October 2013 – Algonquin Books
  • Source:  Purchased

Book flap synopsis:  Survival Lessons provides a road map of how to reclaim your life from this day forward, with ways to reenvision everything – from relationships with friends and family to the way you see yourself. 

As Alice Hoffman says,

In many ways I wrote Survival Lessons to remind myself of the beauty of life, something that’s all too easy to overlook during the crisis of illness or loss. I forgot that our lives are made up of equal parts of sorrow and joy, and that it is impossible to have one without the other. I wrote to remind myself that despite everything that was happening to me, there were still choices I could make.

Wise, gentle, and wry, Alice Hoffman teaches all of us how to choose what matters most.

My take:  For someone in good health who doesn’t have a loved one dealing with a catastrophic illness this slim book could be read in an hour or less. The chapters are short and to-the-point, filled with kernels of wisdom, common sense and advice from one who has survived cancer. I imagine a reader living with cancer would appreciate and take comfort from Alice Hoffman’s experience. Her style is honest and heart-felt. Hoffman included a couple of recipes as well as the directions for knitting a hat. She made the point to enjoy eating when you can and even learn something new – like knitting. I’m glad I read Survival Lessons and I know I will read it again at some point. It’s one I’d give to a friend. It would be a good book for a reader whose loved one has cancer.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

Smitten Book Club survival lessons someone the rosie project

Last week on Bookfan:

What I’m reading:

  • Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
  • Survival Lessons by Alice Hoffman
  • Nora Roberts Land by Ava Miles

Happy reading!

Waking Kate by Sarah Addison Allen

waking kate

  • Title:  Waking Kate
  • Author:  Sarah Addison Allen
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction; Short Story
  • Published:  December 2013 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Free download

Synopsis:  From the beloved author of Garden Spells, comes Waking Kate, a story about a woman who soon will face an unforseen change in her life. One sticky summer day as Kate is waiting for her husband to come home from his bicycle shop, she spots her distinguished neighbor returning from his last day of work after eighty-six years at Atlanta’s oldest men’s clothing store. Over a cup of butter coffee, he tells Kate a story of love and heartbreak that makes her remember her past, question her present, and wonder what the future will bring.

My take:  This short story from Sarah Addison Allen (one of my favorite authors) serves to whet the appetite for her forthcoming novel Lost Lake. And that it did! There is something about her writing that mesmerizes me. Her descriptions of setting and characters draw me in completely. I can’t wait to find out what happens next to Kate and her daughter in Lost Lake. I won’t have to wait long because it publishes in a few weeks. 

Spotlight on: Boots Under Her Bed

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas and acclaimed authors Jo Goodman, Alison Kent and Kaki Warner present novellas about rugged men of the West and the women who want them.

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Callie has done a lot of crazy things, but it’ll take one more to prove she isn’t nuts: find a husband, fast! Her only requirement: he has to be taller than she is and swear not to have her committed during their ruse of a marriage. . .

“Count on Jodi Thomas to give you a satisfying and memorable read.”—New York
Times bestselling author Catherine Anderson

BOOTS UNDER HER BED Release date: January 7, 2014 Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 978-0-425-267844 Retail price: USA $7.19

Readers can  pre-order copies of BOOTS UNDER HER BED at http://www.jodithomas.com/#!books/cnec.

jodithomas

Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of 39 novels and 12 short story collections. A four-time RITA winner, Jodi currently serves as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

Audiobook: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

ordinary grace (audio)

  • Title:  Ordinary Grace (audiobook)
  • Author:  William Kent Krueger
  • Narrator:  Rich Orlow
  • Genre:  Fiction; Mystery
  • Published:  Recorded Books – March 2013
  • Source:  purchased

Synopsis:  New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder. 
Frank begins the season preoccupied with the concerns of any teenage boy, but when tragedy unexpectedly strikes his family— which includes his Methodist minister father; his passionate, artistic mother; Juilliard-bound older sister; and wise-beyond-his-years kid brother— he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.
Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.  (publisher)

My brief take:  I highly recommend the audiobook edition of this novel. The narration by Rich Orlow is superb.

Just read the synopsis above. If that doesn’t grab you, well, never mind. I think it will. And, in the end, you’ll probably be glad you read (or listened to) it. I don’t want to say much more than what I posted on Goodreads:

. . .  A coming of age novel where ordinary grace meets the awful grace of God in a small town in Minnesota during one summer in the early 1960s.

It’s one of my 2013 Favorites.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

Devil's Cub the holiday serenade an old woman's reflections

Last week on Bookfan:

Review:  If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle

It was a busy week of Christmas festivities. I listened to some of Ordinary Grace while I cleared snow from the driveway and also read a couple of novellas while getting some exercise on the treadmill but I had no chance to sit and read. That should change in the week ahead. We had a wonderful time and saw lots of friends and family but they’ve now scattered and things have settled down a bit.

The big news is that our daughter and her boyfriend announced their engagement a few days before Christmas. We’re all excited for them and look forward to the fun of planning a wedding :)

What I’m reading:

  • Ordinary Grace (audio)
  • That Part Was True 

Happy reading!

If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle

  • if wishes were earls
  • Title:  If Wishes Were Earls
  • Author:  Elizabeth Boyle
  • Series:  #3, Rhymes with Love
  • Genre:  Historical Romance
  • Published:  December 31, 2013 – Avon
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  When you wish upon an earl . . .

Harriet Hathaway has only ever wanted one man: the Earl of Roxley. After a passionate interlude at a house party, Harriet is convinced Roxley will do the right thing and propose. But when she returns to London, she finds the roguish earl on the verge of proposing to another.

Yet Harriet refuses to believe that her hopes of a happily-ever-after are completely lost—for she can see the desire still flickering in the earl’s eyes when he looks at her from across the dance floor. And when they are alone . . . there is one wish neither can deny.

. . . the most extraordinary things can happen

The Earl of Roxley is in a dangerous fix—and to keep Harriet safe, he must hold her at arm’s length. He won’t entangle her in the murderous mystery that is threatening to destroy his family and his future. But keeping Harriet Hathaway out of his troubles proves as impossible as it is to keep the determined beauty from stealing his heart.  (publisher)

My take:  Thoughts upon finishing this book: “Well, that was fun!”  I love historical romance and enjoy reading new-to-me authors.  If Wishes Were Earls is the first of Elizabeth Boyle’s books I’ve read and I enjoyed it very much.

What’s not to like? We have an almost financially ruined Earl in love with a childhood friend who just happens to love him back (and has even less money than he does). The problem is, he’s being blackmailed and must marry the daughter of his blackmailer if he doesn’t want to lose what’s left of his family’s holdings. And then there’s the business of some missing diamonds that have several people chasing after the Earl.

It sounds like it could be a bit complicated but Boyle laid it all out in a humorous and enjoyable fashion that had me looking forward to reading each time I picked the book up. That’s my sign of a good book. Since it’s part of a series I look forward to reading the previous two books.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

romancing the duke how to lose a duke in 10 days a cowboy for xmas

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Blog tour/review:  Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes by Joanne DeMaio
  • Review:  The Scandal in Kissing an Heir by Sophie Barnes
  • Review:  Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

What I’m reading:

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (audio)

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It will be quiet here this week – no posts are scheduled. I put my 2013 Favorite Books list together last week and will post it on December 31st. I’ll be back with a Sunday Post next Sunday. This week will be filled with family time and maybe a little reading. Oh, and some shoveling…

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Edited at 7:30pm Sunday

That’s me in the red jacket :)

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To all who celebrate the day, Merry Christmas!

Happy reading!

Christmas Bliss by Mary Kay Andrews

christmas bliss

  • Title:  Christmas Bliss
  • Series:  #4 Savannah series
  • Author:  Mary Kay Andrews
  • Genre:  Chick Lit; Christmas
  • Published:  October 2013 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher (via Lisa – thanks, Lisa!)

My take: I’m blaming the time of year for it taking me almost 2 weeks to get through the first few chapters. Once I had time I found it difficult to put the book down! 

Weezie Foley’s wedding plans are in full swing and her BFF BeBe’s first baby is due in a few weeks. When Weezie’s fiancé Daniel comes down with a bad cold while he’s in NYC being a guest chef at a four star restaurant, she drops everything and flies from Savannah to New York to give him some TLC (and see the city and all it has to offer). When Daniel shares some news that could be life changing for them both she gets a little nervous. Meanwhile, BeBe is in full-nesting mode when the father-to-be takes what he promises will be his last charter fishing client out for a day. When he doesn’t return at the promised time BeBe gets worried.

So, you can see there’s a lot going on in this book. Like I said, once I had time to sit and actually read for a while I was on board for the roller coaster ride that Christmas Bliss is. It was cute, entertaining and gave me a few laughs – typical Mary Kay Andrews.

Recommended to fans of the author and the series. I enjoyed seeing what Weezie and friends were up to and hope there’ll be more adventures to come.  Christmas Bliss is part of the Savannah series but it can stand on its own.