The Trouble with Christmas by Debbie Mason

  • the-trouble-with-christmasTitle:  The Trouble with Christmas
  • Author:  Debbie Mason
  • Series:  Christmas, Colorado #1
  • Pages:  407
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance; Christmas
  • Published: September 2013 – Forever
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

 

My take:  When Madison Lane arrives at Christmas, Colorado the public perception is that she killed Christmas (thanks to a NY Times headline), ran over Santa on her way into town, and then ran over the sheriff’s aunt. Not a great entrance especially when she’s there to explain why her company won’t be investing in a new resort that would have been a boon to the town. The way the sheriff views it Madison has caused more problems for him in a couple of hours than he’s had to deal with in a year!

Hilarity ensues – making this novel perfect for a film version on the Hallmark Channel. There’s comedy, a bit of drama, and romance, of course, in a town called Christmas. I would watch that movie! Poor Madison is a trouble magnet – it just seems to follow wherever she goes and the poor sheriff is the one usually called to clean up after her. In addition to being sheriff, Gage is a divorced father with custody of his two young daughters. They’ve taken to Madison in an unexpected way – making it even more difficult to separate himself from her – because he doesn’t need any more drama in his life, does he?

I enjoyed this first book in Debbie Mason’s Christmas, Colorado series. If you’re a fan of contemporary romance and the author I think you’ll like it as much as I did.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals: (linked to Mailbox Monday)

wild-horse-springs  news-of-the-world-audiobook

Last week on Bookfan:

love-alice-126   sweetest-regret

Reading plan for this week:

on-second-thought-2117   the-bookshop-on-the-corner-library-audio

I’m about halfway through On Second Thought. Yesterday I received an email from my library saying I finally reached the head of the holds line for The Bookshop on the Corner so I’ll listen to that while I finish up Christmas preparations this week. I’m still trying to decide on my First Book of the Year. I hope you’ll check out the link and join this fun meme hosted by Sheila.

Sweetest Regret: A Novella by Meredith Duran

  • sweetest-regretTitle:  Sweetest Regret: A Novella
  • Author:  Meredith Duran
  • Pages:  98 – Kindle edition
  • Genre:  Historical Romance; Christmas
  • Published:  November 2016 – Pocket Star
  • Source:  purchased

My take:  This novella was originally part of the anthology: What Happens Under the Mistletoe and was recently released as a single short e-book.

Georgiana and Lucas find themselves together at a Christmas house party that was supposed to have been hosted by her father. They haven’t seen each other in two years and are not on good terms because of what happened two years ago. Lucas works for or with Georgiana’s father and has been given an assignment that involves the house party. There’s some animosity on the part of both and each feels justified in feeling that way. Their repartee was enjoyable. I normally find novellas lacking but I thought Meredith Duran did a great job developing her characters and story. If you enjoy historical romance novellas with a Christmas theme you might like Sweetest Regret. I’d love to read one of her full-length novels.

Love, Alice by Barbara Davis

  • love-alice-126Title:  Love, Alice
  • Author:  Barbara Davis
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  432
  • Published:  December 2016 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  A year ago, Dovie Larkin’s life was shattered when her fiancé committed suicide just weeks before their wedding. Now, plagued by guilt, she has become a fixture at the cemetery where William is buried, visiting his grave daily, waiting for answers she knows will never come. 
 
Then one day, she sees an old woman whose grief mirrors her own. Fascinated, she watches the woman leave a letter on a nearby grave. Dovie ignores her conscience and reads the letter—a mother’s plea for forgiveness to her dead daughter—and immediately needs to know the rest of the story. 
 
As she delves deeper, a collection of letters from the cemetery’s lost and found  begins to unravel a decades-old mystery involving one of Charleston’s wealthiest families. But even as Dovie seeks to answer questions about another woman’s past—questions filled with deception, betrayal, and heartbreaking loss—she starts to discover the keys to love, forgiveness, and finally embracing the future…  (publisher)

My take:  Love, Alice is a story of acceptance, forgiveness, and moving forward. Barbara Davis’s story involves two women: Dovie, whose fiancé committed suicide not long before their wedding date and Alice, an unwed girl forced to give up her infant after giving birth. Both grappled with questions of why as they tried to move on with their lives. Although they would never meet their stories would become entwined.

I was completely absorbed by this book. The loss experienced by Alice is heartbreaking. Her story involves the Magdalene Laundries (click link for info). Hard to believe places like that were still in operation in the 1990s. Alice was young and, although still feeling the aftereffects of tuberculosis, had some strength of mind and body to carry on when she left the asylum. Her motivation was clear – she would find her baby.

Dovie would realize she had to face the truth about William – the things she’d chosen to ignore in the past – in order to move forward.

As bleak as it may sound I found the novel uplifting. I credit Davis’s gift of storytelling.  Love, Alice is a wonderful book. Recommended to fans of the author and women’s fiction. It would be a great book club selection. Included are a readers guide and recipes.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:  (linked to Mailbox Monday)

any-day-now  a-million-little-things-feb17

Last week on Bookfan:

days-like-these   maxs-diamonds_cov

Reading plan for this week:

the-trouble-with-christmas

Not much reading last week. The good news is my husband came home from the hospital on Wednesday so life is starting to get back to a routine. Thanks for all the kind thoughts, good wishes and, of course, prayers. He had bypass surgery so we’re tweaking our diet and making small changes in other areas. I’m looking forward to visiting blogs this week and finding more reading time. Have a great week!

Spotlight/US Giveaway: Max’s Diamonds: A Novel by Jay Greenfield

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Description:

A stunning decades-spanning debut novel, about a man forced to confront his moral culpability, the legacy of impossible loss, and the claims of his Jewish identity. Paul Hartman, coming of age in postwar Rockaway, grows up haunted by the specter of his cousin Max, an Auschwitz survivor, and Max’s mysterious cache of diamonds, which fund Paul’s Harvard Law education and even sparkle in his fiancée’s engagement ring. When a stranger from his past confronts him with an impossible demand, one that could destroy his law career, his marriage and his sense of self, Paul must make choices that will change his fate forever.


Reviews:

“Five Stars (out of Five)! An incredibly engaging and thought-provoking story of one man haunted by the grief of his past. Max’s Diamonds, an excellent new work of fiction by Jay Greenfield, traces the life of a man hiding his past and a traumatic childhood. This is a story filled with secrets, lies, and an overwhelming sense of grief. …Greenfield fills his novel with richly drawn characters, each unique and interesting, flawed yet relatable…. It’s a place worth stopping by again, as the rich characters combine with beautiful descriptions of settings and, at times, an almost lyrical prose …. Themes of religious persecution, the consequences of lifelong guilt, and the difficulties of familial relationships and relationships created on a base of lies reside beneath the surface of this work, adding complexity as well as beauty.” —Tracy Fischer, Foreword Reviews

“Max’s Diamonds is a Bildungsroman, a mystery and a multi-generational survivor’s tale all at once. But above, it’s a hugely entertaining novel. Jay Greenfield has made a terrific debut.” —Leonard Cassuto, author, Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories

“A terrific read, fast-paced and darkly humorous …. Part parody of the American dream of self-determination, part tribute to a bygone world defined by the claims of heritage, this riveting debut novel pits the legacy of the Holocaust against the promise of East Coast ambition to measure the conflicting moralities of mid-century American Jews.” —Eve Keller, co-author, Two Rings: A Story of Love and War

“Jay Greenfield’s engrossing novel vividly depicts a young man’s coming of age in Rockaway, a close-knit beach community in New York, during and after World War II. The Holocaust and its aftermath affect him personally through the experiences of family members. Paul, the protagonist, becomes an ambitious young lawyer, but ultimately comes to terms with his identity as a Jew through his dramatic encounter with his Israeli daughter. We could not put this novel down.” —Lawrence Kaplan and Carol Kaplan, co-authors, Between Ocean and City: The Transformation of Rockaway, New York


13055609_1628228444163978_6135174534182841502_nAuthor Bio:

Jay Greenfield was raised in Rockaway, New York. For several decades, he was a trial lawyer with a New York-based international law firm, where he argued in the Supreme Court of the United States, represented civil rights activists in Louisiana during 1964’s Freedom Summer, and was senior counsel in several cases establishing that, under New York law, homeless families have a right to shelter. He retired early to devote himself to writing fiction. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Judy; they have three adult children and three grandchildren. Max’s Diamonds (Chickadee Prince Books, 2016) is his debut novel.

For more information connect with him on Facebook.


US Giveaway

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