The Thursday Night Club and Other Stories of Christmas Spirit

Author: Steven Manchester
Publisher: Fiction Studio Books
Genre: Holiday Book
Source:  Steven Manchester

 

Goodreads:  A joyous and deeply emotional collection of three unforgettable Christmas novellas.

With a series of #1 bestsellers like Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair and Pressed Pennies, Steven Manchester has established himself as one of the premier voices of moving and heartfelt fiction. Now, he collects his three unforgettable Christmas novellas in one volume.

The Thursday Night Club: Five college friends, three men and two women, have been getting together every Thursday night to share humble meals and an abundance of laughter. But when tragedy takes one of them, leaving the others to question the fairness of life, the Thursday Night Club decides to embark on a contest in the memory of the generous spirit of their fallen brother. The objective of the contest is simple: whoever performs the kindest deed by Christmas night wins the pot – four quarters. And there are only two conditions: the benevolent deed must be anonymous, and it cannot cost a single penny to pull off. As the four friends undertake the contest, the healing begins and they become inspired beyond their expectations. There might be a winner in this competition, but it is very clear there will be no losers.

A Christmas Wish: Steph is on a search for truth in her heart as she faces the prospect of real love for the first time. Brian is out to enjoy his favorite season in a way that doctors never thought he could. And at the center of it all is their grandmother, affectionately known as Mama, a woman of remarkable commitment and charity who knows something very important about making Christmas wishes come true.

The Tin-Foil Manger: Published in this volume for the first time, this is the story of Nancy, an elderly woman with little to live for and Jeanne, the caretaker who wants to believe that Nancy has more to live for. Together, they embark on a journey to the past – a past of modest Christmases, tin-foil mangers, and abundant love – to rediscover the time when Nancy felt truly alive. Nancy’s memories and how they touch Jeanne, will turn this Christmas into one for the ages.

Rich with emotion and profound with meaning, these three stories of Christmas spirit that will strike a chord in your heart any time of year and make you look at the holiday season in new ways.

Ope’s Opinion:  A year ago I read The Thursday Night Club and enjoyed it.  I decided when Steven sent me this book to reread it.  It was just as good the second time.

The other two stories were just as good as The Thursday Night Club.  They were perfect for this busy time of year – short, meaningful and a reminder of the reason for the season.  They made me stop for a minute, relax and think about what is really important.

Thank you Steven for writing such heartfelt characters and stories.

 

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Winter Solstice

Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Holiday Fiction
Source: Purchased

Goodreads:  Raise one last glass with the Quinn Family at the Winter Street Inn.

It’s been too long since the entire Quinn family has been able to celebrate the holidays under the same roof, but that’s about to change. With Bart back safe and sound from Afghanistan, the Quinns are preparing for a holiday more joyous than any they’ve experienced in years. And Bart’s safe return isn’t the family’s only good news: Kevin is enjoying married life with Isabelle; Patrick is getting back on his feet after paying his debt to society; Ava thinks she’s finally found the love of her life; and Kelly is thrilled to see his family reunited at last. But it just wouldn’t be a Quinn family gathering if things went smoothly. A celebration of everything we love–and some of the things we endure–about the holidays, WINTER SOLSTICE is Elin Hilderbrand at her festive best.

Ope’s Opinion:  This was such a good winter / holiday read.  It is part of a series, but you can read it alone.  Each year, Elin HIlderbrand writes another book about the Quinn family.  I look forward to each book.

Each chapter was written from a different persons perspective to move the story along. It was great to see the whole families perspective.  The story brought a good conclusion to each member of the family.

It is sad to see this series come to an end.  I hope she start another series like this one next year.

Staying For Good

Author: Catherine Bybee
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source:  Purchased

Goodreads:  Zoe Brown may have been voted Most Likely to Never Leave River Bend, but the paper-thin walls and suffocating air of her family’s double-wide trailer were not what she wanted for her life. Other than BFFs Melanie and Jo, the only thing that kept Zoe sane during high school was her boyfriend, Luke.

She didn’t just leave, she escaped—turning her back on the shame of her black-sheep siblings and imprisoned dad. Now a celebrity chef in Dallas, she can afford all the things she never could have growing up. But when she returns to rustic, ruggedly beautiful River Bend, Zoe has to face all that she abandoned—including Luke.

While Luke was a refuge for Zoe in the past, he knows they inhabit totally different worlds now. Anchored by his parents and his job as a mechanic in his father’s shop, Luke never felt the urge to leave River Bend—until Zoe’s return.

But when the two rekindle their old flame, Zoe is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: remain in River Bend and confront her past before it destroys her, or say good-bye to everyone she’s ever loved…again, this time for good.

Ope’s Opinion: While reading this book, life happened.  I kept getting interrupted and couldn’t wait to get back to the book.  That tells you how good it was!  I wanted the world to stop, leave me alone and let me read!

It would have been a five chair, except the foul language and a few too many steamy scenes in it.  If you can over look that, the story is amazing.  There were some scary points in the book that made me hold my breath.

There is a third book in this series.  I will be purchasing that one as soon as possible.  I have really enjoyed Catherine Bybee’s stories.

Coming Soon…..

…. On a Bookshelf near you!

In December hope to read….

Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Books

Goodreads:  One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

What is coming soon …. to a bookshelf near you?

Let me know – I am always looking for a good read!

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery

Author: Jenny Colgan
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Holiday Book
Source: Paul at Harper Collins

 

Goodreads: New York Times-bestselling author Jenny Colgan dishes up another delightful holiday story about the residents in an idyllic Cornish village who must join forces to save Christmas.

In the Cornish coastal village of Mount Polbearne, the Christmas season has arrived. It’s a joyous time for family, friends, and feasting as decorations sparkle along the town’s winding streets and shop windows feature buoyant, festive displays. And in Polly’s Little Beach Street bakery, the aromas of gingerbread cookies and other treats tempt people in from the cold.

Though Polly is busy keeping up with the demands of the season, she still makes time for her beekeeper boyfriend, Huckle. She’s especially happy to be celebrating the holiday this year with him, and can’t wait to cuddle up in front of the fireplace with a cup of eggnog on Christmas Eve.

But holiday bliss soon gives way to panic when a storm cuts the village off from the mainland. Now it will take all of the villagers to work together in order to ensure everyone has a Merry Christmas.

Ope’s Opinion: This is a nice Christmas book to put you in the holiday mood. When the holidays are busy and you need a little time away, this is where you should go.  This is part of a series, but you do not have to read the first two to know what is going on. 

It feels like a town you would want to visit, with people who you would want to get to know.  Such a sweet story and lovely characters.

The end of a series with an ending you would expect.

Even If It Kills Her

Author: Kate White
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Genre: Mystery
Source: Abigail at HarperCollins

 

Goodreads: Kate White returns to her New York Times bestselling Bailey Weggins series with a riveting new psychological thriller featuring this beloved true-crime journalist turned amateur sleuth in her most spellbinding case to date

Like many thirty-somethings, Bailey Weggins has a few regrets, some involving her career and others her love life. But running into Jillian Lowe at her book signing, Bailey comes face to face with perhaps her biggest regret to date. For more than ten years, Bailey has felt guilty for not staying in closer communication with Jillian, her college roommate, after Jillian’s family was brutally murdered. Jillian had left their school in the middle of their sophomore year right after the tragedy, leaving Bailey to wonder how her friend’s life turned out.

Bailey is shocked to see Jillian and is even more stunned when her still-gorgeous former roommate approaches her with a case. The man accused of murdering her family has been cleared of the crime through new DNA evidence. With the real killer walking free, Jillian is desperate for Bailey’s help to identify him and finally secure justice for her family. As the two women return to Jillian’s childhood town to investigate, secrets from Jillian’s past begin to surface. And it doesn’t take long before they learn not everyone is happy with their sleuthing—not the local police, not family friends, and certainly not the true killer.

With someone watching their every move, Bailey and Jillian find themselves in grave danger and must decide how much they are willing to risk to finally uncover what happened that terrifying night.

Ope’s Opinion:  Even though this was the seventh book in the Bailey Weggins Mystery series, I could not tell.  This was the first one I read and I did not feel like I was missing any back story.

I really liked how the book jumped right into the story.  There wasn’t a lot of background or unnecessary information before we started right into who died and started trying to figure out who did it.

The book is about trying to figure out who killed Jillian’s family.  The middle drug out for me just a little, but I never wanted to give up reading to find out who killed them.  A long the way, there were a few surprises.  I did guess who the killer was before the end.  It made sense, but it wasn’t who I wanted it to be.  There was someone that I didn’t care for and wanted it to be that person.  It all made sense at the end.

The Wrong Side of Right

Author: Jenn Marie Thorne
Publisher: Dial
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased

 

 

Goodreads: Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

Ope’s Opinion: This story felt like it should be made into a movie.  This did not feel like a young adult book.  The main character is a young adult, but there are many adults in this story.

I thought the pace of this story was too slow for most YA readers.  Counting down the days until the election went very slowly.  It made all the relationships move slow also.  There were too many details about what Kate was wearing, who was on the bus, etc. that didn’t really add to the story.

Kate and Andy’s interactions were fleeting.   It left me wanting more.   I wish it had been more developed, it could have been so much fun to read.

The ending wrapped up too quickly and too neatly, but then again – that would have made it good for a movie.