Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners

Author: Gretchen Anthony
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Holiday Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  A formidable matriarch learns the hard way that no family is perfect in this witty, sparkling debut novel

Dearest loved ones, far and near–evergreen tidings from the Baumgartners!

Violet Baumgartner has opened her annual holiday letter the same way for the past three decades. And this year she’s going to throw her husband, Ed, a truly perfect retirement party, one worthy of memorializing in her upcoming letter. But the event becomes a disaster when, in front of two hundred guests, Violet learns her daughter Cerise has been keeping a shocking secret from her, shattering Violet’s carefully constructed world.

In an epic battle of wills, Violet goes to increasing lengths to wrest back control of her family, infuriating Cerise and snaring their family and friends in a very un-Midwestern, un-Baumgartner gyre of dramatics. And there will be no explaining away the consequences in this year’s Baumgartner holiday letter…

Full of humor, emotion and surprises at every turn, Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners brings to life a remarkable cast of quirky, deeply human characters who must learn to adapt to the unconventional, or else risk losing one another. This is the story of a family falling to pieces–and the unexpected way they put it all back together.

Ope’s Opinion: Gretchen Anthony has such wonderful flow in her writing.  She does a lot of descriptive writing, but it is not over done.  I am not sure I am explaining very well – it just flows and makes you go right along for the ride.

This is the perfect holiday read – if you think your family is off the wall, weird or unusual with secrets – read this one and she’ll make you feel like it is all normal!!  It makes you snicker a little at how ridiculous families can be.

The story is told from multiple perspectives – that really helps you get to the truth of what is going on.  Each perspective is distinctively different.

An enjoyable read!

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Worst Christmas Ever!

Author: Mallary Mitchell
Publisher: White Rose Books
Genre: Holiday
Source: Library

 

Goodreads:  After being jilted the day before her Christmas wedding, Sara Jane hates the holidays. Holly and mistletoe are a painful reminder that happily-ever-after isn’t for her. Now, this Christmas, her baby sister is getting married. Talk about adding insult to injury! Forced into faux Christmas joy while she helps plan the nuptials, Sara Jane just wants to escape to Athens, Greece–away from the judgmental stares and snickers of her family and friends. God, on the other hand, may have other plans. Maxwell Dixon has secretly loved Sara Jane since they were children. Like so many tragic childhood love stories, however, he was relegated to “friend status” long ago. But when Sara Jane needs him for moral support and to be a safe date at the wedding, Max decides it’s time to show Sara Jane what love and Christmas are all about.

Ope’s Opinion: This is perfect read for the holiday season.  It is a quick, really cute read, which is what you need at this time of year.   It just sets the mood for a great Christmas!

Coming Soon…..

…. On a Bookshelf near you!

In December I hope to read….

Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

Goodreads: A romantic comedy that tells the story of one journalist secretly juggling two bylines for competing newspapers on a small island.

Distorting the facts just a little can’t hurt—except when falling in love…

Martha’s Vineyard has two distinct “personalities”—one characterized by its tanned and polished summer people; the other represented by the small-town, salt-of-the-earth year-round residents. The island even has two newspapers, each appealing to its distinct readership. Over the years, an intense rivalry has grown between the two papers; in fact, neither paper will work with writers who have any relationship to the other paper.

Johanna Howes is a Vineyard girl who left the island at the age of eighteen and never looked back. She went to college on the mainland and moved to the Big City to start a career as a journalist. Now she’s returned to take care of her aging Uncle Hank. As neither paper can pay her enough to live on, she creates a false identity so that she can write for both papers at once. Often this means writing the same story twice, coming at it from opposite ends of the spectrum.

Before long, Johanna finds herself caught up in a messy Island political situation. A wealthy, seasonal resident is suing the town government for the right to land his private helicopter on his property. When Johanna agrees to go for a cup of coffee with the handsome man she meets at a zoning board meeting, she has no idea that she has just made a date with Orion Smith, the wealthy off-Islander who is causing all the ruckus. And what he doesn’t know is that Johanna has been assigned by both Island papers to cover the story.

Scrambling to keep her various identities straight and separate from each other, Johanna desperately tries to find a graceful way out of the mess she’s created. But doing so will likely get her into trouble or cause her to lose her writing gigs…not to mention jeopardize her chance at a budding romance with a man she’s doing her best not to fall for.

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

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

Just A Kiss

Author: Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source:  Purchased

 

Goodreads:  Riley Callahan’s plans to reveal his secret feelings for his best friend are derailed when his life is drastically altered in Afghanistan.

Watching the love of his life fall for his brother was enough to send Riley straight to boot camp. But over a year later, he’s officially a marine, and Beau and Paige are no longer an item. When Riley’s tour in Afghanistan is up, he intends to confess his feelings to Paige and win his best friend’s heart once and for all.

But all that changes when an IED takes the life of a comrade and leaves Riley an amputee. Now he’s heading home, injured and troubled. His plans to win Paige are a distant dream. She deserves so much more than the man that’s left. All he can do now is put some healthy distance between them. But upon his return he discovers his family has arranged for him to stay with Paige.

Paige is a nurturer at heart and happy to take care of her best buddy. By all appearances Riley is adjusting miraculously well to his disability. But as the days pass, Paige begins to see that the smiles and laughter are just a mask for the pain he’s hiding. To make matters worse, her job is in serious jeopardy. The animal shelter that she’s poured her heart into has lost its funding, and she has three months to come up with the money needed to save it.

As the weeks wear on, Paige’s feelings for Riley begin to shift into uncharted territory. Why is she suddenly noticing his arm muscles and the way his lips curl at the corners? Will she be able to deny her feelings for another Callahan brother? And will Riley let his heart heal so he can let Paige in?

Ope’s Opinion:  Denise Hunter is one of the best Christian Fiction writers that I read.  She brings God into the story, but does not preach or push it.  The characters are easy to relate to and the story is something that could happen.

This story did drag in the middle a little for me.  You know how it is going to end ( which is a good thing ), but the build up was just a little too long.  There was some repetitive parts about the feelings of the main characters toward each other.

Overall, the story and the characters kept my attention.  It was good to see the other characters from the first two books – their stories moved forward in this book. You could read this one alone, but the back stories are such good reads, I would recommend starting from the beginning.

Whiskey in a Teacup

Author: Reese Witherspoon
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Non-Fiction Memoir
Source:  Received at Book Event

Goodreads:  Academy award–winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur Reese Witherspoon invites you into her world, where she infuses the southern style, parties, and traditions she loves with contemporary flair and charm.

Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery.

Reese’s southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids—not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favorite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.

It’s easy to bring a little bit of Reese’s world into your home, no matter where you live. After all, there’s a southern side to every place in the world, right?

Ope’s Opinion: I rarely read non-fiction, but this one caught my eye.  Reese Witherspoon is such a leader in promoting women, she has a book club and I think she is a great role model for young women. 

I enjoyed the tidbits her mother and grandmother gave to her.  Her book club picks are interesting.  The recipes were fun to read about, but not ones I think I would use on a regular basis.