Merry and Bright

Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Fiction / Holiday
Source:  Library

 

Goodreads:  Christmas is the season of the heart, and #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber is here to warm yours with a delightful holiday novel of first impressions and second chances.
Merry Smith is pretty busy these days. She’s taking care of her family, baking cookies, decorating for the holidays, and hoping to stay out of the crosshairs of her stressed and by-the-book boss at the consulting firm where she temps. Her own social life is the last thing she has in mind, much less a man. Without her knowledge, Merry’s well-meaning mom and brother create an online dating profile for her–minus her photo–and the matches start rolling in. Initially, Merry is incredulous, but she reluctantly decides to give it a whirl.
Soon Merry finds herself chatting with a charming stranger, a man with similar interests and an unmistakably kind soul. Their online exchanges become the brightest part of her day. But meeting face-to-face is altogether different, and her special friend is the last person Merry expects–or desires. Still, sometimes hearts can see what our eyes cannot. In this satisfying seasonal tale, unanticipated love is only a click away.

Ope’s Opinion:  I liked the story.  It was a nice, light read.  I think it should be made into a Hallmark movie. 

This was the first book I have listened to.  The reader did a good female voices, but the male voices were very fake and kind of gruff when the character wasn’t.  I did like being able to do laundry or cook while listening to a book.  I will probably try listening to books again.

Save this one for next Christmas – it will be a wonderful escape!

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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.

The Silent Sister

Author: Diane Chamberlain
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Mystery
Source: Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

Goodreads:  In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager. Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary. Lisa is alive. Alive and living under a new identity. But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now? As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family. Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.

Ope’s Opinion: Although I figured some of the mystery and secrets before they were revealed, I enjoyed the whole story. It was an awesome story with lots of twists.  It read fast because I kept wanting to see if it was going to go where I thought it was going.  There were surprises right up until the end.

Hearing the story from both Riley and Lisa points of view moved the story along really fast.  I kept wanting Riley to know what I already knew!  It was fun to see her discover the secrets.  I thought the way she found out different information seemed realistic.  She had different sources for different secrets.

I enjoy Diane Chamberlain’s writing and I will definitely read another one by her.

One Good Thing

Author: Wendy Wax
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  From the USA Today bestselling author of Sunshine Beach, a story of four women trying to rebuild more than their lives…

Before you can fix it up, you might have to tear it down…

Embroiled in a battle to regain control of their renovation-turned-reality TV show, Do Over, Maddie, Avery, Nikki, and Kyra find themselves holding tight to the frayed ends of their friendship and relationships.

Maddie must face the realities of dating a rock star once again topping the charts and dealing with her hapless ex-husband, while Avery is caught up in family drama even as she attempts to transform a tiny cottage into a home for the newly impoverished heiress who helped bankroll their last renovation. Put on bedrest, a hugely pregnant Nikki can’t quite believe love can last, or trust in her own maternal instinct. And Kyra, who has secretly put Bella Flora at risk in an attempt to salvage Do Over, must decide whether to accept a desperately needed bail out from her son’s famous father that comes with far too many strings attached…

But friendship is made for times like these, to keep each other—and their dreams—from crumbling.

Ope’s Opinion: This is number five in the Ten Beach Series by Wendy Wax.  Although I enjoyed this one, it did feel a little redundant. This series does need to be read from the first book.  There is too much background you just won’t get if you don’t start from the beginning.   I will read another Wendy Wax, but probably not the  Ten Beach series.

It was interesting to see all the women again and see their relationships move forward.  They really count on each other to help through the struggles.  It is nice to see women who support each other.

As in the past books, the ending was left open, for the next in the series.

The Hope Chest

Author: Viola Shipman
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: Fiction
Source: St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads:  From the beloved author of Indie Next Pick The Charm Bracelet, a story about an heirloom hope chest and the connection it inspires among three people in need of hope.

The discovery of one woman’s heirloom hope chest unveils precious memories and helps three people who have each lost a part of themselves find joy once again.

Ever since she was diagnosed with ALS, fiercely independent Mattie doesn’t feel like herself. She can’t navigate her beloved home, she can’t go for a boat ride, and she can barely even feed herself. Her devoted husband, Don, doesn’t want to imagine life without his wife of nearly fifty years, but Mattie isn’t likely to make it past their anniversary.

But when Rose, Mattie’s new caretaker, and her young daughter, Jeri, enter the couple’s life, happiness and the possibility for new memories return. Together they form a family, and Mattie is finally able to pass on her memories from the hope chest she received from her mother.

With each item—including a favorite doll, family dishes, an embroidered apron, and an antique Christmas ornament—the hope chest connects Mattie, Don and Rose to each other and helps them find hope again in the face of overwhelming life challenges.

A beautiful story about the unconditional love and support of family, The Hope Chest will remind you that hope can be found where and when you least expect it.

Ope’s Opinion: This was such a sweet story of unconditional love and family.  This was told in the present and the past.  Although I am not much of a historical reader, the history in this book was a family history and was such an important part of the wonderful story.  

The characters in this book were loving and really cared for each other.   Their struggles seemed to bring them closer together.  Rose is such an important person to them, she became family. 

Viola Shipman knows how to write a heart felt story with relatable characters.   

When We Were Worthy

Author: Marybeth Mayhew Whalen
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Ashley at Lake Union Publishing

Goodreads:  A win brought them together, but loss may tear them apart.

When the sound of sirens cuts through a cool fall night, the small town of Worthy, Georgia, hurtles from triumph to tragedy. Just hours before, they’d watched the Wildcats score a winning touchdown. Now, they’re faced with the deaths of three cheerleaders—their promising lives cut short in a fatal crash. And the boy in the other car—the only one to survive—is believed to be at fault. As rumors begin to fly and accusations spin, allegiances form and long-kept secrets emerge.

At the center of the whirlwind are four women, each grappling with loss, regret, shame, and lies: Marglyn, a grieving mother; Darcy, whose son had been behind the wheel; Ava, a substitute teacher with a scandalous secret; and Leah, a cheerleader who should have been in the car with her friends, but wasn’t. If the truth comes out, will it bring redemption—or will it be their downfall?

Ope’s Opinion:  If you remember and enjoyed the show Friday Nights Lights, you will really enjoy this book.  It is set in  a small town, surrounding football and cheerleaders, where everyone knows everyone else – or do they?  The secrets come out slowly throughout the book.

This story shows how hard it is to be a teen trying to make decisions that will effect you later in life.  Being the parents isn’t easier either.

I have another Marybeth Mayhew Whalen on my shelf.  This book made me want to move it up on TBR list.

 

Sunshine Beach

Author: Wendy Wax
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Fiction
Source:  Kristin of Kritters Ramblings

 

Goodreads:  There’s nothing that a fresh coat of paint and a few glasses of wine can’t fix…
 
After losing their life savings in a Ponzi scheme, Maddie, Avery, and Nikki have banded together to make the most of what they have left, using their determination, ingenuity, guts, and a large dose of elbow grease. It’s Maddie’s daughter Kyra who stumbles across a once glorious beachfront hotel that has fallen into disrepair. The opportunity to renovate this seaside jewel is too good to pass up—especially when they come up with the idea of shooting their own independent television show about the restoration. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything. With the cameras rolling, Maddie’s second-chance romance with her all-too-famous new boyfriend gets complicated, Avery struggles with grief over the loss of her mother, and Nikki’s reluctance to commit to the man who loves her could leave her to face the biggest challenge of her life. Even the hotel seems to be against them, when their renovation uncovers a decades-old unsolved murder which just might bring their lives tumbling down all over again…

Ope’s Opinion: This is the fourth in the Ten Beach Road Series.  You can read this one alone, but the previous books give a lot of background that makes the book so much better.

If you like HGTV and women’s friendships – you will really like this series of books.  Seeing all of them work together again was fun!  It was also good to see their other relationships progress.

There are at least two more books in the series, so we hope to get some closure in those books to all the open endings in this book.