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.

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.

Winter Stroll

Author:  Elin Hilderbrand                         winter stroll
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Holiday book
Source: BEA

 

Publication Date:  October 13, 2015

 

Goodreads: The Quinn family celebrates their most dramatic Christmas yet in this enchanting sequel to Elin Hilderbrand’s bestsellingWinter Street
Christmas on Nantucket finds Winter Street Inn owner Kelley Quinn and his family busily preparing for the holiday season. Though the year has brought tragedy, the Quinns have much to celebrate: Kelley has reunited with his first wife Margaret, Kevin and Isabelle have a new baby; and Ava is finally dating a nice guy.
But when Kelley’s estranged wife Mitzi shows up on the island, along with Kevin’s devious ex-wife Norah and a dangerously irresistible old fling of Ava’s, the Inn is suddenly overrun with romantic feuds, not to mention guests. With jealousy, passion, and eggnog consumption at an all-time high, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a Christmas miracle to get the Quinns–and the Inn–through the holidays intact.

Ope’s Opinion: It took me a little while to get into the book because it has been almost a year since I read Winter Street.  Elin Hilderbrand did an awesome job of reminding me who everyone was.

The story moved all the characters story lines along.  I really enjoyed visiting Nantucket again.  Once the story got going, it moved along quickly.  I am looking forward to her next one – which the ending ( or lack there of ) left it wide open for a sequel.

Rating: 4 – I like this book so much I know several friends to share it with.

An Island Christmas

Author: Nancy Thayer                                   island christmas
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Holiday Book
Source:  Purchased

 

 

Goodreads:  In this enchanting holiday novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer, family and friends gather on Nantucket for a gorgeous winter wedding with plenty of merry surprises in store.

As Christmas draws near, Felicia returns to her family’s home on the island to marry her adventurous, rugged boyfriend, Archie. Every detail is picture-perfect for a dream wedding: the snow-dusted streets, twinkling lights in the windows, a gorgeous red and white satin dress. Except a lavish ceremony is not Felicia’s dream at all; it’s what her mother, Jilly, wants. Jilly’s also worried that her daughter’s life with daredevil Archie will be all hiking and skydiving. Wondering if their handsome neighbor Steven Hardy might be a more suitable son-in-law, Jilly embarks on a secret matchmaking campaign for Felicia and the dashing stockbroker.

As the big day approaches and Jilly’s older daughter, Lauren, appears with rambunctious kids in tow, tensions in the household are high. With the family careening toward a Yuletide wedding disaster, an unexpected twist in Nancy Thayer’s heartwarming tale reminds everyone about the true meaning of the season. 

Ope’s Opinion:  This was a cute little Christmas story.  Jilly’s flakey personality irritated me at times.  She loved her daughters, but interfered in their lives.  She was trying to get her daughter to marry the neighbor one day and happy at the wedding the next day.

The rest of the characters in the book were heart warming.  I really liked the sisters relationships.  They cared about each other, but didn’t always see eye to eye.

This is not my favorite Nancy Thayer book, but it was a quick Christmas read.

Rating:  Three Chairs – I like the book enough to suggest it to a friend or two.
3 chairs

Evergreen

Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers          evergreen
Genre:  Holiday 
Source:  Purchased

 

 

 

Goodreads:  An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn’t be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip abroad planned. He’s sure she’ll love it. What’s more romantic than Christmas in Paris?Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then–because disasters strike in threes–an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts.As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid’s marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.

Ope’s Opinion:  God gave me a snowy day to relax and read this book.  It was a perfect reminder of what this season is really all about.  

The Christiansen family has been one of my favorite families to follow.  This Christmas book  followed the family through a difficult time.  The story showed that families come in all sizes and are made up of the people that are around you.  Empty nests don’t have to feel so empty.   I can relate as an empty nester too.

Susan May Warren wrote:  ” The magic of a good-bye – it makes way for something new. An unexpected hello.”  That is such a great reminder.  As one part of your life moves on or changes, it opens up for a new part.

I love the fact that this series is a faith based family, yet I never feel preached at or condemned.  It shows God’s love, acceptance and guidance.

 

 

Rating:  Five Chairs – This book is so good it will be passed on and on and on…
             And read again and again and again…..
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Winter Street

Author:  Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company         winter street
Genre:  Holiday Book
Source: Purchased

 

 

Goodreads:  In bestseller Elin Hilderbrand’s first Christmas novel, a family gathers on Nantucket for a holiday filled with surprises.

Kelley Quinn is the owner of Nantucket’s Winter Street Inn and the proud father of four, all of them grown and living in varying states of disarray. Patrick, the eldest, is a hedge fund manager with a guilty conscience. Kevin, a bartender, is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper named Isabelle. Ava, a school teacher, is finally dating the perfect guy but can’t get him to commit. And Bart, the youngest and only child of Kelley’s second marriage to Mitzi, has recently shocked everyone by joining the Marines.

As Christmas approaches, Kelley is looking forward to getting the family together for some quality time at the inn. But when he walks in on Mitzi kissing Santa Claus (or the guy who’s playing Santa at the inn’s annual party), utter chaos descends. With the three older children each reeling in their own dramas and Bart unreachable in Afghanistan, it might be up to Kelley’s ex-wife, nightly news anchor Margaret Quinn, to save Christmas at the Winter Street Inn.

Before the mulled cider is gone, the delightfully dysfunctional Quinn family will survive a love triangle, an unplanned pregnancy, a federal crime, a small house fire, many shots of whiskey, and endless rounds of Christmas caroling, in this heart-warming novel about coming home for the holidays. 

Ope’s Opinion:  This was the perfect read for your holiday season or to buy for your favorite book person.  

There were a lot of characters and I did have to look back at the flap on the book to remember facts about who was talking.  It didn’t take long to be invested in each person’s personal story.

I come from a family of five children, so seeing how these siblings were together, took me back home!  They all love each other, but are also some times frustrated with each other.  At the end of the day, they support each other.  They want what is best for the other ones.

I would love to see where everyone is next Christmas!

Rating: Five Chairs – This book is so good it will be passed on and on and on….
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