Are you in need of a little Christmas inspiration or looking for a last minute Christmas gift for the reader on your list? I have been reading a few of the 2014 Christmas books over the past few weeks and want to share my favorites with you. There is a little bit of everything on the list, from mystery to romance, with both historical and contemporary settings.
Pulitzer-prizewinning novelist Jane Smiley’s latest book, Some Luck, is the first in her “Last Hundred Years” trilogy which chronicles the hopes and sorrows of the Langdon family of rural Iowa from 1920 to the present. If you enjoy family sagas such as Ken Follett’s “Century” trilogy, then you should read Some Luck. Each chapter of Some Luck covers a year from1920 to 1953 as Walter returns from WWI to the land that he just purchased and to start a family with his wife Rosanna.
In my last blog post I said I would share my thoughts on this year's Christmas books and I have to tell you there are some good ones out this year. I just read The Christmas Cat by Melody Carlson and I think it would make the perfect gift for the animal lover on your list. It is a humorous and heartwarming tale filled with colorful characters, cats, wit and humor, a little light romance, and... cats.
Desert God by Wilbur Smith is the latest book that he has written about ancient Egypt. If you like action, battle scenes, and intrigue, if you like books such as the “Game of Thrones” series, or if you like books by Bernard Cornwell, you should give Desert God a try. The story is narrated by Taita, a eunuch, former slave and now an advisor and confidante to Pharaoh. Taita has a mystical side that is explained midway through the book.
I know it is early.... but I have officially been bitten by the Christmas bug. There is a fresh dusting of snow on the ground and the library is already partially decorated for the holidays. This is the time of year when many authors offer up their yearly Christmas book and I hope to read new titles as I catch them and share my thoughts with you. Luckily, most of the books are short and sweet and very easy reads. My first selection is An Island Christmas by Nancy Thayer.
In the debut novel North of the Tension Line by J. F. Riordan, Fiona Campbell is a writer currently living in Ephraim and formerly from Milwaukee and Chicago. This novel is leisurely-paced, character-driven, and humorous, and most loose ends are tied up neatly at the end. Fiona’s friend Elisabeth runs a gallery and has a dog named Rocco.
I have long been a fan of author Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Her romance stories are written with style and grace, and most times love conquers all when the story comes to a happy ever after ending. She certainly surprised me with her latest book, Heroes are My Weakness. Even though the title hints at a romantic setting, this one has a much darker and serious feel to it. In some ways, the beginning had elements of classic gothic romances like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.
This is the story of Lila, the much younger wife of Reverend John Ames, first introduced in the Pulitzer prize-winning novel Gilead. Marilynne Robinson’s books, Gilead,Home, and Lilaare set in the small Iowa town of Gilead and are about things of the heart and spirit.
It might be the chill in the air, or the fact that winter is right around the corner, but lately I seem to be drawn to books about food. The storyline in The Glass Kitchen: a novel of sisters by Linda Francis Lee revolves around food, but is also the story of a young woman plucked from her childhood home in Texas and dropped into the bustling world of Manhattan. Struggling to make a new life for herself, with the help of her sisters, Portia Cuthcart uses her kitchen as a refuge which allows her to forgive, forget, and open herself up to her unique gift of magical food.
Horrorstor (there's actually an umlaut over the last "o") is a parody and ghost story that looks like a catalog from Orsk, a fictional big-box Ikea store knock-off selling faux Scandinavian furnishings with faux Scandinavian names. Main character Amy is a young woman with failed dreams who works at Orsk along with her gung-ho supervisor Basil, mature co-worker Ruth Anne, attractive co-worker Trinity, and wannabe filmmaker Matt.