Shelby is a small-town girl who has big dreams. Her daughter Miss Ann is her life and she has plans to get both of them out of their small town. But to do that, Shelby has to sacrifice: she has to move to Atlanta so she can receive training on how to be a chef. Her goal is to become a chef so that Miss Ann can come live with her and they can be done with small town life. But working at Grasso’s and taking classes on the side is a very slow way to make her dreams come true. However, along the way, she becomes close friends with Tracy and Clare, owners of Squash Blossom Farms. Tracy and Clare help her find herself and realize exactly what her priorities should be.
Noelle Carpenter would rather busy herself at work on Christmas Eve instead of celebrating the holiday. An HR professional at the popular department store Simon’s, Noelle soon finds herself locked in the store well after closing on a very snowy evening. With no one to share Christmas with and no interest to truly celebrate, Noelle calls her boss and assures him she is fine until the store opens. Unbeknownst to Noelle, she will not be spending the holiday alone after all.
A Shoe Addict’s Christmas is a quick, holiday read that shares elements of A Christmas Carol when Noelle meets a woman named Charlie, who also mysteriously appears in the store, in a pile of shoes.
Bonnie Jo Campbell’s short story collection, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters is honest, bitter, sad and powerful. The book consists of sixteen short stories, two of which run only about a page. The collection of stories centers around women, many about motherhood and the complicated relationships between mothers and daughter. The stories will remind you of your own mistakes. Many of the stories have been published in other publications prior to this collection.
The stories are far from happy tales of weddings and grandchildren, the stories are centered around the effects of relationships with men, the effect of life-altering decisions and how mothers and daughters cope with each other and the mistakes that are made. Campbell illuminates what its like to be a mother and how to cope as a daughter.
In the midst of preparing her doctoral thesis on the belle époque, Petra Stevenson stumbles across a mysterious photograph of her grandfather, the famous writer, J.G. Stevenson. At the same time, her grandfather’s official biographer has just declared his intention to reveal a scandal involving J.G. Stevenson’s early years in Paris. Now, Petra must choose between her legitimate doctoral work and her burning desire to uncover the nature of the scandal before the biographer does.
The Confectioner’s Tale is told in chapters alternating between the present (actually 1988, London) and the past (1910, Paris). While Petra is pursuing the mystery, the story is unfolding for the reader.
Usually, I really love Christmas novellas, but I didn’t find much Christmas spirit in any of this batch. Although, as the title states, there is a LOT of snow! However, I should clarify that I don’t often read contemporary romance novels, or at least not those billed as ‘steamy’. The couple in each story had a history – or at least knew each other — before meeting up again years later. I suppose if I have to choose a favorite it would be Snowed in at Copper Ridge by Maisey Yates. The other stories are Close to Perfect by Jennifer Ryan, and Hot Winters Night by Lia Riley.
Snowed in at Copper Ridge: A Copper Ridge Novella by Maisey Yates
Sometimes a childish crush can develop into something much stronger–if it’s given any encouragement. Had it not been for Faith Grayson, Mia Landry would never even have met Faith’s brother Devlin.
Art restorer Emily Price has spent her entire life trying to fix things, from her directionless younger sister to the priceless art she works to preserve. A new project for her insurance firm takes her to Atlanta, where she meets Joseph Vassallo, who also works in her field. He introduces her to his younger brother Benito (Ben), and sparks begin to fly. Soon Emily finds herself helping to breathe new life in to a restaurant owned by Ben and Joseph’s aunt and uncle, and falling hopelessly in love with Ben. Emily has always been the picture of responsibility, which is part of the reason that everyone is shocked by her decision to accept a quick marriage proposal from Ben and return to Italy with him.
Joanna DeAngelis is dying of cancer when Stephanie Gangi’s novel begins, but where Gangi takes Joanna as the novel progresses, is far from expected. Joanna lies dying with tubes, bruises, medicine haze, her faithful poodle Tom by her side, two distraught adult daughters and a quiet obsession with her phone and her ex-boyfriend Ned. In the last moments of her life, Johanna is more focused on the online persona of Ned and his new, very famous girlfriend, rather than her legacy and her daughters Anna and Laney. Anna and Laney are very different, but sisters all the same, and the roles that the two take in the story are interesting and ever changing. The Next is not a story of dying woman, but rather the story of how what happens before death, can often impact what happens after death and not only for the deceased.
Right from the moment Eva Jordan stepped into the scene in Sarah Morgan’s Miracle on 5th Avenue, I knew I was going to be utterly enchanted by this book. I noticed a lot of similarities between myself and Eva—we’re both hopeless romantics, often say things without thinking them through first, and have a thing for broody men.
Thriller writer Lucas Blade wants one thing this holiday season: to grieve the anniversary of his wife’s death and to finally get started on his next bestseller before his deadline runs out. He has no interest in Christmas trees or decorations, but his well-meaning grandmother has other intentions when she hires Eva to brighten up his penthouse.
A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi revolves around the lives of modern Afghan women. The character Zeba used to be a wife, mother, and a peaceful villager. Her husband Kamal is found murdered outside the courtyard of their house and as anyone sane would be, Zeba is overcome with grief and shock. Unfortunately, due to her altered state, she cannot recall where she was at the time of the murder leading her husband’s family to believe that she has murdered her own husband.
Zeba is arrested and jailed. While awaiting trial, she bonds with a group of other Afghan women who share their stories with her. She meets Nafisa, a teenager who was imprisoned to protect her from an honor killing.
I did enjoy Surface and Shadow even though I felt that the “mystery” was a little far fetched and didn’t really add much to the story.
The mystery in question involved one of the Galloway brothers, Howard–an heir to the family’s fortune who died unexpectedly in his early twenties. The Galloway family had owned the textile mill which employed most of the townspeople for generations. Everybody in town loved the family and marveled at how generous they have been with company picnics and the rebuilding of the YMCA when the quarters became tight.