Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Keepers for the Shelf....

Here’s a confession: I’m a sucker for holiday romance. Though my love affair with the Christmas holidays has somewhat cooled over the last couple of years, I still love little more than curling up by the fire with a blanket, cocoa, and a great holiday story. And like other times of the year when I need a little comfort and stress relief, I turn to what I know. Here’s a list of my favorite Christmas re-reads, starting with – of course – a little Eve and Roarke….


HOLIDAY IN DEATH

No one likes to be alone during the holidays. For New York's most posh dating service, Personally Yours, it is the season to bring lonely hearts together. But Lt. Eve Dallas, on the trail of a ritualistic serial killer, has made a disturbing discovery: all of the victims have been traced to Personally Yours. Eve soon enters an elite world of people searching for their one true love--and one killer searching for his next victim.

I don’t usually wait for the holidays to indulge in some J.D. Robb – but there’s no greater answer to the Christmas rush than a murder mystery and…well, I’ll just say it again: ROARKE!!!



HOMESPUN BRIDE
Montana Territory in 1883 was a dangerous place-especially for a blind woman struggling to make her way through an early winter snowstorm. Undaunted, Noelle Kramer fought to remain independent. But then a runaway horse nearly plunged her into a rushing, ice-choked river, before a stranger's strong, sure hand saved her from certain death. And yet this was no stranger.
Though she could not know it, her rescuer was rancher Thad McKaslin, the man who had once loved her more than life itself. Losing her had shaken all his most deeply held beliefs. Now he wondered if the return of this strong woman was a sign that somehow he could find his way home.

This Jillian Hart novel was a pleasant surprise. It’s my favorite Christmas re-read. Surprising since there isn’t a lot of inspirational romance on my shelf. Though the book is focused more on a wintry setting than Christmas, it’s still a must read for the holidays….



THE GIFT

On a June day, a young woman in a summer dress steps off a Chicago-bound bus into a small midwestern town. She doesn't intend to stay. She is just passing through. Yet her stopping here has a reason and it is part of a story that you will never forget.

The time is the 1950s, when life was simpler, people still believed in dreams, and family was, very nearly, everything. The place is a small midwestern town with a high school and a downtown, a skating pond and a movie house. And on a tree-lined street in the heartland of America, an extraordinary set of events begins to unfold. And gradually what seems serendipitous is tinged with purpose. A happy home is shattered by a child's senseless death. A loving marriage starts to unravel. And a stranger arrives—a young woman who will touch many lives before she moves on. She and a young man will meet and fall in love. Their love, so innocent and full of hope, helps to restore a family's dreams. And all of their lives will be changed forever by the precious gift she leaves them.

I read The Gift when I was fourteen and I loved it so much that it has earned a spot on my keeper shelf. Danielle Steel isn’t one of my favorite authors, but something about this novel touches me deeply. Whenever I need to get in touch with the true meaning of Christmas, I pick this baby up….


The following books aren’t on the shelf yet but I’m hoping to add them very, very soon. Is it obvious I’m feeling the western setting this holiday season? I certainly think so….


A TEXAS CHRISTMAS

In their fifth novella anthology, Thomas, Pace, Broday, and Miranda (Give Me a Texas Ranger) develop a shared setting of Kasota Springs, Tex., in the December 1887 blizzard. Thomas’s thrilling “One Wish” brings together an outcast and a rich girl who were misfits together in grade school. In Pace’s “Naughty or Nice,” a female saloon owner rescues a scientist from the snow and seeks refuge at a Christmas party where many condemn her as a “soiled woman.” Broday’s delightful “The Christmas Bell” sends a rancher into the storm with supplies after he spots a stalled train. Miranda’s “Away in the Manger” strands a gruff blacksmith with a single mom and her twins. Readers will enjoy the recurring cameos from minor characters and themes of Christmastime forgiveness and redemption.



HOLIDAY IN STONE CREEK

A Stone Creek Christmas: Stone Creek veterinarian Olivia O'Ballivan communicates easily with animals, but men are another story. Especially rugged architect-turned-rancher Tanner Quinn. Olivia's uncanny bond with his daughter Sophie's pony has him questioning her sanity, while she wonders if he's not just a drugstore cowboy. Then twelve-year-old Sophie conspires with Olivia to get Tanner into the spirit of Christmas. But will a holiday miracle transform the globe-trotting Tanner into a rancher—and family man—for all seasons?

At Home In Stone Creek: Everyone in Ashley O'Ballivan's life is marrying and starting families—except her. But why bother dating when no one can compare to Jack McCall, the man who left her heartbroken years ago? Now he's back in town —and maybe he isn't who she thinks he is.

Who could resist covers like those, huh? And here’s where I get to plug A Holiday to Remember again…only this time for good reason – today my first segment of the story posts. If you’ve read my western romances, you probably won’t be surprised to discover that I introduce alcohol to the storyline. Whiskey, to be exact. But, hey, with the heroine snowed in with the hero and the temperature dropping by the minute, who can blame them? Tune in to The Roses of Prose today for Chapter Five of AHoliday to Remember…or start from the beginning with Chapter One here….

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