Tuesday, November 7, 2023
Monday, November 6, 2023
Sunday, November 5, 2023
All books tell stories. Some better than others. When we look to fiction we generally want to be entertained, so this week I'm sharing three books I picked up to entertain me, from 3 great storytellers..
You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women, I mean. The wives.American women—
American wives—have been mostly minor characters in the literature of the Vietnam War, but in Absolution they take center stage. Tricia is a shy newlywed, married to a rising attorney on loan to navy intelligence. Charlene is a practiced corporate spouse and mother of three, a beauty and a bully. In Saigon in 1963, the two women form a wary alliance as they balance the era’s mandate to be “helpmeets” to their ambitious husbands with their own inchoate impulse to “do good” for the people of Vietnam.
Sixty years later, Charlene’s daughter, spurred by an encounter with an aging Vietnam vet, reaches out to Tricia. Together, they look back at their time in Saigon, taking wry account of that pivotal year and of Charlene’s altruistic machinations, and discovering how their own lives as women on the periphery—of politics, of history, of war, of their husbands’ convictions—have been shaped and burdened by the same sort of unintended consequences that followed America’s tragic interference in Southeast Asia.
A virtuosic new novel from Alice McDermott, one of our most observant, most affecting writers, about folly and grace, obligation, sacrifice, and, finally, the quest for absolution in a broken world.
With that simple line, "You have no idea what it was like. For us. The women..." I was hooked. Alice McDermott is a storyteller and I'm looking forward to reading her latest novel, Absolution.
Friday, November 3, 2023
From USA TODAY bestselling author Sheila Roberts comes a story of family, second chances and holiday do-overs, brimming with warmth and Christmas charm.
Sheila Roberts is on a Virtual Book Tour with The Twelve Months of Christmas and today the tour is stopping at Chick with Books! Let's welcome her and hear more about her book...
Title: The Twelve Months of Christmas
Author: Sheila Roberts
Publication Date: October 3, 2023
Genre: Women's Fiction/Romance
About the Book... Sunny, Arianna and Molly are having three different but equally terrible Christmases. Sunny is a newlywed with two new stepkids who want nothing to do with her; Arianna is newly divorced and hates having to send her daughter off to spend the holiday with her dad; for Molly, nothing is new, but her job at the post office is getting very, very old. The whole Christmas season has been a bust all around.
Sunny and Arianna have a wild idea: What if they had a Christmas
do-over in January? February? On Saint Patrick’s Day? Christmas all year
long – what could that look like? As these three determined women
chase the perfect holiday through twelve months of cooking disasters,
over-the-top festivity, and lots of laughter and tears, they’ll discover
perfection is way overrated.
What did I think about the book?
My Review... Ho Ho Humbug-that's what Christmas was for Sunny, Arianna and Molly. Sunny, newly married and her stepkids basically hate her; Arianna, newly divorced and sharing her young daughter with a jerk of an ex, and that means him having her for Christmas too! And Molly, who is tired of the snarky customers she has at the Post Office. So, what's a girl to do after Christmas wasn't very Christmasy? Well, a Christmas do-over of course! And that's exactly what these 3 friends choose to do, together! These ladies decide to keep the spirit of Christmas all year long and celebrate "Christmas" every month (ever hear of the Christmas Easter Bunny?!). At first the celebrations were just the 3 of them, but then more and more of their family and friends joined in ultimately becoming the Christmas they all wanted and needed thru-out the whole year.
Along the way, we get to know Sunny, Arianna, Molly, their families, and their lives. You can't help but step into the story and feel like you are walking along side these wonderful characters, dealing with their struggles, but also their celebrations. I have to admit I did shed a tear or two along the way, but in the end it was nice to see these women choose to lift each other up when times are tough and show us what true friendship is.
Sheila Roberts is a wonderful writer. Her books are heartfelt, sprinkled with romance and just a touch of humor. The Twelve Months of Christmas is all of that and more. A great Christmas read or anytime read when you want to satisfy that need for sitting down with a good book. I really enjoyed spending time with Sunny, Arianna, Molly and their families. The story kept me engaged, and I was sorry to turn that last page and say goodbye. Thank you, Sheila Roberts, for another great read!
P.S. Sheila always has some great recipes in the back of her books, and this one includes Dirt Cake which sounds deelish!
Want to read a little of The Twelve Months of Christmas?
Here's a Book Excerpt...
“The best-laid plans of mice and men,” her mom had begun when Sunny told her about the latest development as she and Dad walked in the door, presents in tow.
“And women,” Sunny had added before Mom could finish. Women who were trying their best to be a good wife and mother, women who only wanted to bring two families together for a memorable day.
The day was memorable all right, but not in the way Sunny had intended.
It all began at eight in the morning. Sunny had found a recipe online for a crescent roll breakfast pastry with a cherry filling shaped like a candy cane and, to her surprise and glee, it had actually turned out like the picture, ready for the kids to be dropped off by their mom at nine o’clock. She was laying it out on the family room coffee table for everyone to enjoy while they opened presents when the Weed called Travis to let him know that she wasn’t going to bring the kids over for the big day.
“What do you mean you’re still stuck in Spokane?” Travis had growled into his cell phone.
Sunny had watched the anger roll over his features like a breaking storm. Scratch two kids from the guest list. Tansy strikes again.
“You did this on purpose,” he’d accused.
Of course, Tansy would deny it. That was how she rolled. Mess with the ex and his new wife as much as possible but never let it look like you meant to. Was Tansy’s mother psychic when she named her daughter after a noxious weed?
“Well, thanks a lot,” Travis had growled. “Way to screw up Christmas for the kids.”
“Okay, what happened?” Sunny had asked after he ended the call and dumped his phone on the coffee table.
“She did it again, managed to screw us over,” he’d said, and slumped on the sofa. “She and Jared accidentally—” he held up exaggerated air quotes “—missed their flight home last night and are stuck at his parents’ place.”
“Can’t they get another flight out? There has to be something going out today.” Of course, by the time they got to Bremerton, Washington, breakfast and Christmas dinner would long be over.
“Not until tomorrow.”
Sunny had made a superhuman effort to blink back tears. Poor Travis was already upset about not getting to be with his kids. She didn’t need to make things worse by having a holiday meltdown. But darn, she’d sure wanted to.
USA Today and Publishers Weekly best-selling author Sheila Roberts has written over fifty books under various names, ranging from romance to self-improvement. Over three million copies of her novels have been sold to date. Her humor and heart have won her a legion of fans and her holiday novels have been turned into movies for the Lifetime and Hallmark and Great American Family channels. When she’s not out dancing with her husband or hanging out with her girlfriends, she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends and chocolate.