Category Archives: Fiction/Literature

A slice of life story about five different individuals

The Fifth Avenue Story Society

By: Rachel Hauck

Rating: 5 of 5

I really enjoyed this slice of life story about five individuals who were invited anonymously to a story society. The people in the book are quite different from each other except for one thing: they are each in the midst of a struggle. There are past struggles and current ones but they each are looking for something.

They get together and aren’t thrilled to begin with. There is a wealthy businesswoman, an Uber driver, an elderly man who wants to write about a book about his life with his late wife and a man and a woman who were divorced a couple of years before.

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A novel about three friends and their wishes for the new year

Mixed Doubles

By: Jill Mansell

Rating: 4 of 5

When I started reading this book, it seemed a little out of date for today. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it or if it had been earlier. It turns out to be the latter. The book was release close to a decade ago and in some ways it shows. Having said that, I still enjoyed reading the book.

Dulcie, Liza and Pru are all friends. At the beginning of the year, they all get together and find out what each one wants.

Liza has never been married and would like to find someone to love who doesn’t bore her silly after a few weeks.

Pru is married to someone that neither of her friends like. Pru is happy and wants to stay that way with her husband.
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A lovely Christmas-time story in North Carolina

Christmas Angels: A Novel

By: Nancy Naigle

Rating: 5 of 5

For the last three years, I’ve enjoyed reading a Christmas novel by Nancy Naigle. All three have been set in various small towns in North Carolina. While I am not from that area, my mother grew up in the mountains outside of Asheville during the latter years of the Great Depression. It’s always a treat to get a peak at that area of the country.

In this story, Liz Westmoreland is a successful project manager. She has always dreamed of owning an Inn or Bed and Breakfast like the one that her grandparents ran for many years. Truth be told, Liz wanted their old inn, Angels Rest but it was sold years before.

When the opportunity arises to buy the old inn, sight unseen, she grabs it. Reality hits her square in the face too late when she finds it in total disrepair.

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A heart-warming tale of Christmas in Nantucket

Let It Snow: A Novel

By: Nancy Thayer

Rating: 5 of 5

In Nancy Thayer’s latest novel, it is Christmas time in Nantucket. Christina Antonioni is the owner of a toy store that is located in a set of historic shacks on the wharf in Nantucket. Along with the other owners, they scramble to make ends meet, especially during the winter when visitors don’t often arrive at the island.

A young girl, Wink, becomes a valued friend who helps Christina during the busy Christmas season.

The shop owners are shocked when the new owner of the wharf raises their rent to a degree that is unfeasible for all. Christina, by nature of her relationship with Wink and with Wink’s uncle, is voted the voice of the shop owners to speak with the wharf owner. That is because Wink and and uncle are granddaughter and son of the Scrooge of a landlord.

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A tale about a family dealing with serious issues and a visit from Mrs. Miracle

A Mrs. Miracle Christmas: A Novel

By: Debbie Macomber

Rating: 5 of 5

When I think of heart-warming tales with a Christian influence or message, I always think of books written by Debbie Macomber. Her books also deal with real life scenarios and don’t gloss over the pain and suffering that part of real life.

In this story, Laurel McCullough, is dealing with both the decline of her grandmother, Helen, and has given up the dream of having children (either her own or adopted.) She is sad and her husband Zack is trying his best to support her in her time of need.

Helen is having increasing difficulty remembering things. Because of that, Laurel and Zack have moved in to help her. Even so, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Helen needs someone to help her while Laurel and Zack are at work.

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Somewhat disjointed love story set in the middle of a strong hurricane

No Judgments: A Novel

By: Meg Cabot

Rating: 3 of 5

I was first introduced to Meg Cabot with her Heather Wells mystery series. I then read a few of her stand-alone books and really enjoyed them. When I saw that she had published a new book, I definitely wanted to read it. I didn’t realize that it was the second in a series at that time.

While I really enjoyed much of the book, I was a bit surprised by the single somewhat graphic sex scene. I also heard a little too often about the fireworks going off in the shorts of our main character, Bree Beckham. I had forgotten that Ms. Cabot had once written erotic novels under the name Patricia Cabot so, in retrospect, I should not have been as surprised as I was.

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A fun and romantic story about starting over

Kiss

By: Jill Mansell

Rating: 5 of 5

Gina has just been unceremoniously dumped by her husband when he discovers that his secret girlfriend has become pregnant. Gina ventures out into the night and, while distraught, ends up running into Izzy who is out riding on her motorbike.

Izzy ends up losing her job and she and her teenager daughter have nowhere to live. They end up living with Gina and end up turning her world upside down.

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A lovely read with a slice of life view of two women

Window on the Bay: A Novel

By: Debbie Macomber

Rating: 5 of 5

This is the story of two women who are starting over in life as middle age approaches.

Jenna is an intensive care nurse who divorced her surgeon husband decades earlier. She has spent her life, since then, focusing on raising her two children, Paul and Allie. Now, both children are off to college, though her ties to both are still deep.

Maureen is a librarian and married while still in college when she she became pregnant with her daughter, Tori. The marriage didn’t work out and she has been single ever since.

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A good summer read with a focus on teenage years

Surfside Sisters: A Novel

By: Nancy Thayer

Rating: 4 of 5

This is a story about two childhood friends. Keeley and Isabelle. Keeley was middle class and Isabelle was from a rich family. The two things they had in common was that they lived in the same Nantucket town and they both wanted to be famous writers when they grew up.

Their common interest kept them together until a romantic interest tore them apart. At that point, the lives moved apart rapidly and for what seemed like forever.

Keely managed to make her dream come true and is a famous author. When events in her life turn her in circles, she retreats back to Nantucket to help her mother.

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A blend of paranormal, science fiction and love story

Time After Time: A Novel

By: Lisa Grunwald

Rating: 4 of 5

I was intrigued by the short blurb I read about this story. I was, for some unknown reasons, expecting a time travel book and instead, the book is a mix between ghost story and science fiction with a very long romance. While it wasn’t what I expected, it was still a good read.

My only problem with books set in the fairly recent past, as this one is, it’s easy to spot anachronisms and those can be distracting.

Once I was able to get over those small issues, I was able to enjoy the love story and the innovative idea behind it. I also appreciated the author explaining (in the follow-on notes) how it mirrored, to a degree, the relationship she has with her husband. I can relate to that as, due to illness, my world has become smaller than most others experience.

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