The Mistletoe Promise: by Richard Paul Evans
(Simon & Schuster, 2014, 272 pages)
Elise Dutton dreads the arrival of another holiday season. Three years earlier, her husband cheated on her with her best friend, resulting in a bitter divorce that left her alone, broken, and distrustful.
Then, one November day, a stranger approaches Elise in the mall food court. Though she recognizes the man from her building, Elise has never formally met him. Tired of spending the holidays alone, the man offers her a proposition. For the next eight weeks—until the evening of December 24—he suggests that they pretend to be a couple. He draws up a contract with four rules:
1. No deep, probing personal questions
2. No drama
3. No telling anyone the truth about the relationship
4. The contract is void on Christmas Day
The lonely Elise surprises herself by agreeing to the idea. As the charade progresses, the safety of her fake relationship begins to mend her badly broken heart. But just as she begins to find joy again, her long-held secret threatens to unravel the emerging relationship. But she might not be the only one with secrets.
I really enjoy reading Richard Paul Evans novels. He writes with great passion and his books just draw you into them. This was one that I wanted to read over the Christmas Break. A couple of my co-workers had read it and said how good it was. They were so right. This book delights the heart and is so full of love, grace and forgiveness. His “Walk Series” was wonderful. If you get a chance to read them, please do!! So was this. He has such a way with words that it makes you feel what his characters are feeling. This book was truly amazing and so powerful! It was all about wanting to change the past and trying to move on from the mistakes that you have made. But it’s also about forgiveness. This book had me happy and in tears all at the same time. This is a Christmas story but I love that it wasn’t so over taken by the holiday but the holiday brought the characters together in a way that Elise never saw it coming. It was an enchanting & magical story of hope, pain, romance, forgiveness all in one! I could not put it down! A quick read. If it wasn’t on your list of Christmas books to read in 2014, put it on your list to read for Christmas this year. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed! A beautiful story for Christmas!
Before He Finds Her: by Michael Kardos
(Mysterious Press, 2015, 384 pages)
Before He Finds Her by Michael Kardos is the fictional story of Meg Miller, an almost eighteen year old woman who has spent fifteen years of her life in hiding. In September 1991, Meg’s father, Ramsey, threw a block party at the Miller home at the Jersey shore town of Silver Bay. By the end of the night, Meg’s mother was murdered. Ramsey is missing and three year old Meg went into hiding. Ramsey is presumed to have killed his wife. Meg is thought to be dead, possibly drowned by her father. The story revolves around what really happened that night and the motive behind the death of Meg’s mother.
Before He Finds Her is the first novel that I have read by Michael Kardos. I did enjoy it. Kardos jumps back and forth between 1991 and 2006, but it is not confusing. I received this book as an advanced copy. I’m glad that I decided to give it a try.
Hope to Die By: James Patterson
(Century, 2014, 400 pages)
Detective Alex Cross is being stalked by a psychotic genius, forced to play the deadliest game of his career. Cross’s family—his loving wife Bree, the wise and lively Nana Mama, and his precious children—have been ripped away. Terrified and desperate, Cross must give this mad man what he wants if he has any chance of saving the most important people in his life. The stakes have never been higher: What will Cross sacrifice to save the ones he loves?
Widely praised by the greatest crime and thriller writers of our time, Cross My Heart set a jaw-dropping story in motion. Hope to Die propels Alex Cross’s greatest challenge to its astonishing finish, proving why Jeffery Deaver says “nobody does it better” than James Patterson.
I am a fan of the entire Alex Cross series, however this one pulls out all stops. Action filled from beginning to end, I could not put Hope to Die down. His books are always quick reads. While reading this book, James Patterson had me questioning things but never Alex himself. This book is a MUST READ for any thriller fan. Please be sure to read Cross My Heart first to reap the full benefits of Hope to Die. I only have one question for James Patterson….when will the next Alex Cross novel be released ? It was hard to put down, it was just that good and you just wanted to read more and more of it. And, I’m not just saying that because he is my favorite author. When I think he doesn’t deliver in any of his books, I let it be known. This book was GREAT!!! It was full of suspense, excitement and overall was a good way to end Cross My Heart! It was fast paced and kept you guessing until the end. This is a must read for all the “James Patterson” fans out there!
Pets in a Pickle By: Malcolm D. Welshman
(John Blake, 2006, 288 pages)
Pets in a Pickle by Malcolm Welshman is a fictionalized account of a young veterinarian just entering practice. Newly graduated veterinarian, Paul Mitchell, is hired by Prospect House Veterinary Hospital. Paul works with the veterinarian owners, Crystal and Eric, as well as a one-eyed receptionist, a strong-willed surgical assistant, and a soft-spoken office assistant. On Paul’s very first day at Prospect House, he is bitten by a hamster. In the course of his first eight months at Prospect House, he has to deal with not only cats and dogs, but also snakes, cows, birds, horses, and judging a pet contest.
The author, Malcolm Welshman is a retired veterinarian. Welshman worked at the London Zoo in a small animal hospital and worked with some exotic animals. Some of the reviews for Pets in a Pickle compare it to James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small.
I received Pets in a Pickle as a free download from Barnes & Noble. I like animal stories so I thought I’d give it a try. Pets in a Pickle is humorous and easy to read. It was a nice break from my usual diet of murder mysteries and biographies.
Us By: David Nicholls
(Hodder & Stoughton, 2014, 400 pages)
Douglas and Connie’s son is about to leave home to go to college. Douglas was looking forward to this time that him and Connie would have together until his wife wakes him up in the middle of the night to announce she’s leaving him. Desperate to make her stay, he agrees to continue their “Grand Tour” of England with their son, Albie, so Douglas has a chance to win her back and make amends with Albie after years of a strained relationship between the two. While touring with his family, Douglas reflects back on his years with Connie and how they’ve gotten to this point in their relationship.
This was just an OK read for me. David is a peculiar character as he is very set in his ways and doesn’t seem to understand his family at all. And it’s sweet how he tries to win his family back during their vacation. But it’s obvious early on that he is just a very different person from his wife and son and maybe that’s why the read felt so drawn out. That or maybe all the descriptions of the different museums and art galleries that they visited which seemed to only slow down the story.
An Untamed State By: Roxane Gay
(Grove Press, Black Cat, 2014, 370 pages)
Mireille Duval Jameson has a loving husband, a brand new baby son, and a family that she respects. Her parents live in Haiti where her father is extremely successful and warns his family that if they are captured, he will not pay their ransom. So when Mireille is taken in front of her father’s estate by a gang and held captive, she knows her father will not pay the ransom to return Mierille to her family. Her husband battles with her father to get her released while Mierille tries to forget everything that was good about her life in order to survive the violence of The Commander and his men. After thirteen days Mierille is returned to her family a completely different woman who is unsure if she can survive the memories of her days with The Commander.
What an excruciating read. Roxane Gay is quickly becoming one of my favorite present day writers. Between her eye opening essays in Bad Feminist to this raw piece of fiction that captivated me from the very beginning, she is a strong voice that needs to be heard. Mireille is portrayed as a strong-willed woman even before she is captured and it’s heartbreaking to see what these men bring her too while she is captive and beyond when she returns to the United States in pieces. The reader is also exposed to the dangers, beauty, and devastation that is Haiti. I will be eagerly awaiting whatever Gay publishes next.
Winter Street By: Elin Hilderbrand
(Little, Brown and Company, 2014, 256 pages)
Christmas is fast approaching and everyone at the Winter Street Inn is ready until drama descends on every member of the Quinn family. Kelley, the patriarch, walks in on his second wife, Mitzi, having an affair with their Santa Claus, George. While Kelley’s three children from his first marriage are all having troubles in their personal lives. Patrick had to confess to his wife that he might be in some serious legal trouble. Kevin has started seeing the inn’s housekeeper, Isabelle, and soon they will longer be able to keep it a secret. And Ava was hoping for a Christmas proposal from her boyfriend, Nathaniel, but instead he left Nantucket without even saying goodbye. On top of everything, everyone is worried about Bart, the only child between Kelley and Mitzi, who is in Afghanistan for Christmas and when Margaret, Kelly’s first wife, receives troubling news, she throws herself into the drama at Nantucket.
This was a light, holiday story that I listened to in the car. There was a lot of family drama going on that you knew would be resolved by Christmas night, except for one story line that was left severely unfinished. I’m guessing we’ll be hearing from the Quinn family in another installment because it is unusual for Hilderbrand to leave her characters with such unfinished stories. Overall this story was nothing too serious but a good filler to listen to over the holidays.