It was 95º here in the Dallas area today, a continuation of the warm weather we’ve been experiencing….so of course, I’m reading Christmas fiction!
This week, I have three Christmas stories for you – perfect for getting into the holiday spirit. (Especially when it’s warm outside.) Christmas is quite possibly my favorite holiday season, and these books are just the thing to get me ready and help me through the crazy that the season can be.
This is the late-night “it’s still Wednesday somewhere” Christmas story edition of What I’m Reading Wednesday!!!
First on my list is actually a novella. Merry Mary, by Ashley Farley, is a story about a woman who, with the best of intentions, tries to do the right thing. Just not all of the right thing. And that not-right thing grows into a big problem for her.
Scottie Darden is an investigative journalist. She has been working on a photography series featuring a group of nearby homeless people, and one cold afternoon she discovers a baby laying by the body of her dead mother in the city park where the homeless are congregating. Without her cell phone and with her first instinct to get the baby out of the cold, she takes her home. You can imagine that this could quickly spiral out of control, and it does, because there is more to Scottie’s story.
This was a tale that tugged at my heartstrings and definitely kicked up a bit of an internal struggle in terms of best intentions vs what is right. Give it a read! Merry Merry is published by CrushStar Multimedia and the publication date is October 15, 2015. Ashley Farley has also authored two novels, Her Sister’s Shoes and Saving Ben, and can be found online at www.ashleyfarley.net, on Twitter at @ and here on Facebook.
Christmas in Vermont by Bryan Mooney – oh, good grief, how do I talk about this without giving away even the first surprise? (I had forgotten the description, so I was totally expecting someone else at the start…) Ok. When Hope was a schoolteacher at a German/American school in Iraq, she was the victim of a military attack. A Marine saved her life – and she his, but she didn’t know it, because when she awoke in the hospital, the nurses knew nothing about him. One thing she did remember is his description of his hometown in Vermont, and she soon finds herself the substitute teacher for a school in Woodstock, Vermont. Meanwhile, ex-marine Jack has returned home to Woodstock for his uncle’s retirement celebration and Christmas. His job finding employment for returning veterans has come to an end and his brother, also a Marine, is MIA in Iraq. His girlfriend is pushing to get married, and her father has offered him a job in Miami.
Of course, these two are destined to meet.
Jack is a kind-hearted soul who seems to be able to find a solution to everyone’s problems. Some of the issues are sorted out a bit too neatly, and coincidence plays a strong hand in it all (and I might have had a moment of incredulity here and there) but overall, this was a happy book with a happy ending (again, perfect timing of events) – even though I didn’t quite see it coming (and should have).
I found Christmas in Vermont to be a sweet, uplifting book about the power of what one person can do to change a life. I’m also a sucker for a book where people find their soul mates. It’s a happy story for the holiday season and fans of Nicholas Sparks will LOVE this!
Christmas in Vermont is published by Lake Union Publishing and its release date is October 20th, 2015. Bryan Mooney is the author of six other novels and can be found online on his website at www.bryanmooneyauthor.com and on Twitter at @RealBryanMooney.
I’ve saved my favorite for last: An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti is such a feel-good, hope-filled impossibly optimistic story that you will find yourself wanting to be party of Micah’s family. Now, I’ll be straight with you: this is a contemporary Christian romance. I didn’t know that when I read it, and now that I have, I don’t care one lick. I was having a down day when I read it and it was filled with such life and peace that it lifted me right up. Amazon also labelled it as a novella, but it didn’t read like one – it felt to be quite a long book, so I guess I was just savoring it!
Micah has invited Katie to spend Christmas with is family. When they arrive, in front of everyone – and I mean everyone, as the house is full to the gills – he asks her to marry him.
And she says “no”.
Eventually the “why” comes out, but Micah takes it more as a “not yet” versus a hard “no”, and so does his goofy, joyous family. You may say they sound a little too good to be true, but I say we could use a little more optimism in this mean, hard world of ours.
I just really enjoyed this book because, darn it, it made me feel happy and inspired. I laughed out loud in a few spots and might have gotten misty in others (but I’m not telling.) If you want a book to give for Christmas about Christmas, and hope, give this book a chance. I think you’ll love it too.
An Endless Christmas is published by Worthy Publishing and was published on October 13, 2015. Cynthia Ruchti is the author of numerous works of fiction, non-fiction and devotionals, and can be found online at her website cynthiaruchti.com, on Twitter at @cynthiaruchti and on Facebook.
Many thanks to NetGalley, CrushStar Multimedia, Lake Union Publishing and Worthy Publishing for providing me with advanced reader copies in exchange for my honest opinions. All thoughts, opinions, and missed typos are solely my own. This post also contains affiliate links – but they won’t cost you anything and they will help ME pay for this site, should you choose to click on one..