Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Get into the holiday spirit with these great titles.

Lost December by Richard Paul Evans

Kirkus Reviews –

The parable of the Prodigal Son reworked as a parable for Corporate America. Luke Crisp has always revered his father, Carl, self-made multi-millionaire founder and CEO of Crisp's Copy Centers, a burgeoning chain of print shops headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz. Carl is grooming Luke to take over the company, a goal that Luke has worked toward since managing several Crisp's locations as a teen. An MBA from the Wharton School, Carl decides, is just the polish his son needs. Luke reluctantly agrees. Once at Wharton, Luke falls in with a clique of East Coast sophisticates, led by Sean, dissolute son of a hedgie. Carl and Luke lose touch, as Luke embraces Sean's hard-drinking, free-spending lifestyle. After graduation, Sean suggests a whirlwind tour of Europe, where only the most expensive hotels, restaurants and entertainments will do. Almost immediately, Sean, pleading momentary illiquidity, persuades Luke to tap into his million-dollar trust fund. When he's forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to ransom Sean from casino thugs, Luke tries to escape, but one last Sean-fueled spending spree in Vegas instantly bankrupts Luke. Betrayed by friends and lovers and convinced that his father has disowned him, Luke joins the growing contingent of Las Vegas homeless people, until robbers take everything but his boxers. A passerby, Carlos, rescues Luke, providing him with a job and room and board at a nursing home. As Luke regains his self-respect doing menial chores, he takes a second job at the Vegas Crisp's, wowing supervisors with his expertise in all things Xerox. Without revealing his family connections, Luke moves up at the store and wins the trust of a disgruntled colleague, Rachael. When, however, Crisp's Corporate HQ abandons Carl's philosophy of caring for employees and starts laying off people in Vegas before their pensions vest, the prodigal son must return. Although Luke's downfall is a mesmerizing train wreck, his redemption is predictable and unearned. Worse, sentences like "Morning came early" abound. Wish-fulfillment for a blighted economy.

1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber

From the Publisher –

The people of Cedar Cove know how to celebrate Christmas. Like Grace and Olivia and everyone else, Beth Morehouse expects this Christmas to be one of her best. Her small Christmas-tree farm is prospering, her daughters and her dogs are happy and well, and her new relationship with local vet Ted Reynolds is showing plenty of romantic promise.
But…someone recently left a basket filled with puppies on her doorstep, puppies she's determined to place in good homes. That's complication number one. And number two is that her daughters Bailey and Sophie have invited their dad, Beth's ex-husband, Kent, to Cedar Cove for Christmas. The girls have visions of a mom-and-dad reunion dancing in their heads.
As always in life—and in Cedar Cove—there are surprises, too. More than one family's going to have a puppy under the tree. More than one scheme will go awry. And more than one romance will have a happy ending!

The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

Kirkus Reviews -

A lighthearted novel about a widow who suddenly decides to re-marry on Christmas Day.

The mystery concerns the bride's choice of a groom. She won't tell her family. She won't even tell her potential husband, one of three suitors who have proposed. Gaby Summerhill, 54, is a teacher, widowed for three years, her treasured husband dead of a heart attack. Gaby has decided she's grieved long enough. And so she makes her decision, and then records a DVD to send to her four children announcing her puzzling plan. The children are scattered, busy with their own lives, and Gaby is certain the mystery will bring them home to Massachusetts for the holiday. Oldest daughter Claire lives with her husband and children in South Carolina, but Hank works rarely and smokes marijuana regularly. Claire's troubles are aggravated by teenager Gus, who's intent on living up to the aphorism "like father, like son." Although Gaby's daughter Lizzie lives nearby, she has been overwhelmed by her husband's critical illness. Emily is an over-stressed, high-powered New York City attorney. Son Seth works in Boston at a temporary job waiting for his novel to be snapped up by a big-name publisher. Patterson and co-author DiLallo unfold the plot with snappy but cliché-littered dialogue. There is minimal character development and only enough back story to knit the tale together. Gaby is an idealized protagonist, the sort who heads a volunteer crew to cook a daily breakfast for the homeless. Her groom might be Tom, a lifelong friend; Jacob, a rabbi; or Martin, her husband's younger brother, all of whom proposed on the same day. The authors maintain the suspense, with Gaby and her brood riding a roller-coaster of family problems, right up to the wedding day.

A perfect plot for a Meryl Streep or Diane Lane happily-ever-after movie.

Christmas at Timberwoods by Fern Michaels

From the Publisher - 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…and for Heather Andrews, security manager at Timberwoods Mall, undoubtedly the busiest. But this Christmas, Heather has more to contend with than frazzled parents and disgruntled Santas. Angela Steinhart, a young woman who designed the mall’s spectacular holiday displays, has had a premonition that tragedy will strike on Christmas Eve. And Angela’s visions have a habit of coming true.

Heather would love to dismiss the warning as holiday stress. But the more she gets to know the quiet, lonely Angela, the more she trusts her. In Lex, her boss, Heather finds an ally — and the glimmer of something more profound. And as the days count down, it will take all of her wits, hope, and unflagging courage to stop someone from destroying the season in one split second...

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