Good morning! The temperature has dipped ever so slightly here in Florida. Now instead of being scorching hot, its just mildly hot. This signals time for holiday festivities to begin.
Coming home from work last night, I started noticing people putting out their Christmas lights. They range from the barely there to the OMG a light fairy threw up! I wonder if the house off of Johnson Street is still doing its display. It was in the category of the OMG a light fairy threw up! In fact, when I had seen that house a few years ago, that was the first time I used that phrase. They had lights everywhere. There were lighted figurines all over the lawn and the roof. I have seen houses that had a lot of decorations, but looked tastefully done. This was as if the Griswold’s’ were having a Christmas decorating competition with Tim the Toolman Taylor. Everything was just thrown everywhere. It was horrendous.
The book I chose as my second for this challenge is called Silver Bells. It is actually a collection of 4 short stories by some very well known authors. I would have to say that there are two stories that I consider must reads for the holiday season. Then there was one story that was a nice short mystery/action packed thriller. The final story was just ok. So the second two are nice, but they didn’t leave me with that warm fuzzy holiday feeling.
The first story is by one of my all time favorite authors, Fern Michaels. Her story is titled Silver Bells, which is how the book got its name since she is the lead author. In this story, Fern tackles the age old issue of whether or not you truly can return home. Actress Amy Lee, decides that she no longer wants the fame, fortune, and fakeness of Hollywood. She wants to return to her roots and become Amanda Leigh once more. So she decides to pack it all in and return to Apple Valley to rekindle the Christmas that she missed. Meanwhile, Hank Anders (Amanda’s ex-boyfriend) plans on returning to Apple Valley to visit with her sister-in-law and her twins since his brother is currently deployed in Iraq. This simple trip back home turns out to be more then both of them could ever expect. Fern Michaels definitely delivers in this small town tale. This was my favorite out of the four stories.
The second story is Dear Santa by JoAnn Ross. Holly Berry is a famed mystery writer who is on her way to Leavenworth to research her latest novel. Fate steps in and her GPS leads her astray. While traveling to Leavenworth, the GPS causes her to take a wrong turn leading her through steep mountain passages where a deer jumps out in front of her car. To avoid hitting the deer, she narrowly escapes going over a cliff and runs into a guard rail buried in a snow bank. Along comes US Marine, Gabe O’Halloran to save the day. However, Holly doesn’t feel she needs saving, except maybe from Gabe. And she definitely doesn’t want to be taken back to Santa’s Village. Holly hates Christmas and anything to do with it. So to be taken to a town that is touted as being the most Christmassy place on Earth is a little more then she bargained for. This is the other story that gave me that warm fuzzy, holiday feeling.
The third story was Christmas Past by Mary Burton. This was a great story, but it didn’t leave that warm fuzzy holiday feeling. However, it did catch my attention. So much so that I missed telling my cab driver where to turn and ended up having to take a longer route to get to work then usual. Nicole Piper thought that she could leave the past behind her. This was supposed to be a happy time of year. It was her daughter, Beth’s first Christmas. Her ex-husband was long since dead and could no longer hurt her, or so she thought. Nicole belatedly receives a DVD that Richard had taped shortly before his death. It detailed the murder of one of her friends that had never been solved. He explains that if she contacts a specific attorney that she will receive the evidence she needs in order to put the killer of her friend away for good. Thankfully, Nicole’s friend Lindsay had the foresight to call on Detective David Ayden to help out. There is tons of excitement in this great short story. And the electricity between Nicole and David just sizzles off the page.
The last story is A Mulberry Park Christmas by Judy Duarte. This story was ok. It was a cute story, but it really didn’t catch my interest too much. After Jillian’s marriage ends, she returns to her family home on Sugar Plum Lane. Her children are still trying to adjust to the changes in their lives. And the fact that their neighbor is mean Charlie Iverson doesn’t make matters any easier. Charlie is at his wits end. He just lost his wife earlier in the year and now he has to contend with the two brats that just moved in next door. So he turns to long time friend James “Mac” Macgregor to help him out. Little did Charlie know that Jillian and Mac had dated many years ago while they were in high school.