|book review | December 2016
'Tis the season (to be reading)
by Sarah Matthews
Christmas books come in many shapes, sizes, and genres; below, we've featured a few in romance and mystery to keep you reading through the holiday season and winter months. Like fresh-baked Christmas cookies, these books are nice and sweet and contain few surprises.
Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms
By Elin Hilderbrand
Little, Brown and Company (2015, 2016)
Elin Hilderbrand is best known for her popular summer beach reads, typically set on Nantucket Island. Hilderbrand has kept the Nantucket setting but changed the season to winter and Christmas for a trilogy of books revolving around one family, the Quinns. All three books revolve around Kelly Quinn, the owner of an inn on Nantucket Island, his four grown children and two ex-wives. The books follow the Quinn family relationships, both with each other and as they try to find love and happiness. The books are a light and quick read. The writing and characters draw you in and the cliff-hanger endings will push you to pick up the next in the series.
By Richard Paul Evans
Simon & Schuster (2015)
Richard Paul Evans has been dubbed "The King of Christmas Fiction" by the New York Times, as many of his bestselling novels revolve around the Christmas season. The Mistletoe Inn is one in a set of Mistletoe titles, all loosely connected but able to be read individually. In The Mistletoe Inn, we find aspiring author Kimberly attending a writer's conference as a gift from her father in hopes of turning her life around and getting her book published. Kimberly meets a good friend, and also another aspiring author with whom she develops a personal relationship.
Christmas Caramel Murder
By Joanne Fluke
Christmas Caramel Murder is the impressive 20th book by Joanne Fluke in her Hannah Swenson cozy mystery series. The series follows Hannah Swenson, a baker by profession who also solves crimes in her small town of Lake Eden, MN. The series was recently turned into a series of TV movies on the Hallmark Channel.
In Christmas Caramel Murder, we find Hannah getting ready for Christmas, her busiest season at the bakery. Hannah gets involved in a murder investigation when a woman who had recently returned to town began causing trouble among Hannah's friends and ends up dead. Hannah, having "slaydar, an uncanny penchant for finding murder victims," is involved in helping the town police investigate and solve the case. As Hannah is a baker, food is intermixed all through the book; there are even recipes at the end of each chapter, making this a light mystery read.
For those who prefer nonfiction, here are a few titles built around the notion of how to improve your life through giving and tips for living a merrier life -- perfect for this time of year:
How to Be Alive
By Colin Beavan
HarperCollins Publishers (2016)
The Giving Way to Happiness
By Jenny Santi
Penguin Random House (2015)
These titles and thousands of others are available for checkout at the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library.
Sarah Matthews is a Reference Librarian and Adult Program Coordinator at Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library. Follow the library on Facebook at facebook.com/bismarcklibrary.