Started 12/15 Finished 12/28
I started another book first but quickly changed my mind . . . I wanted something different, something Christmassy, and there’s no one better at it than Debbie Macomber.
The best part – I wound up with two stories! I’ve read them before, and they’re both Hallmark’s kind of story . . . full of kindness and good cheer. (They turned three of Debbie’s Mrs. Miracle books into movies.)
THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS is Cassie’s story. She’s 34 and believes finding the perfect husband is now, or never. To increase her odds, she finds a matchmaker. His fee – $30,000 . . . OUCH! But if he can’t find the most ‘suitable’ match, she’ll get her money back. But first, Cassie has 3 task to complete. You’ll have to read to find out if she makes the perfect match.
CAN THIS BE CHRISTMAS asks what might happen, if you were stuck in small town New Hampshire, without food, family, or even a Christmas tree. It looks like the worst Christmas ever, until a simple act of kindness gets everyone to look beyond what was lost, to find a silver lining. This is a Debbie Macomber story, so you’re guaranteed a happy ending, even if you’re reading it in January😊
Amazon’s Description (From Back Cover):
Christmas perfect? For Cassie Beaumont, it’s meeting her perfect match. Cassie, at thirty-three, wants a husband and kids, and so far, nothing’s worked. Not blind dates, not the Internet and certainly not leaving love to chance. What’s left? A professional matchmaker. He’s Simon Dodson, and he’s very choosy about the clients he takes on. Cassie finds Simon a difficult, acerbic know-it-all, and she’s astonished when he accepts her as a client. Claiming he has her perfect mate in mind, Simon assigns her three tasks to complete before she meets him. Three tasks that are all about Christmas: being a charity bell ringer, dressing up as Santa’s elf at a children’s party and preparing a traditional turkey dinner for her neighbors (whom she happens to dislike). Despite a number of comical mishaps, Cassie does it all—and she’s finally ready to meet her match. But just like the perfect Christmas gift, he turns out to be a wonderful surprise! What would the holidays be without a Christmas story from Debbie Macomber? --This text refers to an alternate kindle edition edition.
This book on Kindle (from a review) contains recipes and then another book, "Can This Be Christmas?" which was a delightful surprise. It is about individuals on a train on their way home for Christmas. They had been diverted from their plane schedules because of a huge snowstorm in Maine on their way to Boston to make connections. Each is going to a different location; each has a story. Their stories and how they handle the breakdown of the tracks and spend the night in a train station makes the interesting tale. It is fascinating in both these books to discover how people grow in maturity from the disappointments of life. A very good read.
Started 12/7 Finished 12/15
I bought this book for one reason – the name of the main character – Rinda! I’ve never seen my name on anything in a store. EVER! They have regular names, like Alex. When I saw Rinda in the description. I bought it! I had to!
The experience – unexpected! At first I thought someone was calling me, but they weren’t. They were calling for Princess Rinda of Balinore. It took a few chapters before Rinda felt like a book character. Not me!
The description also said it was inspired by an old folktale – by King Thrushbeard. I’d never heard of him before, but the Scarecrow King reminds me of another story – Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Both of them have women with sharp tongues, and control issues.
And the theme of The Scarecrow King? Rinda learns to trust others, but more importantly – she learns to trust and value herself.
Princess Rinda of Balinore knows of only one way to get her cold father’s attention – to be an obnoxious, spoiled princess. When she finds out that the king plan to marrying her off to a far-flung nobleman, she puts on her best bratty show in front of the entire court. But Rinda’s plan backfires, and she soon finds herself married to the most ineligible man ever. Her new husband is monastery raised, poor as dirt, and a traveling minstrel.
A very, very bad traveling minstrel. But Alek isn’t what he seems like on the surface, and neither is Rinda. She won’t take this marriage lying down, and schemes to find herself a new husband – a king. But as she and Alek travel together, they learn that not only are appearances deceiving, but goals can change in the blink of an eye, and love can get in the way of the strongest plans…
The Scarecrow King is a romantic retelling of the King Thrushbeard fairy tale.
Started 11/29 Finished 12/7
I love historical fiction when it’s well done, like this book. I’d never heard of the Armenian Genocide, and I wondered why the author picked Sandcastle Girls for its title. It’s a reference to the ones Elizabeth Endicott built as a child on the Boston shoreline. The sandcastles reappear later in the Syrian Desert. Using them helps to tell this tragedy, without traumatizing the reader.
There are three main storylines running through it, but they’re easy to follow. Elizabeth is the heroine. She’s there to assist her father with his charity work. To use her nursing skills to help the Armenian refugees.
Armen Petrosian escaped the genocide, and now he builds railroad lines for the Ottoman Turks. They murdered his family, but he’s willing to work for them. His hope – to find out what happened to his first wife and their infant daughter.
Armen and Elizabeth’s granddaughter, Laura, discovers the answer long after her grandparents’ death, and it isn’t pretty. She spots a woman’s photo in an exhibit. Her name – Karine Petrosian. Could they be related? Laura finds out from the letters and journals her grandmother had hidden away. It’s the beginning of a journey back in time to 1915 Aleppo, Syria to learn the truth.
PS – I love when posts link together. When Armen gives up on finding his wife and daughter, he joins the Anzac soldiers fighting the Turks in Egypt. If you’d like to learn more about the Anzacs, check out this link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/meet-the-anzacs-then-discover-who-they-were
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of The Flight Attendant, here is a sweeping historical love story that probes the depths of love, family, and secrets amid the Armenian Genocide during WWI.
When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria, she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing, and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language. It’s 1915, and Elizabeth has volunteered to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian Genocide during the First World War. There she meets Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter. After leaving Aleppo and traveling into Egypt to join the British Army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, realizing that he has fallen in love with the wealthy young American.
Years later, their American granddaughter, Laura, embarks on a journey back through her family’s history, uncovering a story of love, loss—and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.
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When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!