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Cozy Reading for Winter Holidays

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For quiet moments between the to and fro, we recommend these special tales.

Debbie Macomber. There’s Something About Christmas.
Emma Collins is a small town reporter who wants to be taken seriously as a journalist.  She finally catches a break when she is assigned to interview three finalists in a fruitcake competition. The only bad part is she must travel from her small town by plane and has a deep fear of flying. Nor does she care for her new pilot, Oliver Hamilton. He reminds her too much of her father. The story is full of Debbie Macomber charm and the promises that are Christmas.   I think there is good chemistry between the two characters and as the story progresses hope in Christmas and the future comes back to Emma.  This is a great light read for the holiday season. But, it didn’t win me over to eating fruitcakes. - Jill Gates

Heather Graham. The Last Noel.
The Last Noel begins with three jewelry thieves committing a heist on Christmas Eve.  The robbery goes violently wrong, creating disarray among the thieves and leaving one innocent person dead.  With a terrible snowstorm fast approaching, the thieves’ getaway car becomes stuck in a snowdrift.  Unable to travel any further by car, they are forced to seek refuge in a nearby home that is alive with holiday festivities.   The O’Boyle family is celebrating Christmas in their secluded vacation home.  Sklyar O’Boyle, wife to David and mother of three, is determined to keep her family together despite their increasingly different lives.  When three strangers knock on her door, she is hesitant to let them in.  Unfortunately, her suspicions turn out to be correct.  As the jewelry thieves weasel their way into the home and hold the family at gunpoint, Kat O’Boyle, Skylar’s 22-year-old daughter, is able to hide in an upstairs bedroom.  Now, the family’s lives depend on Kat’s ability to find help.  As the snowstorm continues to rage outside, will Kat be able to contact the police in time to protect her loved ones?  And, how will her connection to one of the thieves change the nights’ events?  Readers will have to check the book out to see what happens next!  Heather Graham has written a fast-paced thriller that will appeal to anyone looking for a good holiday read. - Jami McDonald

Jason F. Wright. Wednesday Letters.
On their wedding day more than 39 years ago, Jack Cooper promised his bride, Laurel, that he would write a letter to her every week, no matter where he was or what he was doing.  Jack wrote his last letter to her the night she died lying beside him in bed, then curled up next to her and died, also.  When Jack and Laurel’s three adult children, Matt, Malcolm and Samantha, return home to plan their parents’ funeral, they find the thousands of letters that Jack had written over the years stored in boxes in the basement of the bed and breakfast that Jack and Laurel owned.  When they read the letters, they gain a new perspective on their parents.  They read of joys and sorrows Jack and Laurel experienced over the years and they learn of a life-changing secret that will have a tremendous effect on one of the children.  This is a quick and enjoyable read, both humorous and thought-provoking. - Kathy Buchanan

Alexander McCall Smith. La’s Orchestra Saves the World.
La, short for Lavender, a musician and linguist, finds herself a young widow just as World War II is erupting.  Her husband’s parents give her a house in the Suffolk countryside, away from the terrors of London, and it is here that she lives out the war.  Volunteering for war work, she is assigned to help a nearby farmer, where she meets a Polish refugee in hiding.  To lift his spirits, as well as her own and those of the rural neighborhood and nearby RAF airfield, she begins a community orchestra, which has a profound impact for years to come. The narrator of the audiobook has the perfect voice for La and presents a thoroughly delightful reading of this tale.  Readers who fell in love with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will also want to read/listen to this. - Laurie Roberts

Virginia Lee Burton. Katy and the Big Snow.
It is still snowing in the City of Geoppolis and Katy is still faithfully plowing the streets so that “traffic can move in and out and around the city.”  Since 1943, children have been delighted by the classic story of Katy and the Big Snow.  Katy is a hard working red crawler tractor who works for the Highway Department of the City of Geoppolis.  During the summer she wears a bulldozer and in the winter she is fitted with a snow plow.  When the Big Snow comes and deep drifts form, the truck snow plows break down.  Everyone and everything is stopped but Katy.  The Police Department, the Water Department, the Fire Department, and others all cry, “Help!”  Katy’s untiring response is, “Sure. Follow me.”  This timeless treasure has been warming the hearts of families for generations.  While winter snows fall, introduce your children to this capti-vating story of a beloved heroine who saves the day.  Other enduring favorites by author and illustrator Virginia Lee Burton include The Little House, which received the 1942 Caldecott Award for the most distinguished picture book of the year, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Choo Choo.  Katy and the Big Snow is sure to charm your children as it did Burton’s two sons, who served as her first book critics while seated cozily on her lap. - Lisa Tyson

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