Merry Christmas! I hope you’re spending this joyous day with family and friends, participating in the traditions you love most. But in case you’ve got some down time after the gifts are opened and the dinner dishes have been cleared away, I thought I’d recommend some holiday books I’ve enjoyed reading this year.
The Trouble with Cowboys, a novel by Melissa Cutler
Amy Sorentino’s number one rule? Stay away from cowboys. She’s got a long history of getting burned when reality doesn’t live up to her fantasies. But when she moves back home to help her sisters save her family’s ranch, it’s not long before she comes toe to leather boot with Kellan Reed. Kellan isn’t looking for a relationship, and he certainly doesn’t need Amy’s drama in his life. But when a lawsuit draws them together, their hormones override their heads in this hot. 5 stars.
Snow Kissed, a novella by Laura Florand
Broken by grief, Kai Winters fled her marriage to hibernate in her mother-in-law’s woodland cabin. When her not-yet-ex-husband Kurt shows up on a business errand for his mother, he gets snowed in, and the two are forced to confront their wounds. Delicate as mouth-blown glass, this story will weave inside you and capture your heart. Poignant and ultimately uplifting, this contemporary romance will also appeal toreaders. 5 stars.
Christmas at Copper Mountain, a novella by Jane Porter
Harley Diekerhoff can’t bear the thought of being surrounded by children at Christmas, not after everything she lost in a horrific plane crash three years earlier. So she takes a temp job as a housekeeper at a Montana ranch, where she doesn’t have to think or talk, but can just work with her hands all day. She’s content there until her boss’s eleven-year-old twins run away from boarding school and show up unexpectedly on their father’s doorstep. Brock Sheenan doesn’t appreciate his pretty housekeeper’s advice about raising his kids, but when they blossom under her care, he begins to wonder whether he’s been a grieving widower too long. Contemporary romance. 4 stars.
Christmas at Crescent Cove, a novella by Shelley Noble
A follow-up to Beach Colors, this story is part of the Holidays at Crescent Cove collection. Model-turned-farmer Brianna Boyce is happy with her role as single mom to two Chinese girls she’s recently adopted. When David Henderson shows up on her property, she’s not exactly welcoming. In her experience, men bring nothing but trouble. David is just passing through, planning to leave town as soon as he delivers a letter from a friend who died in Afghanistan. But Bri and her two little girls warm a heart chilled by the atrocities he’s seen in his ten years as an aid worker. He wonders whether it’s time to put down the roots he’s never had. Women’s fiction, it will also appeal to romance readers. 4 stars.
When Sparks Fly, a novella by Sabrina Jeffries
In this story from the Snowy Night with a Stranger anthology of regency romances, Elinor Bancroft has determined never to marry. She’d rather spend life as a spinster than settle for one of the fortune hunters who court her. When a carriage accident leaves her stranded, along with her young cousins and injured aunt, the party is forced to accept the hospitality of Martin Thorncliff, nicknamed the Black Baron, a self-exiled social pariah. Unintimidated by his prickly manner, she soon sees how grief and guilt have wrecked him. Her kindness wakens a deep longing in him, and he discovers that having a houseful of noisy children at Christmas brings at least as much joy as inconvenience. 4 stars. (This anthology is a free read on xoxoafterdark.com until January 20, 2014.)
I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did. Have a safe, happy, and healthy new year!
Working mothers remains a hot debate. Whether you stay home and raise your children, or work outside the home while you partner with your spouse, motherhood and work when spoken in the same breath seems to touch a nerve. Why? Is it because the “sisterhood” is breaking down? Are we turning on one another? Eating our own?
Perhaps we’ve simply lost touch with our common purpose, motherhood. No one can be a mother, but a woman. People can “mother” and “nurture,” but there is no replacement for women. There is also no replacement for feeding our families, and feeding our souls. Should we be forced to give up our professional dreams as we raise our children? Should we be criticized for pursuing our passion if it takes us outside of the home when our children are young?
It’s a question I’ve lived with for many years. I began my life as a career-minded young woman. I secured a good position with a medical sales company and worked for ten years before facing the question. Should I give up my position to stay home and raise my children?
Fortunately for me, I also discovered my passion for writing. It was an easy overlap as I progressed through my second childbirth. 🙂
That’s when I stayed home for good. I stayed home because I wanted to be with my children. I wanted to be the one who cared for them, laughed with them, enjoyed each and every moment with them. But I never lost my desire to work and produce. In fact, it’s one of the best things about my garden! Kids don’t hand out awards, financial or otherwise, when Mom does a great job. They don’t recognize your achievements with promotions or bonuses. They simply smile, give you a hug and draw you a picture.
And sometimes that’s enough. For a while. But when they grow older and begin to live their own lives, you find yourself with time on your hands. For me, I filled it with writing. But not everyone has the flexibility that I did. Not everyone made the choices I made. Does that make them wrong?
Condemn Me Not is my latest release and explores this very topic. Veering from my romantic fiction, this one is all about the mothers and daughters. While I adore romance, women’s issues are near and dear to my heart, as is fleshing them out!
Would love to hear your opinions…;)