ON THE SHELF: Festive titles for Christmas readers

Published 8:00 am Sunday, December 4, 2022

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week the library is featuring some Christmas titles from our New Adult Fiction collection.

Bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s latest Christmas title is called “The Christmas Spirit.” Peter Armstrong and Hank Colfax are best friends, but their lives couldn’t be more different. Peter is a local pastor who is dedicated to his community, spending time visiting the flock, attending meetings and, with the holiday season approaching, preparing for the Christmas service and live nativity. As a bartender, Hank serves a much different customer base at his family-owned tavern, including a handful of lonely regulars and the local biker gang. When Peter scoffs that Hank has it easy compared to him, the two decide to switch jobs until Christmas Eve. Turns out, the responsibilities of a pastor and a bartender are quite similar, but the two friends find it difficult to walk in each other’s shoes. Hank and Peter begin to see each other in a new light and learn to appreciate each other — as well as their own lives — more.

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“Home Sweet Christmas” is the latest from Susan Mallery. Camryn Neff is in her hometown of Wishing Tree to take care of her twin sisters, but she is anxious to return to her “real life” in Chicago. That is, until she meets hunky hotel owner Jake Crane, and the twinkling sparks fly. On a whim, Camryn suggests the two pair up for the holidays — no rings and no broken hearts. As the two spend more time together, Jake makes her hometown come to life in a way she never expected, and she wonders if all she ever needed was right here all along. River Best is new to Wishing Tree but is already in love with its warm atmosphere and cozy holiday traditions. She is honored, but a little wary when she is honored with the title of Snow Queen. She and Dylan Tucker, her Snow King, get busy tasting cookies and presiding over the lighting of the trees. There’s a definite attraction, but River can’t help but suspect that Dylan has a dark secret lurking behind his twinkling eyes.

James Patterson takes a break from writing thrillers/suspense to deliver a sweet and hectic Christmas novel with “The Twelve Topsy-turvy, Very Messy Days of Christmas.” For most families, the holidays are a joyous and exciting time, but for Will and Ella Sullivan and their dad Henry, it’s a reminder of the loss of their beloved mother and wife, Katie. Henry is trying his best, but the budget is tight, and he can’t bring himself to justify the expense of a tree and lights and all the trimmings. It’s just a reminder of what he doesn’t have. Will and Ella take matters into their own hands and set their dad up on an online dating site. Henry is furious and tells the woman selected thanks, but no thanks. Then on the first day of Christmas, a package arrives, and a small-beaked bird pokes its head out of the box. On the second day, two white doves arrive, and on day three, Henry finds three hens pecking in the garden that hadn’t been used since his wife died. With each day — and each gift — the house becomes more crowded and chaotic, and hilarity ensues.

David Rosenfelt delivers a cozy, Christmas-y mystery with his latest novel “Santa’s Little Yelpers.” New Jersey lawyer Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever, Tara, are soaking in the holiday cheer that surrounds them. The merriment has even spilled over to their dog rescue organization, The Tara Foundation. The group is not used to dealing with puppies, but they have their hands full with a recent litter of eight who have joined them for the holidays. Chris Myers, a coworker of Andy’s agrees to foster. Chris did time for a crime he swears he didn’t commit and, after he finds that a key witness against him lied on the stand, he goes to Andy for help. Chris thinks they can have everything wrapped up by Christmas, but when the witness turns up dead, he becomes suspect number one. Suddenly, it’s all elves on deck to make a list and check it twice, so they can prove Chris is innocent.