Instead of writing up a long review on some titles, I prefer just to give you a "quick" (I try for quick anyway!) idea of what books I've read that I liked and didn't like. Here are two Christmas titles I didn't feel like writing up a whole review on but that each deserved a mention - albeit for different reasons.
WHAT I LIKED:
Call Me Mrs. Miracle is the first Debbie Macomber book I've ever read. I've no doubt seen lots of her novels before, but wouldn't have paid attention to them because they are typically lumped near the "romance" section of bookstores and, quite frankly, I don't go to those sections when I'm looking for something to read. However, when I was hunting online for Christmas titles, Macomber's name kept popping up. I kept meaning to ask someone what their opinion was of her, but never got around to it. I ended up checking out Debbie Macomber's website and, finding nothing objectionable there, I went ahead and purchased a copy of Call Me Mrs. Miracle.
I didn't realize that this book was her latest release. I didn't realize that there is another Mrs. Miracle book that came first (and was subsequently made into a Hallmark movie.) I picked up this particular new release based on the fact that I liked the Amazon.com synopsis of it. Yes, my friends, I took a risk. And just like the time I took a risk with The Mysterious Benedict Society, I ended up being glad of it.
This won't be the last Debbie Macomber book I pick up and it was a perfectly delightful Christmas read. Her style reminds me of your typical Christian fiction (ok, admittedly, I don't find it all that brilliant but sometimes it's just fun anyway) and her style makes you feel all warm and cozy just like Jan Karon. I should point out that I can't say whether or not Macomber is a Christian but she certainly writes as one who understands a bit of theology and that was kinda evident in this book. Call Me Mrs. Miracle is Miracle on 34th Street meets It's a Wonderful Life meets joy and happiness during the Christmas season. Sprinkle in an angel unawares and you've got yourself a story that you'd enjoy seeing on film as well.
Warm. Cozy. Pleasant. I sucked on peppermint candies and listened to Christmas music during this quick and enjoyable read. I enjoyed every moment. Not sure what to say about other Macomber titles but I can't imagine not liking her other Christmas books at the very least!
(Anyone out there with Macomber reading experiences to share!? Please do. I'm VERY curious!)
What I Didn't Like:
I picked up The Christmas Clock, by Kat Martin, based on reading the book flap description. The idea is this: a young boy named Teddy wants to buy his grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer's, a clock that she admires for Christmas. His grandmother's wish is to find Teddy a home before she is incapable of caring for him any longer. Enter Sylvia and Joe - an estranged couple who separate due to lack of understanding. Teddy, predictably, presents a situation that ends up drawing the couple back together. It's a Christmas love story.
Furthermore, it's a Christmas love story that you'd typically find in the romance section of your local bookstore. The very section I avoid for the very reasons I found in this book. A few bad words, a few inappropriately descriptive love scenes in a completely predictable story. If this book were made into a film, you could expect to see Jennifer Aniston playing the lead female role and if you've ever seen one of her romantic comedies you can pretty much guess about the book. (Carrie rolls her eyes.)
Kat Martin's story is predictable, too short for any decent character development and presents the argument that grown ups can do whatever they like in or out of marriage and whatever they might choose to do should be good with anyone. If you really don't care about the sanctity of marriage or the sacredness of the marriage covenant, by all means go for this book. As for myself, Martin's message was too disturbing and it erased any message of Christmas goodwill and good cheer that I might otherwise have picked up on.
I can safely assure you that I will not be picking up anymore Kat Martin books!
I can't say that I make a regular habit out of picking out modern novels. (If you are a regular around here, you'll have noticed that.) In this case, I took a couple of gambles and feel like I won one, and lost the other. Not a bad percentage but I'm still working on forgetting The Christmas Clock. That's not really something I like saying about the books I read.