Contemporary Reviews

Skipping Christmas

[openbook booknumber=”0385505833″]


Nora and Luther Krank are sick of celebrating Christmas. Well, Luther is, and he talks Nora into his point of view. They are tired of the crass commercialism, the crowds, the yelling, the stress, and the exorbitant price ($6,100!) of celebrating Christmas. So, when their daughter Blair leaves for a year to join the Peace Corp Luther decides they are going to skip Christmas. And, to talk his wife into it, he sweetens the pot by saying that instead they will save their money and, at half the cost, go on a cruise that sets sail Christmas Day.

So while everyone else eats too much turkey, ham, duck and more the Kranks go on a diet. While everyone else is racing around the mall stressing about shopping and gifts and last minute deadlines, the Kranks take naps in tanning booths, preparing for ten long days in the Caribbean sun. While their neighbors decorate and string up lights and lug forty pound light up Frosty’s onto their roofs, the Kranks sit back in front of the fire and relax. Their neighbors are shocked and stunned, some outraged, others jealous and consequences soon start to arise. The Kranks soon discover that skipping Christmas might not be so easy to do after all.

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Cordina’s Crown Jewel

[openbook booknumber=”0373244487″]


Her Royal Highness, Camilla de Cordina, also known as Cordina’s Crown Jewel, had been pushed to the breaking point. The eldest princess of her generation, and an incredible beauty just like her mother, she is hounded by the press, talked about, speculated about, and splashed across magazine covers and television screens with scandalizing lies and untrue tid bits about her life, both in and out of the bedroom. She is sick of all of it. She also feels that she has no passions, no drive or purpose in life aside from the duties and work she does as a princess, leaving her feeling empty inside.

So, to get away for a few weeks from all of this mayhem that has pushed her too far – and to try and find herself and what she can be when she is not a princess – she disappears in a rental car one night after a benefit thinking she will only be gone for a little while. That is until her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and she is picked up by a tough prickly character named Delaney, an archaeologist who, very begrudgingly, accepts what he thinks is a rich woman in trouble into his home. It isn’t long before she is working her way into his heart, but he still wants to know: just who is she?

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A Family for Luke

[openbook booknumber=”0373813902″]


The victim of a bad upbringing, Luke has always wanted a family he could rely on. His mother was often absent from his life, and before CPS finally removed him from her care, he ended up feeling rejected and abandoned more often than not. His foster father was loving and caring and introduced him to the concepts of love, acceptance, forgiveness and a real family. His foster father’s death a few years ago left Luke feeling abandoned and rejected all over again and so he leaves the church and immerses himself in work, that is until he meets with widow Janie and her three children. Janie has problems of her own in her life. She is struggling to be the superwoman that does everything: mother, small business owner, home maker and, most importantly, financially independent in the wake of her husband’s massive debts. He sees in her a realization of all his dreams of a perfect family come true when he needs it most, she sees in him a distraction and an upset to her already chaotic and far from perfect life at a time when she needs it least. What follows is a novel about forgiveness, family, and faith.

This is a very strongly Christian novel. There are strong themes about what to do with, and how to approach, a life with God. There are prayers and bible verses quoted throughout and several discussions by the main characters about faith, church, and God. All of the events in the book are viewed through this lense and some of the topics are a little controversial, especially for a christian novel, though the wording was always very discrete. The topics covered, in no particular order, included child abuse and neglect, pre-marital sex, children out of wedlock, divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, foster care and adoption, alcoholism, underage drinking, drug abuse, gambling, spousal abuse, and domestic violence.

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Restless Hearts

[openbook booknumber=”0373874243″]


Fiona Flanagan is a young woman set to start a life far away from the family she has known, that has never really wanted her. She travels to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, a place where her mother’s family was from, partly to get in touch with her roots, but mainly because she feels called to go there and open her practice as a Nurse/Midwife. Almost as soon as she enters the town of Crossroads, Pennsylvania she gets on the wrong side of the town police chief, Ted Rittenhouse. He thought she was breaking in to the house she was looking over to buy! Ted is in a tough place having to straddle two worlds, the world of the Dutch and the outside world, and he thinks this city woman, an outsider, won’t make it. Fiona on the other hand is determined to make this work and to make Crossroads her home, a place for her to belong for the first time in her life.

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The Texas Ranger’s Twins

[openbook booknumber=”0373752458″]


Dane Morgan is a Texas Ranger whose only dreams are to head to Mexico and open a para-sailing business. Those dreams are shattered when he gets a letter from his father. A cold, abusive man whom he hasn’t seen in years, Dane’s father gives him an ultimatum. Come home to the ranch for a year or forfeit his inheritance of a million dollars. When he turns up at the family ranch, it’s to find his father gone to France and a live in housekeeper settling in, a “sassy single mother” named Suzy Winterstone. His father wants grandchildren and a big happy family again after years of abuse and aloofness, and manipulation seems to be the only way he knows how to get it. The Texas Ranger suspects a set up. No surprise, it is.

I wanted to give a contemporary romance novel a try. I tried a more contemporary author writing regency romance (in the form of A Spinster’s Luck) and was disappointed. Not one to give up, I picked up The Texas Ranger’s Twins for a more modern romance novel. I shouldn’t have bothered.

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