Happy New Year!


Wishing you many reading adventures for 2016!


Lyn Gardner – Mistletoe


Four-year-old Diana Clarke sends her wish to Santa Claus, but lost in the lining of a sack, it isn’t discovered for thirty years. Now, Santa has a problem. No child’s wish has ever gone unanswered, but the child isn’t a child anymore.

Believing there is nothing in Santa’s Village to satisfy the little girl’s wish now that she’s an adult, he calls on a Higher Power and is given a suggestion. Although most of Santa’s workshops contain only toys for boys and girls, there is one that holds a possible solution to his problem. Learning that Diana will be attending three upcoming Christmas parties, Santa calls on his lead elf to deliver three sprigs of mistletoe, hoping that under one, Diana Clarke will find what she asked for thirty years ago.

Brrrrrrrrrrrr. Baby, it’s cold outside! Speaking of which, Tina Fey and Kenan Thompson recently performed a Christmas sketch on SNL with this song. Have you seen it? Well, if you haven’t… Kenan plays… wait for it… Bill Cosby. The joy that I felt listening to that tune was sapped completely after watching that episode. I’m still cringing. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love Christmas. I’m obsessed. When I hear the rhythmic sound of bells, or choruses of “Ding! Dong! Ding! Dong!”, I think I go into some kind of holiday hysteria, which is probably the reason why I didn’t pay attention to what the heck the song was saying. I’m just surprised that it took 75 years for someone in the world to notice the lyrics and point out the creep factor.

Anyway, on to the review…

I’ve read both Ice and Give Me A Reason by Lyn Gardner, so I had an idea of what to expect before I picked up Mistletoe. This was a much anticipated Christmas read for me and it sure didn’t disappoint. What I didn’t expect though is the whimsical, light-hearted humor that I found within its pages. Gardner has an intense style of writing, and she portrays her characters’ personalities to be very bold and passionate. The characters in this story were quite a bit softer (marshmallows, in comparison to Toni from Give Me A Reason and Alex from Ice) but they fit the tone of a Christmas story. Christmas stories shouldn’t be too heavy. The holidays are stressful enough with all the shopping, and the weird relatives visiting, and the god awful traffic. Right?!

What I’ve grown to appreciate with the author’s pairings in her novels, is that one of the two is always gender-ambiguous. You never really know exactly where they fit on the feminine/masculine scale. We all have our own preferences when it comes to the type of books we read and the types of characters we identify with and gravitate toward, just as we have our own preferences on who we choose as our lovers. By being gender-ambiguous, the books appeal to a larger audience of readers. The novels feel more inclusive and welcoming to readers across the gender and sexuality spectrum, so it is more about the story than it is about our own pre-conceived notions and expectations based on societal norms.

This story isn’t just about finding your soulmate or two women falling in love. It’s about the magic of Christmas, and how love touches our lives and brings us together as a beautiful tapestry. The author covers all the holiday bases: love, happiness, cheer, family, miracles, and the joy of giving.

Now, if only Santa can find my letter in the lining of the sack too….

1. Marie Digby – Bring Me Love
2. Michael Buble – All I Want For Christmas is You
3. Puppini Sisters – Step into Christmas
4. Ella Fitzgerald – Sleigh Ride
5. Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song
6. She & Him – The Christmas Waltz
7. Louis Armstrong – Cool Yule
8. Burl Ives – A Holly Jolly Christmas
9. Dean Martin – Let it Snow
10. Bing Crosby – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
11. Stevie Wonder – What Christmas Means To Me
12. Puppini Sisters – Here Comes Santa Claus

This book would be best served with a….


Holiday Book-Bag 2015


We’re officially in the holiday season!  It’s that time of year when we take out our winter clothes, prepare meals with our crock-pots, dress our cats and dogs in ugly sweaters, dodge elbows and grabby hands while shopping for gifts, drink peppermint mocha lattes from Starbucks, and for some of us… get warm and cozy with some holiday reading.  For your reading, listening, and drinking pleasure…

Melissa Brayden – Kiss the Girl
Lyn Gardner – Give Me a Reason
Ann McMan – Jericho
BL Miller – Accidental Love
RJ Nolan – L.A Metro

Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas
Frank Sinatra – A Jolly Christmas From Frank Sinatra
Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas
Michael Buble – Christmas
Puppini Sisters – Christmas with the Puppini Sisters

Ultimate Alexander
-1 oz of cold brewed coffee
-8 oz of coffee ice cream
-1 or 2 oz of brandy
-1 oz of chocolate syrup
-Whipped cream
-Chocolate shavings
Process the cold brewed coffee, coffee ice cream, brandy and chocolate syrup in a blender. Pour into a glass and garnish with whip cream and chocolate shavings.

The Grinch
-2 oz of Midori
-1/2 oz of lemon juice
-1 teaspoon of simple syrup
Mix the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it off. Strain into a martini glass.  

Hot Buttered Rum
-2 oz of dark rum
-Cinnamon stick
-1 pat of butter
-1 slice lemon peel
-Boiled water
Put the cinnamon stick, lemon peel, and rum in a mug. Fill the mug with boiling water and the butter.  Stir the butter.  

Candy Cane Martini
-1.5 oz of vanilla vodka
-1.5 oz of white creme de cacao
-1 oz of peppermint schnapps
-Mini candy cane
Mix the vodka, creme de cacao, and peppermint schnapps in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake. Pour into a martini glass and garnish with a mini candy cane.  

Hot Cider Nog
-1 cup of half and half
-1/2 cup of milk
-1/2 cup of apple cider
-1 large egg
-1/4 cup of sugar
-1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-Pinch of ground nutmeg
-Pinch of salt
-3 oz of bourbon
-1/4 cup of whipped cream
-2 cinnamon sticks
Whisk together the first 8 ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat and whisk occasionally, until mixture thickens and coats a spoon. (About 15 minutes). Stir in bourbon. Pour into a mug and garnish with whip cream and a cinnamon stick. Makes 2 servings.