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Holiday Cheer 2017

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer 2017

At Bookreporter.com, we've been celebrating the holiday season in style with our Holiday Cheer Contests and Feature. As our gift to you, we've been spotlighting a book and giving five lucky readers a chance to win it.

Although the contests have ended, we encourage you to take a look at this year's featured titles. These are books you'll want to read during the holidays --- and throughout the new year as well!

Click here to see the winners of this year's Holiday Cheer contests.

Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World by Noah Strycker - Memoir


In 2015, Noah Strycker set himself a lofty goal: to become the first person to see half the world’s birds in one year. For 365 days, with a backpack, binoculars and a series of one-way tickets, he traveled across 41 countries and all seven continents, eventually spotting 6,042 species --- by far the biggest birding year on record. This is no travelogue or glorified checklist. Noah ventures deep into a world of blood-sucking leeches, chronic sleep deprivation, airline snafus, breakdowns, mudslides, floods, war zones, ecologic devastation, conservation triumphs, common and iconic species, and scores of passionate bird lovers around the globe.

Cowboy's Legacy: A Cahill Ranch Novel by B.J. Daniels - Romance/Western


After a rocky marriage and even rockier divorce, Sheriff Flint Cahill finally has something good in his life again. Maggie Thompson’s down-to-earth charm and beautiful smile hooked him from the start. When she disappears on the day they plan to start their lives together, all signs point to abduction --- and his ex-wife. Functioning on adrenaline and instinct, Flint must call on his every resource to bring Maggie home before it’s too late. Maggie’s only chance at surviving her abductor and a raging winter storm depends on an old vendetta that could destroy it all. But the Cahills don’t give up easily, and Flint’s love will have to be strong enough to conquer anything, including the unimaginable.

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman - Fiction


It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life, but he won’t say whose --- not yet. One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it. The man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of this little girl. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so he seeks him out and tells him this story.

The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa - Fiction


In 1939, barred from places that once felt like home and stripped of their possessions, Hannah Rosenthal and her best friend Leo Martin make a pact: Come what may, they promise to have a future together. A chance to have that future appears in the form of the St. Louis, a transatlantic liner that can supposedly provide Jews safe passage to Cuba. Seven decades later, Anna Rosen receives a package from Hannah, a great aunt she has never met. She and her mother travel to Havana to meet her, and learn the story of how Hannah and Leo honored the solemn pact they made.

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin - Historical Fiction


It is 1914, and 25-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles. But the word on everyone’s lips these days is “flickers,” the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, and they hit it off instantly --- their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, move audiences to a frenzy and start a revolution. But their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender --- and their astronomical success could come at a price.

The Honeymoon by Dinitia Smith - Historical Fiction


Dinitia Smith’s novel recounts George Eliot’s honeymoon in Venice following her marriage to a handsome young man 20 years her junior. When she agreed to marry John Walter Cross, Eliot was recovering from the death of George Henry Lewes, her beloved companion of 26 years. Eliot was bereft: left at the age of 60 to contemplate profound questions about her physical decline, her fading appeal and the prospect of loneliness. In her youth, Mary Ann Evans --- who would later be known as George Eliot --- was a country girl, considered too plain to marry, so she educated herself in order to secure a livelihood.

Louis L'Amour's Lost Treasures: Volume 1: Mysterious Stories, Lost Notes and Unfinished Manuscripts from One of the World's Most Popular Novelists by Louis L'Amour with Beau L'Amour - Western/Short Stories


Using his father’s handwritten notes, journal entries and correspondences, Beau L’Amour uncovers how and why many never-before-seen manuscripts were written --- and speculates about the ways they might have ended. These selections celebrate Louis L’Amour’s vision and virtuosity, including the first seven chapters of a powerful novel about the Trail of Tears, a chilling Western horror story, and a tale of the American Revolution featuring a character related to L’Amour’s well-known Sackett family. At the other end of the spectrum are classic adventures, such as "The Golden Tapestry," set in 1960s Istanbul, as well as several uniquely different attempts at what would have been the most profoundly intimate of all of L’Amour’s novels.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford - Historical Fiction


Twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a half-Chinese orphan, is raffled off at the 1909 World’s Fair. The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam’s precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition and first love. Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle’s second World’s Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.

Parting Shot by Linwood Barclay - Thriller


After a tragedy rocks the community of Promise Falls, Cal Weaver is asked to investigate the threats being made to the accused's family. He's heard all about it on the news: the young man who drank too much, stole a Porsche and killed a girl, and who claimed afterwards not to remember a single thing. The whole town is outraged that he got off lightly, but for reasons Cal can't explain, he accepts the job. Then he finds himself caught up in a vicious revenge plot, chasing someone set on delivering retribution. In Cal's experience, it's only ever a matter of time before threats turn into action.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz - Fiction


The beautiful and successful Darcy Fitzwilliam dates hedge funders and basketball stars. She has never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family. Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one-night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? Can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure written by William Goldman, illustrated by Michael Manomivibul - Fantasy


This tale of true love, high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing and a frightening assortment of wild beasts, as depicted in the 1987 film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Fred Savage, Robin Wright and others, is now available in a beautiful new package, with foil and embossing on the cover and an interior printed on elegant uncoated cream stock with rough-cut edges. This keepsake edition also includes 50 full-page color illustrations by Michael Manomivibul, full-color chapter openers, and a gorgeous color map printed on the endpapers.

A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney - Biography


Male literary friendships are the stuff of legend; think Byron and Shelley, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. But the world’s best-loved female authors are usually mythologized as solitary eccentrics or isolated geniuses. Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney prove this wrong, thanks to their discovery of a wealth of surprising collaborations: the friendship between Jane Austen and one of the family servants, playwright Anne Sharp; the daring feminist author Mary Taylor, who shaped the work of Charlotte Brontë; the transatlantic friendship of the seemingly aloof George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe; and Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield, most often portrayed as bitter foes, but who, in fact, enjoyed a complex friendship fired by an underlying erotic charge.

Secrets of Cavendon by Barbara Taylor Bradford - Fiction/Historical Fiction

It’s the summer of 1949, and things have run smoothly at Cavendon Hall for years, with very few quarrels, dramas or upsets between the two families. But since the end of World War II, changes have arrived at Cavendon. A new generation is at the helm, and also at the forefront of new scandal and intrigue. With romance, betrayal, heartbreak and possible murder threatening to tear them apart, the Inghams and Swanns will have to find a way to come together and protect each other in the face of threats they never could have predicted.

A Snow Country Christmas: The Carsons of Mustang Creek, Book 4 by Linda Lael Miller - Romance


When hotshot movie executive Mick Branson arranges dinner on Christmas Eve to discuss a work opportunity, Raine McCall is intrigued --- by the offer and the man. She's a no-makeup, no-frills single mom who's happy with her quiet life. Sharing chili cheeseburgers and sizzling kisses with Mick is sure heating up her holiday, but country girl and power player don't mix. It's not just work that's brought Mick back to Mustang Creek. Since he first visited to oversee a documentary, free-spirited graphic designer Raine has been in his head. Putting down roots in the Wild West wasn't in the script. But there are some Christmas gifts you can't walk away from, even when they turn your whole world upside down.

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain - Historical Fiction


Pregnant, alone and riddled with guilt, 23-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly gives up her budding career as a nurse and ends her engagement to the love of her life. She turns to the baby’s father for help and agrees to marry him, moving to the small, rural town of Hickory, North Carolina. Tess’ new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who shows her no affection, and she quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out. When a sudden polio epidemic strikes Hickory, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle the truth behind her husband’s mysterious behavior and find the love --- and the life --- she was meant to have?

They're Playing Our Song: A Memoir by Carole Bayer Sager - Memoir


For five decades, Carole Bayer Sager has been among the most admired and successful songwriters at work, responsible for her lyrical contributions to some of the most popular songs in the English language. But while her professional life was filled with success and fascinating people, her personal life was far more difficult and dramatic. In this memoir, Sager tells the surprisingly frank and darkly humorous story of a woman whose sometimes crippling fears and devastating relationships inspired many of the songs she would ultimately write.