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Holiday Cheer 2020

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer 2020

At, 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.

The Arrangement by Robyn Harding - Psychological Thriller

Natalie, a young art student in New York City, is struggling to pay her bills when a friend makes a suggestion: Why not go online and find a sugar daddy? Though more than 30 years her senior, Gabe, a handsome corporate finance attorney, seems like the perfect candidate. Within a month, they are madly in love. At least Nat is. Gabe already has a family and has no intention of leaving them. So when he abruptly ends things, Nat can’t let go. She begins drinking heavily and stalking him. But Gabe is not about to let his sugar baby destroy his perfect life. What was supposed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement devolves into a nightmare of deception, obsession and, when a body is found near Gabe’s apartment, murder.

A Dog's Perfect Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron - Fiction

The problems fracturing the Goss family as Christmas approaches are hardly unique, though perhaps they are handling them a little differently than most people might. But then a true emergency arises, one with the potential to ruin not only Christmas, but everything holding the family together. Is the arrival of a lost puppy yet another in the string of calamities facing them, or could the little canine be just what they all need?

Finding Mrs. Ford by Deborah Goodrich Royce - Mystery/Thriller

Early one morning in the summer of 2014, the FBI arrives to question Mrs. Ford about a man from Iraq --- a Chaldean Christian from Mosul --- where ISIS has just seized control. Sammy Fakhouri is his name, and they have taken him into custody, picked up on his way to her house. Back in the summer of 1979, on the outskirts of a declining Detroit, college coed Susan meets charismatic and reckless Annie. They are an unlikely pair of friends, but they each see something in the other --- something they’d like to possess. Together, the girls navigate the minefields of a down-market disco where they work their summer jobs. It’s a world filled with pretty girls and powerful men, some of whom --- like Sammy Fakhouri --- happen to be Iraqi Chaldeans. What happened in that summer of 1979 when Susan and Annie met? Why is Sammy looking for Susan all these years later? And why is Mrs. Ford lying?

Keeping Christmas: 25 Advent Reflections on A Christmas Carol by Allison Pittman - Meditations

When it comes to Christmas, Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL is second only to the nativity story itself in terms of how many people know it and revisit it each year as part of their family traditions. In KEEPING CHRISTMAS, novelist and Dickens enthusiast Allison Pittman offers 25 readings for Advent, seamlessly bringing together the Word of God and the words of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Just as Jesus Christ changed the world on the night of his birth, so Ebenezer Scrooge changes during a single night of supernatural visitations. This contemplative, entertaining read is the perfect companion for those dark winter nights as we eagerly anticipate the coming celebration of Christmas when, like Scrooge, we are given the gift of reflection, repentance and life anew.

Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent - Psychological Thriller

William, Brian and Luke: three boys, born a year apart, trained from birth by their wily mother to compete for her attention. They play games, as brothers do…yet even after the Drumms escape into the world beyond their windows, those games --- those little cruelties --- grow more sinister, more merciless and more dangerous. And with their lives entwined like the strands of a noose, only two of the brothers will survive.

Little Sister: A Memoir by Patricia Walsh Chadwick - Memoir

Leonard Feeney, a controversial (soon-to-be excommunicated) Catholic priest, has founded a religious community called the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Center's members surrender all earthly possessions and aspects of their life, including their children, to him. Patricia Chadwick was one of those children, and LITTLE SISTER is her account of growing up in the Feeney sect. Separated from her parents and forbidden to speak to them, Patricia bristles against the community’s draconian rules, yearning for another life. When, at 17, she is banished from the Center, she faces the world alone, without skills, family or money but empowered with faith and a fierce determination to succeed on her own --- which she does, rising eventually to the upper echelons of the world of finance and investing.

Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel - Fiction

For three decades, Bridget and Will have nurtured their baby, the Forsyth Trio --- a chamber group they created as students with their Juilliard classmate, Gavin Glantz. In the intervening years, Gavin has gone on to become one of the classical music world’s reigning stars, while Bridget and Will have learned to embrace the warm reviews and smaller venues that accompany modest success. Bridget has been dreaming of spending the summer at her well-worn Connecticut country home with her boyfriend, Sterling. But her plans are upended when Sterling, dutifully following his ex-wife’s advice, breaks up with her over email and her twin twenty-somethings arrive unannounced, filling her empty nest with their big dogs, dirty laundry and respective crises.

On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe - Fiction

It’s been 16 years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again. Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece, Linnea, returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt.

The Spiderling by Marcia Preston - Fiction

Eleven-year-old Kiwi Seager knows two things: She will be going to hell someday, and, worse, her mother can no longer love her. Kiwi has done something no mother could ever forgive, something that has forced this mother and daughter to flee their California home...and to accept the help of strangers. Can they run fast enough and far enough to lose the evil following them? Or does new danger await them, wearing the face of a Good Samaritan? Kiwi holds out little hope of a mother and child reunion, but for now being together is better than nothing.