The holiday season has begun and with so many things on our to-do list, sometimes reading entire books doesn't make the cut. This year, Amazon has short stories from four popular authors that will give you snack-sized treats for the holiday season, stocking stuffers if you will. These charming stories are free for Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited subscribers and perfect for a quick read to wind down at the end of the day.
J. Courtney Sullivan's Model Home is one for fans of all of the HGTV home remodeling shows. Katie and Damien are the queen and king of home remodeling shows, delighting America with their snappy reparteé and style. But Damien has told the Katie and the network that he wants out- of the show and his marriage- after this last holiday remodel special.
Can Katie convince Damien to change his mind? The network is willing to renegotiate their huge contract, but Damien is adamant that he wants out. Their two young daughters are unhappy, feeling neglected by their busy parents, raised by the family assistant and social media. Katie is not willing to make a change in her lavish lifestyle just because Damien and the girls are unhappy.
I really liked the clever twist at the end, one I did not see coming. I've always enjoyed J. Courtney Sullivan's novels (Saints For All Occasions is a favorite), and if you have never read any of her books, start here and you'll be hooked.
Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park) tackles the pandemic in her holiday story If The Fates Allow. Reagan has quarantined herself for two weeks and followed all COVID protocols so that she can spend Christmas with her grandfather, who lost recently his wife. Reagan's family has not followed COVID protocol, they don't believe in it, even though with their health issues they should.
Reagan's grandfather's neighbor's adult son Mason has returned home to Nebraska from Washington DC to ride out the pandemic. He and Reagan went to high school together, and the loneliness of being cooped up inside has brought them together, even though Mason thought Reagan was a mean girl in high shcool.
Rowell does a terrific job with her characters, she fleshes them out so well in such a short time; Reagan, Mason, and Grandpa grew on me in just a few pages. "Reagan was the person you called when you wanted someone to talk you into leaving your husband. Or when you needed someone to call the bank to straighten out your overdraft fees." That is great descriptive language there.
In Suzanne Redfearn's (Hadley & Grace) story The Marriage Test, Ava has agreed to marry Justin after dating him for just a few months. Before they can marry, though, they have to pass the Marriage Test, which requires Justin to procure a frigate bird's egg from the Everglades to bake into their wedding cake. Only then can they be sure their marriage will last.
Justin is up to the crazy task, and he, Ava, and Ava's business partner (and Justin's ex-best friend) Walton travel to the Everglades to retrieve the delicate egg from the bird's nest in the marsh. Why are Justin and Walton no longer best friends and does Ava really believe in this family superstition? You'll have to read the story to find out the answer to those burning questions.
The last story is Chandler Baker's Oh. What. Fun., about a family's traditional Christmas celebration. Claire is a retired schoolteacher who stays in constant contact with her two adult sons and adult daughter. She frequently texts them, mostly about the morning talk show host she adores.
When it comes to Christmas, Claire does everything. She buys the groceries, cooks their favorite meals, babysits her two beautiful granddaughters, decorates the house, and buys gifts for all the neighbors. Her children love her, but Claire can be a little too much sometimes. And something seems a little off with Claire this Christmas.
One of Claire's sons narrates this story, a story that any mom will shake her head in recognition of all the things Claire has to do to make Christmas run smoothly, and how Claire is treated for it. When Claire buys the entire family tickets to see Disney On Ice, all the fun the family has disappears when something unbelievable happens.
Oh.What.Fun. is the best story of the four. I found myself laughing and simultaneously feeling sad for Claire. I think every mom of adult children should read this story to her kids after she reads them The Night Before Christmas.
Happy Holidays to all!