Tag Archives: book review

Hearts Warm on Cold Island: A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer

cover imageJudging from A Nantucket Christmas, author Nancy Thayer has mellowed over the years since the earlier novels that I remember reading about marriages or long-time friendships breaking up, family secrets revealed, the occasional crime of passion, etc. (She is described by one reviewer as “queen of the beach book.”) Her earlier women’s fiction, as I recall, had more of a bite to it. this Christmas story set on the cold island of Nantucket is short and sweet – in a word, heartwarming. With food! But no recipes.

There is some realism in evidence here, especially in the almost-caustic thoughts of Nicole, a retired nurse, when she sees her first Christmas with her new (also handsome and wealthy) husband being ruined by the extended visit of his hugely pregnant and unpleasant adult daughter and her family, but mostly it’s a heartwarming story about the ups and downs of marriage and blended families. Maddox – Nicole’s new, four-year-old step-grandson – gets his own story line, and so does an abandoned, little dog.

Dogs, baking, Christmas, and quaint Nantucket…That about sums it up! I enjoyed the story and the setting and recommend this to anyone who enjoys domestic fiction and is looking for a pleasantly undemanding holiday read.

cover imageA Nantucket Christmas was released last year, and this year there is An Island Christmas, about a family and a holiday wedding. (Also described by the publisher as “heartwarming,” so you can count on a happy ending.)

A Nantucket Christmas
Thayer, Nancy
Ballantine Books, 2013
224 pp.
$18, hardcover
$9.99 (e-book)

Disclosure: I received a free print copy of this book for purposes of review from the publisher through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program.

Other opinions:
LibraryThing reviews

Winter Horror: Snowblind by Christopher Golden @steeldroppings RIP IX

cover imageAs fall slips into New England, Snowblind – a 2014 horror novel by Christopher Golden about Massachusetts blizzards – may increase residents’ already-growing dread of winter tenfold.

The fictional town of Coventry, Massachusetts, is the type you probably think of when you hear “New England town”. A commuter town with at least one white church with a tall steeple, white Colonial-style homes with black trim, big trees that have been there a long time, etc.

What makes the town of Coventry notable are the mysterious deaths during a blizzard twelve years before. Memories of that blizzard make residents of Coventry dread any call for snow in the weather forecast, especially the residents who lost family members. Jake Schapiro has some vivid memories from that storm but has almost been able to convince himself that his 12-year-old eyes played tricks on him at the time, and that what he saw happen in his backyard in the driving, swirling snow didn’t really happen.

Twelve years later, another blizzard is in the forecast. Jake and his mother, along with the other residents of Coventry try to convince themselves they have no cause for dread as they brace themselves for power outages and slippery roads, but they have no idea what (or who) is really coming their way in the storm.

This horror novel won’t win any literary awards, but it succeeded in creating an atmosphere of horror and I thought was pretty scary, even though I read it in warm weather and daylight!


RIP IX Badge
Art credit to Abigail Larson

Trilogy’s End: The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman @leverus @VikingBooks

cover imageIf you’ve read The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman you’ve probably already read The Magician’s Land – the third in the trilogy – because it came out over a month ago. (And if you haven’t read the first two already, why not?)

 “The strength of the trilogy lies . . . in the characters, whose inner lives and frailties Grossman renders with care and empathy. . . . Quentin[’s] . . . magical journey is deeply human.” —The New Yorker 

This is a spoiler-free post.

The Magician’s Land is the conclusion to a trilogy, so if you haven’t read the first two, you will miss something, but it does give readers enough to go on, and refreshes the memory for those who read the first two when they came out, back in 2009 and 2011.

Instead of writing a regular review, here is my attempt at an infographic to help you decide whether you will love the Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman as much as I did:

infographic (Venn diagram)

I probably should have included something about liking academic or boarding school settings, but it’s too late now.

The Magician’s Land
Grossman, Lev
Viking, Aug. 8, 2014
416 pp.

Disclosure: I received an electronic ARC of The Magician’s Land from the publisher through NetGalley.

Other opinions:
Bibliophile’s Reverie (long discussion post)
Book Him Danno (synopsis)