christmas

Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer by Joanne DeMaio

by Casee Marie on December 21, 2015

in Fiction, Reviews

      To Wes, the moment becomes almost magical as she looks up at her tree again. The only sound – if it’s a sound at all – is the hush of the December night.
Joanne DeMaio, Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer

Returning her readers to the idyllic New England world of her novels, Joanne DeMaio whips up a charming love story that captures all the magic of the holidays and reminds us of the small joys of the season. The fictional village of Addison, with all its friendly neighbors and quaint charm, is the ideal setting for a heart-warming Christmas romance, and the perfect recipe includes two endearing protagonists – mailman Wesley and greeting card designer Jane – thrown together with a precocious puppy, a festive scavenger hunt, and a dose of the magic that only the holidays can deliver.

In Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer, Wes is picking up the pieces after his fiance leaves him jilted just before their wedding, while Jane is nursing a broken wrist and an equally broken creative spirit. Determined to create a stunning new collection of holiday cards – or risk losing her job – Jane is on the hunt for holiday cheer, finding inspiration in her mother’s beautiful winter paintings. When her path crosses with Wesley’s, she finds herself on a mission to lift his holiday spirits as well as her own. Communicating through notes in her mailbox, Jane and Wes slowly begin to take solace in each other’s company, and when Jane’s mother gives her a list of tasks to help imbue her with some Christmas cheer, Jane decides to take Wes along for the ride. Between Jane’s hunt for holiday spirit and the mischievous antics of his accidental new co-pilot, an orphaned puppy named Comet, Wesley’s plans for a solo, brooding Christmas are well on their way to being kicked out from under the mistletoe.

      He shifts in his chair to face her. “And if you need anything from me, well…” There it is, that smile of hers. Though it’s not on her lips, as though she’s keeping a personal secret between them; it’s all in her eyes. He also notices the brushed-gold ball earrings, and a hint of blush on her cheeks, until he realizes he’s noticing too much. So he reaches in front of her and picks up the red marker. “Well, you know what to do.” After a brief hesitation, he carefully finishes his cast drawing, adding a prominent flipped-up red flag to his mailbox sketch. “Just flag me. Okay?”
Joanne DeMaio, Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer

Aptly capturing Jane’s journey to create the perfect Christmas greeting card series, the novel’s narrative is warm, cheerful, and ringing with sentiment at every turn. Familiar faces return to the pages as Addison comes to life, including Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes’s Vera, Greg (Wesley’s brother), and even, working tirelessly in the background, Vera’s weatherman father Leo Sterling. New characters and old become entwined equally within the cozy familiarity that seems to encompass all of DeMaio’s past books, and which is in no short supply here.

      Walking across the red covered bridge in her shearling-lined suede boots, it feels like she could very well be in the nineteenth century when a horse and buggy might clip-cop through the planked overpass.
      Once she turns onto Olde Addison’s Main Street, her mind is in full card-designing mode, picturing flickering white candles in the paned windows along the way, and maybe a small skating rink on the town green, the ice skaters leaning forward and swooshing across the ice, with a dusting of snow sprinkled everywhere.
Joanne DeMaio, Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer

Over the course of her past five novels, DeMaio has explored the deep emotional caverns of many relationships as they are put to the ultimate test, but here she gives her readers a sweet novel that’s light on drama, devoting itself entirely to the simply joys that the holiday season and small-town life can bring, and the special way love looks all the more magical under the gleam of twinkling Christmas lights.

As enchanting as a season’s first snowfall and with all the warmth of an open fire, Snow Deer and Cocoa Cheer is a worthy gift from a writer who loves to give her readers stories to fall in love with.

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Merry Christmas from Literary Inklings

by Casee Marie on December 24, 2014

in Footnotes

This is my favorite time of year and Christmas is my favorite holiday in part becase the season radiates the sentiment of comfort and joy; my bookworm self couldn’t ask for much more than that. In case you’re traveling this year and are in need of a nice holiday read, a festive film, or some cheery Christmas music (or perhaps just because I’m kind of a holly-jolly-aholic) I’ve put together a little glimpse at my Christmastime must-haves, from books to films to music. Because sometimes you just need a little Christmas, right this very minute. (You’re welcome.)


the books…

Can you tell I love my Debbie Macomber holiday stories? It’s just not the holidays without her. And A Wallflower Christmas is an annual reread for me. Swoon!

christmas-books
Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber | Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber | The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber | Starry Night by Debbie Macomber | Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber | 1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber | Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes by Joanne DeMaio | Miss Mistletoe by Erin Knightley | Kisses, She Wrote by Katharine Ashe | A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas

the movies…

Four classics and four adaptations of Christmas stories (of course). The Bishop’s Wife is my All-Time Favorite holiday movie and I always save it for last in my Christmas marathon because it’s just so special. (Meanwhile, I watch White Christmas with startling frequency throughout the season.)

christmas-movies

 

the music…

One of my favorite things about the holidays is getting to hear my favorite, Dean Martin, on the radio. The rest of the world finally gets me!

This is always a time of warmth and peace for me, and I hope the season sends those good things to you as well, Reader, whether you celebrate Christmas or any other holiday (or even if you celebrate none at all). Be well, be safe, be happy, and enjoy.

20 E-Books Under $0.99 for Your Holiday Weekend

by Casee Marie on December 20, 2013 · 1 comment

in Footnotes

If you’ll be needing some fiction to help you through your holiday travels this weekend, here’s a roundup of Christmas-themed e-books all 99 cents and under (a few are freebies!). I’m including Nook and Kindle links alike; a few are full-length novels, I think, as well as some anthologies, but most are either novellas or short stories. I’m reading Katharine Ashe’s Kisses, She Wrote right now, which is lovely!

All I Want for Christmas by Ros Clarke
Nook | Kindle

Christmas Crumble by M.C. Beaton
Nook | Kindle

A Grosvenor Square Christmas by Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly & Kate Noble
Nook (free!) | Kindle (free!)

A Christmas Tragedy (Miss Marple) and The Naughty Donkey by Agatha Christie
A Christmas TragedyNook | Kindle
The Naughty DonkeyNook | Kindle

Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley
Nook | Kindle

Christmas Cookie Chronicles by Lori Wilde
Book 1: CarrieNook | Kindle
Book 2: RayleneNook | Kindle
Book 3: ChristineNook | Kindle
Book 4: GraceNook | Kindle

Fatal Fruitcake by Mary Kay Andrews
Nook | Kindle

The Christmas Cottage by Samantha Chase
Nook | Kindle

Kisses, She Wrote by Katharine Ashe
Nook | Kindle

Any Given Christmas by Candis Terry
Nook | Kindle

Mistletoe Mine by Emily March
Nook | Kindle

The Christmas Ring by Douglas Kennedy
Nook | Kindle

Unexpected Gifts by Elena Aitken
Nook | Kindle (free!)

Spoonful of Christmas by Darlene Panzera
Nook ($0.49) | Kindle ($0.49)

Antiques Slay Ride by Barbara Allan
Nook | Kindle

The Christmas Cuckoo by Mary Jo Putney
Nook | Kindle

Enjoy, and have a safe, happy, well-read Christmas!

Vera Sterling is reeling from the loss of her job as a journalist in the city when she returns to her small Connecticut hometown of Addison for her sister’s wedding. Jolted by her unsteady new circumstances, Vera finds herself making a decision to take a chance and do something truly unexpected: namely, purchasing an old Colonial home complete with a neglected barn. Once the famed and beloved Christmas Barn of her youth, the old timber building is run down and the house is in need of a host of repairs; but Vera finds encouragement when she stumbles across a treasure hidden in the barn, left behind by the Christmas Barn’s proprietor with the wish of hope that can only come from one special holiday. As she begins to chip away at her new life, Vera gets reacquainted with the town nestled into Addison Cove, particularly handsome hardware store owner Derek Cooper whose history of tragic loss brings the town together every year to remember a young girl lost at Christmas. But when Derek’s yearly tribute festival is threatened by an unstoppable snowstorm, it’s up to Vera to commemorate a tragic event while trying to heal the heart of a father still steeped in unfathomable grief.

Joanne DeMaio’s third novel, Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes, marks the author’s return to the fictional town of Addison, Connecticut, this time with all the magic and warmth of a New England Christmas. DeMaio’s celebrated talent for crafting memorable small-town stories blossoms under the light of the holiday season and gives readers an endearing look at how enchanting the festivity of Christmas can be, whether by lights strung up in an old barn or by the natural beauty of snowflakes. A collection of charming new characters are presented here, but not without a few cameos from DeMaio’s previous books, Whole Latte Life and Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans. The trio of standalone novels is tied together through DeMaio’s delightful writing style and the unforgettable enchantment of her fictional Connecticut world.

There’s a sense of simplicity to Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes that contrasts particularly with the more complexly woven story of DeMaio’s second novel, Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans; the departure is well-suited and calls to mind the simple joy of the season, countering the story of Derek’s sad history with all the lightness and merriment that Christmas can offer. DeMaio’s transition from summer stories to holiday tales is beautifully handled, drawing as heartfelt a story with the canvas of the winter months and evoking the pure fun of the Christmas excitement that touches all our hearts. Derek’s struggle to come to terms with his loss and Vera’s search to find a place in his life add a layer of depth to the sweetness of the setting as the complexity of their relationship tugs successfully on the reader’s heartstrings. Full of warmth and joy, Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes delivers a story that reminds us that wishes come true and that love is around us if we’ll only look for it – at Christmastime, and always.


Title: Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes
Author: Joanne DeMaio
Genre: drama, romance, holiday
Publisher: Joanne DeMaio
Available Formats: e-book
Release date: October 15, 2013
Provided by: Mary DeMaio (c/o)
Buy the book: Kindle | Barnes & Noble
Connect with the author: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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Review: Christmas Lights by Christine Pisera Naman

December 3, 2012

During the holidays we all become susceptible to the vexation that comes with the rush of the season. From the pressure of finding the perfect gift to the anxiety over gaining unwanted weight, countless nagging irritations try to work their way into our lives. But the season, when experienced with true and devoted holiday spirit, […]

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A Novel Holiday: The Literary Christmas Tree

November 21, 2012

Congratulations to tinatre for winning the You Tell Your Dog First giveaway! You should have an e-mail from me in your inbox, and we’ll get your copy off to you soon! I’ve been seeing plenty of holiday inspiration around the internet and one thing that’s caught my eye on several occasions is the Christmas-tree-made-of-books trend. […]

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Review: Trading Christmas by Debbie Macomber

December 14, 2011

For me it’s simply not the holidays without a Debbie Macomber novel. I picked up this particular book in light of the new Hallmark Channel adaptation and I thought I’d share my thoughts. Trading Christmas houses two of Debbie Macomber’s holiday stories – the titular novel, originally published as When Christmas Comes in 2004, and […]

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Festive Fictions: Holiday Book Reviews

November 30, 2010

After finishing NaNoWriMo a week early (yay!) I decided that it was high time to dive into a few holiday novels. I read three darling festive fictions over the holiday weekend and thought I’d share my opinions on them with you. I’ve also got a few other recommendations that I read last year and plan […]

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