Review: Merry and Bright by Debbie Macomber 

If you’ve read Debbie Macomber before, consider MERRY AND BRIGHT a typical Macomber Christmas read: sweet, clean, family oriented, and pretty predictable. I happen to like predictable stories, and this one had all the comforts you’d expect from a loving family at Christmastime. 

Merry is a kind, compassionate, maybe overly sensitive homebody who would help a stranger in a New York minute — and more than once, she did. 

Jay is a good guy overwhelmed with work, and taking out his frustrations on his fellow man (and woman). When Jay starts spending more time with Merry and his friend Cooper, his eyes are opened to how his values don’t match up to his behavior. 

So, in between the parts where the characters are getting to know each other and themselves, there’s a little bit of morality teaching – mostly about being compassionate. Sometimes it took me out of the story a little, but it was a nice reminder that kindness doesn’t cost me anything, and that it might mean the world to sometime on the receiving end.  

-calliope

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Review: Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber 

Sometimes predictable is just the thing you need, especially when it’s painted with the brush of faith and hope. Macomber is an expert in helping her characters gain faith in humanity and hope for themselves – even when it seems impossible. 

Any Dream Will Do is the motto of Shay’s new friend — the one who will help Shay save herself from the pit of despair she needs to step out of. But Shay hasn’t believed in dreams in so long, that’s a tough order to fill. 

I enjoyed this quick read centered around redemption and loving others. I’m not sure the story was quite realistic – there were some hokey parts where I suspended my disbelief – but it certainly was hopeful. And although only a small part of the book focused on romance, Macomber wrote a lovely happily ever after. 

-calliope

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Review: Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber


A book about a blogger! With a meet-cute. And a smart, handsome, buff, broody guy in the same apartment building who likes Starbucks. Come on now, who isn’t signing up to be the girl in this girl-meets-boy?! 

THIS is my kind of Christmas chick lit. You’ve got your possibility of snow, your peppermint latte, some chicken soup, a job at Macy’s, struggles with a Christmas tree… I couldn’t have asked for even one more perfect scenario in this book. 

Twelve Days of Christmas is about, yes, falling in love, but more importantly, figuring out that the way to change a relationship is to become a better person, not try to change the other person. And telling the truth. That always helps. 

I really had so much fun reading this novel. Macomber put obvious effort into character development, authentic dialogue, and a natural trajectory for a growing romance. It’s chick lit, but it’s GOOD chick lit, complete with excellent writing, fun characters, and witty remarks. 

Enjoy! 

-calliope

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Review: Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber


Though it’s the last in the Rose Harbor series, Sweet Tomorrows read as beautifully as a standalone novel to me. 

Jo Marie and her inn work their magic on handyman Mark… until he pours out his heart and then lays down some surprising news. Lucky for her, newcomer Emily arrives, offering distraction as well as a helping hand. 

Emily needs healing of her own, but finds more complications when she sees a possible future home in the renovated house down the street. 

I loved the comforting tone of this story. Macomber wrote the inn as a respite, and it certainly came across as warm and inviting.  Jo Marie’s and Emily’s journeys were gradual and authentic, their feelings believable, and their resolutions satisfying. After reading Sweet Tomorrows I wished I had read the whole series! 

-calliope

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Review: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

  
A Girl’s Guide to Moving On is a REFRESHING look at getting over someone, developing a support system, and meeting new people. 

I so appreciated that Nichole and her mother in law Leanne leaned on each other and really loved each other. Making them live so close to each other was a little forced, perhaps, but it made the rest of the story flow: Nichole running into Leanne during a tough time, Leanne babysitting Nichole’s young son, etc. 

The ex-husbands are slimeballs, but I guess even slimeballs have redeeming qualities. Macomber does a good job allowing for situations where the reader might sympathize with them, yet not quite take their side. 

As a romance fan who adores a good happily ever after, I’ll tell ya that Nichole’s friend Rocco was a terrific hero. He may not have outwardly shown sophistication or refinement on a regular basis, but he certainly demonstrated it at the end when it truly mattered. Likewise for  Leanne’s friend Nikolai. Nikolai knew when to step back and when to step up, and I could’ve just cried over all the bread baking going on. Read it, you’ll see. You might want to start baking bread for – and breaking bread with – someone special, too. 

-calliope

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Review: Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

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This is the perfect book to give to a sweet relative – for Christmas or a birthday or just because. Mr. Miracle is charming, easy to read, and a little bit hokey. Macomber gives us Christmas lights and a new outlook, after showing how Addie and Erich dug themselves into darkness.

The book is straightforward – no unexpected twists at the end – and direct in its message and moral. What makes Mr. Miracle stand out is its parallels with Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Addie sees how she and others CAN change and grow.

A beautiful and subtle theme in Mr. Miracle is the idea that although you can’t change someone else (Addie! You can’t change Erich), you can change yourself. And when you change yourself, you change the dynamic you have with others. Sometimes that’s enough to spur another person to change, or to make you realize the other person is just fine as they are.

-calliope

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Review: Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

20140417-215356.jpg The edition I read was comprised of two separate stories: Call Me Mrs. Miracle, and The Christmas Basket.

What I love about Debbie Macomber’s books (similar to Deborah Smith and Melody Carleson novels) is the magic. I don’t mean wizardry or sorcery. I mean a spiritual, magical change of heart that the characters undergo. It fills my own heart and reminds me of the beauty of my fellow man.

These stories are Christmassy, and I enjoyed reading them as much now as I would have in December. In Call Me Mrs. Miracle, Holly meets Jake Finley, heir to the successful Finley’s department store. With a little help from Mrs. Miracle, Holly and Jake develop a friendship, Holly’s nephew gets a Christmas surprise, and old Mr. Finley gets the best Christmas present anyone could wish for: peace.

The Christmas Basket illustrates how a petty grudge between two families turns into an embarrassing feud, one that undermines the romance of two beautiful people. One loving person arranges for two disputing women to work on a project together: filling a Christmas basket for charity. Aggression, blame, and making a scene at the discount store ensue. I cried and laughed with these poor women, knowing that at times I too have been too proud to change my tune.

These are feel-good family stories with distinct romantic subplots. I liked them for their sweetness, their love, their faith in humanity. And for their magic.

-Calliope

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