Wednesday, December 4, 2013

CFBA: Merry Humbug Christmas by Sandra D. Bricker

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Merry Humbug Christmas
B&H Books (October 15, 2013)
by
Sandra D. Bricker




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

The author says that it was her 8th novel that opened the door to finding her way as a writer. "I'm a Christian woman, first and foremost," she says. "So it was a bit of a dream-come-true when Summerside Press chose me as one of two authors to launch the Love Finds You line."

Sandie's real-life role as cancer survivor has parlayed into her steadfast commitment to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. Spearheading a series of devotionals for Summerside Press (such as the popular His Grace is Sufficient...Decaf is Not), the author has stipulated that a portion of each contributor's proceeds will go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

"Being allowed to combine my faith and my humor with raising funds for my pet projects ... and still pursue my writing dream," says Bricker, "well, that's the best of all worlds, as far as I'm concerned!"

And one of the author's pet projects is animal rescue, evidenced by the special bond she has created with one particular formerly-abandoned puppy -- a red-haired collie with "killer brown eyes and the heart of the class clown."


ABOUT THE BOOK

A Merry Humbug Christmas features two holiday romance novellas from hilarious and heartwarming author Sandra D. Bricker. -- the perfect gift to yourself or someone else at this most wonderfully stressful time of year.

In "Once Upon a Jingle Bell," A Bah! Humbug cruise to the Mexican Riviera is Joss Snow’s answer to this year’s quest to avoid the holidays completely; at least until she’s rebooked on a different kind of cruise altogether. Candy canes, holly wreaths, reindeer and ornaments seem to be stalking her on the 12 Days of Christmas holiday cruise extravaganza. An escape back to land is her only goal . . . until she meets a kindred spirit in rugged Irishman Patrick Brenneman, and then the game is on! Avoid Christmas festivities at all costs . . . except maybe for that one stop under the mistletoe.

In "It Came Upon a Midnight Deer," Reese’s guilt over abandoning best friend Joss on their holiday tradition of avoiding all things Christmas is trumped by the joy of her recent engagement. Meeting Damian’s family for the first time on idyllic Sugarloaf Mountain is about as far from that Bah! Humbug cruise as she can get, and Reese can hardly wait to get there. But from the moment they hit that deer in the road just two miles from the cabin, everything seems to go wrong. There are no drummers drumming or pipers piping this particular year! And once she sets her future in-laws’ family cabin ablaze, she’s pretty sure there won’t be even ONE golden ring in her future.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Merry Humbug Christmas, go HERE.

MY REVIEW

I don't often read humorous books. I'm not sure why, but usually drama is what pulls me in. This book is a bit of drama and a whole bunch of hilarity. And I loved it! I was just telling someone about it yesterday.

Joss and Reese are both great characters: career-minded women who are a bit quirky, with definite issues. What is neat about how Bricker set this up is that each story features what the best friends went through while separated from each other; and then the reader is treated to a reunion of the friends by the end of the book.

In the first story, we learn Joss and Reese have an annual tradition of avoiding anything Christmas. So they've booked themselves on the A Bah! Humbug cruise. Last minute, Reese calls to say she can't make it because her boyfriend, Damian, has proposed and they are going to meet his family to spend Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain for the ideal holiday with all the trimmings.

Joss decides to go on the cruise alone, but when there aren't enough people taking her cruise she is re-booked on the 12 Days of Christmas holiday cruise extravaganza. The rest of the story is what happens to Joss on the cruise, who she meets, and how her avoidance of Christmas gets harder and harder. Patrick's faith and love of Christmas are at odds with all that Joss has done for the last several years.

The second story begins with Reese and her family sitting around the dinner table on a previous Christmas. She's never known a traditional Christmas because of her dysfunctional family led by her 1960s Berkeley, vegan parents. Move to the current day's story, and the reader finds Reese afraid Damian's family won't like her when they meet. Starting with hitting a deer on the drive up to the family's cabin, things go from bad to worse as anything and everything that could go wrong, does, with hilarious results. The only thing that aggravated me about this story is that Reese calls her boyfriend Damie. All I could picture is some girl twirling her hair and snapping her gum as she whines out, "Damie," in a sing-songy voice.

I loved both stories and Bricker's style for this book is equally wonderful. She took the popular song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," and used its format to open the twelve chapters in each story. Instead of "my true love," however, we have, "Murphy's Law gave to me..."  This was a great decision and it worked very well.

I would instantly re-read these two stories if I had the time. I'll be looking for more of Bricker's work in the future.


I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


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