Happy Monday! This week I have a fun week full of holiday cheer and great giveaways. This is the perfect time of year to pick up a few feel good cozy reads that just make you feel warm and happy. To kick this week off I have author Sheila Roberts author of Merry Ex Mas here today to share a very funny post on something every woman would love to have for Christmas....what is it??? You will have to read the post and find out! First here is Sheila's bio:
Sheila Roberts lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. She’s happily married and has three children. She’s been writing since 1989, but she did lots of things before settling in to her writing career, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. Her band days are over, but she still enjoys writing songs. When she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences or hanging out with her girlfriends she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate. Visit Sheila on her website, blog, Facebook, twitter and Goodreads.
Sheila's lastest book: Merry Ex Mas tells the tale of different women struggling to cope with life after divorce, and the subsequent relationships they have with there ex husbands. One relationship in particular, Jake and Ella, features an up and coming country star who in a moment of anger writes a song about his former meddling mother in law. Sheila has a video to share with you all featuring the song "Merry Christmas Mama." Check it out:
Funny stuff! Here is Sheila to share with you her thoughts on the best Christmas gifts for women:
WHAT I’D LOVE FOR CHRISTMAS
When it comes right down to it, I have everything a woman could want: a great husband, wonderful kids, a close family, fabulous friends and good health. I’d say that makes me downright rich. But, if I had a chance to sit on Santa’s lap, here’s what I’d ask for...
Fat Away Spray: This is danger season for me. I love to bake. In my kitchen I’m producing Andes Mint cookies, fudge, snowball cookies, gingerbread boys and, of course, frosted sugar cookies. Oh, and on Christmas Day it will be time for Red Velvet Cake. By the way, I’m only baking all these goodies for my family and friends. Really! But, somehow, many of them find their way into my mouth. From there they hit the expressway to my hips. Some Fat Away Spray would be just the ticket to get me through the season. (Surely the elves can invent some before December 25th.)
A Clock With An Extra Hour: Having just one more hour in the day would be sooo helpful. I still have a lot to do. (Put the elves to work on that, too. I bet I’m not the only woman who could use an extra hour in her day!)
Could some elves come in and organize my office for me? I try, I really do.
But it seems like I’ve barely cleaned it before it turns into a fresh disaster area. Maybe that’s part of the creative process?
An Invitation to Appear on Dancing With the Stars: Ah, DWTS, the final frontier. Yes, I know writers aren’t considered stars. But why is that? If I got on there it would keep my feet so busy they’d never have time to get in my mouth.
A Chance to Say Thank You: Oh, wait. Never mind that last request. I can say thank you right here and now. Thank you to all of you who read books. Thank you for giving writers a chance to tell their stories. Thank you for allowing me to be able to do what I love for a living. I wish for all of you a merry Christmas and a blessed New Year filled with opportunity. (And for those of you who need it, a clock with an extra hour!)
Thanks Sheila! I totally want a can of fat spray so I can eat all the Christmas goodies I want....sadly I think I will just have to stick with good old diet and exercise. Sheila is generously offering to one lucky winner a chance to win her book Merry Ex Mas. To win fill out the Rafflecopter after reading Contest Policies. Good Luck! Thanks Again Sheila, enjoy your holidays!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
Merry Ex Mas by Sheila Roberts
Christmas in Icicle Falls... Between Yuletide traditions, winter sports and mistletoe hanging everywhere, Christmas is the best time of year in Icicle Falls, Washington. But this year it's not so merry-for three of its residents, anyway. Cass Wilkes, owner of the Gingerbread Haus bakery, was looking forward to her daughter, Danielle's, wedding...until Dani announced that she wants her father, Cass's ex, to walk her down the aisle. Seriously? And, since every B and B is full, it looks like he, his trophy wife and their yappy little dog will be staying with Cass. Her friend Charlene Albach arrives at their weekly chick-flick night in shock. She's just seen the ghost of Christmas past: her ex-husband, Richard, who left her a year ago, running off with the hostess from her restaurant, Zelda's, to start a new life (and restaurant) in Seattle. Now the hostess is history and he wants to kiss and make up. Hide the mistletoe! And bring out the hot buttered rum, because the holidays aren't so easy for Ella O'Brien, either. Ella, who's newly divorced, is still sharing the house with her ex while they wait for the place to sell, and they are still fighting over all the things they fought over when they were married. The love is gone. Isn't it? But Christmas has a way of working its magic. One of these women is about to rediscover love, another is going to remember what's important in life and the third will find a new dream in the new year. Merry Ex-mas, ladies!Between Yuletide traditions, winter sports and mistletoe hanging everywhere, Christmas is the best time of year in Icicle Falls, Washington. But this year it's not so merry-for three of its residents, anyway.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 23rd 2012 by Harlequin MIRA
What I Liked:
- The setting, Icicle Falls, drew me into this novel. I like reading books that feature a cozy small town setting with close friends and a warm and inviting atmosphere. Ms. Roberts' fictional town is just the right place. It has appealing shops with names like: Gingerbread Haus Bakery, The Breakfast Haus, Zelda's Restaurant and The Gilded Lily (clothing store). These small stores are run by the main characters and they are those eclectic and delightful shops that you love to pop in and browse. There is just something perfect about a small town where everyone knows everyone that makes you smile.
- I enjoyed the three stories. Each woman is struggling with a different aspect when it comes to her ex. Cass has spent years resenting her ex-husband, Mason, for not being there when they were married and then not being there once they split. While he is good about sending the child support, she feels that she has shouldered the burden of rearing their three kids on her own. Now that her daughter's wedding preparations are in full swing, she is angered by the thought of him not stepping up to help with the expense, even though she doesn't ask, and then she is angry when he does pitch in and buy the wedding dress she is mad that he is stealing her thunder. Obviously, she has a lot of unresolved issues. Charley, too, is furious with her husband for cheating on her and then when he pops back in begging for another chance she starts to consider taking him back, but what if his intentions are not what they seem? Ella and Jake are a case of poor communication and misunderstanding. They are a couple torn apart by a meddling mother in law and they both put their pride ahead of their relationship. Each woman is at a different point in her life grappling with a marital struggle. While a good portion of the book is not particularly uplifting because there is a lot of anger and resentment, I liked that it portrayed real women dealing with real relationship issues.
- As I mentioned, there is a lot of negativity in the book, but I like that in the end the important things come to light and the women realize the value of good friends, family, love and communication. You don't get to choose your family sometimes, and in laws can be especially problematic, but in the end what matters is family and friends. I liked that this book brought forth this positive message and ended with a warm feel good tone.
- I loved at the end that there were some tasty recipes included!
And The Not So Much:
- I picked this one up expecting fluffy read throughout, so I was a bit disappointed to find there was quite a bit of negativity and conflict. I didn't particularly enjoy experiencing each woman's bitter resentment toward her ex-husband but, on the other hand, it was very realistic. There was a lot of bickering and some out and out fights with rude hand gestures and such. Needless to say, all of these bad feelings put a bit of a damper on my feel good holiday read.
- This book features numerous view points, and I had a bit of trouble keeping everyone straight in the beginning. I also did not like the way the voices shifted. The view point would change from one paragraph to another with nothing to indicate the switch. I was reading an ARC copy so perhaps the final copy had something in place to indicate the changing of narrator's such as a small symbol or something. For my read, though, the sudden shifts were a bit jarring and it took a few sentences sometimes to realize that the focus had moved to another character.
- I was frustrated to find that Charley's story didn't have a happy ending. It is kind of left hanging and there was indication that her story would continue in another volume, but I wanted for her to have a bit more closure and good feelings at the end. I liked, though, that this book stays realistic. I kind of expected for all the woman to find love again or get back with their ex-husbands since this was a Christmas read, but it holds true to reality. Sometimes people aren't meant to be together and it is best to establish good will and move on. This book has some happy love stories and in other cases a coming to terms with the past and looking forward to a more positive future.
Merry Ex Mas was a good solid read that portrayed real women dealing with the fall out of ruined marriages. Even though there was more negativity than I was hoping for in my holiday read, it maintained a true to life format and focused on women coming to terms with their anger and bitterness. I think picking this up at anytime during the year other than when you are in the mood for an uplifting holiday book would make it a better read. It does feature a wonderful cozy setting and strong friendships. In the end, this book is a reminder to appreciate the importance of love, friends and family. So if you are looking for a book that is completely light and fluffy and has a feel good tone throughout, Merry Ex Mas may not be the right book for this holiday season, but if you want a read that deals with the difficulties that ensue when a marriage dissolves you should read this one.
"Exes were a part of life. She'd put on her big-girl panties and cope."
"Really, Ella, you can't decorate in Early American Garage Sale. What will people think?"
"I know he looked as innocent as a man going to the bank in a ski mask."
"Food. It was the centerpiece of life. From dinners of state to family gatherings, sharing food was an essential part of human connection. And it was the spice of love."
"There was no recipe for a perfect family, though. Unlike flour, sugar, butter and eggs, people were unpredictable and often uncooperative."
"She was going to bang her head on it until her brains feel out. Brains for dinner, hahahaha."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review and all opinions expressed are my own.