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Write Now! Tip: Annual Holiday Book List

December 13, 2016



Note From Rochelle



Dear Writers,




As the year wraps up, I’m spending time updating systems so that I can serve you better in 2017. For that reason, you may experience a few glitches this week if you’re trying to purchase one of my special strategy sessions. Don’t worry! All will be ready to go by next Monday. If you have any questions or want to schedule a time to talk about your book project, send me an email:


For today’s tip, I bring you my annual book list! Enjoy!


Happy Writing!

The Write Now! Coach





A Bookish Holiday

By Rochelle Melander


In Iceland, people give books to each other on Christmas Eve and then spend the night reading. In fact, this tradition is so popular that book sales soar between September and December. I once heard of a family who collected books for each other all year long and gave each other “book boxes.” I’ll take a trip to my favorite local bookstore, Boswell Book Company, later this week and purchase a book for everyone in my family. I’ll spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve offline, reading as much as I can.

If you’re looking for a book to give someone this holiday season or simply a good read for yourself—I’ve got you covered. Here’s my annual holiday book list!


Looking for a comedy?

25852870Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. When Mr. Bennet has a health scare, the oldest Bennet sisters return home from New York City, where Jane teaches yoga and Liz writes for a popular magazine. Their unemployed younger sisters live at home: Kitty and Lydia lounge around the house between CrossFit workouts and Mary is working on her third online master’s degree. As Mrs. Bennet desperately tries to marry off her two daughters, they meet a couple of interesting men on their own, reality star and physician Chip Bingley and his colleague, surgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy. Let the fun begin!


Need a thrill ride?

28700200-2Salem’s Cipher by Jess Lourey. When genius cryptanalyst Salem Wiley and her police officer best friend Bel Odegaard learn that their mothers are missing, they’re pulled into a centuries old battle between a group of corrupt men hell-bent on suppressing women’s rights and the secret women’s society determined to stop them. If you love conspiracy theories, secret codes and hidden messages as well as a good thrill ride—this book will charm you!




How about a little romantic drama?


The Mothers by Brit Bennett. Nadia has just lost her mother when she becomes involved with Luke, the pastor’s son. And then there’s a pregnancy and a cover up and a relationship that’s hard to let go of over the years as both Nadia and Luke ask, “What if?” Of course, adding to the pressure and the drama are the mothers, who are always watching and commenting.






Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. Jump into a neighborhood in Brooklyn and the crazy lives of longtime friends and once-upon-a-time bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe. Only now they’re the middle aged grownups–still trying to figure out how to manage their lives. Elizabeth and Andrew are married and the parents of teenaged Harry. Zoe and her wife Jane own and run a restaurant and have their own teenager, Ruby. And then Ruby and Harry start sleeping together. It’s one wild summer in Brooklyn—and a perfect tale to lose a weekend to!




This is the start of something good! (Mystery series)

28260523-2Stripped Bare by Shannon Baker (Kate Fox #1) Kate Fox has it all—a marriage to the love of her life, Grand County Sheriff Ted Conner, a home on a cattle ranch, where she works tending to her beloved animals, and a boisterous, interfering family. She’s also the guardian of her orphaned niece Carly. Then her niece’s granddad is killed and her husband is shot while responding to the call—and everything changes. She learns that her husband has been having an affair, her niece disappears, and Kate becomes the victim of several “accidents.” She must find the killer before either she becomes the next victim.




6115138Sworn to Silence Linda Castillo (Kate Burkholder #1) Police Chief Kate Burkholder lives and works in her hometown of Painters Mill, Ohio, where she grew up as part of an Amish family. When a young woman is murdered, Chief Burkholder’s team believes that a serial killer has returned after sixteen years of inactivity. Kate believes she knows why the murderer stopped but cannot reveal the truth without hurting herself and others. As more young women are killed, Kate must face her past and find the truth.





492866A Nail through the Heart by Timothy Hallinan. (Poke Rafferty #1) Freelance writer Poke Rafferty pens travel guides for the young and bored wanderer—and fell in love with Bangkok, Rose, a former go-go dancer, and Miaow, a streetwise orphan. When Poke offers to take in Miaow’s friend Superman and help an Aussie woman find her missing uncle, he discovers a dark, underground world that threatens his family.






Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. (Book Scavenger #1, Middle Grade/MG). Twelve-year-22718727old Emily relocates to San Francisco with her family and becomes quick friends with her neighbor James. Emily is a big fan of the online game Book Scavenger, where players to solve clues and find hidden books. And there’s rumor that Griswold will soon launch a new game with a giant prize. But then someone attacks Book Scavenger creator Garrison Griswold, leaving him in a coma. Emily and James discover an unusual book that they think might be part of a new Griswold game. They must solve the new puzzle before Griswold’s attackers find them.





17138137The Case of the Time Capsule Bandit: Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective by Octavia Spencer. (Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective #1, MG) When Randi Rhodes and her mystery-writer father move from Brooklyn to Deer Creek, Tennessee, she worries that her life as a ninja detective is over—after all, what could happen in Deer Creek? Plenty, it seems! The town’s treasured time capsule goes missing just days before the Founder’s Day Festival. Randi and her friends—D.C. and Pudge—must find the treasure before the Festival is ruined.




And here’s a mystery that’s not yet part of a series—

but we can hope, right?


28260589The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg. (MG)

This fun mystery, set in Harlem, features nine-year-old sleuth Shelby Holmes, who is super smart and well known by business owners in the neighborhood for solving small crimes. But because she’s a tad bit bossy, she doesn’t have many (any?) friends. When eleven-year-old John Watson moves into her building, he quickly becomes her sidekick and friend. And together they work to solve the case of a missing dog.



Need something bookishly creepy?

26157712Quiet Neighbors by Catriona McPherson. When librarian Jude runs away from her crumbling London life, she chooses the quiet village she visited on her last vacation. She ends up working for the reclusive Lowell at his used bookstore and living in the gravedigger’s cottage he owns. It seems the perfect setting to piece back together her life until threatening notes begin to appear and a pregnant teenager shows up. Suddenly, Jude and Lowell are thrust into a mystery that threatens to reveal everyone’s secrets.




Yearning for a comfort read?

18769869The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy. (MG) I may be a little bit in love with the Family Fletcher, with their two dads and four adopted children—all of whom are unique, quirky characters. This book tells the story of the family over the course of a single year as they encounter new schools, old friends, a grumpy neighbor with a secret, wet cats, and school plays. Read it in an afternoon, and remind yourself that there is good in the world.





28251377The Best Man by Richard Peck. (MG)  A favorite bookseller recommended this to me as one of his favorites of the year, and I was not disappointed. Sixth-grader Archer lives in suburban Chicago in the house behind his grandparents’ home. At the end of the year, Archer will get to be the best man at his favorite uncle’s wedding—to another man, his student teacher. But before the wedding, there will be breakups, problems at school, family losses, and ordinary happenings—and Archer guides the reader through it all.



And something inspiring?


As always, I’ve been collecting quotes from the books I’ve read this year. Here are a few for you. Feel free to download and share!







2 Responses

  1. Timothy Hallinan

    Much appreciate the pick, Rochelle. It feels like forever since I wrote it, and there have been either fourteen or fifteen books since, but it’s still a personal favorite. This was a really good shot of holiday cheer.

    1. Rochelle Melander

      Thanks for stopping by! I love to get readers into series mysteries–and I’m delighted to have found Poke and his cohorts! What fun!

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