Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I sincerely hope your day is full of love, light, and gratitude.

I adore autumn and find it the perfect time of year for a holiday devoted to thankfulness. Fall’s longer nights and cooler temperatures, plus a natural palette of browns, oranges, russets, and dark greens seem conducive to reflection, and study after study tells us that focusing on gratitude brings more happiness and energy, and helps fight against depression and anxiety. It helps us sleep better and promotes positive feelings toward social connections.

I know I feel better when I concentrate on the good in my life, and the few friends I have who hear my occasional rants about what’s going wrong, or what’s unfair, or what’s making me feel angry or resentful in any given moment, pretty quickly remind me that I just don’t have that much to complain about.

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And they’re right.

One of the biggest blessings in my life is the fact that I get to write about books I love, and I have the opportunity to meet and interact with the terrific people who write them, as well as the wonderful community of readers who love them too.

In the past year, I discovered a few Thanksgiving-themed novels I enjoyed and wanted to share.

I’ll start with Penny Watson’s Apples Should Be Red, more a novella at 21,000 words. Watson is a delightful indie writer whose latest works include older protagonists. I simply love the write-up for this book:

Recipe for Thanksgiving Dinner:

Start with 62-year old politically incorrect, chain-smoking, hard-cussing curmudgeon.

Add 59-year old sexually-repressed know-it-all in pearls.

Throw in a beer-can turkey, a battle for horticultural supremacy, and nudist next-door neighbor.

Serve on paper plates, garnished with garden gnome.

Tastes like happily ever after.WalkingonAir_Anderson

(Story includes copious profanity and botanical references.)

Who can resist that?! :)

MJ Fredrick’s Road Signs is a fun, sexy read that includes a friends-to-lovers theme (I love those!), a crazy road trip where everything that can go wrong does, and the perfect mix of humor and poignant romance. It begins with Willow agreeing to go home with a coworker for Thanksgiving, but when his parents have the two practically married, and he begins to get too weird for comfort, she calls on her best friend Cam to rescue her. When he does, she discovers he’s missed a train that will take him to an interview for his dream job, and she convinces him to take a cross-country trip together that will get him there on time. Chaos and romance ensue.

Catherine Anderson’s Walking on Air begins on Christmas, but has a warm-hearted tie to Thanksgiving and its underlying theme of connection and gratitude. Wild West gunslinger Gabe Valance is gunned down on Christmas in Random, Colorado, but receives an angelic second chance if he can convince the town’s lonely hat maker to begin to trust again. Of course the two fall in love, but in doing so, they bring togPecanPieether a band of other wounded misfits, creating a Wild West family of the heart that changes the town they come to love.

Finally, Gina Henning’s How To Bake a Perfect Pecan Pie is a fun, light read that was originally indie-pubbed, then picked up by Carina. When Lauren is entrusted with her grandmother’s supersecret pecan pie recipe for the upcoming Thanksgiving family gathering, she realizes too late that the pecans must come from a specific pecan farm, since by the time she gets there, the pecans are sold out. Standing in line behind a sexy man who seems to have bought out the store, she asks him to sell her a few ounces of his hoard, but he says no, though his tune changes when he rescues her in the middle of a snow storm and offers her the use of his commercial kitchen so that they can bake together. To be perfectly honest, this book and Henning’s second title in her Home for the Holidays series have some flaws, but they were the writer’s first efforts, and there is something so charming and effervescent about the writing and Henning’s way with dramatic romantic moments. I look forward to watching Henning grow and thrive.

Joyful reading, and again, happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a lovely day full of many things for which to be thankful!

—Bobbi

(P.S.: When I looked up one of the books I mentioned, I found this cute blog post from last year that included all of the books I planned on mentioning, plus a bunch more. I just love Joelle’s sweet watercolor pastels in her graphics theme—and the gentle falling snow animation is a fun seasonal addition. Furthermore, she’s read a lot of books!)

Bobbi Dumas is a freelance writer, book reviewer, romance advocate and founder of ReadARomanceMonth.comShe mostly writes about books and romance for NPRThe Huffington Post and Kirkus.