To get yourself into the holiday spirit, start with an irreverent, yet wise take on facing Christmas when the kids are grown and life isn't exactly what you expected. Hot Flash Holidays is the second installment in Nancy Thayer's Hot Flash Club series, and it finds the five middle-aged friends in the club staring down yet another holiday season. Shirley has gambled the hard-earned savings from her business on her much younger man's unpublished novel, and the others aren't so sure it is going to pay off. Marilyn finds what could be the love of her life but he's in Scotland, and she's committed to caring for her aging mother right here in suburban Boston. The others face their own conundrums familiar to modern women of a certain age. Although the five main characters are fabulously funny and real, Marilyn's mother, Ruth, steals the story with her malapropisms and wisdom. Thayer's writing is smart and full of surprises. The same could be said for the ladies of the Hot Flash Club.

Amy Scribner is celebrating the holidays with her family in Olympia, Washington.

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