Tag Archives: Christmas books

Books (and Movies) I’m Watching for Christmas Reading Challenge/Myself

Christmas Reading and Viewing List is Here! PROGRESS UPDATE 01/17/19 

How is it December 16th already? Wasn’t I just saying how November flew? I planned to cut down on my work load and try to relax and rejuvenate for December. I was sure I was headed toward that goal. For once, I was determined to do the Christmas Reading Challenge that my friend Michelle, at The True Book Addict, hosts every year! Alas, some work came in, we needed the money, and so that, coupled with a busy early December of long after school and weekend choir practices and concerts  and activities for my two girls, and some other life issues, has made the first half of December move like a flash. No reading on my Christmas books yet, but we have watched a few Hallmark movies (my girls love them). However, I am still determined, I will just make the most of the second two weeks of December instead, which is perfectly made for some self-care time. Also, if you’d like to sign-up, please join us anytime, just go to the link above.

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That said, I had already pulled out some of my personal Christmas books from my shelves to peruse and also I put on hold a slew for myself, and me and the girls, from one of our local libraries and they’ve all come in – the last one yesterday. So I guess it’s better late than never right? I’m going to share my list of “proposed reads” for me and the girls. Though I am sure the girls will get theirs done, I’ll have to let you know how many I actually make it through.

The good news for me is that these last two weeks will hopefully truly be some down time for reading and watching movies with my family as we celebrate the holidays. Other good news for me, but maybe not for reading, is that after over two months of not seeing my son (he’s eight hours away in college in D.C.) I finally get to road trip to pick him up on Dec.. 21! That could mean passenger time reading, unless I fall asleep which I am known to do, but it also will mean a lot of my free time will be spent with him too.

(*Note: To those who I am reading and reviewing for, my Christmas reading has nothing to do with your books. This is for pleasure and I often read more than one book at a time. I will certainly get to yours as soon as I can if not over the holidays, then in the first of January. Though I appreciate and am excited to read your books, and have a lot of catching up to do from a busy work year, I earned this down time to rejuvenate my mind, soul, and spend with my kiddos.*)

I’ll just provide my proposed list of book here and I’ll update later any completed (Christmas only) reads. I may only get to one of them (I hope more) – but I know the girls will have theirs read! I’ll also update what movies we watched! Stay tuned!

Merry Bookish Christmas!

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Christmas Read List

Progress Update 01/17/19 – We didn’t get to all of these on our lists, but the ones we did will have asterisks (*) and comments beside them!

The books are pictured above, minus those the girls are reading. Some I checked out from the library and some I own (and some I own because I bought at one of the library book sales haha!). Note I have an obsession with Charles Dickens and The Christmas Carol (which isn’t pictured here but will be read!).

*Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva – This is one of my most anticipated reads of the season and if I finish any I want it to be this one!* (Update: This was a great fun historical fiction read for the holidays or anytime really I suppose.)

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak – Probably doesn’t seem like normal Christmas reading fare, but it takes place in winter during Christmastime in Russia. I’ve always wanted to read it.

Christmas Days: 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson – I read one of these stories in here and loved it and I can’t wait to read the rest. Maybe one for each of the twelve days!

The Spy Who Came for Christmas by David Morrell – I love David’s writing. It’s so much fun that he turned a spy classic into a fun holiday novel.

Home in Time for Christmas by Heather Graham – Heather always brings either a bit of romance to the holidays or a bit to thrill or scare you, either way she’s one of the best!

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie – What more can I say, I love her books! There is nothing better than reading her by candlelight especially if Poirot is on the case!

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak – This was a new book I found sounded light and interesting about a family over the holidays.

The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol Rescued his Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford – Enough said? I love Dickens and The Christmas Carol. Will probably read the original story too. I bet Nassem will read this one when he gets home.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor: Once Upon a Dickens Christmas Book One by Michelle Griep – I love the cover on this one. Looks pretty good – 1850s Manor Home! Also a short read.

Inventing Scrooge: The Incredible True Story Behind Dickens’ Legendary
‘A Christmas Carol’
by Carlo Devito

A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer – I like some of her books and thought this looked like a good Christmas escape with its mystery and humor.

St. Nicholas Anthology, edited by Henry Steele Commager – I own this and it’s one of my important Christmas book keepsakes! It contains the best of St. Nicholas, a magazine for boys and girls published at the turn of the century. Included stories, poems, and original illustrations. (This is pictured as the last book in the stack)

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – As celebrated on Christmas Eve in the Chapel of King’s College Cambridge in text form (90 year old service adapted after WWI and broadcast on BBC) with beautiful illustrations and photographs. I love this – it’s very interesting but I haven’t gotten through all of it yet. It has a companion CD of the carols, hymns, and lessons. (Of note, I got this at our used book store, Ashland Books.)

*Yes, Virginia! – It’s tradition that the kids and I read this every year as we trim our tree with our Yes, Virginia ornaments we’ve collected at Macy’s over the years. We love this bit of nostalgia and even as the girls are 15 and 11 now, they still ask to watch the movie and read the picture book. I love this. I hope that one day they continue on her tradition with their children! (Update: The kids and I read this and watched the movie together as always. A delight for us!)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – Simply my favorite book of the season. A classic! As well as the movies – George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart, and Muppet Versions as my favorites.

Emma’s Reads (Age 15) –

*Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz – Emma completed this in one night after she got it from the library! I’ll have her write up a little review. (Update: Emma very much enjoyed this one and read it in one night!)

*My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, Stephanie Perkins Editor – She was excited for this one. She read the summer version earlier this year. (Update: Emma finished this one too and really enjoyed the stories – highly recommended!)

*What Light by Jay Asher (Update: Emma has read this one twice. She loves it and he’s one author that’s a must-read for her)

Addie’s Reads (Age 11) –

When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke

Movies!

A movie and show list to come later of what we’ll watch or have watched, with traditional favorites included:

*The Great British Baking Show Holiday Edition (Update: We so enjoyed!!)
George Balantine’s The Nutcracker
*The Man Who Invented Christmas
(Update: I watched with Nassem while he was home and we adored this movie. We love anything Dickens and this one didn’t disappoint!)
Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas

*Peanuts Christmas (Update: Love love this tradition so of course we watched!)
Rise of the Guardians
*Muppet Christmas Carol (Update: So busy at Christmas we watched afterwards. We had to rent it and so we did so a few days before taking my son back to college as a family movie. We left always as we do with a tear and singing the songs!)
A Christmas Carol
*How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Update: Another annual must watch we love – never gets old, does it? This was the cartoon version – the original)
*Rudolph, Frosty,
etc. (Update: We watched Rudolph and as a tradition, Jack Frost. I don’t know why all of us love that one best, but we do. No matter our age. The songs are still stuck in our head. Beautiful story.)

And maybe without the kids, Krampus!

Already Watched:

The Princess Switch on Netflix. The girls and I loved it!
Lots of The Great Christmas Light Fight. We love lights!

I’ll keep updating here on this page, and might have some other Christmas posts, so check back in! DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOKS OR FILMS? NEW ONES TO TRY? OR ANY BOOKS YOU WILL READ ON A RELAXING DAY TO WIND DOWN THE YEAR? Let me know in the comments!

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In the meantime, check out these review from past years of holiday titles!

Don’t Call Me Christina Kringle by Chris Grabenstein 

Christmas Wrap-up from 2016 Reviewing Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chaiverini, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge, The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries, and a SLEW of children’s picture books as my kids and I read one a day!

Expanded Review of Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge

 

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Don’t Call Me Christina Kringle by Chris Grabenstein: Endearing Holiday Ebook!

Christina KringleThis cute e-book by award-winning author Chris Grabenstein really embraces the spirit of Christmas–a time when circumstances can be transformed, outlooks improved, and miracles can happen. This was a great book for middle reader children that shows them how to overcome loss, even if it is of a parent, and that a sprinkle of magic can many times bring humor and happiness back into life.

Ten-year-old Christina’s Christmas is made brighter with the assitance of tiny little elves. Who doesn’t like elves? This story reminded me alot of one of my favorite fairy tales, The Elves and the Shoemaker. If your child reads ebooks (which you can read Kindle versions on many devices now with the app), then I would highly recommend this if you are looking for a fresh and endearing Christmas vacation read.

Chris Grabenstein’s stories are always funny and have a great human or entertaining element to them. In this one, he truly also takes on overcoming odds and how sometimes we all need a little bit of help and support!

My girls, ages 10 and 6, are going to love reading this book over their break from school and I am excited to show it to them. I think it will be easier to read this size book on the Kindle for them even if they do generally prefer print. Open Road Media has some great digital choices for children that supplements their regular library and this holiday title is a great addition.

Don’t Call Me Christina Kringle, Synopsis~

This December, a girl who hates Christmas is in for the surprise of her life.

Ten-year-old Christina Lucci absolutely despises everything about Christmas. The carols, the eggnog, the decorations—and most of all, Santa Claus. And for good reason: It all reminds her of her firefighter father, who loved the holiday season but died on the job last Christmas.

For Christina, no Christmas will ever be merry again. To make things worse, this year, her grandfather’s shoe repair shop is failing. Bills keep piling up and the bank is ready to seize the shop. What Christina needs is a Christmas miracle.

With the holidays fast approaching, Christina’s miracle comes in the form of magical brownies, spunky little creatures who just happen to be great at repairing shoes. These tiny helpers have the power to turn Christina’s whole life around—and maybe even get her back in the Christmas spirit.

To purchase e-book:  www.openroadmedia.com/dont-call-me-christina-kringle

Chris Grabenstein, Biography~

img-chris-grabenstein-author-photo_180209318454Chris Grabenstein is author of critically acclaimed adult and young-adult thrillers. Winner
of two Anthony and three Agatha Awards, Chris writes fast-paced and fun page-turners for children and adults. He’s also a playwright and screenwriter not to mention a former advertising executive and improvisational comedian. Sometimes he sleeps.

He lives in New York City with his wife and his pets.

To see all his amazing book titles, including those with James Patterson and his newest release, go to: www.chrisgrabenstein.com/kids/

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Christmas and Valentines: It’s Still about the Love, Review with Max Lucado

This review is strictly for those readers who enjoy Christian-based literature.  There is no one who pours more heart into writing about Jesus Christ being Lord and Savior than the author Max Lucado. If you don’t enjoy Christmas stories from a religious standpoint, or Christian inspirational, then this review is not for you. 

If your still reading then I’m sure you that you are a person who loves the inspirational work of Max Lucado, or maybe you just have an amazing open mind like I do for reading everything. For years, Lucado has been motivating masses within the Christian faith. For Christians, he inspires and encourages, while warming the heart with stories understandable to all readers and that stem from every day life. I enjoy the calmness of his writing and his gentle prose and amazing storytelling.

Christmas Stories coverChristmas was already a month and a half ago. I have no idea where that time went since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day. I had this book called Christmas Stories: Heartwarming Classics of Angels, a Manger, and a Birth of Hope in my queue from Thomas Nelson Publishers. Though I enjoyed all the stories in this book around Holiday time, I didn’t have quite as much time to review.

This collection of Christmas stories is certainly one you’ll want to bookmark and remember to purchase closer to Holiday time 2013. It would make not only a wonderful gift book, but also a nice addition to a family Christmas collection. My family and I enjoy reading stories and books every night in December leading up to Christmas and the week following.

I enjoyed the story called The Christmas Candle, which he had previously published, and I was happy to see it in this collection. Taking place in Victorian London, it’s so touching, it doesn’t disappoint. I also had a fondness for the story The North Pole or The Manger? where he talks about how humans try to conjure heroes for every need when really we have Jesus, the most special creation ever made.

The quotes, fictional stories, essays, and excerpts from several other of his books, assists Lucado in putting together a book that keeps those of us who are Christians, and those who are asking questions, centered on Jesus during the Holiday season.

Sharing a little of the Christmas Season over the Valentine Holiday, yet the same message abounds: Love.

Story Collection Synopsis~

A heartwarming collection of Christmas stories and reflections from Max Lucado

These stories—like your favorite Christmas ornaments—come in all shapes and sizes. They unfold in a variety of settings, from ancient Bethlehem to rural England. From a small Texas town to the heavenly realms. Some are short. Others many chapters long. Some offer reflections. Others imagine Christmas through the eyes of a burnt-out candle maker, a lonely business man, or heavenly angels.

Yet all are vintage Lucado, and all resonate with the wonder of the season.

“In the mystery of Christmas,” Max writes, “we find its majesty. The mystery of how God became flesh, why he chose to come, and how much he must love his people. Such mysteries can never be solved, just as love can never be diagrammed. Christmas is best pondered, not with logic, but imagination.”

That’s what each of these unique Christmas stories help us do. In the midst of the bustle and hurry that often distracts us this time of year, these stories free us to explore the ways in which Christ’s coming has forever changed history—and us.

Max Lucado, Biography~

lucado0510In just under two decades of writing, Max Lucado has accomplished more than most writers hope for in a lifetime. Most of his books have appeared on one or more best seller lists, including those published by the “New York Times,” “USA Today,” “Publishers Weekly,” and the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA). Aside from hardcover books, Lucado’s writings have also been published as children’s books, videos, CD-ROMs, DVDs, music CDs, mass paperback booklets, apparel, giftware, bookmarks, calendars, study Bibles, workbooks, curricula, and plush products. In spring 2003, Hallmark/Dayspring Cards launched a new gift card line featuring excerpts from Lucado’s writings–and has already sold more than one million cards.

All this success has drawn more than a little attention to a previously low-profile Texas author and minister. Lucado has been featured in a wide range of media, including “USA Today,” “Larry King Live,” and “NBC Nightly News.” He has spoken at the National Prayer Breakfast before the President of the United States. He has traveled with internationally renowned musicians as a special speaker on their music tours, such as the highly successful “Come Together & Worship Tour” (sponsored by Chevrolet) with Grammy Award-winning artists Michael W. Smith and Third Day.

Journey to the Top
Lucado was born in 1955 in San Angelo, Texas, and raised in Andrews, Texas, the youngest of four children. His father was an Exxon oil field mechanic who, Lucado remembers, always smelled of grease cleaner. “It makes it easy for me to see a God who is loving and kind–because my dad was,” he says. His mother was a nurse who grew up working in the cotton fields.

Lucado went through a period of rebellion against his parents’ values and their God during his teens and into college. But it wasn’t long before he found himself drawn back to his roots, back to God. He married, spent time serving as a missionary in Brazil, and returned to the States, where he began working as a church minister and writing on the side.

Secret to Success
From all accounts, Max Lucado is not a man consumed by sales, awards, and achievements. He often turns down media interviews since they impede on family and ministry commitments. He spends the bulk of his week serving as senior minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. And he is truly surprised by his own success–more impressed by his one-in-a-million wife and three amazing daughters than by his successful writing career.

I was given a courtesy copy of this book by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.

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