Archive | December 2019

Christmas-y Books!

(The Christmas books I own in physical form — and more listed below!)

Hello, my dear Pagelings! I’ll probably take a blogging break until the New Year (2020! *gasp*).

But before I slip off to enjoy the holidays, I wanted to share a list of Christmas-ish books! Ones I’ve read, ones on my TBR, and favorites!

If you’re looking for something Christmas-y to read, maybe you’ll find ideas on this list… and maybe you’ll recognize some favorites of your own!

If you don’t have time to read all of the post, skim for the titles marked in red because those are my favorites. πŸ˜€

I link to a few of them, but if you want to read more about any of them, you can find them all on Goodreads here!


Christmas Books and Novellas

  • A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) — I mean, obviously. XD I enjoyed the original book, though I still say The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite version of this story. πŸ˜‰
  • The Grift of the Magi (Ally Carter) — I just read this one and it MADE MY DAY, although those who have read the three Heist Society books will enjoy it more, since it’s a novella set after them. I love it! (Hale!)
  • Nyssa Glass’s Clockwork Christmas (H. L. Burke) — D’aww! Another one I just read this month. Nyssa and Ellis being cute and misunderstanding each other and trying to make their first Christmas perfect. Lovely steampunk Christmas novella. πŸ™‚
  • Kate’s Christmas (Sarah Holman) — This came out last month and it’s another fabulous Kate’s Case Files FBI mystery book! With dashes of Christmas. ^_^
  • Freddy Goes to the North Pole (Walter R. Brooks) — I heard this audiobook when I was younger and I just love Freddy the Pig, Jinx the cat, Eek, Quick, Eeny, and Cousin Augustus (the mice), Mrs. Wiggins the cow, and even Charles the rooster. They go to the North Pole in this one and have to save Santa’s workshop from “pirates” and it’s been years since I read it but it was really fun.
  • When Santa Fell to Earth (Cornelia Funke) — Although I’m not always the hugest fan of Santa plotlines, a friend recommended this and I absolutely adored this book! Niklas is actually a young man who is “a Santa” (he’s really cool!) and his caravan crashes in an alley near a little boy’s house because his invisible reindeer ran off. It’s so charming and I love the illustrations.

Christmas Short Stories

  • The Sixth Christmas (Mollie E. Reeder) — THIS ONE. It’s sort of between a short story and a novella and it’s slightly Christmas-Carol-ish with a smidge of time-travel and the writing is FABULOUS and I just LOVE IT SO MUCH. AAHH. If you read only one book on this list, read this one. ^_^
  • The Villain Who Saved Christmas (C. B. Cook)This. Storyyyy! It’s about superheroes and a supervillain who’s kiiind of the most important character (don’t ask but it works and it’s awesome) and it’s a Christmas short story and I LOVE IT. So many feels. (My full review.)
  • Someday at Christmas (Kyle Robert Shultz)Crossover short story featuring characters from the Beaumont & Beasley and Crockett & Crane books… It’s about young Cordelia! I just love it! *hugs story*
  • Nyssa Glass and the Caper Crisis (H. L. Burke) — A short story prequel about Nyssa Glass before her first story, with a dash of Christmas if I remember correctly.
  • For My Good (Sarah Holman) — Loved this contemporary little tale, with a dash of mystery and Christmas and cameos from some Kate’s Case Files characters!
  • Distorted Glass (Sarah Holman) — Snow-Queen-esque contemporary short story.
  • The 12 Cats of Christmas (Perry Kirkpatrick) — I just read this one and it’s a cute contemporary short.
  • The Dragon and the Santa (Emily Martha Sorensen) — This was pretty hilarious. XD And very short, so I don’t want to spoil it, but the title alone should give a hint of the fun.
  • The Least of These (Kate Willis) — Another one I just read. Quick read, much snow.
  • Red Boots (Kate Willis) — I think I read this one awhile back but I remember it being charming. πŸ™‚

Christmas Anthologies

  • Christmas in Talesend (Kyle Robert Shultz)This one could kind of go in the short story section above, but there are four of them, so… anothologies it is. XD I love these quick Afterverse Christmas stories! Especially the last one, in which Malcolm ends up calling himself the Christmas Dragon. XD It’s delightful!
  • A Very Bookish Christmas — This is a LIMITED COLLECTION which will go away after December 31 this year, so if you’re interested, be sure to go snag a copy! It features four Christmas novellas, inspired by different classic novels! πŸ™‚ And from four talented authors, three of whom I’m featuring other Christmas stories from in this post: Sarah Holman, Rebekah Jones, and Kate Willis. Also J. Grace Pennington! I haven’t read three of the stories in this collection, but I’m sure they’re lovely, and I adored Gingerbread Treasures by Rebekah Jones, which I copyedited and is a modern-day mystery set in a little desert town around Christmas, with great characters, fun moments, and a mystery that was unique, while also inspired by a Sherlock Holmes story!
  • A Christmas Treasury — I read this so long ago I don’t really remember it but I’m sure there were some cool stories and songs in there.

Christmas Picture Books/Etc.

  • ‘Twas an Evening in Bethlehem (Jenelle Leanne Schmidt) — This just came out and it’s lovely!! I’ve been looking forward to reading this ever since I found out one of my favorite authors was releasing a picture book, and I finally got myself a copy and I love it so much! So BEAUTIFULLLL! *hugs it*
  • Letters from Father Christmas (J. R. R. Tolkien) — The letters “from Father Christmas” that Tolkien wrote to his children every year, collected in one place, complete with illustrations he drew, and tales of shenanigans at the North Pole — including Father Christmas, Polar Bear, various elves, and problems with goblins and stuff. XD I just love it so much!
  • A Tree for Peter (Kate Seredy) — I forgot about this one until I was looking through my Goodreads list. I need to re-read it but I remember it being charming like her books always are. ^_^
  • Christmas Coloring Devotions — I got this adult coloring book for review (see mine) from Zondervan back when they still had their Booklook reviewer program. It’s pretty fun with all the Christmas-y patterns and scenes to color.

(There’s a handful of other Christmas picture books I’ve read and have on my Christmas shelf on Goodreads.)


Christmas… Ish

(Wintry Christmas-like festivals in fantasy lands)

Sometimes it’s not actually a Christmas book — since it doesn’t actually have Christmas, per se — but it feels like it!

  • Wintermoon Wish (Sharon Shinn) — This is a short story, collected in Firebirds Rising edited by Sharyn November. I don’t care for most of the stories in the anthology but Wintermoon Wish is MY FAVORITE and I always read it around this time of year. It has a fantasy holiday called Wintermoon which sort of combines Christmas/yule-logs/New Year’s/winter solstice/etc. into a neat semi-magical holiday and it’s just SUCH a cozy, delightful read, with some of my favorite characters. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. ^_^
  • Flight of the Raven (Morgan L. Busse) — There was a delightful wintry festival in this and I loved it so much! ❀ It felt Christmas-y without being quite Christmas. It just made me happy — and I loved all the candles! (My review.)
  • Hogfather (Terry Pratchett) — Um. Not quite Christmas? But very much a parody and a hilarious fantasy Christmas-ish book. Anyone who’s read this will know what I mean. XD Anyone who hasn’t… well, it might not be your cup of tea unless you are a Pratchett fan. XD Discworld’s version of Christmas! (I also saw the movie and it was weird but kind of fun. XD)
  • We Three Dragons — I read this a couple of years back and don’t remember it all that well but I know there were dragons and Christmas-y feels and three different novellas about fantasy Christmases.

Books With Christmas

(That Aren’t Christmas Books. XD)

And a few that have some of my favorite Christmas parts, but aren’t technically about Christmas. πŸ˜‰

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) — I mean, Father Christmas and his gifts are definitely an important part of the story. πŸ˜‰ Plus, so wintry! (Even if… the winter part… isn’t actually a good thing. XD)
  • The Good Master (Kate Seredy) — One of my favorite Christmas chapters is the last chapter in this book. ^_^ (Even if the rest of the book isn’t about Christmas. XD)
  • The Singing Tree (Kate Seredy) — There are some fabulous Christmas parts in this, and anyone who likes WWI-era stories will love the book in general. πŸ™‚
  • Brown-ears (Stephen Lawhead) — Most of this isn’t a Christmas book, but the end is and it makes it so perfect! ^_^ The story of a lost toy, which reminds me of Tolkien’s Roverandom. (Yes, Stephen R. Lawhead did write children’s books. This one as well as a sequel, and three tales of the Riverbank, the first of which is The Tale of Jeremy Vole. So good!)

On my TBR

Pretty much everything in this post so far, I’ve read, but I wanted to share a few on my TBR as well!

I’ve already read a few Christmas reads this month so we’ll see if I manage to squeeze in any more, but here are the ones on my list for this year or next year. ^_^

  • The Father Christmas Confessions (Emily Ann Benedict) — I loved this author’s contribution to the Vintage Jane Austen series (she wrote Perception, a retelling of Persuasion!) and I’m excited to try more from her. πŸ™‚
  • The Father Christmas Profession (Emily Ann Benedict) — Sequel to the above, and sounds delightful!
  • 12 Days of (Faerie) Christmas (C.J. Brightley) — I loved this author’s Lord of Dreams, and any book with “Faerie” in the title next to “Christmas” sounds like something I need. XD
  • The Lawrence Chronicles (E. Bronwyn Hinkle) — I don’t remember when I picked this up but it sounded intriguing. πŸ™‚
  • 24 Days Before Christmas (Rebekah Jones) — Mystery set at Christmas-time? Yes please! I read Gingerbread Treasures, by this author, which is collected (for a limited time!) in A Very Bookish Christmas, as I mentioned above, and I loved the mystery and the Christmas aspect, so I’m excited to read this. πŸ™‚
  • Christmas Carol Society (Rebekah Jones) — Another by this author, and it just sounds super fun — a Christmas Carol society with the members being assigned a “Scrooge.”
  • Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball (Donita K. Paul) — Someone mentioned this in the Realm Makers Facebook group and said they read it every year. Color me intrigued! I’m excited to read it. πŸ™‚
  • Behold (Faith Potts) — I picked up a copy of this short story collection when it was free the other day and I’m curious to try it out. πŸ™‚

Do you have a favorite Christmas-y/seasonal/wintry book?

(I wanted to share some favorite winter-themed books too but ran out of space. Maybe next time!)

I hope you enjoyed and maybe found a book or two you want to read, and I hope you have a fabulous holiday season! See you in the New Year! Thanks for reading! ^_^

How To Be a Savage and Other Tales by Daley Downing

This is a lovely little collection of short stories which I really enjoyed! I adore Daley Downing’s work, which always has a heart and turn of whimsy which I absolutely love. Her fantasy novels are fantastic, and I really enjoyed these contemporary short stories!

The first three stories touched my heart and were absolutely gorgeous, while the third one was super exciting. They’re all so good.

The first one (How to Be a Savage) is a longer short story, and it’s my favorite in the collection! It’s an #OwnVoices tale about an autistic protagonist who is a mother and writer, about her day-to-day life. Also, I love how, despite being a contemporary, there were still fantasy references, and the main character is a writer. It was just utterly charming and beautiful and it made my heart happy! ^_^ With warm humor–which sometimes made me laugh, particularly the flashback when they were driving on a dark road and joking about werewolves, and the shenanigans of the main character’s children–and down-to-earth writing and events somehow infused with so much heart and a smile and the author’s signature spin on all her stories, which I can’t describe but I love it!

The two middle stories (In the Rain, and Last Day) are flash-fiction and full of feels and strong emotions. Gorgeous writing.

The fourth one (Zombie Apocalypse Survival) was so exciting and surprising and had a lot of twists–it’s a zombie story, which isn’t usually my thing, but it was very interesting and intense. It’s the debut of Daley Downing’s teen son! Which I think is super awesome. πŸ˜€

The stories (particularly Savage itself) made me laugh sometimes and relate several times and made my heart smile. ^_^ (Well, the zombie one made it panic, but in a good way. XD) I would have loved to see more of each story, but the short and sweet length was part of the charm. πŸ™‚

Disclaimer: I copyedited this anthology, but I wanted to share my honest review because it’s a delightful little book and made me happy! I totally recommend checking out this author’s work. πŸ™‚ (Currently available in paperback through B&N’s website.)

LINKS

You may also enjoy . . .

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Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Mini Review: Dear Author by Laura A. Grace

(Photo featuring a quote from the book and a sneak peek of one of the illustrations — I just love the girl reading the book! And my favorite new necklace because it was in my Instagram picture that day. XD)

I have a mini review to share with you guys for something a little different — a nonfiction book for writers!

Title: Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl

Author: Laura A. Grace

Illustrator: Hannah S. J. Williams

  • Date read: October 27, 2019
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Nonfiction // Writing
  • Year pub: 2019
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-copy of this book from the author and chose to share my honest review.
  • Links: Goodreads β€’ Amazon β€’ Author’s Website

This short and sweet little book (the first book from Laura A. Grace!) is such a lovely, inspiring read! It consists of fifteen letters from a bookish β€œfangirl” and is written to writers and authors.

As a reader, I related to the fangirl’s point of view in loving books and appreciating the authors who write them.

As a writer, it was inspirational and encouraging. I imagine it would be more-so for published authors, but even as a writer who aspires to publish someday, it still resonated with me. ^_^

It’s a quick read and is so charming. The ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams complete the book. I just love it! It makes me smile. πŸ™‚ *hugs book*

If you’re a writer, I totally recommend checking this one out — or if you know any writers, it would make a great gift. I’m looking forward to more books from this author someday!

(I received an e-ARC of this book from the author. All opinions are my own. :))


About the Book

Think your words might not matter? Think again.

Words have the power to change lives, especially when they are used to create meaningful stories. In this collection of letters, bookish fangirl Laura A. Grace addresses topics related to every writer’s journey. From β€œcharacter conversations,” to embracing one’s unique writing style, to celebrating a release dayβ€”there is a letter for every author no matter where they may be in sharing their story with others.

β€œDear Author” includes six illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams.


Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Bookish News: December 2019!

Oh, hello! Yes, it is December and has been for an alarmingly long time and I’m aaalmost recovered from NaNo, I think. XD So it’s time to share about some book Ishness and releases and what I’ve been reading!


DECEMBER(ish) RELEASES

So, a couple of these were at the end of November, but anyway. XD

  • The Piper’s Pursuit by Melanie Dickerson — Another Hagenheim book! It’s gorgeous and I’m excited to read it!
  • Between Homes, book #8723648763876 in the City Between series by W.R. Gingell. XD — Okay, actually book 5. I still need to read the first book and every time I think I’m going to, I end up farther behind because Some Authors write way too fast. XD
  • Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl by Laura A. Grace — Delightful little nonfiction book which I just wrote a review for which I’ll share here in a day or two! ^_^
  • Brand of Light by Ronie Kendig — I read some sample chapters of this one in a booklet I got at Realm Makers and it’s space opera from Enclave Publishing and looks interesting.
  • Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean — I have a smol Geraldine McCaughrean obsession so I’m really excited to try this one. XD I loved The Pirate’s Son, Peter Pan in Scarlet, and The Death-Defying Pepper Roux, and I need to try more from her. Very curious about this based-on-a-true-story book.
  • Hollow by Kyle Robert Shultz — I edited this novella and it just came out at the end of November, but anyway… It’s really good. πŸ˜€ I don’t think I’ve recovered from it yet. XD

NOVEMBER READS

I didn’t have time to read much during November, because NaNoWriMo… It’s kind of hard to read many books when you’re writing one of your own! But I got a few reads in — mostly small things. πŸ˜€

  • Hollow by Kyle Robert Shultz — Hollow just came out and OH MY GOODNESS. It’s so good and mind-blowing! Sleepy Hollow meets Wonderland with time travel and feels. My review.
  • The Boggart Fights Back by Susan Cooper — I found out there was a third Boggart book and there was much shrieking. I got it from the library and read it immediately. XD Contemporary Scotland and magical shenanigans. So much fun! I loved it and I totally recommend reading The Boggart if you haven’t!
  • Compass South by Hope Larson — So… this is a graphic novel? I haven’t really read graphic novels?? But I had so much fun reading this one! I saw it at the library and it wanted to come home with me and it was delightful! It’s a fun, clean, historical fiction graphic novel about two sets of twins and I loved it. ^_^ I just got out the sequel and I’m excited to see how their story ends.
  • Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson — Actually I think I mentioned this in the last bookish news. XD It was okay.
  • Arbrook Huxley and the Miraculous Confection by Mollie E. Reeder — (Reread) I love this short story so much. XD I read it back in the summer when it first released and I re-read it aloud to my younger siblings this month because it’s so fun. πŸ˜€
  • The Shortest Day and The Word Pirates by Susan Cooper — (Picture books) Fun picture books by an author I enjoy. The second one was writerly so I enjoyed it more. πŸ™‚
  • Little Angel by Geraldine McCaughrean — (Picture book) Cute Christmas picture book by another author I like. πŸ™‚ (See above smol Geraldine McCaughrean obsession. XD)
  • King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson by Kenneth Kraegel — (Picture Book) THIS BOOK!!! It’s one of the most fun picture books I’ve read (I don’t read a TON… but I do tend to pick up more during November, because who has time to read long things during NaNo. XD) and I highly recommend it! It’s about a little boy (great-great-great-great-etc.-grandson of King Arthur) who goes on a quest to “have ado” with various monsters… but they have other ideas. IT’S SO FUN. XD I love it so much. πŸ˜€

Not pictured:

  • The Black Claw by Jessi L. Roberts — I edited this and it’s a really good space opera novella, releasing in a month or two, I think. Sequel to Hand of Steel.
  • Two Jeeves short stories by P.G. Wodehouse in two different collections, because I was in a Bertie Wooster mood. XD
  • Another Jayden and Dana short story! *cue heart eyes* There are now twelve of them and I’m ecstatic. πŸ˜€ They’re my favorite!
  • Casters’ Court by Calley Jones — A superhero serial on Tapas.io which is Wattpad-ish. IT’S SO MUCH FUN, HALP. I’ve been keeping up with it and I’m addicted. The author is a very good NaNo friend of mine and there has been much chatbox insanity during NaNo concerning these superhero characters of hers. XD (I need to interview them on here someday…) Anyway, if you like superheroes, it’s a super fun serial to check out! I will talk more about it someday. (Also, Mage is my favorite. And there’s a shapeshifting Phoenix. And yeah. :D)


CURRENTLY READING

  • Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge — I’m borrowing this from a good friend and slowly getting through it. It’s one of those rich books you have to take slowly and savor it and all the descriptions! But I’m getting a strong flavor of all the settings and characters and really enjoying it and hoping to finish this week…
  • The New Emperor’s Concerto by Hazel B. West — I’m beta-reading this and it’s coming out in February! Check out a sneak-peek on the author’s blog. It’s set in futuristic London and EXCUSE ME I think this is one of my favorite genres. XD It’s really good so far! πŸ˜€ Also hoping to finish this soon but we’ll see how time goes.

Also, Hazel is raising money for cover design, and selling some scrumptious-looking books to do so, so check out her sale!


TBR

I have several review books but I am kind of tired right now so I might wait to read them until after Christmas. Taking a break from certain responsibilities might be necessary to stay sane after such a stressful and busy NaNo season… Anyway, I have about five of those that I will either read soon or in January. We’ll see. I’m excited to read them! I just sometimes find that being “supposed to” read and review something is something I don’t have the mental space for when I’m really busy or tired.

Oh, and I have Knife’s Edge (sequel to that Compass South graphic novel) and a Jeeves book from the library…

I’ve also been reading Christmas stories — small ones so far — and that’s been delightful. πŸ˜€

I might have to share a Christmas-books list post in the next week or so…

Basically I want to read many things! We’ll see how the month goes. πŸ™‚


That’s all I have today! Just a few bookish things. Anything catch your eye? Thanks for reading!