This is it friends, my final book review of the year and the final post for my 2014 To Be Read Pile Challenge.
I’m super happy that I have been able to complete this challenge. I’m also happy that challenge rules allow for two alternates because I used both of mine.
For several years I have adopted the habit and pleasure of reading Christmas books during the holiday season. Melody Carlson always has something for me to choose from and I often give her Christmas books as a gifts. I don’t have access to the Hallmark channel so her books contribute to my sentimental, Hallmark, Christmassy fix.
On the back cover:
Betty Kowalski isn’t looking forward to the holidays. She just can’t seem to find Christmas in her heart. Maybe it’s because her husband is gone. Maybe it’s because she’s missing her children. Or maybe it has something to do with her obnoxious new neighbor, who seems to be tearing his house apart and rearranging it on the lawn.
But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn what Christmas is really all about.
There is another story line involving her step-granddaughter who is estranged from the family. Avery is a twenty something, free spirit who has made some poor choices but is ready to grow up.
It’s a sweet story. Nothing to stress you out or upset you. (Although I did roll my eyes a few times and said to myself, “Would you people just COMMUNICATE!!”)
Overall, I’m glad I read this one. I’ve had it for a couple of years and strategically placed it on my TBR Pile Challenge because I thought I might need a light read towards the end to finish my goal, AND I knew I’d want to read a Christmas book as well. Win-Win.
And while I’m on the subject, allow me to make a few recommendations. This is one of the posts that floated around my head this season that never made it to the laptop keyboard.
Five Favorite Christmas Books: (Maybe you will consider these for next year)
The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittany Ryan
This one is a long one. It has a very Narnia-ish feel to it minus the spiritual connotations. If you like fantasy and mythological creatures and curses and such, read this one. It’s excellent. And there are some gorgeous drawings for illustrations.
A Return to Christmas by Chris Heimerdinger
Tragedy, mystery and mistaken identity. This novella seems geared to the middle and high school reader but adults would enjoy it as well.. Lindsay and I read this for the Mother-Daughter book club we were in years ago.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
I am so glad Barbara Robinson wrote this book! Those Herdman kids make so much trouble yet have such capacity to understand the Biblical Christmas story. “HEY!! UNTO YOU A CHILD IS BORN!!”
The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson
A cute story about a young couple expecting their first baby. They roll their hippy-style bus into Christmas Village and everything goes topsy-turvy. It’s predictable but so delightful.
Christmas at Harrington’s by Melody Carlson
Lena, just released from prison, is hoping for a fresh start at life. She has no money and no direction but gets the opportunity to play Mrs. Claus at a local department store. People respond as you would expect, some lovely, some not. (This one is more meaningful, I think, in terms of exposing a little bit of human nature.)
And while I’m at it, and late anyway, here are my Top Five favorite Christmas movies.
1. Eloise at Christmastime
2. Miracle on 34th Street (1994 version)
3. Christmas with the Kranks (another recommendation, read Skipping Christmas by John Grisham)
4. The Year Without a Santa Claus
5. Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas
You’re welcome for all that. I’m late to so much these days, let me be more timely in wishing you a Happy New Year and happy reading!
See you in 2015!