Friday, January 9, 2015

Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

This November and December, I participated in the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge once again. I love reading Christmas novels and I came across some very good ones this year. In this post, I am going to list all of the books I read - 5 total - and my impression of each of them. Here goes: 


Title: Papa's Angels
Authors: Collin Wilcox Paxton & Gary Carden 
This is one of those little hardcover books I borrowed from my amazing local library. The story is told by one of the children of an Appalachian family who had lost its Mother the Christmas before. The Father is crippled by grief and doesn't want anything to do with Christmas. In true Christmas novel fashion (the best ones do this), when all appears lost, the children along with their Grammy show that family love is the most important thing at Christmas and when it is present, magic things can happen. It's a wonderful and inspiring story. I gave it 5 notes - a Symphony!


Title: A Nantucket Christmas
Author: Nancy Thayer
Nantucket seems to come up alot in Christmas novels. Apparently it is a magical place at that time of year. This book also came from my public library. The central character in this novel is Nicole Somerset, a newly-wed who is spending her first Christmas on Nantucket with her new husband. Her husband's pregnant daughter, Kennedy, arrives and wants to get her mother and father back together and Nicole out of the picture. Nicole isn't going to let that ruin her Christmas, however. There is also a cute side story happening involving a little dog who is abandoned on the island and shows up in Nicole's yard. I really liked hearing this little dog's thoughts. This novel is interesting and heartwarming and comes complete with a Christmas miracle. I gave it 5 notes as well. 


Title: The Special Guest: A Christmas Story
Author: Lee and Donna Allen
This is a lovely little book - only 96 pages - but full of the wonder of Christmas. A young man does a kind deed and welcomes a stranded stranger into his home for Christmas. Wonderful things start to happen and on Christmas morning the young man realizes "in welcoming strangers, you may find yourself welcoming angels unawares." A delightful story. Another 5 notes! 


Title: The Christmas Sweater
Author: Glenn Beck
When I asked my Facebook friends for suggestions of Christmas novels, my nephew told me about this one and offered to lend it to me. I was surprised that he would read a Christmas novel, let alone have it in his possession. That's not very nice, forgive me. Anyway, this novel is a strange one. It was an interesting story, compelling, very sad at times. There is a giant twist in it that is meant to result in a happy ending, I suppose, but it just made me angry that I went through heartwrenching sadness to end up that way. I don't expect such trickery in a Christmas novel. I gave it 4 notes for that reason. It was an interesting story as I said. I just didn't appreciate the twist. Maybe you will. 


Title: Winter Street
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
This was a popular Christmas book selection this year. It was on several lists and I saw it in several bookstores. While it was a story about family - and on Nantucket to boot - it wasn't what I wanted to read about in a Christmas novel. Too contemporary, too much drinking and cheating on each other. It was too realistic - no Christmas magic. Sorry. I gave it 3 notes. Too bad I had to end this Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge reading a book that had no Christmas magic. Oh well, I still have a couple Christmas novels on my bookshelf to read next year. 

Along with the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge, I pariticipated in the FaLaLaLa Films portion. I always watch Christmas movies during the holidays - yes, those Hallmark and Lifetime films as well as old classics that make it Christmas for our family. Here's my list. Actually, it's only a partial list because sometimes I forget to write down the movies I watch. Here goes: 

1. Miracle on 34th Street - the original - watched on Thanksgiving evening!
2. The Christmas Blessing with Neil Patrick Harris - a sequel to one about the Christmas shoes. 
3. Elf of course - a holiday tradition
4. The Santa Clause - the first one with Tim Allen - the best in our opinion
5. Signed, Sealed and Delivered - an interesting twist on a Christmas theme
6. A Very Mixed Up Christmas - saw this one last year as well - I liked it
7. Christmas Vacation - a crazy holiday tradition - especially loved by my husband
8. A Royal Christmas - a Christmas princess story - loved Jane Seymour since her Dr. Quinn days and totally figured out the love side story before it was revealed. 
9. A Season for Miracles - sorry to say I'm not remembering exactly what happened in this one. 
10. Mrs. Miracle - saw this one last year, too. It's a rendition of Debbie Macomber's novel of the same name. I don't usually like Debbie Macomber's novels for some reason, but the movie is classic Christmas magic. 
11. White Christmas - we waited to watch this until our eldest daughter came home for Christmas. I have seen this movie every year since I was 5 years old and my Daddy and I walked down to the local movie theatre to watch it. It always brings back that warm feeling of spending time with my Dad. 

I know there were other movies I watched, as I stated above, but I didn't write them down here. I look forward to the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge and the FaLaLaLa Films. Now I guess I will have to start taking down my Christmas decorations. 

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