Christmas Reading List: Update

I have slowed down on the Christmas reading in the past week, this has been due to work and getting ready for Christmas. Being a musician at Christmas is always rather busy and I have been here there and everywhere recently. However, I now have no teaching till January 2020 and I have just two church services to play for tomorrow and then I am finished!

Here is the updated list!

Christmas Reading List (The crossed out ones are links to the reviews)

 

A Very Murderous Christmas by various authors

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stonely

A Literary Christmas: An Anthology

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley

Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson

Tidings by Ruth Padel

Murder at Christmas by various authors

The Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffmann

Christmas at Woolworths by Elaine Everest

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton

One Day in Winter by Shari Low

 

As you can see only two books have been ticked off the list this time. Maybe now things are calming down I can enjoy some much needed reading.

How is everyone else’s Festive reading going so far? I hope everyone is ready for Christmas.

Happy Reading

 

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Tidings: A Christmas Journey by Ruth Padel (Book Review)

Tidings: A Christmas Journey by Ruth Padel

9781784741068

About the author

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Ruth Padel is a prize-winning poet, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and Reader in Poetry at King’s College London. Her most recent collections include Darwin: A Life in Poems on her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin, The Mara Crossing on migration and immigration, and Learning to Make an Out in Nazareth on the Middle East. She lives in London, the place where she was born.

Blurb

It’s Christmas Eve and on this enchanted night Charoum, the Angel of Silence, can speak. As night turns to day, he unfolds a resonant story of a little girl, a homeless man and a fox…

In the tradition of Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas, Tidings takes us on a journey into the heart of Christmas, showing us celebrations down the ages and across the globe – as dawn sweeps from East Australia to Bethlehem, from London to the Statue of Liberty in New York.

This is Christmas in all its magic, reminding us that it is a time not only of good tidings, but of loneliness and longing, compassion and connection.

Beautifully illustrated and exquisitely musical, Tidings is a poem to be read out loud and cherished.

Review

Wow, what a beautiful book, I am so pleased I bought this book. This book is absolutely stunning and I think it will be become a Christmas tradition to read it every Christmas in my house. It took me less than an hour to read and I could not put it down and afterwards I could not wait to tell my husband about this beautiful book I had just finished.

This is the first work by Ruth Padel that I have ever read and it will not be my last. I loved how it used the carols from the children’s church service in the poem and it was beautifully entwined together. I also loved how reminiscent of Charles Dickens the poem’s story is, it reminds us that Christmas is not just about celebrating but also about remembering that there are people out there that do not find Christmas a time of celebration but of loneliness, hunger, fear and bad memories.

The contrast between the homeless man and the little girl is brilliant. The little girl is wondering if Father Christmas got her letter about the puppy she wants, her life is full of safety, happiness, love and wanting for nothing. The homeless man is full of memories he wishes to forget. He’s hungry, unwashed, unloved and only has one friend in the world, a little fox.

This book is beautiful and if you only want to read one festive book this year or next year I fully recommend this one. I have already been recommending it to friends and family. It is definitely a festive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Book Depository

 

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The Nutcracker illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat (Mini Book Review)

The Nutcracker by E. T. A Hoffmann, retold by Kate Davies, illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat

Blurb

A beautifully illustrated retelling of The Nutcracker, capturing the magic of the ballet and the excitement of Christmas Eve. Join Clara and the Nutcracker Prince on a journey to the land of sweets, brought to life in a spectacular pop-up finale.

Review

Every Christmas I read a different version of The Nutcracker, this does mean I have quite a few different versions of The Nutcracker in my house now. This year’s choice is a little children’s version which is very abridged with beautiful illustrations and a stunning pop up illustration at the end.

I must admit I did miss a great deal of the story but understand why it had been shortened in such a way. The other thing I loved was how the story flowed so well, even though elements of the story were missing it did not make the story disjointed in any way.

I thoroughly enjoyed this little book and highly recommend it to children and adults. However, care needs to be taken with the pop up illustration as it is very delicate and could easily be damaged. I give this little book a massive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase links

Book Depository

Waterstones

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Christmas Reading List: Update

Well it is beginning to look very festive in the Book Dragon house hold. Today more decorations have gone up and more sorting and tidying has also been happening. Slowly we are getting ready for Christmas. This has also meant the reading has slowed down slightly but I’m still reading my festive books and I have crossed off a few more from the list.

Christmas Reading List (The crossed out ones are links to the reviews)

 

A Very Murderous Christmas by various authors

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stonely

A Literary Christmas: An Anthology

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley

Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson

Tidings by Ruth Padel

Murder at Christmas by various authors

The Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffmann

Christmas at Woolworths by Elaine Everest

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton

One Day in Winter by Shari Low

 

I will post some festive snaps later in the week.

Happy Reading

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Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson (Review)

Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson

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About the author

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Kate Atkinson was born in 1951 and is an English writer of novels, plays and short stories. She is the creator of the Jackson Brodie detective novels. She has won the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1995 and in 2013 and 2015 she won the Costa Book Awards.

Blurb

Three Festive Stories

Review

This was a nice short read of only 68 pages and although I read it in one sitting it can easily be dipped into.

The first story is called Lucy’s Day and it is all based on Lucy a mother of four who has given up her top career job to look after her family and in a way look after her elderly cleaner who doesn’t do much cleaning anymore and really just needs company. This is just one day in the hectic life of Lucy and out of all the chaos it shows the Christmas spirit coming through and that no matter how busy you are over Christmas you can still take time to appreciate the magic of it all.

The second story Festive Spirit was my least favourite of the three. I really hated the ending of this story, I found it disappointing and frustrating. I was hoping for so much more from this story and it just felt like a major cop out at the end.

The third story was my favourite. It showed that, for some, Christmas can be a lonely affair and also a time of bad news. However, it also showed that Christmas can be the time of contemplation and planning new beginnings. My favourite part was when Gerald was walking Dog and came along to the church; it really warmed my heart. This story was truly beautiful and it brought a little tear to my eye.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 Dragons because I just did not enjoy the second story. However, the first and third story make this book a well worth read and I highly recommend it.

Purchase Links

Book Depository

Waterstones

 

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A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stoneley (Review)

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stoneley

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About the author

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Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of The Wedding Date.

Born in a small village in the UK, she wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years, and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true.

She writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara now lives in a Cheshire village with her family

Blurb

A short Christmas story of three courses.

Love is in the air in Tippermere as Lottie dreams of a white Christmas with no trimmings – other than her hot and hunky eventer, Rory. But things are never quite that simple on the Tipping House Estate.

Festive fervour takes over and it isn’t all seasonal peace and goodwill as expectations rise and it soon escalates from cosy dinner for two, to all the trimmings for ten!

With missing turkeys, loose horses, troublesome terriers and randy huntsmen, Lottie is hard pushed to find time for a kiss under the mistletoe, let alone find the opportunity to woo Rory with her sexy Santa costume.

But there is only one thing Lottie really wants for Christmas, and only one man can deliver it…

Review

This was a lovely little freebie off Apple Books and I read it in a day so it was a nice quick read.

The first thing I liked about this story was the setting, immediately it seemed to me to be the idyllic Christmas setting. There was a mansion, a stable yard and a cosy little flat overlooking a stables, oh and a country pub you can walk to. Sounds perfect to me!

The main character in the story was Lottie and I must admit she is very brave inviting so many to Christmas Dinner and offering to cook it all. Her partner Rory is obviously a very patient man because he does not bat an eyelid when he finds out how many people she has invited when it was meant to be just the two of them. However, Lottie is very trusting in my opinion, considering the texts Rory gets from young beautiful women!

There are funny bits in this story, romantic moments and drama and it will definitely make you giggle. The only thing that spoilt it for me and the reason it did not get the full 5 Dragons was the use of the bad language which I found unnecessary and a character description at the beginning. I really do not like character descriptions, I like to discover the characters for myself.

This is a real feel good book and perfect for the festive season. I will definitely be looking at the other Tippermere books because I really want to read about the characters a bit more.

 

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Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay (Review)

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

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About the author

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Adam Kay is an award-winning comedian and author of the million-copy bestseller This is Going to Hurt. He previously worked as a junior doctor and currently lives in London.

Blurb

Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas is the hilarious, poignant and entertaining story of the life of a junior doctor at the most challenging time of the year. With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.

Review

This was a book I got on my Christmas shopping expedition to Birmingham where I went slightly wild buying Christmas books. I have not read Adam Kay’s previous book This is Going to Hurt but my best friend has and highly recommended the book to me but I started with his Christmas book instead and hope to read his first soon.

I did enjoy this book and loved the stories and it really does show how hard the NHS work and what they have to sacrifice in their lives. The other element that I liked was that Kay gave warnings about particularly harrowing stories and gave you the option to skip to the next story. I was brave and read these stories and I must admit the one nearly made me cry, I really did not realise even such a procedure existed.

This book really was an eye opener and really made me think about everyone who works for the NHS and what they have to put up with on a daily basis let alone over the holiday period. I really did feel sorry for Kay, that he had to work so many Christmas days over the years. I really think that something as special as Christmas Day should be taken in turns with staff.

The main issue I had with the book was that the comedy just felt forced and too much for me at times. I could have done with a little less comedy in the book and overall I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more. The stories in themselves were amusing and unbelievable in most cases they did not need Kay’s extra layer of comedy on the top.

I did enjoy the book and recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about working in the NHS and what an employee in NHS has to put up with. The book is only short and will not take long to read and you can easily dip in and out of it. I rate this book 3 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Book Depository

 

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Christmas Reading List: Update

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone’s December is going well and that you have some good Christmas reads lined up. I have been reading through my list and adding more. At the rate I keep adding them though I might end up with some left for next Christmas as well.

Christmas Reading List (The crossed out ones are links to the reviews)

 

A Very Murderous Christmas by various authors

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stonely

A Literary Christmas: An Anthology

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley

Festive Spirits by Kate Atkinson

Tidings by Ruth Padel

Murder at Christmas by various authors

The Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffmann

Christmas at Woolworths by Elaine Everest

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton

One Day in Winter by Shari Low

What does everyone think of the list? If you have read any of the books please drop me a comment.

Happy Reading

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Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles: The Driftwood Inn by Phillipa Ashley

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles: The Driftwood Inn by Phillipa Ashley

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About the author

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Born in 1971 in Lichfield, Phillipa Ashley is an award winning author of 17 novels under 3 different pen names.

Blurb

For Maisie Samson, this Christmas is going to be different. After years working in a busy Cornish pub, she’s moved back to quiet Gull Island where she grew up, to help her parents run the family inn.

But even though she can’t wait for the festive season to arrive, Maisie cannot shake the memories of what happened to her last Christmas – the day she lost everything. She keeps herself busy, setting up the tree and hanging mistletoe ready for her first proper family Christmas in years.

Until a new arrival to the island walks into her bar and changes everything. Australian backpacker Patrick is looking for a job for the low season. When Maisie takes him on, she doesn’t expect him to last the week, but to her surprise Patrick is the perfect fit. Charming and handsome, could Maisie allow herself to hope that she and Patrick could be more than just colleagues?

As Christmas approaches, Maisie finds herself dreading the spring, when Patrick is due to leave. With the help of a little Christmas magic, can Maisie get the happily ever after she always dreamed of?

Review

This was a beautiful book that I randomly chose because it was on offer and I thought looked like a feel good read for December. I’m so glad I chose it because it really was a nice comfortable read.

The first thing I loved about this book was the setting. The setting is so tranquil but also wild and rugged and takes a certain type of person to live there. The islanders are a unique type of people to live there.

Maisie is one of these islanders who was born on the island and after spending time away has returned home and she is happy to be home. She swims in the freezing sea and enjoys running her parents’ pub but most of all she loves where she lives and the people who also live there and doesn’t want that to change. Maisie is a character who will always fight and that is what I loved about her.

Patrick is an excellent guy who appears too good to be true but he does have a past and is open with Maisie about that past but not entirely. He is a good man with a slight cleaning fetish but mainly he just wants to do the right thing.

My favourite character in the book is actually Basil the dog. He is so unruly and wild but just loves people and wants to do exactly the opposite of what his owner Hugo says.

This book has a wonderful storyline and is just a general feel good story that puts you in the festive spirit. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants a festive read and the only reason I gave this book 4 Dragons instead of 5 was because the storyline was a little bit too predictable for me.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton (Book Review)

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton

AVGEC

About the author

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Tim Burton was born in August 1958 and is an American filmmaker, artist, writer and animator. He is famous for his dark, gothic and eccentric horror and fantasy films. He often works with Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman.

Blurb

In all the world, there is no place like Halloweenland, and Jack Skellington is Halloween’s most important figure. It’s Jack who devises the holiday’s most macabre tricks and frights, and he’s delightfully done it year after year. But this year, something isn’t quite right: Jack has grown bored with the usual Halloween pranks, and the joy of seeing shock and horror on people’s faces has faded.

Then one night, while out for a walk in the woods, Jack sees something he’s never seen before – a strange door carved into a tree. Stepping through the door Jack stumbles into a world unlike any he’s ever known. He finds himself in a bright, colorful place called Christmas Town. Jack has finally found what he’s been looking for, and knows right away what needs to be done. He will bring Christmas to Halloween – with Jack starring in Santa’s role!

The beautifully designed commemorative edition celebrates the twentieth anniversary of this classic book’s initial publication and features meticulously reproduced original artwork from the incomparable visionary Tim Burton.

Review

I was so excited when I saw this book and I immediately bought it. I love the movie and I have watched it so many times, so when I saw the book I was overjoyed.

The illustrations in this book are stunning and completely right and the book is the perfect size so the illustrations work really well. There was one problem though, it was missing most of the story! Where was Sally? Where was Oogie Boogie? My two favourite characters were not in the book!

I can understand that Burton thinned the story down to its bare minimum to make this a children’s book that wouldn’t scare children like maybe the film would but I just missed my favourite characters and somehow not having at least Sally in the story meant that it just did not feel complete and left holes in the story for me that made no sense. However maybe a child would not see these holes.

I know I have probably looked far too much into this as a children’s book and realise that most children will love the book but for me it just did not feel right. The illustrations were amazing but due to my favourite characters being missing I only gave the book 3 out of 5 Dragons. Sorry Mr Burton but for me the movie is far better.

Purchase Links

Book Depository

Waterstones

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