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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Third Sunday of Advent

Today I had the Carol Service for my one church that I play for and it was interesting because we went for half traditional carols and half new hymns. I think it went down well with everyone, well nobody shouted at me so it must have been ok.

My second service was Third Sunday Advent so I have gone for another Advent hymn for my Sunday post because as you will have noticed I’ve been posting one every Sunday in December so far.

 

Hark, the glad sound!

Hark, the glad sound! The Saviour comes,
the Saviour promised long;
let every heart prepare a throne,
and every voice a song.

He comes, the prisoners to release,
in Satan’s bondage held;
the gates of brass before him burst,
the iron fetters yield.

He comes, from thickest films of vice
to clear the mental ray,
and on the eyeballs of the blind
to pour celestial day.

He comes the broken heart to bind,
the bleeding soul to cure,
and with the treasures of his grace
to enrich the humble poor.

Our glad hosannas, Prince of peace,
thy welcome shall proclaim,
and Heaven’s eternal arches ring
with thy belovèd Name.

 

Philip Doddridge (1735)

 

Happy Festive 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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Second Sunday of Advent

Well we are a week and one day into Advent and this Sunday I played for two church services and obviously played several Advent hymns, so I have chosen another one of my favourite Advent hymns to share.
I hope everyone is having a good Advent so far.
Long ago, prophets knew

Long ago, prophets knew
Christ would come, born a Jew.
Come to make all things new;
Bear his People’s burden,
Freely love and pardon.
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When he comes,
When he comes,
Who will make him welcome?

God in time, God in man,
This is God’s timeless plan:
He will come, as a man,
Born himself of woman,
God divinely human.
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When he comes,
When he comes,
Who will make him welcome?

Mary, hail! Though afraid;
She believed, she obeyed.
In her womb God is laid;
Till the time expected
Nurtured and protected.
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When he comes,
When he comes,
Who will make him welcome?

Journey ends! Where afar
Bethlem shines, like a star,
Stable door stands ajar.
Unborn Son of Mary,
Saviour, do not tarry!
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
Jesus comes!
Jesus comes!
We will make him welcome!

Reverend Fred Pratt Green (1970)
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