In the Bookcase

12.31.2016

The ending to A Literary Christmas 2016

A Literary Christmas: 2016 Reading Challenge // inthebookcase.blogspot.com


Hi, dear readers!

Today, being the last day of the year, ends A Literary Christmas 2016 reading challenge. I read a lot of good ones myself! I hope you all did too. I certainly enjoyed seeing all your Christmas selections, and have added some new titles to my holiday reading list for next year -- probably too many new titles, as I'll never get them all read. *wink*

Be sure to comb through the link-up, below, and see if there's any books you need to add to your holiday reading list for next year (or add to your Goodreads shelf). The link-up will be open for the next several days, in case anybody still has some Christmas book posts/reviews to share.

(Hey, I'll hope you'll all be back for 2017's Christmas challenge!)





Please link to your sign-up posts, book reviews, and other Christmas book posts here:



12.30.2016

My top 10 books of 2016

It's here! The annual moment wherein we all reflect on 2016, and think about the awesome adventures we experienced through the ever-moving vehicle of literature. (Well, this is at least something that I always do... Anyone else?) So, I spent some time this week looking over all the 120+ books that I read this year, and have selected my absolute favorite, new best friends of books that I "met" in 2016. Here we go!


Miracle on 34th Street
A Man Called Peter
Radialloy
Death on the Nile
The Last Battle
An Old-Fashioned Girl
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
Go Big or Go Home: The Journey Toward the Dream
Operation Titanic
Cinder
The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories
The Sound of Emeralds
The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge


Tarissa's favorite books »


In no particular order, my top 10 favorite picks...

A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall
{Read my full review here.}

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
{Read my full review here.}

The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories by Otto Penzler
{Read my full review here.}

Radialloy (Firmament #1) by J. Grace Pennington
{Read my full review here.}

The Last Battle (The Chronicles of Narnia #7) by C.S. Lewis
{Read my full review here.}

Go Big or Go Home by Scotty McCreery
{Read my full review here.}

The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge by Charlie Lovett
{Read my full review here.}

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott
{Read my full review here.}

The Sound of Emeralds (Steadfast Love #3) by Rachelle Rea Cobb
{Read my full review here.}

Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies
{Read my full review here.}



And now, for the honorary mentions...

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
{Read my full review here.}

Operation Titanic (Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys: Super Mystery #35) by Carolyn Keene
{Read my full review here.}

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6) by Alan Bradley
{Read my full review here.}



Previous years of top favorite books:

2015 // 2014 // 2013 // 2012 // 2011 // 2010



So, dear reader, what are your favorite books that you got to read in 2016?


12.29.2016

Book Review: The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge

A Literary Christmas: 2016 Reading Challenge // inthebookcase.blogspot.com

The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge by Charlie Lovettl (5 star review)


The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge

written by Charlie Lovett

107 pages // published in 2015 // literary fiction


BOOK DESCRIPTION

A delightful sequel to Dickens’s beloved A Christmas Carol by the bestselling author of First Impressions and The Bookman's Tale.

On a hot summer day some twenty years after he was famously converted to kindness, Ebenezer Scrooge still roams the streets of London, spreading Christmas cheer, much to the annoyance of his creditors, nephew, and his employee Bob Cratchit. However, when Scrooge decides to help his old friend and former partner Jacob Marley, as well as other inhabitants of the city, he will need the assistance of the very people he’s annoyed. He’ll also have to call on the three ghosts that visited him two decades earlier. By the time they’re done, they’ve convinced everyone to celebrate Christmas all year long by opening their wallets, arms, and hearts to those around them.

Written in uncannily Dickensian prose, Charlie Lovett’s The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge is both a loving and winking tribute to the Victorian classic, perfect for readers of A Christmas Carol and other timeless holiday tales.



My Review...

5 Star Rating

I really love this book. If you, or someone you know, is a fan of Charles Dickens and his classic holiday story, A Christmas Carol, then this is the book you need to get.

I don't think I've ever read a modern-day published book wherein the author has a complete grasp on how to write like a Victorian-day author. Enter, Charlie Lovett. Masterfully, he has interwoven the things we love best from Dickens' story into a sequel, one that lets us explore Scrooge 2.0 (AKA, "after his epiphany"). The way Lovett has done this book, I believe would make Charles Dickens one proud papa.

I'd best recommend this book if you want a charming holiday book to get caught up in, and if you are fond of vintage writers. This is an excellent title to have on your shelf.

I look forward to reading more by this author, as he seems to share the same passion for vintage classics that I do. And I would gladly re-read this book again some year in the future, especially right after A Christmas Carol.

The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge is available on Amazon in paperback, e-book, and audiobook format (and others).




P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


Please link to your sign-up posts, book reviews, and other Christmas book posts here:



*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!


12.27.2016

Book Review: The Swaddling Clothes

A Literary Christmas: 2016 Reading Challenge // inthebookcase.blogspot.com

The Swaddling Clothes by Amber Schamel (4 star review)


The Swaddling Clothes

written by Amber Schamel

158 pages // published in 2013 // Biblical fiction


BOOK DESCRIPTION

Through the ages, men have told many stories about Mary, Joseph, and the birth of the Messiah. Stories of shepherds and sheep, kings, angels, and stables. But one story no one has ever told. One story hidden in the fabric of time. The story of The Swaddling Clothes.

Mentioned not once, but several times in the Scriptural text, what is the significance of these special cloths? And how did they make their way into a stable in Bethlehem? From the author that brought you the Days of Messiah series comes a whole new adventure critics are calling "intriguing...thought provoking... a fresh twist on an age old story."

"A surprisingly sweet treasure that deftly weaves fiction and Scripture." "I get tired of Bible stories sometimes, but The Swaddling Clothes brings the story to life."

"Heartwarming...truly inspired. A story you will want to read again and again. Rich details and a suspenseful plot will keep you reading while giving you a glimpse of God's wonderful power and His amazing love."



My Review...

4 Star Rating

I've been looking forward to trying one of Amber Schamel's books, and I'm so glad I got the chance to read The Swaddling Clothes this year at Christmastime. (Of course, it's a great story to read at anytime throughout the year, but it was fun for me to read in December.)

This is, in fact, a fictional account of how the cloth that baby Jesus was wrapped in came to be, through hundreds of years of being passed down through the house of David. As the centuries pass, we learn more and more of the journey of the swaddling clothes, and are reminded of Jesus' lineage.

I feel like there's a lot of good historical details in the story, which livens the story up with authenticity. All throughout, you'll find scripture references so that you'll know why the author chose to include certain details, based on the Bible.

Amber has a strong connection with words, and she writes this story well.

I would best recommend for ages 12 & up.

The Swaddling Clothes is available on Amazon in paperback, e-book format.




P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


Please link to your sign-up posts, book reviews, and other Christmas book posts here:



*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!


12.24.2016

Book Review: Miracle on 34th Street

A Literary Christmas: 2016 Reading Challenge // inthebookcase.blogspot.com

Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies (5 star review)


Miracle on 34th Street

written by Valentine Davies

136 pages // published in 1947 // Christmas classic


BOOK DESCRIPTION

Generations of believers in hope and goodwill have made Valentine Davies’ Miracle on 34th Street a treasured part of their holiday traditions. Millions of copies of this award-winning story have sold since its first publication in 1947, delighting readers of all ages. A facsimile edition of the book is now faithfully re-created, offering a new generation--and fans of the original--the beauty of the classic 1940s design. Details of how the book came to be written, and made into a beloved film, are included in a brief historical note.



My Review...

5 Star Rating

This is the most charming story about Santa that I know of. Reading Miracle on 34th Street will put you in a Christmas mood like no other -- I know it did for me!

The book closely follows the old black and white film of the same name, and the book also has a true vintage quality to it, making it seem timeless. It's enjoyable for any age, I believe.

Finally, I found a book that is worthy of rivaling A Christmas Carol of taking the title of "THE CHRISTMAS BOOK" (for me, anyways). It's a book that puts holiday warmth into your heart, and adds a dash of humor for good measure.

It's a perfectly jolly read.

Miracle on 34th Street is available on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, e-book format.




P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


Please link to your sign-up posts, book reviews, and other Christmas book posts here:



*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!


12.23.2016

DOWNLOAD 10 Christmas piano solos...

Hurry! Amanda Tero (who you may recognize as a Christian author) has just released a Christmas album of TEN piano solos. Writer and musician, this girl is talented. Additionally, she is blessing us this Christmas season with a free digital copy! Reserve yours through Monday.





12.20.2016

Book Review: God Bless Us Every One!

A Literary Christmas: 2016 Reading Challenge // inthebookcase.blogspot.com

God Bless Us Every One! by Annie Tipton (5 star review)


God Bless Us Every One!
Devotional Inspiration from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

written by Annie Tipton

192 pages // published in 2016 // Christian devotional


BOOK DESCRIPTION

One of the best-loved and most quoted stories of "the man who invented Christmas"--English writer Charles Dickens--A Christmas Carol debuted in 1843 and has touched millions of hearts since. The familiar story of cruel miser Ebenezer Scrooge who never met a shilling he doesn't like. . .and hardly a man he does. . .and who hates Christmas most of all, has inspired this keepsake devotional God Bless Us Every One! Alongside scenes from the beloved Dickens classic, you'll learn eternal lessons of charity, kindness, goodwill, heart-transformation, and more. Experience a true Victorian Christmas with these 60 in-depth devotional readings that are sure to warm your heart this holiday season and beyond.



My Review...

5 Star Rating

I really love this Christmastime devotional. At the start of each chapter, I got to read a short snippet of A Christmas Carol (which was perfect, because it's been a while since I've read Dickens' book), which is then followed by the author's spiritual-based commentary on the passage. Truly, this is a unique way to bring to light lots of hidden messages in Dickens' holiday classic. We get to dig deep into these characters, like Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, and discover more than what's on the surface of the story.

Annie Tipton backs up all of her devotionals with biblical scripture. This book really led me to think about A Christmas Carol in a whole new way by spotlighting some interesting topics and finding hidden meanings behind many of the words and actions said and done in A Christmas Carol.

There are many lessons about life to be found in this holiday devotional. I definitely recommend it! (Hey, it even makes a great Christmas gift.)

Re-learning a piece of classic literature in this way makes my literary-inclined heart pitter-patter.

God Bless Us Every One! is available on Amazon in hardcover, e-book format.




P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


Please link to your sign-up posts, book reviews, and other Christmas book posts here:



*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!


12.18.2016

Book Review: Some Christmas Camouflage

A Literary Christmas: 2016 Reading Challenge // inthebookcase.blogspot.com

Some Christmas Camouflage by Elisabeth Grace Foley (5 star review)


Some Christmas Camouflage

written by Elisabeth Grace Foley

26 pages // published in 2013 // Christian fiction


BOOK DESCRIPTION

On a snowy December evening during the Great Depression, a high-spirited college student impulsively decides to do some spying on a quiet classmate—with unexpected results. A short story both funny and touching, in which mischief brings about a small Christmas miracle.



My Review...

5 Star Rating

From the beautiful cover, to the historical setting, to the heartfelt message it gives a reader on a cold December night... it's a keeper!

This story is a glimpse into a young married couple's life during the holidays in the Great Depression, just scraping by with their money. I felt that the historical descriptions are well-written, and the characters are sketched out well for the reader. There's sweetness in this tale, tinged with sorrow, though -- and together those two elements make for an emotional read.

What else do I love about it? This couple knows how to enjoy literature. I mean, they have really good taste. (Pivotal scenes of the plot revolve around this bibliophilic fact!) Immediately, I felt a personal kinship with these two new friends of mine.

Most important of all, this story has a great reminder: At Christmastime, there's always room for miracles.

"Books like that are good thing to have," said Alden. "It's good to have an old friend of a book we can always go back to for entertainment and cheer, and to remind ourselves who we really are -- because the books we love say more about us than anything else."


"But I love you more. You're more to me than all the books in the world."



Some Christmas Camouflage is available on Amazon in e-book format.




P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.


Please link to your sign-up posts, book reviews, and other Christmas book posts here:



*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!


12.13.2016

2 Holiday Short Story Reviews: Distorted Glass & Noelle's Gift

A Literary Christmas: 2016 Reading Challenge // inthebookcase.blogspot.com

Dear Readers,

I have not one -- but two -- sweet holiday-themed stories to share with you!

Check out my reviews of each, below.

Also, let me know in the comments what holiday books you've been reading!




Distorted Glass: A Snow Queen Story by Sarah Holman (5 star review)


Distorted Glass: A Snow Queen Story

written by Sarah Holman

42 pages // published in 2015 // teen fiction


BOOK DESCRIPTION

Sixteen-year-old Jared is sure that this Christmas season is going to be the worst ever for his family. His fifteen-year-old sister, Amber, is scaring their whole family with how little she is eating and her obsession with winning a beauty pageant.

When Jared seeks help from his pastor, he comes up with a plan to help his sister by Christmas. As the days pass and he sees no change in his sister, he wonders if he can reach his goal.

A Christmas short story about faith, family, and unconditional love.



My Review...

5 Star Rating

This is an enjoyable read, that packs a powerful punch in its message.

We find a teenage girl, who is dying to win a Christmas pageant -- and so attempts losing weight in a haphazard way. She's also diving right in to shedding the modesty her parents have instilled in her, to become "prettier" for the pageant. By way of unsound counsel, and being tempted by worldly titles, Amber is unraveling.

Although it's a quick story, it doesn't buzz by so fast that the reader can't help but notice the beautiful sibling relationship. This is true brother and sister love. If a sibling saw you falling into a hole, wouldn't you want them to grab you and set you on the right path?

The brother in this story is caring and thoughtful, far beyond what we see in this world on a daily basis. Jared's light really shines for God in this story. This is what really locked me in to this story and compelled me to read it, because, honestly, I was amazed.


Distorted Glass: A Snow Queen Story is available on Amazon in e-book format.


P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.





Noelle's Gift by Amanda Tero (4 star review)


Noelle's Gift

written by Amanda Tero

12 pages // published in 2015 // children's fiction


BOOK DESCRIPTION

Mama needed happiness for Christmas, but Noelle was only eight. What gift could she give?

A short story.



My Review...

4 Star Rating

A sweet story about family and love. A little girl sees her mother hurting and tries her best to come up with a great Christmas gift to make up the loss -- something to bring happiness back into the family. Of course, the best gifts are from the heart. Noelle is sure to touch yours. An excellent read for kids, or as a family read-aloud.


Noelle's Gift is available on Amazon in e-book format.


P.S. Like and vote for this review on Goodreads and Amazon.




Please link to your sign-up posts, book reviews, and other Christmas book posts here:



*Any Amazon.com purchase made through the links in this post support this humble blogger with a small commission. Thank you!