Friday, December 23, 2011

Snappy Reviews: More Christmas Stories!

As promised earlier, here are a few more Snappy Reviews to catch you up on the Christmas reading I've been doing. Whether you're participating in one of the Christmas challenges this month or just looking to get in the Christmas spirit, I think you'll enjoy these books! And if books aren't your thing (but really . . . why would you be here if they weren't?), I've included a bit about some of the movies that I've been watching this month at the end of this post.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

When the Herdmans storm Sunday school and take over the annual Christmas pageant, everyone braces for the worst. But no one is prepared for what really happens when the rottenest kids in the world take over the greatest story ever told. It's a pageant full of surprises for everyone–including the Herdmans themselves.

[Contemporary Fiction, Children's, Christmas / 82 pages / Published 1972 / Harper Trophy] 

My Thoughts
I remember this book from elementary school. Hubs had never read it (or didn't remember reading it, at least!), so we read it out loud together on a recent road trip. It's just as cute as I remembered! Plus, I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout. If you haven't read this (and especially if your children haven't), you won't want to miss the opportunity to read this together as a family! [4 stars]

The Gift 
by Richard Paul Evans

Nathan Hurst hated Christmas. For the rest of the world it was a day of joy and celebration; for Nathan it was simply a reminder of the event that destroyed his childhood until a snowstorm, a cancelled flight and an unexpected meeting with a young mother and her very special son would show him that Christmas is indeed the season of miracles.

Nathan Hurst meets Addison Park when they’re snowed in at the Denver airport. As Nathan is falling in love with this woman, he discovers her son’s gift of healing. Unfortunately, he’s not the only one. As Addison tries to protect her son, Nathan is drawn into the melee that unfolds. But there are things Addison doesn’t know about Nathan’s past….and her own son’s future.

[Contemporary Fiction, Christmas / 352 pages / Published Oct 2007 / Simon & Schuster]

My Thoughts
I read The Looking Glass by Richard Paul Evans several years ago and have read more of his books since then. Evans allows the main character in his stories to tell you the story. I don't generally like first-person narratives, but somehow Evans writes in such a way that it feels like you're talking to an old friend rather than stalking someone's thoughts. He writes deeply moving stories and The Gift was no exception! More than a romance or simple Christmas tale, Richard Paul Evans writes stories that have deeper meaning and make readers think after they've turned the final page. [4 stars]

Fa La La La Movies Challenge!

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love a good heart-warming Christmas movie. I could watch them year round. But that would be odd and my husband would probably get annoyed with Christmas soundtracks in June! I (of course!) have my stack of standard favorites . . . Home Alone, Christmas Vacation, The Holiday, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, Polar Express, A Charlie Brown Christmas. And I'm always up for a new Christmas movie (Fred Claus or Christmas with the Kranks, anyone?!) But there's a special place in Christmas-viewing schedule for all of those ridiculously cheesy made-for-TV Christmas movies. We don't have cable so watching them directly on Hallmark, Lifetime, or ABC Family wasn't an option, but thanks to Netflix I still got my fair share of them this year.

Two in particular stood out as ones I would recommend (I mean, more than just awesome cheesiness): Christmas on Division Street and Christmas with a Capital C.

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