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review 2016-12-13 22:29
The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season -- Task the First: The Winter Wonderland; and Task the Seventh: The Christmas
Dylan Thomas Reads a Child's Christmas in Wales and Five Poems/Cd - Dylan Thomas
The Nightingale Before Christmas (Meg Langslow Mysteries) - Donna Andrews

Task the First:
– Read a book that is set in a snowy place.

 

Dylan Thomas: A Child's Christmas in Wales

 

Thomas's lyrical memoirs of his childhood Christmas experience, read by himself ... truly magical.  One of the books (or CDs) that I revisit every single holiday season.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Task the Seventh:
– Read a book set during the Christmas holiday season. 

 

Donna Andrews: The Nightingale Before Christmas

 

The year before last's entry in Donna Andrews's Meg Lanslow series: An uninhabited  Caerphilly house has been turned into a show house for the local interior designers' pre-Christmas competition, which Meg has agreed to organize (her own mother being one of the contestants, and Meg's involvement as an organizer having been the price for their own house not to be used as the scene of competition) -- as a result of which Meg is having to constantly mediate between the contestants, who keep going at each others' throats hammer and tongs and are, as a whole, more unruly than a bag of wriggling kittens.  It doesn't particularly help, either, that there's a student hanging around the place doing research for an article on the competition that she's writing for the local university newspaper, that moreover, packages containing the contestants' orders of items needed in their decorative arrangements keep disappearing, and that at last someone even takes to vandalizing the house and some of the half-arranged rooms, with merely a few days to go to Christmas (and to the advent of the judges).  When the most unpopular of the contestants -- whom the others also hold responsible for the disappearance of their packages and for the vandalization of their rooms -- is found murdered, there doesn't seem a shortage of suspects ... except that every single one of the other designers seems to have a credible alibi.

 

A more than solid, tremendously enjoyable entry in the series ... having read Duck the Halls just before Christmas last year, I'm seriously tempted to hunt down all of Andrews's holiday books and read them, one at a time, before Christmas each year!  She truly has a knack for combining a hilarious storyline with fully-rounded characters (however unusual), a homely and comfortably-feeling small-town setting and a lot of warmth, humor, and common sense.  Highly recommended!

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Task the Seventh:
– Grab your camera and set up a Christmas bookstagram-style scene with favorite holiday reads, objects or decorations. Possibly also a cat. Post it for everyone to enjoy!

 

Well, the cat preferred to watch the setup from atop the half-empty box of Christmas decorations instead of being part of the picture, but anyway ... here we go!  (And yes, that's a real candle again. :) )

 


 

 

 

 

Snow Globes: Reads
Bells: Activities

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text 2016-11-28 11:05
The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season -- Task the Ninth: The Happy New Year
A Christmas Carol (Audiocd) - Patrick Stewart,Charles Dickens

- Every year you get a little bit older! Read a coming of age novel or any old favorite comfort read to start the new year right.

- If you're feeling brave, post a holiday picture of yourself from your childhood or misspent youth.

 

For Part 1 of this task I listened to the audio version one of my annual holiday reads, Charles Dickens's Christmas Carol, performed by Patrick Stewart.  I already reviewed it, and the TV adaptation starring Mr. Stewart as Scrooge, last year -- but it really can't be said often enough what a phantastic reading this is.  Nothing like RSC training, coupled with enormous acting sensibility and empathy for all the story's characters, for bringing this classic to life!  No doubt I'll be revisiting Messrs. Scrooge and Stewart again for Christmas ... and for many years to come.

 

As for Part 2 of this task, eh voilà!

 

Age 4:

 

Christmas 1968:With my mom and my grandpa (and a new favorite doll)

Christmas 1968:With my grandma (and the selfsame doll)

Christmas 1968:
With my then-best friend: I actually had piano lessons at the time, but unlike the adults in attendance we thought it much greater fun to just hammer away at those keys wildly, at random, and as loud as we possibly could!

 

Age 6:

 

Christmas 1970:What a difference two years make ... and oh, how I hated those glasses.

 

Age 8:

 

Christmas 1972:Glasses gone again.  For the time being ... alas, they'd come back with a vengeance in my adult years, and there's unfortunately no way I'm getting rid of them again now.

 

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

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text 2016-11-13 19:45
The Twelve Tasks of the Festive Season -- Task the Second: The Silent Nights; and Task the Third: The Holiday Party


 

Task the Second: The Silent Nights:

- Get your hygge on! Put on your fuzziest socks, light a candle, and spend some time (reading) in front of the fireplace or your coziest nook. Post a picture if you want!

 

And:

 

Task the Third: The Holiday Party:

- Read a book where a celebration is a big part of the action.

 

Sofa, pillows, favorite blanket, favorite black velvet slippers, favorite childhood dinner and a mug of spicy chocolate tea, volume 3 of the audio collection of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey / Maturin cycle on my living room speakers, with Rex Stout's And Four to Go (4 short stories, 3 of these involving holiday celebrations) to be finished later ... I'd say that should count as two birds (tasks) with one, err, shot, shouldn't it?

 

 

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review 2016-05-09 17:47
Baked Fresh by Annabeth Albert
Baked Fresh (Portland Heat) - Annabeth Albert

Another hit by Annabeth Albert! She's still my go-to author for comfort reads.

 

Shy baker VIc looses over 100 pounds after a loved one dropped dead way to young because of a heart attack. With the new year and another accomplished goal, there comes a time to determine a new resolution. And this year, Vic wants to date.

 

Unfortunately the one guy he really wants to ask out is not exactly available. Because Robin, a fellow volunteer at the homeless shelter, is still recovering from being dumped by his ex, among other things. His demons are his own, and at times I had a bit of a hard time getting into his head.

 

But somehow, things still fell together naturally anyways, all in good time. Vic was such a sweet but fllawed character, I couldn't help but like him. Robin was a little more of a mystery to me at times, but the things he went through to get where he is in the end, still broke my heart and made me a tiny bit teary-eyed at times. I wouldn't have minded to read more about him and his struggles, but for the short length of the book, it made me go through all the feelz in order to be very happy about the HEA.

 

All in all, another good instalment in the Portland Heat Series, and definitely one of my preferred comfort reads for dark days.

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review 2014-02-03 13:11
R.J. Scott, Mary Calmes & Amy Lane what do these author's have in common?
Texas Family - R.J. Scott

 For me it's that their books are comfort food for my brain, my heart and my soul. I know what I'm going to get from them, I'm going to get a story I can loose myself in, I can enjoy. With a minimum of one character that I will absolutely adore.

 

I needed this after my last read it helped to smooth some of the remaining jagged edges back into place and settle my brain.

 

Texas Family was a nice slice of life look at what's happening in the world of Jack and Riley and their family. It was a chance to see them working on building their HEA. I love this series, these characters, I loved that there was no angst, no extreme drama, no great mystery to solve. Just the day to day life of a couple working towards their dream of having a family. But things weren't so perfect that you felt like you were sinking into a diabetic coma. There was stress of the normal day to day variety, there was tension between brother & sister, relationship struggles, compromise, resolution and in the end a family filled with love. Just what I needed.

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