Monday, January 7, 2013

2012 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

First of all, thank you to all who joined me for the reading challenge! How did you do?  You can link your wrap-up posts in the linky below (please indicate if you are in the U.S. please).  I will be drawing a winner of the box of books soon.  Unfortunately, I will not be able to offer an international prize due to my current life situation (if you haven't heard, you can read about it HERE).  Of course, the challenge will be back for the Christmas season 2013 so I hope you will join me again.

Here's what I read:

Merry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts (review)
Cupid's Christmas by Bette Lee Crosby (review)
North Pole High by Candace Jane Kringle (review)

Stop by and check out the guest post, review and giveaway for Cupid's Christmas HERE.
Check out the guest post and review of North Pole High HERE

See you on January 25 for Rudolph Day!

Always in spirit....

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Last post of the season! Book Review--North Pole High and Author Guest Post

Well, it's Twelfth Night (or Epiphany, for those who celebrate) and Sharing the Joy is over for the season.  I hope you enjoyed what I had to share with you this year, albeit it was a bit sparse because of all the personal drama in my life.  For the last day, I have a fun guest post for you from Candace Jane Kringle, author of North Pole High: A Rebel without a Claus, and a review of her book.  Don't worry...I will see you back here on the 25th for Rudolph Day when I'll be sharing a couple more book reviews I couldn't get to during the season.  Thanks to everyone who helped me out with guest posts this year.  I appreciate you more than you know. =O)


Famous Santas for a Hundred by Candycane Claus

Most of you know my father primarily from the way he’s depicted on the silver screen, where he has been portrayed by many fine actors over the years. Just in case you ever find yourself on Christmas Jeopardy! (a special edition of the show that only airs up here in the North Pole), here’s a cheat sheet to help you out.

See how many Santas you can name. And remember to phrase your answer in the form of a question or you’ll end up with a lump of coal. Bonus points if you can also name the movie.

Good luck!

Answer: He was the only actor to win an Academy Award for playing Santa Claus.
Question: Who was Edmund Gwenn? (Miracle on 34th Street)

Answer: This A-list star, who once acted opposite a volleyball for almost an entire movie, later appeared in a popular animated Christmas movie playing Santa Claus, a train conductor, and a hobo.
Question: Who is Tom Hanks? (The Polar Express)

Answer: Best known as the gruff but lovable Lou Grant in two TV series, this actor has appeared as, or voiced, Santa Claus numerous times, including one theatrical film where he accidentally brought a stowaway orphan back with him to the North Pole.
Question: Who is Ed Asner? (Elf)

Answer: This Academy Award-winning director of Gandhi, later famous for playing the man who unleashed dinosaurs on Jurassic Park, also played Santa Claus in the 1994 remake of a Christmas classic.
Question: Who is Richard Attenborough? (Miracle on 34th Street)

Answer: After winning acclaim in such movies as Sideways, American Splendor, and Howard Stern’s Private Parts, this character actor played a Santa beleaguered by a jealous, lesser-known brother played by Vince Vaughn.
Question: Who is Paul Giamatti? (Fred Claus)

Answer: Surely you can’t be serious; this comedic actor from Airplane!, who was also the captain of the original S.S. Poseidon, played a Santa with amnesia in a made-for-TV movie.
Question: Who was Leslie Nielsen? (Santa Who?)

Hope you did well on this little quiz. All your Christmas presents this year are riding on it. :)

My thoughts on North Pole High
A book with a TON of Christmas spirit, from the sights, smells, and tastes to the sentiments, North Pole High is the perfect Christmas read for young adults.  We are taken on a journey into the life of Santa Claus's daughter, Candycane.  We get to learn all the secrets of the North Pole and we get to see that despite all the Christmas wrapping, they are just like you and me...sort of.  Candycane has all the normal angst of your average teenage girl; boys, overprotective fathers, jealous best friends.  Despite all that, Candycane still keeps the Christmas spirit.  How could she not...she is Santa's daughter after all.  The best way to describe how wonderful her spirit is would be to share her quote about Christmas trees from the book:

Rudy, a Christmas tree by itself is just a tree...Each soul who hangs a bauble from its bough, or threads a string of lights through its needles, or tops it with a shining star, is teaching it to sing its own unique song of joy.  A Christmas tree, when it's finished and all lit up, with lots of presents cuddled underneath it, reflects the magic inside each person who trimmed it.

Wonderful, isn't it!?  Candycane's unrelenting spirit is like that throughout the book which makes it whimsical and lovely for anyone who loves Christmas.  I recommend this book to anyone who loves Christmas, but will remind that it is best suited to the young adult audience.

About the book
MEET SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD CANDYCANE CLAUS. She's the most popular girl at North Pole High. Her father is world-famous. And every day is Christmas. What more could any girl want?

BOYS! And the new boy, Rudy Tutti, is hot chocolate. But he hates anything to do with Christmas!

When Candy and Rudy are forced to work together on a school Christmas-tree project, her world is turned upside down: Her grades start to suffer, she loses her taste for ice cream, and now the two North-Star-cross'd teens must contend with her overprotective father — Santa Claus — before Christmas is ruined for EVERYONE!

About the author
Candace Jane Kringle is a junior at North Pole High. She likes candy canes, unicorn races, and making snow angels. Her father is the most well-known and beloved toymaker and distributor in the world. Her memoir, North Pole High: A Rebel Without a Claus, is her first book. After high school, she plans to enroll at North Pole University and write more books.

Thanks, and don't forget to click the links below for even more information. :)


I have a giveaway for Cupid's Christmas by Bette Lee Crosby going on right now.  It's supposed to end tonight, but I'm going to extend it for another week (last day to enter, Sunday, 1/13/13 at 11:59pm CST).  Don't forget to enter! ENTER HERE

Always in spirit....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sharing the Joy with Maria from A Night's Dream of Books

I apologize for being so neglectful this holiday season.  As many of you know, I've had some personal issues going on that have severely hampered my "joy" this season.  I can't believe the new year is here already, but I'm so glad 2012 is over.  I'm ready for a new life in 2013!

Sharing the Joy is going on through Sunday (Twelfth Night/Epiphany) and I'm hoping to have a few more things for you between now and then.  I'm trying to finish up some Christmas reading so I can post the reviews.  Anyway, the lovely Maria from A Night's Dream of Books generously helped me out by writing this wonderful guest post.  I hope you enjoy it!

During the Christmas season, I only want to read Christmas-themed books, whether they be fiction or nonfiction.  Of course, beautiful covers play a part in this, as well, since I am immediately drawn to books with striking covers.

For this post, which I'm contributing to Michelle's gorgeous blog, I thought I'd feature some of the most beautiful Christmas covers I've ever come across.  And here they are! 

Mass Market Paperback, 332 pages
Zebra Books
October 1, 2011
Christmas Romance
I would say this is one of the most beautiful Christmas covers I've ever come across!  It should really be a Christmas card.  Also, it looks like a scene from a movie, and the guy sure could be Harrison Ford's twin!  The lady's gown and cloak are exquisite, the colors are luminous, and the gently falling snow makes me long for a cozy fire and hot chocolate.  This cover is absolutely full of the Christmas Spirit!

Hardcover, 256 pages
Ballantine Books
November 1, 2011
Christmas Romance, Paranormal Fiction
This cover has lots of my favorite color -- blue!  I also love the snowy pine needles, which certainly evoke the blustery cold of winter, as well as giving a very magical feel to the entire image.

Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Zebra Books
October 1, 2011
Christmas Romance, Paranormal Fictikon,

This cover is so magical!  I love the way the whole image just glows!  The colors are absolutely enchanting, and that little girl staring wistfully into the store window is the perfect touch, as is the small Christmas tree in the lower, right-hand corner.

Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
HQN Books
October 26, 2010
Christmas Romance Novellas
The most beautiful thing about this cover, of course, is that exquisite wedding gown!  I wish I could go back in time, just so I could get married again in such a gorgeous dress...  I also love the contrast of the bright red around the oval window, with the icy blue of the outside landscape.  I do wish, though, that the author's name weren't right smack in the middle of the cover...  It's still one of my favorites, though!

Hardcover 258 pages
Howard Books
October 23, 2012
Christmas Romance, Christian Fiction
This cover is absolutely stunning!  The composition, the colors -- everything is just perfect.  I love the golden glow from within the bookstore, the couple standing in front of one of the door's inlaid windows, the two Christmas trees twinkling with golden lights...  Of course, I also love the glimpses of all those books inside the store!  And those old-fashioned doors, combined with the script used for the title, really give this cover an authentic look!

Hardcover, 144 pages
Andrews McMeel Publishing
October 1, 1998
Christmas Traditions

I had to include a cover from one of my favorite illustrators, Mary Engelbreit!  I have admired her art for years.  She creates such beautiful, whimsical, totally magical illustrations!  I had to enlarge this cover more than the others because it just doesn't adjust to the same size as the others.  Besides, I wanted to make sure that every detail could be seen.  This Santa Claus is so tender and sweet...I love that the artist pictured children giving him hugs, which he's obviously enjoying.  I love the little toys around the bottom of the image, the colors, the lettering....I simply love Mary Engelbreit's art!! 

I hope you all love these gorgeous covers
as much as I do!
They certainly exemplify
the eternal spirit of Christmas, don't they?

 Please don't forget to enter the giveaway for Cupid's Christmas by Bette Lee Crosby.  It runs through Sunday night, January 6th.  ENTER HERE

Always in spirit....