Tuesday, January 10, 2017

#Review of Tales to Take You to Christmas by Sarah Tipper and Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

My season officially ended on January 6th so I'm pretty late with this. Of course, everyone knows by now that this is a year round Christmas site so my season never really officially ends. 😄

I'm including my review of this wonderful book of Christmas short stories and the CS reading challenge wrap-up in one post...for time economy's sake.

My thoughts on the book
If you buy any book next Christmas season, make it Sarah Tipper's Tales to Take You to Christmas. Better yet, buy it sooner. How about Rudolph Day (25th of each month) or during Christmas in July? You simply must read this charming book of short stories!

Sarah knows Christmas. I felt like I was reading the words of a kindred spirit. Each story is unique and though every one does not have a lesson, many of them do. Sarah touches on same sex relationships (acceptance), not-so-good-for-you relationships (independence), elderly loved ones, remembrance of loved ones who have passed, accepting oneself/being happy as you are, and more, but she's not heavy handed about it; and some stories are downright whimsical. Each story had its own merit and I loved them all. I can see myself picking this one up and reading favorites over the years. What I really loved was reading stories written from a British perspective. It gave me a glimpse into the Christmas traditions in England.

My favorites...

Keep It All The Year
The Pastry Plaster Plan For Patiently Pleasing Previously Perturbed People (read the full story here)
Deck the Halls
Fat - Her Christmas
Bring Me Sunshine
Secret Santa
The Freegle Has Landed
The Harvest Mouse Party
I Bet You Have A Great Christmas 1995
If I Had A Magic Wand in December

So, yes...I loved this book. I have a special love for Christmas themed short stories and this book fills the bill. I highly recommend this endearing book of stories to anyone who loves Christmas.

About the book
These twenty four short stories are ideal for advent reading. They are short enough for your commute into work in December and ideal for encouraging a festive mood to descend upon busy shoulders.
The titles of the stories and brief descriptions are as follows:

Keep It All The Year - The love of George leads to a lifelong love of Christmas.

Lost In A Forest - Kathleen needs to come up with a name for her and Don’s new house.

The End Of The Life Of Brian – Rats and romance combine in this tale.

The Pastry Plaster Plan For Patiently Pleasing Previously Perturbed People - Mince pie munching helps Roberta to cheer up in time for Christmas.

Deck The Halls – Communal living works out for the best, despite Jemima’s fears.

I Got Your Mum Alan Titchmarsh – Unlimited text messages between husband and wife help with Christmas plans.

Shirley’s Cold Cutz – Mrs C spends a pleasant few hours gossiping at the hairdressers.

Fat - Her Christmas – Mary learns to listen to the positive people and become one of them.

YulaTron 3000 – This robot promises to be your festive metal pal that does the job so well.

Teenage Cleans Are Hard To Beat – Melinda’s Christmas is made when she meets Simon in a launderette.
Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White – Karen is surprised to find that Santa was in her year at school.

The Bell – Donna feels grateful for being in the here and now in nineteen-eighty-three.

Bring Me Sunshine – Nancy hopes her daughter Lisa’s news will be met with understanding by the rest of the family.
Follow That Star Tonight – Lothario Terry strums his guitar to great effect and Jan is smitten.

Secret Santa – Lily finds the perfect gift for Edna after a prickly conversation.

The Freegle Has Landed – Peter’s big garage bill means Melanie has to budget very wisely for Christmas shopping.

Redemption – Ella has got into a pickle and isn’t looking forward to Christmas at all.

You’ve Got to Have Christmas Dinner For Christmas Dinner – Six people, six opinions on the yummiest thing to eat on the twenty-fifth of December.

Late Night Thursday – Maureen watches regular customers as they shop before Christmas nineteen-eighty-eight.

The Harvest Mouse Party – Christine suspects that mice inhabit the hedgerow she walks past every day on her way to school.

Monologue – Liz reflects on life and love while preparing to write her Christmas cards.

I Bet You Have A Great Christmas 1995 – Charlene is happiest when playing guessing games.

Pullit-on-Three – Christmas cracker jokes are created in the charming town of Pullit-on-Three.

If I Had a Magic Wand in December… - Some thoughts on how the festive season should be.

About the author
Sarah Tipper was born in Oxford, England in the 1970s and was very nearly called Robert. She enjoyed school, especially any classes that involved writing and that did not involve wearing shorts.

Sarah studied Psychology at the University of Reading. She missed her graduation ceremony because it clashed with seeing Black Sabbath. She went on to graduate with a masters degree in Health Psychology from Coventry University. Luckily this didn’t clash with anything and her Mum got a nice day out.

Sarah’s religion is heavy metal, she has written five books about a fictional metal band called Eviscerated Panda and three books that follow teenage metalhead Cleo Howard through the difficult days of growing up in the late nineteen-nineties. Sarah has also written a book of twenty-four short Christmas stories that can be used as a readable advent calendar.

During the day Sarah does cancer research, squirting things at other things in a science type way. She started writing her first novel because a friend kept telling her to write a book and because another friend had inspired her to write a ‘things to do before you’re forty list’ and write a book made it on to this list. Sarah can’t stop writing now.

The idea of the Eviscerated Panda series of books was conceived after twenty-four years of experience of going to gigs and drinking in rock pubs. It was hugely enjoyable to write and Sarah hopes to create heavymetalworld, much like Terry Pratchett created Discworld. The Cleo Howard diaries spun off out of the Eviscerated Panda series and gave Sarah the opportunity to regress to moody teenagerhood (and it’s much more fun in your forties).

Sarah’s Christmas book Tales to Take You to Christmas began as a small number of tales that grew into a whole book because Christmas is a very fun thing to write about. Sarah thinks of her twenty-four stories as little snow dusted windows into other peoples’ festivities.
Sarah’s favourite seasons are spring and fall. Her favourite cookie is the chocolate shortcake ring. Sarah’s favourite font is blood cyrillic, even though it’s really hard to read. Sarah finds writing about herself in the third person odd. It makes her worry she might get a big ego like that Kanye West fella.

Sarah’s Amazon.co.uk author page is http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Tipper/e/B00A8Z5OVC
If you would rather buy from a smaller company, you can buy from here:


Sarah can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EvisceratedPanda/

You can follow Sarah on Twitter at https://twitter.com/evisceratedpand

Wrapping up the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. How did everyone do? I never officially signed up, but since I'm the host, I figured participation is a given.

What I read:

A Christmas Carol and The Night Before Christmas (audio)
The Lion in the Box by Marguerite de Angeli
Christmas Tales: The Night Before Christmas and 21 Other Christmas Stories
Tales to Take You to Christmas by Sarah Tipper

I started reading The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans and Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories by L.M. Montgomery, but did not get to finish them. Next year...or maybe during Christmas in July.

I'm using the same linky as for the sign-up. When you add your wrap-up, be sure to add wrap-up, like so Michelle  @ True Book Addict - wrap-up or something similar. I will choose the giveaway winner soon and will add the winner's name at the top of this post. If you would like to be considered for the giveaway, please leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you. Here are the giveaway details again: The giveaway this year will be a $15 donation to the winner's choice of a human rights organization, such as the ACLU, Boys and Girls Club, Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, Amnesty International, It Gets Better, Planned Parenthood, or another human rights organization of your choice, perhaps your local chapter or organization. This giveaway is open internationally.

Thank you for joining me! I hope to see you next year!

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Always in spirit...