Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weekend Recommendations #28

This is a weekly feature, where I get to go all fannish about two randomly-picked favvies (which may not actually be favorites, but got a rating of 3 or more strawberries) that I would recommend to friends! But in honor of the Christmas season, I've invited three of my bookish friends to suggest two favorite Christmas reads that they would recommend to people!

Katherine's Christmas Picks

Author: Eowyn Ivey
Genre: fairytale retelling

Why Katherine Liked It:

This is a beautiful haunting story set against the stark backdrop of 1920s Alaska. Based off a Russian fairytale of the same name, it tells the story of Jack and Mabel, a childless and poor couple who desperately want to have a child of their own. After a devastating miscarriage, they pack their backs and travel to the new frontier, Alaska. One day, in a fleeting moment of happiness, they build a snow child . . . and she magically comes alive. I absolutely love this tale of love and redemption, even though the ending is heartbreaking.

Author: C. S. Lewis
Genre: fantasy

Why Katherine Liked It:

I was first introduced to The Chronicles of Narnia in 6th grade, when I was required to read this classic. I couldn't understand or appreciate the illusions or symbols at the time; all I was concerned about was trying to find a way for my closet to transport me to magical lands. While I'm still working on the last part, the magic of this story brought to me has never faded. Evil witches, talking animals, elves, and enchanted kingdoms make this the perfect Christmas read. Now if only I could have a magical closet . . .

Kel's Christmas Picks

Title: Ice
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Genre: fairytale retelling

Why Kel Liked It:

A story about saving the polar bears! (And, for once, it's not global warming.) While not the best fairy tale retelling out there, it puts a unique twist on East of the Sun, West of the Moon. And there is now. Lots of it. If you're looking for a far north adventure to tackle from the warmth and safety of home, this is it.

Author: Dr. Seuss
Genre: children's literature

Why Kel Liked It:

I know it's a kid's story, but I can't help it. This is a staple of Christmas (along with it's excellent, original animated adaption). The classic Scrooge, the ultimate humbug, how can you not enjoy the Grinch's story? The end is a bit of a letdown, kind of like Gru turning nice in Despicable Me, but it's still a great book, sure to bring a smile to all.

Hazel's Christmas Picks

Title: Eight Cousins
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Genre: classic

Why Hazel Liked It:

This has always been one of my favorite stories, and while not necessarily a Christmas story, there is a lot of it set during winter and Christmastime, and I usually end up reading it and other classics during the winter. I have always loved Rose and the boys and Uncle Alec so much and this is a story I grew up with so it's one of those comfortable stories to read during the holiday season.

Author: Brian Jacques
Genre: children's fiction

Why Hazel Liked It:

The Redwall series has been a favorite of mine for a long time, and this lovely little picture book is a nice addition to the series and a wonderful winter/Christmas read. Apart from being a cozy winter story for all ages, it's accompanied by the beautiful and adorable artwork by Christopher Denise that makes it all the better.

The Reading Hedgehog's Christmas Picks

Author: Tone Almhjell
Genre: fantasy

Why I Liked It:

A wintry, snowy land where children's pets go to live after they die? A young girl who receives a mysterious key that unlocks this world? Talking animals? A missing Winter Prince? Certain doom if Lin's destiny is not fulfilled? Sign me up! The Twistrose Key is whimsical, beautiful, exciting and sad, and is just the perfect read for Christmas - especially for those kids who have read The Chronicles of Narnia and want something similar. With beautiful illustrations, memorable characters, and that special wintry charm, it's a terrific book. Also, just look at that cover! How gorgeous is that?!

Title: Deception
Author: Patricia Finney
Genre: historical fiction/mystery

Why I Liked It:

Experience Christmas in the court of Queen Elizabeth - and solve a mystery involving counterfeiters! Every Christmas to-reads list needs a good Christmas mystery, and this 3rd book in The Lady Grace Mysteries is perfect. Grace is a witty and intelligent protagonist, and this relatively short volume is filled with Elizabethan Christmas cheer.


  1. As always, Mara, thanks for inviting me to take part in the guest post! I'll have to check out some of the others books too, they look good =) You know, I also forgot that "Witchlanders" is a great winter read too.

    1. Thank you for participating! :) I know; I really want to read THE SNOW CHILD now. I totally forgot about WITCHLANDERS as well; oh well - save it for next year. ;)


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