Christmas Book Picks 2017

I received complimentary copies of some of the books I mention here in exchange for honest reviews, which you’ll find in the posts I’ve linked to.

The time is here once again! I share my Christmas Book Picks before Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. in case any of my blog readers would like to procure and read a title or two from the list during the holiday season, which I very much hope you will. 🙂 You’ll find them listed in a pretty eclectic order.
*And to the authors of my Christmas Picks, if you’d like a medal for making the list, see the bottom of this post.*

Bedford Falls: The Story Continues by Anne Morse

Christian Fiction

from me

George Bailey’s grandson and his hometown have lost their way, so it’s about time for another visit from Clarence, the guardian angel who now has his wings. I usually refrain from reading classic work continuations written by people other than the original authors. But am I ever glad I read this novel, based on the story and characters from the classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life. The book isn’t a fairy tale, merely romanticizing the Baileys and Bedford Falls while lacking the film’s true depth. Morse is clearly someone with a real grasp on the significance of the story, and the complexity and spirit of the poignant continuation she’s woven together does not disappoint. This moving work of fiction is now on my list of all-time favorite reads.

Bespoke: A Tiny Christmas Tale by Amanda Dykes

Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

from me

To give her composer father one last gift, Aria will need the help of the childhood friend she lost. Once I started this novella, I was drawn into a mystery of sorts, one that gradually, quietly unfolds through the book. There’s such an aching beauty to this story, a story that, wisely, doesn’t feel it has to spell everything out for the reader. It’s tragic. Poignant. Intensely romantic. Redemptive and hopeful. I may appreciate this book the more for having experienced it at the most wonderful time of the year.

Pemberton Manor: The Goodbye Girl by Becky Doughty

Christian Fiction/Women’s Fiction

from me

Grace is stuck in an elevator on Christmas Eve with an apparently pompous guy… Yes, this is the first episode to a serial novel, but it’s a satisfying story on its own. I found this novella funny and distinctly touching, with such an understanding of human nature. I love this Grace heroine, how compassionate, flawed, and grown she is. At a pivotal point in the story, I said to myself, “See, that’s what a heroine does when she’s not a self-centered little girl at heart. When she’s grown.” And the story closes–it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger or anything, but it certainly whet my appetite to meet more of Pemberton Manor’s misfits.

Comfort and Joy by Lynette Sowell

Christian Fiction/Romance

from me

A widowed grandmother, Gwynn, and a widowered professor, Theophilus, may be in for a surprising Christmas. This novella is warm, down to earth, and engaging, a story that moves at a nice clip without rushing. The romance is well-developed, balancing attraction with the ease of Gwynn and Theo’s dialogue. It also raises realistic points about finding new love later in life. The reading was like sitting down to watch a cozy Hallmark Christmas movie without commercials. This was my first time ever reading this author, and this romantic and comforting holiday tale has certainly put her writing on my radar.

A Singular and Whimsical Problem by Rachel McMillan

Christian Fiction/Historical Mystery

 from me

A missing cat, missing young women, and a female detective duo in 1910 Toronto. I’m no mystery expert or anything, but I rather enjoyed this novella. It’s got entertaining dashes of humor, even as it doesn’t make light of a serious human trafficking problem. There’s a lot packed into this quick read; the main characters are interesting, the unfolding case is intriguing, there are lovely whispers of romance in the story, and the ending becomes especially Christmassy. This is a companion to a novel and something of an introduction to a series, the Herringford and Watts Mysteries. I couldn’t not go on to read more of the series after reading this.

That Gift! by Sheryl Fawcett

Fiction/Short Story

from me

Thirty years ago, his Christmas gift to his wife was all wrong. Has he finally improved on it? I got such a kick out of the title and cover, here: cute, fun, and catchy without being too silly, and it’s all very much on theme. The tale itself is the kind of delightful holiday goodness that’s right up my alley. I often say that I’m not big on book blurbs, and in the case of this short story, I’m quite glad that I didn’t read the blurb ’til afterwards, as it was enjoyable to discover the story’s “aha moment” without the blurb’s explanation. This tale is a quick, meaningful, and satisfying dose of holiday warmth!

Ino’s Love by Marianne Sciucco

Fiction/Short Story

from me

For eighty-year-old Innocenzia, love during her holiday extends to more than just family. This short Christmas story is perfect for when you have a little time–and a little Kleenex, just in case. I saw much of what was coming in the story, but watching it unfold tugged at my heartstrings anyway. The tale doesn’t shy away from taking an honest look at human nature. In a situation that’s pretty wrong, Ino is pretty right (that’s what tears me up!), and she finds a way to still make Christmas, Christmas. A quick and bittersweet read that ultimately made me smile, even if I might’ve been on the teary side.

The Worst Christmas Ever by Elizabeth and Juliet Rowe

Christian Drama/Play

 from me

When everything goes wrong for one family on Christmas Eve, what can turn it all around? Reading and reviewing this was a first for me: a play for children, written by a young pair of sisters. It’s an enjoyable story to read, cute and humorous with a serious and heartfelt holiday message in it. I’d recommend this play to any Christian group looking to put on a children’s production–or to anyone else who can appreciate a quick and uplifting tale with refreshing innocence and Christmas warmth.

A Christmas Promise by Thomas Kinkade and Katherine Spencer

Christian Fiction

 from me

In the town of Cape Light, Christmas gifts are coming in unexpected packages. I was curious to see how it would feel to read this novel after such a long break from the series, which I started over a decade ago and hadn’t revisited in five years. Although this book will naturally have that much more meaning if you’re already familiar with the people of Cape Light, it’s still a full enough story to read as a standalone. It’s an easily-paced tale of heartache and hope, a touch of suspense, gentle romance, and blessings in disguise. Quintessential holiday warmth for fans of feel-good reads, right here. And I highly recommend reading more novels in the series, which is an all-time favorite of mine.

12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep

Christian Fiction/Historical Mystery

 from me

Spending Christmastide at the manor will bring Clara a much needed reward, but there’s danger lurking… As the first book of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series, there’s certainly something Dickens-esque about this Victorian holiday mystery. It’s cold and dreary but with drafts of light and humor that slide in, and it features an eclectic cast of distinct and interesting characters. What first drew me most into this story is its style, with excellent imagery and rare turns of phrase—a classic touch that’s refreshing to find in a modern read. I certainly plan on reading the second book in the series when it comes out next year, in plenty of time for Christmastide.

_______________

There you have ’em–my picks for the year. Christmas is now officially kicked-off!

Entries for 2017’s Christmas Book Picks giveaway are now closed, but comments on the post are remaining open.

Check out a romantic comedy that ties right into the holidays: The “She” Stands Alone. It’s a part of a collection, Inspiring Love: Three Romantic Reads.

______________

Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If I’ve selected yours as a Christmas Pick this year, you’re welcome to a complimentary medal to display on your website, blog, social media–wherever you wish. Click the image below and contact me to receive a full size PNG medal. (The lined watermark will be removed, of course, and the medal will include the year on it, 2017.) Thanks again!

 

27 thoughts on “Christmas Book Picks 2017

  1. Amanda Dykes says:

    Nadine, what a joy and surprise this was! Thank you so very much for including Bespoke. Wish I could dash over to that Blacksmith shop and have James whip up some candlesticks for you as a thank you gift! 😉 I hope this holiday season holds such warmth and delight for you. Merry (early) Christmas!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Frances Hampton says:

    Hi Nadine!
    Thank you for the opportunity to win a paperback copy of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep in the Christmas Book Picks giveaway! You have some interesting books picked out. I love Charles Dickens so 12 Days would be perfect. I’m also looking forward to reading Thomas Kinkade and Kathrine Spencer’s A Christmas Promise as well as Elizabeth and Juliet Rowe’s The Worst Christmas Ever, (which makes me think of the Herdman’s in the Worst Christmas Pageant, a book I read way back that was just hilarious). Thank you for the suggestions!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nadine C. Keels says:

      You’re welcome, Frances, and you’re entered in the giveaway! Besides the first four novels in the Cape Light series, I’ve read two of the Christmas novels so far–both delightful! I simply have to get my hands on the rest. 🙂

      Like

  3. Shonda Fischer says:

    Hi Nadine! I would love to read 12 Days At Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep! I love reading a Christmas book with a warm cup of tea and Christmas music playing softly in the background. I sit all snug in a blanket with my comfy clothes on and step into the pages of a book. Aww Christmas time!

    Like

    • Nadine C. Keels says:

      That sounds perfect, Shonda! I myself am ready to break out the hot cocoa for Christmastime reading and movies–especially since we’ve just gotten our first (unexpected) snowfall of the season in my hometown. 😀 You’re entered in the giveaway!

      Like

    • Nadine C. Keels says:

      You’re welcome, Perrianne! I don’t always know I want to read a book the first time I see it, but 12 Days at Bleaky Manor was one of those “yup, gotta have it” books for me as soon as I heard it existed. I didn’t even know what it was about, but it went straight to my TBR list anyway! 😀

      Like

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