Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christmas. Show all posts

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas, readers!

Merry Christmas, reader friends!!
Because why not?
A quick note to say that I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!  I hope you get all of the books you asked for!  :)

The past few weeks have been action-packed with visits to Santa, finishing the shopping, wrapping gifts, cookie baking, etc.  Add to that the fact that I'm reading a real chunker (The Historian, at 676 pages), while also in the busiest training time for the Winter Warrior half marathon, and it means that I've been a tad lazy about blogging lately.  However, I am looking forward to some more posting after the holidays, and I have lots o' reading plans for 2016.  Stay tuned!!

Now back to family, gifts, and eating way too many cookies!!  :)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Sunday Post #3: Christmas (kids) book haul

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  It's a chance for book bloggers to share what's going on with them this week, any new book-related news, etc.

I am still in recovery mode over here from the holidays, people!  Christmas, as I mentioned previously, was great, if tiring.  Small Fry is 3.5 now, and the "magic of Christmas" is totally in his bones at this age.  He was SO FREAKIN EXCITED about everything.  And Tater Tot was excited that his brother was excited, so that made me happy.

Post-Christmas, we made the mistake of letting Small Fry stay up til midnight for the first time on New Year's Eve, and we are still suffering the consequences.  Please pray for us that someone sleeps in this house soon.

Despite our sleepless state, we have been happily reading to our kiddos the last few weeks, especially from their new Christmas books.  They received several books, both from us and from relatives, but here are their favorites:

A Treasury of Curious George by Margaret and H.A. Rey

Small Fry is TOTES into Curious George right now.  He already owns The Complete Adventures of Curious George, which he adores, but is full of the older stories in which little C.G. smokes a pipe and gets high on ether (not a joke, look that craziness up for yourself).  I was happy to buy him this book of newer stories, in which Curious George is inquisitive, but not on the road to prison.

Duck & Goose 1, 2, 3 by Tad Hills

Tater Tot took a bit longer to get into books than Small Fry did as a baby.  However, around his first birthday, TT started sitting and listening when I read to him (vs. the smacking me in the face that was happening before).  Duck & Goose books have been some of his favorites.  For whatever reason, he goes into a trance-like state when he sees those adorable waterfowl.  This is the newest one in his collection, and he is delighted.

Little Blue Truck's Christmas by Alice Schertle

Small Fry already loved the original Little Blue Truck book.  This one has blinking lights in it.  BOOM.  Both boys are fully entranced.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney

Another new one for Small Fry.  He enjoys Llama Llama books, but I had to special mention this one because my husband laughs so.flipping.hard. every time he reads the part when Llama Llama has his complete meltdown in the grocery store.  SO DRAMATIC, LITTLE LLAMA.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  Any of your kidlets get good books under the tree this year?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Sunday Post #1: Christmas book haul!

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  It's a chance for book bloggers to share what's going on with them this week, any new book-related news, etc.  Since my life has been rather crazy lately, I figured I'd participate this week to catch you up on life here at the Well-Read Redhead.

So here's me right now as I type this post:
Yup, looking super hot and unshowered but snuggling a very adorable sleepified baby.  That pretty much sums up life these days!  This morning my husband took Small Fry to the grocery store, so Tater Tot and I are chillin' while they're out.  Tater Tot seems to be going through a bit of a growth spurt, so I was up every 60-90 minutes last night feeding him.  I love you, little one, but it would be super cool if we could finish up this spurt and get some sleep soon!  Consider this a gentle request from yo' momma, kthx.

Beyond my current status as a 24/7 milk bar, life has been good as we adjust to being a family of four.  I had my first few half-days at home with Tater Tot and Small Fry this past week, as my husband's paternity leave is wrapping up.  They went surprisingly well, and we even did our first daddy-free outing to (where else?) the library.  Small Fry was very well-behaved and Tater Tot slept through the whole thing, so I think we're on the right track.  Granted it took an act of Congress to get us out of the house in less than 3 hours, but we're getting there.

So, what about book-related news?

I have been pleasantly surprised with how much reading I've gotten done lately.  It's important to have something to keep you awake during a 2am feeding (because dropping the baby is not recommended), and Kindle reading has been just the ticket.  I've got a new review for you tomorrow, and possibly one more before the year is up...we shall see!

Also, I received $150 in Amazon gift cards for Christmas.  OH EM GEE.  I am aware that Amazon sells things other than books, but I really don't care much about those things, so I've been spending the last few days staring at the Kindle e-books department in wonder.  $150 goes a very long way if you plan your pennies right.  So far I've gotten:

-5 books by Dennis Lehane: Moonlight Mile, Sacred, Live By Night, Darkness Take My Hand, and Prayers for Rain (his books were the Kindle Daily Deal the other day...$1.99 each!  YES PLEASE!)
-Tampa by Alissa Nutting
-The Bat by Jo Nesbo
-Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
-And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
-The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
-The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain
-and I just bought NOS4A2 by Joe Hill and The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates...both are Kindle Daily Deals today...less than $4 each!!

All that and I still have $100 left.  OH MY.  What else should I buy, readers??

That's all for my Sunday Post this week...enjoy your last moments of 2013!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #13: SF's Christmas book haul!

Hey, if I can do my own Christmas book haul post, then Small Fry deserves one as well.  We are taking a break from our normal Small Fry review this week, and showing off what SF got from Santa in the book department this year.

My tiny sir has received:

Snuggle Puppy! by Sandra Boynton
My Dad Loves Me! by Marianne Richmond
Thomas Looks Up by Rev. W. Awdry and Billy Wrecks
The Cheerios Play Book by Lee Wade
Jingle All The Way by Tom Shay-Zapien
Press Here by Herve Tullet
The Duckling Gets A Cookie?! by Mo Willems
Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter
Sesame Street Starry Sky Songs by Publications International

We bought the books by Boynton, Richmond, and Willems for Small Fry, but we are so grateful to his grandparents and other family members for giving him the others as gifts!  This kid is going to need more book storage room soon (he is already taking over my bookshelves).

We've already given many of these a read, and I can't wait to share some of them in future Small Fry Saturdays.  Some of them are fun (Snuggle Puppy leads to some hilarious singing), others are awwww-worthy (My Dad Loves Me), and some are very interactive (Starry Sky Songs, Thomas Looks Up, etc) I have a whole range of things to review soon.

What books did your small fries receive this holiday season?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Small Fry Saturday #12: Jingle All The Way by Tom Shay-Zapien

It's time for installment #12 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is where I do a weekly showcase of books that my Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

Jingle All The Way by Tom Shay-Zapien

For my last Christmas-related children's book of the year, I'm reviewing a book that Small Fry received as a gift from my mother-in-law this week!

Jingle All The Way is actually an "interactive story buddies" book, which means it comes with a stuffed Jingle the dog.  You turn Jingle on before you start reading, and then when you read key sentences in the book (highlighted in red), the stuffed Jingle will bark/sing/whine/etc with the story.  It's a cute concept!

The book itself is heartwarming.  Jingle roams the streets, but particularly loves hanging out with the children at the local elementary school.  On Christmas Eve night, he is looking for a home to stay in, but can't find one.  He accidentally curls up to sleep in Santa's sack, and Santa delivers him to a little boy's house on Christmas morning.  (Let me hear it: "Awwwwwww.")  The story is great, and Jingle is just so darn adorable (the illustrations of him are almost better than the actual stuffed dog!).

As for the "interactive" part, that is a little less awesome.  You can have literally NO background noise going on when you read, or else Jingle won't play along.  Case in point: the first time my husband tried reading it, the dishwasher was running in the next room, and he couldn't get Jingle to react when he read (or, shouted) any of the prompting lines.  I can only get it to work if I'm sitting in complete silence.  (Just picture me sitting in my living room, screaming repeatedly at a stuffed dog: "And Jingle was a good boy!...AND JINGLE WAS A GOOD BOY!  GAHHHH!")  So the interactive-ness is a neat idea, but definitely not ideal (especially when reading to a busy/noisy toddler).

Even so, I'm glad Small Fry gets to enjoy this book, and he loves squeezing his fluffy Jingle...even if the dog is a little bit hard of hearing.

What new books did your Small Fries receive from Santa this week?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Extravaganza!

I don't normally take part in the "stack your shelf" or "mailbox Monday" posts, because sharing book hauls isn't my usual cup of tea.  But thanks to some lovely gift cards this Christmas, I raided Amazon and Barnes and Noble this week, and I had to share the spoils!

Generally, when I use gift cards, I try very hard to stick with bargain-priced and marked-down books, because I figure I can always borrow the full-price hardcovers from the library (or wait until they go on sale).  I'm not impatient enough with book releases to spend the $$ on new arrivals.  So I'm fairly proud of the amount of books I was able to get with just two $50 gift cards!

First up, my Amazon haul for my Kindle:

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Twelve by Justin Cronin
Why Have Kids? by Jessica Valenti
Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler
One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

Amazon doesn't let you search by price (BOOOOO), so I never do as well there as I do at B+N.

Here's my B+N haul (shipping this week!):

Fragile by Lisa Unger
William Shakespeare: Complete Plays
Dracula by Bram Stoker (with a very cool cover design)
The Inferno by Dante
Bag of Bones by Stephen King
Crashers by Dana Haynes
Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
The Brightest Star In The Sky by Marian Keyes
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
I'd Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
The Promised World by Lisa Tucker
Promises to Keep by Jane Green

I also received one book as a gift from my husband: July 7th by Jill McCorkle. 

July 7th is my son's birthday, so my husband snagged me a copy when he found it online!

What are your book shopping strategies?  Did you receive any good reads this holiday season?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, y'all!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful, merry, joyous, bookish-gift-filled Christmas!  Thank you all for being such awesome and thoughtful readers of my blog.  I have truly enjoyed every minute thus far, and I can't wait for all that there is to come.

Now then, back to gorging myself on cookies and Reese's peanut butter Christmas trees!!
Thanks, Hermoine.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Small Fry Saturday #11: Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star by Petr Horacek

It's time for installment #11 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is where I do a weekly showcase of books that my Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star by Petr Horacek

I am having so much fun discovering these Christmas books with Small Fry at our library!

Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star is an adorable story about (you guessed it) Suzy the goose, who is decorating the Christmas tree with all of her other animal friends.  However, they soon realize that they are missing a star for the tree.  Suzy sets out to get the best and brightest star she can find!  And when she has difficulty, her animal friends help her out so that they can create the perfect tree that they envisioned.

I love that this book teaches kids about being determined and bold--but also about how to accept help when you need it.  Two awesome messages, on top of some Christmas cheer.  It's beautifully illustrated as well.  And what is my thing with geese in kid's books this year?  I guess Duck and Goose infiltrated my brain.

What Christmas books are you enjoying this holiday season?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Small Fry Saturday #10: Santa Claus The World's Number One Toy Expert, by Marla Frazee

It's time for installment #10 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is where I do a weekly showcase of books that my Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

Santa Claus The World's Number One Toy Expert, by Marla Frazee

Another fun Christmas book for you this morning!  This was another one that Small Fry and I unearthed at the library recently.  Let me tell you, the kid's Christmas books section at the library is cutthroat these days--everything is on 7-day loan, and parents are pushing each other out of the way to nab the best ones.  Okay, maybe not that bad, but it's pretty cray-cray.

Anyways, this book is awesome for kids and adults alike.  It teaches kids about the painstaking work Santa does to research all the best toys, and keep tabs on all the kiddos, so that he can give everyone the very best presents possible (including himself!).  Small fries will love hearing the story, but adults will get a chuckle too, as the illustrations have all sorts of hilarious little details.  (Ex: Santa sitting at his desk surrounded by sticky notes...hello, that is my entire life at work ON THE DAILY.)

The drawings in the book are seemingly simple, but hold more detail the longer you look them over.  And I love how the author used a lot white space on the page, allowing the words to flow over and around the illustrations in a playful way.  Overall, this is a fun, spirited Christmas book that will make kids excited to see what Santa chose for them this year!

What Christmas books are you enjoying this holiday season?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Small Fry Saturday #9: Merry Christmas, Ollie! by Olivier Dunrea

It's time for installment #9 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is where I do a weekly showcase of books that my Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

Merry Christmas, Ollie! by Olivier Dunrea

For the rest of this month, I will be highlighting CHRISTMAS BOOKS!!  Small Fry and I went to the local library last week, and took out a few holiday books to help us celebrate the season.  I tried to grab books that I hadn't seen before, because Small Fry loves new reading material, and I like to branch out beyond the more popular kid's books.

Merry Christmas, Ollie! is an adorable book about Ollie the gosling.  Ollie and his 4 gosling friends (Gossie, Gertie, BooBoo, and Peedie) are anxiously waiting for Christmas, and the arrival of Father Christmas Goose.  But Ollie is especially impatient!  While the other goslings hang their stockings and wait quietly, Ollie stomps around, because he wants Christmas NOW!  The other goslings try to help him stay patient as they wait for the big day to arrive.

This book captures the impatience that little kids feel when they know Christmas (and Santa) are just around the corner!  It's a short book, so a good one for your smallest small fries.  And the illustrations are what got me the most--remember how much I adored Duck and Goose?  The goslings in this book remind me of them, with their adorable big beaks and winter hats.  Love it.  I didn't realize it when we took it out, but this book is part of the Gossie & Friends series, also by Dunrea.  I will be checking them out for sure!

What Christmas books are you enjoying this holiday season?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Review: Being Santa Claus by Sal Lizard with Jonathan Lane

Title: Being Santa Claus: What I Learned About the True Meaning of Christmas
Author: Sal Lizard (with Jonathan Lane)
Publisher: Gotham
Publication Date: November 8, 2012
Source: ARC received from publisher for an honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

A veteran Santa reveals heartwarming true stories and lessons from his twenty-year career spreading Christmas magic.

With the holiday shopping season beginning earlier each year, more than ever.  Americans are struggling to remember the true meaning of Christmas. And who better to deliver the gift of Christmas inspiration than a man who has spent the last two decades playing Santa?

Sal Lizard was in his twenties when his beard and hair turned completely white.  Today he appears everywhere from malls and parades to schools and hospitals. And— from his custom-made red velvet suits to the mistletoe that hangs from the rearview mirror in his Santa-mobile—he is Santa Claus three hundred and sixty-five days a year. 

In  Being Santa Claus  Sal reflects on his experiences with both children and adults including:

Christmas magic is all around us: We don’t always see it, but it is there, shaping and enriching our lives. 

Sometimes you need to go that extra mile: Santa Claus is the one person who can’t even use a blizzard as an excuse not to honor his commitments, and Sal teaches adults the importance of always showing up for our children. 
Even a small child can make a big difference:  Sal has met some impressive children over the years, and he’s learned that you don’t need to be a grown-up to make an impact on the world around you. 

In  Being Santa Claus  Sal shares these lessons, along with often heartwarming, occasionally heartbreaking, and sometimes downright hysterical stories from his twenty-year career as Santa.

My Review:

Usually, I don't start getting into the Christmas spirit until after Thanksgiving--I like to take my holidays one at a time.  But when I had the chance to review this ARC, I couldn't resist getting into the spirit a bit early here on the blog!  Plus, who doesn't like a feel-good memoir once in a while?

This book is a short read--at 196 pages, many of you could probably do it in one sitting.  Even so, Sal Lizard's tales as a professional Santa leave their mark.  They alternately made me smile (as he got an entire mall to start singing Christmas carols with him at random) and cry (when he visited child cancer patients in a Boston hospital).  And I am NOT a crier, people.  Believe that.

The best thing about this memoir is that Sal's passion for truly being Santa Claus comes through in his stories.  He takes his role very seriously; even when he's out and about in non-Santa capacities, he makes sure that he behaves in a way that kids would expect to see from the Big Guy.  He seems to have a simple, genuine interest in spreading Christmas cheer.  I'm one of those people who gets very frustrated with the commercialization of Christmas at times, but this book reconnected me with the things I LOVE about the holiday--being charitable, enjoying friends and family, and remembering the childlike joy of the season.

The only complaint I have about this book is that, at times, the writing almost makes the stories seem too good to be true.  I know, I know--I was just waxing poetic about the wonders of Christmas, and now the book is too happy?  But it's worth mentioning this, because the thought poked into my brain more than once.  In all of these stories, Sal always acts/thinks/responds in the perfect way, and his timing is always exactly right--almost to the point where the tales started to feel fictional by the end.  It was a little overdone, and I point it out because I think it will be evident for many other discerning readers, as well.

However, that does not make me recommend this book any less!  It's a book about Santa, after all--so maybe I just need to believe?  ;-)

If you want a fun, light-hearted read that's sure to get you into the Christmas spirit, Being Santa Claus definitely fits the bill.

Happy Holidays!
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