20 E-Books Under $0.99 for Your Holiday Weekend

by Casee Marie on December 20, 2013 · 1 comment

in Lit Life

If you’ll be needing some fiction to help you through your holiday travels this weekend, here’s a roundup of Christmas-themed e-books all 99 cents and under (a few are freebies!). I’m including Nook and Kindle links alike; a few are full-length novels, I think, as well as some anthologies, but most are either novellas or short stories. I’m reading Katharine Ashe’s Kisses, She Wrote right now, which is lovely!

All I Want for Christmas by Ros Clarke
Nook | Kindle

Christmas Crumble by M.C. Beaton
Nook | Kindle

A Grosvenor Square Christmas by Anna Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly & Kate Noble
Nook (free!) | Kindle (free!)

A Christmas Tragedy (Miss Marple) and The Naughty Donkey by Agatha Christie
A Christmas TragedyNook | Kindle
The Naughty DonkeyNook | Kindle

Twelve Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley
Nook | Kindle

Christmas Cookie Chronicles by Lori Wilde
Book 1: CarrieNook | Kindle
Book 2: RayleneNook | Kindle
Book 3: ChristineNook | Kindle
Book 4: GraceNook | Kindle

Fatal Fruitcake by Mary Kay Andrews
Nook | Kindle

The Christmas Cottage by Samantha Chase
Nook | Kindle

Kisses, She Wrote by Katharine Ashe
Nook | Kindle

Any Given Christmas by Candis Terry
Nook | Kindle

Mistletoe Mine by Emily March
Nook | Kindle

The Christmas Ring by Douglas Kennedy
Nook | Kindle

Unexpected Gifts by Elena Aitken
Nook | Kindle (free!)

Spoonful of Christmas by Darlene Panzera
Nook ($0.49) | Kindle ($0.49)

Antiques Slay Ride by Barbara Allan
Nook | Kindle

The Christmas Cuckoo by Mary Jo Putney
Nook | Kindle

Enjoy, and have a safe, happy, well-read Christmas!

Vera Sterling is reeling from the loss of her job as a journalist in the city when she returns to her small Connecticut hometown of Addison for her sister’s wedding. Jolted by her unsteady new circumstances, Vera finds herself making a decision to take a chance and do something truly unexpected: namely, purchasing an old Colonial home complete with a neglected barn. Once the famed and beloved Christmas Barn of her youth, the old timber building is run down and the house is in need of a host of repairs; but Vera finds encouragement when she stumbles across a treasure hidden in the barn, left behind by the Christmas Barn’s proprietor with the wish of hope that can only come from one special holiday. As she begins to chip away at her new life, Vera gets reacquainted with the town nestled into Addison Cove, particularly handsome hardware store owner Derek Cooper whose history of tragic loss brings the town together every year to remember a young girl lost at Christmas. But when Derek’s yearly tribute festival is threatened by an unstoppable snowstorm, it’s up to Vera to commemorate a tragic event while trying to heal the heart of a father still steeped in unfathomable grief.

Joanne DeMaio’s third novel, Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes, marks the author’s return to the fictional town of Addison, Connecticut, this time with all the magic and warmth of a New England Christmas. DeMaio’s celebrated talent for crafting memorable small-town stories blossoms under the light of the holiday season and gives readers an endearing look at how enchanting the festivity of Christmas can be, whether by lights strung up in an old barn or by the natural beauty of snowflakes. A collection of charming new characters are presented here, but not without a few cameos from DeMaio’s previous books, Whole Latte Life and Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans. The trio of standalone novels is tied together through DeMaio’s delightful writing style and the unforgettable enchantment of her fictional Connecticut world.

There’s a sense of simplicity to Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes that contrasts particularly with the more complexly woven story of DeMaio’s second novel, Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans; the departure is well-suited and calls to mind the simple joy of the season, countering the story of Derek’s sad history with all the lightness and merriment that Christmas can offer. DeMaio’s transition from summer stories to holiday tales is beautifully handled, drawing as heartfelt a story with the canvas of the winter months and evoking the pure fun of the Christmas excitement that touches all our hearts. Derek’s struggle to come to terms with his loss and Vera’s search to find a place in his life add a layer of depth to the sweetness of the setting as the complexity of their relationship tugs successfully on the reader’s heartstrings. Full of warmth and joy, Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes delivers a story that reminds us that wishes come true and that love is around us if we’ll only look for it – at Christmastime, and always.

Title: Snowflakes and Coffee Cakes
Author: Joanne DeMaio
Genre: drama, romance, holiday
Publisher: Joanne DeMaio
Available Formats: e-book
Release date: October 15, 2013
Provided by: Mary DeMaio (c/o)
Buy the book: Kindle | Barnes & Noble
Connect with the author: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

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Review: Christmas Lights by Christine Pisera Naman

by Casee Marie on December 3, 2012

in Fiction, Reviews

During the holidays we all become susceptible to the vexation that comes with the rush of the season. From the pressure of finding the perfect gift to the anxiety over gaining unwanted weight, countless nagging irritations try to work their way into our lives. But the season, when experienced with true and devoted holiday spirit, can be a magical time, and once in a while all we need is a friendly reminder to count our blessings. Christine Pisera Naman’s debut novel, Christmas Lights, serves as just that sort of reminder to step back and enjoy the blessings of the holidays. Through eight vignettes the novel tells the stories of seven different women and how their personal struggles lead to triumphs with the help of a little holiday spirit. Katherine faces the mortality of life as she visits her aging husband; Julianna experiences the heart throbs of teenage love; Adrianna discovers her inner-strength against the fragility of her marriage; Cassandra overcomes her greatest heartbreak; Victoria finds love in the most unexpected of places; Alexandra comes to understand that the ones who love us never really leave us; and Isabella finds her soul mate through the miracle of motherhood. These spirited women come together in the book’s final story, illuminating the reader’s belief in hope, love, Christmas, and the power of God.

With each story Christmas Lights brings to life an instantly familiar woman whose struggle is one that the reader will feel a significant passion for. Through every story I shared in each woman’s emotional journey; together they explore the timeless territories of love, loss, happiness, grief, and peace through simple lessons that reach out from their daily lives to change their attitudes and renew their faith. In such a way, Christmas Lights also offered me a warm and friendly reminder of how the holiday season can offer a special look at the beauty of the lives we’re given. It allowed me to take a break from the many distractions of the holidays to blissfully steal away to a place of reflection, laughter and, in some moments, sorrow. The women in the book – from the wise and aging Katherine to the spirited young Julianna – each offer a unique insight into how the way we live our lives during Christmas can impact our perspective and heal our souls. It’s a relevant lesson told with simple charm and uplifting beauty by the author’s gentle, encouraging narrative.

I was enchanted with the novel and its many stories before being delighted further by the way the author weaves together the many threads of the book in its final pages. The cleverness of the ending struck me several times over and revealed truly creative layers behind what on the service appears as a simple holiday read. The result was deeply touching and heartwarming; a wonderful way to begin the holiday season. Christmas Lights is proof that a quiet afternoon spent reading can, through stories of family, inspiration, and God’s grace, ultimately change a reader’s perspective or reinvigorate their thriving holiday spirit.

Title: Christmas Lights: A Novel
Author: Christine Pisera Naman
Genre: holiday, christian, inspirational
Publisher: Doubleday
Format: Hardcover
Release date: October 30, 2007
Provided by: The Albee Agency (C/O)
Buy the book: Kindle | Nook | Better World Books

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A Novel Holiday: The Literary Christmas Tree

by Casee Marie on November 21, 2012 · 2 comments

in Lit Life

Congratulations to tinatre for winning the You Tell Your Dog First giveaway!
You should have an e-mail from me in your inbox, and we’ll get your copy off to you soon!

I’ve been seeing plenty of holiday inspiration around the internet and one thing that’s caught my eye on several occasions is the Christmas-tree-made-of-books trend. (Yes, really, it’s a trend!) Pictures get shared around the web and sources become a bit muddled so I tried to do a bit of digging and figure out where this concept came from. I went all the way back to 2006, believe it or not. This being the only time books will revert back to their original forms, the trees started out in libraries, made from old National Union Catalogs that were no longer being used. Thus, no books were harmed in the making of these trees.

Right, then. So here’s a timeline…

( source )

What seems to be the original was created in 2006 at (I believe it was) the Aalborg University Library.

( source )

In 2009 the William H. Hannon Library made this version.

( source )

Also in 2009, and annually thereafter, was at the Gleeson Library at the University of San Fransisco (their 2010 edition was 9′ tall!).

And after that, around 2011, it went a bit viral…

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I love this table-top edition from Kristie at The Decorologist!

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Obviously stacking so many books so high for the length of the holiday season could be a bit of wear on your beloved volumes, so I particularly love the way Kerstin and Dominik made theirs into a rather cinematic stop-motion holiday card.

If you’ve ever done a book Christmas tree please share a photo on the Literary Inklings Facebook page! I didn’t quite have the room for one of these, but I did a little makeshift dresser-top version with just my signed copies, since I like to keep them out in their own special place. I hope everyone’s enjoying the kickoff to this holiday season, and if you’re Stateside I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

As a side note, you can now follow Literary Inklings on HelloCotton! If you’re not on HC I highly recommend it for both bloggers and blog-readers; it’s a great way to discover and follow other blogs from a variety of topics, all written by women.