Saturday, October 25, 2008

Book Review and Giveaway: The Paper Bag Christmas!!

The Paper Bag Christmas
by Kevin Alan Milne

Description from Hachette Book Group USA:
Dr. Christopher Ringle is the last person you'd expect to find moonlighting as Santa Claus at the mall on the day after Thanksgiving. But it is there that he meets a young man named Molar Alan, who desperately needs a new perspective on the underlying value of Christmas. Dr. Ringle recruits Mo and his older brother as volunteers at a nearby children's hospital for the holiday season. At the hospital, Mo is asked to help bring holiday cheer to the young cancer patients on the fifth floor. His biggest challenge is befriending a decidedly angry girl who is so embarrassed by her scarred appearance that she hides her face behind the safety of a paper bag. Almost in spite of himself, Mo finds that Christmas joy emanates from a source far greater than the North Pole, while the young girl learns that she is more beautiful than she had ever imagined.

I feel very fortunate that Miriam from Hachette sent me this lovely novella to review. This is a touching and endearing story about the true meaning of Christmas. The main characters Molar and his brother Aaron learn the value of friendship and selflessness and how important it is to look beyond ourselves. This story was very touching and it makes you stop and think about your own life and outlook on the world and the effect you can have on others. I think that this would be a wonderful young adult novel for teens and young adults as it is told in a child's perspective. It is also short enough to hold their attention and have a great impact as well! It can easily be read in one sitting. I finished it in less than 2 hours this morning and had trouble putting it down!

You can read the first chapter here.

This book is to be released in Hardcover on 10/29/2008.

Publisher: Center Street , a division of Hachette Book Group USA
ISBN: 9781599950730
Pages: 160
Size: 5" x 7-1/2"

Click here to find information on where to buy this book.

Author website here.


I am offering my very gently read Advance Reading Copy as a giveaway here today!

To Enter:
  • For one entry: Leave a comment here about what is special and meaningful for you about Christmas, a Christmas memory or what you find difficult about Christmas.
  • For another entry: Spread the word and blog about this giveaway and post a link back here.
*Please make sure to leave an email so that I can contact you. Good luck!!

*Entry to the giveaway is until midnight, November 5th, 2008 and is open to US and Canada only, due to postage costs.


  1. Last year, my husband got a Play Station 3 and an iPhone for Christmas. He was supposed to grill a tri-tip roast for our dinner. He put the meat on the grill and came in and started playing with his toys. Well, the grill caught on fire, so we ended up with a piece of charcoal instead of a piece of meat. Our Christmas dinner ended up being, stewed tomatoes, a salad and macaroni and cheese. We laughed the whole time, though and it ended up being great. Please enter me. milou2ster(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Bonnie, I would love to win this book. It sounds really interesting to me. I have a very lovely Christmas story to share with you. Our youngest daughter was burned when she was 3 yrs. old. This happened 2 weeks before Christmas. She actually went into a coma for 2 days and 2 days before Christmas she woke up and told me she saw an angel and the angel showed her the way back to us. She told me she was lost and so tired. Christmas Eve day we brought her home from the hospital. That was an extra special Christmas for us that year. Right before this accident happened she asked us for Teddy Ruxpin, which was a talking bear that every little child in America wanted because it could talk to you. My husband and I had told her that she would break Teddy Ruxpin because she always pulls on moving parts of toys. You can rest assure she was given Teddy Ruxpin for Christmas that year and yes she did break his lower lip, which moved but we didn't care-we still had our little "angel"!!

  3. I was raised by my Grandparents and Christmas was always special to me.My Mamaw always decorated the house with tacky old decorations and she would make cookies and would read us kids stories.I really miss those special Christmases but I have the memories.

  4. I really, really want to read this one -- it should help to put me in the mood for the holidays.

    Christmas is special to me because I love how my husband and I merge our family traditions to create "new" ones for our children.

  5. I have an ARC in my review pile, so don't enter me! This looks so good.

    I have blogged your giveaway here:

  6. This one looks really interesting!

    I'm not sure what makes Christmas so special to me but it is. Already I can feel the Christmas season coming. I get warm comfy feelings whenever I think of the coming season. We don't go anywhere special or do anything special and we often don't have much money so our gifts are meager but I still love Christmas so much!

  7. I miss my Grandmal she always made Christmas so memorable!!! I wish she was here!! She brought the whole family together!

  8. No need to enter me; I'm just dropping in to say I posted this at Win a Book for you.

  9. Bonnie, this sounds like a great seasonal read. I love a good novella.

    No need to enter me, as I'm on a book acquisition ban :)

    This would make a great Christmas gift, I think.


  10. What I love about Christmas is that there is something for everyone...everyone ends up shrugging off their Scrogue exterior (all though it may take some longer than others to disard their Scrogueism's) in orderand to help each other. I wish we had this magic of the season all year long! I also love walking to an from our local church for Christmas eve service in the snow with my husband.
    darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

  11. It is always fun to watch my kids opening their presents, especially when they get one they really wanted. My mother made them huge stockings when the were born, probably close to 3 feet long. They always have fun seeing all of the goodies in there too!

    jgbeads AT gmail DOT com

  12. Christmas thoughts already! My favorite thing about Christmas is being with my family. Since we have all gotten married and there are now small kids we have a tradition where we all get together on Christmas Eve and have our own traditional dinner which combines old and new traditional foods. Then we open our family gifts and have a good time!

  13. I posted it on my blog

  14. One year, I really wanted a "Chatty Cathy" doll. My sister and brother were a lot older than me and our choice of gifts very different. Dad worked 3 jobs to support the family. Mom was a SAHM. The only time dad and mom used credit was at Christmas time with a Montgomery Ward credit card! I was afraid I wouldn't be able to have "Chatty Cathy!" I will never forget that Christmas morning when I ran into the living room and there she was in plain view under the lit Christmas tree. Thanks, Cindi

  15. The best thing about christmas for me is a time to spend with family. It is one definite time a year everyone has off from work.

  16. My daughter is only 3 1/2, but I love Christmas with her. Her eyes practically fall out of her head with excitement at all of her goodies. As much as she wants to rip into everything, she'll also bring presents to the right person, and help them open it, lol. It's nice to being able to experience Christmas through a child's eyes, and not your own. It reminds me of how magical the season is, and how special it is to be with all of the family.

    Blogged about it here :

  17. I didn't know what Christmas was until I got engaged,

    As a child, my parents made very bad decisions. Long story short, my sister and I never celebrated Christmas. There were never any presents or even a special meal. It was just another day to us. Sure, hardship was an issue but there could have been something to celebrate I'm sure.

    In my 20's when I got engaged, my husband began to invite me to family gatherings for Christmas. I was introduced to a world that I had only dreamed of as a young child.

    As you can imagine, when I had my first child I went all out with Christmas and have been that way ever since. I try to do my part for unfortunate families as well so that my kids appreciate the Holiday as much as I do.

    Anyway, that is my excuse when I drive everyone crazy with my holiday OCD.

  18. Great review, Bonnie! Miriam sent this to me also, and I can't wait to read it. She is such a wonderful person! This sounds like a wonderfully awesome book too. I really love to find heartfelt Christmas stories. They lend so much more to the Holidays, I think.

  19. I love all holiday books but Christmas stories are the best! The thing that bothers me most about the holidays is how our family has grown and moved away. Soon that will be my own children. We still manage to find a way to get together though even if it takes until January. The best gift we ever received was when my first child was born early, days before Christmas and we got to come from the hospital on Christmas Eve. I didn't have everything else ready that year but we had the best gift possible and everyone was just as happy as we were! Thanks so much and please enter me.

    I've put this on my blog

  20. Sounds like a sweet book.

    I love all the traditions my husband and I are passing down to our daughter and how we're creating some new ones, too. Christmas is all about family to me, and it's difficult as the years go by to think about the family that is no longer with us, especially my dad. But it's also wonderful to see all the new faces at the family gatherings, all my new nieces and nephews.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  21. Okay - you sold me. Please put my name in the hat! :)

    One thing that is very meaningful to me at Christmas is purchasing gifts for those in need and that they don't know it's from me.

    I will post this giveaway on my sidebar.

  22. sounds like a very heartwarming book, I find christmas difficult because I don't have a very close family and the lil bit of family that I do get along with we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like to.

  23. The thing that is most meaningful to me about Christmas is just taking time to slow down on the day itself and think about those I love, as well as meditating on why Jesus came to earth as a baby in a manger.

    One of our family traditions growing up at the Christmas gatherings at my grandparents, was to read the Christmas story from the Bible as soon as we'd gathered around the Christmas tree (my grandfather usually read from Luke 2), and then we'd sing "Silent Night." Exchanging gifts there was a rich and special time, even though as "poor dirt farmers" there wasn't always a lot. I remember one year my grandfather leaning back and gazing with great satisfaction at his entire family - including his 14 noisy and excited grandkids - and saying to my grandmother, "Mama, just look what we've done!"

    Reading from the Bible and singing "Silent Night" is a tradition I still follow. I always have - even during painful and lonely Christmases when I lived as a single woman 2000 miles away from my family. It is something that links me to my family and days of old, no matter where I am.

  24. What I find hard about Christmas is the whole commercialization of it all. I want to get back to the simple basics. Just a few presents, giving to others and just enjoying having your family with you!

  25. Although I can get very stressed out about trying to get gifts for everyone (hopefully ones they will actually like) I am always excited about opening the gifts. Not because I want to know what people have given me but because that might be the only time that my family is all in one place doing something together.

  26. I'm really late with this post Bonnie so need to enter me but I did add it to my giveaway post here:

  27. I love the "spirit" of Christmas, the way everyone seems to try harder to be nice. I love the warm glow that radiates from small children; their cheery voices raised in song at those wonderful school Christmas concerts.

    My husband and I love the season so much we got married on Christmas Eve. We will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this year.

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