Christmas Past and Present with Audiobooks





The Audio Publishers’ Association invited me to participate in the “A Good Audiobook Speaks Volumes Holiday Blog Tour & Giveaway.” It’s easy to listen to Audiobooks with a variety of listening apps, so they’re perfect for traveling, and even for staying home.  Just think, you have a billion gifts to wrap or cookies to decorate, or a house to prepare for company. Audiobooks are just as effective as carols for getting you in the holiday mood, but without constant repetition.  

There’s a giveaway of 8 books from LIBRO!


  1. BRIDGE OF CLAY by Markus Zusak (Penguin Random House Audio)
  2. SPILL by Leigh Fondakowski (LA Theatre Works)
  3. HOW TO BE LESS STUPID ABOUT RACE by Crystal Fleming (Beacon Press)
  4. AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE by Tayari Jones (HighBridge Audio)
  5. SALVATION by Peter F. Hamilton (Tantor Audio)
  6. THE HUNGER GAMES: Special Edition by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
  7. HEARTLAND by Sarah Smarsh (Simon Audio) 
  8. NINE PERFECT STRANGERS by Liane Moriarty (Macmillan Audio)

Scroll down, comment and use the form! Thanks to all the publishers and Libro!

I am focusing my post on my favorite holiday book this year and my all-time favorite.



Thread the Halls

Book 6 in the Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series
Author Lea Wait
Narrated by Christina Delaine
Publication date Sep 11, 2018
Running time 8 hrs 16 min

I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

This Yuletide season, there’s no time for Angie Curtis and Patrick West to linger under the mistletoe. Patrick’s being needled by his mother—movie star Skye West—to set the stage for a perfect white Christmas as she brings her costar, screenwriters, and director home for the holidays. With his mother’s long list of wishes, Patrick’s becoming unraveled. To help, the Mainely Needlepointers offer to decorate Skye’s Victorian mansion and create needlepoint pillows as gifts for the guests.

But not long after the celebrity celebrants invade Haven Harbor, an unscripted tragedy occurs. Then some questionable Christmas cookies make Patrick sick. Before Santa arrives at the town pier on a lobster boat, Angie and the Needlepointers need to trim down the naughty list, catch a cold-hearted killer, and wrap up the case . . .


If you cannot be in Maine this holiday season, a book by Lea Wait is the next best thing. And, whatever holiday you celebrate this winter, it’s always better with a little cozy mystery. Lea Wait is a very good writer who writes highly nuanced characters with suspenseful plots that have real consequences. For example in this book, Angie’s boyfriend, Patrick, continues to suffer from burns he suffered from a fire that burned his house down. It has effected his profession.  While it has taken a while for the books to come out, the timeline for them is much shorter, so Patrick and Angela have a new-ish relationship.  Lea approaches romance a little cautiously, but the story stays clean.  And with the clean romance you don;t have to worry about who might overhear your book, and you can loan it, or gift it, to your friend, mom, gran, or your Auntie.

People who do needle-craft will also enjoy the needlepoint talk and the samplers excerpted and explained at the start of each chapter. 

Ss far as this plot goes, as with most cozies, I figured out some of it but there were some unexpected Christmas surprises that I didn’t pick up on.  The plot of the holiday house party is a little reminiscent of an Agatha Christie mystery, but without the accents and in the US. 

I think Christine Delaine gets the accents and is the voice of the series, but I don’t like the way she voices Patrick: in this one especially he’s a little wimpy.  Also, I don;t know why her Grandmother, at sixty-five sounds like she’s 80.

The story (and the series) is full of Maine charm, ACCURATE Maine charm.  Lea is just a ways up the coast, she gets it all right; talking about places in Portland, Maine history, our museum and our delicious food.  I love books that take place in my stomping grounds — and the accuracy here is important to be as a reader.   But, for those who do not live in Maine, the way Lea describes it will make you think that if you step outside you’ll smell the salty tang of the ocean, and see the snow on the lawn, the wreaths on the doors and windows, the old rock walls, and the water in the distance. I recommend any one of the Mainely Needlepoint Series (In fact I have two that I will be reviewing next week).  I’ve enjoyed them all, and get pretty invested in the characters and the goings on, but for the holidays come home to Maine with THREAD THE HALLS.










Holidays on Ice

Holidays on Ice Banner

By David Sedaris

Little, Brown & Company/Hachette
10/20/2010 original publication 1997
Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback, eBook (176 pages), Audiobook (240 minutes)
narrated by David Sedaris, featuring Amy Sedaris, “Seasons Greetings to our Family and Friends” performed by Ann Magnusson

Library Audio Download. No Remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

David Sedaris’s beloved holiday collection is new again with six more pieces, including a never before published story. Along with such favorites as the diaries of a Macy’s elf and the annals of two very competitive families are Sedaris’s tales of tardy trick-or-treaters (“Us and Them”); the difficulties of explaining the Easter Bunny to the French (“Jesus Shaves”); what to do when you’ve been locked out in a snowstorm (“Let It Snow”); the puzzling Christmas traditions of other nations (“Six to Eight Black Men”); what Halloween at the medical examiner’s looks like (“The Monster Mash”); and a barnyard secret Santa scheme gone awry (“Cow and Turkey”).

No matter what your favorite holiday, you won’t want to miss celebrating it with the author who has been called “one of the funniest writers aliv” (Economist).
– See more at:


David’s books are simply the funniest things I have ever read. His essays, or vignettes; maybe short stories start off with a smart observation and then his brain takes brilliant vectors off the initial observation and all funny hell breaks loose. I even like the cover.

This is a short audiobook, and having heard David read twice here in Portland, heariing him do the audio is much the same great experience.  Or, if you’ve listened to him on the radio in his bits on NPR, then you know his deadpan delivery where everything funny or not is given equal weight is brilliant. Sometimes his voice ramps up in enthusiasm, like a young boys might — not much, but it adds to his charm.

Here he is, this man my age, from a similar cultural background (rare enough), unassuming, with this unusual wit that I have seen make Jon Stewart fall off his chair laughing.

David talks about things that aren’t funny on their own. It’s that he notices them, picks them up and turns them into the funniest stuff ever. Never read or listen with anything in your mouth — it won’t stay there. He looks at Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

For example, in one of the vignettes in the book entitled Six to Eight Black Men, he tells us about the Dutch tradition of SinterKlaas which takes place on December fifth. In this tradition, Santa leaves his vacation home in Spain and travels to Holland with six to eight black men.  [This is currently, in 2018, a political/social issue in Holland but I was unaware it was a problem there when I cited the story which does not promote the tradition] If you are bad, you might get a pile of sticks, or, David tells us, you may be deported, in a sack, to Spain. As outrageous as this sounds to an American, it is true! I looked it up. David laments that America’s Santa tradition is not nearly as interesting.  And his time as one of Santa’s elves in Macy’s will make you laugh and possibly examine your holiday habits.

Having been raised in the Greek Orthodox tradition, David knows his odd holidays. Greek Easter, for example, he tells us is supposed to have some meaning but he suspects it was invented so they could get cheaper Easter candy.

And then there is the French class he takes in France when the students from different traditions try to explain Easter to someone who is not familiar with it.

This book is the perfect holiday hostess present.  It was a great short download that kept me amused as I worked out, but laughing hysterically makes running much, much harder. If you like to laugh David is a must read. And, with the holidays coming up this is a great time to read or listen to HOLIDAYS ON ICE.  After all, it could help make even the most awful holiday pleasant if you can figure out how to hide the earphones.

I originally posted this review in October of 2014





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