This Week’s Reads and Updates: Beasts and Beauty – The Christmas Pig – A Christmas in the Alps and more… #AmReading #Books #Reads

Hey, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well this week. I’m starting to make my way back to posting at least a few times a week. It’s been really nice chatting with everyone and seeing what you have all been up to. If I missed anything big or if there are any particular posts of yours you want me to get caught up on, please feel free to link them below!

In the reading world, I’ve finally finished Shadowsong over the weekend. You can see my review for that one here. This book was on my retelling challenge list. I’m trying with all my might to get caught up with the Retelling Reading Challenge before the year is up. There are only a few more, but sadly one or two may not make the list. It’s definitely not a failure; in fact, I’ve read a total of fourteen retellings this year alone, which is quite good because the original number was ten. I’ll do an update soon on my plans to finish out the challenge. As of now, I’m not sure which book I’ll be grabbing next in the challenge, but it looks like it will either be Circe, or East by Edith Pattou. Check out the link above to see my progress, and feel free to give me recommendations on which one should come next.

We also finished all three books of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. These get five stars from all the kids and me.



This week I’m reading a ton of middle-grade books–two are NetGalley/Edelweiss reads I’m behind on.

Beasts and Beauty is a NetGalley book I should have reviewed by now, but guess what? We ended up buying it anyway. So, my daughter and I are reading it, and I have to say, these tales are dark for being children’s tales. I’m loving it because you guys know I have a thing for fairy tales, but some endings are a little confusing. Maybe some children will have a difficult time with them? My daughter is okay with them so far, but she’s given me some strange looks; she doesn’t seem to be enjoying them as much as other tales we’ve read. We should have this one done in the next few days.

Blurb: You think you know these stories, don’t you?

You are wrong.

You don’t know them at all.

Twelve tales, twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts. Each twists like a spindle to reveal truths full of warning and triumph, truths that capture hearts long kept tame and set them free, truths that explore life . . . and death.

A prince has a surprising awakening . . .                           

A beauty fights like a beast . . .

A boy refuses to become prey . . .

A path to happiness is lost. . . . then found again.

New York Times bestselling author Soman Chainani respins old stories into fresh fairy tales for a new era and creates a world like no other. These stories know you. They understand you. They reflect you. They are tales for our times. So read on, if you dare.


The Beatryce Prophecy is Kate DiCamillo’s newest book. I’m late reviewing this one for Edelweiss as well. This is also another book we ended up buying anyway. So far we have nearly every book she’s written. Because her books never disappoint, we usually just buy them. Hopefully, a review will be up next week.

Blurb: In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all–for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.

And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories–powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves–ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead. But Beatryce knows that, should she lose her way, those who love her–a wild-eyed monk, a man who had once been king, a boy with a terrible sword, and a goat with a head as hard as stone–will never give up searching for her, and to know this is to know everything. With its timeless themes, unforgettable cast, and magical medieval setting, Kate DiCamillo’s lyrical tale, paired with resonant black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, is a true collaboration between masters.


One Thousand and One Arabian Nights is a book my kids are reading for their history curriculum, and I’m reading it along with them. It’s been enjoyable so far. It’s a compilation of stories told by a new bride named Shahrazad. She married a king who consistently kills his wives, so she baits him with stories so he’ll spare her life day after day.

Blurb: King Shahryar kills a new wife every night, because he is afraid she will stop loving him. But his new bride Shahrazad has a clever plan to save herself. Her nightly stories–of Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba, and many other heroes and villains–are so engrossing that King Shahryar has to postpone her execution again and again… This illustrated edition brings together all the Arabian Nights tales in an original retelling by award-winning author Geraldine McCaughrean.


The Christmas Pig is J.K. Rowling’s new book. I’m reading this one with my kids along with the full cast audio. What a sweet story it is so far. There was a worry initially that it might be too cheesy for my older middle-graders because it’s about toys, but they approve of it.

Blurb: One boy and his toy are about to change everything...

Jack loves his childhood toy, Dur Pig. DP has always been there for him, through good and bad. Until one Christmas Eve something terrible happens — DP is lost. But Christmas Eve is a night for miracles and lost causes, a night when all things can come to life… even toys. And Jack’s newest toy — the Christmas Pig (DP’s replacement) — has a daring plan: Together they’ll embark on a magical journey to seek something lost, and to save the best friend Jack has ever known…


Narrowing it down to two Christmas reads was essential. There are just so many out there that I have on my list and so many new ones too. Melody Carlson’s holiday reads always take priority, so this new one was automatic. Here are the two Christmas reads I want to try to fit in this month…

A Christmas in the Alps:

After a time of heartache and loss, Simone Winthrop discovers a tantalizing letter from her French great-grandmother, which seems to suggest that she is heir to a family treasure. Ever practical, Simone assumes the claim is baseless, but her best friend encourages her to find out for sure. Despite her deep-rooted fear of flying, Simone boards a jet to travel to Paris at Christmastime to uncover the truth.

During the long flight, Simone meets the charming Kyle Larsson, who’s on his way to France to become an apprentice clockmaker. Though they abruptly part ways, an unexpected rendezvous in the French Alps at Simone’s family’s clock factory may lead to the discovery of the family treasure . . . and so much more.

For anyone who is wearying of staying home, Melody Carlson invites you to spend Christmas with her in the beautiful French Alps this year. So pull on your mittens, tie your scarf tight, and prepare yourself for a magical mountain holiday.

The Christmas Escape:

It was supposed to be Christy Sullivan’s perfect Christmas escape – a dream trip to Lapland with her family and best friend, Alix. But facing a make-or-break marriage crisis, Christy desperately needs time alone with her husband, Seb. Her solution? Alix, along with Seb’s oldest friend, Zac, can take Christy’s daughter on the planned Lapland trip, and they will all reunite there for Christmas Day. After all, what are friends for?

There’s nothing Alix won’t do for Christy, but Christy’s plan to save Christmas is testing their friendship. Especially as Alix and Zac have a difficult history of their own.

As long-held secrets unravel, and unexpected romance shines under the Northern Lights, can Christy and Alix find the courage to fight for the relationships they really want? And could this Christmas escape save the precious gift of each other’s friendship?


We just grabbed a nice book haul from Barnes and Noble. I’ll do a different post on these.


So, that’s it this week. It’s crazy how reading for myself—my own books—slowed down so much over the last few months, but I’m finishing the year out strong. Completing the Retelling Reading Challenge is on my radar. Christmas is coming too fast for me, but hey, it’s happening! This is truly my favorite time of the year– especially for reading.

What are you guys reading this week? Have anything fun planned? Have you been able to keep up with your reading goals this year? Let’s chat!

❤️ Mischenko

13 thoughts on “This Week’s Reads and Updates: Beasts and Beauty – The Christmas Pig – A Christmas in the Alps and more… #AmReading #Books #Reads

  1. You’ve been doing a LOT of reading by the looks of this post. Christmas reads are always great this time of year, and you can NEVER go wrong with the LOTR trilogy. Glad your kids enjoyed that one, too.

    I’ve been reading a lot of fiction based on historical figures from the Old Testament. I’ll probably hop back into my usual mystery/suspense/thrillers soon, but for now I’m enjoying the change of pace! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really have, Mae. Reading never stopped, but I haven’t been able to read many books on my own list much.

      It sounds like you’re reading some interesting books! I’m going to have to get caught up on your blog to see what you have going on. Take care. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome! My GR challenge was around that number, and I’m way over, but of course a good chunk of those are children’s books and middle-grade. 😀 I’ll be sure to check out those two. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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