Sarah Anne’s Bookshelf – December 2018


I focused on reading several holiday books this month and tried to stay away from serious books. November felt very heavy with many great, but serious subjects in the books I read. I finished off the year reading 12 books in December. 

Here’s what I read in December:

Christmas Box

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

I read The Christmas Box many, many years ago when I first discovered Richard Paul Evans, but my husband wanted to read a Christmas novel with me, so we picked this one and I’m glad I re-read it. I had forgotten that The Christmas Box was a true story about how Evans realized the importance of being present as a parent. I highly recommend this short, but inspiring read. 

Bully Brother

Bully Brother by Craig M. Dial

I reviewed this book as a request through my blog. Bully Brother is a memoir about growing up in a large family in the 1970s in California. Craig grows up right in the middle of a family with five children and is constantly tormented by his older brother, David. It’s not just the typical sibling rivalry, but bullying that involves violence, trickery, control and spit.

Chasing the Scream

Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari

A friend recommended Chasing the Scream – a book that explores the originations and affects of the War on Drugs. I learned a lot and was pushed to think about ideas in a different way. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in how the War on Drugs might be “won.”

Alaskan Holiday

Alaskan Holiday by Debbie Macomber

Josie is working as a cook at a resort in Ponder, Alaska, while waiting for her job at a posh Seattle restaurant to start. While she planned on adventure, she didn’t plan on falling in love with Palmer, a man who can’t see himself leaving Alaska. When she misses her flight home to Seattle, Palmer must find her a way to get back to Seattle, even though he would rather thwart her efforts so she will stay longer … maybe forever?

The Waitress

The Waitress by Melissa Nathan

The Waitress was the December Online Book Club book choice. I found it at a library book sale and it looked interesting. Katie is a waitress but she wants more out of life. Her relationships never turn out how she wants. If she can get what she wants, she knows she’ll be happy .. but will she?

Comfort and Joy

Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah

Sometimes things happen in our lives that can’t be explained other than by some kind of magic. When Joy survives a plane crash, she finds herself wanting to hide away from the world for a while and she stumbles away from the crash site to a cabin. There, a boy and his father are rebuilding their relationship after the boy’s mother died. The father had left them years ago, but wants to make sure his son is loved. Joy helps them until she is forced to return to reality. Then, the magic happens.

Starry Night

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

Carrie Clayton wants to be a serious journalist, but she is stuck on the society page unless she can find and interview the elusive Alaskan author, Finn Dalton. She follows the trail and finds him, only to get stranded in his cabin with him for two days. While each are set against falling for anyone, they can’t help but connect on a starry night. Can she keep her promise not to publish an article about him?

Teenager is Not Crazy

Your Teenager is Not Crazy by Jeramy Clark

Teenage brains are under construction. In Your Teenager is Not Crazy, the authors look at the science behind teenage brain development and give parents tips based on biology, psychology and faith. It is full of good advice – one main one being to ask lots of questions to help teens learn to critically think on their own.


Matchless by Gregory Maguire

Matchless is a short story based on The Little Match Girl. It was a really quick read, but a nice addition to my holiday reads for December. It ties the match girl to another family and shows how love can come around any corner.

Ornamental Graces

Ornamental Graces by Carolyn Astfalk

 Dan and Emily meet on a Christmas tree sale lot when she is looking for a tree for her apartment with her brother, Robert. Robert and Dan become friends and he and his wife try to set up Dan and Emily. However, neither is ready for a relationship after being hurt recently. Will pushing each other away push away their own happiness?

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber

 Raising children can be hard and How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen provides a lot of common sense tips for helping the communication process. The author shares stories and insights and gives examples of how to use the tips in everyday life. I will be using some of this advice with my own children.

Dichotomy of Leadership

The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

 Jocko and Leif are back with another book on leadership, based on lessons learned during their time as Navy Seals. The Dichotomy of Leadership takes Extreme Ownership to the next level and answers questions readers had after the first book on leadership.

What did you read in December?

Share on the blog – I’m always looking for books to add to my to-read bookshelf!


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About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.