Monday, January 6, 2014

Morgan Straughan Comnick's Favourite Wintery Reads: Book in Hand, Walking through a Winter Wonderland

This post was proofread by Grammarly's Grammar Corrector
Today, I'm super happy to have Morgan Straughan Comnick, author of Spirit Vision stopping by the blog to share some of her favourite winter reads. Without further adieu, Morgan Straughan Comnick! (Pssshh, by the way, go check Morgan out, she's sooooooooooo cool. Here, I'll even give you her website, do it.)


Book in Hand, Walking through a Winter Wonderland
Guest post by: Morgan Straughan Comnick
January 2, 2014
            The leaves are gone, the trees bare. You can see your breathwinter is here! Ah! The chilly air, the excitement for teachers that you may get off of school due to a fluffy type of perception, wrapping up in hats, coats, and scarves, wanting to sled once more like a child, but knowing you’re too old to.  Hot cocoa is waiting for you and getting out of your nice warm bed gets a little harder each day.  Welcome to the alpha and the omega season for the year!
I’m from Missouri; I know what winter is! But, although I like being cool, I do not like being freezing.  I remember what that was like.  In 2006, I was a senior in high school and a giant ice storm hit my part of the nation.  We were out of power for several days and I truly knew what it was like to be cold. We had to wear all our winter stuff inside and our animals laid on us for warmth. It was miserable and I never want anyone to have to go through that, but despite this, I still made myself do one thingI read.  I luckily had some books from the library checked out before this happened; I had no idea they would become my best friends and worst enemies at the same instant. Have you ever tried to turn the pages of a book with thick gloves on? It’s near impossible, but if you take them off, your hands go numb.  Ever been shaking so badly that you could barely hold your book up and yet, you could not put it down because you got to a thrilling part?  I recall those few days so vividly, so cold sitting on my bean bag chair by window, refusing to put my book down.  It was my escape from the harshness of the ice storm.
I always got lots of books for Christmas after that and I think this fateful event kindled a flame in my heart to love books again once more like when I was little.  They became worth the world, my warm blanket, a magic carpet that transported me to another world and made me see how grand mine was at the same time.  Because of this, every year, I pick a winter story to read, even if I’ve read it several times before.  In this guest post, I would like to share that with you.
One of my favorite authors of all time that I was introduced to in high school as a library worker is Lurlene McDaniel. She is a Young Adult author who writes about children who have or have to deal with terminal illnesses or tragedies.  
I have read numerous amounts of her stories, but she does have a few Christmas and winter themed ones I thoroughly enjoy.

The one I read the most is entitled, Starry, Starry Night. Yes, I am aware how this must be fate since the main character in my book is named Stary! J I first read a short story collection by her, entitled, How to I love thee? and to this day, it’s still one of my favorite books. When I saw she made a short story Christmas collection, I knew I had to get it and I was not disappointed!  These stories show the power of love even through tragedy, the true meaning of loving and giving, and how precious every single one of us is.  I usually only read one of the three stories a year since I know them so well, but I highly recommend this work even past the Christmas season! It’ll warm you up like hot chocolate on a freezing evening.


My mother got this next one for me when I was starting collage. I think she found it in a yard sale and she knew I loved Lurlene McDaniel.  Since I am such a fan girl of Ms. McDaniel, I knew the title, but I never asked for it due to the title already telling me how tragic it was.  Angels Watching Over Me is about a girl who is alone on Christmas finds out her little accident that sent her to the hospital was caused by something much worse.  She rooms with a little girl and they become good friends. Then she meets the little girl’s older brother andwell, you can figure out what happens then. The catch is, him and his entire family are Amish.  This book not only had an amazing story, showed the power of miracles, and family love, but it also gave me a look into the world of the Amish. My mother is fascinated with their world!  The first book in the trilogy is set around Christmas, but the other two are in the summer and fall. This series is beautiful and will surely keep you involved on those snowy nights.

The final Ms. McDaniel winter work I was to discuss is one of her newer ones (the late 2000s is considered new to mehow sad…).  Brianna’s Gift is about two sisters and how their family deals with the oldest sister getting pregnant, especially when a disaster strikes.  I do not want to give too much away here, but this is another heart wrenching story about what you’re willing to do for family.  Out of the three listed, this would be my least favorite, but it’s still a gift and a good read. The book itself is not about Christmas, but the ending is set around Christmas time and it will make you “awwww” more than watching a baby reindeer play!

I tend to go for more Young Adult works 95% of the time, but there is another winter story I adore for its romance, juiciness, and detailed descriptions.  Visions in White by Nora Roberts is the first in the Bridal Quartet series. This adult story is about four best friends who own a wedding business, each with their own part to play, personality, and romance to find. The first story is told from Mac, the photographer’s, point of view and is set in the winter time. This is the trend in these books, such as the second book is from Emma’s view and is set in spring.  Although this series is adult, it sizzles against the cold, melts the ice around your heart with its romance, and makes you bundle up and lace your snow boots to hike out into the white world to find friendship and love this rare and lovely.  This also starts off the whole series, so what could be better! P.S. I also have the computer game based on this book! J  I hope they make one for each book.

I also dearly enjoy manga and all the Christmas and winter chapters are simply adorable! Dates, holding hands, watching the yuki (snow) fallHow glorious! Today, I read a Christmas manga called Sweet Rein. It’s about this girl who is a Santa helper, helping to deliver gifts on Christmas Eve, and she is bonded to this handsome boy who ends up being a reindeer and she can command him to do WHATEVER SHE WANTS. The description does sound a tad different, but for a manga, what is an otaku to do but fall in love with a shojo like this? Forbidden romance, Christmas magic, and hilarious situations due to their ‘relationship’ rules makes this a darling read. I look forward to the next volume.
There may be snow of the ground this very second outside my office window, but I feel warm and toasty, mostly because I have a heating pad on my back, but also knowing I have several amazing adventures awaiting me on my bookshelf, my magical wardrobe if you will.  The snow will crunch under my feet and my nose will turn red as a cherry later when I get the mail, but I know I can find warmth thanks to these two outstanding ladies and so many others through the pages of a book. Winter truly is a season to snuggle with your book and call it your best friend.
***

From Paper Crane Books’ website: Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her "bubbliness." It is Morgan's mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.
You can learn more about Morgan at her website and blog, which also has links to all her social medias.


If God gave you a mission, would you answer His call?
The Lord has given Stary, a high school freshman, a mission: extinguish the evil residing in the murderer of two teens—Maren and Umbra. Stary never imagined that her strange visions meant that she was the Spirit Warrior for God and now with her powers activated, she must train to use them and try not to get caught by the murderer who has the ability to hide and conjure up the dark powers from the fallen angel himself—Lucifer. If Stary fails, not only will she lose her life, but Maren and Umbra will lose their entry into heaven and the world will be exposed to the madness of the murderer for the next forty years until the new Spirit Warrior is born.

Spirit Vision is avaible at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, SmashwordsKobo, and through Paper Crane Books's online store.


So what about you? What are your favourite wintery reads?

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