Gracie’s Special Reading List…“Frugal Seeds Christmas Edition” by Charlie Lee Austin

Gracie’s Special Reading List

“Gracie’s Special Reading List” shares self-published or independently published books, often by authors who have sites here at WordPress. This is to promote other indie writers with something valuable to contribute.

Unlike our other book posts, this one by Charlie Lee Austin is the first non-fiction eBook. This is a change for my chickens and I, but it is a good change because this book is filled with inexpensive ideas for celebrating Christmas.

You might think of this book as a collection of shiny Christmas ornaments all in a big box which someone has collected over the years. You can examine them and choose the ones which seem right and best for you depending on your particular needs. Keep in mind, the eBook is 892 pages long, and so it would be nearly impossible to do everything! But there are sparkling ideas to try.

One of our favorite ideas, a giving kind of idea, came at the end of the book. My chickens and I enjoyed this because we live in the Tidewater area of Virginia which is home to many of our active and retired service members from all branches. (Our home city of Portsmouth is designated as an “Official Coast Guard City” and is also home of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.)

“Frugal Seeds Christmas Edition” is free if you have Kindle Unlimited (which I don’t), but it is also available as a purchased eBook or paperback through Amazon.

Charlie blogs at Simply Chronically Ill and provides inspirational posts for a large number of readers affected by a wide variety of conditions. Charlie’s posts are always positive and encouraging.

Just so you know, “My Life With Gracie” isn’t getting anything from sharing any of these books with you. We don’t collect anything if you click the Amazon links here. Some websites work that way, but for us, it’s about supporting independent writers even when it’s not what we write!

Gracie’s Special Reading List…“A Year Before Christmas” by Cathy Cade

Gracie’s Special Reading List
“Gracie’s Special Reading List” shares self-published or independently published books, often by authors who have sites here at WordPress. This is to promote other indie writers who also have something valuable to contribute.

Unlike our other book posts, this one will not have a full review from my chickens because I’m saving it to be their Christmas Eve story. But I did share this description with them from the back of the book:

Emmie the Elf works hard, running errands and sweeping out reindeer stalls, but Santa’s newest helper still finds herself grounded on Christmas Eve. Can Emmie prove she’s capable of higher things in time for next Christmas?

“A Year Before Christmas” by Cathy Cade

Here are their first impressions based on just the small amount of information I’ve given them.

“I am eager to hear this story on Christmas Eve. We did get a sneak peak of the Dedication Page, and we all agreed that Digger is adorable.” Gracie

“Yes, the Dedication Page said Digger wasn’t afraid of Christmas crackers. At first I thought it would be silly to be afraid of crackers. You just eat them, but then I learned that Christmas crackers mean something completely different in England where Digger and the author live.” Bessie

“It sounds like Emmie and I have a lot in common. I can do more than what others think I can do. I was able to sneak a peak inside the book and there was a funny looking guy wearing sunglasses and a hat. You know I’m going to love hearing all about that because I love hats and costumes!” Pearl

“Emmie’s name sounds a lot like mine, so I know I will enjoy this story. The part about cleaning out reindeer stalls sounds icky. Ew! But I’ll bet she still does it in a very lady-like way.” Emily

“There are supposed to be flying things in this story, so I’m really looking forward to learning about them and about faraway places like the North Pole. I also like that this is a story told as a poem. I like poetry. A lot.” Amelia

“A Year Before Christmas” is available through Amazon in the U.S. and  Amazon in the UK and would make a great stocking-stuffer gift.

Cathy is one of several writers in the same writing group named The Whittlesey Wordsmiths, and many have websites. You can find Cathy at “Writing Wrinkles” and her friends Wendy at “Wendy Wordsmith” and Phil at “Fenland Phil’s Blog”. Take some time to visit their writing websites because I think you will enjoy them.

The Whittlesey Wordsmiths have also published other books on Amazon, so you may want to do a search there for “Whittlesey Wordsmiths” to view all of their books.

Just so you know, “My Life With Gracie” isn’t getting anything from sharing any of these books with you. We don’t collect anything if you click the Amazon links here. Some websites work that way, but for us, it’s about supporting independent writers even when it’s not what we write! Best wishes to all of the Whittlesey Wordsmiths!

Gracie’s Special Reading List…“The Railway Carriage Child” by Wendy Fletcher

The Railroad Carriage Child

“Gracie’s Special Reading List” is for self-published or independently published books, often by authors who have sites here at WordPress. (This particular book is more for adult readers, but my chickens did enjoy the parts which I shared with them.)

Trains are like chickens. They both bring up memories of bygone days. When I meet someone and they find out I have chickens in my backyard, so often they will tell me about their own connection to chickens. Either they or a relative had backyard chickens when they were growing up. Just as many people have “a chicken story” to tell, many also have “a train story” to tell.

When I was growing up, the grandfather of a classmate owned a restaurant named The Virginia Diner. It started as a discarded railroad car and was added on to over the years. To eat at a table in the actual original car is still considered something special.

“Something special” also describes this book by Wendy Fletcher who grew up in a house made from two discarded Victorian railway carriages. Her unique voice as an author comes through beautifully on each page, and while reading, it is often easy to be carried away to a different time and place.

Although describes as a memoir, this book feels most like a conversation you might have with someone while rocking on their front porch. You hardly notice you have been transported to the past in Oxfordshire, England. Specific details are woven in when needed, and I never felt like I had received a huge “data dump” before the real story began. Instead, I was quickly immersed in a fascinating life with details added when helpful. I was always eager to read more, and yet I did not want the story to end.

“What is not to like about this book? There are chickens on the second page! You don’t get that with every book. Even the dedication page was interesting. Part of it read, ‘To Ian Bridge who met the ghost of Granny.’ That caught my attention. Especially since it is getting close to Halloween and we are having a ‘Scariest Halloween Costume Contest’ this year.” – Gracie

“I thought it was fascinating how they turned railroad cars into a house for people to live in. I wonder if anyone ever thought of doing that for chickens. It might not be a bad idea. Chickens like having fun houses too, you know!” – Bessie

“My favorite part was when Wendy’s mother would dress Wendy all in white, just like my feathers, and then Wendy and her father would go for a walk. Wendy loved to explore everywhere, and that was just like me! And sometimes when I go exploring, my white feathers get messy too. Like just this past Sunday when I got out and had fun being chased around the back yard. Nobody realized I knew exactly what I was doing. But I was grateful for being rescued, just like Wendy. – Pearl

“The wonderful photographs, particularly the one on the cover, were my favorite part. They really helped me imagine the story much better. I also liked the glossary at the end of the book. It explained words that were unique to the part of England where Wendy lives. Someone should maybe put a glossary of words in Chicken and English in our next book. (Hint. Hint.)” – Emily

“Wendy is a wonderful writer. It’s not easy for me to imagine what a person’s life is like, mostly because I am a chicken. So I only really know what a chicken’s life is like. But Wendy did a very nice job of making me feel like I was right there in her neighborhood with her.” – Amelia

“The Railway Carriage Child” is available through Amazon in the UK for roughly $20.00 U.S. This includes the cost of the book and shipping across the Atlantic. (Amazon Prime in the U.S. does not apply.) After the first few chapters, I felt I already had my money’s worth. This book is that good.

Wendy is one of several writers in the same writing group named The Whittlesey Wordsmiths, and many have websites. You can find Wendy at “Wendy Wordsmith” and her writing friends Cathy at “Writing Wrinkles” and Phil at “Fenland Phil’s Blog”. Take some time to visit their writing websites because I think you will enjoy them.

The Whittlesey Wordsmiths have also published an anthology of short stories and poems titled “Where The Wild Winds Blow.”

Cathy Cade, who first introduced me to these other authors through her “Writing Wrinkles” blog, has her own book titled “A Year Before Christmas” which just may be the next book on “Gracie’s Special Reading List”!

Just so you know, “My Life With Gracie” isn’t getting anything from sharing any of these books with you. We don’t collect anything if you click the Amazon UK links here. Some websites work that way, but for us, it’s about supporting independent writers even when it’s not what we write! Best wishes to all of the Whittlesey Wordsmiths!