The Red Button by Keith Eldred

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As a Book Reviewer, I received a free ebook copy of The Red Button by Keith Eldred and this is my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor any review.

The Red Button by Keith Eldred is a unique work of fiction as it is written as a prequel, of sorts, to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Mr. Eldred has written an account of Ebenezer Scrooge’s life that explores his relationship with Belle, prior to becoming the grumpy miser we know from A Christmas Carol.

Mr. Eldred’s story is written in a very similar style as the classic A Christmas Carol, and fans of the original Dickens classic will be delighted to follow Ebenezer Scrooge through his meeting Belle, becoming interested in courting her to their engagement, and, of course, to the ending of the relationship, all while also following an interesting idea of Mr. Scrooge’s business dealings that made him rich. In addition, readers will follow how his line of thinking changes from the beginning of the book to the end of the book, as well as how he enters into a business relationship with Jacob Marley and becomes the grumpy miser, all of which make this book flow easily into the original Dickens classic that has become so known and loved.

Mr. Eldred has included an unlikely character that plays a part in this story, and that is the Red Button. He also created an unusual relationship between Belle and her mother. These two things make the story quite unique, adding Mr. Eldred’s original touch.

I enjoyed reading The Red Button by Keith Eldred, as A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has always been, and still remains, one of my favorite Christmas stories of all time. And I will say, I read The Red Button carefully, as I looked for the connections to the original classic that I felt were important for the book to truly be acceptable to readers, like me, who love Dickens’ original classic, and I was pleased with the connections Mr. Eldred made.

If you are also a fan of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, I encourage you to read The Red Button by Keith Eldred. Mr. Eldred’s story may not include some of the most beloved characters or some lighthearted moments as the Dickens original, but if you like to explore the possibilities of literature’s best known characters’ lives, like Ebenezer Scrooge, I think you will enjoy The Red Button.

I give The Red Button by Keith Eldred 5 stars.

Glad Tidings: A Flash Fiction Advent Calendar by Angie Thompson

Glad Tidings: A Flash Fiction Advent Calendar by Angie Thompson is a unique book. It is a collection of Flash Fiction stories, each based upon the very first Christmas – the time of Jesus Christ’s birth. Oh, none of the stories actually retell the Biblical account, but each of these Flash Fiction stories tells a story that has something to do with Christmas or the themes of Advent, Christmas, and what we receive when we accept and know Jesus Christ – hope, faith, joy, peace, and Christ.

The stories include a variety of characters, just like you and me, in different environments and different circumstances who experience the themes of Christmas, from the young man who had been adopted into a family in the old west and feared he’d never marry because of the possibility he came from “bad blood” to the family that struggled to make ends meet but loved each other and did their best to also take care of an older sibling with special needs, to the family with a child dealing with cancer, and many others – all real life situations, written into fictional stories, told from the perspective of an author who took the time to look at each situation through the eyes of Christ and Christmas to offer readers hope, faith, joy, peace, and Christ.

I will treasure this book of Flash Fiction stories and I look forward to reading them through the upcoming Advent season this year (2021). I encourage you to consider doing the same, or just read the book in one sitting and let it warm your heart and give you hope in whatever you might be dealing with right now.

I give Glad Tidings: A Flash Fiction Advent Calendar by Angie Thompson 5 stars.

The Treasure Map by Tyler Scott Hess

Book Blurb:

Jack is a 10-year-old boy ready for a joyous Christmas vacation, but as punishment for a poor report card, he is tasked with cleaning out his family’s long-forgotten attic. Inside, he finds a chest with a treasure map and a letter that transports him to another time, place, and existence.

Jack finds himself living the life of a young man named Niko, an enemy of the State of Ariel, a martyr of the Faithful, sentenced to die during the Independence Day celebrations. When an earthquake strikes, Niko finds the opportunity to escape, discovers a guide known only as the Elder, and teams up with a group of the Faithful to change history.

My Review:

I agreed to write this honest objective review and received a complimentary pre-release copy to do so. It is the first Tyler Scott Hess book I have read.

The story changes time and place every few chapters, some chapters revealing 10-year-old Jack’s life working on cleaning up the attic while missing out on some of his family’s Christmas activities and being fascinated by the treasure map and letter. Other chapters take us into the time and place of the treasure map and letter where the Faithful are in trouble, in prison. Then an earthquake strikes and Niko finds the opportunity to escape. He discovers a guide known only as the Elder and finds a small group of the Faithful who also escaped during the earthquake. They concoct a plan to change history.

I enjoyed this story. Jack is a delightful, typical 10-year-old boy, and the story of Niko’s struggle is believabe and a little frightening.

The story grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept my attention until the end. Jack learned a lesson and learned more about his family. Tyler Scott Hess did a good job of tying Jack and Niko’s stories together as well.

This would be a great story to read aloud to your children. It’s a good story that is suitable for elementary age children through adult, although there is one murder/death near the end, but it is not dwelt upon and it is not graphic.

I recommend this book to families and to those who enjoy stories that include Christmas. I look forward to reading more of Mr. Hess’s books.

A Christmas Poem

A Christmas Poem
by Kelly F. Barr

Difficulty finding a place to park;
Endless checkout lines.
Not sure my purchases will hit the mark.
Surrounded by tired children who begin to whine.

Wait! Slow down! I have to stop!
This picture’s all wrong.
On a bench outside, I flop
As I hear a beautiful song.

Then a child takes my hand
And leads me down the block
Until, before a church I stand
Where I see shepherds with their flocks.

There are animals in a stable,
Three wise men on bended knee.
This is it! No, it’s not a fable.
But the truth that sets men free.

Mary, Joseph and the babe – most precious gift.
I bow before this sight, by many unseen,
And here my spirit lifts.
This babe, Jesus; He’s what Christmas really means.

Christmas — Happiness is . . .

Last night we watched “Miracle on 34th Street” (the original with Ed Gwinn and Maureen O’Hara).  I love this movie, but last night it really struck me when Doris criticized Fred for placing such importance on intangible things like joy and love; to which Fred responded that some day she will realize that the most important things in life are the intangibles.  I completely agree with Fred.

Then, today I visited my friend Lisa’s blog:  Lisa’s Musings and thoroughly enjoyed her post on Happiness is . . .

So, I left her a comment letting her know that I was going to borrow her wonderful idea to share my own version of my Christmas version of Happiness is . . .

I thought it might be nice to frequently post something a little more personal about me, so that you, my readers, can get to know me a little better, and I thought Christmas was a great time to do so.

happiness is

Lisa shared this cute picture from a book by Charles Schultz.  I remember this and all of the “Happiness is . . .” stuff that followed.  Something wonderful to focus on:  things that make us happy, and for this Christmas season, I’d like to share some of the wonderful intangibles that make me happy.

This Christmas, Happiness is:

A warm puppy, yes I love our affectionate,black Labrador Retriever

A cup of Chai tea and a good book

Watching our favorite Christmas movies together, as a family

Loading everyone in the car and taking a drive to look at the wonderful Christmas light displays

Listening to, and singing along with, Christmas carols, especially the ones that direct our focus to the true meaning of Christmas — the Christ child, who came to save us

Family get-togethers where we share love and laughter, oh yeah, and food  🙂

Watching our sons hang their homemade ornaments on the tree

Our Christmas Eve service, (that isn’t usually on Christmas eve anymore), with our loving church family

Baking my sons’ favorite Christmas cookies and making their favorite brunch recipes for our brunch on Christmas day

Shopping with my husband — because we get some treasured one-on-one time

How about you?  What are the intangible things that make you happy during the Christmas season?


I’d like to include one more item in this post, and that is My Favorite Christmas Movies:

It’s a Wonderful Life starring James Stewart

White Christmas starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye

Miracle on 34th Street starring Ed Gwinn and Maureen O’Hara

The Polar Express (animated)

The Little Drummer Boy (also animated, or, rather claymation, I think)

A Christmas Carol starring Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge and Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit

The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews (I know that this is not technically a Christmas movie, but I love to watch it at this time of year)

Frosty the Snowman (animated)

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (again, I believe this is claymation)

How about you?  What are your favorite Christmas movies?

Leave a comment and let me know the intangibles that make you happy at Christmas and your favorite Christmas movies, or do a blog post sharing these things and leave a link to your post in the comments.