December 2015 Heather Gudenkauf’s Books Giveaway

Welcome to the Heather Gudenkauf’s Books Giveway for December!

This month three books are up for grabs for one lucky winner: An advanced reading copy of MISSING PIECES and the first two books in the Zoe Goldman series by the immensely talented Sandra Block ~ LITTLE BLACK LIES & THE GIRL WITHOUT A NAME.


Little Black LiesThe GWAN






To enter simply click on the leave a comment link at the top of this post and share your biggest holiday disaster (just read the following blog post to learn about mine!). Your comment won’t show up right away ~ but check back and it will be there. I’ll choose one random winner on Friday, December 11th.

While you’re here ~ feel free to browse around my newly updated site and then  head on over to Sandra’s website ~

Thank you for joining in the fun!

Happy Holidays,


56 Comments on “December 2015 Heather Gudenkauf’s Books Giveaway

  1. I’m not sure I’ve ever had what would be considered a disaster…there was the Christmas I came down with a terrible cold, and another year I fell into the Christmas tree (I didn’t get hurt and neither did the tree). One year, when I was a teenager, something happened that wasn’t a disaster, but it was unpleasant and still makes me feel bad 40+ years later. Pukka shell necklaces were popular that year, but I’d decided they were passé, and my younger brother overheard me tell a friend that over the phone. When I opened his present, one of the first he’d picked out himself since he was 7 years younger than me, it was a pukka shell necklace, and he burst into tears, saying that I hated it! It took a lot of talking to convince him I loved it,,,and I still have it. Very poignant now, because he died when he was 19.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Your memory of your younger brother is so touching ~ it makes me think of those who aren’t with us this holiday season and how precious these memories and the ‘treasures’ they left behind are.

  3. Getting a live 14ft Christmas tree and having it set up, with ornaments and lights…only to have our cat totally go bonkers inside e branches and spray (mark) it! One Christmas I will never forget! (Never got a live tree free that episode!)

    • Hi Lynn ~ Oh, wow! That is a disaster. My husband and I have talked about forgoing the live tree – but I’m not quite ready yet. If Lolo did something like that ~ I sure would be though!

  4. The year that nearly everyone (10 out of 12 ppl) got the stomach flu in a house with 2 bathrooms but we could only use 1…

    On a brighter note… I love your books and cannot wait to read missing pieces!!!

    • Oh no! That would not be fun!
      Thank you for your kind words about my books ~ so glad you enjoy them!

  5. I remember one year I was about 4 and my 2 older brothers and I had pestered my parents to their breaking point sking if it was Christmas yet. Well my Daddy had enough. He packed up the presents, the tree, and every decoration he could get his hands on and loaded it in the back of our car… He was revered by many over the years for being the live version of the Grinch…As for my brothers and I..well I’m not sure we have quite recovered 40 years later. He passed away 3 years ago and Christmas was actually his favorite Holiday with that one exception.

    • Oh wow ~ that is a Christmas to remember! Did he ever bring the tree and presents back?

      • Yes but He made us wait for 2 excruciating days. It was the day before Christmas Eve before he let us bring it all back in the house.

  6. I don’t know if I have ever experienced a true holiday disaster. However, I did have to spend the night once due to a bad snowstorm during the holidays and I didn’t being any extra clothes. So, I had to borrow my aunt’s underwear, several sizes too big, for the next day. I will always remember to bring extra clothes now.

  7. Can’t think of any Christmas disasters in our family. The worst Christmas was 2008 though. I buried my husband on Dec. 23rd. Needless to say it was a sad holiday for me but I spent Christmas with my brother and his family and was most grateful for the love.

    • Oh, Jenny ~ I’m so sorry for your loss ~ what a difficult time that must have been. It is good to have loved ones there to support us during these hard times. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Not a true disaster but my youngest, 10, just asked me the inevitable question yesterday…she knew the answer but wanted to hear me say it… I was bummed but then we had some pretty good giggles remembering some of Santas hoaxes from the past!

    • It’s hard when the youngest learns the truth. Glad that you were able to laugh about the memories!

  9. I’m always trying to get my family to switch from a real tree to a fake one (no clean up, no worrying if it runs out of water etc.) One year we tried a new tree stand that promised to fit any tree size, easy set up, holds lots of water etc. Well, it leaked water all over, and stained my wood floor red from the tree skirt! Needless to say, that tree stand went straight to the garbage. I still haven’t convinced my family to give up the real tree….scouting for the perfect one is still a great family tradition, and we’ve since gotten the perfect tree stand (Ochs Tree Farm in Galena, thank you!)

    • Ochs is great ~ we’ve gotten quite a few trees from there! We have been having the real/fake tree debate at our house too. We just aren’t ready yet!

  10. Not a disaster but when I was little my parents found out that I had slightly unwrapped my presents so instead of getting to unwrap my gifts first because I was the youngest I didn’t get to open my presents until last.

    • That happened when I was growing up too. The next year my mom and dad numbered the presents so we six kids had no idea what gifts were ours! Torture!

      • My Mom wrote our names in small print on the bottom but I wasn’t too old when I figured out her system.

  11. My holiday “disasters” have been pretty trivial, but here goes (I actually share this one with my mom). Years ago my mom and I made salt-dough Christmas ornaments from a tracing of my little brothers hand, with a heart painted on them. These were kind of corny, yes, but they were for grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. After being baked and having a thin polyurethane coating applied, they turned out pretty decent. But somehow, they “rehydrated” and when the relatives took them out of the tissue paper, fingers were detached…most were missing all the fingers but the middle one. lol

    • This is hilarious!! I can just imagine the looks on your relatives’ faces. Love it!

  12. I remember having strep throat on Christmas when I was about 10. I didn’t even want to open presents. 🙁

  13. The biggest holiday “disaster” would have been when I was 15 and learning to drive. My dad took me out driving….. I made a right turn and turned a little too much…. I hit the curb and went into the grass on the side of the road!!! LOL, We were both ok and the car wasn’t damaged, as I wasn’t going fast since I was turning!

  14. My first year ever cooking the turkey…
    I was so proud of myself as I looked at the beautiful bird I was pulling out of the oven. The skin was a golden crispy brown with a wonderful smell. I worked so hard to make it perfect. As the family is all gathered around to start the feast I am asked a question, “What did you do with all the stuffing?” Confused I let them know that I didn’t make any stuffing, that was someone else’s job this year. “No dummy, the bag of stuff and the neck that was inside the turkey.” WHAT?
    I had no idea that there was something stuffed in my bird, my beautifully cook bird. The whole family got quite a laugh as they cut the turkey open to find the bag still intact and a cooked neck inside. Lesson learned, always read the instructions, no matter how much you think you know from watching your mother cook for years. There are always Missing Pieces. (You like how I threw that in there?)

    • This is SO something that I would do. Full disclosure ~ I’ve never made a turkey. Whenever we’ve hosted holidays ~ my sweet husband takes care of the main course. Thanks for sharing and I do like how you threw Missing Pieces in there!

  15. I was in full Santa Claus mode. My daughter was 8 at the time, and I had just spent the last 6 years getting my degree around being a single mom; I’d just finished student teaching, my car had broken down, my savings near gone, BUT i had finished my degree and gotten my teaching certs. I was sooooooooo broke–I literally had one, handmade gift for he, a quilt I’d been working on in every spare moment for months, and I was bone tired, but somehow, every bit of Christmas magic came together and Santa delivered for my girl. It was like the whole town rallied around my last big hurdle in my degree, and I came home every day to bags and bags–trash bags of all sizes, FULL of gifts, wrapped beautifully for my daughter, all from Santa. It was so touching for me. Well, I had been hiding this stuff for weeks in every place I could in my little apartment, in the trunk of my car, EVERYWHERE. Half my bed was presents covered in clean laundry to hide it all, too. So Christmas eve rolls around, we do our thing and I get my girl tucked in and wait for her to fall asleep, because I had a ton of work to do before I could go to bed. The gifts reached across my whole living room, spilling into the dining room and almost the hall by the time they were set up. So as I set the last of the gifts up, I realize I hadn’t fed my pet rat, Stitch, on the other end of the living room, and I hadn’t turned on our tree (fiber optic, BEAUTIFUL), and I left a lamp on. So I step carefully over everything, did what I needed to do, shut off the lamp, and proceeded to trip, fall and flounder all the way out, only coming to a grinding halt with my face slammed into the hallway wall. Well…. my girl didn’t sleep through THAT one. She came out, mouth wide open, and asked if I was ok, then caught a glimpse of the spillage into the hallway. My heart broke when she saw me with bits of wrapping paper and tape on the floor where I’d fallen, and i just KNEW I just ruined the magic of Christmas and Santa, because I was CLEARLY the one up and having put out the gifts. She looked at me, as i was near tears and said, “mama, it’s ok. I know he’s not real and it’s just you.” My baby, whose Christmas i was POSITIVE I had ruined, was trying to comfort ME.

    That’s when the tears started in earnest, because I knew then that I could honestly say they were not from me. That every one had been delivered and labeled from Santa Claus and I’d been hiding them for weeks. I had no idea who all had been doing this for us. We both learned that night that Santa IS real, at least in spirit. We sat up together until just after midnight, and then opened presents in the wee hours of the morning, before climbing into bed around 5 am together and snuggling up together to sleep…

    See, I thought I’d ruined Christmas for her. That was my disaster. But really? We both learned what Christmas is all about and that Santa Claus IS real, even if he is not a jolly man in a red suit. We have never, ever forgotten that. My disaster turned into a beautiful gift for the both of us, that we treasure to this day.

    • Now? She loves playing Santa for her little brother, 10 years younger than her. It’s beautiful all on its own.

    • Laura ~ thank you so much for sharing this ~ beautiful. A true testament as to what the holidays are all about. You made my day. Thank you.

  16. Not a big disaster but when my girls were three and seven they were playing hide and seek. My three year old hid behind the tree. I had spent days making sure every piece of tinsel was perfect. In her excitement she snuggled a little too close to the tree it toppled over! I called my mom crying and all she could do was laugh. Oh well.

  17. One year I came down with Bronchitis and had to go to the hospital on Christmas eve. It was a long night and bad holiday.
    Two years ago I had my gallbladder removed eight before christmas….I was just starting to get up and trying to get around on Christmas and Christmas eve. Got read a lot and missed and holiday season in retail.
    Do two count????

  18. Mine have mostly been baking disasters, but the worst was about ten years ago. I baked a honey bun cake for my friends. I took it to their house, but only their teenage children were home at the time. They attacked the cake with gusto, as their mom was Christmas shopping and hadn’t made it home with food. Jonathan (about 14 at the time) pulled a screw out of his mouth! He asked his sister, Jennifer, “Do you think this came out of my braces?” Well, the screw was a couple inches long and thick and NO, it did not come out of braces! I remembered feeling something shift with my hand mixer when I was mixing the cake. Evidently, a screw had popped out and into the cake batter! The kids didn’t care and kept eating. Jonathan was just happy it didn’t come from his braces!

    • Disaster avoided! Glad all ended well. I’ve never had honey bun cake ~ sounds delicious!

  19. Never really had any Christmas disasters unless you count letting everything go (ornament making, crafty gifts, cookie baking etc.) to what feels like the last minute! Somehow it all gets finished – just a little nerve-wracking getting there 🙂 On the same track this year!
    Some good books to read when it’s all over would be heaven!

    • That’s how I’m feeling this year! I don’t know if I’ll get cards out this year!

  20. When we first moved into our 1870’s farmhouse in 1993,we had a little mutt of a dog. Our first Christmas we bought the biggest live tree we could find. (think Clark Griswold tree). Well,in the middle of the night the dog knocked over this huge tree and water went all over the wooden floor. Of coarse,it sat there all night and today we still have a stain where the tree sat. Everytime I see that stain (hidden under a rug now) I curse that dog. Poor thing has been dead probably 15 years now. The tree falling on him probably shaved a decade off his life. Lol

    • So funny! I can just picture this happening! What a great thing to be able to live in a home with such history ~ I can imagine all the great stories those wood floors could tell.

  21. Loved your blog, it made me laugh!

    My mother-in-law wrote out her recipe for corn bread stuffing the first year we were married. I wanted to make it for Christmas dinner for our combined families. It’s my husband’s favorite dish and one I don’t really like. Needless to stay it didn’t turn out well as she didn’t put the baking instructions and I didn’t know any better.

    • My mother-in-law and my mother are both fabulous cooks and there is no way I can compete! I usually end up bringing the relish tray.

  22. What seemed like a disaster at the time has become a humorous family story.
    In the fall of 1977 I had recently started a new part-time job. With my first paycheck I was excited to purchase a brown corduroy jumper. My dad was out of work and the family finances were tight but I allowed myself this one indulgence. After that, I contributed most of my pay to help pay household bills.
    On Thanksgiving I wanted to wear the jumper for the first time but it had vanished from my closet. I looked everywhere but it was not to be found. I figured I was being punished somehow for spending money on myself when it could have gone toward groceries or utilities. I didn’t say anything to my family because I was ashamed that I spent the money and then lost the jumper.
    On Christmas morning we gathered around the tree to open gifts. We talked about not exchanging that year but had decided to give small gifts …handmade items and re-purposed treasures. Imagine my surprise when I open my jumper (the one I purchased myself). My mom watched my reaction with excitement. She told me she wanted me to open something “new” on Christmas morning and had found a bag with my jumper in the trunk of her car. Because I never said anything about purchasing or losing the jumper she decided to hold on to it until Christmas. My mom…doing things like this was what my brother John and I always called “part of her charm”. Mom has been in heaven for 10 years now and I think of that Christmas morning every year…and smile.

    • What a beautiful memory. I love how much joy your mother got from your reaction. Thank you for sharing.

  23. My worst holiday disaster was when my parents came the year I got married and I forgot
    to take the bag of organs out of the turkey before I cooked it. 🙁
    I love your books and hope I win this one so I can share it with my book clubs. (4 of them)

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