Dec 082012

17 days until Christmas


Braden Bell grew up in Farmington, Utah. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in educational theatre from New York University. He and his wife, live with their children on a quiet, wooded lot in Tennessee, where he teaches theatre and music at a private school. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys singing, acting, reading, gardening, and long walks with the dog.


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LDSWBR: Do you top your Christmas tree with a star, angel, or something else? Does it have special meaning to you?

BRADEN: We have a star. It reminds of the first Christmas star.

LDSWBR: What is your favorite Christmas movie? Why is it your favorite?

BRADEN: Easily, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I love it because it’s a realistic look at the challenges that come with life. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. Sometimes, in fact, it’s difficult. For years. I love that the ending, while solving the immediate problem doesn’t change everything. It also reminds me to try to make a positive difference around me.

LDSWBR: What Christmas gift have you been most excited to give?

BRADEN: A few years ago, our youngest wanted a train table. He was about three, so it was a very magical age at Christmas time. We couldn’t afford the train table but wanted him to have it. Our older kids gave up a portion of what we had budgeted for them, adding it to the pot for the train table. They were as excited as we were. The whole family anticipated that gift more than anything I’ve ever seen.

LDSWBR: Wow, what a sweet sacrifice for your children to make. Thank you, Braden!

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Purchase The Kindling


BRADEN’S WEBSITE (Special: only $9.99)

All thirteen-year-old Connor Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens, but when a run-in with the school bully ignites strange powers inside him, Connor’s normal teenage life goes up in flames. Now he’ll need his new powers to defeat the Darkness that’s coming for him. Fast-paced and original, this book’s guaranteed to keep you guessing!

Have you witnessed your children or other loved ones sacrificing their own wants for the sake of another at Christmastime? 

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To enter the LDSWBR Countdown to Christmas 2012, leave a thoughtful comment below.

Be sure to comment on each Countdown to Christmas 2012 post for more chances to win. Please click through to the website as only comments submitted directly on this post will be accepted.

Prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and the author-donated books listed below. This is raffle-style drawing where all entries throughout the contest period are entered into the same “hat” for all prizes. US only. 18 years and older please. See all contest rules and restrictions below.

If you don’t already follow LDSWBR through email, Facebook or Twitter (those cute little book buttons on the sidebar) you may want to consider doing so during the contest so you don’t miss any posts or chances to enter the drawing. Following LDSWBR is not required but it is nice to know that our book reviews are useful to other readers. :)

If one of our LDSWBR reviews has ever helped you find a book you enjoyed, perhaps you would consider helping us spread the word about the LDSWBR Countdown to Christmas 2012. A link posted to your friends and family either in email or on your favorite social network would be so greatly appreciated. Thanks!

By leaving a comment and entering the Countdown to Christmas 2012, you agree to the contest rules below:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY; entrants must be 18 years or older; open to residents of continental US only; giveaway begins December 3, 2012 and all entries must be received by 12:00 Midnight December 23, 2012 Mountain Time; to enter, complete the required entry on each post and any additional entries of your choice if listed; LDS Women’s Book Review reserves the right to determine what is considered a thoughtful comment as per each posts required entry; giveaway prizes include a $50 Amazon gift card and a variety of book prizes donated by featured authors; the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning; LDS Women’s Book Review is not liable for technical problems which may affect entry into the giveaway; winner identity will be verified by email address; winner will be selected December 27, 2012 by use of a sequence generator on; winner will have until January 3, 2013 to claim their prize; if any prize winner forfeits or does not claim prize, prize will be re-awarded to next winner in sequence; all prizes will be awarded; limit of two prizes per entrant; this contest/giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other entity unless otherwise specified; by entering the giveaway you give LDS Women’s Book Review the right to publicize your name on the LDS Women’s Book Review blog; winner agrees to release LDS Women’s Book Review from any liability as a result of winning; email comments & questions to LDS Women’s Book Review – ldswbr (at) gmail (dot) com; giveaway subject to Utah regulations; VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Book Prizes (as of December 8, 2012 – more to be added to this list!)

  • Tres Leches Cupcakes by Josi S. Kilpack (signed paperback copy)
  • Not Your Average Fairy Tale by Chantele Sedgwick (paperback or ebook)
  • Deadly Undertakings by Gregg Luke (personalized paperback)
  • Turning Pages by Tristi Pinkston (personalized paperback)
  • Athena by Heather B. Moore (autographed paperback)
  • The Kindling by Braden Bell (paperback, signed if desired)

Previous Countdown to Christmas 2012 posts:


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  18 Responses to “The Kindling by Braden Bell – Countdown to Christmas 2012”

  1. I love when my kids can experience the joy of giving. One year they all worked to make homemade gifts for each other and it was such fun to see their excitement as they watched open their gift. And my older kids have also loved The Kindling too!

  2. Our 6 year-old daughter was paid just the other day for some extra chores she had done. She happily paid her tithing and then she said, “There’s some families that our school is trying to help have a good Christmas, can I take this money to school and give it to them?” I love seeing the true meaning of Christmas through her eyes!

  3. My oldest has such a generous, tender heart. She’s constantly giving and sharing with the rest of the family and those around her. Such a good example!

  4. I enjoyed The Kindling so much, I reviewed it myself on my website>
    Hopefully teachers can use some of that they find there an add the book to their libraries as well.

  5. My mom always is thoughtful and gives to others even when she doesn’t have much and she does it throughout the year. She’s awesome

  6. My parents are incredible and have made a lot of sacrifices for my brothers and I, especially around Christmastime. For many years, my parents would stay up late, sacrificing their time and sleep to make us quilts or something special.

  7. On a year when my husband was out of work, we bought gifts for our 2 kids. My husband and I agreed to post pone gifts for each other, until after he found work. We also spent about half, than we normally would.

  8. Being a 6th grade teacher this book looks interesting to me and I want to read it. Lu Ann, do you think it would be appropriate for that age of kids? My own kids are too young to have done much giving to others yet, but I have seen some of my students being kind when no one else is watching and leaving things for others on their desks. Some do not have much money so I know it is a sacrifice for them.

  9. I am truly blessed. I have wonderful friends and family that are always there ready to help someone who is struggling during the Christmas season.

  10. My children wanted to do Secret Santa for each other. They use their allowance to buy gifts. It’s the one tradition they always insist on every Christmas! I LOVE it!

  11. Sacrifice, especially for children, makes that a memorable time forever. My sacrifices have been small. I guess that means that I have been blessed.

  12. A Christmas tree was left at the doorstep of a single mom I know who is having a hard time right now.

  13. My kids are too small to anticipate Christmas so far, and I can’t think of any other close examples beyond simple things like saving money to buy a gift for someone.

  14. My dad always goes above and beyond for us and his grandchildren but never wants anything in return. (he is very difficult to shop for!)

  15. I love when my kids, on their own free will, get into the spirit of Christmas giving. So sweet and precious.

  16. My son wanted a truck super bad. He got it one morning and then all of the sudden his brother was devastated that he didnt get it. So out of the kindness of his heart he gave it to his brother! No questions asked or us telling him he had to. It was just him.

  17. My daughter’s birthday is right before Christmas. Last year she knew that things were a little tight, so all she asked for was for our family to go out to dinner together! Of course she got to pick where we went… :o)

  18. My 5 year old loves notebooks. She has one she’s been saving because it’s pretty, with flowers and her favorite color – purple. Today, she realized she didn’t have a present for Aunt Lindsey. She went downstairs, got her beloved notebook and gave it to her aunt for Christmas. It was so sweet!

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