Blogmas 25: Tag Tuesday – The Joy of Christmas

Hello to all and Merry Christmas! If you aren’t a celebrator of Christmas then I hope you’re enjoying your day, but if you are, I hope Santa was good to you and that you are having a safe and happy holiday. Today I am coming at you with a holiday book tag because it is, afterall, a Tuesday. This tag was originally created by Sam, and you can watch the video here.

1) Anticipation: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating?
I’m looking forward to King of ScarsChildren of Virtue and VengeanceA Curse So Dark and Lonely….oh, so many!!

2) Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but sing it’s praises?
Right now I’m on a Colleen Hoover kick!

3) Gingerbread Houses: What book or series has wonderful world building?
There are a couple details I would change in the story line, but I love the detail and the make up of the Grishaverse!

4) A Christmas Carol: Favorite classic or one that you want to read
I think my favorite is Frankenstein, and I really want to read (finish) the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

5) Christmas Sweets: What book would you love to receive for Christmas
The new 10th anniversary editions of The Hunger Games books. Oh, and I really wanted a copy of The Disasters (I’m a sucker for that purple cover and the tagline “Space is tough- get a helmet).

6) Candles in the Window: What book gives you that warm fuzzy feeling
Vain by Fisher Amelie was a spectacular book that game me all the feels. I really enjoyed it and definitely recommend it.

7) Christmas Trees & Decorations: What are some of your favorite book covers?
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8) Christmas Joy: What are some of your favorite things about Christmas And/Or some of your favorite Christmas memories?
One Christmas (technically about three days after Christmas) my college choir was invited to and travelled to sing at the White House. It was an amazing experience! That’s probably my favorite Christmas memory.

And that’s it! I wish you all a merry Christmas, and a very safe and joyous holiday season!

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Blogmas 23: Review – The Prince and the Dressmaker

34506912In The Prince and the Dressmaker, Frances is a seamstress who aspires to become a dress designer. One day by accident she is given her chance by a mysterious employer who turns out to be….the prince! They come to be best friends who really bring out the best in each other, and help each other on their journeys toward their dreams.

I didn’t know going into this book that it was on the GLBTQ+ spectrum. I have no problem with that and honestly, I rarely read far into books anymore before starting them. I like going on recommendations of people that I trust, I like going by GoodReads ratings, and I like looking at titles and covers.

That being said, this book was SO beautiful. I loved the drawings of the dresses, and the characters were so animated in a way that that was relatable and fun. There were times when I laughed, when I was tense, when I was ready to tear up…this graphic novel had it all. I cannot recommend it enough!

Book soundtrack: “Vogue” by Madonna
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Blogmas 22: Jumping in on Short-a-Thon 2018

Hi friends! Christmas is getting so close, and I am running behind on EVERYTHING! But no apologies. I’m doing the best that I can, and its no use crying over it. That’s not what Christmas is all about. Its about BLOGGING! Nah, just kidding. But this is a big goal of mine so I am sticking to it and pushing on.

So yesterday, my friends Destiny @howlinglibraries and Kathy @booksandmunches began hosting an event called the Short-a-Thon. So Short-a-Thon runs from December 21-31 and the goal is to read shorter books and finish 2018 strong. Goodreads is telling me I am 7 books behind my goal so I am hoping this brings me closer to my goal! Its only 75 this year! I have hit +125 in years past!! However, I knew that with two family weddings this year (one of them being mine), I would probably get way less reading done. I was right. I’m not one of those people who likes to set the bar super low and then hit my goal in like, April, and then go up and up and up for the rest of the year. No, a challenge is supposed to be a challenge!! Hence, here I am grappling for my final 7 books in the last 2 weeks of December. Enter: SHORT-A-THON!!

48395131_368452943911813_999185396514422784_nCurrently I have started Mr. Dickens and His Carol, which is pretty short. I can probably sit down and knock that out pretty quickly. I went to the library and picked up 2 graphic novels that I took interest in earlier this year, along with one book that I have been hearing good things about for a long time–Every Heart A Doorway. And I have the audiobook of My True Love Gave to Me going on amidst all of this. I’m really enjoying these short stories for the most part so far! I go back to work on Thursday so if, between all of the holiday hoopla going on, I can manage to knock out at least these 4, I am in pretty good shape! I could maybe go back to my regular-size novel (White Stag) and finish that…get another short-a-thon book or two…there is hope for me yet!

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Blogmas 21: First Line Friday – Mr. Dickens & His Carol

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First line(s): “On that unseasonably warm November day at One Devonshire Terrace, Christmas was not in his head at all.”

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34275234For Charles Dickens, each Christmas has been better than the last. His novels are literary blockbusters, and he is famous on the streets of London, where avid fans sneak up on him to snip off pieces of his hair. He and his wife have five happy children, a sixth on the way, and a home filled with every comfort they could imagine. But when Dickens’ newest book is a flop, the glorious life he has built for himself threatens to collapse around him. His publishers offer an ultimatum: either he writes a Christmas book in a month, or they will call in his debts, and he could lose everything. Grudgingly, he accepts, but with relatives hounding him for loans, his wife and children planning an excessively lavish holiday party, and jealous critics going in for the kill, he is hardly feeling the Christmas spirit.

Increasingly frazzled and filled with self-doubt, Dickens seeks solace and inspiration in London itself, his great palace of thinking. And on one of his long walks, in a once-beloved square, he meets a young woman in a purple cloak, who might be just the muse he needs. Eleanor Lovejoy and her young son, Timothy, propel Dickens on a Scrooge-like journey through his Christmases past and present—but with time running out, will he find the perfect new story to save him?

In prose laced with humor, sumptuous Victorian detail, and charming winks to A Christmas Carol, Samantha Silva breathes new life into an adored classic. Perfect for fans of Dickens, for readers of immersive historical fiction, and for anyone looking for a dose of Christmas cheer, Mr. Dickens and His Carol is destined to become a perennial holiday favorite. (from Goodreads)

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I am currently almost halfway through this book and so far it is a pretty charming read. It is certainly not action-packed, but I’m just curious about how things will play out and captivated by the setting and by Dickens himself. I am glad I chose this for my holiday read this year and I can’t wait to see how A Christmas Carol forms in Dickens’ mind!

Have you read this book? Do you know much about the real Dickens? Please share!

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Blogmas 19: WWW Wednesday

Good evening everyone! I think this is a good week to catch up with a good ol’ WWW Wednesday meme. Now, if you happen to be out of the loop, WWW is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words. All it is is three questions that are easy enough to answer. So with that being said, here I go!

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  1. 34275234._SY180_What are you currently reading? Mr. Dickens and His Carol. I bought this book last holiday season and didn’t get to it. However, this year, I got myself into two different group reads of A Christmas Carol and I thought this would be a nice compliment to that. So far I am liking the book. I don’t think it really holds truth to the actual Dickens’ life, but its still a nice read. Basically, Dickens’ latest story isn’t doing very well and his publishers think the best move is for him to write a Christmas tale. Dickens, however, disagrees. Money is tight in the household, and the family is not used to pinching pennies, especially around the holidays.
  2. 37854049What did you recently finish reading? I just finished Sisters of the Winter Wood, because with all of the holiday things I’ve been reading, I wanted something a little different. So this still had ‘winter’ in the title, but it was different too…a fairy tale of sorts. I will be putting a review up soon, but as a little teaser, I will say that this tale of two sisters who could transform into magical beasts wasn’t my favorite read ever, but it was just what I needed.
  3. What do you think you’ll read next? I need to get to my ARCs so next up I will be reading either White Stag or Miraculum! Both are winter (Jan/Feb) releases so I am really looking forward to them. PLUS it is one of my New Years resolutions to get my NetGalley score up to 90%!

If you do WWW Wednesdays, feel free to send me your links below! I’d love to know what you’re up to!

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Blogmas 18: Tag Tuesday – The Christmas Carol Book Tag

Its the last Tuesday before Christmas!!! Well, not including Christmas itself, of course. Time is flying (which, I feel like I say in every single post…but its so true!!). I am looking forward to working through this tag, and I hope you will too!

YOU’RE A MEAN ONE, MR. GRINCH
Name a villainous character you can’t help but love to hate.

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The Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. He is vile and ruthless, but he is so in love with Alina and would do anything for her. How can you not love that?

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU
What book do you most want to find under your Christmas tree this year?

Colleen Hoover’s latest (which I only learned about recently): Verity. Unlike all of CoHo’s other books, this one is a thriller/suspense novel and everyone who I have seen read it have come away saying something along the lines of “WTF?!” So basically, I MUST READ THIS!

rudolphRUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER
Name a favourite character that had to overcome a major obstacle.

Katniss Everdeen is forever one of my favorite characters and I think, by now, pretty much everyone knows her story. The obstacles that girl had to face and the pressure on her shoulders was just enormous. From being sent into the games not once but TWICE, to everything that happened to Peeta, to losing her sister, to then being manipulated into being the Mockingjay and leading an assault into the Capital…yeah, she’s pretty much my hero.

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN
Which characters do you think are at the top of Santa’s “Naughty” and “Nice” list?

At the top of Santa’s “Naughty” list is the Ministor/Pastor in Christina Dalcher’s Vox. This dude was awful. He truly believed what he preached about women’s true place being at the head of the household, and that they should be seen and not heard. Vox is a dystopian sci-fi book but honestly, I would almost categorize it as horror because the concepts and just how realistically it was written is just terrifying. On a lighter note, at the top of Santa’s “Nice” list is Jamie Fraser. This man is a saint. I mean, he gives all of himself not just for his wife but for his entire family, for his country, and for the bum on the street, no matter his or her nationality. Definitely at the top of the “Nice” list. We all need to be more like Jamie.

frostyFROSTY THE SNOWMAN
What book just melts your heart?

I’m going to say A Christmas Carol for this one. I think the book is absolutely great. Not only that, but it is tied in my head to the movie versions which are so sentimental and hold such good memories.

FELIZ NAVIDAD
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our favourite book that takes place in a country other than your own.

Uhh, Harry Potter….duh!! 😛

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
What book do you read to get in the Christmas spirit?

I read different books every year, and I sort of have a rotation going. So other than A Christmas Carol, which I already mentioned, I also have Skipping Christmas in my rotation which I really enjoy. That’s the John Grisham book that the movie “Christmas with the Cranks” is based off of. Its really good, if you haven’t read it before!

SLEIGH RIDE
What character would you most want to spend the holidays with?

Christian Gray, baby! *wink*wink*

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BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE
What book do you hate so much you would sacrifice it to the fire to stay warm?

Twilight. When I first read the series several years ago, I didn’t think they were too bad. Of course, I was several years younger and I read them post-surgery. Both of those factors must have had much to do with my thinking because when I *tried* to re-read them last year….yeah, I’m ready to throw them into the fire.

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?
What book would you recommend to everyone?

The Light We Lost. This book warmed my heart and then broke my heart. So good.

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If you’re in the mood for a Christmas tag, I hereby tag you to do ^this^ one! Its not too long, not too short! Just right! And now I have these stuck in my head. 😉

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Blogmas 15 & 16: Bookish Quotes I Read This Year!

I’d like to share quotes from a few books I have read and enjoyed this year. Here we go!

“’Vegr yfir fjor.’ Honor above life.” – Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young

“What’s the secret to a perfect marriage?’ The old man leaned forward and looked at me very seriously. ‘Our marriage hasn’t been perfect. No marriage is perfect. There were times when she gave up on us. There were even more times when I gave up on us. The secret to our longevity is that we never gave up at the same time.” – All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

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“Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.” – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“Stay as you are…and don’t let the worlds you walk break you.” The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

Blogmas Day 12: November Wrap-Up Part 2

FontCandy (40)Hump Dayyyy!! So rather than do a WWW Wednesday, I feel that I need to finish my November wrap-up first. What was I thinking, reading so many books in November that I need to put them in two posts?! Oh yeah, I’m behind on my Goodreads goal for the year and I need to catch up. 😛

35402204To pick up where I left off, the next book I read was a Middle grade ARC called The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane. I don’t always read middle grades, but when I do, they are mysteries or V.E. Schwab (i.e. City of Ghosts–LOVED IT!). I picked this one up because I wanted to boost my Netgalley rating but I really enjoyed it. The boarding school setting and trio of friends were extremely Harry Potter-esque, as was the mystery. That’s about where the similarities end though. I’m always intrigued by secret society mysteries, so if any of these things are appealing to you, I recommend picking up this book.

36082326Every Note Played was my 5-star read for the month. I chose this book because it was a finalist for the 2018 Goodreads awards. Turns out that it didn’t win, but oh my gosh, my heart. The book is about a famous classical pianist who is diagnosed with ALS. He is a divorcee, and turns to his ex-wife as his health declines. The story of this man’s journey is so incredibly vivid, it really feels like we are in his head. It changes POV’s with the ex-wife as she cares for him. This was the most bittersweet I think I’ve ever read. If you need a good cry, or a reason to be thankful for life as it is, this is the book to reach for.

37796866On a completely different note, my last book of the month was Vox. This is another book that was on Goodreads best books of the year for 2018 and it was a pretty powerful read as well. While I was reading Vox, it seemed like every other chapter, I just HAD to talk about what was going on in the book. I thought this was so ironic because the book itself is based in the future world where women are restricted to using only 100 words per day. The book is about silencing one gender, but yet the book is meant to spark conversation. I LOVE IT!! The book itself didn’t end the way I wanted it to. I feel there could have been an entire book after this! But alas, its a standalone.

So there we have it. My 6 reads for November. Thus far in December, I’ve finished 4 books. I’m still aiming to get as close to my Goodreads goal of 75 as possible. We’ll see!

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Blogmas Day 10: Cozy Reads

What is better than a book, a blanket, a warm drink, and a blazing fire in the fireplace? Sounds like absolute heaven to me! The prompt for Bookending Winter from yesterday (yes, I’m a day late) is cozy recommendations. Allow me to hit you with some of my favorite reads to snuggle up in front of a fire with. What recommendations do you have for me?

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5. Vain by Fisher Amelie – I loved this book. It is a new adult contemporary that I was so into from the very beginning. Sophie is a spoiled, rich girl who feels she is invincible. When she gets busted for doing drugs, she is sentenced not to jail or rehab, but to volunteer work in Uganda. Vain did a great job–an amazing job–bringing the characters to life. I could cozy up and read this book for hours.

4. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I just added it to my list of life goals to cozy up and read this enchanting book in front of a fire.  This book was inspired by the classic A Thousand and One Nights. Hate to love is probably my favorite trope, and The Wrath and the Dawn hit the spot for me.

3. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana – This beautiful book is so underrated, in my opinion. It is another one that reads a little like a fairy tale. Apparently “enchanting” is my word for cozying up by the fire. The story is about a girl who is meant to wed the horrible Emperor of a neighboring kingdom. She flees the home she has always known and sets off on a transformative adventure. I loved how vivid the writing was in this tale, as well as the beautiful magic system in the book. If you like mythology, retellings, parables, anything like that, you’ll like this.

2. Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon – I have to add a little bit of suspense to this list so I’m going to go with this one, mainly because of the twist at the end. There is NO WAY to see this coming! At least, not to this extent. The entire book reads like a thriller where a child goes missing, there are strange phone calls, and a twisty-story line. You think its all real, until POOF! Mind. Blown.

1. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young – This is the perfect book to read in front of a fire! SITD has all the cozy things–family, friendship, community (eventually), and a little romance. Plus, the cold and forest-y setting is just meant for fireside reading.

So there you have it, folks. My top 5 fireside reads. So crank up that Yanni holiday album and cozy up. I hope you enjoy.

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Blogmas Day 9: The Afterlife of Holly Chase – GIVEAWAY and bookish playlist!

47682600_2286068788328770_4690194679113711616_nWhy hello and good evening, everyone! I would like to invite you all to join in my giveaway! I mentioned just a couple posts back that I run an Etsy shop. I make and sell booksleeves–decorative foam pouches to carry your books in so that covers and pages aren’t ripped, wrinkled, or ruined. I am giving away a booksleeve and a book on my Instagram this week. The booksleeve I chose for thia GA is my favorite pattern from this season. The book is one that I have read and reviewed before: The Afterlife of Holly Chase. It came out last year, but it has been receiving a lot of hype this year! If you want to check out my review of the book, you can do so here. What I did just for today’s post is put together a short playlist of songs that remind me of the book. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” – Holly is our cold-hearted, modern-day, teenage Grinch so of course, what other song would I choose? ‘I wouldn’t touch [her] with a 39-and-a-half foot pole!’
  2. “Jingle Bells” by Michael Buble & the Puppini Sisters – Its gotta be this version of Jingle Bells, friends. The setting of the book reminds me of a TV set that needed background singing sisters like in this song!
  3. “Baby Its Cold Outside” – this is my pick for Holly & Ethan. They both are stubborn people who are used to getting what they want. Plus, of course, the bantering back and forth.
  4. “Carol of the Bells” by Trans Siberian Orchestra – This one is the perfect pick because it is a rockin’ version of an original classic. And of course, if you haven’t gotten the hints yet, this is a spin on A Christmas Carol.
  5. “God Bless Us, Every One” – So lastly, this grand finale of a song is from my favorite movie adaptation of A Christmas Carol…the most recent one with Jim Carrey. To me this is the epitome of holiday songs and I can just picture snow and happy people and happily ever after.

So that’s my little list for you all. And now for giveaway details. Go find me on Instagram – username @thereadsinger. On my giveaway post, you’ll find all the steps to follow to enter. Just follow, like, share, and you’re in! There are optional additional steps for extra entries. Have at ye! I hope to see you there!

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