#blogmas day 29: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

Greetings everyone! I hope you’re all doing well! I’m not. My fiance has gotten me sick, unfortunately. I have just about the worst chest cough I have ever had in my life. I don’t know if its bronchitis or just a really awful cold/flu symptom but its miserable! I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone! Anyway, I hope the rest of you are healthy!

33843251So back to books. The good thing (and only good thing) about being ill is that it allows you a little extra time to read. So as you can maybe tell from the blog this week, I have posted more reviews than is typical, so I’m happy about that! As of now, I just finished The Afterlife of Holly Chase. I had never heard of this book before, but I had heard of Cynthia Hand. Plus I liked the simplistic, holiday cover and was aching for a YA holiday read and figured “This might be the Christmas read for me!” So I bought it! And I liked it!

Main character Holly Chase is a bratty, spoiled, mean, rich girl. She hates Christmas, she loves herself, she has no regard for other people….you guessed it, she’s a Scrooge. Scrooge number….sorry, I would have to look up her exact Scrooge number in history. If you read the book, you’ll see what I mean. *wink* So anyway, as you can predict at this point, Holly is visited by three ghosts intending to show her her selfish ways but she FAILS! And she dies. (Just for the record, this isn’t a spoiler. This is all in the synopsis so its fair game here.)

Here’s where things get interesting. Holly finds herself employed at a top secret agency called Project Scrooge, an agency whose goal it is to save one soul each year on Christmas Eve. As a former, failed Scrooge herself, she now gets to rehabilitate as the Ghost of Christmas Past, each year working with the team at Project Scrooge to help a new Scrooge succeed where she failed. This story picks up on her sixth year at the agency when Holly is in for a big surprise: for the first time, the Scrooge the team will be working on is a hottie! I’ll let you read the rest for yourself.

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I found Holly to be an okay character. She was definitely what a Scrooge needed to be. Ethan was a little too easy of a character to me. He was described as being so Scrooge-y, and he “had so much in common with Holly,” but then when they were together they clicked so well, I expected him to be way more of a snob considering she seemed to have given up on herself so much as a “ghost.” I thought Scrooges were Scrooge-y to everyone by nature. Apparently not in that world. Besides the main characters, there is a case of side characters who are pretty ok. They really don’t get a lot of spotlight, but when they are around, usually they boost the story for the better.

91gzci2be0el-_sl1500_I really liked to set-up of the book and the “Project Scrooge” concept. It actually reminded me of the movie ‘Scrooged’ with Bill Murray! Cynthia Hand really knows how to tug heartstrings and get readers sentimental, I’ll tell you, because there were several times in the book where I had to reach for the tissue box. Yes, this book has its cliche Christmas moments of museum dates, Dickens quotes, ugly sweaters, holiday parties, etc. etc. But y’all, its a Christmas book. Scratch that. Its a YA Christmas book! If you can’t handle that, then don’t read it. I needed some Christmas Carol re-telling in my life this year and this was perfect. Thank you, author. And with that being said….God bless us, every one! 😛

Book Soundtrack: “God Bless Us Everyone” by Andrea Bocelli ((I will be choosing something more character-Holly appropriate later on…my Spotify isn’t working at the moment))

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On the 18th day of #blogmas …cozy is what counts!

25594406_10100127296660279_5930864532184166917_nWhen you think of cozy reading, what essentials do you need? For me, my go-to’s are candles (yes, plural), a warm drink (usually tea), a heating pad and/or blanket), and cozy lighting. So today I bring you a recent picture from a cozy reading day. My “Baby its cold outside” mug was filled to the brim with hot tea that I got out of a recent OwlCrate box. The heating pad was a custom that I designed with BookishStarDesigns on Etsy. And then the super cute bookmark is from Knightmares and Daydreams. I really got some awesome goodies (for myself — oops) this year. I’ll have to do some more sharing posts in the coming days. Stay tuned!

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On the 15th day of #blogmas …Christmas cookies happened

So yesterday was the holiday/Christmas cookie exchange at work. I got home late and needed to make 4 dozen cookies cheaply, and quickly. After browsing online, I found this amazing recipe for these Chocolate Chip Christmas Cake Cookies. All I needed to buy was 2 boxes of white cake mix, a bag of chocolate chips, and some red/green sprinkles. Everything else I already had at home. Simple! So here is the recipe:

cake-batter-chocolate-chip-cookies-christmas-2-600x900Ingredients:

1 box white cake mix

2 large egg whites

2 Tbs flour

1/2 c. oil

3/4 c. chocolate chips

1/4 c. red, white, green sprinkles

cookie-plate-1Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine the cake mix, egg whites, flour and oil, mixing well. Add in the ¾ cup of chocolate chips.

3. Roll the cookie dough into 1-2″ size balls and place 2-3″ a part on your baking sheets.

4. Gently press down on the cookie dough balls and place a few extra chocolate chips and sprinkles on top. Place in the oven and bake 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake.

Let me tell you, these cookies were an absolute hit at work! The ladies took them home to their husbands and came back to say their guys loved them! Plus the women have been devouring them like crazy too of course. They are just so yummy. And softer and quicker to make and bake than normal chocolate chip cookies. Trust me on this, my friends….you gotta try these!!

Current watch: “The Santa Clause”

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#blogmas post 14: Ho Ho Ho – Secret Santa!

When I was in school I used to dread Secret Santa exchanges. I would always spy on the person I chose and there was so much anxiety around who chose me. I just hated trying to find the right balance the pressure of finding the “right gift.” Ugh, and then the nervousness of watching them open the gift and being watched while opening mine…SO NERVE WRACKING!!!

However, this year I signed myself up for three bookish Secret Santa exchanges. I have really enjoyed meeting new people and shopping for them and I am SO excited to do our exchanges! There is still a bit of anxiety surrounding “Did I buy more than they did?” “Did they buy more than I did?” “Will they like it? Do they have these things” etc.  But still, this is the best experience I have had! Today I received one of my three packages and I was so impressed! This was actually the smallest of the packages, I believe, monetary-wise, and I was so happy and impressed with my haul. My ‘Santa’ spoiled me. Here’s how it turned out:

So in case anyone is looking for ideas for a Secret Santa box, here are some ideas of what we came up with, between my Secret Santa and I:

– Books – Funko Pop – Fuzzy socks – Christmas socks – Bookmarks – Fandom pin – Candle – Candy – Cookies – Glitter/Gel pen – Marker set – Washi Tape – Fairy lights – Mug – Hot cocoa – Fandom art prints – Keychains – Chapstick – Holiday ornaments

There are so many little doo-dads out there to put in a box so get creative. Just walk around a store and think outside the box, so to speak. As I said, I loved shopping for these other people and I already can’t wait to put more boxes together in the future!

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On the twelfth day of #blogmas …Tag Tuesday: ‘Tis the Season

Hey everyone! ‘Tis the season for some tag fun, huh? So this tag was created by RichardMediaGeek and can be viewed here. In the spirit of the holiday season, here we go!

Books Jay Asher

1. Do you have a favorite Winter read? Stealing Christmas by John Grisham (you all may know it better from the movie “Christmas With the Kranks”) is definitely one of my favorite winter reads. Its got all of the holiday feels and all of the cozy winter warmth for the heart.

2. Find a book with blue on the cover!  Jay Asher’s What Light. I loved this book!

3. Find a book you’d use as the star on a Christmas tree? A Christmas Carol for sure. This book is a star on every tree! And there are so many lovely covers for this book!!

4. Pick one fictional place that would be perfect for a Winter vacation! Hogwarts! How beautiful would Hogwarts and the Great Hall be in winter?! I want hot cider and other magical food and beverages, snuggled in a huge chair in the common room in front of a fire! I would never leave!

51d0ll6azql-_ac_ul115_5. Pick one fictional character you’d take with you on your Winter vacation! Will Farrell as Buddy the Elf

6. Name one book on your Wishlist this year! Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

7. Favorite Holiday drink, treat, & movie? Drink = Hot Cocoa with lots of mini marshmallows; treat = peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses; movie = The Santa Claus

I hereby tag you all to go out into the world and do this fun set for yourselves!! Enjoy!!

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On the eleventh day of #blogmas … Kiss Me in New York by Catherine Rider

34220850 I would call this book a cute, sweet, but relatively forgettable YA holiday romance. Charlotte is on her way back to London with a broken heart when her flight is cancelled due to a blizzard. Anthony is planning on surprising his girlfriend at the airport, but he is the one who is surprised when she breaks up with him after she gets off the plane and runs into the arms of another guy. Together, Charlotte and Anthony make their way through a book called (something like) Ten Ways To Get Over Your Ex, all the while–you guessed it–falling for each other.

Of course, this is all set in New York and occurs on Christmas Eve. The book seems to not mean much because these are high schoolers so how long can a relationship like this really last? The two promise to reunite, as Charlotte is trying to decide what college to attend.

So like I said, the book was super-cute. It was easy to read–I sat down and read the entire thing in a day. It was quotable and cliche, but that’s what Christmas is all about isn’t it? ;P

Book soundtrack: “A New York Christmas” Rob Christmas

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On the tenth day of #blogmas …

…we’re back to the Book Blogger Hop! For those of you who don’t know, the Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books but is now maintained by Billie B. at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, and receive new followers. There is a new prompt each week so feel free to jump in any time!

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Q: If you celebrate Christmas, do you feel the need to stop reading anything BUT Christmas-themed romances once the season starts?

A: Nope. I love Christmas, and I try to read as many Christmas-themed books as possible but I don’t ONLY read Christmas books. I don’t “restrict” myself. That all being said, I probably do read about 80-90% Christmas or winter books. Its just what I’m in the mood for. I still read different genres within the Christmas theme….not all romance. Mostly mystery or some contemporary romance or classics/historical fiction–there is just so much out there! So far, I have finished reading Kiss Me in New York and I just started reading Christmas at Hope Cottage. I’ll maybe get through one or two more holiday reads before the end of the month?? We’ll see!

I’m always up for recommendations if you have any for me! Please feel free to tell me if you’ve read any good holiday/wintery books lately! 😀

Currently watching: Jim Carey’s ‘A Christmas Carol’

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On the third day of #blogmas …

…we jumped in on the Book Blogger Hop! For those of you who don’t know, the Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books but is now maintained by Billie B. at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, and receive new followers. There is a new prompt each week so feel free to jump in any time!

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Q: What is your favorite Christmas-themed read?

A: I think my favorite Christmas-themed read is either A Christmas Carol or Skipping Christmas. A lot of people don’t realize it, but Skipping Christmas (written by John Grisham) is the book that the movie “Christmas with the Kranks” with Tim Allen and Diane Keaton is based off of. I thought the book was very well-written and I love the movie too!

I’m always on the lookout for more good holiday reads. I especially like reading cozy Christmas mysteries, paranormal, contemporary romance, etc. so if you’ve got any good recommendations, please leave them for me! Thanks!

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