On the thirteenth day of #blogmas ….

Barnes & Noble came up with a few literary quotes to put in your Christmas cards for any audience. They formatted it differently and you can find their version of it here, but I’m going to put it all together my way to suit my blog.

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For the anti-homebody: “A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” (Exiles by Garrison Keilor)

 

18857350For the homesick:  “Call a truce, then, to our labors—let us feast with friends and neighbors, and be merry as the custom of our caste; for if faint and forced the laughter, and if sadness follow after, we are richer by one mocking Christmas past.” (Christmas in India by Rudyard Kipling)

 

18300267For the fancy and formal:  “I sincerely hope your Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings, and that your beaux will be so numerous as to prevent your feeling the loss of the three of whom we shall deprive you.” (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

 

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B&N describes this one as “for your goth and emo pals”:  “Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it.” (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)

 

 

9780394800790For the child-at-heart:  “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” (How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss)

 

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And lastly, can’t forget the sincere, Christmas wish:  “I heard the bells on Christmas Day / Their old familiar carols play / And wild and sweet, the words repeat / Of peace on earth, good-will to men.” (Christmas Bells by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

 

Listening to: “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by CeeLo feat Straight No Chaser

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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 eighth day of #blogmas …

I give you a beautiful aesthetic from Hogwarts. I found this on Insta and did NOT create it myself so I cannot take the credit. Whoever I am borrowing it from, I am sorry I don’t remember who you are and can’t give you credit for piecing this together. Its so beautiful!

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Listening to: “Silent Night” by Jewel

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On the seventh day of #blogmas …The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

28016509I feel as though I haven’t fully formed an opinion on The Girl Before yet. Its definitely one of those mystery/thrillers that keeps you uneasy and reeling even after the book is finished. Its not to the most extreme that I’ve read, though, but its definitely still on my mind. I think that’s something that makes a book a good read. If it sticks with you, and if you keep thinking about if when you’re through, its a good one.

Here’s another thing I liked: the combination of opposing timelines and POV’s. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work in the beginning. Typically I am wary of this writing style but it really worked. Learning about Jane in the present, who is struggling with the loss of her stillborn daughter, and Emma in the past, who just broke up with her long time boyfriend. Both women sign a lease to the same ultra-modern, high-tech house with over 200 rules for tenants. The home was designed and is owned by the obsessive-compulsive Edward. Boyfriend/ex-boyfriend Simon is active in both timelines as well, and with all of these characters, of course we have to determine who tells truths and who weaves deceit.

There were many twists and turns in the book, but I really wouldn’t call it highly suspenseful. While I liked the characters and wanted to know what happened, it didn’t seem to move all that quickly. This is the perfect book for a movie, I have to say, and I can’t wait to see what they do with it since the rights have already been bought!

Book soundtrack: “Say You Love Me” by Jessie Ware

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On the fifth day of #blogmas …Tag Tuesday: The Christmas Song Book Tag

This tag was made by Hail Hearts NYC on YouTube. The original video can be watched here.

#1 – “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” – Name a villainous creature you couldn’t help but love. The. Darkling.!!! So, I say this and I’m only in the first of the Grisha trilogy. I don’t know if he truly is a villain…as of now, I assume he is…but I love him!

#2 – “All I Want For Christmas is You” – Which book do you most hope to see under your tree this year? I have been itching to read anything by Megan Miranda all year long! Her covers just grab me and I’m always down for a good mystery.

tim-gouw-165547#3 – “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and still believes in themselves. Jordan from Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (my summary & review of the book is here). I loved this book because Jordan/Julian was a character who had a goal and did whatever it took to reach it. She stuck by that and worked so hard and truly believed that she could do something that no one had ever done before. And she did it.

#4 – “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” – Which character do you think is at the top of the naughty/nice list? Naughty list: Queen Levana from the Lunar Chronicles. I just finished reading the novella Fairest and it was so insightful into Levana’s past. I wish we had books on all villain’s pasts. Wouldn’t it be amazing to know all of the Disney villains’ backgrounds? Nice list: Iko from the Lunar Chronicles. I also recently finished reading Wires and Nerve, which is the graphic novel that follows the Lunar Chronicles and oh. my. stars. it was MAGNIFICENT!! So it was my first graphic novel but it was easy to read and I literally laughed out loud. The book gave new life and personality to the characters and it was grand! Do NOT disregard this book! Its a must-read! (But only after you’ve finished the series!)

chinda-sam-185434#5 – “Frosty the Snowman” – What book just melts your heart? My go-to book for a heart-warmer is Anne of Green Gables. First off there is the childhood nostalgia behind the book for me, and then secondly Anne herself is such a charming and warm character. Then when you mix in the secondary characters–Diana, Matthew, Marilla, Gilbert–my very soul is warmed.

#6 – “Feliz Navidad” – Pick a book that takes place in a country other than your own. Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is set in London in 1818 and is a tale of mystery, spies, and dressmaking.

#7 – “Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Which Christmas book do you use to spread the joy? Either A Christmas Carol or Skipping Christmas. I didn’t realize, until a couple years ago while randomly shopping at Half Price Books, that the movie “Christmas With the Kranks” was based on this book by John Grisham, but I really recommend giving it a read! The movie is actually pretty faithful to the book and its a pretty quick, easy, cozy read so if you need some holiday cheer, give it a go!

#8 – “Sleigh Ride” – Which character would you choose to spread holiday cheer with? Me and Luna Lovegood all the way, just to see what unique, creative mischief we can come up with!

#9 – “Baby, its Cold Outside” – Which book, that you didn’t like, would you sacrifice to warm yourself up on a cold day? First We Were IV . What a pity 😦

#10 – “Do You Hear What I Hear?” – What book do you think everyone should read? Hmm… tie between The Hate U Give, The Library of Fates, and The Light We Lost. Those are my top 3 reads for 2017.

If you are reading this, consider yourself tagged!! Spread the love around and feel free to let me know if you have any thoughts on any of these books!

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On the fourth day of blogmas …The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

34058936Goblins, fae, and gold – oh my! Plus, new adult contemporary. So if you like these genres like I do, you’re in for an awesome read. I really, really enjoyed The Goblins of Bellwater. Like, 4.5/5 stars enjoyed it. From the very beginning I was swept up in the story and because the writing is so easy to read, and all of the characters are interesting, and its told from alternating POV’s, I was engaged throughout the entire book. Also, please take just one second to look at that cover!!!! *drool*

The story goes like this: Kit’s family is cursed. For generations now, one member of their family must bring the goblins of the forest a tribute of gold each month or else the goblins will attack a member or members of the local town. Kit is the current liason. Now, he’s a good guy and he hates stealing from people to give to the goblins but he hates having people attacked more. Lately Kit has been coming up a little short. The goblins aren’t always honest and well-behaved either. Enter: the Darwen sisters.

clarisse-meyer-184329Livy Darwen is a local environmental scientist and Skye is a barista. They both love the forests and have grown up believing in “teeny tinies” living in the woods. Well, to shorten the synopsis, there is a goblin curse on one of the sisters. The curse must be broken. Kit’s cousin, Grady, who is a chef, steps in to help. Relationships blossom. The curse gets worse before it gets better. There is adventure, there is an alliance with local fae (the good guys), there’s a battle, there’s minor drama, there’s an ending. Ta-daaa!!

So put this one on your Christmas lists, folks! I really liked this one! It started off maybe a little slow but everything else was just perfect for me. The perfect mix of a bit of paranormal, twenty-something adults, romance, adventure/action, and not mind-numbingly difficult to read.

Book soundtrack: “Vanilla Pines” by Tow’rs

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

23113602So this is a NetGalley ARC I have had on my shelf for a while now. A few things about this book right off the bat: first of all, it took me a long time to read. My attention just wasn’t held the way I hoped it would have been. Especially because it felt rather like it was going to be a YA historical/almost-cozy mystery, which would have been right up my alley. Still overall regardless of exact genre, the plot moved very slowly.

Secondly, the magic in this book was not very exciting, widespread, nor well explained. Was it unique? Yes. You will never find Harry, Ron, and Hermione sewing glamours. However, that is the only magic in the book and its not shiny magic, its really not magic that Annis is really confident in or that she learns from some great wizard or a secret family recipe or anything like that…she hardly practices in any big, adventurous, fun way except for exhausting herself to save herself from bankruptcy. It was a bummer.

daniel-garcia-418370Third, the characters were unextraordinary to me mainly because I never trusted any of them. I never felt like we got a good enough glimpse into any of them because there was just too much going on with Annis and her cherades.

So those are my criticisms. All of that being said, I did enjoy other aspects of the books. I did like the setting of the book and the genre in general. There are not many YA historical mysteries out there. I would LOVE to read more books like this! Especially with young women at the center. The Jackaby books are good as well! I also thought the ending and the resolution in general saved the book in general. I wish the pacing would have been better throughout the book, but I have to say that I thought the ending was well done and I hope there is another book because I would pick it up.

Book soundtrack: “Skyfall” by Adele

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Fairest by Marissa Meyer

22489107THIS. BOOK. (!!!)

If you have read/are reading this series, this novella is a must read. I have completed the entire series and I am so glad that I went back to read Levana’s story. The book is numbered “3.5” but really it takes place before any of the series take place, when the main characters of the series (Cinder, Winter, etc.) are being born and Levana is first rising to power. It does cover a long time span, I suppose, and ultimately, it leaves off during the book series.

Here is what you really need to know about <u>Fairest</u>: It is the story of how the ‘villain’ of the Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer’s 4 book series) becomes the villain. As always, Meyer’s writing is beautiful as she describes Levana’s sordid childhood as the bullied younger sister. She grows up and falls in love with a man who never loves her back, and is barren her entire life. In a nutshell you can see why she’s bitter. Other things we learn (very generally, without giving any details): how Levana got her scars and why she wears her glamour, why Lunars decide to unleash a devastating disease on earth and how it originated, why Levana is so seriously twisted, and much, much more!!

Honestly, I cannot understand how the author crammed all of this information into a mere 222 pages. I never felt like I was bored or restless, I was just so interested in the characters and the story. Also, the audiobook is great for this as well. I definitely recommend it!

Book soundtrack: “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence

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Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

22663629All righty, I’m a little bit torn about this book. First off, I listened to the audiobook and I feel like that always throws my rating off a little bit. Was it the book I did/didn’t like or was did the reader throw my bias a bit? I actually thought the reader was pretty good on this book. She has a dramatic voice without being over the top or whiney or overdone or anything like that. I thought she was right where she needed to be. So great job to the narrator, in my opinion.

It is important to go into this book with an open mind. Just read the synopsis and go with it–don’t assume this or that, just let the story unfold. I’ve read several of the other reviews on this book and trust me, readers who expect one thing or the other only set themselves up for disappointment and this book truly is unique.

What Kali Wallace has done with Shallow Graves–in my opinion, at least–is create a unique kind of story. I don’t think I have read a book quite like this, where the main character wakes up dead and not remembering why. The mystery is who killed her, what type of creature she is, what other creatures actually live in the world, who is friend and who is foe, and how is she supposed to move on from here. There are several creep factor moments and then the book has its lulls…but overall, I was pretty entranced with the book so I recommend as a good fall/Autumn book!

Book soundtrack: “Graveyard” by The Devil Makes Three

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Bride of Glass by Candace Robinson

**This book was provided for me from the author in exchange for an honest review – Thanks so much, Candace!!**

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Book 1 – Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

In case anyone is reading this and doesn’t know, The Bride of Glass is the sequel to Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault. Yes, you must read book #1 first AND I recommend reading both books back to back, or at least fairly close to each other because the stories are very closely related and if you wait and forget details, not much time is spent rehashing the plot in book 2. So either read them together (I, personally wouldn’t have minded having them just being one long horror book, myself, though the cover art is vivid and gorgeous!) or take good notes for when you come back to book 2 later on. Just some friendly advice!

 

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Book 2 – The Bride of Glass

Ok, moving on. If you read my review for the first book, my favorite part was experiencing the characters’ travels through the different fairy tale displays in the Glass Museum. I felt the first book lacked very much character depth, however. Enter: book two and voila! I get my wish, but the roles are switched. Much more characterization and some back story, which was great, but much less (and still the same as before, and much less) display movement. We finally see real relationships form or mend; we see flashbacks from before our heroes (and antiheroes) are in the Glass Museum.

As for the ending, I almost felt a little unsettled by it. I think I was meant to? In some ways the events of the Glass Vault served as an apocalypse, wiping out part of the population. All of the main characters basically have to start their lives over again, (hopefully) in peace.

*Conclusions* I will say that these books are certainly unique, creative, engaging, and colorful, considering that they are dark horror/fantasy. They walk a fine line between YA and adult and contain some violence/gore and suggestive sex. That being said, I am not opposed or afraid of these themes or genres AND its October so this book was completely welcome and appropriate for me at this point in time and it was a great read. Thanks again to the author, Candace Robinson for providing me with a copy! I’m looking forward to reading more from her(you) in the future!

Book soundtrack: “Alive” by Escape the Fate

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