Judith’s 2014 End of Year Survey

December 15, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Blog Event, 6 comments

eoysjThe year is almost over (when did that happen?) and so it’s time to fill out Jamie‘s end of year book survey again. This is the third time I get to fill out the survey, but I don’t think I have ever had such a hard time. Trying not to mention the same book over and over again, that is. The truth is, however, that I haven’t read as many books as I would have liked, and therefore I don’t have many books to choose from. And to be true, I just really wanted to yell about my favorite books over and over again, so there’s that. Enjoy my rambling and leave me a link to your end of year survey, if you’re doing one.

Read more »

Gift Giving Guide: Picture Books

December 12, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Gift Giving Guide2 comments

GIFTGIVINGGUIDE

At the ripe old age of 29, I’m at time in life where many of my friends are having babies or already have children. I always enjoy getting a little something for these kiddos for their birthdays and Christmas, but for a while, I found this to be very difficult to do without spending an arm and a leg in the process! But more importantly, I want to give them gifts that they can keep and not just outgrow or break or sell at a yard sale (hey, I’ve seen this happen more than once!). I bet you can guess where I’m going with this. You got it—books! My go-to gift for kids ages 0 to about 9 is BOOKS. I’ve found that parents appreciate this gift, and they tend to save them for their children to have when they get older. Plus, unless it’s a kid that just hasn’t been exposed to books at all, they almost always love getting them!

Obviously I love young adult books, but I also adore children’s books. I’m in charge of the acquisitions for our children’s collection at the library where I work, and I love love love this part of my job. I get to read all of the new books when they come in and it’s glorious. Since Christmas is just around the corner, I thought that maybe some of you might be having the same dilemma on what to get the kids in your life, so I wanted to take a minute to share some of my favorite children’s books from this past year…

pic3

Read more »

Review: My True Love Gave to Me

December 8, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Review, 7 comments

Review: My True Love Gave to MeTitle: My True Love Gave to Me
Author: Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Pena, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Genre/Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: 3.5 Stars

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ...This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays. If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave to Me.

my thoughts

I have to confess here that I’m not typically a huge fan of short stories or novellas (I usually want more from the story than these abbreviated versions can give), but a book of Christmas stories was just what I needed to help sway my opinion. The stories in My True Love Gave to Me were fun and feel-good, and it’s no surprise that my favorites were the contemporary ones with sweet love stories. Since all of the stories are so different, I decided that it wasn’t fair to lump them all together in a review. Therefore, I’m going to do this review a little differently by rating each story and sharing my thoughts on each one (who am I kidding? I just wanted an excuse to gush about my favorite stories!). So here we go:

“Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell |  | This story had a very “Fangirl”-ish feel to it; best friends Mags and Noel celebrate their “anniversary” every New Year’s Eve, and we get to watch their relationship progress as the NYE’s go by from 2011-2014. Rainbow Rowell makes us care about these characters in a way that only she can after just 22 pages.

“The Lady & the Fox” by Kelly Link |  | I’m not gonna lie, I honestly didn’t get this one. There is some magical realism in it (I think?), and that’s a genre that I just don’t particularly enjoy. Unfortunately, my distaste for magical realism carried over into this “short” story that I felt was way too long. Sigh.

“Angels in the Snow” by Matt de la Pena |  | This is my first foray into Matt de la Pena’s writing, and holy cow, give me more! I adored this one! Shy and Haley are both college students, stranded in the same NYC apartment building on Christmas due to a blizzard. There’s more to Shy than meets the eye (hey, look at me rhyme!), and elements of his story reminded me of Katie McGarry’s leading guys. Y’all, I NEED more of his story.

“Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me” by Jenny Han |  | This story was very cute but way too short! I think (thought don’t quote me on this) that it’s the shortest one in MTLGtM. It immediately reminded me of Will Ferrell’s Elf, as the main character is a teen girl who lives with Santa and the elves at the North Pole.

“It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins |  | My most anticipated story in the whole book and it did NOT disappoint. Only Stephanie Perkins could turn a Charlie Brown-ish looking Christmas tree and a messy apartment with a cranky old neighbor into a sweet love story. And hel-lo hot kissing scene!

Your Temporary Santa” by David Levithan |  | I’ve never read anything by Levithan until now, and I was underwhelmed by this one. I’m a very character-driven reader, and the main character’s name was never even revealed, so it was hard to get “attached” to him. I also found the story to be a bit confusing at times.

“Krampuslauf” by Holly Black |  | Hooray, I finally liked a story that had magic in it! Surprising, I know. The fantasy element in “Krampuslauf” was so well-done, and the story was a lot of fun, and I just really hated for it to end (which is saying something because I’m usually like UGH, FANTASY). Yay, for goat-legged boys named Joachim who save the day and also give really hot kisses ;)

“What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?” by Gayle Forman |  | OMG, people, WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ SOMETHING BY GAYLE FORMAN? Just in these few pages I can tell that her writing is amazing and her storytelling is perfection. I wanted so much more from Sophie and Russell, who are stuck in “Bumfuckville” for the holidays. My favorite of the short stories (tied with Stephanie Perkins’, of course).

“Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus” by Myra McEntire |  | This one is set in Tennessee, which is a stone’s throw from where I grew up/still live, so it ranks high on my list for that alone. However, bad boy Vaughn won me over quickly, much like he did Shelby, who also happens to be the preacher’s daughter. He’s asked to help with the Christmas pageant after accidentally burning their church to the ground. Y’all know how I love my bad boys! Super cute.

“Welcome to Christmas, CA” by Kiersten White |  | A town named Christmas? I’ve never thought of what the implications of that would be for the people who are fortunate (unfortunate?) enough to live there year-round. It certainly makes for a lovely story. I could have read about 100 more pages about Maria and Ben!

“Star of Bethlehem” by Ally Carter |  | This story reminded me so much of The Holiday, which is one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies in which Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet switch homes for the holidays. Hulda and Lydia, two complete strangers, run into each other at the airport and switch planes, both running away from something. I think Lydia ends up with the better end of this deal, since she had a cute cowboy named Ethan who met her at the airport. There’s a little bit of instalove and a lot of fluff here, but it’s really cute and so enjoyable.

“The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor | DNF | This is my third attempt to read something by Laini Taylor, and it’s obviously time to face the fact that her writing just isn’t for me. Sadly.

memorable quotes

“Christmas is supposed to be this time when everyone is nice to one another and forgives one another and all that, but the true meaning of Christmas is presents. And in the real world, Santa’s not fair. Rich kids get everything and poor kids get secondhand crap their parents bust their asses to afford. It costs money just to sit on Santa’s lap.”
- “Krampuslauf” by Holly Black

“I think the anticipation is more fun than anything else. I kind of lost that. The idea that something –food, traditions, an arbitrary date on the calendar—can be special because we decide it should be. Because we make it special. Not just for ourselves, but for others.”
- “Welcome to Christmas, CA” by Kiersten White

Top Ten 2015 Books We Want

December 2, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Top Ten Tuesday14 comments

tttTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

A list about books we want? We are so here for that. Judith may have gotten a bit carried away and listed fourteen books instead of ten, but don’t blame her, blame the amazing books coming out next year. Ellice suprises everyone by picking mostly contemporaries, but there are so many good ones coming out in 2015. It’s going to be an epic year for books!

Read more »

November in Review

December 1, 2014 ● BY ● TAGS: Book Haul, Monthly Recap, On My Shelves6 comments

november

we did

Judith: November was an insanely busy month, with some of my favorite moments of 2014. Most importantly: I MET AMBER, who I met through blogging two years ago and has since become one of my best friends in the entire world. We spent a weekend wandering and biking through Amsterdam and it was amazing, although I wish we’d had longer together. We also met Rinn and Mel, which was great. Later, I hung out with my amazing prossie friends for Amber’s birthday (we have the screenshots to prove it), I saw Mockingjay with a friend, and I became obsessed with The 100. Which I think you all know. Oh, and I did stuff for uni. Or at least tried to.

didnovember

Ellice: My month was nowhere near as exciting as J’s. Amberiot together at last… how awesome is that?! As for me, the beginning of the month was super hectic at work. It was Advising Week, so we were busy getting students signed up for the spring semester. My November was also full of college football (yay!); I spent two Saturdays at Ole Miss, and this weekend they ended the regular season with a win over our in-state rivals, Mississippi State (this game is a VERY big deal in my state– the winner earns bragging rights for the next year!). I also had one glorious week off from work due to the Thanksgiving holidays. I spent the week with family that I don’t see very often and ate way too much. Oh, and I joined the shopping madness and got a lot of my Christmas shopping done, including the items for both of my Secret Santas. I’m so excited for December!

Okay y’all, I’m saving the best news for last– I got THREE very special books this month. One is a copy of My True Love Gave to Me, signed by Stephanie Perkins, one of my all-time favorite authors. Sadly, I didn’t meet her, but I was able to order a copy through a nearby indie bookstore. However, my absolute favorites were the two books personalized by Miranda Kenneally. Y’all know how much I adore her and her books! There MAY have been some squealing outside at my mailbox ;)

ellice

Read more »