Discussion Post: How I Write Negative Reviews

 

I had set as one of my blogging goals for this year to write more discussion posts, so here’s my first attempt for 2017…

Writing negative reviews is my least favorite part about being a book blogger.  Seriously, is there anything worse than settling in to read what you hope will be a fantastic book, only to find yourself disappointed?  But I do pride myself on writing honest reviews, so if I have to write a negative review, I have a few rules that I try to follow. I won’t even go so far as to call these tips or suggestions.  I’m a Libra and I’m all about being fair and balanced, and these are simply the steps I take to try to achieve the balance I’m looking for while writing those dreaded negative reviews.

 

  1. Be Honest but Still Respectful.  Maybe it’s the Libra in me, but no matter how much I dislike a book, I’m just not one who is going to write a scathing negative review.  I try to always remember who my potential audience might be – fellow readers, authors, publishers, etc. – and write in a tone that I feel will be honest yet still professional as I point out why a book just didn’t work for me.
  1. Be Constructive with Criticism. Don’t just rage about how much I hate it. I always try to keep in mind when I’m reviewing that just because a book wasn’t for me, that doesn’t mean others won’t love it.  There are many times when I don’t connect with a book for whatever reason, yet I can see that it has thousands and thousands of 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads.  Clearly there are plenty of readers out there who don’t share my quirks and personal preferences when it comes to certain books.  That said, if I think one of my criticisms is stemming from one of my own personal quirks, say maybe my hatred of love triangles, I’m quick to point that out in my reviews (i.e. “It might just be me who has a problem with this…”).  Sometimes I’ll even go a bit further and suggest a way that it could have been presented so that I might have enjoyed it more.
  1. Offset the negatives with a few positives, if possible. Even if I really disliked a book, I try to come up with a few positive things to say about it.  I think this is a carryover from my teaching days. My students were always more open to what I had to say about their writing if I was able to point out strengths as well as weaknesses.  Plus, again, just because a book isn’t for me doesn’t me another reader won’t love it.  I also usually start my reviews with what I did like about a book before I launch into the negatives. I prefer the tone that sets rather than starting with the negatives and then saying “But wait…not everything about this book sucked. I did like a couple of things.”
  1. Be Careful with Tagging. I don’t typically tag authors when I post my reviews on social media anyway, but I definitely will not tag them if I didn’t like their book.  For me, tagging them would be like saying “Hey, I really hated your book and I want to make sure you know that!”  If authors come across my negative review on their own, fine, but I just don’t go out of my way to shove it in front of their faces.

There you have it, folks. Do you follow any of these steps or have any tips you’d like to share on handling those dreaded negative reviews?

2017 Reading and Blogging Goals

Happy New Year, everyone! It’s that time of year when most of us are reflecting on our lives and making resolutions for what we hope to do differently in the upcoming year.  In addition to a few personal resolutions I’ve made (working on my organizational skills, eating healthier, and exercising more), I’ve also come up with the following list of reading/blogging goals that I hope to accomplish in 2017.

READ AT LEAST 60 BOOKS IN 2017.  

I’ll be tracking this goal through my Goodreads challenge.  I used to only manage to read about 40 books per year before I started blogging, but starting my blog this past year actually pushed me to read nearly 70 books in 2016. I’m hoping therefore that 60 will be a manageable number as I continue my blogging adventures in 2017.

WRITE AT LEAST 52 BOOK REVIEWS FOR MY BLOG.  

If my first goal goes as planned, this goal should be manageable since I’m basically aiming for an average of one review per week.

PUT A DENT IN MY ENORMOUS TBR PILE.   

In order to facilitate this goal, I’ll be taking part in the Beat The Backlist challenge, which is hosted by NovelKnight.  Here’s the list of books I hope to knock off my TBR by participating in this challenge.

  1.  A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
  2. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  3. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  4. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
  5. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  6. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  7. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  9. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  10. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  11. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
  12. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
  13. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  14. My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
  15. Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
  16. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  17. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
  18. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
  19. When We Collided by Emery Lord
  20. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
  21. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  22. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  23. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
  24. In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
  25. The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

WRITE MORE DISCUSSION POSTS AND ORIGINAL CONTENT.  

This is something I haven’t been very successful at thus far in my blogging journey.  I post regularly and participate in a few weekly features hosted by fellow bloggers, but I fall into these ruts where it feels like everything I want to talk about in discussion posts has already been discussed by dozens of other bloggers and so I talk myself out of posting anything.  So yeah, I need to get better about just going for it and putting my thoughts out there.

KEEP MY BLOGGING EXPERIENCE FUN.  

In this goal, what I’m seeking is to maintain a balance between reading what I want to read when the mood hits me versus the ARCs I need to read for review purposes.  Why this goal? Well, late last fall, I requested quite a few books from Netgalley assuming that I’d probably only get approved for a couple of them.  Needless to say I was rather shocked when I got approved for almost all of them and then realized that at least three of them had a publication date of January 10th.  With the holidays upon me, I got pretty stressed out about the prospect of having to quickly read that many books and put together that many reviews in such a short time.  It felt like I was back in college again, cramming for finals.  (I’m actually still trying to finish the last book right now since the book is due out on Tuesday.) Plus, in addition to the pressure of the deadline, I also didn’t have time to read anything that I wanted to read so December wasn’t that fun of a blogging month for me.

That stress is most definitely not something that I care to repeat so my goal for 2017 is to pay more attention to publication dates and choose my ARC requests more wisely so that I don’t unnecessarily stress myself out and, most importantly, so that I leave myself time for pleasure/mood reading.

INTERACT MORE WITH THE BOOKISH COMMUNITY.  

The past few months I’ve tried to make it a goal to visit other book blogs and comment whenever I have time.  I know how happy it makes me when I log into my own blog and see I have comments to respond to, so I just really want to continue to do my part to be supportive of the community and make other bloggers feel that same sense of joy.

I also want to improve my twitter presence.  I follow a number of bloggers but because I can be such an awkward potato at times, I rarely ever talk to them.  I did participate in a few twitter chats in 2016, which were a lot of fun, so I hope to do a few more in 2017 and to just be better about interacting overall.  Even being an awkward potato, I still managed to cross over the 500 follower mark on twitter, so for 2017, I’m hoping to make it to 1,000 followers.

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Well, that’s what I have so far anyway.  I think (hope!) they’re challenging yet reasonable goals.  Do we share any of the same reading or blogging goals for 2017?  If not, what are your goals for this year?

Give the Gift of Reading: Do a Kids’ Christmas Book Advent Calendar

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Those who know me know I’m always on a quest to make sure my son loves books as much as I do.  As part of this quest and also to offset the endless array of electronics and video games that always dominate his Christmas list, a couple of years ago I put together a Christmas Book Advent Calendar for him to make sure he gets plenty of reading time throughout the holiday season.  Like a traditional advent calendar, mine was comprised of 24 books, one for each of the days leading up to Christmas, and the books were an assortment of traditional classics that were favorites of mine when I was his age, as well as some contemporary stories that are popular now.  I also selected some books that were funny, some that were more serious, and I also tried to include a variety of both secular and religious stories.  Most of the books I selected could easily be read in a single night, although I did have a couple of longer ones that I assigned to weekend days in case he couldn’t finish them in one night. My son had just turned 7 that year so I of course tried to make my selections a mix of books he could read on his own coupled with books his Dad or myself could read to him.

I’m not super creative when it to decorating so my calendar display was pretty basic.  I just wrapped each book in festive paper, numbered them 1-24 in the order I wanted them to be opened and read, and then I arranged them in a decorative holiday basket.  You can always check out Pinterest for tons of more creative ways to display your calendar.

Cost was, of course, an issue since books are not cheap, but I scored a lot of great deals on Black Friday Weekend, which is why I’m posting this now, and I also picked up a lot of heavily discounted books at our local book fair and of course through Amazon.

I’m happy to say that my son LOVED doing the Advent Calendar.  He even got to the point where he would run down first thing every morning to unwrap the day’s book to see what we would be reading that evening.  We had a great time with it — lots of laughs at silly books like Jingle Bells, Batman Smells and lots of smiles reading all of the traditional favorites like How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  He still has all of the books on his shelf, has already pulled several of them out to re-read again this year, and is currently begging me to do another Advent Calendar this year.  I’m not sure I can come up with an age appropriate list on such short notice, but it does make me smile to know that he enjoyed it that much, considering it’s not an xBox game, haha.

Anyway, I wanted to pass along the list of books that I used for my Advent Calendar in case there’s anyone else out there who is looking to do something similar for their children.  It’s a lot of work to put one together but so totally worth it.  Happy Reading and Happy Holidays!

 

24 Perfect Books for a Child’s Christmas Book Advent Calendar

 

1. Turkey Clause by Wendi Silvano

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Goodreads Synopsis: Turkey is in trouble. Again. He made it through Thanksgiving without becoming a turkey dinner, but now it’s almost Christmas, and guess what’s on the menu? Turkey decides the only thing to do is to ask Santa for help. He sets off for the North Pole, but getting in to see Santa at Christmastime isn’t as easy as Turkey expected. It’s going to take all his ideas—and his clever disguises—to find a way into Santa’s house. After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise, and Santa has the perfect solution! In this holiday treat, a companion to Turkey Trouble, Wendi Silvano’s story is once again matched with the artwork of Lee Harper.   (Read more…)

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2. The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving by Jan & Mike Berenstain

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Goodreads Synopsis:  In The Berenstain Bears and The Joy of Giving Brother and Sister Bear can’t wait for Christmas and all the presents they’ll open. But during the Christmas Eve pageant, something special happens! The Bear cubs learn a very valuable lesson about the joy of giving to others.   (Read more…)

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3. The Poky Little Puppy’s First Christmas

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Goodreads Synopsis:  It’s the poky little puppy’s first Christmas, and he’s not sure what to expect. When he meets an animal friend who’s lost his home, Poky’s quick to help–and learns all about the spirit of Christmas.  (Read more…)

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4. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Adapted by Rick Bunsen

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Goodreads Synopsis:  In this comic retelling of the traditional Christmas story, Rudolph runs away from home to escape everyone’s teasing, travels to the Island of Misfit Toys with his elf pal, Herbie, and then faces down the Abominable Snow Monster -all before guiding Santa’s sleigh through that famous foggy Christmas Eve.  (Read more…)

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5. Frosty the Snowman by Diane Muldrow

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Goodreads Synopsis: Everyone’s favorite snowman with a magic hat, a button nose, and eyes made out of coal comes to life on Christmas every year. Based on the beloved 1969 television special, this Little Golden Book retells the whole magical story of Frosty the Snowman for boys and girls 2–5! (Read more…)

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6. The Little Christmas Elf by Nikki Shannon Smith

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Goodsreads Synopsis:  Nina, the littlest elf in Santa’s workshop, doesn’t finish the teddy bear she’s making in time for it to get loaded onto Santa’s sleigh-but, encouraged by Santa Claus himself to not give up, she works far into the night to finish it. While Santa is out delivering presents, a baby is born. Santa comes back for Nina’s now-finished bear—and guess who he takes along to deliver it? (Read more…)

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7. Junie B. First Grader:  Jingle Bells, Batman Smells (P.S. So Does May) by Barbara Park

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Meet the World’s Funniest First Grader Junie B. Jones!  Ho, ho…uh-oh! With over 50 million books in print, Barbara Park’s New York Times bestselling chapter book series, Junie B. Jones, is a classroom favorite and has been keeping kids laughing and reading for over 20 years! In the 25th Junie B. Jones book, it s holiday time, and Room One is doing lots of fun things to celebrate. Like making elf costumes! And singing joyful songs! Only, how can Junie B. enjoy the festivities when Tattletale May keeps ruining her holiday glee? And here is the worst part of all! When everyone picks names for Secret Santa, Junie B. gets stuck with Tattletale you-know-who! It s enough to fizzle your holiday spirit! Hmm . . . or is it? Maybe, just maybe, a Secret Santa gift is the perfect opportunity to give May exactly what she deserves. (Read more…)

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8. Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

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Goodreads Synopsis:

“The day before Christmas,

snuggled on his floor,

Bear sleeps soundly

with a great big snore….”

Bear’s friends are determined to keep Bear awake for Christmas! So they wake Bear up and have him help them find a Christmas tree, bake cakes, hang up stockings, and sing Christmas songs. Bear stays up — by discovering that giving is one of the best Christmas presents!

How a SURPRISE visit from someone very special gives Bear and his friends a Christmas to remember makes an enchanting holiday story for young readers. With Karma Wilson’s memorable text and Jane Chapman’s glowing illustrations, Bear Stays Up for Christmas is a book to cherish throughout the year.   (Read more…)

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9. How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Have you ever wondered what Santa did before he was Santa?  When Santa was young and needed a job, no one was looking for a man in a red suit to deliver gifts on Christmas. So Santa tried just about everything — from a chimney sweep to a postman to a circus performer. But none of these worked out. It wasn’t until he met a group of elves who helped him use all his special talents, that Santa was able to find his dream job.  (Read more…)

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10. How Santa Lost His Job by Stephen Krensky

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Santa has the best job he can think of — brining presents each Christmas to children all around the world. Every year he prepares for his trip: He trims his beard, takes a bath, gets dressed, and packs up his sleigh fort he long night ahead. But there are always a few unexpected delays that make things a little hectic. Muckle, one of the elves who helps Santa, thinks he can come up with a more efficient way of delivering the toys — a method that won’t involve Santa at all. (Read more…)

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11. The Biggest Snowman Ever by Steven Kroll

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Kids will adore this sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Biggest Pumpkin Ever!  When the mayor of Mouseville announces the town snowman contest, Clayton and Desmond claim that they will each make the biggest snowman ever. But building a huge snowman alone is hard! They work and work, but their snowmen just aren’t big enough.  Soon they have an idea. As the day of the contest approaches, Clayton and Desmond join forces to build the biggest snowman ever. (Read more…)

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12. Mickey’s Christmas Carol by Disney

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Relive this wonderful Disney classic film in a beautiful, hardcover, 96-page classic storybook that accurately captures the movie magic and places it right into a child’s hands. With every turn of a page, adventure unfolds to create memories that will last a lifetime. (Read more…)

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13. Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Mortimer Mouse needs a new house — a house that’s not so cold, cramped, and dark. Where can he go?He sees a huge tree covered with twinkling lights. And next to the tree, a mouse-size house. And inside the house, a wee wooden manger just Mortimer’s size. But statue people seem to already live there! One by one, Mortimer lugs and tugs the statues out of the house — only to find them all put back in their places each evening! What is Mortimer to do?

It’s not until he overhears a very special story that Mortimer realizes whose house he is sharing and where Mortimer himself belongs. It is the story of Christmas and the ngiht the baby Jesus was born that warms Mortimer’s heart in this magical holiday offering from award winners Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. (Read more…)

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14. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

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Goodreads Synopsis:  The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever. (Read more…)

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15. The Littlest Christmas Tree by R.A. Herman

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Goodreads Synopsis:  The Littlest Christmas Tree wants to find a home for Christmas in this companion to the bestselling favorite The Littlest Pumpkin.

There are only five days until Christmas, and the Littlest Christmas Tree is still waiting for a home. All it wants is for a family to take it home, decorate it, and sing its favorite song, “Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches…”

But as Christmas nears, and one by one the other trees find homes, the Littlest Christmas Tree begins to think that no one will ever take it home. And then, on Christmas Eve, its wish comes true when the man who runs the Christmas tree stand takes it home to his family. (Read more…)

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16. The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton

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Goodreads Synopsis:  n all the world, there is no place like Halloweenland, and Jack Skellington is Halloween’s most important figure. It’s Jack who devises the holiday’s most macabre tricks and frights, and he’s delightfully done it year after year. But this year, something isn’t quite right: Jack has grown bored with the usual Halloween pranks, and the joy of seeing shock and horror on people’s faces has faded.

Then one night, while out for a walk in the woods, Jack sees something he’s never seen before – a strange door carved into a tree. Stepping through the door Jack stumbles into a world unlike any he’s ever known. He finds himself in a bright, colorful place called Christmas Town. Jack has finally found what he’s been looking for, and knows right away what needs to be done. He will bring Christmas to Halloween – with Jack starring in Santa’s role!

The beautifully designed commemorative edition celebrates the twentieth anniversary of this classic book’s initial publication and features meticulously reproduced original artwork from the incomparable visionary Tim Burton. (Read more…)

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17. Santa’s Stuck by Rhonda Gowler Greene

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Goodreads Synopsis:  This playful picture book answers the age-old question: Just how does Santa shimmy up and down chimneys? Not very easily sometimes! When the rotund fellow with a sweet tooth overdoes it on the snacks, he gets stuck inside a chimney. The reindeer on the roof try pulling him out, to no avail. A dog, a cat, and some kittens try pushing from below, with no luck. It takes a tiny, ingenious mouse to come up with the way to POP! Santa out so that Christmas can go on. Good show—ho, ho, ho! (Read more…)

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18. A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit — except for Charlie Brown. It seems like everybody has forgotten what Christmas is truly about. But Lucy, Linus, and the whole Peanuts gang have some holiday surprises that will make even Charlie Brown feel merry! (Read more…)

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19. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Late on Christmas Eve, after the town has gone to sleep, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring. (Read more…)

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20. How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

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Goodreads Synopsis:  “The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.”

Dr. Seuss’s small-hearted Grinch ranks right up there with Scrooge when it comes to the crankiest, scowling holiday grumps of all time. For 53 years, the Grinch has lived in a cave on the side of a mountain, looming above the Whos in Whoville. The noisy holiday preparations and infernal singing of the happy little citizens below annoy him to no end. The Grinch decides this frivolous merriment must stop. His “wonderful, awful” idea is to don a Santa outfit, strap heavy antlers on his poor, quivering dog Max, construct a makeshift sleigh, head down to Whoville, and strip the chafingly cheerful Whos of their Yuletide glee once and for all.

Looking quite out of place and very disturbing in his makeshift Santa get-up, the Grinch slithers down chimneys with empty bags and stealing the Whos’ presents, their food, even the logs from their humble Who-fires. He takes the ramshackle sleigh to Mt. Crumpit to dump it and waits to hear the sobs of the Whos when they wake up and discover the trappings of Christmas have disappeared. Imagine the Whos’ dismay when they discover the evil-doings of Grinch in his anti-Santa guise. But what is that sound? It’s not sobbing, but singing! Children simultaneously adore and fear this triumphant, twisted Seussian testimonial to the undaunted cheerfulness of the Whos, the transcendent nature of joy, and of course, the growth potential of a heart that’s two sizes too small.

This holiday classic is perfect for reading aloud to your favorite little Whos. . (Read more…)

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21. Santa’s Birthday Gift by Sherrill S. Cannon

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Goodreads Synopsis:  If your child or grandchild has ever wondered where Santa fits in with the traditional Christmas story, now you can read them Santa’s Birthday Gift. Finally, a book that ties two holiday traditions into one inspirational tale of wonder – as Santa brings gifts to baby Jesus. The cleverly-written, rhyming book reveals Santa’s adventure from toymaker to star follower — right into the heart of Bethlehem where he meets Baby Jesus in the manger. Delivering toys to a king is a touching experience for both Santa and readers alike, as they discover where the tradition began — Santa makes a promise to Jesus to bring gifts to good boys and girls each year on Jesus’ birthday. This delightful story is engaging and delivers meaningful lessons using recognizable nativity characters, and of course, Santa and Jesus. Author Sherrill S. Cannon says her inspiration for this book came from her granddaughter who, after hearing the Christmas story, asked, “But where’s Santa?” Cannon has been weaving stories and poems even before she could write. She enjoys the creative process and says her goal in each book is to teach good manners, as well as caring for others. Her background is in physical education, sports photography and she also had a column in a newspaper. Cannon is already working on several new children’s books. (Read more…)

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22. Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer

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Goodreads Synopsis:  This book is suitable for ages 4-8. We have all heard the story of the three wise men, who brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. But what about the camels who carried them? Here is the imaginative story of Humphrey the camel and his long, cold journey to Bethlehem. In addition to an engaging text and gorgeous, whimsical artwork, this story reminds readers of the importance of Christmas and the true meaning of gift-giving.  (Read more…)

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23. The Night Before The Night Before Christmas by Natasha Wing

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Goodreads Synopsis:  It’s December 23, and Christmas is just around the corner. But one family is having trouble getting its act together. Once again, Natasha Wing follows the rhythms and meter of Clement Moore’s classic Christmas poem, yet gives it her own entirely original twist.  (Read more…)

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24. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Once upon a time, children imagined St. Nicholas as a stern, skinny bishop who was as likely to dole out discipline as Christmas presents. But thanks to the anonymous publication of the poem “Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” in the TROY SENTINAL in 1823, a plumper, merrier St. Nick was born, transformed into the sleigh-riding, chimney-diving, jolly old elf we now call Santa Claus. (Read more…)

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Question:  Have you ever tried to do a book advent calendar?  Which books did you use?

Liebster Award Nomination!

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I’ve only been blogging for about six months now and am still firmly in the “Wow, I can’t believe people actually come to my blog!” stage of the game.  Needless to say, I was absolutely over the moon when Verushka from Editing Everything told me she was nominating me for a Liebster Award.  I never expected to be nominated for anything, and especially not from a blogger that I look up to so much.  Seriously, her blog is fabulous so definitely check it out if you haven’t already.  Thanks so much to Verushka for nominating me!

Okay, so here we go….

The Rules:

  • Acknowledge the blog that nominated you, link it to your post and display the award.
  • Answer 11 questions that the blog gives you.
  • Nominate 5-11 blogs you think deserve the Liebster Award.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.
  • Write the rules in your Liebster Award blog post.
  • Let the blogs know about your post and that you have nominated them.

My Answers:

1.  What are you reading right now and why did you pick it up?

I’m currently reading Cinder, the first book in Marissa Meyers’ The Lunar Chronicles.  I got a great deal on this series the last time I attended one of our local book fairs but hadn’t gotten around to reading it yet. I decided to go ahead and make it a Fall TBR priority because I keep hearing my fellow bloggers raving about The Lunar Chronicles.

2.  What is your fondest library or bookstore memory?

All of my fondest bookstore and library memories involve my son.  I just love taking him to look for new books and seeing him get just as excited as I do about reading.  Just like his mom, he will come out of the library loaded down with more books than he could ever possibly hope to read before they’re due.  Makes me smile just thinking about it. 🙂

3.  What is your favourite genre to read, but what trope in that genre would you be glad never to read again?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but my reading tastes are very eclectic.  I’m going to go with Historical Fiction with Mysteries/Thrillers as a close second.  One trend I would love to see less of in all genres are love triangles.  I never seem to find them even remotely realistic or natural and they’re just so overused anyway, so love triangles get a “Bye Felicia!” from me.

4. What genre just doesn’t do it for you?

Horror is probably my least favorite genre. Reading is an escape for me so the idea of being frightened the whole time just doesn’t appeal to me. Oddly enough and probably at the opposite end of the spectrum, I’m not really a big fan of romance either.

5.  Is book blogging everything you thought it would be?

I’d say book blogging is harder than I thought it would be.  There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of so I’m really having to work on my organizational skills to keep up with everything.  I do enjoy it though.  I love being able to post my thoughts on books and other bookish topics and engage in discussion with fellow book lovers.

6.  Which book or movie character do you wish had a blog you could read?

Okay, this is completely random and out of left field, but since you put movies in there, I’m going to say Chewbacca from Star Wars.  He’s my favorite character from the movie franchise but since all he does is roar, we can only guess what he’s really trying to say and how he feels in certain situations. I’d love to hear it straight from the Wookiee himself, haha!

7.  Do you always read the book before the movie?

Yes, always.  I have to read it and see what the author’s intentions were before seeing someone else put their spin on it.

8.  Which movie made you way more excited than the book version?

Tough one since I rarely ever think the movie is better than the book. I’ll say Forrest Gump though.  If I can add TV shows into the mix, I’d go with Orange is the New Black. I think the TV series is far superior to the book.

9.  What country in the world would you like to find a quiet spot in and read a book?

Italy! I visited there for the first time last summer and fell in love with the country.  Everything is so beautiful and I think anywhere in Tuscany, in particular, would make for an ideal reading spot.

10.  What is the last book that made you laugh out loud?

The B.F.G. by Roald Dahl! I read that aloud with my son recently and we both laughed so hard at the ‘whizz popping’ scenes that we had tears rolling down our faces.

11.  If you had one question to ask me, what would it be?

Hmmm, what made you decide to start a blog?

My Nominees:

If they haven’t already been nominated by someone else, I’d like to nominate the following wonderful bloggers:

1.   Birdie Bookworm

2.  Musings of a Literary Wanderer

3.  Girl About Library

4.  Tangled ‘N Books

5.  Pore Over the Pages

My Questions for my Nominees:

1. What is your favorite childhood book? Was there one in particular that made you fall in love with reading?

2. If you could do an interview for your blog with any author, who would you choose and why?

3.  Have you ever hated a book that everyone else loved?  If so, which book and what didn’t you like about it?

4.  What made you decide to become a book blogger and what have you learned along the way so far?

5.  Aside from blogging and reading, what are some of your other hobbies?

6.  Who is your least favorite fictional character? What do you dislike about the character?

7.  If you could choose to live anywhere else in the world aside from where you are now, where would you choose and why?

8.  What is the last book that made you cry?

9.  What is your beverage of choice?

10. What are your favorite reads of 2016 so far?

11.  What is your favorite movie that was adapted from a book?

 

October 4th New Releases The Bookish Libra is Excited About

october-4th

Bookworms rejoice! There are so many great new books coming out today! Here are just a few that have been on my radar for a while and that I truly can’t wait to get my hands on. Days like today make me so glad that I have a birthday coming up soon. 🙂

October 4th New Releases The Bookish Libra is Excited about

 

1. Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple

today will be different thumb

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Goodreads Synopsis: The new novel from Maria Semple, author of bestselling Where’d You Go, Bernadette and writer for hit US TV shows Ellen and Saturday Night Live. Meet Eleanor Flood, who wakes up one day determined to be her best self.

Eleanor Flood is going to clean up her act, only change into yoga clothes for yoga, which today she will actually attend, and be a better version of herself. But then, as it always does, life happens. Eleanor’s husband is missing, and their son, Timby, is wearing eye shadow to school and getting into fashion battles on the playground. (It’s true that it’s Eleanor’s fault: She did put makeup in his Christmas stocking.) Just when it seems like things can’t get weirder or more in the way of Eleanor’s personal transformation, a graphic memoir called The Flood Sisters surfaces, and the dramatic story it tells reveals long-buried secrets and a sister to whom Eleanor never speaks.

With all the artistic madness, genius plotting, and bold social observation that made Bernadette a hit, TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious and heart filled day-in-the-life romp filtered through Maria Semple’s brilliant eyes.   (Read more…)

2. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

holding up the universe

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Synopsis: From the author of the New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places comes a heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone—and love someone—for who they truly are.

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Jennifer Niven delivers another poignant, exhilarating love story about finding that person who sees you for who you are—and seeing them right back..  (Read more…)

3. The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

wangs vs world

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Goodreads Synopsis:  A hilarious debut novel about a wealthy but fractured Chinese immigrant family that had it all, only to lose every last cent—and about the road trip they take across America that binds them back together

One of Entertainment Weekly’s Most Anticipated Titles of 2016
A Fall 2016 Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
A Publishers Lunch Fall 16 Buzz Book
A The Millions Most Anticipated Book
One of Library Journal’s “Five Big Debuts” for Fall 16

Charles Wang is mad at America. A brash, lovable immigrant businessman who built a cosmetics empire and made a fortune, he’s just been ruined by the financial crisis. Now all Charles wants is to get his kids safely stowed away so that he can go to China and attempt to reclaim his family’s ancestral lands—and his pride.

Charles pulls Andrew, his aspiring comedian son, and Grace, his style-obsessed daughter, out of schools he can no longer afford. Together with their stepmother, Barbra, they embark on a cross-country road trip from their foreclosed Bel-Air home to the upstate New York hideout of the eldest daughter, disgraced art world it-girl Saina. But with his son waylaid by a temptress in New Orleans, his wife ready to defect for a set of 1,000-thread-count sheets, and an epic smash-up in North Carolina, Charles may have to choose between the old world and the new, between keeping his family intact and finally fulfilling his dream of starting anew in China.

Outrageously funny and full of charm, The Wangs vs. the World is an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America—and how going from glorious riches to (still name-brand) rags brings one family together in a way money never could…  (Read more…)

4. Replica by Lauren Oliver

replica

Publisher:  HarperCollins

Goodreads Synopsis:  Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever… (Read more…)

5. Everyone We’ve Been by Sarah Everett

everyone

Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Synopsis:  Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy that no one else can see. It gets so bad that she’s worried she’s going crazy.

Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits a shadowy medical facility that promises to “help with your memory.” But at the clinic, Addie unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased. She had a boy erased.

But why? Who was that boy, and what happened that was too devastating to live with? And even if she gets the answers she’s looking for, will she ever be able to feel like a whole person again?  (Read more…)

 

6. Transcendent by Katelyn Detweiler

transcendent

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Synopsis:  When terrorists bomb Disney World, seventeen-year-old Iris Spero is as horrified as anyone else. Then a stranger shows up on her stoop in Brooklyn, revealing a secret about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Iris’s birth, and throwing her entire identity into question. Everything she thought she knew about her parents, and about herself, is a lie.

Suddenly, the press is confronting Iris with the wild notion that she might be “special.” More than just special: she could be the miracle the world now so desperately needs. Families all across the grieving nation are pinning their hopes on Iris like she is some kind of saint or savior. She’s no longer sure whom she can trust—except for Zane, a homeless boy who long ago abandoned any kind of hope. She knows she can’t possibly be the glorified person everyone wants her to be… but she also can’t go back to being safe and anonymous. When nobody knows her but they all want a piece of her, who is Iris Spero now? And how can she—one teenage girl—possibly heal a broken world? (Read more…)

Need a Good Laugh? Here are 10 Reads to Tickle Your Funny Bone

funny-bone

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I don’t know about you, but all my life I have considered books to be my therapy.  There are certain books that I go to when I’m feeling happy, certain books I turn to when I’m feeling sad, or even if I need a good cry.  I’m definitely what you would call a mood reader and, fortunately, there are plenty of books out there to fit pretty much any mood I happen to be in.

Since I’m sure I’m not the only mood reader out there and definitely not the only one out there who enjoys a humorous read, I thought it would be nice to share my go-to list of books for when I need a good laugh to cheer me up. Some of these, like the Stephanie Plum series, are just pure comedic gems with guaranteed laughs from start to finish, while others like The Help tackle serious issues but still manage to infuse their stories with plenty of humor so that the overall impact is very uplifting. I even threw in a Roald Dahl book, The B.F.G., because its pure whimsy is guaranteed to make you smile no matter how old you are.

Ten Reads That Will Tickle Your Funny Bone

1. The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

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Goodreads Synopsis: Pestered by her close New Jersey family, Stephanie Plum offers to catch high-school crush Joe Morelli, cop turned bail jumper, for her cousin Vinnie’s company. She questions “working girls” to find the missing girlfriend of vicious prizefighter Benito Ramirez while Joe secretly watches her back. Ranger mentors her and supplies vehicles when hers explode.  (Read more…)

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2. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette’s intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.  (Read more…)

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3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.  Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.  Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women–mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends–view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope,The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.  (Read more…)

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4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.   (Read more…)

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5. My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

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Goodreads Synopsis: Who can forget our beloved gentleman’s personal gentleman, Jeeves, who ever comes to the rescue when the hapless Bertie Wooster falls into trouble. My Man Jeeves is sure to please anyone with a taste for pithy buffoonery, moronic misunderstandings, gaffes, and aristocratic slapstick. (Read more…)

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6. The B.F.G. by Roald Dahl

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Goodsreads Synopsis: Captured by a giant! The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants-rather than the BFG-she would have soon become breakfast.

When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off in England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!  (Read more…)

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7. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Winner of the 1933 Femina Vie Heureuse Prize, COLD COMFORT FARM is a wickedly funny portrait of British rural life in the 1930’s. Flora Poste, a recently orphaned socialite, moves in with her country relatives, the gloomy Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm, and becomes enmeshed in a web of violent emotions, despair, and scheming, until Flora manages to set things right.   (Read more…)

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8. Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Meet Bridget Jonesa 30-something Singleton who is certain she would have all the answers if she could:

a. lose 7 pounds
b. stop smoking
c. develop Inner Poise

“123 lbs. (how is it possible to put on 4 pounds in the middle of the night? Could flesh have somehow solidified becoming denser and heavier? Repulsive, horrifying notion), alcohol units 4 (excellent), cigarettes 21 (poor but will give up totally tomorrow), number of correct lottery numbers 2 (better, but nevertheless useless)…”

Bridget Jones’ Diary is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget’s permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.

Over the course of the year, Bridget loses a total of 72 pounds but gains a total of 74. She remains, however, optimistic. Through it all, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter, and — like millions of readers the world round — you’ll find yourself shouting, “Bridget Jones is me!”  (Read more…)

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9. High Fidelity by Nick Hornsby

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Goodreads Synopsis:  It has been said often enough that baby boomers are a television generation, but the very funny novel High Fidelity reminds that in a way they are the record-album generation as well. This funny novel is obsessed with music; Hornby’s narrator is an early-thirty-something English guy who runs a London record store. He sells albums recorded the old-fashioned way-on vinyl-and is having a tough time making other transitions as well, specifically adulthood. The book is in one sense a love story, both sweet and interesting; most entertaining, though, are the hilarious arguments over arcane matters of pop music.  (Read more…)

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10. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

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Goodreads Synopsis:  Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken (Read more…)

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Question: Are you a mood reader too?  What are some of your favorite funny reads?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Top Ten TV Series that will make me choose TV over Books

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a celebration of the return of fall television:  “In honor of Fall TV, do a TV-themed topic! Top ten favorite TV shows of all time, ten new shows coming out this Fall that are on my radar, TV shows I wish never got cancelled, TV shows I would recommend to book characters, books I wish would be TV shows, ten favorite shows from the late 90’s or early 2000’s, ten TV shows for every fantasy lover, etc.”

I actually don’t watch TV nearly as much as I used to. I think I’ve gotten burned out on all of the spinoffs, reboots, etc. that seem to flood the networks these days.  There are, however, several TV series that I do adore, so much so that even if I’m in the middle of reading a great book, if I happen to see that any of these shows are on TV (and OMG, especially if there’s a marathon!), I’ll drop the book I’m reading like a hot potato and will sit and binge watch for hours.

So, without further ado, I bring you…

Top Ten TV Series that will make me choose TV over Books 

 

1. CSI:  Crime Scene Investigation

01

I’m a forensics junkie and also a huge fan of Marg Helgenberger, so this series (well, the first 12 seasons anyway) has always been TV gold for me.  I can follow the evidence and binge watch this series for hours on end. And to be clear, I’m talking about the original CSI here, not the spinoffs.  I had little to no interest in those.

IMDB Synopsis: An elite team of police forensic evidence investigation experts work their cases in Las Vegas.  (Read more…)

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2. China Beach

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I honestly think this series about the Vietnam War is one of the best written TV series of all time. Plus it’s filled with strong female characters, led by the stellar Dana Delany and Marg Helgenbeger.

IMDB Synopsis:  A drama series set at an American base during the Vietnam War. Rather than focusing on the battle scenes that made up most other portrayals of the war, this show looked at the everyday lives of the people sent to serve their country. The doctors, nurses, soldiers and even USO entertainers stationed at the base must try to come to terms with the horrors and stresses of the war around them. Not all of them succeed..  (Read more…)

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3. Parenthood

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Such a wonderful and relatable show about family. It tugged at my heartstrings every week and usually left me in tears because the episodes were so powerful.  I was heartbroken when the series ended.

IMDB Synopsis: A family tree with Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille Braverman (Bonnie Bedelia) serving as the patriarch and matriarch. After forty-six years of marriage, they’ve managed to keep their foundation intact by burying their problems underneath the surface for the sake of their now-adult children. Adam (Peter Krause) is the first-born and the ripest apple the tree has to offer. He runs a shoe company, has a supportive wife, two children (boy and girl) and a beautiful home to share with them. He’s a dog short of “The American Dream”. Sarah (Lauren Graham), is the unstable daughter returning home at thirty-eight years of age with her rebellious daughter and sensitive son to live with Zeek and Camille. Crosby (Dax Shepard), is a happy-go-lucky bachelor living in the now, on a docked boat. He has no idea that his frivolous life is about to change tremendously. Then there is Julia (Erika Christensen). She is the bread-winning shot-calling lawyer, whose husband mans the stay-at-home-dad duties….  (Read more…)

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4. Gilmore Girls

04

OMG, I can’t even express how much I love this show.  As can be seen by my choice of Parenthood above, I’m obviously a big Lauren Graham fan, but it’s Rory who steals my heart in this series.  Rory, the uber bookworm, is probably the TV character that I best relate to out of all of the shows I’ve ever watched. I love all of the secondary characters like Luke, Sookie, Jackson, and Lane.  And Stars Hollow is just the cutest little town ever.  Just thinking about this show make me smile.

IMDB Synopsis:  A drama centering around the relationship between a thirtysomething single mother and her teen daughter living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut.   (Read more…)

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5. Lost

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I was so completely obsessed with this show when it was on the air. Every episode was just such a mind blowing experience and I loved sitting there like “OMG, WTF just happened?!”  Plus, I am a huge Josh Holloway fan so the fact that his character was a roguish bookworm definitely helped feed my addiction.

IMDB Synopsis: Life is laid bare as a group of plane crash survivors find themselves stranded on a remote Pacific island. The trauma of the crash soon becomes overshadowed by the island itself, where unseen creatures stalk the jungle, paranormal happenings abound and astonishing coincidences reveal themselves. In this unique environment emotions swell as the survivors battle their inner and outer demons, and strive to live together – so that they won’t die alone.  (Read more…)

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6. Friends

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Do I even need to say anything here?  Is there anyone out there who doesn’t love this show?  Just as I am a sucker for a great book about friendships, I am equally a sucker for a great TV show about friendships.

IMDB Synopsis: Rachel Green, Ross Geller, Monica Geller, Joey Tribbiani, Chandler Bing and Phoebe Buffay are all friends, living off of one another in the heart of New York City. Over the course of ten years, this average group of buddies goes through massive mayhem, family trouble, past and future romances, fights, laughs, tears and surprises as they learn what it really means to be a friend.  (Read more…)

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7. Golden Girls

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Truly one of the best comedy shows ever written.  I’d liken it to Sex and the City but with senior citizens.  Just one of those shows that will make you laugh until you have tears rolling down your face.

IMDB Synopsis:  The Golden Girls is based on the lives and interactions of four older women whom have all been divorced/widowed, and are now roommates. Dorothy’s main goal during the series is to find a companion she can relate to while her mother Sophia adds her comical outlook and frequents “Picture This” stories. Rose’s St. Olaf-ness makes her a little corny but lovable. One thing that changes nearly every episode is whom Blanche is courting.  (Read more…)

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8. Once Upon a Time

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My love for this one has waned a bit in recent season as some of my favorite characters have either taken a backseat to an endless progression of guest stars or else have been abruptly killed off, but the early season of Once Upon a Time are still definitely some of my favorite TV moments to watch.

IMDB Synopsis:  For Emma Swan, life has been anything but a happy ending. But when she’s reunited with Henry – the son she gave up for adoption ten years ago – on the night of her 28th birthday, everything changes. The now 10-year-old Henry is in desperate need of Emma’s help because he believes from reading a book of fairytales that she’s the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming – who sent her away from the Enchanted Forest to be protected from a curse that was enacted by the Evil Queen. Emma initially refuses to believe a word of Henry’s story but soon finds that his hometown of Storybrooke, Maine is more than it seems. Because it’s in Storybrooke that all of the classic characters we know are frozen in time with no memories of their former selves – except for the Evil Queen, who is Storybrooke’s mayor and Henry’s adoptive mother Regina Mills. Now, as the epic “Final Battle” for the future of both worlds approaches, Emma will have to accept her destiny and uncover the mystery behind a place … (Read more…)

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9. Game of Thrones

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Seriously one of the most epic shows ever to have been put on TV and deserving of all of the numerous awards it has won over the years.  I’m always half afraid to like any of the characters since they get whacked so often, but I still do have some favorites since the show is full of kick ass women like Aria and Sansa Stark, Cersei Lannister, and Brienne of Tarth.

IMDB Synopsis: In the mythical continent of Westeros, several powerful families fight for control of the Seven Kingdoms. As conflict erupts in the kingdoms of men, an ancient enemy rises once again to threaten them all. Meanwhile, the last heirs of a recently usurped dynasty plot to take back their homeland from across the Narrow Sea. (Read more…)

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10. Orange is the New Black

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God bless Netflix and this show!  OITNB offers a raw and often hilarious, although sometimes heart-breakingly serious, look at life in a women’s prison. I truly can’t get enough of the show and am currently on pins and needles waiting for the new season after the huge cliffhanger we were left with at the end of the last season.  Write fast, film fast, Netflix!

IMDB Synopsis:  The story of Piper Chapman, a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money to her drug-dealing girlfriend.  (Read more…)

I’m throwing in 2 extra shows because these are two shows I’ve just started watching but instantly became infatuated with.  Consider them honorable mentions on my top 10 list 🙂

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11. Pretty Little Liars

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This show is such a guilty pleasure of mine. I spend half the time I’m watching it complaining about how lame and over the top it is, and yet I faithfully tune in for every episode and was so sad to hear that Season 7 will be its last.  Go figure, haha.

IMDB Synopsis:  Set in the fictional town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, the series follows the lives of four girls, Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin, Emily Fields, and Spencer Hastings, whose clique falls apart after the disappearance of their leader, Alison DiLaurentis. One year later, the estranged friends are reunited as they begin receiving messages from a mysterious figure named “A”, who threatens to expose their deepest secrets, including ones they thought only Alison knew. At first, they think it’s Alison herself, but after her body is found, the girls realize that someone else is planning on ruining their perfect lives.  (Read more…)

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12. The 100

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This show is a fairly new obsession of mine. I’ve never read the books but have heard that this is one of those rare cases where the TV show might actually be better than the books. I’ll read them some day and make my own determination on that, but I do love this show. Another one filled with kickass female characters.

IMDB Synopsis:  The series is set 97 years after a devastating nuclear war wiped out almost all life on Earth. The only known survivors are the residents of twelve space stations in Earth’s orbit prior to the war. The space stations banded together to form a single massive station named “The Ark”, where about 2,400 people live. Resources are scarce and all crimes no matter their nature or severity are punishable by death (“floating”) unless the perpetrator is under 18 years of age. After the Ark’s life support systems are found to be critically failing, one hundred juvenile prisoners are declared “expendable” and sent to the surface in a last ditch attempt to determine if Earth is habitable again. The teens arrive on a beautiful planet they’ve only seen from space. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community. However they discover that not all humanity was wiped out. There are people on Earth who survived the war, called “grounders” by the 100.  (Read more…)

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Question:  Are any of these shows favorites of yours?  What shows will actually make you put your books down and binge watch TV?  What was your TTT topic this week?  I’d love to hear from you 🙂

20 Bookish Quotes All Bookworms Will Relate To

20 bookish quotes

 

I don’t know about you, but I love to read quotes from famous people.  It’s amazing to me how truly quotable some people are – they just have a gift for summing up what I’m thinking or feeling, but in a way that is so much more eloquent than I could ever hope to express myself.  And being a bookworm, those quotes that I am the most passionate about are those that involve books and reading, and especially those from my favorite authors.  Some day I’m going to redo the walls of my library so that quotes like these literally fill any space that isn’t covered with books.

20 Books Quotes All Bookworms Will Relate to

1. A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. – Neil Gaiman

 

2. You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.  – Paul Sweeney

 

3. Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore? – Henry Ward Beecher

 

4. Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.  – John Green

 

5. The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.  – W. Somerset Maugham

 

Source: someecards.com

Source: someecards.com

 

6. If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it. – Toni Morrison

 

7. I cannot live without books. – Thomas Jefferson

 

8. There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.  – Walt Disney

 

9. Books open your mind, broaden your mind, and strengthen you as nothing else can.  –  William Feather

 

10. Be awesome! Be a book nut! –Dr. Seuss

 

Source: someecards.com

Source: someecards.com

11. You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. –C.S. Lewis

 

12. There is no friend as loyal as a book. -Ernest Hemingway

 

13. Books are a uniquely portable magic. – Stephen King

 

14. You can find magic
wherever you look.
Sit back and relax,
all you need is a book.
― Dr. Seuss

 

15. Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him. ― Maya Angelou

 

Source: someecards.com

Source: someecards.com

 

16. A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.  – Chinese Proverb

 

17. Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled  “This could change your life.”  – Helen Exley

 

18. We read in bed because reading is halfway between life and dreaming, our own consciousness in someone else’s mind.  – Anna Quindlen

 

19. If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.  – J.K. Rowling

 

20. If a book is well written, I always find it too short. – Jane Austen

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So are any of these quotes also favorites of yours or do you have other favorite bookish quotes that I haven’t listed here?  I’d love to hear from you!

Book Haul from my Trip to the Green Valley Book Fair

book haul

Heaven on Earth for this bookworm is a trip to the Green Valley Book Fair. Located in Mount Crawford, Virginia, in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, the Green Valley Book Fair is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, book sales in the mid Atlantic region. Book lovers from up and down the east coast come to check out the selection each time the fair opens its doors, and it’s only open six times a year for about 2 weeks each time so bookworms near and far subscribe to the Fair’s mailing list to make sure they don’t miss each year’s fair dates.

The Green Valley Book Fair may not be much to look outside from the outside — just a giant warehouse building out in the middle of cow country — but once you walk in, book lust immediately sets in. The warehouse is huge, several floors, and holds roughly half a million books in pretty much every fiction and nonfiction category you can imagine, including young adult, children’s, classics, contemporary, African American, science fiction, fantasy, research, political, history, religion, cookbooks, audio books, and so much more. In addition to the incredible selection of books, there are also gift items like notebooks, t-shirts, puzzles and games. And the discounts are always excellent, 60-90% off retail!

Credit:  nbc29.com

Credit: nbc29.com

What I love about the Green Valley Book Fair is that you truly never know what you’re going to find when you walk through those doors. I’ve been going almost every year since I first discovered the fair in 1997 and can only think of a few times when I have walked away empty handed and those times were mainly due to lack of money on my part, not lack of selection. Instead, a typical trip to the book fair ends with me wondering how I’m ever going to fit all the books I’ve purchased into my car or onto my bookshelves once I’ve gotten them home. You won’t find the newest titles, but you will definitely find some recent releases as well as some older titles by your favorite authors. It’s like hunting for buried treasure!

For more information about the Green Valley Book Fair, visit their website at gobookfair.com.

Without further ado, here’s what I got on my latest trip to the Green Valley Book Fair. I spent $159 this time and was able to get not only all of the books shown in the photo below, but an equally large stack of children’s books for my son and another stack of nonfiction for my husband, 56 books in total between the three of us.

book haul

1. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

2. Golden Son by Pierce Brown

3. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

4. Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

5. That Summer by Sarah Dessen

6. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

7. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

9. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

10. Cress by Marissa Meyer

11. Landing by Emma Donoghue

12. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

13. Home Again by Kristin Hannah

14. Nora Webster by Colm Toibin

15. Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead

16. John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead

17. The One and Only by Emily Giffin

* * * * * * * * * *

Happy Reading to me!

Have any of you ever visited the Green Valley Book Fair or have you read any of these titles?

Highs and Lows of Being a New Book Blogger – Lessons Learned

When I first started book blogging, I wasn’t entirely sure that I was going to stick with it. I decided to give it a trial run and take stock of things at the 3 month mark. After 3 months, I’m happy to report that I absolutely LOVE blogging and that I plan to stick with it. Thanks so much to all who have taken the time to stop by my blog and read my posts. It means the world to me 🙂

I’m still new to the game and so don’t proclaim myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but here are some highs and lows and lessons that I’ve learned at the beginning of what I hope will be a long journey.

1. It takes a lot of work, so don’t give up. Unless you get really lucky, building a book blog is not like the old Field of Dreams ‘If you build it, they will come’ scenario. Creating your book blog is just the first of many steps in reaching an audience and hopefully leading them back to your site. Once you’re up and running, you have to get out there and start interacting with the book loving community to build those relationships where people want to stop by and see what you’re reading and writing about.

Source:  quickmeme.com

Source: quickmeme.com

I spent a lot of time in my first couple of months just tweaking my blog, adding content, etc., and am just now really getting around to interacting with the book blogging community. If I had it to do all over again, I think I would have started interacting much sooner. Why? Because of #2.

2. One of the best resources for a new book blogger is the book blogging community. As I say, I’ve just really started working on reaching out to them and interacting more, but what I’ve already found is that these are some of the NICEST, most helpful people on the planet. Like me, they WANT to meet and chat with others who share their love of books. They also want their fellow bloggers to succeed and what that means is that many of them are quick to hand out helpful hints and tips. If you have questions, definitely ask a fellow book blogger. They’ll set you straight.

i love you guys

3. ARCs and Galleys and Patience, Oh My! Yes, to be sure, ARCs and Galleys are amazing and I’ll freely admit I get a little giddy each time one of my Netgalley requests is approved. That said, however, it’s important to be patient and to be realistic when it comes to these little gems. As a new blogger, again unless luck is really on your side, you’re going to get rejected more than you’re going to get approved. You have to pay your dues, so to speak, and this all goes back to number 1 – hard work. You have to put in the time to get your blog established, show that you’re going to stick around, and that you can build an audience.

Sure, go ahead and request a few, but do so realistically, and don’t take it to heart if you are not approved. You can always blog and write book reviews about books that have already been published while you’re building up your audience and paying those dues. If you’re like me, you probably have a huge TBR pile of books that you’ve already purchased, so blog away about those! If money is an issue and you can’t purchase many books, don’t forget about the Library.

If you are still dying to get your hands on ARCs, try entering giveaways. Goodreads has tons of them everyday, and if you pay attention on social media, many members of the book blogging community frequently do giveaways as well.

4. It’s important to be organized. Try to come up with a blogging schedule that you can keep up with. As much as I would love to be able to blog every single day, I know my schedule won’t allow it. I try to post about 3 times a week, usually somewhat spaced out, to make sure there is always new content when visitors stop by.

And not only come up with a blog schedule that’s doable, maximize your free time and write posts in advance and schedule them. If I have a block of time where I can write uninterrupted, I try to write out 4 or 5 posts ahead of time. That way they’re in the queue and ready for posting for those times when I’m too busy to come up with anything to post.

5. Book blogging isn’t just about reviewing books. Book reviews are just the tip of the iceberg. You can expand beyond those and create more original content by participating in some of the great weekly features that are hosted by other bloggers in the book community. So far I’ve tried and liked Waiting on Wednesday and Top Ten Tuesday, but there are tons of others as well. These are great because they tend to generate more interaction with fellow bloggers, at least for me anyway, than the book review posts do, and they’re great for coming up with a posting schedule like I mentioned in number 4 above. Because of the weekly features I participate in, I automatically know what I’m doing on Tuesday and Wednesday each week.

Aside from participating in weekly features, you can also write original content like discussion posts where you can blog about anything of interest to you. After all, it’s your blog. Write about whatever you want to. This is actually my very first discussion post, so fingers crossed that people actually want to discuss the topic, haha. 

6. The Agony and Ecstasy of Social Media. Social media can be awesome. I love twitter in that, aside from blog hopping and directly commenting on people’s blogs, it seems to be the easiest way to reach out and start that all important relationship building. That said, however, OMG. It seems like every other person who follows me is just trying to get me to buy their books. I don’t even read DMs anymore unless I’m sure they’re from a fellow bookblogger.

7. Read what YOU want to read. It’s easy to give in to the pressure of so many people contacting you to promote their books. At first it’s exciting to be wanted, but for me at least, I have to stick to my guns and only read what I truly want to read. Otherwise, the blog becomes a chore and boy do I hate chores, haha.

book gang

8. Comments are LOVE. When I first started my blog, I told myself that I was just doing this for me, that I’d be cool if no one ever commented on my posts. Boy, how wrong I was! I think getting my first comment on a post stands out as one of the major highlights so far. Starting out as a new book blogger can be a lonely experience. You’re the new kid on the block and at first it can feel like you’re on the outside looking in at this awesome community that you want to be a part of. Don’t get discouraged though because in time, that first comment will appear and it will be the most glorious thing ever to know that someone actually read what you wrote. I’m thankful for every comment that I get and I do try to go back to that person’s blog, if they have one, and comment back.

My face the first time someone commented on my blog

My face the first time someone commented on my blog

9. Stats. As a new book blogger, I think stats can be one of the most discouraging things and so I try not to focus on them too much. Again, as with all other aspects of blogging, be patient. In time the stats should follow. And regardless of the stats, if you love what you’re doing, keep doing it. 

10. Your blog, your rules. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you try something and it doesn’t work, change it up and try something new. Again, it’s your blog so you have the ultimate say so in what you do there. There’s no right way and no wrong way to blog.

11. No matter what, just be yourself. This is probably the most important thing I’ve learned so far is that no matter what you do, just be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. We all have those bloggers that we admire and it’s cool to draw inspiration from them, but ultimately, trying to be like someone else is because you think it might make you more popular with fellow bloggers, is just going to end up making your blog a chore rather than a pleasure.

Source:  thedisneyprincesstumblr.com

Source: thedisneyprincesstumblr.com

So, there you have it in a nutshell — my first 3 months as a book blogger. Let me hear from you now. What are some highs and lows you’ve experienced and lessons you learned as a new blogger?