Discussion Post: My Complicated Relationship with Book Series

I’ve had book series on my mind a lot lately. I think it stems from the Top Ten Tuesday topic a few weeks ago where we had to list ten series we want to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. I did my list of 10, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could have easily listed 2 or 3 times that many series. That of course got my wheels turning and thinking about not only the series I haven’t gotten to yet but also all of the ones I’ve but have yet to finish. Again, the list is endless. All of this really got me thinking about my overall relationship with book series. Why I put off starting series forever and why even once I start one do I take so long to actually read all of the books?

And here’s what I came up with…IT’S COMPLICATED!

 

 

I seem to have a lot of random quirks when it comes to series, so I thought I’d share and see if I have any kindred spirits out there.

 

1. Series are amazing in the sense that they give me more time to get to know my favorite characters. I especially love all of the added opportunities to get more backstory on them. Lucien from ACOTAR and Holland from the Shades of Magic series immediately come to mind with respect to the backstories.

As much as I love this though, there’s a downside as well. The more I get to know characters, the more attached I get, which means when it’s finally time to say goodbye to them, I’m left with a broken heart. The Harry Potter series is a prime example here. I cried like a baby when I finished that last book.

via GIPHY

So yeah, series can be a very emotional experience for me.

 

2. I’m not really a fan of series where the books can all work as standalones. There are a few I’ll make an exception for, like the Stephanie Plum series just because it’s so hilarious, but otherwise I tend to avoid these. What I don’t like is that each book in a series like this tends to spend a lot of time rehashing and summarizing who all of the characters are and their basic relationships to each other. I always get bored and find myself skipping a lot of pages because it’s like deja vu: “Wait, didn’t I read all of this, almost verbatim, in the last three books in this series?”

via quickmeme.net

My definite preference here is a series where you have to read all of the books in the correct order and where one book picks up right where the last book left off.

 

3. I’m quirky when it comes to series length as well. I enjoy duologies and trilogies, but once I get past the 3 book mark, I start to get a little testy and nitpicky. I find myself more critical of the books the longer a series get, almost editing them in my mind as I’m reading, questioning whether certain passages or, in some cases, whole chapters were even necessary because they felt like filler. I did this quite a bit this week actually as I was reading A Court of Wings and Ruin. I think it’s my brain’s way of trying to shorten the series for me because I’ve about reached my limit.

via memegenerator.net

Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia are probably the only exceptions to my series length preference.

 

4. I typically won’t start a series until at least two books have been published. Why?  Because if there’s a cliffhanger ending in the first book, I want to have the option to keep reading immediately rather than waiting a year to get the next book.  That’s not to say I actually will continue with the series immediately (see # 5)..  I just want to know the possibility is there.  Having that second book at the ready is like a security blanket for me, I guess, haha.

via movieboozer.com

5. I don’t usually like to binge read series. I think this goes back to the whole saying goodbye to the characters issue (see # 1).  In my mind, the faster I read a series, the sooner I have to say goodbye so binging is a big no.

via fyireblue.com

 

So there you have it, all of my bookish quirks when it comes to reading series.  Do we share any quirks?  Do you have quirks of your own when it comes to series?

 

Books I’m Pretty Sure Everyone on the Planet Has Read Except for Me

 

On Tuesdays I usually participate in the popular Top Ten Tuesday meme, which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  However, they are officially on hiatus until August, so I decided to take the opportunity to go back through their archives to see if any of the topics they had covered prior to my joining were of interest.  I saw this topic and found it incredibly relatable because I almost always feel like I’m the last person on the planet to read some popular books.

Basically I’m thinking of this as a wall of shame because I really have no excuse for why I haven’t read these books yet.  I see people talking about them everywhere, have read countless reviews that make them sound fantastic, and yet there they all still sit.

Scrolling back through my old blog posts and anticipated reading lists, I see so many of these titles on them.  If I wanted to read them so badly,  why months — in some cases even years — later, are they still sitting on my TBR unread?  I’m looking at you, Caraval and Heartless.  Heck, I was so excited about Heartless coming out that I even did a giveaway for it to that my fellow readers could win a copy.  And yet I still haven’t touched it.  What is wrong with me? LOL!

I’ve loved every other book I’ve read by Rainbow Rowell so what’s the hold up on Carry On?  Fear that it won’t be anywhere near as good as Fangirl or Eleanor and Park?  I honestly don’t know.

And clearly I have some kind of anti-butterfly issue that’s keeping me from touching Replica and The Diabolic.

I see my fellow bloggers and even non-bloggers talking about the books all the time and they sound so amazing.  I swear I’m going to get to them some day, but when that day will be…your guess is as good as mine.  I’m going to blame some of this on a weird quirk of mine — if I own a book, I don’t feel the same pressure to read it as I do if it’s a borrowed book or an ARC that has a specific deadline.  It sounds crazy to say but if I had borrowed these same books from the library or from a friend, I probably would have read them months ago.

I think the only two books on this list that I kind of have legit reasons for being a holdout when it come to reading them are the J.K.  Rowling book and the Neil Gaiman.  The Casual Vacancy is all about the hype?  Can it live up to it?  I’d almost rather not find out.  And Gaiman,  I’m just so hit or miss with his books.  I didn’t care for American Gods at all but I adored The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  People keep telling me The Graveyard Book is incredible, so I know I’m going to give it a try eventually but always manage to find a reason to shove it off the top of my TBR.

Thankfully I am doing a TBR clean-out challenge this summer that should take care of a few of these titles, but I still have a long way to go and I have a feeling, based on my history, that as fast as I knock a few titles off this list, I’ll be adding just as many more. It’s madness, lol!

Question: Are you in the same boat as me?  Are we the last two people on the planet not to have read some of these?  What books do you feel like you’re the only one who hasn’t read them?

 

Books I’m Pretty Sure Everyone on the Planet Has Read Except for Me

 

1. CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell

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2. WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart

 

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3.  CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber

 

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4. HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer

 

 

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5. REPLICA by Lauren Oliver

 

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6. THE DIABOLIC by S. J. Kincaid

 

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7. DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch

 

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8. THE CASUAL VACANCY by J.K. Rowling

 

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9. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman

 

 

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10. NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff

 

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Why the Library is an Invaluable Resource for a Book Blogger

I’ve been wanting to do another discussion post for a while now but couldn’t decide what to write about.  This post is inspired by a recent trip to my local library.  I went there last Sunday afternoon, actually arrived a few minutes before it was scheduled to open thinking I could easily slip in, grab a couple of books, and slip back out.  I was shocked when I got there to actually see a long line of people waiting to get in.  As the doors opened, I waited to see if there was a special event going on that had drawn the big crowd. But no, as the doors opened, people quickly filed in and the crowd dispersed, each person going their own way.  It hit me then just how important libraries still are in our communities, which of course got me thinking about just how much I use it in my day-to-day life and especially that I blog about books so much.

Even before I became a book blogger, I was always a fan of my local library.  I mean, hello, free books at your fingertips? How could a book lover not be all over that, right?  Once I got into blogging though was when I really began to appreciate all that the library has to offer and how useful it could really be for me.  Here are just a few of the features my local library offers that have been lifesavers when it comes to my blog.

  1. The Convenience. My favorite library feature is the online card catalog database.  I can sit at home on my own computer or device, log into my account, access the library’s database and see what books are available. Not only that, but using the same online system, I can also place holds on the books that I want and they’ll reserve them for me or order them from other branches of the regional library if they don’t have them in hand.  When my books are ready, I receive an email notification telling me that they’re waiting for me at the local branch. It couldn’t be much easier.

 

  1. The Selection. ARCS are, of course, ideal for reviewing on my blog since I can get those  early and they’re free. But let’s face it…odds are I’m not going to get every ARC I request and even if I did, would I realistically be able to read them all before the publication dates anyway?  The answer for me is a resounding no.  I get approved for just enough ARCs to keep me busy meeting their deadlines but still have tons of new releases on my wishlist that I’d love to get my hands on to review. Just thinking about how much it would cost to pre-order them all makes me cringe and if I’m probably not going to get to them before the publication date anyway, why not check out the library and see if I can get them that way?  At first I scoffed at the idea of using the library for books I want to review on my blog.  I figured I’d have to wait forever to get a new book or that the selection just wouldn’t be that great for the newest releases.  I was so completely wrong on this.  Not only is the selection way better than I ever could have imagined, but in many cases, I can place holds on books that haven’t even come out yet.  I remember placing a hold on The Hate U Give weeks before it came out and I think I had the book in hand within a couple of weeks after the publication date. If I had had to wait months and months to get my hands on the new release, it wouldn’t have been a practical choice, but I think a couple of weeks is perfectly acceptable.

 

  1. The Flexibility. Another favorite feature of my library is that I can access my hold list and make adjustments to it as needed.  If it looks like a bunch of books are about to be coming my way but I’m not ready for them because I have ARCs to read or whatever, there is a ‘Pause’ feature that I can use to basically push myself a little further down the reserve list on the books in question.  That way someone else can go ahead and read what I’m not ready for, but I don’t completely lose my place in line.  This is an invaluable feature for me as a blogger. Just because I’m not ready this week doesn’t mean I won’t be ready soon so I don’t want to have to move all the way to the bottom of the list.

 

  1. The Savings. The fact that I can do all of this without spending any money aside from the occasional library fine, which is pennies compared to how much money I could potentially spend on books, is perfect for me.  I can’t really say that I have a book buying budget or anything like that, but there are definitely a lot of books out there that I want to read and review for my blog but don’t necessarily want a copy of it for my collection.  This way I can get all of the books that I want/need for the blog, but am not forking out $10-15 a pop every time a book I want comes out.  Also, if I do end up wanting it for my personal collection, I’ve already reviewed it for the blog so I can wait and purchase it for myself once the price has dropped a bit.

 

  1. The Ability to Experiment. Don’t know if you like audiobooks or e-books but would love to find out? You can try them out for free at the library.  My local library has an ever-growing collection of both formats too so again, the selection is pretty great.  My library has audiobooks, both in the old CD format and in formats that you can download straight to your electronic devices.  And just like with the physical copies of books, you can place holds on the e-books and audiobooks through the online database and receive notifications when the titles can be downloaded.

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The library has really been an invaluable resource for me since I started blogging. I can’t even begin to fathom how much money and time it has saved me over the past year.  If you haven’t checked out your local library recently, I’d definitely say it’s worth a trip!

Do you use your local library as a resource for your book blog?  If so, do you find it useful?

 

 

A Reader’s Paradise: Designing My Dream Reading Space

I was encouraged by those at arhaus.com to describe and design my dream reading space.  I thought this sounded like a lot of fun so I said I’d be happy to take part.  For me, the ideal reading space would be located in a quiet, secluded area of my house so that there isn’t a lot of distracting foot traffic.  The furnishings would be simple and I would go for a light and airy look – not quite beachy, but definitely headed in that direction with ocean blues, sandy colors, and a lot of white.  I’d want an oversized cozy reading chair, preferably one that allows me to put my feet up, and lots of pillows and a throw blanket (again for the cozy factor).  Since I’d be reading all the time in my dream space, I’d also want ample lighting as well as sheer curtains to let in lots of natural light.  Endless bookshelves would be a must as well, not just for my books themselves, but also to hold bookish knick knacks, fun bookends, etc.  Aside from the books themselves, decorations would be at a minimum, maybe a few literary art prints like the cool Pride and Prejudice one in my mood board below or something similar.  Last but not least, I’d finish off the decor with a few of those bookish themed candles that are so popular.

Dream Reading Space by thebookishlibra

 

Products used in the mood board:

1.  Grand Chaise Oversized Chair from shabbychic.com

2.  White Billy Bookcase from ikea.com

3.  Blue Printed Pillows from etsy.com

4.  Clarence Floor Lamp from arhaus.com

5.  Sheer Curtains from potterybarn.com

6.  Home is Where the Books Are Art Print from etsy.com

7.  Pride and Prejudice Art Print from etsy.com

8.  I Read Past My Bedtime Bookends from etsy.com

9.  Enchanted Library Jam Jar Candle from etsy.com

 

So, if you could design your own ideal reading space, what would you include?

Discussion Post: Why I’m So Slow to Write Book Reviews

Hey, look at me! I finally got up the nerve to write another discussion post.  I don’t know why I find these so intimidating, but since I made it a blogging goal to write more of them, here I go trying to achieve my goal.  Since I’m way behind in the reviews I need to write at the moment, I figured a relevant discussion topic for me right now would be why the heck it takes me so long to write a book review, haha!

Sometimes I think I must be the slowest reviewer on the planet.  No matter how much I love or hate a book, I just cannot sit down right after I finish reading and churn out a review.  Those who know me well would probably say it’s because I’m a master procrastinator and, yes, I confess that’s probably part of it, but there’s more to it than that. There is a method to my madness!

I don’t know about other book bloggers, but often, my first impression after finishing a book doesn’t hold up if I take a few days to reflect on it.  Sometimes my opinion sinks a bit and I feel myself starting to nitpick details that maybe didn’t initially bother me but the more I thought about them, they more they did.  Other times, I actually think more highly of a book after thinking more about the story, its characters, structure, etc. and realizing how truly well crafted a book is.  Maybe I just like to over-think books, I don’t know, but doing it this way does work for me in that I feel like my reviews end up more accurately reflecting my true feelings about what I’ve read than if I had immediately written them.  But  man does it wreak havoc on my schedule!  I seem to always be juggling 2 or 3 books that I’ve finished reading but don’t feel ready to write about yet, along with whatever books  I’m currently reading.  In that sense, I’m very envious of those who are able to immediately sit down and make that review happen.

To keep the juggling act manageable so that I don’t get stressed out, I always take notes while I’m reading and I do jot down my initial reactions as soon as I finish.  This helps me to not forget any of the book’s pertinent details (like all of the characters’ names, which I’m very prone to forget if I don’t take those notes!) and it also gives me a good starting point for my review once I’m finally ready to write the review.  Sometimes I only need to reflect on a book for a day or two before I’m ready to finalize my thoughts, while others I can easily sit on for a week or more.  Labyrinth Lost, for example, is one that I’ve been sitting one for over a week now. I really loved the read, but I’m still trying to decide what I really want to say about, what made it so meaningful for me.  I think I’m  finally ready to write that one, but since I was stuck on it, I pushed it aside and wrote  several other reviews in the meantime where my thoughts were more solidified.  As I’m gathering my thoughts for the reviews, in many ways, I feel like I’m composing the review in my head so once I’m finally ready to sit down and write, thankfully the review comes together pretty quickly.  With that being said, here are some books I’ve recently finished reading and have been reflecting on that I’ll (hopefully!) be posting reviews for soon:

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

When We Collided by Emery Lord

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova 

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So, what kind of book reviewer are you?  Are you able to write yours immediately after finishing a book or do you need to sit on them for a few days like I do to fully wrap your mind around what you’ve read?

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

ideas-for

 

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

01-turkey-claus

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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…)