Book & Fangirl Christmas Haul 2019

The holiday season has always been one of my favorite times of the year. I absolutely love getting into the festive spirit and listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas album. Although I couldn’t be more than excited for the new year ahead, I admit that I still have a little bit of the holiday spirit in me- how could I not when Arthur Christmas was just added on Netflix?? I have a few bookish and fangirl gifts that were generously given to me by Santa (aka my family) this Christmas that I have to look forward to using and reading in 2020.

Books

Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu

Rebel is the much anticipated follow-up fourth novel to Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy. The Legend trilogy were the first Marie Lu books that I had ever read. They still remain as my favorite Marie Lu series. I had intended to reread Legend, Prodigy, and Champion in 2019, but I’ll be 100% honest and admit that I ended up not in the mood to reread them this past fall. Rebel can apparently be read as a standalone, but I really want to re-familiarize myself with this world. One of my reading goals for January and February is reread all three books and then dive into Rebel.

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The Risk and The Play (Briar U #2 and Briar U #3) by Elle Kennedy

Elle Kennedy is one of favorite new adult authors, having loved her Off-Campus series and really enjoying the first book in the Briar U series, The Chase. Briar U is the spin-off series to Off-Campus. Both books are set at the fictional Briar University and follow relationships between a wide cast of female characters and male Briar U hockey players. I absolutely love sports romance, so I knew I needed to continue on with the Briar U series with The Risk and The Play. Each of these books can be read as a standalone, as they follow different couples in the Briar U world. However, I personally like reading each book in publication order because Elle Kennedy often  features previous main characters. I decided to ask for these books for Christmas because my library unfortunately does not have the Briar U series and I already own The Chase.

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HOLIDAY READING RECS: Holiday Books I’ve Read

Although I am a firm believer that the Christmas spirit can be found anytime of year, I especially love bringing some holiday cheer to my TBR in December. I love reading holiday or Christmas-inspired books during this season to fully embrace the holidays, a cup of hot chocolate and a cozy blanket included. I have two holiday books on my TBR for this year, Cynthia Hand’s The Afterlife of Holly Chase and Josie Silver’s One Day in December—which also means give me all of your holiday book recommendations in the comments!

Since I’m always on the hunt for a holiday book, I will be discussing all of the holiday-inspired books that I’ve read over the past few years, along with a few favorite books of mine that feature holiday scenes for your own holiday TBR hunting purposes. 

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Let It Snow by Lauren Myracle, Maureen Johnson & John Green- Let It Snow is hot on everyone’s holiday book radar this year, thanks to its recent Netflix adaptation. Let It Snow is always the first holiday book that comes to my mind, being that it was one of my first ever YA books back in elementary school. I’ve read it at least two times, and I have some more reread motivation thanks to Netflix.

 My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins- Another YA holiday book classic, My True Love Gave to Me is made up of twelve holiday short stories from twelve YA authors. Each story is so cute and has its own little quirks. Last Christmas, I went back and reread a few of my favorite stories. I would love for Jenny Han’s story, “Polaris is Where You’ll Find Be,” to be turned into a full book, and Rainbow Rowell’s “Midnights” is now also featured in her two story collection, Almost Midnight. 

Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan- Although technically the sequel to Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Café, Christmas at the Cupcake Café can be read as a standalone. I have much love for the first book, so this Christmas fangirl was more than excited to reunite with this world following a woman’s adventure opening a cupcake bakery. As expected, there was so many Christmas-y desserts, and Jenny Colgan included recipes to some of them! This book is also partially set in New York City, allowing readers to get a taste of the city winter wonderland.

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Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm- Considering that I consider myself to be a holiday book conssieur, I was pleasantly surprised last year when I picked up Stephanie Kate Strohm’s Prince in Disguise last December, only to find it out that it takes place during Christmas! If you love books about weddings, royalty, or Christmas (or like me, all three put together), look no further than Prince in Disguise. The book follows Dylan, who is whisked away to Scotland for the holidays to serve as maid of honor in her reality TV star sister’s wedding to a Scottish laird-to-be.

My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff- If there’s one book that deserves ALL the stars for its festive spirit, it’s Shani Petroff’s My New Crush Gave to Me! The book follows Charlie’s mission to find the perfect Secret Santa gifts for her crush. Charlie spends the season experining new and old Christmas traditions, as well as celebrating Hanukah with her best friend.

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston-  This 2019 holiday-inspired release has deservedly been on the top of everyone’s holiday TBRs as well. 10 Blind Dates is another book that deserves all the stars for its holiday mood, as Sophie spends Christmas with her entire extended family while also, as the title suggests, being set-up on ten holiday-inspired dates.

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak- Seven Days of Us follows one very dysfunctional family’s Christmas, having to stay inside quarantined. Although I loved its family focus, I wish there had been a touch more of the holiday spirit.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Graynor & Heather Webb- Last Christmas in Paris is the perfect blend for holiday and historical fiction fans. The book takes place during World War I and is told over a series of letters and other exchanges between a couple separated by war.

 What Light by Jay Asher- I admit that I don’t remember much about Jay Asher’s What Light, but why wouldn’t I enjoy a book that takes place on a Christmas tree farm??

Books with Christmas Scenes

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- If you’re not the biggest fan of holiday books but still want some festivity in your reading life, the season makes for one of the best times of the year to read or reread Harry Potter. Each book involves chapter(s) set during Christmas.

Rainbow Rowell: Landline, Carry On, Fangirl, and Eleanor & Park It’s probably no coincidence that my favorite author happens to have so many books that feature scenes during the holidays. Whether you’re looking to read the entire book or just reread the holiday scenes, I’ve broken down where and how each book interweaves Christmas

  • Landline– Set during Christmas time
  • Carry On– Christmas-y chapters, about half way through the book
  • Fangirl – Chapter 20
  • Eleanor and Park– Chapters 32-33

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 What holiday books have you read? Any of the above? Share in the comments!

HOLIDAY MOOD: 10 Blind Dates Review & Most Anticipated Christmas Movies 2019

Summary (from the publisher): Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship. Cue devastation.10

Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.

When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.

This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever… or is it? 

 

 My Rating: 4/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

 Ashley Elston’s 10 Blind Dates made my TBR radar earlier in 2019 thanks to its holidays-inspired premise. As many as you know, I love when books incorporate one of my non-bookish faves. And Christmas is definitely a favorite interest of mine. I am proud to admit though that I have been fully embracing fall and Halloween this year by decorating my dorm room and purposely buying a Halloween costume. But never fear, my Christmas decorations are at the ready. Anyway, I also wanted to read 10 Blind Dates because I wanted to read more of Ashley Elston’s work. Although I enjoyed it, I wasn’t a super fan of her This Is Our Story as much as I hoped to be given the hype. However, I was really excited to embrace her first true contemporary story.

10 Blind Dates follows Sophie’s holiday break at her grandparents’ house in the next town over, after deciding to stay home while her parents visit her very pregnant sister three hours away in South Louisiana. Sophie couldn’t wait to get some alone time with her long-time boyfriend, Griffin- until she’s overhears him talking at a party about breaking up with her. With a big family who wants nothing but happiness for Sophie, her cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles set Sophie set her up on ten blind dates.

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One of my favorite parts of 10 Blind Dates was of course Sophie’s crazy extended family. There are a lot of family members, but Ashley Elston does a really nice job of reminding readers who is who and focusing on the ones who are most central to the plot. Sophie’s Nonna was my favorite family member, creating the blind date idea and having homemade cannolis ready at the go. Living with her grandparents also allows Sophie to reconnect with her childhood best friends and cousins Charlie and Olivia (not to mention their best friend and neighbor, Wes).

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FANGIRL CHRISTMAS: Book & Fandom Haul December 2018

While the new year is such a refreshing time, this fangirl is still getting over her Christmas spirit. Christmas time is always a good time for this reader and fangirl. While I wasn’t expecting too many fangirlish presents from Santa (my family) this year, I was so surprised, excited and fortunate enough to receive the following bookish and fangirl items.

Books

I didn’t go all out asking for books on Christmas list this year, mostly because I’m running out of bookshelf space and your girl loves supporting her local library.

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ALL THE AMAZING CHRISTMAS THINGS: Christmas at the Cupcake Café Review

Summary: In the standalone sequel to Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Café, Issy Randall couldn’t be happier and more in love. Business at the Cupcake Café is thriving, close friends surround her, and her relationship with Austin is in the perfect place–except that he’s in New York City for work right before Christmas. When Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to consider a long-distance romance and the fate of her bakery.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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UNEXPECTED CUTE CHRISTMAS READ: Prince in Disguise

Summary: As the younger sister of the former Miss Mississippi and reality TV show star of Prince in Disguise, life feels real enough for Dylan. But since Dusty’s wedding to Scottish laird-to-be, Ronan, is going to be aired on the show, maid of honor and camera-shy Dylan finds herself in front of the camera as well. As she is whisked off to Scotland to film the lead-up to the big day, Dylan begins to discover that the show’s producers has even more surprises in store, including family secrets, long-lost relatives, and Dusty’s future-mother-in-law who decidedly doesn’t think Dylan’s sister is good enough for her son. At least Dylan has Jamie, an adorably bookish groomsmen, to relieve some of her stress… unless the show plans on making Dylan her own reality TV sensation.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Holiday Review: Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Summary: For the first time in years, the entire Birch family will be under roof for Christmas. And it’s only slightly because they have to. Andrew and Emily’s daughter, Olivia, who is often off saving the world, is forced to stay in quarantine for a week after treating an epidemic abroad… and her family should stay in quarantine too. For the next seven days, the Birches will be cut off from humanity- including decent Wi-Fi, in their aging country estate. While younger daughter Phoebe focuses on her upcoming wedding, Olivia struggles to accumulate herself into her family’s life, especially as Andrew and Emily hide their own secrets.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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