Category Archives: Book Lists

Compilations and lists

10 Books to Get You in the Christmas Spirit

10 Books to Get You in the Christmas Spirit

It’s hard to believe it’s already December, isn’t it? Where did the year go?! It feels like just last week I was putting together my list of Books to Put in My Beach Bag. Not to mention, weren’t we all just reading spooky books? Crazy how time flies when you’re having fun!

In honor of December 1st, and one of my favorite months of the year, I’ve put together a list of 10 books to get you in the Christmas spirit. Some of these I’ve read, some I’ve only heard about, but all promise to be enjoyable and relatively quick. Just what you want in a Christmas read, right?

Young Adult

Jay Asher’s What Light has been on my list since it came out last year, and I finally borrowed it from the library yesterday. I loved Thirteen Reasons Why, and the idea of a story set at a Christmas tree farm sounds simply amazing. I don’t read a lot of romances (especially young adult romances), but I’m willing to make an exception here.

 

 

 

 

Romance

Hygge and Kisses does not have the best Goodreads rating (3.4), but I don’t care one bit. It’s about a girl whose life is sorta falling apart, so she heads to Denmark in the middle of winter to experience Hygge. I feel like this is going to be the kind of book most of us can relate to, at least until she falls in love and has all her problems solved. Whatever. This one has fluff read written all over it.

 

 

 

Something about this cover just screams good fun reading. And besides, December is cold, and cold means it’s a great time to read books that are fluffy and heartwarming. Generally, romance fits the bill, as long as the characters aren’t insufferable. Debbie Mason’s Mistletoe Cottage looks to be a great way to get your romance fix. Between this one and What Light, you should be set.

 

 

 

 

Mystery

Twelve Slays of Christmas is one I’ll probably have finished by the time this post goes live, as I’m on a bit of a cozy kick these days. It’s the first in a new series, titled A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery. (Sensing a theme here?) I’m looking forward to this one, and hope to have a review up soonish.

 

 

 

 

I’m pretty sure I’d love to live in a town that celebrated Christmas all year long, wouldn’t you? The next best thing is Vicki Delany’s Year-Round Christmas Mystery series, which starts with Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen. It’s got a great heroine, a cheerful setting, and a pretty decent mystery. If you like it, there are two more books out!

 

 

 

 

Fantasy

The sequel to Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale comes out next week, so if you haven’t yet picked up this beautiful fantasy novel, now’s the time. Read my full review here, but in a nutshell – it’s a  graceful story in an incredibly beautiful setting, and the audio narration is superb. This is the kind of book you want to read in front of a fire, as it’s kind of a slow burn of a story.

 

 

 

Oh, The Snow ChildWhat a strange, yet magical book about a couple who desperately wants children but can’t have them, and a girl who may or may not be made of snow. It’s one of the strangest books I’ve ever read, but also one of the most beautiful. This one is another that’s good fireplace reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Fiction

I haven’t yet read anything by Hazel Gaynor, though I’ve had a copy of The Girl Who Came Home for several years (what can I say, I’m a Titanic nerd). Last Christmas in Paris is set in World War I, and is a historical fiction slash romance. From the description, it reminds me a little of Secrets of a Charmed Life. Plus, that cover. It’s so very Hygge, isn’t it?

 

 

 

 

Contemporary Fiction

No surprise, right? By the way, where is my Backman fangirl badge, huh Fredrik Backman? *grin* This 96-page novella centers on a man who sacrifices his family in order to be successful, a little girl fighting cancer, and how their stories are intertwined. The Deal of a Lifetime promises to be trademark Backman,  guaranteed to make you cry and love every minute of it.

 

 

 

Another Jenny Colgan book featuring Polly and (hopefully) Neil the puffin? YES, please. Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery is actually the third book in the Beach Street series (Summer is number two). I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to make me want all sorts of Christmasy breads and cookies. Read my review of the first book, The Little Beach Street Bakery, here. Pick this one up if you want light and sweet this Christmas!

 

 

 

Whew, that’s quite a list – we’d better all get to reading! What are your favorite books to get in the Christmas spirit? Any that I’ve missed?

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2017 Gift Guide Book Lovers

2017 Gift Guide: Gifts for Book Lovers

Welcome to the first annual She’s All Booked Gift Guide series! I know I’m not the only person who looooves both Christmas shopping and perusing gift guides. I figured why not make my own this year?Really, these could be anytime gifts – birthdays, holidays, just because days, I-screwed-up-and-I’m-sorry days. You get the idea. Expect a few of these posts over the next few weeks, starting with this first one, Gifts for Book Lovers.

Jimmie and I are both big book lovers, and we always get each other a huge stack of books. And those are great, believe me. But, I’ve found it’s a little tough to buy books for other people. While I know they love to read, I don’t always know what they’ll like or have already read. So then, what do you get that book lover in your life, besides books? (Or book subscriptions, which are almost as problematic!)

I searched out a handful of gifts well under $100. Scroll down to see some of my favorites this year, and if you pick up one (or two!) for yourself, no judgement here.

Bookish Stocking Stuffers

book gift socks

I usually get Jimmie a couple pairs of fun socks for his Christmas stocking, and this year I just love these $12 Banned Book Socks. They even come in different sizes! This is the first pair I’ve seen that’s mismatched. One sock is the crossed out titles, and one sock is legible. And even better, with each pair purchased, Out of Print donates a book to a community in need.

Book Gifts Bookmarks

If you’re in my Facebook group, you might have seen the chat about dog-earred pages and how much I hate them! Amazon has tons of cute little bookmarks, but I’m partial to the Robots Magnetic Bookmarks. They come in a set of 6, so it’s no big deal if you lose one – or read multiple books at once. And at $3, they’re a steal.

Bookish Gifts Under $50

Book gifts literary candles

These Literary Candles from Uncommon Goods feature the locations from four classics: Baker Street from Sherlock Holmes, the Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland, Thornfield Garden from Jane Eyre, and Pemberley from Pride & Prejudice. Each location has its own custom-blended scent designed to transport you right into the story. They’re made of soy, are hand-poured, and will burn for 55 hours. Perfect for cozying up with an old favorite! I’m intrigued by the Sherlock Holmes one – black currant and leather. Yum.

book gifts library kit

I try to live by Commander Adama’s motto in Battlestar Galactica to “Never Lend Books.” Books should be gifts, given with the expectation that you won’t get them back. I’ve learned the hard way that this is true. But I still love Knock Knock’s Personal Library Kit ($16). Maybe it’ll help get your books back, maybe it won’t. Either way, it’ll leave you nostalgic for the old days when libraries used paper cards! The kit comes with 20 adhesive pockets and matching library cards, a stamp, and a stamp pad.

Book Gifts Poster

A couple years ago I reviewed a Superhero poster from Pop Chart Labs. The printing quality is great, and I love all their different designs. Book lovers will get a kick out of scratching off the books they’ve read with the 100 Essential Novels Scratch Off Chart ($35). The poster features 100 books on most “must-read” lists, such as Lord of the Flies and Gone With the Wind. Once scratched, the book’s cover is revealed. For a little extra, you can even get it framed. Wouldn’t this be perfect hanging in your library or reading nook?

book gifts sculpture

I adore this $30 Best Friends Book Lovers Sculpture from Uncommon Goods so much it’s on my wishlist. This sculpture perfectly captures what it’s like to read with a pup nearby. I can just see Olga pawing at the pages! Cat lovers, check out these bookends!

book gifts bath caddy

Is there anything better than a glass of wine, a good book, and a hot bath? How about not having to hold your arms out of the water while you read? There’s no shortage of options out there, but I like this $28 Bamboo Bath Caddy because it’s expandable, has plenty of space, and most importantly, has a spot for wine.

Bookish Gift Splurge

book gifts wall shelf

I love the look of this Minimalist Teak Wall Shelf, but at $75, it’s a bit of a splurge. I’d be likely to DIY it, but if you need a last-minute gift, it might be a good option. Nevertheless, it’d look great next to the bed – and might help clear up some nightstand space!

 

Happy shopping, book lovers!

 

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Haunting October: 9 Spooky Books On My List This Year

HauntingOctober Spooky Books

Last year, I decided to read only “Halloweeny” books for the entire month of October. I called it Haunting October. It took me way outside my comfort zone, helped me finally cross some books off my “to-read” list, and was also a whole lot of fun. Naturally, I decided to do it again this year!

I’ve been putting my list together, and while I doubt I’ll manage all of these, I’m super excited about all of them. For me, anything even remotely Halloween-related counts. That means the book can be horror, or not. I read a couple last year that were definitely not horror, but had witches, and that worked for me. That said, the whole point was to read things I wouldn’t typically read (and get in a spooky mood!), so you’ll see a few more horror on my list this year!

9 Spooky Books on my List This Year 

It wouldn’t be a Halloween-themed month without a Bradbury book, would it? (Eventually I’m going to run out of Bradbury books, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.) The October Country is a collection of spooky short stories, perfect for reading before bed.

 

 

 

 

Next up, Joe Hill’s The Fireman. I debated between this one and Horns (which is probably more Halloweeny), but if I’m honest, The Fireman is more appealing. I think we have both the audiobook and the physical copy, so this one may be my listen for the month.

 

 

 

 

I first read Shirley Jackson last year, when our book club picked I Have Always Lived in the Castle as one of our reads. I’d heard of her, of course, and The Haunting of Hill House is supposed to be one of her finest works, as well as one of the ultimate examples of horror writing. If it’s anything like Castle, it’ll be super creepy and unnerving. I can’t wait.

 

 

 

 

Because, duh. Seriously, A Monster Calls is supposed to be THE book. I’ve read several reviews saying the physical copy is worth it for the illustrations alone, so I’ll have to check my used bookstore for it. If not, maybe the library.

 

 

 

 

I’m also eventually going to run out of Gaiman books (write faster, Neil!!). Another that’s been on my list for a while, I love the description and am eagerly looking forward to reading it. I didn’t realize Neverwhere was his first novel, either, so that’ll be fun. And you guys know how much I love Neil Gaiman…or if you don’t, just take a look at my reviews of American Gods, Norse Mythology, or The Graveyard Book.

 

 

 

Bird Box is supposed to be super creepy – so creepy even Jimmie doesn’t want to read it. We’ll see if I’m brave enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m pretty sure I’ve had a copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth on my bookshelf since it came out in 2009. It’s one (of many) I’ve just never made time for. The description reminds me a little of that M. Night Shyamalan movie, The Village. This one makes me a little nervous since the Goodreads rating is a little low (3.59), but we’ll see.

 

 

 

 

And finally….yes. I’m one of the only readers in the world who STILL hasn’t read The Passage. Unless Jimmie traded it in, we have this one too. It’s enormous, and that terrifies me.

 

Just kidding, one more. Those are some dark and spooky covers. I should probably throw in a silly cozy mystery. Allison Brook’s Death Overdue will do nicely! It’s the first in a new series, and I’m all about a haunted library. Can’t wait to read this one. It releases on October 10th.

 

 

 

 

Anyone else reading Halloweeny books next month? What are your favorite spooky, witchy, creepy stories?

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beachbooks

6 Books in My Beach Bag this Summer

My beach bag is full of books. 

I’m in sunny Riviera Maya, Mexico, at the Royalton Riviera Cancun resort, and I’ve stuffed my beach bag full of (hopefully) engaging, thrilling, and fun books. Will I get through them all? Probably not, but I’m sure going to try.

I like to take a mix of both print and ebook books with me on vacation. I can’t deny the convenience of having a couple dozen books available on my Kindle, but there’s also just something about reading an actual book on the beach. So I’ll admit, I have many more books with me than are on this list. But, let’s just roll with it. So which books made it into the beach bag?

Young Adult

If you’ve read any of my Book Bites posts for the last….oh, I don’t know, 3 months?, you’ve no doubt seen Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch has been on it for the entire time. I unearthed it from the tower on my nightstand, and threw it in the suitcase, so we’ll see if I get to it!

 

 

 

 

daughterofthepirateking

I’ve debated and debated about picking up Tricia Levenseller’s Daughter of the Pirate King for months now, simply because I was waiting for more reviews to come in. I’m always skeptical of brand new books with super high reviews – a lot of reviewers tend to throw out 4s and 5s left and right. That’s ok, but doesn’t always reflect how I’m going to feel about a book. The premise interested me from Day 1, but I’ve read a lot of really lackluster YA lately (I’m looking at you, Caraval.) However, with 6500+ reviews and a solid 4.0 on Goodreads, I’ve got high hopes.

 

 

Chick Lit

little beach street bakeryI loved Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner so much that I knew I wanted to read as many of hers as I could. It’s no surprise, then, that I grabbed and ran with The Little Beach Street Bakery the moment I saw it in my local used bookstore. (And it was $2.50 – score!) It’s been torture saving it for Mexico, and it’s probably the one I’ll have already finished by the time you read my post. If I’m honest, I’ll probably finish it on the plane before we even get to the resort, but who cares. You can read my full review of The Bookshop on the Corner here.

 

 

 

 

Thriller

darkmatter

Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter has been on my list since before it came out, and I finally decided to just take the plunge and buy it. I used to read thrillers all the time, but in the last few years, pretty much only ever read them at the beach. They’re engaging and it’s hard to feel terrified when you’re sipping cocktails under palm trees. (Remember that time I read The Woman in Cabin 10 while putting back mimosas? I’m looking to recreate the moment.)

 

 

 

 

Nonfiction

I’ve had it on hold long enough. It’s time to finally read a Roxanne Gay book, considering how well regarded they are. I’ve got the ebook of Difficult Womenand I think I can at least get through a couple of the essays in between margaritas.

 

 

 

 

 

Classic

I debated long and hard about whether or not to bring the brick that is Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. In the end, I decided the extra weight wasn’t worth it, but I used a Scrib’d credit on the ebook. Will I make any progress on it? We’ll see, but something tells me Scarlett O’Hara is a perfect beach companion.

 

 

 

 

You might notice I don’t have any cozy mysteries in my beach bag. I’ll agree, cozies are probably some of the ultimate beach books. However, I have about 40 of them on my shelves, and since they take me roughly 2 hours to read, are not a good use of baggage allowance! I do have a few on my Kindle, though, so if I get desperate I’ve always got them for backup!

What kinds of books do you take on vacation? Should I have put anything different in my beach bag?

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5 Great Audiobooks for National Audiobook Month

audiobookmonthJune is National Audiobook Month

Happy Audiobook Month! For several years now, the Audio Publishers Association has held a national campaign every June to promote audiobook listening. Librarians, booksellers, publishers, and the rest of the reading world come together to celebrate the joys of listening to books. I’ll admit, I’m a little late to the party, since the month is nearly half over. Regardless, I couldn’t miss a chance to join in!

It seems like we’re all over the board when it comes to audiobooks. I know people who would never finish a book if not for audio – and then I know people who consider listening to a book “cheating.” I know people who say they can’t pay attention to the book if they listen to it, and people who find they pick up more listening than reading. And I know plenty of people who have just never tried one!

At one time or another, I’ve been all of those people. I listened to my first audiobook in August 2016. I’d always thought I’d get bored by listening. Plus there was the time factor – I could easily read two or even three books in the time it would take to listen to one. But, I had a trip to Atlanta coming up, and I was driving by myself, and I was bored with all my music. I signed up for a free trial of Scribd, downloaded a book, and off I went. It took me about half an hour to get used to the experience, but by then I was engrossed in the story and knew I was going to finish it. And now here I am, writing a post about audiobooks for Audiobook Month! So without further ado….

5 Great Audiobooks for National Audiobook Month

If You’ve Never Listened to an Audiobook, Try…

theravenboys

Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven BoysThe first of the series, The Raven Boys is a captivating story by an author who knows how to grab (and keep) your attention. Will Patton’s narration (you may know him from movies like Remember the Titans and Armageddon) is breathtaking, and it’s no wonder he’s won an Audie award for Best Male Narrator. Review in this post.

 

 

 

 

If You Need a Beach-Worthy Audiobook, Try…

bookshoponthecornerJenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner. It’s a feel-good story for any book lover. Be warned, though, I gave all the characters in the next two books I read Scottish accentsafter listening to Lucy Price-Lewis’ narration. This is a perfect light read with substance, not to mention an excellent travelogue. I’m planning a trip to Scotland now, and I 100% blame this book. You can read my full review here.

 

 

 

 

If You’re Short on Time, Try…

norsemythologyNeil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. Just over 6 hours in length, and each myth has its own chapter. Unlike a lot of other audiobooks, the chapter endings don’t feel like cliffhangers. That makes Norse Mythology easily digestible, especially if you have limited listening time. And as for narration? Neil Gaiman is superb. Hearing an author read his or her own work is kind of the ultimate experience, since you get to hear it exactly how the author intended. Full review here.

 

 

 

If You Need a Book Club Recommendation, Try…

undergroundrailroadColson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. It won the National Book Award last year for a reason. It’s timely, compelling, and in-your-face. I listened to this separate from book club, but I wish I knew someone else who’d read it so we could discuss. There’s so much here to talk about, and not just about the past either. Bahni Turpin does the narration, and her ability to convey the emotion and turmoil of the story is remarkable. Full review here.

 

 

 

For Epic Feats of Narration, Try…

sleepinggiantsSylvain Nuevel’s Sleeping GiantsThe audio version features a full-cast recording. The story is told in a series of vignettes – interviews, case files, journal entries, and the like. Having the full-cast recording makes the listening experience that much richer, because you feel like you’re really getting to know each character. Review is coming on this one!

 

 

 

 

How are you celebrating National Audiobook Month? What audiobook should I listen to next? Leave a comment below telling me your favorite recordings!

Not an audiobook listener yet? Use my link to get two free months of Scribd! Rent audiobooks, ebooks, magazines, and more. You’ll get two audiobooks and 6 ebooks during your trial, and if you continue after that, it’s just $9 a month.