Month: October 2020

11th Annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa & Christmas Card Exchange

Posted October 23, 2020 by Jana in Blog Event, Bookish Little Christmas / 6 Comments

I am SO EXCITED to kick-off one of my favorite holiday traditions! As many of you know, Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) and I used to host this event together, but I hosted it by myself in 2019 to give Jamie some time to breathe. She has since decided to step away permanently, so That Artsy Reader Girl is now the official and forever home of Broke & Bookish Secret Santa.

I have made some minor changes and additions to the event this year, so please read this entire post carefully even if you’re a #TBTBSanta veteran.

Starting this year, I’ve decided to add a Christmas cards only exchange to #TBTBSanta! I’m super excited about this, and think it’s going to allow so many more people the opportunity to receive happy mail this season. 

CHRISTMAS CARD EXCHANGE INFO:

This exchange is open internationally. You can sign up to send 1, 5, or 10 cards and will receive the same in return. Please note that this will not be divided up by countries, so you might be sending internationally. You are more than welcome to sign up for this exchange in addition to a Secret Santa package.

SIGN-UPS CLOSE AT 11:59 PM MST ON NOVEMBER 5TH!
I will be emailing you your list of card recipients by November 10th.

If you want to sign up for the Christmas card exchange, please do so through the following links:

1 card
5 cards
10 cards

THINGS YOU NEED TO DO:

1. Mail your cards by December 4th (ASAP if you’re sending internationally). The USPS typically takes 3-7 days to deliver snail mail within the USA, and we all know they’re struggling more than usual this year.

2. Once you have sent out all your cards, please fill out this form.

3. Include some way for your card recipients to find/contact you online! If you only include your mailing address and name, they won’t be able to figure out who you are unless they write back… and since that is not a requirement of this event you might miss out on a new friend. A Twitter handle or email address would be perfect.

4. Include the hashtag #TBTBSanta somewhere on the envelope or in the card so your recipient knows you’re from this event.


SECRET SANTA INFO:

1. Please only sign up if you are committed to sending off a package on time. Really think about whether or not you’ll have the time and the money to send a thoughtful gift to your recipient–one you’d be happy to receive yourself. I really don’t want to hunt you down for not sending your package, or for sending one that does not meet the guidelines for the event. I keep track of those who do not follow the rules, and those people will not be allowed to participate in the future.

2. Be as thorough as possible in your questionnaire (no amount of info is too much). Please utilize the event hashtag on Twitter (#TBTBSanta) to ask questions, or reach out to the contact your recipient provides if you need help or clarification on what to send.

3. NEW THIS YEAR. Instead of sending me an email when you’ve sent and received your packages, you will be filling out Google forms that are linked below in the “things to do” section and will be included in the email I send out with your recipient’s information. This allows for much better organization on my part and faster answers for those who email me with questions or issues.

3. A note to people outside of the USA : Please understand that I can’t guarantee that you will be assigned someone who lives in your country. I try to work it out geographically, but it all depends on who signs up and which level of package they sign up to send.

Countries are divided up into mailing groups to help with shipping costs. If you live in one of the locations listed below, you will be placed in that mailing group and could be sending to any of the countries listed in that group. If you sign up for a package type that nobody else close to you has signed up for, you might be placed in a different mailing group. If you are unsure as to whether or not you can afford the shipping, please do a little research before you sign up. I will continually update this post with a list of countries where participants are from (and which mailing groups they are in) so you can see where you might potentially be sending your package.

Mailing Groups:

– Canada
– Europe Mailing Group 1: UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) and Ireland
– Europe Mailing Group 2: Mainland Europe (The Netherlands, France)

4. I’m capping this event at 400 participants this year.

5. I can’t ensure that you will not be assigned to someone you’ve been assigned to before, or who you’ve been paired with in other swaps/gift-giving events. It’s too hard for me to juggle that while also trying to pair you with someone you have something in common with.

6. Please note that this is NOT a swap. You will not be sending to the same person who is sending to you.

SIGN-UPS CLOSE AT 11:59 PM MST ON NOVEMBER 5TH!

(Although, let’s be honest. I’m not going to be pairing while I’m sleeping so if you sneak in on the morning of 11/6, I won’t mind. I will announce on Twitter when I begin pairings, and that will be the official close of sign-ups.)

HOW TO SIGN UP:

To sign up, send an email to TBTBSecretSanta (at) gmail (dot) com answering the following questions. (NOTE: Please do not attach a document to your email. Just copy and paste your answers directly into the body of the email.)

  1. Full Name & Mailing Address (Exactly as it should appear on the mailing label)
  2. Please choose what level of package you will be sending to your recipient (I will be grouping people accordingly, so you will be expected to send out what you choose here. Please note that ARCs have no monetary value and will, therefore, not count towards the book quantities listed here. Think of them as a fun bonus if you choose to include them.):
    a) 1 book and a small gift/goodie
    b) 1-2 books and a couple small gifts/goodies
    c) 2+ books and multiple small gifts/goodies
  3. Blog URL/Twitter username/Youtube channel/Instagram username: (Include any social media or online presences to help your Santa get to know you. You MUST be active on at least one platform, and preferably be on Twitter.)
  4. List of 10-15 books you’d like to read, or a link to a wishlist: (Please include old and new releases and please do not ask for books that have not been released yet. Make sure your Goodreads profile or Amazon wishlist is public at least for the time this event runs. Double check that your links work while logged out of your account. Please keep your wishlists separate if you participate in other swaps/secret people events.)
  5. Genres you read the most: (Specify YA, adult, etc. as well.)
  6. List of your bookish preferences: (a few favorite authors, things you will not read, if you prefer hardback or paperback, if you don’t care about book format at all, if you are okay receiving something not on your wishlist that your Santa thinks you would like, etc.)
  7. Food and other allergies:
  8. All the things about yourself: (Please tell your Secret Santa about yourself. The more they know about you, the better job they can do picking out your additional small gifts/goodies. For example: general info about yourself (job, age, school/major, family, pets, etc.), if you celebrate Christmas or not, your hobbies, your passions, music you love, smells or flavors you like/do not like, TV shows you watch, favorite movies, things you collect, fandoms you’re a part of, if you would love something native to where your Secret Santa lives, coffee/tea you like, candy/snacks you like, favorite colors, shoe/sock size, favorite patterns, your style/aesthetic, favorite animals, things you are obsessed with, etc. Also, if you have an e-reader and would be happy to receive ebooks or a gift card, mention that and include any email addresses associated with those accounts. The more info in this section, the better. I literally rejoice when I see a lot of words here.)
  9. Would you be able to send internationally if needed? (This question mainly applies to people in the USA, since I can’t guarantee that you will not be sending internationally if you live outside the USA.)
    Please answer with:
    A. Yes, I can.
    B. No, I cannot.
    C. Would prefer not to but will if needed (be careful with this one, as you could be shipping ANYWHERE)
    NA. I do not live in the USA, and understand that I might be sending internationally.
  10. You are:
    a) Under 18
    b) 18+
  11. Have you participated in Broke & Bookish Secret Santa before, or is this your first time? Did you participate in Christmas In July?:
  12. Please provide the contact information (name and Twitter handle/email address) of someone your Secret Santa can contact with questions about you: (This person does not have to know you well. They just have to be able to contact you with questions so I don’t have to relay information back and forth between you and your Santa. Please ask this person before you put their twitter handle or email address here so they are not confused. Please also ask this person to open their DMs on Twitter if you choose to include their Twitter handle as a way to contact them. If you have no idea who to ask to be your contact, post to the event hashtag and ask for volunteers. You’ll find one quickly and make a new friend at the same time!)
  13. Any questions, comments or additional things your Secret Santa (or I) should know.

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THINGS YOU NEED TO DO:

1. Mail your package no later than December 10th (perhaps earlier if you are sending internationally). The earlier the better. For some people, what you’re sending might be the only thing they receive for Christmas, so please ensure their gift(s) arrives to them before December 25th. IF SOMETHING COMES UP PLEASE EMAIL ME. Communication is super important.

2. **NEW THIS YEAR** Once you’ve sent your box, please fill out this form.

3. **NEW THIS YEAR** Once you’ve received your box, please fill out this form.

4. Be sure to thank your Secret Santa when you receive your package. You can do this via social media or reach out to me for their email address. I know this should go without saying, but we’ve had some ungrateful people in the past who never reached out to their Santa to thank them or even acknowledged that they received their gift. That’s completely unacceptable, not to mention rude.

Another note on thank you’s… Please thank your Santa even if you do not plan to open your gift until Christmas Day (or any day other than the day you received it). Yes, you can’t personally thank them yet since you don’t know who they are, but please at least say you received it publicly on social media. Your Santa is likely stalking you, eager to know that their gift is safely in your hands and has not been stolen or lost. You can thank them again after once you’ve opened your gift and discovered their identity.

5. If you have not received your package by January 4th please email me and I will attempt to contact your Secret Santa. Please understand that I will try my very best to work it out, but there is only so much I can do if someone decided to be a punk.

6. Please utilize the event hashtag #TBTBSanta to ask questions, post hints, thank your Santa, and share in your shopping/gifting/receiving/sending process! Show us what you got! It’s also really helpful to search your person’s handle with the hashtag and see all the questions they’ve answered and the gifts they received in previous years. 

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GIFT GUIDELINES & SUGGESTIONS:

1. Books can be new or used. Use your discretion as far as used books go, but please be kind and don’t send something you wouldn’t want to receive. They should be in very good condition. ARCs have no monetary value and should, therefore, only be included in addition to the number of books you committed to send.

2. When I say “goodies or small gifts”, I don’t mean free swag or promotional items. If you want to add that stuff in after you’ve put in some thoughtful goodies because you think your person would really love those swag/promotional items, wonderful! Please just make sure that those additional goodies are not JUST things anyone could have picked up at a book event or received from publishers in the mail.

3. Due to everything going on in the world right now, please do not send homemade food items. Pre-packaged, store-bought foods are fine (and encouraged!).

4. Be thoughtful. 99% of the time the gifts are really sweet and thoughtful and what you would expect, but occasionally someone just throws random crap in a box and ships it off to fulfill their end. I’ve seen people receive expired face masks, for crying out loud. Don’t be like that. Gifts should be thoughtfully chosen based on your recipient’s questionnaire and wrapped nicely. There should be some sort of note included.

5. Please do not ship directly from Amazon or elsewhere (unless you talk to me first).

6. If you aren’t sure what kinds of things to add for the additional small gifts, peruse the #TBTBsanta thread on Twitter or Instagram to see pictures of packages from previous years. There are lots of good ideas!

Please ask any questions in the comments!!

TBTBSanta logo created with the help of Freepik


The Ten Most Recent Books I’ve Read Because Someone Recommended Them

Posted October 19, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 19 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is “books I read because someone recommended them to me”. I love getting recs from people and think it’s so much fun to discuss books with friends. I figured it would be too hard to narrow this list down to the top ten best ones because I’m not sure I could pick. So instead, I’ve chosen to share the ten most recent books I’ve read (good or bad) because someone recommended them to me.

Halloween Boo by Sarah Spade
My friend, Elley, recommended this Hocus Pocus-inspired romance between a ghost and a human. It was a fun little story, but a bit too steamy in places for my comfort level.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Elley also recommended this entire trilogy, and said the first one is her favorite. I really enjoyed this historical romance!

Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams
I picked this up because my friend, Caro, LOVED it. Unfortuately, I had a really hard time with some of the themes throughout the story, It was a unique concept, though! Although… it featured an apocalyptic plague, which… well, you know.

Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
I’ve seen these books everywhere, so I’m not sure who specifically made me decide to pick it up… but I loved this book! So much fun.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
My friends Harker and Elley both LOVE this book, and now I do too! Murder mermaids, guys.

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
My friend, Michelle, loved the camp setting in this one and it was definitely a great book. I love Riley Sager.

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron
My friend, Lindsey (Bring My Books), said the audio of this was amazing and she was right!

Roomies by Christina Lauren
My first Christina Lauren! I have no idea who recommended them. Maybe it was a bunch of voices yelling at me. In any case, I love Christina Lauren now so thank you!

Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier
My friend, Bonnie, got me this book because she loves it so much and it’s WONDERFUL. Get it!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
I never would have read this if the entire book blogging world hadn’t exploded when the ARCs went out. I was lucky enough to get one, too, and it’s such a good book.

Which of these have you read? What did you think?
What’s the best book you’ve ever read because someone else recommended it?
Have I ever recommended anything on this blog or on social media that you read and loved?


Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday | Book Review

Posted October 15, 2020 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 1 Comment

Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday | Book ReviewParadise Cove by Jenny Holiday
Series: Matchmaker Bay #2
Published by Forever on July 28, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

Dr. Nora Walsh has just been dumped in spectacular fashion, making it the perfect time for a major life change. She figures taking over the medical practice in tiny Matchmaker Bay for a couple of years will help her get over her broken heart, and then she can head back to the big city. But when the first man she sees looks like a superhero god, she wonders if maybe there's something to small-town living after all.

Jake Ramsey also has a broken heart -- one he never expects to heal. He doesn't need people anyway and is content hiding out in his secluded cottage on the beach. But after helping Nora with a medical emergency, he finds himself opening up to the witty, warmhearted doctor. Soon the local matchmakers are working overtime to pair them off, and Jake begins to wonder if his campaign to get Nora to stay is for the town or because he can't bear the thought of her leaving.

I’ve struggled with books by this author in the past, so I was a bit worried about trying again. But my friend, Estelle at Forever, pitched this to me so hard while we were talking on the phone one day that I decided to give Jenny Holiday another try! I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed this for the most part! I do have a few tiny complaints, but I’m definitely interested in reading the other books in this series. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. We’ve got Nora, the city girl who moves to a small town to take over the medical practice there. I love stories like this, because I really enjoy anything medicine (even though it plays a tiny part in the story). She’s also running from a bad relationship and wants a new start. She’s a very energetic, bright personality and I enjoyed the contrast between her and Jake, the hero of this story.

2. Jake is a very quiet Mr. Fix-it that everyone loves even though nobody knows him very well. Well, they know his story but they don’t know him. He’s a man of very few words, but when he does speak it’s important. He lives off in a secluded part of town and goes around quietly fixing things that need fixing. He randomly shows up at Nora’s house to re-build her deck, and she stumbles upon him while he’s out there working. That’s just what he does! He’s the fix-it fairy, and I loved him for that. He’s got major heartbreak in his past, and watching him go through the grieving process and learning to open up again was very sweet. Oh, and Nora refers to him as Aquaman, if that does anything for you. I’m not a fan of the long-haired, man-buned man but I know many are!

3. Nora’s and Jake’s relationship is very organic. They start out as friends with benefits, which I actually hate. lol. But then things get deeper as he opens up to her. She expects absolutely nothing from him, and lets him open up slowly and quietly and on his own terms. When he tells her his story, she responds in a very comforting way without exhausted cliches. She reacts to him in a way nobody else has. She asks him tough, but meaningful, questions about his son instead of glazing over him as if he never existed. It’s hard on Jake, but also helps him realize that he can look to the good times and remember than fondly, rather than feeling guilty for the bad times.

4. The sex scenes were a bit too much and too frequent for me. I enjoy steam in my books, and I like it when it adds to the story. But when these scenes just keep happening and happening I start to skim over them because I need more than that in my books. I begin to disconnect from the characters because I’m not seeing them grown and learn and love. I’m just seeing how much stamina they have in the bedroom and that gets old. lol.

5. That being said, I really had fun getting to know these two characters and seeing their love story unfold. I loved Jake’s dog and his house, which was in a cute little cove. I loved that Jake bought Nora some rain boots that stayed at his house so he could put them out for her when he knew she was coming over. That way, when the tide rolled in she could traverse the wet rocks and wade through the water to get around the bend and make it to his house without getting wet. How sweet is that?

6. I loved the supporting characters and all the friendships that were developed in this story between the townspeople and Nora. I’d like to go back and read the first book in this series so I can get more info about some of these characters.

All in all, I enjoyed the story and am excited to read more books in the Matchmaker Bay series! Jenny’s writing is great and her characters are loveable. I could do with a little less heat and steam and more actual story, but it’s not enough of a drawback for me to keep me from reading more of her books!

3 Stars

Top Ten Long Book Titles

Posted October 12, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 26 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! This week’s topic is about super long book titles. Maybe you’ve chosen to only include the titles of books you’ve read or want to read, titles you just simply like but are not necessarily interested in reading, or even long titles you hate. Or all of the above? I’m a huge fan of a good title, so I’m only focusing on ones I like, both on and off my TBR/read lists.

1.The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
This title is super unique, unforgettable, and I’d love to read this someday!

2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
I liked this book as a kid, and I sometimes refer to my days as terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ones so the title has stuck with me!

3. You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself by David McRaney
This just made me laugh. I have no idea what it’s about, but I know a few people I’d like to fling this book at based on the title alone!

4. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
My mom mentioned this one while I was talking to her about this topic, and I’ve always thought it was a pretty and intriguing title.

5. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
I didn’t love this book, but the title sure is cute!

6. The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer
One of the cutest Christmas books ever.

7. On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God by Louise Rennison
I laughed when I saw this one, so I had to include it.

8. Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean
I just finished the first book in this series, and am excited to start the next one!

9. Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale
Because it I can add a Christmas book, I will!

10. Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans
Hey look, I did it again! I’m actually hoping to read this one soon.

Which loooong book titles did you find this week?


Top Ten Book Covers That Give Off Fall Vibes

Posted October 5, 2020 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 20 Comments

Welcome to another TTT! I hope you’re doing well. It’s finally October (yay!!) and even though it’s not getting cold enough fast enough for me to really feel like it’s fall, I’m excited to share books with covers that give off fall vibes!

Something Wicked by Lucy Hudson
Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr
Halloween Boo by Sarah Spade
Halloween at the Graff by Sinclair Jayne
Thankfully in Love: A Thanksgiving Anthology by Anna J. Stewart, Kayla Perrin, Melinda Curtis, & Cari Lynn Webb
Pumpkin Everything by Beth Labonte
Bewitching You by Katana Collins
All I Want for Halloween by Marie Harte
A Thankful Heart by Melissa McClone
A Match Made for Thanksgiving by Jackie Lau

Which covers did you choose to feature this week?
Do any of these capture your feelings of fall?

Have you read any of these book? They’re all on my TBR, so please share your non-spoilery thoughts if you’d like!