Category: About Me

Top Ten Bookstores & Libraries I’d Love to Visit

Posted October 15, 2018 by Jana in About Me, Top Ten Tuesday / 22 Comments

This week I’m sharing my bookstore and library bucket list. There are SO many beautiful buildings that serve as havens for bookworms, and there are so many unique, quaint, and special places that house books. I had so much fun looking for pictures to feature this week. When I start falling down he rabbit hole on something like this, it’s very hard for me to stop. I had a hard time narrowing my list down to only ten places! I’d love to visit these and so many other bookstores and libraries in this world. I wish the USA had more book places that were pretty like these ones are.

Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice, Italy

I wish I’d known about this bookstore when I went to Venice a few years ago, because it sounds wonderful! The name translates to “bookstore of high water”, and it floods each year. To combat the water, which is a book’s worst enemy, the owner stores the books in waterproof bins, buckets, bathtubs, canoes, and gondolas. There are many books and maps of Venice, used and new books, and even some stray cats that have made the store their home. They seem to love people, and I’ve seen pictures of visitors petting them. There’s an outdoor courtyard with a stairway made of old encyclopedias that leads you to beautiful canal views.

Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal

The neo-gothic and art nouveau design elements make this bookstore a must-see for me. It’s so opulent and grand! I love the stained glass ceiling and that huge, sweeping red staircase. Apparently J.K. Rowling did some of her early Harry Potter brainstorming here, and is rumored to have inspired some of her designs of Hogwarts. Very cool!

Libreria El Pendulo in Mexico City, Mexico

This beautiful bookstore is known for looking like the city of Paris, France inside. It’s crammed full of shelves of books and trees and cozy places to sit. It looks like such a fun place to be.

Cook & Book in Brussels, Belgium

The Cook & Book is a bookstore and restaurant! It’s divided up into nine different rooms that each house different kinds of books, and you can choose to eat your meal at a table in any of them. The English books room is decorated like an old British library. There’s also a terrace and a playground for children. I particularly love the ceiling of flying books.

Book Now in Bendigo, Australia

This rare and out of print bookstore looks like a log cabin inside! I love this old nineteenth century building that was once owned by a wine and spirits merchant.

Boekhandel Dominicanen (Polare Maastricht) in Maastricht, The Netherlands

This bookstore is located in an old Medieval Dominican church. I don’t even care what kind of books this store houses, I want to visit this beautiful church!

Klementinum Baroque Library Hall in Prague, Czech Republic

This place is beautiful… “The baroque library was first opened in 1722 as a part of the Jesuit university based in Klementinum. It houses over 20,000 volumes of mostly foreign theological literature, coming into Klementinum from the beginning of the 17th century until recent times. Books with white painted spines and red marks have been in the library since the time of the Jesuits… The interior of the baroque library has remained intact since the 18th century. The hall is decorated with ceiling frescoes by Jan Hiebl depicting allegorical motifs of education, and portraits of Jesuit saints, patrons of the university and prominent representatives of this order.”

The Abbey Bookshop in Paris, France

I’ve been to Shakespeare & Company, which was so much fun, but I didn’t know about this cute little bookstore in the Latin Quarter until I was already home. Just another excuse to go back to Paris someday!

The Bookworm Bookshop in Beijing, China

This is a bookstore, library, bar, and restaurant, but I was sold when I saw these magical ceilings with lights and lanterns. It looks like such a cozy place to go to browse, buy, and borrow books; eat a yummy meal or dessert; and meet authors!

Leakey’s Secondhand Bookshop in Iverness, Scotland

Pictures of this bookstore make me smile. It’s positively charming! Look at the colorful panels walls, that spiral staircase, and the rich wood and cute little railings. I love the upper floor that runs around the perimeter of the store, and that you can find cozy places to sit anywhere. They even have an open log fireplace. Sounds perfect!

Have you been to any of these bookstores and libraries? 
Do we have any of the same ones on our lists?


Nine Books That are Linked to Specific Moments In My Life

Posted July 23, 2018 by Jana in About Me, Top Ten Tuesday / 25 Comments

This week’s topic is books with sensory memories, and was submitted through my TTT topic submission form by Jessica at A Cocoon of Books. These are the books that are linked to very specific memories for you: where you were, what time of year it was, who you were with, what you were eating, what you were feeling, what you were seeing, etc. The topic might feel narrow and difficult at first, but I think it provides so much freedom to be creative and come up with a really personal list this week. I’m excited to see what you came up with!

I chose to share ten books that are linked to happy moments in my life. I don’t know about you, but I tend to attach all kinds of things to events in my life. I have a very vivid memory and have always remembered certain songs that were playing during different times in my life, who I was with when I watched a certain movie, what a guy and I were wearing on a random date 10 years ago, etc. While taking tests in school I could pull up a page of my notes in my mind. Picturing where certain information was on the page helped me remember facts or answers to questions. So in today’s case, I’ll be sharing books that I have very vivid memories about, but not in terms of the stories themselves. These memories surround my reading experience.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
My mom and I read New Moon together a few months before Eclipse came out. During this time, my little sister had weekly choir practice in the evenings at her choir director’s home about 25 minutes away from our house. My mom would always drive her to practice, and I frequently went with her so we could do some shopping or go out to eat while my sister was singing. This time, however, we were so hooked on this book that we each brought ours along with us and sat in the van outside the director’s house reading as the sun went down.

Decked with Holly by Marni Bates
I love reading Christmas books during Christmastime! My mom and I got tickets to a Christmas concert in Salt Lake City, and we went up early to be in our seats on time. You know how it is, though. The wait from when you’re seated until the show starts is always super long. What bookworm doesn’t bring a book with them in these situations? I remember it was freezing outside, so my mom and I wore nice pants and snow boots instead of dresses/skirts like usual. The center was beautifully decorated and the buzz of excited concertgoers made it tricky for me to focus. I did get some reading done, though!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I started this after a breakup with a pretty crummy guy. I was looking forward to a non-sappy book with people killing each other. :’)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
I took this hardback on a cruise, which is absolutely insane. lol. In what universe did I ever have enough luggage space to bring multiple hardback books? I could never cart a bag of hardbacks with me on cruises now. I bring too many clothes and essentials. I remember sitting in a lounge chair by the pool after I had gone swimming. The bottom of the pages are rippled because I rested the book on my stomach while I was reading, and my swimsuit was still wet. The book ended on such a cliffhanger that I was tempted to throw it overboard in frustration. lol.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
My mom and I were in North Carolina for a family wedding, and we had major plane issues going home. Long story short, we were offered free first class upgrades as long as we were ok with not sitting together. We were all about flying first class for the first time ever, so we were fine with it. I ended up sitting in a window seat next to an older guy who fell asleep. I spent the flight reading Poison Study and praying like crazy that I wouldn’t have to pee!

The Maze by Catherine Coulter
Long ago, I worked as a customer service rep for American Express’s small business network (for a few weeks. lol). The job was boring and slightly stressful. I read this book while on the phones. Sometimes I read while I was working with a customer because everything was so engrained in my head at that point that I didn’t have to think much. I also brought coloring books to this job. Anything to pass the time!

Carrie Goes Off the Map by Phillipa Ashley
I actually read this while I was substitute teaching an elementary school music class. The teacher left me instructions to play a movie for them, and I sat in the back and read this book while they watched.

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
I read this while on a transatlantic cruise! The heroine was on a yacht in the Mediterranean Sea, and I was sitting on my cabin’s balcony reading this as we crossed from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean. You could tell because the water was doing some really cool swirly stuff and flowing in all different directions. I had to set my Kindle down and watch. It was pretty amazing.

Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
I read this book on my road trip to Georgia with my mom for grad school orientation. I remember I really didn’t want to bring it with me because I was trying to limit my books to Kindle only, but I hadn’t finished this one yet. I read, like, 2 pages a day because I was so busy that I hardly had time to read.

What direction did you take this topic in this week?
Have you read any books that are linked to specific events or times in your life?


Ten Books I Loved Before I Became a Book Blogger

Posted June 22, 2018 by Jana in About Me, Book Spotlight / 10 Comments

 

A long time ago… in this galaxy… way back in the dino days, before Moby Dick was a minnow (can you tell I’m feeling old today? It’s my birthday!)… I wasn’t a book blogger. I know. It’s kind of hard for me to believe it, too, because I have been eating, breathing, and sleeping books since June of 2010 (I started The Broke and the Bookish with Jamie). About a year and a half later, That Artsy Reader Girl was born, and I’ve made a pretty cozy place for myself here in my corner of the Internet. Blogging has been a huge blessing for me, and has given me the opportunity to read so many amazing books, but some long-time favorites rekindled my love of reading way before I started writing. Since I never wrote full reviews for any of these books, I thought it’d be fun to share some of them with you today!

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight is the book that made me discover there was a young adult section in the bookstore. I had NO idea! I’m not even kidding. I grew up reading romance novels, and never knew there was a genre devoted to me. But oh, I loved Edward. :) Oh, and random fact… this is actually the first book I added to Goodreads when I joined. Crazy!

2. Pretend You Don’t See Her by Mary Higgins-Clark
This was first mystery novel! My mom has always really loved Mary Higgins-Clark, and started me on her books when I was a teenager. I became an instant fan, and will read anything she writes. I still can’t believe she’s still pumping books out at her age. It’s super impressive.

3. Catherine and the Pirate by Karen Hawkins
Did anyone else read the Avon True Romance series? There were, I think, 12 books aimed towards young adults in this series, all written by well-known authors like Meg Cabot, Beverly Jenkins, etc. This one was my first and favorite, though. I found it in my high school’s library when we had to write a book report (I can’t believe I chose this book for a book report. lol)  and thus began my love of pirate romances. I swear, I live for a really good historical romance featuring pirates and pirate ships.

4. The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
I really loved this story, even though it made me cry because Nicholas Sparks likes to kill people. I’ll never read another book of his again for that reason, but I did really connect with this story. Even though I can cry about it right now if I think about it enough.

5. With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland
This was my very first time travel book! I LOVE Lynn’s romances. They are soooooo sweet, and so amazing. I just love Scotland, too, and most of her books take place there.

6. The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum 
This is a very fun trilogy that I found after reading Twilight and wanting something similar. The Hourglass Door features time travel and Da Vinci and a cute Italian boy. I loved it more than Twilight.

7. Kiss and Tell by Suzanne Brockman 
This book starts when a woman gets kissed by a mysterious man in a Zorro mask on New Year’s Eve. Who is he!?!?! Oh, I loved this book. The other two books in this trilogy and wonderful, too.

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I was pretty scared of this book. It took me forever to be ok with it, and my mom thought I was insane for wanting it. I loved it. Seriously, this solidified my love of YA novels. And I kind of love that I read it before it was cool and before the movies and the hype. The second book, Catching Fire, wasn’t even out yet!

9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
I found Shiver in the hopes of finding something like Twilight. I was skeptical, though, because I was team Edward and not Jacob, so why on Earth would I like a book about werewolves? I loved Maggie’s writing, though, and the story was so perfect.

10. Austenland by Shannon Hale
Yes, I reviewed this here (my first review ever, actually!), but I actually had to re-read the book in order to remember it enough to write a review. So it counts. It’s still one of my favorite books, even though the movie leaves much to be desired.

Which books did you read and love before you became a book blogger? 


Top Ten Books My Mom Loves

Posted April 16, 2018 by Jana in About Me, Top Ten Tuesday / 80 Comments

This week I gave you the opportunity to come up with your own topic. I love doing this because then I can visit all the participating blogs and steal your ideas!! Haha, just kidding. That’s not totally the reason. I always get requests for really specific topics that I can’t broaden enough to make them apply to everyone who wants to participate, such as “top ten science fiction books” or “top ten books to read if you liked [insert book title here]”. Not everyone can do those kinds of topics and then they would have to sit out that week. So this week you get to do whatever you want!

Today’s my mom’s birthday, and since she’s my favorite person in the world I figured I’d share with you some of the books she’s read and loved, both as a child and an adult, and recommended to me throughout my life.

To my first and favorite follower:

 

 

The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope
Cherry Ames, Student Nurse by Helen Wells
Racoons Are the Brightest People by Sterling North
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Mary Higgins-Clark (all her books)
Virgin River by Robyn Carr (The entire Virgin River series)
Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs (The entire Lakeshore Chronicles series)

Have you read any of these books?
Which books do your mom or dad recommend to you all the time?
What topic did you come up with this week?


The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Book Review

Posted January 12, 2018 by Jana in About Me, Book Review / 10 Comments

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham | Book ReviewThe Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Jennifer Graham, Rob Thomas
Series: Veronica Mars #1
Also in this series: Mr. Kiss and Tell
Published by Vintage Books on March 25, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 324
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
5 Stars
Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

I absolutely love Veronica Mars. I discovered the TV show a few years ago when my friend, Jess, sent me the complete DVD set as a gift after finding out I’d never seen it. And a huge fan was born! Even though I knew the TV series would end, I was still soooo sad when it did. Then I discovered that the writers of the show also wrote two books and I was elated. I was not disappointed. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. This book is definitely a gift to Veronica Mars fans. I’m sure you’d enjoy reading it if you’ve never seen the show, but I can’t imagine why you’d want to. This book takes place years after the series and the movie, so it really goes without saying that you’ll be happier and love it more if you watch all of those first.

2. The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line reads like an episode of the show, and I LOVED that about it. Veronica’s inner monologues are still golden. Her snark is perfection. I was all smiles.

3. Veronica is back in Neptune, and so are all of our favorite characters (Mac) and not-so favorite characters (Sheriff Lamb).

4. The mystery is actually really amazing. I was invested not just because I love the characters and the world, but because I was legitimately curious about how the mystery of the missing girl would be solved. It was exciting and filled with twists and turns.

5. The writing was awesome. There’s a lot of books out there that serve as sequels of or extensions to TV shows or movies, and I can’t imagine that any of them were as well done or pleasant to read. Nothing was missing for me. I wasn’t wishing I was watching it instead of reading it. I just loved it, and that seems crazy to me!

Overall, if you loved the show you will love this book and then re-watch the TV series as soon as you’ve finished it. I loved being back in Neptune with the gang, tagging along on one of their cases again.


2017 End of Year Book Survey

Posted December 30, 2017 by Jana in About Me / 2 Comments

I love doing Jamie’s End of Year Book Survey every year! It helps me look back and remember all the wonderful (and terrible) books I’ve read throughout the year!

Number of books you read: 45
Number of re-reads: 0
Genre you read the most from: I read more adult books than young adult this year, which is crazy! Adult contemporary romance seems to be the genre I read the most from. I read 10 of them.

1. Best books you read in 2017:
Romantic suspense: Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout
Contemporary romance: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Fantasy: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t:
The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read:
I had no idea I was going to love Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco as much as I did.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did):
Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout. I got a few people to read this.

5. Best series you started in 2017. Best sequel of 2017. Best series ender of 2017.
Started: Katie Ruggle’s Search and Rescue series.
Sequel: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Ender: I didn’t finish any series this year.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017:
Debut: Sally Thorne
Seasoned: Katie Ruggle

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone:
I didn’t venture out of my comfort zone this year, and I hope to do it next year.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year:
Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout

9. Book you read in 2017 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017:
Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

11. Most memorable character of 2017:
Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017:
Hunted by Meagan Spooner.

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2017:
Hmmm… This was a bad reading year for me. I didn’t really come across a book that changed my life or made me think a lot.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read:
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

15. Favorite quote from a book you read in 2017:
“The world is vicious.”
Thomas brushed a lock of hair back from my face, his gaze thoughtful. “The world is neither kind nor is it cruel. It simply exists. We have the ability to view it however we choose.”
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

16. Shortest and longest books you read in 2017:
Shortest: 34 pages, Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont
Longest: 492 pages, The Witness by Nora Roberts

17. Book that shocked you the most:
I was pretty floored at who the murderer was in Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout.

18. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!):
YA: Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell from Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco.
Adult: Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman from The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year:
Sasha and her best friend, Miranda, from Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout.

20. Favorite book you read in 2017 from an author you’ve read previously:
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (I see a trend!!)

21. Best book you read in 2017 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else:
Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017:
Sean Kendrick from The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

23. Best 2017 debut you read:
YA: Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Adult: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

24. Most vivid setting you read this year:
This is really hard!! I’d have to say Dracula’s castle in Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, though. I still have a picture of it and the labyrinth of passages and secret rooms underneath it in my head.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read:
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne had me giddy.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2017:
I do my best to avoid crying with books, and I succeeded this year!

27. Hidden gem of the year:
Hunted by Meagan Spooner.

28. Book that crushed your soul:
Well, just because I hated it… The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye.

29. Most unique book you read in 2017:
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

30. Book that made you the maddest (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it):
Love Her Madly by M. Elizabeth Lee. I haaaaaaated it!!

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017:
Bookmark Lit! I’d always known about Lauren’s blog, but when I found out she loves Christmas as much as I do that was exciting.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017:
I really don’t feel strongly about any of my reviews…

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog:
My 12 Favorites of Christmas was really fun to put together.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.):
I guest posted on Sarah’s blog during her Home for the Holidays event, and I really loved that.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017:
I wrote to so many authors this year and got responses from many, which was wonderful. Other than that, I’m not sure anything huge has happened other than the fact that Top Ten Tuesday is moving here because we’re shutting down The Broke and the Bookish. And that’s super bittersweet for me.

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year:
I’ve been in a major reading slump for a long time, so finding books I love has been very hard. I’ve watched a lot more Netlfix because of it. lol.

7. Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views):
Comments: 37 comments on my Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings – 2017 Edition
Views:

8. Post you wished got a little more love:
All my reviews, pretty much. lol

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.):
I’m in a rut, guys.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year:
I completed my Goodreads goal of reading 45 books.
I posted more posts to my blog this year than last year.


1. One book you didn’t get to in 2017 but will be your number 1 priority in 2018:
Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton.

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2018 (non-debut):
Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco!

3. 2018 debut you are most anticipating:
By a Charm and a Curse by Jamie Questell

4. Sequel you are most anticipating in 2018:
Legendary by Stephanie Garber

5. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2018?
Get out of this reading slump and really love everything I read. I need to DNF more!


2017 Statistics Survey

Posted December 29, 2017 by Jana in About Me / 5 Comments

I’m a huge fan of numbers, and I love participating in Andi and Brittany’s year-end statistics survey every year!

Number of books read…
Under 250 pages: 14
Between 251-399 pages: 23
Between 400-449 pages: 7
Between 450-499 pages: 1
Over 500 pages: 0
Over 1000 pages: 0

Number of…
Audiobooks: 3
Re-reads: 0
DNFs (did not finish): 5ish?

Number of books rated…
Five Stars: 10
One/Two Stars: 18 (wow, that’s sad…)

Number of authors met in 2017:
None… Wow. That’s really, really sad!

Number of book events attended in 2017:
None… hence the number above.

Number of books you read in one day:
1.

Number of books that made you cry:
None.

Number of 2018 books you have on pre-order:
3.

Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?):
Read on my cruise to Hawaii: Full Steam Ahead by Valerie Chase, The Cinderella Murder by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke, A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas, and Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas.

Book that took you the longest to read:
The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye took me 41 days to read because I really didn’t like it.

Book that you personally connected with the most:
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I connected with Lucy, but I can’t remember why! Hehe.

Book that made you love the villain:
I’m super intrigued by Legend from Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again:
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Ahhh! I know!!!

Book you read waaaay before it’s publication date:
I read The Crown’s Fate by Eveylen Skye. I started that almost 3 months before it was released because I was SO EXCITED!

Book you read on your birthday:
According to Goodreads I wasn’t reading anything on my birthday! Sad!

Book with a character who shares your name:
This has only happened once, and it was a few years ago. And that Jana was crucified within the first quarter of the book. So great.

Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?):
I fluffed up my rating of Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini because my friend loved it and sent it to me and I wanted to love it, too!

Book you read in 2017 but already want to re-read:
I didn’t even have to think about this: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne!

Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have:
I don’t have any friends who love to read and can actually lend me books. lol. They’re all far away.

Book you which you could go back and read for the first time again:
Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout. Now that I know how it turns out, re-reading just won’t be as exciting!

Most books read by one author this year:
It’s a 3-way tie between Mary Higgins Clark, Rob Thomas, and Jill Shalvis. I read two books by each of them.

Happiest & saddest:
Happiest: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Saddest: I don’t read sad books… So maybe I’m the saddest about hating The Crown’s Fate.

Longest & shortest…
• By page number:
Longest: The Witness by Nora Roberts  (492 grueling pages)
Shortest: Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (34 pages)
• By title:
Longest: Kiss Me On This Cold December Night by Charlotte Phillips
Shortest: Hunted by Meagan Spooner
• From buying to reading:
Longest: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (I waited 8 years to read this!!)
Shortest: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (I waited 3 days. lol)

Best & worst…
Average rating on Goodreads: 3.69 stars
Series enders: I didn’t read any series enders this year.

First & last…
• Reads of 2017:
First: Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Last: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
• Books on your bookcase (1st book on the top left and last book on the bottom right):
First: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Last: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Most disappointing & biggest pleasant surprise:
Most disappointing: The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye
Biggest pleasant surprise: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco (I had no idea just HOW MUCH I would love it!)

Fandom you joined & one you abandoned:
I didn’t do either, actually!

Series you picked up & series you quit:
Picked up: Katie Ruggle’s Search and Rescue series
I didn’t quit any this year.

Most lenient & harshest ratings:
Lenient: Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini
Harshest: I wasn’t too harsh, I don’t think! I really think everything I rated harshly deserved it. lol

Most hyped & furthest under the radar that you read:
Most hyped: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Furthest under the radar: Of Monsters & Madness by Jessica Verday

Book you read that is red:
A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Starts with X, Y, or Z:
None.

Book you hugged when you finished it:
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne… lol. See a trend?

Book you wanted to throw across a room:
The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Sky… See another trend? I’m seriously heartbroken about this!

Food you craved while/after reading a certain book:
I don’t feel like I had any craving of note!

Book that became an instant go-to recommendation:
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco!

Furthest out of your comfort zone:
I didn’t really branch out of my comfort zone this year.

Read on a recommendation (that you may not have picked up yourself):
Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini

Forced yourself to finish:
Ugh. SO MANY. This was a really bad year for me, book-wise. lol. Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano, The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye, The Witness by Nora Roberts, Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda, Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini, Never Apart by Romily Bernard, and The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt.

Series or author’s works you binged (whether all at once or throughout the year):
I binged the Veronica Mars books, but there were only two… so does it count? lol

First…
Post of 2017: The first link-up for the Debut Author Challenge. but that’s boring. So let’s go with: Top Ten 2017 Debut Books I’m Excited About
Review of 2017: Beauty & the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont

Last…
Post of 2017: I will be: My 2017 In Books
Review of 2017: Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis

Number of posts in 2017:
141

Number of reviews posted this year:
42.

Least coherent review:
Nothing stands out this year!

Post with the most comments (posted in 2017):
Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings – 2017 Edition (37 comments)

Post you wish you could re-write:
I love all my posts!


My Christmas Memories (with Little Jana Pictures!)

Posted December 24, 2017 by Jana in About Me, Personal / 4 Comments

Celebrate the Christmas season with That Artsy Reader Girl and her bookish friends! 

Celebrate #ChristmasWithJanaInstagram ✦ Twitter Event Schedule

Merry Christmas Eve! Boy, this month sure has flown! I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas Day. There’s just something about Christmas that makes me all nostalgic and look back on my life, particularly my childhood Christmases. Today I’m sharing a few pictures of my Christmases as a child. I grew up a military brat, so I’ve lived in lots of places. My mom and little sister have always been my best friends because we’ve really been the only constants in each other’s lives!

My Christmas Memories

 

Top left: My mom, little sister, and I have always loved baking Christmas cookies together each year. Here we are together in our kitchen living on base in Monterey, California. I wonder which cookies we were making in this picture!

Top right: This is my mom, my Oma, my little sister, and me in front of our Christmas tree in our house in Monterey again. I only wore skirts and dresses as a child and never wore a pair of pants until I moved to Louisiana (Louisiana winters are colder than California winters!) when I was 9 years old. That was quite an adjustment. lol. I’ve always loved dressing in festive colors at Christmastime!

Bottom Left: My first Christmas! We were living in Misawa, Japan at this time and my mom dressed me in my cute little dress and red tights for church. The picture is a little too small to really notice, but she also glued a red bow to my head…

Bottom Middle: My little sister and I loved throwing the wrapping paper up in the air like snow as kids. lol. This picture is in our Louisiana house. I went through a Tweety Bird phase, and this is my Tweety nightshirt.

Bottom Right: Every Christmas my family and I sit in a circle and take turns opening our presents, one by one. Here we are in our house in Arnold, Maryland. I loved this robe soooo much! The body was like a sweatshirt and the arms were like a cozy plaid button-up. We still have those same stockings, which I have always loved. They’re made out of yarn and knitted like a sweater. They hold a LOT of stuff.

What’s your favorite Christmas memory?


My 12 Favorites of Christmas

Posted December 22, 2017 by Jana in About Me / 22 Comments

Celebrate the Christmas season with That Artsy Reader Girl and her bookish friends! 

Celebrate #ChristmasWithJanaInstagram ✦ Twitter Event Schedule

Today I’m sharing you with you my 12 favorites of Christmas! I love to read, watch, listen to, bake, and DO Christmas, so I thought it would be fun to share all my favorites with you!

 

Ok, this is not cheating. I picked two. And honestly, that was hard enough. But in my defense, I had to pick one from when I was an actual child and then one that I’ve fallen in love with in adulthood. So… that’s some sound logic there.

Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish was seriously the book I looked for every year when we pulled out our box of Christmas books from storage. I loved reading about crazy Amelia Bedelia and her silly shenanigans. It’s such a funny book!

I just discovered The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski a few years ago, and it’s such a sweet story of a grumpy woodcarver who is hired to carve a nativity for a widow and her young son. This little family wiggles their way into his heart and reminds him to live and love his life.

 

There’s not a lot of great Christmas YA out there, which is super sad, but Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle is amazing. And no, it’s not my favorite because it’s the best of the trash or because the pickings are slim. It’s just wonderful. I don’t love Lauren’s story that much, but I can excuse it because it’s accompanied by John Green’s and Maureen Johnson’s wonderful stories. Read my review for more of my thoughts.

 

Snowed Over by Angie Stanton was the beginning of my love affair with romances that occur because two people are snowed in together. I LOVE THIS BOOK. College studnet, Katie, needs to get home for Christmas and ends up having to hitch a ride with a friend of a friend, Alex. But then a blizzard forces them into an abandoned cabin. What ensues is a super romantic, super clean (no sexy-times, I promise!), night curled up together by the fire to keep warm. Read my review and then go buy a copy. You’ll thank me later.


Starry Night by Debbie Macomber is my favorite Christmas book of all time. It takes place in the Alaskan Bush, under the glow of the Northern Lights. There’s a sweet dog and a swoony guy and a heartwarming message. It’s romantic, yet squeaky clean. Just what I love in a Christmas romance. Read my review!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is super under-rated, in my opinion. I’ve got so much love for Henry Winkler, and he is the BEST in this movie. It’s so totally Hallmark, and it’s so totally perfect. Jenn’s Uncle Ralph comes home for Christmas and brings jack-of-all-trades nomad, Morgan, because he doesn’t want him sleeping on the airport floor until he can fly to Denver after the snow has cleared. But it seems as though Uncle Ralph is a bit of a matchmaker… WATCH IT, GUYS. You will love it!


Maybe it’s because I’ve been to New York City at Christmas and seen the tree in person, but I just love watching Christmas In Rockefeller Center each year with my mom and little sister. Most of the performers are not so great and we fast-forward through those parts, but we love seeing the tree lit and the excitement.


I love The Big Bang Theory so much, and their Christmas episode: The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis is my absolute favorite Christmas episode ever! Sheldon has no idea what to give Penny for Christmas (he wants to give her a gift that is equal in money to what she gives him), but the gift she gives him renders him speechless. We see Sheldon hug Penny for the first time ever and I LOVE it! Watch the moment here.

Ok, so here’s why I’m not cheating again: Neil Diamond made a Christmas Album and a Christmas Album Volume II. There’s two volumes, guys. And my family and I listen to them both while decorating the tree and opening presents every single year. I love these albums so much!


I love the haunting melody of O Come, O Come Emmanuel. This song uses all the beautiful notes. Listen to a beautiful instrumental version done by The Piano Guys here. And Nathan Pacheco’s performance is beautiful.


Everyone who knows me knows that It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year is my happy song, but only if sung by Andy Williams. It brings and instant smile to my face and makes me so happy!

 

These Whipped Shortbread Cookies from Taste of Home are to die for. They melt in your mouth and are just faintly sweet, so you can pretty much eat as many of them as you want. Which will probably be a lot.

 

I love looking at Christmas lights. Every year my mom, sister, and I drive around to find all the cool houses that are lit up around town. We also go to Temple Square to see the beautiful lights, the Tree of Life, and we go to two really amazing drive-through displays as well. This is hands down my favorite Christmassy thing to do.

What are some of your favorites of Christmas? Pick a category (or 2 or 5 or 12) and tell me your favorite! I’m always looking for new recommendations!

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