Top Ten 2018 Book Releases I’m the Most Excited About

December 25, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 24

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday! I certainly did, and got lots and lots of books!

I suppose you’ve heard the news now, so I thought I’d mention it here as well: We at The Broke and the Bookish have decided to close our doors after next week’s Top Ten Tuesday (1/9/18). Life has taken us all in so many different directions, and we’re going to miss blogging together. Starting January 16th, Top Ten Tuesday will live here at That Artsy Reader Girl! The schedule is available in my top menu bar through March. I’m really excited about this, so please help spread the word about the move so nobody is confused!

Today we’re looking ahead to next year and all the books we’re excited to read in 2018. I’ve got my eye on so many books already! This list will not include any debuts, as I’m posting about some of the ones I’m excited about later this week.

 

Top Ten 2018 Book Releases
I’m the Most Excited About

1. Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco (no cover yet)
I love this trilogy (especially Hunting Prince Dracula), and I can’t wait to read this adventure that takes place on a ship!

2. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
I loved Caraval, and cannot wait to read more about this world.

3. Furyborn by Claire Legrand
I keep hearing amazing things, and I’ve been seriously craving a great fantasy.

4. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
The final book in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy! I’m so excited for it!

5. Love & Luck by Jenna Welch Evans
I’ve had my eye on this for ages, and am so excited it’s coming out soon! I love books that take place in other countries, and this cute contemporary romance set in Ireland sounds right up my alley.

6. The Comfort Zone by Sally Thorne (no cover)
I honestly don’t even know what this one is about, but I loved The Hating Game so much that I don’t even care!

7. Survive the Night by Katie Ruggle
I love Katie’s romantic suspense, and this one sounds amazing.

8. Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
I love outdoorsy/survival stories, and this one sounds like a lot of fun!


9. Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
More of the Remnant Chronicles universe! I can’t wait!

10. Pacifica by Kristen Simmons
I just found out about this exciting pirate novel while I was putting this post together, and got SUPER excited for it.

Which 2018 releases are you excited about?

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Merry Christmas 2017!

December 25, 2017 Personal 7

 

I hope you have loved A Bookish Little Christmas as much as I have this year. I can’t believe it’s over already! Thank you so much for coming to celebrate with me and my friends, and thanks to all my friends who wrote up posts for this event. I can’t wait to put it on again next year!

I hope you have a very special day with your loved ones, and that it’s filled with happiness and cheer. For this last Bookish Little Christmas post I wanted to share a really amazing video that encapsulates everything I truly love about this holiday. The end is particularly inspiring, so make sure you get through the entire song! It’ll be the best 4 minutes of your day. Merry Christmas!

 

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My Christmas Memories (with Little Jana Pictures!)

December 24, 2017 About Me, Personal 4

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

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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?

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Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis | Book Review

December 23, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review 1 ★★★★

Chasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis | Book ReviewChasing Christmas Eve by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #4
Also in this series: One Snowy Night
Published by Avon on September 26, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Edelweiss
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Meet cute...

Run for the hills—temporarily. That's Colbie Albright's plan when she flees New York for San Francisco. Wrangling her crazy family by day and writing a bestselling YA fantasy series by night has taken its toll. In short, Colbie's so over it that she's under it. She's also under the waters of a historic San Francisco fountain within an hour of arrival. Fortunately, the guy who fishes Colbie out has her looking forward to Christmas among strangers. But she's pretty sure Spencer Baldwin won't be a stranger for long.

Make merry...

Spence's commitment to hiding from the Ghosts of Relationships Past means he doesn't have to worry about the powerful—okay, crazy hot chemistry—he's got with Colbie. Just because she can laugh at anything, especially herself... just because she's gorgeous and a great listener just because she gets Spence immediately doesn't mean he won't be able to let Colbie go. Does it?

and hope for a miracle.

Now the clock's ticking for Colbie and Spence: Two weeks to cut loose. Two weeks to fall hard. Two weeks to figure out how to make this Christmas last a lifetime.

I think it’s worth recognizing and celebrating my very first full-length novel by Jill Shalvis! I’ve read a handful of her Christmas novellas, and I decided that it was finally time to settle in for a longer novel and really discover what all the fuss is about. I own all but one of the books in the Lucky Harbor series and all the Heartbreaker Bay books that have been released thus far, so I really haven’t had any excuses to not read them yet. The synopsis of Chasing Christmas Eve really grabbed me, and it ended up being a really good choice! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I wasn’t too excited about reading a Christmas book that takes place in California. I lived in California for 6 years and it’s a beautiful place, so this isn’t personal, Californians! I just love snow in my Christmas novels, and that obviously was not going to happen here. Colbie is nuts for fleeing New York at Christmas, but I digress.

2. The lack of snow didn’t take away from the festiveness of the book, though! There were Christmas lights and enough warm fuzzies to make me forget that there wasn’t snow swirling around outside.

3. Colbie is a verrrrry successful YA author, and that’s the main reason I was drawn to this book! I love YA, and I love many YA authors, so Colbie immediately felt like my friend. I thought of her the way I think of any of my favorite YA authors. She’s so sweet and down to earth, not to mention incredibly nice. She’s dealing with writer’s block and she’s under a ton of stress from that, plus the fact that her entire family depends on her for every little thing. I love that she took the plunge and ran away to take care of herself. She’s also really funny and has this bright personality that made me smile. I would totally be friends with her.

4. I loved nerdy Spence. He’s a hot, rich, reclusive genius. But he’s not rich in a snobby way. He takes care of a homeless man that lives outside the building! He keeps to himself and lives his own life, and when he needs a breather he walks dogs! I mean, come on. He’s a bit of a workaholic, which has sealed off the part of himself that can have a love life. But all it takes is the right girl, right?

5. I love how Colbie and Spence meet for the first time. The description mentions a meet cute, and that’s exactly what we were given with this book. I’m not even going to say how it happens because I don’t want to spoil it. Just know that a dog is involved.

6. The romance is very sweet, regardless of the secrets they are both keeping from each other. What was supposed to be a quick little fling turns into something more than that, and forces Colbie and Spence to smooth out some of the wrinkles in their relationship.

7. I liked the supporting characters a lot, but can tell it would have really been great if I’d read the other three books in the series first so I’d know them a little better. The book works fine as a standalone, but I could have used a few more details on Spence and Elle especially.

All in all, this was a very fun Christmas romance! I loved watching Colbie and Spence fall in love and work through what being in love means to them. I’m definitely a fan of Jill Shalvis, so yay! It would have really sucked if I’d come out of this hating her and already owning a million of her books. I’m excited to read more of the books in the Heartbreaker Bay series and then start working on Lucky Harbor!

Which Jill Shalvis book is your absolute favorite?

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My 12 Favorites of Christmas

December 22, 2017 About Me 22

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

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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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Operation Mistletoe Magic by Nicki Edwards | Book Review

December 21, 2017 Adult Fiction, Book Review 3 ★★★★½

Operation Mistletoe Magic by Nicki Edwards | Book ReviewOperation Mistletoe Magic by Nicki Edwards
Series: Escape to the Country #4.5
Also in this series: Operation White Christmas
Published by Momentum on October 25, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Holiday, Romance
Pages: 91
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4.5 Stars
Christmas is looking grim for Melissa Allen. She has no one to celebrate with, as her boyfriend of five years left her for her best friend and, after losing her home in a fire, she has nowhere to live. Left without a choice, she accepts the offer to the stay with family friends Rob and Linda Nicholls.

Chris Nicholls is excited about bringing his five-year-old daughter, Jasmine, home to Lakefield, Ontario for her first white Christmas. The trip is a surprise for his parents, though no one is more surprised than Chris when he finds his childhood best friend in his parent's spare room. Surprise soon turns to delight as Chris has always had feelings for Melissa, feelings that are only getting stronger the longer they are together.

But Melissa has had her fill of heartbreak, and isn't willing to fall for a man who is only going to leave. And Jasmine? She doesn't want to share her daddy with anyone. If Chris has any hope of convincing Melissa and Jasmine that they have a future together as a family, he'll need all the mistletoe magic he can get.

Nicki Edwards knows how to write sweet Christmas stories. I fell in love with Operation White Christmas two years ago and was very excited when I found out she had written another Christmas novella set in a quaint Canadian winter wonderland. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Even though Operation Mistletoe Magic is considerably shorter than Operation White Christmas, this little novella is packed with so much! It had enough substance that it didn’t feel fluffy and empty to me, but not so much that I felt like we needed a longer novel to fit it all in.

2. I really liked the characters, and the fact that they were so well fleshed out and filled with personality. Melissa has been dumped for her best friend, has lost her job, and her house has burned down, leaving her with nothing. Emotionally and physically, she has nothing. But she didn’t let it get her down. When she was invited to live with her childhood best friend’s family, she was touched and overwhelmed with gratitude. Not many people could make lemonade out of SO MANY lemons, but she found the sunshine through the storm. Chris is a single dad, and a really sweet dad at that. He’s heading home for Christmas with his little girl to give her a chance to see what a white Christmas is like, and also to figure out what he wants for his future.

3. I loved seeing Melissa and Chris become reacquainted and sift through their shared memories as they explored how their feelings for another had evolved over the years. Friends to lovers and second chance romances are some of my favorite kinds of stories, and this book combines both!

4. The romance was so sweet and completely clean (just like Operation White Christmas). It’s like a Hallmark Christmas movie in book form.

5. The story is so Christmassy! It’s wintry and festive and filled with all the glow and shine I crave from Christmas romances.

All in all, I loved Operation Mistletoe Magic. It’s a sweet, quick, feel-good story that can be read in an evening, but will give you a big enough dose of Christmas cheer to carry you through the entire holiday season.

 

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Harker’s Favorite Bookish Christmases | Blogger Guest Post

December 20, 2017 Guest Post 5

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

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I’m so happy to welcome Harker, book blogger at The Hermit Librarian, to the blog today to talk about some of her favorite bookish Christmases! I really, really love reading Christmas scenes in books and I couldn’t agree more with some of the magical Christmases she has chosen to feature today.

Harker’s Favorite Bookish Christmases

Christmas is a magical time of the year when you focus on the lights and the good food and adamantly force yourself to ignore the rampant consumerism of the real world. I work retail, this is hard, trust me. So what to do in the face of that? Think about what bookish worlds I’d like to spend the holidays in. When everything is crashing down around them, whether it be an evil witch or something more real world like, the characters in a book seem to be able to enjoy a little bit of time with each other, whether it be a whole day or an hour or two.

I’m going to share with you my picks for the worlds I’d spend my Christmas holidays in, whether they take place just on the other side of a brick wall in London or through a wardrobe in the countryside estate of an old professor. Thank you for joining me today, and a happy Christmas to you.

Narnia, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

 

This might sound like an odd choice, given that for half the novel Christmas doesn’t exist because the White Witch has forbidden it, but with the arrival of the Pevensie children her curse begins to break and life begins to return to Narnia. With it, the figure known as Father Christmas is able to travel to this land again and even brings them presents that aide them in the rest of their adventures this time around. There are many trials while in Narnia, but there are also good times, such as tea with the Beavers and being welcomed at Aslan’s camp. Christmas in Narnia, with eternal winter banished, is sure to be a wonderful thing indeed.

Hogwarts/The Burrow, The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

 

Harry’s first Christmas in the series is my favorite because I think it has the most impact on him. While arguably his 11th birthday, on which he learned that he was a wizard, is more monumental overall, his first Christmas at Hogwarts was a holiday he had the ability to share with friends. By that point, he had friends to share the wonder of the place with: the decorated trees, the enchanted crackers, the feast. Later on in the series he is welcomed to the Burrow for the holiday and, while this is usually overshadowed by something dark happening at school, there is still the overwhelming happiness made by friends that have become something like family.

I would love to be in the midst of all that magic and mystical wonder. I think it would take a very long time, if ever, before it wore off. The crackers alone sound like a lot of fun. Imagine all the little things that would pop out: enchanted hats, toys that play back, etc. The mice would make great pets because I’d rescue them. At the Burrow, Mrs. Weasley would no doubt have a ton of family traditions that she’d include any guests in. Any guests are family, from what I’ve seen, and that’s touching.

The Enchanted Forest, Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

 

Cimorene, the protagonist of most of the Enchanted Forest books, was the first princess I can remember reading who was not the usual sort of princess. She wasn’t satisfied with being taught to sew or to curtsy or how to scream while being carried off by giants. She wanted to fence and speak Latin and learn magic. What she eventually did was leave her father’s castle and become a dragon’s princess, willingly, and thus found her own story in the Enchanted Forest.

The cast of characters she meets, most important of which is Kazul the dragon, would be so much fun to spend Christmas with. Not only does Kazul have a magic pot that can cook amazing food for large groups and a cavern of caves to explore, but the friends that Cimorene makes include a witch and another princess who learns to come out of her shell.

Explaining the customs of a human holiday might be a bit odd with a host of dragons as guests, but I think it would be a lot of fun trying to play Christmas games with them and the feast would certainly be something to behold. Imagine, if only they would be kind enough, the snowy flight over the Enchanted Forest. Cold but breathtaking, I’d wager, if your dragon is a kind one.

The Carnegie Library, In the House of the Seven Librarians by Ellen Klages

 

A short story in Firebirds Rising, In the House of the Seven Librarians tells the story of seven librarians at the Carnegie Library, an old-fashioned library at the edge of a forest that is abandoned when a newer one is built closer to the town’s mall and main road. Rather than leave their books, the seven librarians stock up on supplies and stay. Soon they are forgotten by the town and make their lives within the walls of the library, which takes care of them in turn by leaving little treats and, I assume, keeping their food stocked up. It has its own sort of magic, it seems.

One day, as payment for an extremely overdue book of Grimms fairy tales, someone leaves a basket in the drop box containing a first born child. This child’s upbringing shows the reader more about the power of the library and about the librarians from the day she is left to the day she grows up and decides to see what the world outside is like, knowing that her librarians will always be there for her.

I think this would be a splendid place to spend the holidays. While time is fluid within the library (the child’s birthday, which is decided to be July 5th and is celebrated in the middle of a snowstorm) and holidays might not be celebrated on quite the right day, they would be cozy and warms. Tea would always be at the ready and there’s a good chance the library would leave a tin of biscuits for the guests to enjoy between friendly debates about the various subjects on the shelves and games of literary inspiration.

*pictures chosen by Jana

What are some of your favorite bookish Christmases?

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Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings – 2017 Edition

December 19, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 38

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

I can’t believe Christmas is next Monday! This holiday season always flies a little too quickly for me, but I’m also excited because I know Santa is going to bring me all the bright, shiny books! Consider this my letter to Santa. I hope to find all of these in my stocking this year. :)

 

1. Every Breath You Take by Mary Higgins Clark and Alafair Burke
I’ve always been an MHC fan, and I really like this Under Suspicion series she wrote with Alafair.

2. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
I LOVE this book, and I really want a physical copy for my bookshelf.

3. I Temporarily Do by Ellie Cahill
I love fauxmances, and this one sounds so fun!

4. Mary Poppins 80th Anniversary Collection by P.L. Travers
I’ve always wanted to read the Mary Poppins books, and this collection is so pretty!

5. The Ends of the World by Maggie Hall
I haven’t read book #2 yet, but I loved The Conspiracy of Us and am excited to see how this series ends!

6. Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
I asked Twitter for a bunch of mystery recommendations a few months ago, and this one is loved by so many that I really want to read it!

7. Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson (pre-order)
IT’S MARY PEARSON.

8. A Dance of Silver and Shadow by Melanie Cellier
It’s a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses! The entire series sounds great. The second book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling that I really want as well.

9. About That Kiss by Jill Shalvis
The Heartbreaker Bay series is tons of fun!

10. In Safe Hands by Katie Ruggle
Katie Ruggle is one of my favorite romantic suspense authors, and I love this Search and Rescue series!

What books do you hope Santa brings you this year?

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Presents Jodi Meadows Would Give Her Before She Ignites Characters | Author Guest Post

December 18, 2017 Guest Post 4

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

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I’d like to welcome Jodi Meadows, author of the Newsoul trilogy, the Orphan Queen duology, and the Fallen Isles trilogy, to the blog today to tell us what she would give the characters in her most recent book, Before She Ignites. I read and reviewed Before She Ignites [read my review here] in September and really loved it, so I’m excited to see what Jodi would give these beloved characters!

Jodi’s Presents for Her BSI Characters

While the people of the Fallen Isles don’t celebrate Christmas, they do have another holiday at the end of every year: the Hallowed Restoration. Those are the five (sometimes six) days at the end of the year where families gather together to reflect on the previous year, look forward to the new, and argue while they eat too much food. There are often parties involved, and occasionally there’s gift giving.

If I lived in the Fallen Isles and could give presents to my characters in Before She Ignites, here’s what I would offer them:

Mira
Mira is not a girl lacking in Stuff, so I wouldn’t give her something else to clutter her bedroom. Instead, I’d want to offer her a hug and some self-confidence. Maybe I’d write a letter detailing all the ways I think she’s a fabulous human and deserves love.

Ilina
Ilina is a practical person, so what she really wants is something useful, and probably something related to dragons. I’d like to give her an entire library of dragon-related texts to help her be the best dragon trainer in the Fallen Isles.

Hristo
Probably some kind of weapon, like a nice dagger or sword, but forged in his homeland. He takes sentimental value very seriously, so the more thought put into a gift, the more it matters to him.

LaLa and Crystal
Since these tiny dragons are so adorable, they probably deserve cute bows and sparkly hunting gear.

Aaru
If you’ve read the book, then you know Aaru really likes his peace and quiet. In that way, he’s definitely a boy after my own heart. So I’d give him noise-canceling headphones. The fancy kind that really do cancel the noise, not just the ones that pretend like they do.

Gerel
We have to be honest about Gerel. Whatever I get her, she’ll just return it for cash. So I’d probably just give her cash or a gift card. That’s really all she wants anyway.

Chenda
Chenda is fancier than I will ever be, and so I can’t even guess as to what she would want. If I thought I could afford it, I’d take her to some kind of high-end shop and let her pick out her own present.

Tirta
Somehow, Tirta got a job cooking. Tirta is a terrible cook, it turns out. As a gift, I’d probably try to arrange for some kind of cooking class and a few basic cookbooks.

Altan
Altan isn’t a nice person. Even without Santa in the Fallen Isles, I’d still give that meanie a lump of coal.

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
Series: Fallen Isles Trilogy #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 12, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
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Before

Mira Minkoba is the Hopebearer. Since the day she was born, she’s been told she’s special. Important. Perfect. She’s known across the Fallen Isles not just for her beauty, but for the Mira Treaty named after her, a peace agreement which united the seven islands against their enemies on the mainland.

But Mira has never felt as perfect as everyone says. She counts compulsively. She struggles with crippling anxiety. And she’s far too interested in dragons for a girl of her station.

After

Then Mira discovers an explosive secret that challenges everything she and the Treaty stand for. Betrayed by the very people she spent her life serving, Mira is sentenced to the Pit–the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles. There, a cruel guard would do anything to discover the secret she would die to protect.

No longer beholden to those who betrayed her, Mira must learn to survive on her own and unearth the dark truths about the Fallen Isles–and herself–before her very world begins to collapse.

About Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows wants to be a ferret when she grows up and she has no self-control when it comes to yarn, ink, or outer space. Still, she manages to write books. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy, the ORPHAN QUEEN Duology, and the FALLEN ISLES Trilogy (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen), and a coauthor of MY LADY JANE (HarperTeen). Visit her at Website: www.jodimeadows.com

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Alyssa’s Christmas Traditions | Book Blogger Guest Post

December 17, 2017 Guest Post 3

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

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Today I’m welcoming my friend Alyssa, book blogger at Books Take You Places and host of the On the Same Page Secret Sister Project! She’s here (on her birthday, by the way!!) to tell us about her Christmas traditions. I love traditions and any excuse to form a new one.

Hi all!

I am so happy to be on Jana’s blog today to help her celebrate A Bookish Little Christmas! Today I will be talking about some of my Christmas traditions growing up and the kinds of things I like to do to celebrate nowadays.

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Growing up, Christmas was always my favorite time of year. Yes, this was in large part because I was a spoiled brat and got ALL THE PRESENTS, but that wasn’t the only reason why I loved the holiday so much. My earliest memories of Christmas were when my grandmother had a tiny third floor apartment in a town nearby. She had this tiny living room and would put up a tiny tree on top of a table in between two of the most comfortable chairs ever. She decorated the tree with tinsel and those ornaments that look like apples and she only ever used colored Christmas lights. The best part was that every year we would make new ornaments out of walnuts and glitter and my grandmother would act as if they were just the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. My grandmother collected Santas and they were alllll over the living room. Everywhere you looked, there was a Santa. I still covet this collection and ask her every Christmas if she is ready to bestow her giant collection to me – no luck thus far! Now, my favorite “Santa” will come as no surprise to those who know me. My uncle bought my grandmother a statue of Black Peter one year and I fell in love. He had these switches in his sack that I would take out and hold while watching different Christmas movies. I LOVED this guy, and every year I peruse Ebay and debate buying him for myself (Justin, do you see this, honey?)

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So anyway, why did I love Black Peter so much? This weird tradition came from my great grandmother from Germany and my mother and her rather macabre likes. I grew up learning about Belsnickel. An easy explanation is that Belsnickel is akin to Saint Nicholas. He brings treats to good children but instead of coal, he brings switches to beat the naughty children. His companion is Krampus, who is often the one who does the beating. These stories turned into a new tradition in my family where we began to celebrate Krampusnacht. On the evening of December 5 we would leave out our shoes for when Belsnickel and Krampus visited. In the morning, if it was filled with treats then we knew Santa was coming to bring us gifts. If I had been particularly bratty around that time, I would get some rocks thrown in there to remind me to be on my best behavior, or Krampus was going to come and give me the switch. Interesting family I grew up with, eh? So ANYWAY Black Peter is another companion to Saint Nicholas, and for some reason I found these complex beings a lot more interesting than the traditional Santa Claus.

That being said, have you read Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom? I HIGHLY recommend it if you enjoy dark fantasy and authors such as Neil Gaiman. For readers looking for a dark and harrowing story on the origins of Santa Claus, differences between Christmas and Yuletide, or a vivid novel steeped in Norse mythology, this novel is highly recommended.

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So what am I doing this year? Let me tell ya! I am going to be making Christmas cookies with my mom (head over to Sarah’s blog to see some yummy and easy recipes for some of those) and sitting by my tree A LOT. As of writing this, it is less than one week until I go and pick out my Christmas tree for a day of decorating! I already have it in my calendar as “CHRISTMAS TREE DAY” because I am SO EXCITED. I always watch those old school Christmas movies like The Year Without a Santa Claus and The Muppet Christmas Carol while decorating and have the best time ever. I will then spend the next few (yep, FEW) months bundled up on my couch next to my tree. It is my very favorite thing to do. Finally, around Valentine’s Day I will make myself take down my tree because by that time it will probably be droopy and sad looking.

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What will I be reading? I am weird because I always choose my last book of the year months in advance. I have ELEVEN books to go on my Goodreads goal (LOL why does this always happen?!) but I have a few end of year reads in mind…

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The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle – I have owned this book for YEARS and have yet to read it. This is just one of those classics that somehow slipped by me as I was growing up and I cannot wait to read it.

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Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus by Kate Wolford – This book was gifted to me by my secret sister and I cannot wait to delve in this holiday season! Short, horror, Krampus-filled stories? Yes, please.

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The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories by Tara Moore – This one I have been coveting for a while now and no libraries have it so if I don’t receive it from Santa (or Belsnickel) I might have to just treat myself. I mean…hello…CHRISTMAS GHOST STORIES!

…and finally…my last read of the year…

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition – I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS ONE! I have refrained from buying it just so I could hold off and have it be my last read of the year. I am SO excited to fall into this world and ring in the new year with my favorite characters.

What will you be reading this holiday season? Sending you all of the best wishes! XO

 

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