The Books I Read in 2017

I read 34 books this year which is 4 books more than my goal at the beginning of the year. The folks at Goodreads.com made another cute End of Year infographic this year for their users.

This is what my year in reading looked like:

I read a lot of great books and honestly I’m not sure I could pick one as the very best – but these are the five books I  enjoyed reading most this year.

ALL The Books I Read This Year

  1. This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison – Finished 1/24 – I thought that the premise of this book was interesting and the POV was cleverly done but it was a bit slow and the jumping back and forth was occasionally tedious. liked but didn’t love. BC

  2. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – Finished 2/22 – I got a lot more out of this book than I was expecting to. The varied narrators forced me to get inside the minds of people from many different walks of life, even when I didn’t want to, even when it was uncomfortable. I liked that every person in this story was coming from a different place, had different things going for them or against them, but none of them were perfect, none of them felt like they had the upper hand in life. This is an emotional and uncomfortable story but it was also important and I’m so glad that I read it. BC

  3. The Crown (Selection #5) by Kiera Cass – Finished 3/1 – This was a much better read than the previous book. I think we were all a little surprised at how unlikable Edalyn turned out to be, but luckily this seems to have been the author’s intention all along – the second half of the last book saw some hopeful signs of character growth and this definitely continued on into The Crown. Edalyn has grown a lot and seems to have turned the corner. She has learned to let others in and experience the world through new eyes and even better – she falls in love.

  4. Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner – Finished 3/22 – It was interesting to read a mystery story told with a revolving set of narrators who all have their own point of view of what is happening. I did occasionally find the police jargon (especially the more British specific-terms) confusing, but overall I liked the story. The ending felt a little rushed / wrapped up too quickly but that is so common in so many books. One thing I especially liked about this story was the almost feminist slant to the book. There are no manic pixie dream girls here, no knights in shining armor and there is a lot of lip service given to the complexities of being a woman in law enforcement. BC

  5. The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg – Finished 3/27 – I love the idea of hygge and enjoyed reading more about it but I found the book to be longer than it needed to be to get its point across.

  6. Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson – Finished 4/4 – It was inspiring to read the imperfect drafts of such an incredible poet. some of the poems are brilliant, some more incoherent than others. I loved getting to read the poems in her handwriting, complete with scribbled out lines and rewrites. it was like being on a fly on the wall and seeing her process first hand.

  7. Wires and Nerve, Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer – Finished 4/20 – I think any fan of the Lunar Chronicles will enjoy this one but I’m not convinced it will work for someone who hasn’t read the original series – that said, if you haven’t read the original series yet, what are you waiting for?? It’s amazing! So assuming you have read the original books, is this one worth it? Ummm, yes. Because I assume you are going through withdrawals right now and wondering what the crew is up to. This is a short read that gives you all the fangirling you need. It’s super fun to actually SEE all of the character – it really brings the whole story to life in a new way. And it ends on a bit of a cliff hanger so be prepared to bite your nails at the end and moan and groan a bit that the next book isn’t out yet. Seriously??

  8. Paper Princess by Erin Watt – Finished 4/22 – This book definitely falls under the category of guilty pleasure. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger teens as it gets surprisingly racy. The premise intrigued me and I found myself quickly pulled into the lives of the main characters – I devoured it in two days and downloaded book two pretty much immediately. This is not a perfect book but it is a quick, addictive one.

  9. Broken Prince by Erin Watt – Finished 4/24 – I didn’t love this one quite as much as the previous book but that didn’t stop me from blowing through it in two days again. In book two there are two narrators, which is pretty typical in this kind of series, but I often found myself forgetting whose chapter I was reading which shouldn’t have been a problem as the characters are pretty different. But the plot of the story continues to escalate and kept me hooked to the end.

  10. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – Finished 5/22 – I loved this book. It’s heartwarming and funny but also heartbreaking and shocking at turns. The main character, Madeline, will make a place in your heart as you are reading and won’t leave.

  11. Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling – Finished 5/23 – This is the written transcript of a commencement speech that she gave at Harvard – so it’s a very quick read but totally worth it. Whether you are a writer, a reader or just a human looking to be inspired.

  12. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – Finished 5/24 – This book starts off with a pretty fascinating premise and I think did a good job of following through on exploring all the ins and outs of the idea of the road not taken and what it would look like if science managed to give us the opportunity to see all of those roads. It is at turns complex, harrowing, fascinating and heart breaking. Sometimes the science fiction leaps taken felt absurd and sometimes a character’s reactions to what was happening felt impossible but this was a book that required numerous leaps of faith so I did my best to ride those waves through to the end. It’s not a perfect story, I have a few qualms and minor irritations with it – but I also think it was an extraordinary undertaking that the author clearly worked his butt off seeing it through to the end. It was definitely a brain bender! BC

  13. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan – Finished 5/29 – This was a bookworm / travel bug’s dream book. It explores that whole idea of starting life anew somewhere else; taking a big risk and starting over. Mix in descriptions of the Scottish countryside, book references galore and a love story that you’ll want to root for. Can’t go wrong!

  14. Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan – Finished 6/7 – Another great story by Jenny Colgan, who is quickly becoming a favorite author. This is another sweet love story set in the UK – this time the book’s heroine decides to open up a cupcake shop after losing her job and her boyfriend on the same rotten day. The book follows all the ins and outs of starting the business but also delves into the inner lives of nearly every character that our MC comes into contact with. Sometimes I liked this, other times it felt distracting from the story but on the whole I really enjoyed the book and fully plan to read more Jenny Colgan soon!

  15. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Finished 6/21 – This book took me awhile to get into initially but I did end up enjoying it for the most part. It’s not an easy book to read – between the rather heaviness of the subject matter and the frequent narrator changes – but it definitely held my attention once the story got going. It was hard to keep reading sometimes as the main character just could not catch a break and often the outcome looked so grim that I could barely keep going but I’m glad I stuck with it. BC

  16. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – Finished 7/1 – I thought this was a really intriguing take on the world of Sherlock Holmes, not what I was expecting. It’s kind of a mix of John Green and Arthur Conan Doyle. Great for fans of Sherlock or YA lit but maybe not the purists. If you don’t tend to like retellings of favorite stories then you probably want to sit this one out.

  17. Wanderlost by Jen Malone – Finished 7/8 – This book took me by surprise. At first I wasn’t sure about it – the main character is kind of hopeless initially and her lack of personal initiative really bothered me. But the premise was intriguing and the descriptions of her travels pulled me in. Then the love story caught me totally off guard and kept me reading into the wee hours of the night against my better judgement.

  18. Map to the Stars by Jen Malone – Finished 7/13 – Jen Malone knows her way around a love story. This book was frustrating to read at some points – the main characters make some pretty terrible decisions that could be avoided with honest conversation but I guess the same could be said of most human beings. That said, the chemistry and banter between the main characters is palpable and it seems like a pretty realistic if groan-worthy look at what it’s like for young movie stars to attempt an honest relationship with someone.

  19. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – Finished 7/18 – This was such a sweet read. I liked the family dynamics a lot – the main character has a very unique upbringing that is kind of refreshing to read about. Her parents are incredibly cool and also just really GOOD parents. The love story is great, too. You go through all the emotions with her as she figures out what she wants and then convinces herself to go for it. The story is realistic and feels very modern and real and has a strong vibe of hope and optimism running through it even when the main character isn’t feeling either of those things. My only complaint is that there are so many pop culture references that are fun to read today but might be confusing say twenty years from now when most of the references will be too vague to immediately understand.

  20. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – Finished 7/24 – This book sucked me in and refused to let me go until it was over. The characters are excellent and the plot will definitely grab you. Anxious for the next book!

  21. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Finished 8/4 – I enjoyed this book but it took me awhile to finish. it’s very long and I picked it up and put it down a few times. I enjoyed all the 80s pop culture references and the plot of the story. I can see why it’s being made into a movie.

  22. Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel by by Amy Corzine and Charlotte Brontë – Finished 8/8 – I had a hard time following the plot as I haven’t read the novel. I’d consider this a kind of cliffs note version of the original story but I enjoying the artwork and finished the book in one sitting.

  23. Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel by by Mariah Marsden (Illustrations) and Brenna Thummler (Illustrations) and L.M. Montgomery – Finished 8/17 – This wasn’t a home run for me but not a total loss either. I enjoyed spending some time in Green Gables but I am not sure that someone new to this story would fall for it in quite the same way as you would the original. The pacing felt very fast and the illustrations were not always my favorite. But it was a quick read and a nice way to reexperience an old favorite.

  24. The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood – Finished 8/23 – This book can probably be best described as disturbing. I thought the premise was interesting and Atwood definitely took the story to places I didn’t see coming, but basically all the characters are terrible people and it definitely had scenes that made me squirm uncomfortably. Not for the faint of heart. BC

  25. Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Stacy King and Jane Austen – Finished 8/25 – Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite novels and I tend to enjoy most adaptations of it. This was no different. I’ve read several graphic novel versions of classic novels now but this series of manga classics is my favorite. They go into just enough details and do a good job expressing the heart and essence of the original without feeling overly abridged. Plus the artwork is beautiful.

  26. Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Stacy King and Nathaniel Hawthorne – Finished 8/28 – This is one of those classics that I loathed in high school and never actually finished so I thought it would be a good book to try in manga format. I think any effort to simplify Nathaniel Hawthorne is a good thing and definitely enjoyed this more than the original. The artwork is well done and you definitely get a good understanding of the story. It feels like the important details and the heart of the story are all intact. As for the actual story, it will probably never be a favorite of mine but I can understand its importance and even why it would be a good book to discuss in school.

  27. Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – Finished 9/16 – I love a good road trip story and this definitely fits the bill. it’s also a story of finding yourself, grief, family and figuring out what you want. and some romance for good measure.

  28. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance – Finished 9/27 – I found myself relating to this book a lot more than I expected to. While I think the author was a bit muddled on exactly what book he was writing and why, I still got a lot out of it. It’s kind of part memoir / part social commentary but there’s definitely something to get out of it and it makes for good conversation fodder and food for thought. It’s not perfect but it’s interesting and written in a conversational style that makes it easy to read. BC

  29. Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – Finished 10/24 – I ended up liking this book a lot more than I was expecting to. The cool thing about a book like this is getting to revel in that voyeuristic tendency – the thing in our brain that makes us turn and stare at a car crash. We want to know more even though it’s none of our business. Over the course of the book we learn more about all the characters, how they came to be on the plane and how it might tie into the resulting crash. Of course you find yourself drawing connections that aren’t there or just aren’t relevant. It wasn’t always fun to read – some of the characters are awful and sometimes the jumping from one plot point to another was intensely annoying as stuff would be starting to “get good” and then we’d be forced to read about someone and something else entirely that felt irrelevant perhaps or just not as interesting. And because all the characters are fairly realistic, none of them are inherently good. They all make mistakes and bad choices. But there are definitely a few that you will root for more than the others, which I think is helpful in keeping a reader engaged. I’d probably give this one 4 1/2 stars to be honest. BC


  30. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han – Finished 10/26 – This was probably not my favorite Jenny Han but I still found it enjoyable and it definitely grew on me towards the end. It’s written in both the past and present with lots of flashbacks thrown in to kind of fill you in on the backstory of the characters but rather than being helpful it just felt distracting – like maybe this should have been two books instead of one? But in typical Jenny Han fashion, I found myself getting emotionally attached to the characters anyway and yes of course I want to read book two. It has that same sweetness that you are used to if you have read Han before and the juxtaposition of that sweetness meeting the sometimes gritty nature of the so called real world which kind of brings that sweetness to a realistic place that isn’t so saccharine.

  31. Reading People by Anne Bogel – Finished 10/2017 – It’s not very often that I read a nonfiction book like this from cover to cover. I’m an amateur personality geek and a big fan of the author’s – I’ve been reading her blog Modern Mrs. Darcy for years. I wasn’t sure how beneficial a book outlining various personality tests would be but I actually got a LOT out of this book. She does a good job explaining various tests out there and what the information from the results can do for your actual life and how to best get an accurate result. I definitely turned into one of those people who would not shut up about myers briggs and ennegram and introverts / extroverts, etc. I think I got to know myself a lot better reading this and also a few of the people near and dear to me. The only problem is that now I have much more reading to do!

  32. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal– Finished 11/27 – This is one of those books that would benefit from a half star option because it really hovers between 3 and 4 stars for me. I enjoyed the overall plot of this story and getting to know a new to me culture; exploring the ways that we are all the same even when we seem so different either generationally or culturally. There is an underlying mystery that kept me intrigued and a bit of a love story as well. I did feel that the pacing was a bit off and some of the foreshadowing felt forced. I also felt the ending tied up a bit too neatly for my liking. It didn’t stop me from enjoying reading it though. BC

  33. Level Up by Cathy YardleyFinished 12/22 – This was a lightning fast read that made me blush. Gratuitous geeky references, file this one under guilty pleasure. I took some issues with the writing itself but the chemistry between the main characters and the underlying plot kept me reading to see it through.

  34. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna KendrickFinished 12/28 – Anna Kendrick is 100% a kindred spirit. This book was funny and self deprecating – we’re basically BFFs now. 

Books Read in: 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016

Here’s to another great year of reading!

What was the best book you read this year?

What I’m Into: December 2017

24900073_10101431338273836_8630899337412383415_n

It’s been a busy month here – we’ve been enjoying Christmas Tree farms, piano recitals, cookie baking, parties with friends and all the usual fun stuff that goes into a month. Aside from the family fun, here are some of the things that have been keeping me occupied in those in between moments.

On My Bookshelf

25556709

I’ve been reading Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick this month and really enjoying it. I’ve always loved Anna’s movies and her amazeballs singing voice but reading the book and getting to know her as her actual person has been so fun. I’m only mostly delusional when I say that OMG we could totally be BFFs in real life!!

In My Kitchen

 I’ve been baking up a small winter storm as one tends to do around Christmas. Not everything was a winner but these three recipes need to be in your life.

This FUDGE recipe is so easy it almost feels like cheating. You only need three ingredients aside from salt and no candy thermometer or savvy candy making skills are required. You really just need the patience to let it set on your counter without eating it before it’s ready. I made the same recipe using peanut butter chips and that came out awesome, too. My waist line is fearful about how easy this was.

I made these RUM BALLS for my husband and he cannot stop eating them. They are potent as heck and way too delicious. Also super easy to make. These taste better the longer they chill out in your fridge so I recommend making them a couple of days before you need them. Because you definitely need them.

Okay if you are feeling like you want to step up your cookie baking game, I made these FRUIT CAKE SHORTBREAD COOKIES from Martha Stewart’s website and mylanta. This isn’t a difficult recipe but there are a lot more steps involved than I normally willingly get myself into. You’ll be chopping dried fruits, macerating them in terrific smelling booziness for a few hours, softening two sticks of butter and then making the cookie dough and shaping it into a triangular log. Then letting the dough chill for an hour in the fridge. Then slicing the log into super cute cookies and baking them. Then the hard part – not eating them all before your guests arrive. Real bakers probably read this and thought it all sounded easy but my fellow half assers know what I’m talking about. This recipe was a real test in will power and commitment but oh so worth it because:

25289736_10101434209449976_1817935403396148202_n

So good.

On My TV

THE MIDDLE’S FAREWELL SEASON has been stringing me along all fall. Somehow this season turned me into a squealing fangirl shipper when it comes to Sue. Wasn’t she an awkward little tweenie bopper like a minute ago? I’m going to miss this show when it’s over but I also do think they are ending at the right time. What family sitcom should I pick up next?

AUSTRALIA’S NEXT TOP MODEL is streaming on Hulu and it’s filling the void that Tyra Banks left in my life when America’s Next Top Model ended. The formula is pretty similar but a bit different and the Aussie slang is kind of giving me life right now.

STRANGER THINGS SEASON 2 was all the things that season one delivered and maybe even just a little more. We probably waited longer to finish it than most people but it was still one of the best shows Dan and I watched this fall and I’m already missing it like crazy.

On My Phone

I’ve downloaded a few new to me games worth mentioning recently like:

DRACONIUS GO which is basically the same premise as Pokemon Go but it actually runs on my phone. My husband got me hooked on this one and it has resulted in a lot of family walks and drives around town looking for arenas. Yeah, we’re those people.

KNITTENS! is only available as a prerelease app right now but it shows a lot of promise. It’s a match three game that has you collecting yarn and patterns to “knit” outfits for your in app kitten. Seriously. It’s the most adorable game ever.

BACKPACKER is a kind of Travel Trivia geography game that tests your knowledge of the world as your character backpacks around the world, picking up odd jobs and doing favors, answering trivia questions and more. I’m far, far too into this game.

What have you been up to lately?

2018 Beat the Backlist Reading Challenge

Let’s talk about reading goals! In the past I’ve focused mostly on reading a set number of books each year and while I’ll probably throw a number at Goodreads.com in a couple of weeks, I wanted to focus on something more specific this year: actually reading the books I’ve already bought. And it turns out I’m not alone. Apparently this is such a common problem that a massively popular reading challenge has been born of it – it’s called Beat the Backlist and it’s hosted annually by NovelKnight.

Want to Join the Fun?

All you need to do is make a tentative list (which you can edit later) of the books published in 2017 or earlier that you’d like to read next year. Then share that list with NovelKnight here and add your name to the ranks.

Once you sign up you get sorted into teams. Reading the books on your list earns you and your team points and each month one winner will be drawn from the team with the most points to get a book of their choice. Seriously. I’m on Team Dragon:

dewey-dragons

The Backlist Books I Plan to Read in 2018

My list is made up of books that I purchased for my Kindle over the past two years but haven’t read yet. Now this doesn’t include ALL the books I purchased in the last two years, just the twelve that look most interesting to me right now. I wanted to leave a little wiggle room for impulse new release reads and book club selections that won’t fit the challenge.

The books I chose were:

backlistchallenge

 

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

Still Life by Louise Penny (Inspector Gamache #1)

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #2)

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan

Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave

Level Up by Cathy Yardley (Fandom Hearts #1)

What are your reading goals for next year? Tell me about your plans in the comments section!

#TopNine2017 My Favorite Pictures This Year

The whole #topnine craze is making its way around Instagram again this year and being the good little social media user that I am, of course, I went straight over to 2017topnine.com to see my results:

topnine2017

Of course I love all of these pictures but I’m not convinced that they really capture what 2017 was all about for me. They certainly wouldn’t be the pictures that I would choose. What pictures would I choose, you ask? Why thank you for asking – it just so happens I made a little 3×3 grid collage of my own!

These are my 9 favorite pictures from the year:

mytopnine2017

Of course, even this collage meant making some sad cuts. There were plenty of memories that were equally important and maybe even equally photogenic. And yeah, that’s true, no pictures of me made the cut even though I took a surprising amount of selfies this year. But these are the nine pictures that still pull at my heart strings when I look at them as well as my artistic eye.

2017, you certainly have given us some great moments and some insta glory. Here’s to more likes, shares and good memories in 2018!

My Favorite Books of 2017

I’m still a little bit in denial that this year is almost over. The fall season has really flown by at lightning speed for me. End of the year posts are starting to make their way around the internet so I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on my favorite books from the past year. These are five of the books I enjoyed the most this year – it’s a real mish mash of genres – something for everyone!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

23874708

I loved this book. Me and everyone else on the internet, I know, but it’s heartwarming and funny but also heartbreaking and shocking at turns. The main character, Madeline, will make a place in your heart as you are reading and won’t leave.

I also saw the movie based off of the book this year and was pleasantly surprised at how well it held up to the movie. This is such a rarity but they nailed the casting and it definitely had the same energy and feel as the book and followed the plot remarkably well.

I still need to read Yoon’s other novel, The Sun Is Also a Star, which I’ve heard nothing but good things about.


Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

16034235

This is book one in the YA fantasy series that my friends and I obsessed over this year. If I were in a Book Gang that like forced people to read books at gunpoint or something, this is the book I would have been shoving at people in 2017. Like ‘read this now or ELSE!!!!’

The main character, Celaena, is not always likeable – she can be a little bit of a snob and a little bit cocky. But over the course of the book she began to grow on me and at the same time the plot became more and more fascinating. There are still a lot of questions left unanswered and a little love triangle developing that I’m interested to see develop.

If you like a bit of world building and magic, this is a good one to check out.


Reading People by Anne Bogel

34713218

One of my favorite bloggers wrote a book and I was so excited that I even pre-ordered it which is not something I normally do.

It’s all about personality types (like Enneagram and Meyers Briggs, etc.) – how to figure out your type and how to make that knowledge actually make a difference in your life. I actually got a LOT out of this book. Anne does a great job explaining the different types and why they would be useful for you to know more about. She gives you reading suggestions and preferred tests to take and talks about how knowing her various types has helped her in her own life.

If you are a personality geek or would like to be one, this was a really useful book and also just fun to read!


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 

20603758

This book is about go become a movie so maybe you’ve seen the trailers in the theater. I’m both excited and nervous for the movie and I totally have been acting like That Reader already after seeing the trailer with friends I keep feeling the need to say, “Yeah but that’s not really what the book is about!” Which I think goes to show you how much of an impact the book ended up having on me.

This book took me awhile to read between the somewhat long length and my own life interrupting my progress but I’m glad I ended up finishing it finally! This book is like a love letter to the 1980’s and Geek Culture. It’s a sweeping adventure tale and a little bit of a coming of age and love story as well. The premise is pretty fantastical and I think it will make for a cool movie even if I grumble through the entire thing.


The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

29364480

If you are looking for some classic “chick lit” – a sweet love story starring a kinda shy girl who isn’t sure what she’s doing with her life and makes a major life change to find herself and find love…. This book is absolutely just the thing.

This story was so good that I pretty much immediately dove into Colgan’s backlist. It’s got wanderlust, love story, self discovery and bookworm fantasy for days. I’ve enjoyed a lot of her other books, too, and keep splurging for more so at this point I kind of consider her a sure thing.

What was your favorite read this year?

Gift Guide: For The Bookish Fangirl In Your Life

I could subtitle this: Gifts you should please buy me right now. Is that too on the nose? Sorry not sorry. Whether you are looking to buy a gift for your wife, best friend, sister, or another awesome bookworm in your life who is only mostly a grown up – let this be your guide to winning Christmas.

 

 

Taylor Swift’s new CD Reputation is giving me life right now and I’ve only heard three songs. Promising stuff for anyone in the Swift Army.


I think a pretty coffee mug is a safe bet for just about anyone but if you can combine multiple obsessions you have a winner on your hands. I like this Talk Darcy To Me mug from the Bookery Boutique.


Who isn’t a Stranger Things fan these days? Give her front porch a face lift with this awesome Upside Down Welcome Mat from Cloud 9 Craftss.


Lamy Fountain Pens are touted as one of the better affordable fountain pens. Don’t forget some extra ink!


I’ve been coveting the Marrying Mr. Darcy card game for ages but haven’t splurged on it yet. Win Game Night with a sure hit for fans of Pride & Prejudice.

 

Okay on to the books! These are five books currently at the top of my wish list:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is getting so much attention right now. It’s a National Book Award Longlist title and a #1 New York Times Bestseller. “Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.


Girl Logic by Iliza Shlesinger aka my favorite comic is perfect for your friend who loves a good celeb memoir / comedic essays. It’s a “collection of essays and observations on a confident woman’s approach to friendship, singlehood, and relationships.


Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is one of those titles that all the book bloggers are talking about right now because every bookish person knows to bow before John Green for all eternity. This time is tackling mental illness and also friendship and family. “Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.


Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz is basically a home run choice if you are shopping for someone who loves Jane Austen retellings, Christmas, awesome YA authors or even better all of the above. “Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.” That’s right – this one is swapping the genders of Darcy and Lizzie – so intrigued!


When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon is perfect for fans of sweet love stories with a twist. ” Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.

And of course if you are concerned they have already read these books or you just aren’t sure which one to choose, bookworms love nothing more than a gift card to their favorite bookstore and a chance to run wild through the stacks!

The IRL Report: November 2017

I feel like I was a little lackadaisical with my posting last month. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been uber plugged into life and enjoying all the little moments. While that was certainly true sometimes I think it’s also just that it keeps getting cold and gray which results in me hermiting in the living room with Hulu or sometimes hermiting at a coffee shop with small children and a warm drink. Also making up my own words like hermiting.

23915889_10101418242388096_4772006117089721058_n

I thought I’d share a few of the other things we’ve been doing this month that I haven’t mentioned here yet. Things like taking really long cold hikes in the middle of nowhere.

23167744_10101401762698526_3946561443866932582_n
So much enthusiasm. It cannot be contained.

Getting all touristy and posing with giant mammoths and cave men and stuff.

23376075_10101401913935446_7957884303501518481_n23131643_10101401913990336_6420896893146951899_n

And eating baking too many delicious cakes and cookies. Peanut butter cookies with candy in the middle continues to be one of my favorites.

23843584_10101415422309556_434714372046723273_n

But I also ate some fancier cookies that someone else made and OMG it kind of completed me. I might need to dig for new recipes soon.

24254770_10101422003815166_1186959240524935337_o

What have you been up to lately?