Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Top Ten Books We're Looking Forward to In 2018

We here at The Broke and the Bookish hope you had a very lovely Christmas yesterday (if you celebrate), and that you made memories with your loved ones! 

Just a reminder: Starting on January 16th Top Ten Tuesday will be moved to Jana's blog, That Artsy Reader Girl, as The Broke and the Bookish will be closing our doors (for now). 

We've loved blogging together for the past 8.5 years, and we've loved getting to know our fellow bloggers through this feature. Thank you for your support and friendship. We'll all still be on social media and some of us have our own blogs, so you'll still see us shouting our love of books! We'll post a more official goodbye with links and social media handles so you know where to find us, but we thought we should get the word out as soon as possible so there is no confusion.

We've got just a few days left in 2017, and then we wipe the slate clean and start over again. Can you believe it!? What books are you looking forward to in 2018? We're sharing our choices today. :) 

Jamie's Picks

1. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert -- definitely one of my most anticipated debuts

2. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton -- I feel like I have been waiting for this book since it was announced!! NEEEEED!!

3. Save The Date by Morgan Matson -- Morgan Matson is one of my all time fave authors and I CANNOT WAIT!!!!

Julia's Picks

I haven't been following the new releases like I have in previous years... so I really just want ONE of these books to come out next year... or have an official date:

4. Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss 

5. Winds of Winter by George RR Martin


Lauren's Picks

6. Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris: I loved the author’s other thrillers and I can’t wait to be on the edge of my seat reading this one!

7. Zero Day by Ezekiel Boone: This is the third book in a series about SPIDERS. Yeah. I’ve been bitten by a brown recluse spider a few times and once it was bad. As in my tissue started dying and had to be cut out. I don’t much care for spiders these days. So why am I reading about them? I have no clue. Except the plot has left me wanting more.

8. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian: I love this author’s novels, so this is just an automatic TBR for me.

Jana's Picks

9. The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis-Graves: I love Tracey, and I can't wait for this next book of hers!

10. Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson: It just sounds amazing, ok?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Important News:

Hello everyone! Jamie here! Before we get to today's topic....I have some NEWS that is relevant to Top Ten Tuesday. We've been doing Top Ten Tuesday since we started this blog in June 2010 and it's such a special thing for me as my little baby of an idea that grew bigger than I could have ever imagined. We have decided that, as of January 9 after our last TTT topic, that The Broke and Bookish is going to be shutting down (at least for now). I was 24 when the ladies and I got together to start this blog and now I'm a 32 year old MARRIED LADY WITH A BABY and my own blog has even taken a different direction (though still heavy on the books). And it's not just me...we've all gotten busy and life has taken us in various directions as you have probably been able to tell with our sparse posts. It's sad but I'm so grateful for doing this with these ladies for all these years. We will have a more ~formal~ goodbye post with links to social media/blogs where you can find us if you want.

BUT DON'T PANIC. Top Ten Tuesday is not going away!! I'm going to hand over the reigns to our dear TBTB contributor, Jana, and she's going to host it on her blog, That Artsy Reader Girl! She has put up a schedule so you guys can still have the topics in advance past January 9th.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you thank you thank you to the people who decided to join in way back in 2010 which helped make this little idea of mine such a fun weekly blogging event and to everyone who jumped in after. I've had fun getting to know you and you've added like A MILLION books to my TBR. I love your passion and your enthusiasm and creativity and I can't wait to see where it goes when Jana takes over. It's so hard for me to let go something that has been a huge part of the past almost 8 years of my life but it's time...

We will try to make this move as smoothly as possible but could definitely use your help in spreading the word and being gentle with us as we make this change.  --- Jamie


Now, on to this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic! Christmas is less than a week away, so it's probably time to declare which books we hope Santa brings this year! 

Jamie's Picks

1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: I've heard amazing things about this book and I need it nowwww.

2. What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum: I loved Tell Me Three Things and I NEED her latest book!

Jana's Picks

3. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella: I love Sophie, and I've heard awesome things about this new book of hers.

4. Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh: MULAN RETELLING that I want to read!!

5. The Valiant by Lesley Livingston: Gladiators!

6. Up to This Pointe by Jennifer Longo: People keep telling me to read this book about friends figuring their lives out.

7. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier: I read Heart's Blood earlier this year and really loved it, so I want to jump into this series that everyone loves!

Lori's Picks

8. Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child: I just found this one today, but it sounds so cool! Child gives some base recipes and techniques and variations. It sounds like a great book for those with some kitchen experience who are looking for no recipe recipes.

9. The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown: I love reading successful women wrote their stories. This one is supposed to be gossipy and personal. I love the magazine, so I want to read some behind the scenes stuff!

10. The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Brombauer: This is one of those seminal cookbooks that has a bit of everything and I need to add it to my collection! :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Our Ten Favorite Books of 2017

For future TTT topics, click here.

I seriously cannot believe that the year is almost over, can you? Today we're taking some time and reflecting on all the great books we read this year. Which have been your favorites?

Jana's Picks

1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber: It's pretty magical and unique and Stephanie's writing is amazing!

2. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco: I had NO CLUE I'd love this like I did, but suspense and swoons everywhere!

See the rest of my picks at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl!

Jamie's Picks

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: okay so technically I read it last year but I never formerly talked about my top reads of the year and this still is one of the best books I've read in a long time! Read it!!!

4. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord: this book was yet another example of why she is one of my faves!!

Kimberly's Picks

5. Geekerella by Ashley Poston:I just adored this book! The characters were lovable, the geeky references delighted me and the story kept me coming back for more, despite being in my weird pregnancy brain induced reading slump.

6. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett: This was such a fun romcom, and the references to classic movies made me want to rewatch all of my favorites all over again.

Lauren's Picks

7. Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant: Science expeditions to the deep, open open to prove killer mermaids exist? YES. YES. This book exceeded my expectations and I absolutely loved it. I cannot WAIT for the sequel.

8. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: All my non bookish friends nag me when I don’t immediately jump onto a popular author bandwagon. So I purposely waiting to read a book by the author just because I’m stubborn. I shouldn’t have waited. This book was absolutely riveting, but oh so depressing. I didn’t figure out the mystery of the book until towards the end either, which is always a nice surprise!

9. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: Finally the legend of Achilles told from a brand new perspective... that of his (maybe lover) best friend, Patroclus. It’s a toss up whether Patroclus was Achilles’ lover or his bro, but this novel chooses the former. It was such an emotional ride and I was left with a few tears as I read the last pages.

10. The Genius Plague by David Walton: Any gamers out there? This plague reminded me of the plague from the game The Last of Us (amazing game, by the way). A fungus from the Amazon starts infecting people and making the more intelligent. The NSA gets involved and shit goes down. I loved the plot of this book and was so glad it delivered.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Ten Bookish Settings We'd Love to Visit

For future TTT topics, click here.

For today's topic we're gushing about all the amazing places books have transported us to, as well as bookish places in general that we'd love to visit. Which bookish settings would you like to visit?

Jana's Picks:

1. The Snow Crystal Ski Resort from Sarah Morgan's O'Neil Brothers trilogy is beautiful and cozy and isolated! There's luxury cabins and lots of snow. It just sounds so romantic and picturesque.

2. Hogwarts from Harry Potter. Well duh!

3. Narnia from The Chronicles of Narnia because duh!

4. Dracula's castle from Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco because it sounds creepy and beautiful.

5. Caraval from Caraval by Stephanie Garber because it sounds pretty magical.

6. The Frost from Kate Avery Ellison's Frost series because I love the cold and the snow, and it sounds beautiful

7. The glittering undersea world of Marin from Vanessa Garden's Submerged Sun trilogy because it's underwater!

8. The Night Court from Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Mist and Fury because of all the reasons.

Julia's Picks:

9. Trinity College Library in Dublin: This place looks gorgeous and has some of the oldest books on display. Not only is it literally bookish, the architecture makes it seem like it could be the settings to any good historical fiction novel.

10. Hyde Park in London: I read a lot of historical romances, and I love big parks. I have been here before, but it was only for a quick bike ride. I'd love to go back and have the time to explore the place correctly... along with some old houses so I can picture things properly as i read.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Top Ten Books On Our Winter TBRs

For future TTT topics, click here.

Winter is coming (or if you live on the other side of the world, summer is coming!)! What's on your to-be-read list this season? We're showing you a few of the titles we're most excited about. Which ones should we get to first? Which ones should we not bother with at all?

Lori's Picks

1.  The Revolution of Marina M. by Janet Fitch: I bought this one for myself to celebrate finishing my last semester of law school. I cannot wait to dive in!

2.  Private Citizens by Tony Tulathimutte: I just stumbled across this one day while browsing on Amazon. It sounds pretty interesting.

Julia's Pick

3. La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1) by Philip Pullman: I meant to reread all of His Dark Materials before reading this new foray into the land of daemons, but I just cant wait. I am so excited that the Book of Dust is actually coming out... and part one is already out! I must read this... and soon.

Jana's Picks

4. Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier: I love reading wintry books this time of year, and this fantasy sounds amazing!

5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling: I'm having fun reading this series for the first time ever, and I can't wait to continue!

6. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: I've been so excited to read this book, and it's wintry too! It seems like the perfect book to snuggle up under a blanket with.

Lauren's Picks

7. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: I might’ve gotten a head start on this one. Don’t judge! 😇 I love Greek Mythology and am excited to read another version of this amazing story. When the

8. When the English Fall by David Williams: Y'all know I can’t contain myself around anything dystopian. And here pops up a dystopian novel involving An Amish community... hells yes I can’t wait!

9. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden: I read the first book in this series and adored it. The storytelling was amazing and made me want to believe in real, actual magic. I can’t wait to get into this sequel!

10. Into the Drowing Deep by Mira Grant: I love everything by Mira Grant and I was lucky enough to get an ebook copy from NetGalley! *squeals*

What are you hoping to read this winter?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Cocktail and a Conversation: Thanksgiving Edition

We have so much to be thankful for this year. Seriously. Some of us had kids. We have great partners. Some of us got new jobs. We got new houses. We're graduating. We're healthy.

But of course we are thankful for all of that!

So this year at Broke and Bookish, we decided to break with tradition and divulge our silliest, most off the wall things that we are thankful for.

Bridget says: I am thankful that we will be on Long Island for Thanksgiving this year, which means I will get to partake in real pizza, which my life is currently lacking. (No, we don’t eat pizza FOR Thanksgiving. But I wouldn’t complain if we did.)

Daisy says: I'm thankful for Zoey the Zebra, a toy that endlessly entertains my daughter and makes her dance, which is the best thing ever. I'm also thankful for the existence of sushi, since I can eat it again now.

Julia says: I am thankful over the air digital receivers so that I will be able to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while not having cable. Also for free XM for the weekend so while I am driving around Ohio to hit up all the family gatherings, it will be with a great variety of music.

Jana says: I’m so thankful for cozy blankets because they make me unbelievably happy. If I’m sad or not feeling well, I curl up with one. I love being surrounded by soft things, so I own way too many blankets.

Lori says: I am so thankful for hot toddies. Bourbon. Little bit of honey. A hot drink on a cold night. I think the citrus will help prevent me from getting scurvy this winter. And I'm thankful for fuzzy socks. I could live in them!

Kimberly says: I'm grateful to have a dog to help clean up the floors after my nieces and nephews have picked through their Thanksgiving meal.

What off the wall things are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top Ten Books We're Thankful For

For future TTT topics, click here.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers in the USA! I (Jana) hope you all have a wonderful day with your families, eating lots of good food. This week's topic is books we're thankful for. Which books have touched your heart and left you feeling SO thankful that it was written?

Jana's Pick

1. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard: This book seriously changed my life. It's the kind of book that encourages you to take the bull by the horns and go with it. I just felt so refreshed by the end, like I had been the one to go on a whirlwind trip that changed my life. It prompted me to make amazing goals: to travel more, to practice my art more, to be spontaneous, to let my hair down and not worry what other people think, to look to the future, to develop other talents, to conquer fears, and to enjoy my life more. I ended up going on a whirlwind trip just like Bria did, and I cam home a completely changed person.

Kimberly's Pick

2. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: No matter how many books I read I always come back to this series. I'm so grateful for what it has taught me and the joy it brings me! It's the first thing I ever read to my daughter, I was still in the hospital after my c-section when I started.

Jamie's Picks

3. Just One Day by Gayle Forman: this book really resonated with me at where I was in my life and inspired me to make some big changes in my life. I will always be thankful to Gayle for writing this.

4. Twilight: Yep...I'm one of those people who fell in love with YA because of Twilight and I'm so thankful I took a chance on it even though I thought it sounded terrible.

5. The Wonder Weeks: lol I'm thankful for this book (and the app) as a new mom because it helps me be patient with Riley when she is going through a developmental leap which tend to be hard on babies. It helps make sense of things plus helps me know what she is working on!

Lori's Picks

6. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein: These poems first started my love of language. My dad would read them to me at night. It was always so much fun.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This is one of the first classics I ever read, which definitely got me thinking about the genre as a whole. It also first got me thinking about law school.

8. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion: Didion. OMG! I love her. I can't keep away from these essays and her other collection, The White Album. Her commentary on her times is so astute. And oddly widely applicable to today. Very inspirational to me in my writing.

9. Public Enemies by Bryan Burrough: This book got me thinking about becoming a history major. It's really interesting and an extremely accessible history of five criminal groups at large at the same time during the Depression.

10.  East of Eden by John Steinbeck: In terms of storytelling and retellings...this one is tops. I can't get over it. Steinbeck was truly a master.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Books I Want Young People to Read

For future TTT topics, click here.

Happy Tuesday! Today's topic is all about the books you love so much that you want the young people in your life to read and love and grow up with. These young people could be your children/ future children, nieces/nephews, godchildren, students, etc. We can't wait to see what you've picked this week!

 Jana's Pick: 

1. You Are Special by Max Lucado: This is the sweetest picture book that reminds children and grown-ups alike how wonderful you are.

2. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George: Such an exciting survival story!

3. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry: This is a beautiful Holocaust story about friendship.

Lauren's Picks:

4. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson: I absolutely loved this book when I first read it years ago. I only wish I could've discovered it when I was younger!

5. The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry: I think most children read The Giver by Lois Lowry these days, which out-shines this one. It's a short, but powerful read.

6. Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick: Another historical fiction novel that will one day be a classic. A must read for young adults!

Julia's Picks:

7. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton: This book I adored at 13. It made me think while expanding what I was exposed to in the safe environment of books - a precursor to adult and high school teen issues. I read it again as an adult, but this one really has a power in reading it as a pre-teen.

8. The Illustrated Harry Potter Books: How cool would it be to grow up with Harry Potter, but with it coming out every year and having super cool pictures in it?

9. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein: I always, always wanted to check this book out as a kindergartner, I just loved all of the short poems and how vividly they lit up my imagination.

10. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. Man, I loved library day in grade school. I'd love it when the librarian would read to us, and this book is one I just wanted to hear over and over again. It has been a repeat hit with my little cousins when I have gotten it for them around age 2.:) 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Rules for Life

Having recently marked the occasion of my birthday, I began contemplating what all I've learned and what all I've concluded during my years.  I shot for thirty, one rule for each year.

Here's what all I came up with:

1. Always keep a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge for celebrations, like Thursdays.
2. Even the inexpensive champagne can be quite good.
3. By all means, reduce your intake of carbs, but never give up on them.
4. Add a little half and half or cream before scrambling eggs.
5. Sometimes the best meals are for one.
6. Invest in boots, purses, gloves, olive oil, books, jewelry, coffee, planners, notebooks, knives, and your laptop.
7. Even savasana can be a rigorous practice.
8. Baked goods are perfect for winning over the hearts of children.
9. Otherwise, baking is largely overrated.
10. Cooking well, even just one dish, can garner admiration.
11. Bar stools make great places for thinking and writing, plus you get better service.
12. Find a local liquor store and make friends with the workers.
13. Buy toilet paper in bulk--you won't not use it.
14. Pack light, but always bring an extra book or two.
15. Buy multiple copies of your favorite books.
16. Re-read old favorites, even if you only read part--it's good for the soul.
17. Don't be afraid to say goodbye. If someone was meant to be in your life, they won't hold it against you and will welcome you fondly.
18. That said, apologize if you need to.
19. Conversely, don't give someone too many chances.
20. Throw things away.
21. Don't spend much on sunglasses.
22. Don't smile if you don't want to.
23. Try to be good. If that fails, try to limit your damages.
24. Always keep a corkscrew in your travel kit (but check TSA if flying).
25. Keep those little NCIS flashlights scattered throughout your house.
26. Get yourself presents for the holidays too--from you, to you--and to hell with anyone who snarks at you for it.
27. It's OK to disengage from being social at any time.
28. Never let your birthday plans depend upon someone else coming through.
29. If it's not working, try pivoting a few times. But know when to pull the plug.
30. There are always exceptions and exceptions to exceptions and so on.

What rules for life have you come up with?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Ten Characters Who Would Make Great Leaders

For future TTT topics, click here.

This week, in honor of election day in the USA, we're featuring characters that would make great leaders! Leaders of what? That's your decision. Who could lead a country, an army, a book club, a classroom, etc. Or maybe characters that would be trendsetters? We're taking a tiny break this week (sorry we have no picks for you!), but I've (Jana) put up the linky for you so we can come visit!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Ten Bookish Halloween Costumes We'd Love to Wear

For future TTT topics, click here.

Happy Halloween! We at The Broke and the Bookish hope you have a safe night tonight, filled with tricks, treats, and good times! For our Halloween freebie we've chosen to pick some bookish Halloween costumes we'd love to wear. We're excited to see which topics you all chose to do!

Julia's Picks:

1. Harry Potter and friends - how could a list about bookish Halloween costumes not have these guys on it. So many choices in this universe! Enough even for a family costume.

2. Superman - yes, comic books are bookish. And Superman is my favorite superhero.

3. Game of Thrones ladies - I guess the men would also be cool, but those ladies! Dany or Brienne or Arya. Kickass ladies, Kickass costumes.

4. Katniss from Hunger Games - is it still cool to be Katniss? I'd still like to be her.

5. Lyra from His Dark Materials - and I would carry around a stuffed animal to be my daemon. Or maybe take my dog around

Kimberly's Pick:

6. Mary Poppins - I dressed up as Mary Poppins a couple years ago.

Jana's Picks:

7. Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles - I actually love everyone from this series, and think it would be super fun to dress up as any of them!

8. Feyre from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series - I think it would be so much fun to dress up as a beautiful fae! And Feyre has some really pretty dresses that I'd love to try on.

9. Nancy Drew - I'd love to don a blonde wig and dress up like our favorite classic, preppy mystery-solving teen. I'm thinking a cute plaid skirt and a cardigan over a white button-up with a Peter Pan collar.

10. Alina from The Grisha Trilogy - Grisha fashion is amaaaazing. I want to wear a pretty gold Sun Summoner kefta.

Which bookish costume would you love to wear tonight?


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

8th Annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa

Well hello! It's that time. Time for our annual Secret Santa (I know, I know..Halloween hasn't even happened yet). THE 8th ANNUAL BROKE AND BOOKISH SECRET SANTA OMG.

So, I guess I'll just get to what you reaaaaally care about -- signups! But before we get started, three things:

1. Please only sign up if you are truly interested and are committed to sending off a package (on time). No seriously, stop and think before you sign up. Can you commit to this? Will you have time and money for it? We have only had a few problems each year (and some got resolved) but I'd like to not have to spend my time chasing people down -- seriously.  It's a bummer for the person who doesn't get a package and a bummer for me to have to hunt you down for months after. And guess what....you don't get to sit with us anymore. I keep track of that stuff and no Secret Santa cheer for you if you are Naughty Santa.

2. In all the years past, I've always gotten all pairings done within 48 hours. I (Jamie) currently have a 3 month old and I was debating whether or not Secret Santa was even going to happen this year because it is a HUGE undertaking for me and it literally takes me 2 full days to do the pairings. SO this year....please be patient...the pairings will likely trickle out in a few days, with the help of Jana this year, rather than the marathon session I normally do. I hope you can understand! Also, please be gentle if it takes me a little bit to answer emails. BE THOROUGH IN YOUR QUESTIONNAIRE so I don't have a ton of people emailing me asking specific questions to be relayed. I probably will not have much time to go back and forth to ask about specific likes and dislikes as I did in the future (unless it's really important). Please utilize the hashtag to ask questions in hopes your person answers or use their person of contact. 

3. A word for people outside of the US/Canada who want to participate: if you are outside of US and Canada just know I can't guarantee that you will get somewhere even remotely close to you. I try to work it geographically for you (and I work realllyy hard at it) but it all depends on who signs up and where they are from. That said we typically have a decent number of signups from England and Australia and a bunch in Europe. The past two years, as a courtesy, I made a note on this post, that I updated daily, wherein I listed the countries of people who had signed up so you would know where you could potentially send to. So, just be aware, if you sign up and are outside of the US/Canada...I will try my best to pair you with someone close-ish for shipping...but no guarantees. Last year I had some people not realize how much shipping costs would be, so if you are unsure, do a quick check with the countries that I list to see how much it might be.

Countries outside of US/Canada/UK that people have signed up from so far: Italy, Russia, New Zealand, China, Sri Lanka, Netherlands, Denmark, Czech Republic,  France, Belgium (updated 11/9)

4. I'm capping it at 400 participants this year because I honestly can't commit to doing more than that!

Things You Need To Do

1. Send an email to TBTBSecretSanta (at) gmail (dot) com answering the following questions BEFORE November 10th  with the answers to the following questions: 

*BEFORE November 10th means 11:59pm EST on the 10th though if they slip in the wee hours of the morning while I'm sleeping I'm okay but please don't yell at me when you are past the deadline any later when I'm pairing and I say no...I have extended it too many times in the past but with 400+ participants last year I have to shut it down sometime, sorry)

  1. Full Name & Address
  2. Blog URL/Twitter username/Youtube channel/Instagram username/ (any social media that will be helpful for your person to get to know you)
  3. List 10-15 books you'd like to read or a link to a wishlist (please mix it up with older and new releases -- aka maybe things that aren't just available in hardcover right now). DO NOT ASK FOR ARCS please. If your SS wants to throw some in there because they saw it on your Goodreads wishlist or something that's fine but once we had someone ask for mostly ARCs and not everyone has access to an ARC fairy. Also, make sure your Goodreads profile or Amazon wishlist is public at least for the time this runs. Double check that your links work if you are viewing them LOGGED OUT.
  4. Genres you read the most:
  5. List of your bookish preferences (a few fave authors,  things you WILL NOT READ, does not prefer used books, prefer hardback or paperback, if you are okay with them not getting you something on your wishlist if they think you will like it etc.)
  6. Please give a few things you like or things about yourself (to help with your goodie). See below for examples in the guidelines.
    * Suggestions for things to add that could be helpful to tell your Secret Santa for the little gift: general info about yourself, if you celebrate Christmas, hobbies you have, your passions, music you love, things you will not eat/are allergic to,  smells or flavors you do not like, shows you watch/favorite movies, things you collect, any fandoms you are part of, if would love something native to where your Secret Santa lives, coffee/tea you like, favorite colors, foods you love, your style/aesthetic, favorite animals, things you are obsessed with, etc. etc. Also maybe if you have an e-reader and would be willing to get ebooks or a gift card.  Just really anything relevant to your interests that could help them.
  7. Would you be able to send internationally if needed? Please answer with:

    A. Yes, I can.
    B. No, I cannot.
    C. Would prefer not to but will if needed

    (if you are outside of US and Canada just know I can't guarantee that you will get somewhere even remotely close to you. I try to work it geographically for you but it all depends on who signs up and where they are from. You can check in here where I will be updating this post to see which countries are represented if you are unsure. 
  8.  Are you:
    a) Under 18
    b) Over 18
  9. Have you participated in this Secret Santa before or is this your first time?
  10. Please choose what "level" of package you will be sending out (I will be pairing people with similar answers so please understand by choosing an answer I'm expecting that to be what you send out ):
    a) 1 book and a small gift/candy
    b) 1-2 books and a couple goodies
    c) 2+ books and goodies
  11. Is there somebody that your Secret Santa could contact if they have a question for you? Please ask that person before you put their twitter handle or email address here. I get a LOT of emails to me trying to figure out specific things (ie: what's their favorite color? What GoT character is their fave? Do they have this Funko pop?) to make a great package for their Secret Santa so this might be a little less work for me to be the middleman going back and forth and asking the questions and supplying the answers.
  12. Any questions, comments or additional things your Secret Santa should know?

2. When you receive your Secret Santa match: go play Santa and buy your prezzies -- please read the guidelines below. Send it out no later than December 15th (perhaps earlier if you are sending internationally). The earlier the better as the mail is always slow during the holiday season.  IF SOMETHING COMES UP PLEASE EMAIL ME. Communication is super for me.

3. After you send off your package, please email TBTBSecretSanta (at) gmail (dot) com letting us know you sent it off WITH DELIVERY CONFIRMATION/TRACKING). Email us again when you receive your package. (Unless there are questions, I will not be responding to these emails due to time but will filing them away). If you have not received your package by January 1st please then email us and I will attempt to contact your Secret Santa. Please understand I will try my damndest to work it out but there is only so much I can do in the event someone decides to be naughty. Karma is a biotch though..maybe they'll get their toes run over by Santa's sleigh.

4. FOR EXTRA FUN: We are going to use the hashtag #TBTBSanta again on Twitter & Instagram for this event! We'd love to hear and see through pictures and tweets your entire process -- maybe a sneak peek of your Secret Santa skills in action (a picture of something you are sending, the wrapped picture, the box) and we'd LOVE to see your goodies as you get them!


1. Books can be new or used. Use your discretion as far as used books go but please be kind and don't send something you wouldn't want to receive. They should be in VERY good condition -- like you can't even tell if it was read.

2. When I say "goodies" I do not mean free swag or promotional items. If you want to add that kind of stuff in AFTER you also put in some thoughtful and kind goodies that you thought your person would love...I'm all about that! But when it says books + goodies...the goodies should not JUST be stuff anyone could have picked up at a convention or something.

3. Be thoughtful: 99% of the time the gifts are really sweet and thoughtful and what you would expect but occasionally someone just throws random crap in a box and ships it off to fulfill their end. Don't be that guy. Gifts should be wrapped and there should absolutely be some sort of note in it. Please do not ship directly from Amazon or elsewhere to them (unless you talk to me first...in the past there have been issues that I totally understand where this needed to be the case).

* If you aren't sure what kinds of things to add for goodies peruse the #TBTBsanta thread on Twitter or Instagram to see pictures of packages from last year. Lots of good ideas that will probably help you!

 * If you are from outside the US or Canada, be aware that you might have to send internationally due to the fact that there are significantly more US participants and I may not be able to pair you up with someone closer.

* Be sure to thank your Secret Santa when you receive your package via social media or reach out to me for their email!

* Feel free to grab the button to put on your sidebar or make your own!

Please ask any questions in the comments!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Top Ten Unique Book Titles

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If you are an avid reader you probably have seen trends in book titles -- The blah blah's daughter or the blah blah's wife or if you are into YA lots of fantasy type titles that seem to blend in together...lots of fire and blood and ash and so many other things that aren't coming to me right now but I know that I find myself getting the titles all confused. 

So this week's topic is an ode to all the unique book titles out there! 

Jamie's Picks:

1.  Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore: I mean, pretty unique right? The book itself is very unique and unlike anything I've ever read in general so the title was definitely a good indicator of that!

2. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green: I have not yet cracked into this one but immediately I thought the title was catchy and intriguing and unique! 

3. The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee: Another one I haven't had a chance to read yet since giving birth but it's high on my TBR.

4. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera: If I didn't already know I loved his books the title alone would make me pick this one up! I'm currently reading it right now and I'm like DO THEY BOTH REALLY DIE AT THE END MUST FIND OUT.

Jana's Picks:

5. How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position by Tabish Khair: I'm kind of dying of laughter over this one!!

6. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente: Super unique, right? All the words!

7. I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison: I had never heard of this one, but it sounds super intriguing.

8. Comfort Me With Apples by Peter De Vries: I must know what this is about.

Lauren's Picks:

9.  The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden 

10.  The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall 

11.  Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

 Have you read any of these? Which titles do you think are particularly unique? 


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top Ten Yummy Foods Mentioned In Books

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This topic is right up my (Lori) alley! I love food. I love reading about food. I love making food. I love eating food. I'm surprised I'm not 84,000 lbs.

1.  Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan--This book is basically what it seems on its face: a comedian rhapsodizing on food. Yes, I think the American diet is horrible, but you can't deny that most Americans love their food. :)

2.  Life Is Meals: A Food Lover's Book of Days by James Salter and Kay Salter--The book is divided into 365 short entries, one for each day of the calendar year. Each entry has a note about entertaining or recipes or a variety of food related topics that helped make me a better cook and hostess.

3.  An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler--Filled with essays on food, this book forever changed the way I make scrambled eggs and boil pasta.

4.  Heartburn by Nora Ephron--Ths novel describes the end of Ephron's marriage to Carl Bernstein. It also contains a few recipes by Ephron, a known foodie.

5.  Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living by Julie Powell--I loved this book! I love how Powell used cooking to change her life and pull herself out of a major rut. It's one I think of whenever I get a little blah about my life.

6.  Fannie Flagg's Original Whistle Stop Cafe Cookbook--This cookbook has so much yes. Full of amazing southern style recipes, it added a fantastic tweak to my already near-perfect fried chicken recipe and gave me my chili recipe (which has needed very few tweaks over the years). Highly recommend.

7.  100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get You Everything You Want in Life--This is my go-to cookbook whenever I know someone getting their first apartment. It has everything. Yes, the recipe titles might be a little strange or creepy (Let's Make a Baby Pasta? Seriously? But it is damn good pasta, with a nice kick of spice!). It's very budget-friendly and has so many recipes that I always recommend it.

8.  Made in Italy by Giorgio Locatelli--I first heard of this cookbook in one of those celebrity reading lists. It's a huge book, with a pretty good-sized price tag, which kept me from purchasing it for quite a while. I finally found a good used copy. :) It is full of food porn and for that I love it.

9.  Audrey at Home: A Kitchen Table Biography by Luca Dotti--What a wonderful idea for a biography! Hepburn's son compiled photographs, details, and recipes that say so much about the beloved actress and humanitarian. I love the idea of using someone's favorite foods to tell their story! If anyone ever writes a biography about me, this is how I want it to be done!

10.  To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Phillip Greene--A book of alcoholic recipes related to the novels and stories of one of my favorite authors? Yes, please!

Honorable Mentions:
Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste by Bianca Bosker--I haven't read it yet, but it sounds fun.
Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford--I love Italian food. Probably more than I should. This sounded like a good read.
Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble--I've started and stopped this one a few times. Sometimes it delves a bit more into the science than I am really interested in knowing, but I love the idea of using my dollars to make a statement.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Jana Seeks Recommendations for Gothic/Atmospheric Romance

Hi all! It's during this time of year that I start craving creepy gothic romances that are not going to kill me with the scareds. I love the atmosphere and the ominous happenings in these books, but I don't enjoy stories that are heavy on the supernatural or demon/ghost/etc. stuff. I'm happy with YA or adult, historic or contemporary.

Here's a few gothic and/or atmospheric books I really enjoyed so you know my tastes:

Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island, #1)

I'm reading Of Monsters and Men by Jessica Verday, and it's pretty meh at this point. It's not giving me what I want! So, help me please!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ten Books With Fall Themes and Covers

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It's officially fall weather here where I (Jana) live, and this is when I love to whip out my fall reads and get cozy. The following books just scream fall to us. If you have recommendations for others, please tell us in the comments!

Lori says:

Swann's Way by Marcel Proust--This cover always reminds me of fall. It's a super vibrant and yummy red.

The Raven (Tales and Poems) by Edgar Allan Poe--Probably more Halloween-y and because of the subject matter, but this cover just screams fall.

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe--Maybe not specifically fall-ish, but I frequently find myself turning to this book in the fall. Probably just a me thing. :)

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy--This cover looks like fall. And isn't it deer season when the novel starts? I don't know. Whatever.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey--Full confession: I haven't read this yet. But I can't talk about the fall without drawing in the spooky, haunted stuff, so here we are.

Jana says:

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco - This book takes place in December, but the cover is beautifully fall and creepy for this time of year! And I loved it, so there's that too!

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - A beautiful fall cover for a beautiful fall book! This story takes place in October and November, when the wind is chilly and the sea relentless. It's super fall and unique and atmospheric. It's the perfect read for this time of year.

The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni - This gothic mystery/historical fiction novel is very fall and very creepy.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - I always get the urger to read this series in the fall.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - Such a creepy cover!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Top Ten Book Boyfriends

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Today we're proclaiming our love for those book boys we love so dearly! Do you agree with any of our picks? Who will we have to fight you for?

Julia's Picks

1. Remus Lupin from Harry Potter - I have no idea now why he was the one that I loved the most out of them. It must have had something to do with FanFics and being 15. I thought he was a stand up guy. Plus I loved recreating the Love Shack lyrics and making them the Shrieking Shack. Oh to be 15 again...

2. Colin Bridgerton from Julia Quinn's Bridgerton novels - I've always loved these novels, and I have always had an affinity for Colin. He's the funny one in the first three novels, and then when he gets his own, he turns into a dashing hero but while still keeping his character. All the hearts.

3. Legolas Greenleaf from The Lord of the Rings - Yeah, I am stretching here because my love for him didn't come solely out of the books... I mean it may have had something to do with Orlando and being 17.... maybe.

4. Tarver Merendsen from These Broken Stars - I really, really loved this book. And I remember really liking Tarver. Probably more than I like Lilac. So he wins a spot in my five.

5. The guy from the book I read as a pre-teen called, Both Sides of Time - This was one that I read again in college and even though it was middle grade, I still really liked it. This was probably my intro into the time traveling romance genre. I just loved it. 

Lori's Picks

6.  Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind - I know. Me and just about everyone else who's ever read this novel. But! I love how he always called Scarlett on her BS. He didn't fit the mold of the perfect gentleman, yet he respected a true lady.

7.  Florentino Ariza from Love in the Time of Cholera - I love how he waited for his love, Fermina Daza. Yes, he went on his adventures and slept with scores of women, but he always held back a part of himself for her. Love.

8.  Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird - This is one that has come under fire in recent years with the publication of Go Set a Watchman. I get that. But this Atticus was the pillar of virtue. Yet he wasn't a total goody-goody. He was kind of Rhett Butler-ish, but a lawyer set in the 1930s...

Kimberly's Picks

9.  Valek from Poison Study - Ooooh. So swoon-worthy. He's clever, kind, and funny. My favorite combination. He also doesn't take crap from anyone--it's an attractive trait.

10. Elend Venture from Mistborn - I started off thinking he'd be the rich snob. Instead, he's smart and kind. He knows he loves *her (I'll keep the name out for spoilers). She's not an easy person to love. Some men would be resentful, instead he keeps working at his relationship. He's a fitting match for his love interest. He also later becomes an even more powerful character, instead of changing who he is, it just enhances who he already was!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

September Faves and October TBR

I know I say this every single month, but I cannot believe another month is drawing to an end! We're already entering the last three months of the year! I'm experiencing this weird paradox where time is simultaneously dragging and flying as I near graduation in December. Anyway, here are our favorite reads from September and the books we're most looking forward to in October...

September Favorites

Jana says...

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco: This was such a beautiful, creepy, and romantic story! It takes place at Dracula's castle in December, and it's so atmospheric and amazing. Kerri's writing is beautiful. I loved it a million times more than Stalking Jack the Ripper!

Lori says...

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran: It took me a while, but I finally finished this great collection of essays. Moran writes with such pointed humor that even when she talks about the inequalities and unfairnesses that should break my heart, I walk away with a smile and some hope. I have one more collection of essays by Moran--Moranifesto--and then she needs to get cracking on publishing some more. :)

October TBR

Jana says...

Renegades by Marissa Meyer: I'm on the blog tour at the end of the month, and I'm so excited to read Marissa's new book!

Lori says...

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Fiction hasn't so much been my jam lately because my time to read is limited. So I'm opting for something short. I even cheated by starting this on September 30. I'm looking forward to reading about this exploration of humanity and feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Top Ten Books with __________ Characters

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This week's post is a character freebie, and we didn't quite get our acts together this week so we will not be posting our character list. So sorry! However... good news!!

I, Jana, just updated the future Top Ten Tuesday topics for the rest of 2017, so you can start getting those ready before the end of the year/holiday craziness starts up! 

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