Let’s Talk Bookish: Why do people lie about reading books?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Discussions pertain to topics related to reading or books. Share your opinions, and spread the love by visiting other “Let’s Talk Bookish” posts.

Prompts: Some people will say they have read books when they really haven’t; why do you think that is? Have you ever personally lied about reading a book? How do you feel about people who lie about reading books? Do you think there’s a certain type of book people are more likely to lie about reading?

**Please note there may be some sarcastic remarks in italics **

Close friends usually tell me like to tell exactly what they think when I suggest they read a book I liked. This ranges from, “I don’t want to,” “Make me,” “I hate reading,” and the infamous “I’ll pick it up later.” (Translation: I will not be reading it, but I know this might make you feel better, and I know that it will make you stop pestering me about it for the moment.) I love my friends, and this is how it should be! We shouldn’t feel the need to lead each other on about whether we will or won’t read a book, but, on occasion, people may not be as forthcoming about reading books.

Social desirability bias refers to a response bias where participants in a survey provide the socially acceptable answer. Because participants want to be looked upon favorably, they give the answer that is expected of them.  For instance, if individuals are asked whether they voted, they are likely to respond that they did because it’s the socially acceptable answer. Being asked about reading likely works in a similar way. When individuals are asked if they’ve read a book lately, they may be likely to respond affirmatively because reading is viewed as “good behavior.” If I tell you that I read, maybe you’ll see me in a better light. Reading is often perceived to be associated with intelligence. If you are a reader, you must be smart! (Right?! Also the opposite assumption must be true then.)

However, not all reading may be considered positive. Let’s take this one step further and consider genres. Certain genres are seen as more acceptable or even more superior than others. For instance, romance novels are often viewed negatively whereas classics are viewed positively. Science fiction and fantasy are often perceived to be only for nerds and geeks. Romance novels are often perceived to be read only by women. Due to social desirability bias, these stereotypes can influence responses. Generally, people may be more likely to say they do not read romance novels, even if they do. The stigma surrounding romance novels may prompt these negative responses. Similarly, people may be more willing to respond that they’ve read books by Toni Morrison or Jane Austen because books by these authors are deemed literary classics. Smart people read classics. (Obviously!)

Why do people are people not as forthcoming about reading books? There are plenty of smart people who do not like to read but it is hard to say no when society tells everyone that it’s what they should do–it’s what smart people do (apparently). Of course, only certain types of books are acceptable though. While I love reading, I understand there are so many things other people may enjoy more. Time is a scarce resource so we should spend it doing the things we love. I might try to convince you to read a book but I also respect that you don’t want to.

What your thoughts on this? Why might people not want to disclose that they aren’t readers? Why might others lie about reading a book? What can we do to create a culture that doesn’t shame individuals who cannot read or do not like to read?

Discussion: Second Chance Romances

Reflecting on My Love/Hate Relationship with Second Chance Romances

THE TROPE

Two individuals are in love but then something happens, leading them to break up.  For some reason or other, they’re back in each other’s lives. Time is especially pivotal here. What happened during the time apart? How has distance, emotionally and, often, physically, affected our leads such that romance is still possible? Eventually, one thing leads to another, feelings can no longer be ignored, and they’re back together. Maybe this time around, the ending will be a better one. Better yet, maybe there won’t be an ending because they’ll be together forever.


Second chance romances always leave me with twisted emotions, torn between anger (e.g. Don’t do it! He doesn’t deserve you! ) and swooning (e.g. He loves you! You still love him! Just kiss each other already!). After reading Priscilla Oliveras’s Anchored Hearts, I had a sudden revelation about why I always feel a slightly uncomfortable with second chance romances. (Light bulb moment!)

I hate second chance romances because of the vulnerability that comes with it–this is where the discomfort comes from.  Someone can always hurt you at any time, but the problem with second chance romances is often times one person has already hurt the other–someone hurt you or you hurt them. Now, you’re giving them an opportunity to do it again, but what’s worse is that you’re doing it with your eyes wide open–I guess this can be a good or a bad thing. It also feels like you’re giving them permission to do it again. I hate this feeling and it usually rears itself just about every second chance romance novel I read.

Yet, I continue to subject myself to this pain because I also can’t help loving the trope. A new beginning brings with it hope that the outcome will be different. Hopefully, time and distance has allowed each to grow, to mature. It’s not just knowing everything that went wrong or even right, but understanding what happened. Maybe, we will be smarter this time around. Past hurts can be overcome. Maybe happily ever after is possible with each other. But then there’s always this little fear in the back of my mind, whispering that hope can be a dangerous thing.

I’m a sucker for second chances, and I’m a sucker for hope even though it means restarting something that might lead to painful consequences. Then again, I’m usually reading this trope in a romance novel where HEA’s are guaranteed. (Thank goodness!) My favorite second chance romances are where there is growth and lots of groveling, especially on the part of the love interest. It helps to tamper that niggling discomfort that the lead is making themself too vulnerable and they’ll be hurt all over again.

Second Chance Romances

Persuasion_cover

Persuasion (1817)
by Jane Austen
ASN/ISBN: 9780192802637


**One of my favorite Austen novels where time has allowed for greater introspection by the offending party. **

Goodreads Summary
Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

thegoodluckcharm_cover

The Good Luck Charm (2018)
by Helena Hunting
ASN/ISBN: 9781538760154


**Not nearly enough groveling for me but an ultimately satisfying read.**

Goodreads Summary
Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career, or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.

Ethan Kane wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.

Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let him in, though, she finds out their reunion has nothing to do with her and everything to do with his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.

daringandtheduke_cover

Daring and the Duke (2020)
by Sarah MacLean
ASN/ISBN: 7980062691996


**Second Chance Romance/Lovers-to-Enemies-to-Lovers novel with so much groveling from the male love interest that I couldn’t help but love it. No discomfort here at all. Nearly perfect. My favorite read of the quarter so far (My Review)**

Goodreads Summary
Grace Condry has spent a lifetime running from her past. Betrayed as a child by her only love and raised on the streets, she now hides in plain sight as queen of London’s darkest corners. Grace has a sharp mind and a powerful right hook and has never met an enemy she could not best, until the man she once loved returns.

Single-minded and ruthless, Ewan, Duke of Marwick, has spent a decade searching for the woman he never stopped loving. A long-ago gamble may have lost her forever, but Ewan will go to any lengths to win Grace back… and make her his duchess.

Reconciliation is the last thing Grace desires. Unable to forgive the past, she vows to take her revenge. But revenge requires keeping Ewan close, and soon her enemy seems to be something else altogether—something she can’t resist, even as he threatens the world she’s built, the life she’s claimed…and the heart she swore he’d never steal again.

incaseyoumissedit_cover

In Case You Missed It (2020)
by Lindsey Kelk
ASN/ISBN: 9780008384654


**While it’s a bit slow and Ros isn’t the most interesting protagonist, I added it here because it provides a different perspective on second chance romances from the other books listed. The overall message of the novel resonated with me as well. (My Review)**

Goodreads Summary:
When Ros steps off a plane after four years away she’s in need of a job, a flat and a phone that actually works. And, possibly, her old life back. Because everyone at home has moved on, her parents have reignited their sex life, she’s sleeping in a converted shed and she’s got a bad case of nostalgia for the way things were.

Then her new phone begins to ping with messages from people she thought were deleted for good. Including one number she knows off by heart: her ex’s.

Sometimes we’d all like the chance to see what we’ve been missing…

AnchoredHearts_cover

Anchored Hearts (2021)
by Priscilla Oliveras
ASN/ISBN: 9781420150193
Publication: April 27, 2021


**The one that got me thinking about second chance romances. Alejandro’s light bulb moment happens on the pages, but I really wanted to smack Anamaria over the head and make sure she knew what she was doing because Alejandro is pretty selfish. (My Review)**


Goodreads Summary
Award-winning photographer Alejandro Miranda hasn’t been home to Key West in years–not since he left to explore broader horizons with his papi’s warning echoing in his ears. He wouldn’t be heading there now if it wasn’t for an injury requiring months of recuperation. The drama of a prodigal son returning to his familia is bad enough, but coming home to the island paradise also means coming face to face with the girl he left behind–the one who was supposed to be by his side all along…

Anamaría Navarro was shattered when Alejandro took off without her. Traveling the world was their plan, not just his. But after her father’s heart attack, there was no way she could leave–not even for the man she loved. Now ensconced in the family trade as a firefighter and paramedic, with a side hustle as a personal trainer, Anamaría is dismayed that just the sight of Alejandro is enough to rekindle the flame she’s worked years to put out. And as motherly meddling pushes them together, the heat of their attraction only climbs higher. Can they learn to trust again, before the Key West sun sets on their chance at happiness?


How do you feel about second chance romances?

Top 5: Romance Tropes

February is the reason the red and pink hearts start popping up at the end of December and rose arrangements all of a sudden take a price hike. It’s also a time when kids pass out cards, and I loved passing out Valentine’s Day cards, especially the candy that often came with them. While writing this, I remembered my 4th grade Valentine’s Day card exchange. I received a card from a kid named Andrew telling me he loved me…hahaha. The memories stirred awake while blogging has been pretty entertaining.

I decided to share my top 5 romance tropes. I never mind tropes. I see them as a starting point, stepping stones to a potentially great book with the great being dependent on the author’s abilities. For readers, tropes can serve as heuristics to help decide whether they want to read a book or not. It’s not a perfect shortcut, but with so many books to choose from it helps make choices easier–I’m more willing to pick up a book with a trope I like than one where I have no idea what is going on.

FRIENDS TO LOVERS

There’s something comforting about friends-to-lovers. This is about two people who are already familiar with one another, likes and dislikes, quirks, and so many things in-between, and decide there is a next step to their relationship. This person knows you so well, and they still choose to love you! (Heh…) I like the angst that sometimes accompanies this trope. For instance, the jealousy that springs up when someone else shows an interest in the friend but the other friend thinks that person is completely not good enough. (Mmmhmm…) This happens in one of my recent favorites by Kayley Loring. In A Very Friendly Valentine’s Day, Birdie and Eddie are best friends traveling to by train to New York for Valentine’s Day. Eddie gets completely jealous when he thinks another passenger on the train is interested in Birdie. He insists he’s not jealous, but we obviously know better. (My Review; Reviewed at Escapist Book Blog)

RIVALS TO LOVERS

Rivals to lover is such a fun trope. The bantering that occurs between the rivals is always entertaining. One of my favorite aspects of this trope is when the realization hits, that it might be love and not just purely competitive feelings because there’s usually this level of denial that has to be dealt with. “Am I–could I be in love with her?” “But I don’t like him? I refuse to believe it!” My favorite read of 2020 is one I haven’t been able to review yet because I just adored it so much. I will be able to write a review for this book but until then please grab this love letter to Seattle as Rowan and Neil temporarily put their rivalry aside to work together to outrun their peers on a scavenger hunt through the city, finding that their rivalty might have developed into something more. (Reviewed at Magical Reads)

CUTE/ADORABLE KID

I love kids. I’m the crazy aunt that gets chastised for playing with the kids rather than making small, and not very fun, talk with adults. It isn’t too surprising I always find myself falling for the cute adorable kid before making heart eyes at the parent/guardian lead in a book. Usually the presence of the adorable kid connects the lead and the love interest or helps the adults work through some sort of problem, potentially making some kind of internal realization. This one endears me to the guardian and the love interest a lot. It’s especially interesting when the guardianship over the kid is unexpected like in Helena Hunting’s Meet Cute. Daxton is forced to set aside his playboy ways when he becomes his teen sister’s guardian. This sets up the story to allow him to repeatedly meet with lead Kailyn. There’s one scene in particular where Daxton’s inside a store and has to call Kailyn for help. It’s funny but completely made me melt. It was one of my favorite scenes in the book. (My Review; Reviewed at Kimberly Faye Reads)

FAKE RELATIONSHIP

The fake dating trope can never not be entertaining. Two individuals pretend they’re dating for a variety of reasons from making an ex jealous to trying to stop family from fixing them up with someone. In Mhairi McFarlane’s If I Never Met You, Laurie and Jamie decide a fake relationship will be in their best interest. Laurie’s partner just broke up with her, and Jamie needs to show his bosses he has stability in his life. It’s a bit slow moving but Laurie and Jamie end up being perfect for each other even if they seem like a mismatch at first. This one has the added satisfaction of a despicable ex having regrets, which is another reason why the fake dating trope can be great. (Reviewed at One Book More)

FORBIDDEN LOVE

Forbidden love is a very broad trope and takes on many forms. Generally, two people who aren’t supposed to fall in love with each other end up falling in love with each other. Romeo and Juliet is the the quintessential example. Forbidden love can be due to a variety of things from falling for your best friend’s sibling to dating your coworker or dating your sibling’s ex. I really like Alisha Rai’s Girl Gone Viral about a bodyguard who falls in love with his employer. I’m not a big fan of the power dynamic at play with employer-employee relationships, especially if the employer uses it to their advantage (grr…) but the power dynamic isn’t as present here. (My Review; Reviewed at Smitten by Books)

What are some of your favorite romance tropes?
What are your favorite books containing these tropes?

Valentine’s Day Playlist 2021

I had fun with my 2020 Christmas Playlist so I thought I would do a Valentine’s Day Playlist for 2021. It’s less involved because I used my Christmas Playlist also as a way to think about the year in review (despite also having a year in review post…hehehe). It may be Valentine’s Day but these aren’t all happy love songs. Sawry!
The complete playlist can be found here.

Track 01: The Bellas – Flashlight
“I’m stuck in the dark but you’re my flashlight / You’re getting me, getting me through the night”
book with a strong friendship

I cheated on this and couldn’t pick so I chose three books I like that highlight the bonds of friendship.

Track 02: John Legend feat. Jhene Aiko – U Move, I Move
“I can’t believe I found someone like you”
a book I really loved

Written in Red is my favorite of Anne Bishop’s The Others series. This is one of the books that help me get out of a very long reading slump. It has a cute wolf shifter kid in it and his relationship with Meg, the heroine, is my favorite part of this book. This is also one I pick up and read again once in a while.

Track 03: Taylor Swift – Begin Again
“on a Wednesday in a cafe / I watched it begin again”
book I enjoyed by an author who is new to me

I recently read Fable in preparation for Namesake. It’s the very first book I’ve read by Adrienne Young and it was so good. I couldn’t stop reading it. Don’t the books look great next to each other? Since I couldn’t link them with the covers, here are the
Goodreads Summaries:
Fable / Namesake

Track 04: Gabby Barrett – The Good Ones
“he’s one of the good ones / and he’s all mine / he’s one of the good ones”
a book with a love interest I adored…one of the good ones

When I first came across this title, I avoided it because I wasn’t a fan of the title. I know, I know. Now, I reread it once in a while because Shane Beckett grew on me. He is a hot fireman in love, looking for a second chance with the girl he regret letting go in high school.

Track 05: Lenny Kravitz – Again
“Where have you been / I wonder if I’ll ever see you again”
a book I didn’t finish but am considering reading…again

I’ve liked all the books I’ve been able to read by Zapata but I didn’t have a chance to get very far into this one. It’s pretty long at 493 pages so I temporarily let it go to concentrate on other things. I’m hoping to pick it up when I have more time. This one is about a figure skater who decides to switch over to pairs skating.

Track 06: Himala – Ace Banzuelo
“Hahanapin, sasabihin, aamining ika’y mapapasakin”
(I will find you, I will tell you, I will admit you will one day be mine)
an upcoming book I’ve been wanting to read

For lyrics and translation please click here. If you like “Himala,” check out this OPM playlist. I’ve been listening to this on repeat.

I talked about it in December but I’ll point it out this month too. Ha! It feels like I’ve been waiting for For the Wolf for ages. Maybe someone from Orbit will see how much I want to read it and have some mercy on me.

Track 07: Park Hyo Shin – Wildflower (with Han/Rom/Eng lyrics)
“Only until I can forget you, until I will be alright /
I’ll swallow my tears and at the end of my wait / I will bloom once again”
a book I finished but took a while to let go

The highlight of this song comes at around 3:57 and it’s beautiful. Park Hyo Shin’s vocals are magnificent. My favorite is this version here with just him and the piano.

You know that book you can’t help flipping through again once you’re done? The one that leaves you in a coma? I was okay it ended, because the ending was a satisfying one, but I brought this along with me everywhere just so to read my favorite parts again. This went on for almost a week.

Track 08: Pink Sweat$ – At My Worst
“I need somebody who can love me at my worst/ No, I’m not perfect, but I hope you see my worth”
a book I loved but not many people did (on average)

I tried to do this as scientifically as possible, which is to say it wasn’t at all. I compared the average rating on Goodreads with my personal rating (difference of 1.37 stars). Apparently I liked this erotica retelling of Cinderella more than the average reviewer. (Hmm…what does that say about me? Heh…) When I first read it, I thought this was such a different Cinderella retelling, and the erotica was an unexpected bonus. It introduced me to Bettie Sharpe. I haven’t been able to find very much by her though, which is a shame because I would love to see what her full-length novels would have been like.

Track 09: The New Basement Tapes – When I Get My Hands On You
“When I come home to you / Hold you in my arm all night
a book on my shelf I can’t wait to read

My copy of We Free the Stars, the second half of the Sands of Arawiya, finally came in, and I’m almost too excited to read it. It’s in my room, on my desk. Sometimes I look at it longingly because I want to know what happens to Altair, Nasir, and Zafira but I can’t get my hands on it just yet. I have a lot of work I need to finish first. It’s just not fair.

Track 10: NIKI – Around
“But even though this ain’t pretty and simple like a bed of roses /
‘least I know my hope is / That you stick around ’til the end / ’cause you’re my best friend”

my most recent favorite friends-to-lovers book

NIKI is one of my favorite artists. Her music was my much of my 2020 soundtrack. I wanted to put one of her other songs on here but decided I should end with a sweet number instead. It is a Valentine’s Day playlist, I guess.

Okay, we can end it the playlist with Wendy and Noah, friends who realize maybe they’ve always loved the other person. I adore this book, and now I’ll want to go reread my favorite parts. My full review is here.

I’d love to hear what’s on your playlist! I’d also love to hear what books you think pair well with the prompts!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

QOTD: What would you do…

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Going Under (2020)

I read Going Under (2020) by Skye Jordan last year and really liked it. Kat loves yachting and she’s been land-bound working on a project to save up so she can travel again. Ben is a single father and is unsure of his relationship with Kat, especially knowing her plans to leave. His daughter asks this question when he’s thinking about his next steps.

Among the many things I am afraid of is heights. I’ve challenged myself in the past by jumping from a 30-foot to grab a rubber chicken and balancing across a 25-foot long pole. Both were terrifying, and I don’t know if I’d be able to do it again, but I did it! Both were team building activities on a ropes course. If I was not afraid, what I really want to do is try sky diving and bungee jumping. I might try ziplining to as a way to inch toward sky diving. Heh…

If I wasn’t afraid, maybe I’d finally get my dissertation done. I’ve been working on it for a while but it’s been difficult. Thinking about it gives me anxiety. ergh…

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

QOTD: If you could…

Books/authors ask so many different questions–some are interesting, some are fun. Sometimes I pause in the middle of reading so I can reflect on a question along with the character. I like to highlight it or write down the questions so I can think some more about it later. I thought on Fridays I might share them from time to time.

If you could go back to any time, what age would you return to?

In Case You Missed It (2020)

Ros is the main character in Lindsey Kelk’s In Case You Missed It (2020), and she is constantly thinking about how good things used to be before she moved away. When this question is posed, Ros answers it quickly saying she would go back to her mid-20s.

I like to make things more complicated than they should be. The question is hard because it leaves open-ended the purpose of going back in time. Am I going back to relive it, or am I going to do things differently? (Also, can I still know what I know now? Also…But what about….hahaha) These nuances of going back in time are important because they can possibly lead to different answers. If I can only relive the past, I might say I have moments I want to relive rather than one particular age because not every day was great. However, the question asks for an age so I’ll force myself to answer with an actual age. I would relive my last year in high school when I was 17-18 years old . My senior year was a blast! This was the year I ditched class for the first time. I didn’t do anything particularly special except hang out with the person who would become my best friend. She had an open period, and I had choir so we just hung out in the computer lab. My parents, who are very strict, surprisingly let me go to prom. It was the first time I went all out and dressed up–I am very much a tshirt and jeans person. I went to the prom with the tall, good looking foreign exchange student. And then there was that stolen day with the boy I crushed on all throughout high school–the one that got away…sigh… I could relive that day over a few times.

Now, if I was able to go back but have the ability to change things, I would return to my undergraduate years. I had a lot of fun but I tended to stick with what I knew best. It wasn’t until I was finishing up my degree that I became more confident in who I was and more involved with activities and programs on campus. I would take chances and be more willing to move outside my comfort zone sooner rather than later.

If you could go back to any time, what age would you return to?

Christmas Playlist 2020: The Christmas Song

Track 07: Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song

Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” creates the perfect atmosphere to celebrate the holiday. Here are some recommendations that might help make Christmas even cozier.

Recommendations for Christmas Day

CANDLES

I have a weakness for candles that smell good.  I love burning candles throughout the house.  My favorite FrostedCranberry_imagescents come from Bath and Body Works. (Yes, I look forward to candle day and mark it on my calendar.)  Tis the Season has the classic smell of Christmas and is on the spicier end of things. Frosted Cranberry has a sweeter, fruity scent (probably that of TistheSeason_imagecranberries…I know).  Also I could just be imagining it but there’s this distinct sort of bitter undertone to the White Barn Frosted Cranberry that I smell when I burn it.  Because of that, I prefer the one marketed under Bath and Body Works.  But, again, I could just be imagining the whole thing. 

BOOKS

Steamy. This is the book that led me to Loring and I never looked back.
(Mini-review)
Sweet (and steamy). One of half our couple wears her heart on her sleeve.
(Review)
Tearjerker. I got my heart hung out to dry. My favorite novel from Staci Hart.
(Mini-review)

Drink

If you’re looking for something warm, please go for the classic hot chocolate.  On the other hand, if OregonChai_imagesomething cold is preferred, I encourage you to drink a spiced chai tea.  Yup, that’s what I said.  The first time I tried it, all I could think was, “I’m drinking Christmas.”  My cousin was confused until she tried it, and she went, “Oh…” I drink this year round.  One day, I’ll learn to make my own.  But for now, I use Oregon Chai’s Spiced Chai Tea Latte Concentrate Mix (because that’s the one that’s easiest to for me to find) and mix it with half-and-half.  The directions say it should be mixed in equal parts but I just mix it to my liking–a bit more concentrated so there’s more Christmas in it. 

Now, grab a blanket and your favorite snack! Sit by the fireplace…or switch on the one from Netflix (I sometimes do this in my office). I won’t be posting on the 25th because I’ll likely be doing all the above.  While I am Christmas centric, I know different holidays are celebrated around this time as well…so happy holidays!

Have you tried or read any of these? I’d love to know your thoughts! What are you favorite things for the holidays? Is there a certain drink you recommend or a book? Please feel free to share below.

CHRISTMAS PLAYLIST 2020
01 Wham! – Last Christmas
02 Eartha Kitt – Santa Baby
03 Katy Perry – Cozy Little Christmas
04 Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You
05 Michael Buble – Blue Christmas
06 Goo Goo Dolls – This is Christmas
07 Nat King Cole – The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)


Bonus:
Ambiance with music, with music here too, and now without music.

Christmas Playlist 2020: This is Christmas

Track 07: Goo Goo Dolls – This is Christmas

This was an unexpected surprise while I was making my playlist. The Goo Goo Dolls released a Christmas album in September, but it was only recently I was able to listen to it. The stand out songs on the album are “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and this particular track on my playlist, “This is Christmas.” The song gives off this sense of longing and makes me feel nostalgic. What makes Christmas…Christmas? Why is Christmas or this particular season one of my favorite times of the year?

This is Christmas

“Wish on stars above
for the ones we love
this is Christmas”

Wreath_familyDuring this time of the year, it’s about taking a break from work and spending it with family. I miss my family a lot when the holidays get closer. We used to all live in California, but now we’re scattered throughout the country. Last year, my brother and his family were able to visit for a few days.  It was great to have kids around the house, despite their preoccupation with their electronics.  It was a reminder that there’s nothing quite like having family around.  I bought books for my niece and nephew, and my nephew was so disappointed.  He asked his mom why she didn’t tell me what he really wanted for Christmas.  It was funny, at least to my sister-in-law and me but he was so sad.  Maybe we’ll able to Zoom and still be able to spend some time together this year.

Wreath_friends

I have a close knit group of friends.  I can’t even say we’re really a group because there are only three of us–we’re a triangle.  We keep one another sane throughout the year despite hardly seeing each other since we live so many hours from each other. My friends and I joke that when we’re together, it’s easier to talk side-by-side because we’re used to not seeing one another’s face. Hehehe. This year, there was a decree that we do Secret Santa gift exchange.  Surprisingly, it was not my suggestion. With only three people, it isn’t really a secret so there’s just a long running joke now that “Santa” insisted on asking about someone’s bookish wishlist or where to send things.  “Santa” has never asked so many questions or made so many demands as he has this year.  Yes, this is how we keep one another sane. We’re geeky but my friends are the best. Christmas would not be the same without them.

Wreath_Giving

I love presents!  Not necessarily getting them but giving them.  If there’s going to be a gift exchange, I try to initiate it during the summer.  I’ve tried doing it sooner but then people think I am crazy when I do.  I’m just so excited to buy gifts!  Throughout the year, I try to pick up on little things friends and family mention and store it in the back of my mind.  I try to take care with wrapping gifts and adding little touches like sprays, tags, or ornaments. It’s the best sight to see when the recipient opens their gift, especially when it’s something they forgot about or they thought no one paid attention to when they were talking about needing or wanting something. Being able to put joy on someone’s face and knowing that I contributed to their day is fulfilling.

Share what makes this season special for you.
I’d love to hear your stories.

Christmas Playlist 2020: Blue Christmas

Track 05: Michael Buble – Blue Christmas

I admit it. I have a soft spot for Michael Buble. There are an abundance of covers of this song, including one from Elvis Presley (the pinnacle for this song) that is constantly on the radio or wherever music can be played/heard and so on but I always return to this one.

What makes me blue? Lots of things but especially thinking about my leaning tower of TBR. I listed books with blue covers from my “master TBR.” My goal is to read them sometime in the first half of 2021. I’m trying to positive about this. I can do it!

“I’ll have a blue Christmas without you
I’ll be so blue just thinking about you”

5 BOOKS FROM MY TBR THAT ARE BLUE


All the Stars and Teeth (2020)
Goodreads Summary

The title went on sale and I was alerted. It’s hard for me to say no to a good deal especially when the summaries are so good. Maybe I will finally be able to read this and then read All the Tides of Fate when it comes out in February 2021.


Magic Dark and Strange (2020)
Goodreads Summary

I blame blog hopping for this one. Thank goodness because I don’t think I would have found it had it not been for the blogger that posted a review. It sounds so good.



Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune (2019)
Goodreads Summary

Here’s to diverse reads! I love the fun cover. The book sounds like it will be a mash of culture, family, and magic set in San Francisco. I think the cover does a good job of capturing the things that remind me of San Francisco.


The November Girl (2017)
Goodreads Summary

This is a title I have to blame for going on sale during the summer. The book sounded interesting, which encouraged me to impulse buy. I momentarily forgot about it until I recently finished reading Kang’s The Impossible Girl (2018), which I liked a lot.


Recipe for Persuasion (2020)
Goodreads Summary

I see Austen retelling and my fingers can’t help but inch toward it. Persuasion is one of my favorites and I’m excited to read a diverse retelling of it. The reviews seem to be mixed though. I’m still looking forward to reading it though.

Have you read any of these books? I would love to hear your thoughts. If you’ve reviewed them, drop a link below so I can check it out.

Here are links to a few covers I like:
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers
Elvis Presley
Callum Wright


Christmas Playlist 2020: All I Want for Christmas is You

Track 04: Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You

Mariah Carey co-wrote and released this song in 1994. This is such an upbeat song I can’t help dancing around the house to it. Like Wham!’s Last Christmas, this has been covered numerous times, a contemporary that is now a classic Christmas song. The song is 26 years old!! What happened to the time?!

The song is all about wanting that special someone to be there for Christmas, willing to forgo unnecessary things like hanging stockings and presents under the tree. I thought this would be perfect for talking about book crushes. You know, those fictional (or nonfictional) characters in books that made your heart beat faster or let go of that breath, the one you didn’t realize you were holding (hehehe).

“I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true”

BOOK CRUSHES


LIVVY KANE
Hate to Want You (2017)
by Alisha Rai
ISBN: 9780062566737
Publication: July 25, 2017
Series: Forbidden Hearts #1
Goodreads Summary

After reviewing my list of books (and smiling/frowning when recalling the different lives I led), I found Livvy Kane to be my girl crush this year. I did a mini-review on this book (here) but I actually have a whole essay worth for this book. I posted that one on Goodreads. This is one of the first books I read by Alisha Rai and I loved it. The book is full of longing and Rai knows how to wring the emotions from her readers. One of the reasons I enjoyed the book was due to Livvy Kane. She is super hot (I needed to get that out there), but it was her vulnerability that really got to me. She is still in love with the boy who broke her heart, and she can’t seem to move forward because he was there in every part of her life until he ended things. Her longing broke my heart. I really wanted her to have a happy ending.


LOGAN WARD
The Marriage Effect (2019)
by Karla Sorensen
ASIN: B07SHNBB3Y
Publication: June 12, 2019
Series: Washington Wolves #3
Goodreads Summary

I’m a bit ashamed of what happened to me with this book. This was a first for me. Logan Ward is this great guy who sets aside his own desires to take care of his sisters. He finds himself in a marriage of convenience to Paige McKinney to show stability so he can keep custody of his sisters. That’s how much he loves them! He was one of my first romance novel crushes, and (here comes the embarrassing part) I was jealous of Paige. I didn’t think she really deserved him. Normally, I love my leading ladies and root for them, but it felt like she was only excited at the prospect of sleeping with him. What about the rest of him? He was this wonderful guy and she only had sex on her mind. (And, he needed to be with me…hahaha). I loved him so much. (Paige did grow on me in the spinoff the Ward Sister series about the four sisters, so I guess I’m alright about Logan’s other half even though it should have been me. LOL)


ROWAN WHITETHORN
Heir of Fire (2014)
by Sarah J. Maas
ASIN: 9781619630659
Publication: September 2, 2014
Series: Throne of Glass #3
Goodreads Summary

Rowan is loyal to a fault and yet love makes him defy the laws binding him and the gods who can so easily crush him. I loved how much he loved Aelin. He aggravated me a lot when I first met him but quickly grew on me because he loved her completely: her past, her present, her scars, her fears. Just…everything. (Sigh…) Despite their official titles, I felt they were equals in the relationship. Rowan was completely swoon worthy. Rowan currently graces my phone screen. My nieces (6 yo and 4yo) think it’s completely scandalous of me, but they sure do like asking for my phone so they can look at him.

Who did you have a book crush on this year? Was there someone that made your heart swoon?

Here are links to a few covers I like:
Bowling for Soup
Michael Buble
Cee Lo Green
Lady Antebellum


Bonus:
Carpool Karaoke!! CLICK!