Hope everyone enjoyed a Merry Christmas and whatever traditions make your holidays special. My own was great. I had my family over for Christmas Eve and cooked a yummy turkey. I figure it’s a sign of my true adult-ness that I can now get the meat, potatoes, and veggies served at the same time. On Christmas morning, we got up at seven and had stockings and Santa gifts with our two daughters. Then we went over to my parents’ house for a fun and relaxing day. Everyone was happy and content. There were several hours of Lego building, treat eating, and holiday movie watching.
When we came home that night and unloaded our treasures under the tree, I felt giddy with how many books my family received. I love that they love books because, to me, reading—enjoying reading, is intrinsic to a happy life. In total, between my husband, myself, and my two daughters, we have eighteen new books under the tree. Though I’m grateful and happy, only four of those are mine. Four are my husbands and the rest are my kids. My youngest daughter received several this year because she’s a voracious reader in every sense of the word. And fast. She flies through books like I do chocolate and is reaching for the next one as she closes the first. She’s a chain reader. It’s fan-freaking-tastic.
My oldest is more like me (though, also a faster reader than I am) and loves to re-read the stories she loves. She has just as many books in her room, but time and again, she’s flipping to those moments in a favourite that made her laugh or sigh with happiness. One day I’ll share my list of books I read on repeat. But today, I’m going to share my thanks-to-Christmas-and-people-sticking-to-the-list-to be-read list for the first part of the year. I like to mix it up. Some other time I’ll also tell you about how I read a number of different books at once. For now, here are the books that made my Christmas pile this year.
Patterson has been one of my favorite authors for over ten years now. I still remember reading the first Women’s Murder Club. Fast paced, great story, likable characters. I slowed down on them once it got to book twelve in that series. Some of his writing has changed and obviously that’s due, in part, to the fact that he’s writing for every age out there now, but also, because he writes with different people. To me, his best joint writing (this is just my opinion) venture is the Michael Bennett series. Detective Michael Bennett lost his wife to cancer in the first book and was left to raise their ten (yup, TEN), adopted children with help only from his religious grandfather and the Irish Catholic (and hot) nanny. I love this series. A couple of the books have irritated me because I want so badly for Michael to end up with Mary Catherine. And of course, because it’s a series and James Patterson, I can’t just flip to the back of the book to ensure it ends happily (yes, I do that. Every time.) Bennett is a great character. He’s full of flaws, he’s relatable, he’s funny, and he really, truly loves his kids. I am really looking forward to diving back into their lives.
The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
My family and I have fallen in love…with another family. The Gaines family are adorable and we tape all of the Fixer Upper episodes. If you don’t watch, Chip and Joanna help couples buy homes by showing them three to choose from, then do an overhaul/update/ or fix up on it. He’s hilarious and silly (and reminds me of my husband) and she’s classy and sweet with an amazing eye for décor and design. On top of the fact that their show is great, I’ve read interviews with both of them and really love their outlook. Family comes first for them. I guess that’s a theme I love in fiction or reality. They released their book this Christmas to share the story of how Magnolia, their company, came to be. I’ve wanted it since the first time I saw it on the shelf.
Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick
Okay. Confession time. There are a few people that I would like to BE. And if I can’t BE them, I’d like to spend the day with them. Or an hour. Or however long they could put up with me freaking out that I’m actually with them. One of those people is Anna Kendrick. I love her voice, the way she talks, her acting, her interviews; she’s gorgeous and graceful, wrapped up in cute and klutzy. She’s a miniature powerhouse with a kickass singing voice. I may have a bit of a crush on her but my husband is completely fine with that. I saw her interview on Fallon (who I also LOVE) about this book. I cannot wait to dive into it.
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay
I’ve already read this book. Three times. Because it’s awesome. I love young adult books. I love romance books in general. I’m a happy reader…as in, the book has to be happy—has to end happily for me to be okay. When I read Fan Art, it was a suggestion based off another book I’d read and I thought, sure, it looks pretty cool (yes, I judged the book by the cover and I was RIGHT). This is a story of trying to be yourself, but only to a certain extent. Because how much of yourself is too much for the people around you? Even the people who love you? This book explores that along with realistic depictions of how hard things can be when you’re seventeen or eighteen and feel like you should be in control of so much, but aren’t. While I’ve read the story three times, I have read the ending times than I can count. And my sweet thirteen year old noticed that instead of picking up FanGirl every time we walked in the bookstore, to read the end, I was now picking up Fan Art to do the same. So, for Christmas, she made sure I had it so I can read it again and again and again.
What? No contemporary romance for the contemporary romance author? That’s not entirely accurate. I did luck out and get a pre-Christmas gift from my friend, (can I call her my friend? I’m going to. She won’t mind, even if she’s cooler than me) agency mate, and fantastic writer, Shannyn Schroeder. Her new book, In Your Arms, the second in the O’Malley series, arrived in my mailbox a while ago and I’ve just recently been able to finish it. I will be adding it to my read on repeat list.