The Afterlife of Holly Chase

If you love A Christmas Carol, check this one out!

After falling a little behind on my Christmas reading and watching, this week I watched the second season of Home for Christmas (which was cute but not as awesome as the first season) and read The Afterlife of Holly Chase. This book was so fun! If you love A Christmas Carol, you need to read it.

It's a fun twist on the story featuring a teen as its Scrooge. The teen in question then has to work as the Ghost of Christmas Past after her death when she refuses to change her ways. There are some twists and laughs along the way, and I loved the combination of magic and realism, which worked really well here. Maybe it's too late for holiday reads for you, and if so, just add this one to your Christmas list for next winter. 

What are you reading this week?

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2021 Reading Goals

Share yours in the chat!

We love book challenges around here, so now that it's 2021, let's start a few! One that my family and I are doing is the Celebrate a Book Challenge, which will issue new challenges and printables each month throughout the year.

I'm also aiming to read 121 (see what I did there?) books this year on Goodreads. I've got one down so far! It was Katrina Leno's You Must Not Miss, which I liked a lot. I'm reading with my Page Turners group and Halloween Book Club, which are both on Facebook, as well.

What reading challenges are you doing this year? Share them in the chat.

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2021 Must-Reads

What's on your TBR?

Can you believe it's already time for a new TBR pile of books? 2021 has SO many great looking books in store for us, from a new Angie Thomas to another sure to be awesome read by Nnedi Okorafor, who's probably my favorite author of the last decade. And yes, it's sci-fi! And that's just in January!

Here are some more books that are considered must-reads for the year, and here's a 25-page list of books that will be published in 2021. I noticed that many of these are just other versions of books already published (hardcover, eBook, etc.) but there are some exciting new books listed, too.

What are you most looking forward to? Share your TBR in the chat.

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Best December Reads (So Far)

What are you reading?

Last week I was in a reading slump and had a tough time finding something that I enjoyed. I thought I might just have to start re-reading some favorites to get me through it. That often works for many people. Luckily I started reading Katrina Leno's first book, The Half Life of Molly Pierce, and I was back in the game! The book was gripping and kept you guessing, and while I didn't love it as much as Summer of Salt I thought it was compelling throughout most of the book.

Now I'm reading In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren and OMG, y'all. I need to read more of this duo's books! It's fabulous. There's romance, humor, sci-fi, Christmas coziness without being overbearing... I'm about halfway through and it's exactly the kind of book I'd want to read for Christmas so far.

What are you reading for the holidays? Share it in the chat!

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Talia Hibbert's Recommended Reading

I'm adding all of these to my TBR!

This year some really great books helped me make it through 2020, and Talia Hibbert's awesome Get a Life, Chloe Brown is one of them. The writing is smart and funny, the representation in the book is both refreshing and realistic and the romance is smoking! The author released a list of her favorite must-reads of the year and I'm super excited to check them all out.

Reading recommended lit by great authors is a fantastic way to explore new-to-you authors, and oftentimes if they loved a book, you will, too. It's not a guarantee but I have found it to be true on many occasions!

Do any of the books on Hibbert's list look like books you would enjoy? Share which ones you've read or want to read in the chat.

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Great Graphic Novels

Share what you are reading!

Graphic novels have always been popular in our house, but lately my teenager is just plowing through them faster than I can keep them in stock! We're always on the library waitlist for the next one in a series and they almost always get read the day they're delivered.

Right now my kiddo is loving Lumberjanes, She-Ra and a few one-time novels like The Prince and the Dressmaker. I've enjoyed all of these this month (save for Lumberjanes, which I've already read) as well as Aquicorn Cove (Katie O'Neill's work is gorgeous!), Heartstopper, Bingo Love, In Real Life and Stargazing.

What graphic novels have you been reading lately? Share your favorites with us in the chat.

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When A Book Just Disappoints

What is your next step?

Have you ever been so psyched to read a book only for it to end up a total disappointment? That's happened to me more often this year than most. Many of the books that I was excited to read only to hate were chosen by my book club, but they were all books I wanted to read as well.

There was a super geeky one that everyone seems to love. There was another one that was supposed to be geeky and feature body positivity that ended up incredibly boring and overdone. There were two by authors I love that I absolutely hated. So what do you do when this happens?

If you're me, you still give an author another chance. Everyone has a magnum opus as well as a mistake and writers are no exception. I also look for recommendations similar to books I've loved to try and find a new one to latch onto and enjoy. I think doing that as soon as possible is key; otherwise I will fall out of the reading habit as life gets busy. What do you do when you read a book that flops?

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Indigenous Authors To Read

Share the books you're reading in the chat

It's a great week to start reading more work by indigenous authors, and O magazine has a list of 31 authors to follow. My teen and I have been reading some of these works and really enjoying them. It might also be a great week to pledge to read one work by an indigenous author each week for a year, which would certainly give everyone a greater perspective. If you haven't already, you can also pledge to read a work by a Black author each week, and even to not read anything by a white author for a year.

I saw a quote about not being well-read if you've only read white authors your whole life and I'd have to agree. I'd add that reading only books by men is also mind-narrowing, and that we could pledge to read all books by LGBTQIA authors or by women for a period of time as well.

How have you expanded your reading habits? Is this a challenge you're willing to take up? Share your experiences and what you're reading in the chat.

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Feel Good Reads for the Week

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At this stage in 2020 I'm all about comfort reading. I didn't read even half of my October reads and went straight into comedic romance, which is usually what I read from December through January. In some ways this has been a great stress reliever, but in others it has been a bit disappointing.

I read the latest Bromance Book Club installment last week and just didn't like it very much. Instead of the adorable romance and comedy we read in the previous two books, this one was so full of the characters' individual life drama that there was no room for their relationship. The other two really helped me get through spring quarantine, though, so I'm still planning on reading others in the series, for now.

At the moment I'm reading Boyfriend Material, which is absolutely fantastic. It's full of sarcastic humor and adorable moments, making it difficult for me to concentrate on anything other than reading right now. I can't wait to finish it.

What are your feel good reads for the week?

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Your Ideal Reading Environment

Share your favorite setup

My birthday is this week, which means a big day of nothing but reading and snacks! That is the ultimate form of decadence to me, especially as a homeschooling and working parent who often feels guilty just "doing nothing," however rarely I do it. I also love to throw a bath bomb in the mix.

But you can make your reading experience even more decadent with some aesthetics, right? I like to have my house clean before my big annual day off so I don't feel anxious looking at anything that needs to be done. (This often means I'm worn out on my actual birthday and spend part of it napping, but napping is also good!) Great smells are also big for me, so I'll burn a candle or diffuse some oil as well as wear my favorite perfume oil. Finally, good drinks are a must, and I'll grab myself the most expensive Starbucks birthday freebie (I've decided to alter an iced Toasted White Chocolate Mocha with some additions this year) and brew lots of good tea.

What is your favorite reading environment? Share your hygge in the chat!

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