Book List: My Most Anticipated Books for Summer 2022

Book List: My Most Anticipated Books for Summer 2022

I love when these particular lists come around, because it’s an easy out for thinking too hard. It’s always hard to narrow down what I’ve already read for a list, but naming things I want to read? Easy peasy. I’m all over it.

I wrote up a book list earlier this year naming all the books I was excited to read for the first half of 2022; and I was all set to address the second half in its entirety… but there’s tons coming out just this summer that never even made my original list. Because of that fact, I’ve decided to just hit the coming summer 2022 reads!

Let’s do it!

My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey

Tessa. Bailey. Is writing. A murder mystery?!? *Cries in bibliophile*. I NEEEEEEEED ITTTTTT! No but seriously, I’ll read anything this woman writes but especially this. After discovering a corpse in the bedroom of their vacation cabin, our heroine meets a brash bounty hunter out to catch the killer, and they form an epic sleuthing duo. This murder/romance sounds like the perfect book to bring on my vacation later this month, for a taste of all my favorite genres in one sitting. This “the grumpy one likes the sunshine one” story is everything I need! My Killer Vacation will be out June 6, 2022.

The Pallbearers Club by Paul Tremblay

I JUST discovered this one when looking through the upcoming summer releases by authors I’ve read, and I have to say, this sounds like it’ll be a good one. As I reflected on in my review of Survivor Song, I think Tremblay has clear talent, but the apocalypse genre wasn’t the right one for him. 80’s slasher-type deal? Definitely. And that’s the direction this seems to be taking; it sounds like it will be ripe with violence and gore, which I don’t usually like, but thought Tremblay did exceptionally well in Survivor Song. This sounds like the book that will give me a better idea of how I like him as a writer. The Pallbearers Club will release July 5, 2022.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This one has been on my list for soooo looonggggg. I would kill for a copy of this right now. After Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night, I’m kind of hooked on Moreno-Garcia. Frankly, I wasn’t even sure what The Daughter of Doctor Moreau was about before writing this paragraph, I just hit the “Want to Read” button on Goodreads so fast… but really, it sounds like a return to the dark fantasy elements I loved about Mexican Gothic, with the moral and ethical drama of Velvet Was the Night. Monsters and shady characters: this is going to be a good one. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau will release on July 19, 2022.

Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey

I’ve yet to read anything by Sarah Gailey, actually, primarily because it typically leans more heavily toward fantasy, but Just Like Home will make its home in the horror genre. I’ve heard plenty of good things about Gailey, and this particular novel comes with recommendations from the staff at Gibson’s – so suffice to say, I need it. This book will follow our main character Vera as she returns to her family home…the same home her father, a serial killer, hid his crimes, and where they will come back to haunt her. Just Like Home will also release July 19, 2022 (looks like I’ll be needing July 19th off, amiright?).

The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling

I actually thought, when headed to the bookstore the other day, that The Kiss Curse was already out. I was all prepared to buy it, only to discover I’d be waiting another few months to get it. This late fall release will be the sequel to The Ex Hex, which I sort-of enjoyed but also had a lot of constructive criticism for, frankly. I need more witchy content and less bitchy content, lol. However, I’m more excited for The Kiss Curse because it follows Gwyn, Vivi’s cousin and an awesome supporting character from the first book. I liked her much better and see very few ways this could be screwed up, unless Sterling completely changes her snarky and sassy character. The Kiss Curse will be on shelves September 20, 2022.

Well, my reading tastes are anything but refined, but that will make for an excellent summer of reading.

Very excited for these! What are you most anticipating for this summer? Which books will be hitting the beach with you?

Have an excellent weekend!

Book List: My Top Five Books of 2021

Book List: My Top Five Books of 2021

I won’t lie, I’m at a total loss for book list ideas these days! And it occurred to me this morning that I could present my five very favorite books ever…

…but then I realized that is a literally impossible task. Instead, may I present to you: my top five books of 2021!

2021 was actually a very slow reading year for me, so I don’t have much to pick from…and therefore it shouldn’t be as hard to pick only five, right?

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This one easily tops my list. I don’t typically read what’s new and popular (not in like, a hipster sense…I’m not snooty about it, it just usually doesn’t interest me the way my niche favorites do!) but Daisy Jones is quite the exception. And this 70’s band saga is even better on audio: the full cast, the added music – it’s a production, it’s art. I loved it. Not to mention, the Fleetwood Mac connection…I still recommend this gem to everyone who asks for recs! See my full review here and get your copy here (or from Libro.fm!).

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Hazelwood is easily my favorite debut author of recent times – she nailed the romantic comedy in a way I haven’t seen from other authors in years, easily. The Love Hypothesis drags in just about every awkward trope you can think of, and I couldn’t quite stop laughing or cringing or crying the whole way through. I read it in just one night; I couldn’t put it down (the same of her newest, Love on the Brain, coming in July). Love, love, loved it. See my full review and get your own here.

Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson

Nothing had me laughing out loud and simultaneously crying last year quite like Broken. This was my first ever Jenny Lawson read, but certainly won’t be my last – listening to this incredible book on mental health and the hysterical moments of Jenny’s life felt like listening to my ADD besties telling me a story. There’s a warmth and a wit to Lawson that simply cannot be replicated. Read my full thoughts on this one here and get a copy of your very own here (or listen on Libro.fm!).

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I know I was a little late to the party on this one, but I really, really loved everything about Mexican Gothic. The VIBE of this book is just, everything I want to exist in from approximately August-November (extended spooky season, for anyone who knows what’s up). And I loved Moreno-Garcia’s writing so much, I went out and bought Velvet Was the Night almost immediately after, and loved that one too. While it wasn’t quite the story of Mexican Gothic, I knew I was hooked. I’m currently waiting not-so-patiently for The Daughter of Doctor Moreau. Get Mexican Gothic here and read my full review here.

Sleeping Beauties by Stephen & Owen King

I know, I know – I’m shocking even myself with this one! This was probably my most surprisingly enjoyable read of last year. It had been sitting on my shelf for maybe three years, and I finally decided it was time to crack that puppy open (it’s a mere 702 pages…so…maybe you can see where the dread stemmed from). But once I started, I honestly couldn’t stop. While it was certainly the horrifying, gruesome scene I’m familiar with coming from King, I was more impressed by just how much it left me thinking about. The concept, the choices that have to be made were thought provoking and could even be explored deeper. I like to think this would’ve been a very different book written by a woman, too. Get a copy here and read my full review here.

And guess what? Lucky for you, I have full reviews on every. Single. One of these books! Check them out!

As always, I don’t get any kickback from the links in this article – if you don’t want to shop with my (admittedly fabulous) local indie bookstore, shop with yours! Have an incredible weekend, my dudes.

Book List: My Favorite Thrillers

Book List: My Favorite Thrillers

After the great month of thrillers I’ve had, and my strong desire to pick up more, I think it’s finally time to dive into some of my favorite thrillers I’ve read!

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

As always, I don’t make money off these links, I just like to make it easier for you to order those that interest you. Don’t want to order from my local bookstore? Order from yours! Jeff Bezos doesn’t need your money!

Let’s jump in!

The Whisper Man by Alex North

The Whisper Man was my first Alex North, but certainly not my last. Sitting alone in the house at night reading this, I was convinced someone was standing behind me. Very few books can give me the shivers and that feeling of being watched quite like this one did…and I loved every second of it. Just like with some of the others on this list, The Whisper Man starts with a horror feel to it, so keep that in mind as you pick it up. Grab a copy of your very own here.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

I love Riley Sager’s works. I first picked up Home Before Dark, though, so I think it will always have a special place in my heart! Sager is a master of the thriller and has written all kinds of different tropes into terrifying works of constant action. Home Before Dark hits on the haunted house…so it goes without saying it also seems to have ties to the horror genre. I loved this one, as it really reminded me of The Haunting of Hill House (in this case, the show, not the book!). Get a copy here. (On an unrelated note, I’ve never seen this cover before but I LOVE it!).

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Many thrillers give you that feeling on the back of your neck, the goosebumps, the stomach fluttering fear…but few books left me as hollow as The Broken Girls. I know that must sound like a bad thing, but I swear it wasn’t! I loved the characters, the setting, and this mystery is incredible. But the most profound part of the book, that helps it earn a spot on this list, is the atmosphere of it, the way I felt during and after reading it. St. James sets an incredible stage, and there was just something ghastly and vast about The Broken Girls. Get your own copy of it here.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

One of my go-to book recommendations for thriller readers at the library was always The Roanoke Girls. I admittedly felt like I knew how it was going to end before we really got into it, but I don’t know if that was just me, or a general audience thing. Regardless, I love the vibe, the setting, and the action of Roanoke Girls, and everyone I recommended it to would come back and say “…it was creepy, but a little weird.” Yeah, pretty much. And this also brings up the question, where the heck did Amy Engel go??? Has she written anything new?? Get The Roanoke Girls for yourself here.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Might as well throw a little YA in here too! Though I don’t know as if I would classify this as YA…no matter who the author is. Don’t let the classification deceive you, this one is chilling down to the bone. The twist in this story just had me so SHOOK. I don’t care if that’s cheesy, I said it and I meant it. I read this in high school, but I think a re-read might be overdue. This one is creepy and bizarre, and much more fit to an adult brain, in my opinion. Get your copy here.

And since I’m in such a thriller mood…I want to hear your recommendations!! I’ve picked up some things I never would have a year ago, and just loved them. What book gave you the creeps??

Have an awesome weekend friends!

Book List: Spring Reads

Book List: Spring Reads

IT’S COMING.

The warm weather is almost here!!! I actually declared it spring already, on February 23rd, when I wore capris and drove to work with the windows down…but then it snowed again. Which was rude, on Mother Nature’s part.

Anyways, here’s my favorite spring books! Inspiring, growth-focused, or just refreshing – it’s time to get reading!

The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food by Joseph Tychonievich

No better place to start than in the garden! Last fall I read The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food, and as promised, I’ve already picked it back up this spring as a reference guide. This book seriously rocks. For us young people who didn’t think we could grow anything? This book is magic. Not only is it a lovely read, but as a guide to refer back to with questions and problems, it’s also wonderful! If you’re thinking of starting a garden of your very own, this book is for you! Get your very own here.

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated was another audiobook choice for me, and I’m so glad I did listen to it. Sometimes you just know in your soul how you should absorb a book, and this is one of those books. Even though Westover doesn’t narrate it, her tale of growing up sheltered in the middle of nowhere is one of triumph that sticks with you. Hearing her stories, gasping and crying right along with the narrator, is so meaningful. To me, this story is about rebirth, renewed existence – which makes it the perfect spring read, if you’ve yet to get to it. Get your own copy here.

Again, but Better by Christina Riccio

I know YouTuber Christina Riccio’s debut wasn’t met with tons of love – many say she basically just copied verbatim her actual life (isn’t that most books though?) – but I think it’s still a fun read about second chances and making the choices that’ll impact your future. I read it in a day back in college and thoroughly enjoyed it, even for its crazy whims and sometimes annoying characters. This book is about starting over, trying again, but better… just like spring is. Pick up your own copy here.

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

I listened to Girl, Stop Apologizing during my commute to college several years ago. I’m not a huge Rachel Hollis fan; I know there’s a lot of people who hang on her every word, but I think there’s got to be something ringing true to so many women if they follow her like this! And I think listening to this book definitely showed me some of that. Girl, Stop Apologizing is a kick in the pants to start working on your goals, as well as tips and tricks to start getting it done. It’s more of an inspiration than a how-to, which is what I think you need coming out of a sleepy season like winter. This book is great reminder to get up early and drink some water. Pick up a copy here.

She Sheds Style by Erika Kotite

This is a really recent read for me…as I’m sure you can guess from just seeing this review at the beginning of March! I loved She Sheds Style not only because I would KILL for my own little she shed, but the projects within are about finding your own style, refreshing and giving new life to furniture, and of course, landscaping and your yard! There’s a lot more going on in this book than just she sheds, and I think much of it is very fitting to the spirit of spring. Get a copy of your very own here.

This list is mostly a collection of books I read in winter that made me long for spring, I’m realizing! Either way, I think there’s something warming and refreshing about these books. It’s a good list for that fresh spring start. What books would you recommend as the weather heats up?

Have an awesome weekend, friends!

Book List: My Most Anticipated Reads for the First Half of 2022

Book List: My Most Anticipated Reads for the First Half of 2022

A mouthful, if I’ve ever written one. Sorry about that! This was going to be a “most anticipated” for the whole year, but I decided to split it up instead! This list will hit the novels that most excite me between now and June. 😉

Gwendy’s Final Task by Richard Chizmar and Stephen King

I think I’ve made my feelings on Stephen King’s work pretty clear by this point: the shorter, the better. Gwendy’s Button Box is no different. While not truly terrifying, I thoroughly enjoy the story in these books and the deep moral dilemma that goes along with the responsibility of the button box. I read Gwendy’s Magic Feather as well, which King didn’t work on, and found that I thoroughly enjoyed Chizmar’s writing on its own as well. I’m excited to see the duo back together on this final installment, set to release February 15th (update: publication date has been pushed out to May 31st. So sad!!). Preorder your copy here.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Technically, I have the advance readers copy for this one, so maybe it’s not so much most anticipated release as it is “I can’t wait to read this!”. So why I’ve waited to read it, I have no idea. I absolutely adored In Five Years when I read it maybe two years ago now? Definitely quarantine times. It was so unexpected and heavy, but I thought the story was just lovely and packed with raw emotion, so I’m excited to see what Serle does next. Maybe that heaviness is the reason I haven’t been able to pick it up yet. Look for my review in the coming weeks! One Italian Summer releases March 1st, and you can pre-order a copy here.

The Book of Cold Cases by Simone St. James

I had no idea St. James had another novel coming out, but this one sounds right up my alley! I loved Broken Girls years ago. I thought it was positively eerie, if a little predictable. The book was not only an incredible yarn but it gave me goosebumps while I read. I skipped Sun Down Motel, but this new novel gives me a Riley Sager-like vibe from the description. I’m interested to see how she does with it, given that most of what I remember about Broken Girls was that sweaty and uncomfortable feeling it left on my skin – this seems like her territory. The Book of Cold Cases will be released March 15, and you can pre-order a copy here.

The Wedding Crasher by Mia Sosa

What would my list be without a good romance. I didn’t actually love Sosa’s The Worst Best Man, but The Wedding Crasher sounds like so much fun, I’m willing to give her another go. I like a good fake-dating trope, and seem to be drawn to it as of late. I also really love the cover of this one, even more than The Worst Best Man. We’ll see how it goes! The Wedding Crasher will release April 5, and you can pre-order it here.

Fangirl: the Manga: Vol. 2 by Rainbow Rowell and Sam Maggs

It’s no secret that I love Fangirl. Rainbow Rowell’s masterpiece and its scenes resonated with fourteen year old me so hard, it just echoes through my head and my life, and sets a vibe and tone to my holidays. For real. This is what love for a book looks like. It’s just one of my absolute favorites, and I loved seeing it adapted into a manga version in 2020. It was tons of fun and captured that *feeling* just perfectly. If it only it had been released in a complete form!! I’ve been dying for this second installment for approximately a year and a half, and I’ll finally get it on May 10. Pre-order yours here!

…and oh my gosh, so so many more.

I took what I knew was coming out and tried to add to it by using my Goodreads recommendations for new releases, but I ended up with a new tbr about a thousand miles long. I almost immediately hit NetGalley to try and get some ARCs. Prepare yourselves for a lot of reviews, people – it’s going to be a great year for reading!

Another reminder that I don’t get paid for these links – just trying to make it easier for you to grab a copy! I love Gibson’s Bookstore, but if you don’t want to shop with them, buy with your own indie bookstore and shop local. ❤ Maybe one day, with all our support, we can send our local bookseller to space.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend, peeps!

Book List: Romance for a Great Valentine’s

Book List: Romance for a Great Valentine’s

…or a great Galentine’s. Up to you, my friends. 😉

Much as I despise Valentine’s Day, you all know I’m a sucker for some romance novels. Here are some of my mushy-gushy favorites, if you’d rather spend February 14th in bed with a great read!

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

This one goes without saying! No explanation needed. I originally read Pride & Prejudice when I was too young to appreciate its wit and sarcasm, but ever since I read it I have seen or read the story a thousand different ways (trust me, a thousand at least), and it just gets better and better. The classic love interest in Mr. Darcy never loses its appeal for me, and it remains one of my all time favorites. A great cozy read if you’re looking for a romance for the ages. Get a gorgeous copy of Austen’s best here.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

I love, love, love Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper series. It’s my understanding that the entire thing is already published on the internet somewhere, but I’ve been picking away at her published graphic novels of the story as they get released. I’m anxiously awaiting the fourth this year! Oseman nails a sticky sweetness between Charlie & Nick, without getting bogged down in a negative perception of gay relationships and how that affects our characters. And what I mean by that, primarily, is that all the adults, and the majority of their peers, have very wholesome and awesome reactions to Nick and Charlie. As important as it is to pay attention to the negative, I think it is equally important to model the good, and I love that Heartstopper is just that: all-around feel-good romance. I hope you give it a try, even if graphic novels aren’t your usual go-to! Pick up the first book here.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Talia’s novels were on a shortlist when I made My Favorite Contemporary Romance a few months back. I love Talia’s wit and charm when she writes, and Chloe was my absolute favorite character in the series. She won me over from the start. Her unabashed bubbliness and good humor in contrast to Red’s mysteriousness and broody demeanor was too cute for words, and an utter surprise from what I was expecting from the novel. Chloe is my favorite, but I am undeniably a Dani. 😉 I hope you’ll pick up the whole series, but for sure start here or read my full review here!

Simmer Down by Sarah Smith

Simmer Down was an unexpected favorite of mine last year! I read Faker when it came out and loved the premise, but not so much the execution (though I did read the whole thing in a night, so it couldn’t have been that bad I suppose). The story behind her newest though sounded so good (food truck wars in Hawaii?!), I figured she was worth a second try, and I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed Simmer Down and the fun enemies-to-lovers trope (those are my favorite)! Grab a copy here.

You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Another surprising hit for me! The title of You Had Me at Hola was just soooo cheesy, I felt like there was no way I could possibly like it. But I kept seeing good reviews from people whose taste I trusted, and it was all over bookstagram…so I thought, what the hell? I’m so glad I gave it the fair shot it deserved. Another sticky sweet romance, I think you’ll fall in love with Jasmine and Ashton. I didn’t love her next novel quite as much, but I will still keep reading her works. She has talent and an awesome voice (and I get a little thrill every time I can understand the Spanish sprinkled throughout without the aid of Google Translate, lol). Get yours here.

And there you have it! Pick up one of these great books instead of a box of chocolates. You can thank me later. 🙂 Have a wonderful and cozy winter season!

Book List: My Favorite Nonfiction for a Fresh Start

Book List: My Favorite Nonfiction for a Fresh Start

It’s almost a new year! 2022 is right up ahead, 2021 in the rear view. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to be waving goodbye to this shitty collection of months. It’s been a rough year for me, but things really started to look up these last two months. As January and new year’s resolutions come into focus, I want to offer you this: my favorite nonfiction books for a fresh start! I’m ready to jump into books that help me become my better self this year (and no, none of them will include exercise, I promise you).

How to Break Up With Your Phone by Catherine Price

I read this book my senior year in high school. While I think it’s safe to say every teenager could’ve used this advice, it’s also telling that I would pick it up of my own volition. Nowadays, I need my phone for work – I’m constantly texting, calling, emailing for business straight from my personal phone, so I have to say I actually prefer putting it down on my days off. It feels good to physically separate my phone from my body, either by leaving it in another room or giving it to my boyfriend or just plain old leaving it at home (only if someone is with me, though, I’m not that good!). How to Break Up With Your Phone is filled with practical advice, tips and tricks, and the science behind why our relationship with our phones is so bad…and I think all of it is more relevant than ever. I think I’d like to try to say goodbye again in 2022! Get a copy of your very own here.

the witch doesn’t burn in this one by amanda lovelace

Writing all that without capital letters physically hurt me, but you gotta do what you gotta do. And yes, I understand calling poetry nonfiction may be a bit of a stretch…but given the memoir style of lovelace’s work, I’m going to die on this hill. I adore lovelace’s poetry, and the evolution that’s taken form within it over the past few years has been wonderful to read and experience. the witch doesn’t burn in this one is a great fire starter: it gets you angry, amped up, and ready to do something about, well, anything really (but primarily: burning the patriarchy). I encourage everyone to read the whole series, but this is one of my personal favorites given the witchy theme and the burn-it-all-down energy. Get a copy of your own here.

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

#Girlboss is your slightly more business-oriented memoir and self-help book, but I love it, even if you’re not on an entrepreneurship path. This book blew up a couple years ago, and I think Amoruso’s personality certainly helped. I didn’t read it until years after it was published, but the business advice and the life advice is sound and entertaining at the same time. I loved her story, her scrappiness, and her drive. I think you’ll find that reading this book will help light the fire of your passions and remind you that you have no reason not to try. Fake it ’til you make it! Just the vibe I’m looking for going into the new year. Order yours here.

Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

I read and fully reviewed Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide several years ago, but I couldn’t tell you for the life of me where the review is now. Gone to the abyss. Poof. Disappeared. Regardless, I do remember thoroughly enjoying the advice and fresh ideas that came from Miller’s book. This trend for increasing productivity and organization is totally hacked in the pages of Dot Journaling, along with some creative ideas to help you build that emotional attachment to your calendars and spreadsheets. If you think dot journaling might fit into your hectic life and change it for the better, Miller’s book is a great place to start. To be perfectly honest though? I didn’t start dot journaling after I read it (but I wanted to?). It’s the illusion of productivity that keeps me going. Grab a copy here.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning by Margareta Magnusson

Ahhh. Swedish death cleaning. Döstädning to be precise. Döstädning is the practice (and art) of sorting and cleaning one’s belongings before you pass. Even in American culture where we don’t even have a name for it, I’m sure you can think of a few older people who begin to sift through everything they’ve collected over a lifetime as they near the end. And Magnusson’s novel doesn’t make it a dark thing: it’s matter-of-fact, emotional yet practical, and very smart. Even though I do not find myself needing to death clean at the age of 21, I thoroughly enjoyed Magnusson’s wit, and still yet her advice for living a less cluttered life. No matter what stage of being you find yourself in, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is a great way to start your year off decluttering your life. Order a copy here.

I have to tell you, there are actually several other books I wish I could’ve put on this list. If you feel like an overachiever this year, here are my runner-up choices: Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie, Educated by Tara Westover, Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena, Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, and Me, Myself & Ideas by Carrie Anton. So, so many.

Also, it’s occurred to me while reading this that some people might be assuming these are affiliate links that I get paid for…they’re not. I just love Gibson’s Bookstore, and if my mini-review drives you to buy a book, I hope you’ll buy it from them. Jeff Bezos doesn’t need to go to space again in a cowboy hat. Gibson’s online ordering is fast and seamless, and their staff is wonderful, so I highly recommend them for all your book purchases!

And on that note, friends, I hope you have the most excellent new year. It’s coming soon. Keep looking forward, and get ready to make some big, positive changes for yourself in 2022!

Book List: Holiday Reads

Book List: Holiday Reads

Happy Friday, friends. 🙂 If you’re ready to cozy up with your next great holiday read, I have the list for you today!

Technically, I do not start celebrating Christmas myself until Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday after Halloween, and no one gives it enough credit. However, I’m sure many people are pouring their eggnog and picking out Christmas gifts long before me…and I know this because they’re all over my Facebook timeline (you know who you are, people). So, I give you: my favorite reads for the holiday season (not necessarily Christmas specific!).

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

This book is such an adorable twist on A Christmas Carol. This will honestly probably end up being the most Christmas-y book on this whole list. Holly Chase has a whole lot of money, but not a lot of love. She’s perpetually mean – until she’s hit by a car and becomes to the new Scrooge. The whole thing ends up being pretty trippy and kind of a strange story, but it’s done well so that you get into the Christmas mood while you read it. It’s a quick read…and you can’t beat that adorable cover art. Get a copy from Gibson’s Bookstore here.

Humans by Brandon Stanton

If The Afterlife of Holly Chase is the most Christmas-y book on my list, Humans is the least. BUT, I will fight forever to keep this title on the list. There’s a reason these books have come out closer to the holidays: not only do they make great gifts, they are simply wonderful stories of humanity that make you feel more human around the holidays. Reading Humans is like a refresher course in how to connect with people, and it’s done in an absolutely amazing way. The books are based off and pulled from the Humans of New York social media accounts. Some are short, one sentence captions, and some are long and flowing stories of strangers. I adore these books and the warmth they bring me around the holiday season. Get a hardcover.

My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

I’m going to admit right up front that it’s been many a year since I read My True Love Gave to Me. I think I actually purchased my ebook the day it came out, like seven years ago (holy crap!!). I’m noticing as I’m making my selections that I don’t actually read a lot of holiday books? Do I hate Christmas?? I don’t think so, but apparently I’m not overly enthusiastic about it, either. So this is one of the few *outright holiday books* I’ve ever read, ever, and it felt wrong not to include it when fourteen year old me felt like it deserved at least four stars. *shrugs* I remember particularly enjoying Rainbow Rowell’s story, as I was kind of obsessed with her at the time (as you will see momentarily…). Pick up a copy.

The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler

This one I can actually attest to, lol. The Tourist Attraction was a fave of mine last year, when I devoured the whole thing in like a day. It’s very cute and very Christmas-y, and it’ll totally make you want to move to Alaska! We’ve got the whole grumpy-one-falls-for-the-sunshine-one trope small-town-everyone-knows-each-other nonsense…it’s good stuff. I didn’t enjoy the sequel as much as the first, which is why I specifically chose this guy here. You can check out my full review here, and get a copy from Gibson’s here.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Look, people, I’m going to ruthlessly defend this one too. Fangirl is my type of Christmas book. In fact, I often reread it right around Thanksgiving and Black Friday, because it gives me that cozy winter feeling. Last year, I opted for the manga version, and it was just as good. This story takes place primarily around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but love and family is the main focus. And if you don’t relate to Cath looking “tarred and sweatered” in every knit body garment imaginable, then we can’t be friends. I hope you find it puts you in the same state of mind it does for me. Get your paperback at this link.

As much as I hate to admit it, we are actually getting into the holidays. I much prefer my spooky season, but friends, I would like to wish you an absolutely wonderful holiday; enjoy your parties and delicious food; cherish the love and warmth of being with friends and family. Have a wonderful end to your year. ❤

Book List: Spooky Season Reads

Book List: Spooky Season Reads

All who know me, and perhaps all that read this blog, know that spooky season is my absolute favorite. Trips to Salem, horror movies, apple picking, pumpkin spice everything, trick or treating…Halloween is simply my favorite. I couldn’t let the month of October go by without listing some of my favorite reads to get me in the mood.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

Pumpkinheads was an absolute treat to read last year. It’s a super sweet fall romance and has the most beautiful fall art to get you in the spirit. Deja and Josie have worked at an epic pumpkin patch (that more captures the entire spirit of fall, honestly) every September and October for three years. Their friendship has blossomed over that time, but they always say goodbye every Halloween and part ways. This year, their senior year and the last year they’ll be able to spend working at the patch, Deja is on a mission to get Josie to talk to the girl he’s been quietly crushing on the whole time – and they go on one epic fall adventure on their very last day to get there. Rowell and Hicks are literal masters, and even better together. No spooks here, though, just sweet fall vibes almost as good as a pumpkin spice latte. Check out my full review here, and get yourself a copy here.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep is a fun and creepy novel with Hocus Pocus vibes written all over it. It’s like if Hocus Pocus was rated PG-13 (which, who are we kidding ourselves…it probably should be right?!). While it didn’t get tons of attention upon release, I think it probably should have. It was a great spin with incredible Halloween vibes to get you in the ~spirit~ (puns 100% intended). I’ve recommended it to tons of friends over the years because it just delivers the right amount of spook. Get a copy for yourself here.

Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker

Another graphic novel, and another absolute delight! Werewolf Tam has returned to their hometown to deal with a mysterious demon in the woods. Teen witch Nova is still around, doing her magic apprenticeship with her grandmas at their magic bookshop. When the pair of childhood friends reunite in their effort to stop an evil force much bigger than they imagined, sparks fly in an adorable romance full of magic and whimsy. This one is perfectly timely when it comes to Halloween reads, and it’s spooky while also being sweeter than pumpkin pie. Check out my full review here, and get a copy of your own here.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Hill House is classically creepy. You may have seen the show of the same name: as much as I LOVE the Netflix original, for all its ghosts and ghouls, it’s nothing at all like the book. The book is unsettling in a whole new way. Four strangers arrive at Hill House looking for evidence of a haunting: the doctor, his assistant, a young woman, and the heir to the home. Creepy things ensue, but something is just not quite right here. It’s hard to truly convey the wild plot of this incredible novel, but one thing is for certain: it’s the way that Shirley Jackson writes her novels that make them truly horrifying. Get your own copy here.

Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer

Nothing says Halloween like the Salem Witch Trials…to me, anyway. My close friends and I make our annual pilgrimage to Salem, Massachusetts in the autumn months and spend time in witchy shops, walking the grounds of the cemetery, and admiring the Salem Witch House. Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem examines the details of the witch trials, the possible causes backed by science, and the social motivations that fueled the fire in Salem. If you’ve never taken the time to really learn about it, it’s a wonderful introduction, small in size but quality in information. Moreover, it pairs even better with a trip to Salem. Get a copy from an indie bookstore here.

Some honorable mentions that didn’t make my list: The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton; The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters; The Shining by Stephen King; and My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. If you get to them…enjoy them! Hope you all have the most wonderful spooky season.

Book List: My Favorite Horror

Book List: My Favorite Horror

Naturally, my second book list had to be my favorite horror novels! I read that perfectly odd combination of romance and horror on the regular, so my two favorite genres had to be my first lists of recommendations. This list will hopefully give you a great combination of amazing classics and new favorites.

The Whisper Man by Alex North

I read The Whisper Man years ago, but it stuck with me because of the eerie feeling that follows you long after you finish it. I felt the same way about The Shadows, which I read earlier last month. There’s something so perfect about the way it’s crafted. Mid-read, I was sitting on my couch home alone in the dark, and I couldn’t even stop myself from checking over my shoulder. It just gave me the creeps! North also has the masterful combination of supernatural and a horrible reality – his villains are real, but the magic remains. You’ll see what I mean!

Grab your copy!

The Mist by Stephen King

I read The Mist mid-pandemic. Which was a mistake…or possibly smart as heck, because it made it all the more terrifying. No, I don’t mean to relate COVID-19 to the mist that overtakes the small Maine town, bringing with it creepy creatures that eat people. Very different scenarios. Buuut…the townspeople’s reaction to the mist? Not taking it seriously? Risking the safety of others to hold a certain bravado? That hit hard. Almost comical to read, if it wasn’t so horribly true. Glad to know it doesn’t matter what the national disaster is, there will always be non-believers and cynics.

While this is one of King’s shorter novels, it’s one of my personal favorites. King is a masterful writer, but the more pages you give him, the more he feels the need to drone on about things I tend to not think are important. His shorter books (Gwendy’s Button Box, Elevation, Carrie) are my favorites. It was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but omg it took me like a year, if I’m being honest.

Order a copy from Gibson’s…but prepare yourself to cringe.

Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

Hangsaman is one of those really weird titles I can only recommend to people once I get a good feel for what they read. Jackson was under-appreciated in her own time, which is a shame, because her writing is absolutely incredible, and Hangsaman, in my opinion, is her masterpiece. When Jackson writes, you sense it’s personal. Her books are raw with a feeling of being an outsider, wronged by the world, and it’s even more tragic to know she was very depressed and these works were truly her release. Hangsaman haunts me to this day. It’s a wild ride but it’s something you finish and immediately want to pick up again and reread because you couldn’t possible have absorbed it all.

Jackson’s works aren’t horror in the typical sense, but you will reach the end and feel deeply disturbed. Particularly with this one, practice self care while reading. Grab a copy here (and as it’s one of my personal favorites, be sure to get in touch and tell me what you think).

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

I feel like the natural choice of Grady Hendrix for this list would be The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires, which of course, you should also read. But no one picks up My Best Friend’s Exorcism first, which is a darn shame! The girl power, the perfect capture of an 80’s nostalgia vibe, and the utter creepiness of this novel are an amazing blend. It feels like Stranger Things meets The Exorcist, and I can’t recommend it enough. It was my first Hendrix, and sure as heck not my last. Hendrix is a master, and as we all know, one of my absolute favorite authors of both horror and just in general!!

Order yours here.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Did you like The Haunting of Hill House? The show, not the (also amazing) book by Shirley Jackson. Then you need to read Home Before Dark. It has the same vibe, and it made my skin prickle with the creepiness of it. I love a good haunted house, and this book does it perfectly. Sager has a knack for making you afraid of what lurks around every corner. I’m a pretty dedicated reader of his by now, and you can certainly catch me with every new publication. Home Before Dark was the book that got me hooked, and it still remains my favorite! Everything Sager writes reads like a horror movie you’re watching unfold on screen, and being a horror movie fan as well (of course!), I simply can’t resist.

Get your copy from Gibson’s here.

The awesome thing about this list is that I can easily recommend not just these titles but the authors themselves. If you’re a horror lover, of both the classics and these modern marvels, these are my go-to authors. Are you a horror lover? Have you read the titles on my list? What would make it on yours?

Have an awesome weekend, peeps. 🙂