Blogmas: Holiday Reads & TV

Hello!

This Christmas, I wanted to go all out on my celebrations, which really means absorbing as many books, films and TV specials as possible that relate to the holiday season. In this post, I am going to tell you about my reasons over this decision, plus give you some ideas if you’re in the mindset to basically do anything (or everything) I’m doing this December, so I really hope everyone enjoys this little thing.

Books:

Since I finished my reading challenge very early, it has allowed me to devote a chunk of my time to finding some wholesome and maybe not-so-wholesome reads about the holiday season. All but three of the books I’m reading this month are available on Kindle Unlimited, so they were free! So I have three full-length novels and the rest were novellas.

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Title: Unwrapping His Package
Author: Fiona Davenport
Genre: Erotica/romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was amazing start to the holiday season! I always have a rough time with novellas because they can lack organization, but I didn’t have any problems with this one. It was a very steamy read, but exactly what I wanted to read at that moment of time. 


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Title: A Christmas Carol
Author: Charles Dickens
Genre: Classics/contemporary fiction
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I have always wanted to read this book. I’ve seen two or three film adaptions but have never actually made to read it, and this has always surprised me because it is the ideal Christmas story, but then again, when I was in school, I only read a handful of classics!

Anywho, I found the audiobook on YouTube and I thought I could listen to it while working on my Christmas cards this past weekend. I don’t know who the narrator was, but he definitely brought the characters to life with his deep, but welcoming voice! If you have about three hours to yourself, you should listen to it as well, and if you want, click here to start reading the book.


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Title: On His Naughty List
Author: Kat Baxter
Genre: Erotica/Romance
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Despite the fact that these two books are in the same series, I did not follow the order, because there were some that sounded cheesy, so I ignored them and found this bad boy! This one definitely had a lot of things missing from the storyline but obviously I didn’t care as much since I gave it a higher score…


The other books I have on my TBR (to be read) list are: Secret Santa by Mayra Stratham, (which is another book in the Filthy, Dirty Christmas series.) A Very Bossy Christmas by Alexis Winter, How to Ruin the Holidays by Becky Monsoon, Christmas in the Scottish Highlands by Donna Ashcroft, and finally Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas. Technically I am (as I write this post) reading A Very Bossy Christmas and it is absolutely hilarious, which is exactly what I want right now, so I see myself enjoying this and the one by Becky Monsoon the most, but we’ll see how things turn out in the end.

TV

I am not one to have my television locked on the Hallmark channel this month–honestly, it is one station I have locked out until the second of January when they turn The Golden Girls back on!

Last year, there was a film premiering on Lifetime called, Christmas Ever After and it starred Ali Stroker. Ali is a wheelchair user like moi, but most importantly she won a Tony away for her performance in “Oklahoma” in 2019. Honestly, the overall concept of seeing someone in an overwhelming holiday romance on my television that I was thoroughly exciting! Unfortunately, I never got a chance to finish watching it, that I feel like I need to find it again and give it another chance before Christmas is over.

I already have a small selection of films in my movie folder, and I am still stunned by my reasonings for wanting to watch them. There is Christmas in Tahoe that apparently was inspired by a Train song or album, and the band itself or just the lead vocalist Pat Monahan is in the actual film too! I adore the band’s music, I’ve been a casual fan over the years, but I thought the concept of this movie was interesting, so this was the first. The second was, A Christmas Dance Reunion, and it has Corbin Bleu and Monique Coleman, who played “Chad” and “Taylor” in the original High School Musical films. And finally, I am recording Sister Swap: A Hometown Holiday which has real sister Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Ashley Williams. It honestly looks really fun and hilarious, so it is on my list as well!

Now I am this selection says “TV” but of course, I’m enjoying all of my other favorites like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Annabelle’s Wish and Home Alone. Speaking on that film, I am also looking forward to checking out the newest Home Alone on Disney+ too! I really enjoy the sequels of these films, so this is just natural for me! Now that I have everything done, I can do everything that I love doing in this festive season.

What are you looking forward to the most? Do you have a new favorite holiday book or movie yet?

Book Review: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

Hi 🙂

Now that I can watch YouTube on my TV, I’ve been finding different channels to amuse myself, and one day I stumbled on an audiobook. I don’t know why I was so stunned at this, because I’ve seen crazier things! This ultimately made me remember what I had discovered on Spotify a few days beforehand. I’ve been enjoying the various podcasts, mostly the sleep ones and I found one called “The Sleepy Bookshelf” and they have a few of famous books like Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Braun to listen to until you fall asleep. As much as I thought this was a great idea, some of these books are actually on my TBR so I don’t exactly want to drift off into dreamland while trying to remember the events going on; and the fact that the person reading the books has the perfect monotone voice so falling asleep is somewhat easier than you’d think. Once I saw this pop up om YouTube, I thought I would try it out again and found one that had the full book of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

If you would like to try listening to the book via YouTube, here’s the one I used but there are others out there that include the words just in case you want to read along on the screen.


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ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. Its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.

Dodgson’s tale was published in 1865 as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by “Lewis Carroll” with illustrations by John Tenniel. The first print run of 2,000 was held back because Tenniel objected to the print quality. A new edition was quickly printed, released in December of the same year but carrying an 1866 date.

The entire print run sold out quickly. Alice was a publishing sensation, beloved by children and adults alike. Among its first avid readers were Queen Victoria and the young Oscar Wilde. The book has never been out of print. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into at least 174 languages. There have now been over a hundred English-language editions of the book, as well as countless adaptations in other media, especially theatre and film.

taken from Amazon.

Since I have watched the original Disney adaption of Alice In Wonderland throughout my life, I really tried to turn off what I knew from the film to what I was hearing – unfortunately I wasn’t that successful but then again it happens whenever I read the Harry Potter books too. I can’t change what I know but it is a nice lesson to other book to screen adaptions in the future!

For the most part, the experience was great!

I really enjoyed myself throughout most of the story, but like how I feel about the movie, my interest basically disappears as we get to the ending. I thought it was funny how much the Queen of Hearts is actually a mild character in the book whereas her husband, the King, has a bigger role. The same goes with other characters we are used to be commanding like The DoDo and Mad Hatter. In a way it was strange or I guess in this case “curious” that it doesn’t matter what age we are, but we could be swayed just as easily as Alice figuring out how tall she wanted to be throughout the entire book.

Do bats eat cats? Do cats eat bats?

Alice in general was very sure of herself but had a posh or snub personality to me. Despite not really understanding what was going on at the start of her journey, she never let go of that almost cocky attitude. The author wrote the book in the 1800’s, so children who were born and raised in the middle or higher in their social class, would have that kind of personality, well most of them! So, it was rough to get over my judgement towards her. and frankly I just didn’t care for her at all…Is there anyone out there who does not find the book interesting at all? I am curious about what made you think this wasn’t as thrilling as you thought it would be? Honestly, a part of me wishes I had fallen asleep to it when I found it on Spotify.

If you are a fan of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, what were the elements that pulled you down the rabbit hole? Do you think I should check out “Through the Looking Glass” next? Do you believe I might like this one better?

Top 5 Favorite Reads On My Bookshelf

Hello!

We have a single, skinny bookshelf in my nephew’s playroom. I’ve always wanted to do a tour of it but I haven’t found a way to do it as a blog post and make it so that it’s fun and unique. The majority of the books are mine, while my poor nephew has like three! It’s a little sad but I don’t have any more room in my own bedroom to have proper shelves for them. I have a smaller one next to my bed but I don’t have any more room for anything really. Anyways, for today, I wanted to talk about my favorite books featured on the shelf and at first, as I was coming up with this post, it seemed like an easy conquest, when in reality it was the opposite but still I got it all done for you!

I’ve added a link to the reviews I’ve done in the past on the pictures listed below, so, if you want to check them out, all you have to do is click the photo. Be aware though, they could contain spoilers so please keep that in mind beforehand! It was extremely hard to list all of these books because I really love them all the same, or so I thought…I still hope you enjoy all of the books and maybe you will find your next favorite too..


5. “Origins” Stefan’s Diaries Vol. 1 by L.J. Smith, Julie Plec & Kevin Williamson

I do remember buying this book because from the moment I saw Julie promoting it on Twitter, and I was curious to see a written form of Stefan Salvatore’s origins, If you want a more detail look into the life of both Stefan and Damon on the day Katherine arrives to their home in Mystic Falls, VA, and turn them into murderous vampires, this was make you smile in a very odd way!

If you are like me and desperately miss the entire show (and The Originals too!) then reading the entire collection could be something you should consider someday. I have only read to the second book, but there are five more books afterwards “Bloodlust” and I think Julie wrote a series about Klaus too, correct me if I’m wrong in the comments, but they all seem great stories for the fall?

4. Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I did buy it mainly on how it looked without a dusk jacket. I saw it on all of my favorite BookTube channels, There are not very many books that can match or even look close enough to their majestic jackets, but when I started reading it, and I was thoroughly into the story of these characters. I saw everything as I was reading and I still have Zélie’s dark skin and white hair in my brain. The most interesting part is, I cannot tell you how much this book pops into my head nowadays! This entire summer had me thinking about Zélie and Princess Amari, and what could happen for everybody involved in the next phase, so that means I should make a point to get the second book in the series soon or else it’ll just keep coming up to me at all hours..

3. The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

This is still one of my favorite reads after nine years of reading it.

This book tells you of a story of a young woman who can do anything she wants in the world but she doesn’t see her natural beauty. She has anorexia and is bulimic, and it is a very sad story underneath this interesting person. I’m still kind of bothered on why I wanted to read it in the first place, but I think it is purely to remind me that not everybody is happy with their bodies, and everyone has different struggles with seeing beauty within themselves.

2. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

I know this one still freaks a lot of people out, but it actually started out innocently enough as I wanted to know what all the fuss was about with the film. I knew there was an able-bodied actor for the role of Will Traynor and thankfully a year or two before, I made a vow to read the book first and if at one time the main character was “normal” and became disabled after having cancer or was involved in an accident, it was easier to tell myself, this can happen (and I know a lot of people who have experienced it firsthand!) and once I finished I could find the right words to tell everyone in both the book and disabled communities my views on it.

What I didn’t expect was being absolutely taken by the story of Louisa or Lou as she likes to be called instead. How she was in this book was so amazing and very educational too. For someone who had no experience taking care of a person with a very serve physical disability, she had a lot of spunk in her. This was one of my favorite qualities in her, she could hit back on Will’s depressing wit. Despite the fact that she wanted to help his family change his mind about committing medical suicide, and you realize that Will holds all of the cards for her. The story isn’t necessarily about him, it is on her, at least that was the way I saw it at the end.

1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

All of the books listed in this post are truly amazing, but nothing compares to Victoria Aveyard’s “Red Queen” for me. I absolutely adore the story of Mare Barrow, the poor red who had the same abilities as the elite silvers.

It’s interesting, I remember before picking this up at Walmart back in 2016, and thinking it was about a vampire queen. It wasn’t until I read the blurb on the back that I realized I was a bit wrong there and I think I almost put it back on the ledge but something about it intrigued me and I finished with it a week after I bought it! I was thoroughly impressed and a bit surprised by everything mentioned in the book. One of my favorite scenes was when Mare tries to escape out of the castle and as she heads for the window, she has guards coming at her and she makes a run for it and manages to lean back and skid underneath the men and for some odd reason this scene is so vivid in my mind and pretty much sealed the deal on my doubts and expectations.

After five years, I can officially say I am almost done (depending on when this post goes live) with the second book in the series, Glass Sword and the review will publish Friday morning, and I am hoping to start on the third book by the end of the month if everything works out the way I am hoping it would. I would love to complete this series before the end of the year as well, but I’ll be proud of myself on that accomplishment whether that part happens or not though.


Now I have one more thing to say before I let you go!

I do love the “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” series by Jenny Han, but I do not keep those books on this shelf. They are located in my bedroom; I am hoping to store all of my beloved books, whether they are part of a series or standalones it doesn’t matter, so I can be reminded everyday of my accomplishments. Of course, this also means my dad will have to build me actual shelves on my wall someday because I have quite a few that I’m done with and want store them all together and I’m really running out of space on the floor so we need to go up for this project.. Also, do you have any advice on how I can get rid of the price stickers? They are seriously annoying and would love to have them removed from the beautiful covers. I am open to hear everyone’s suggestions at this point!

What are your top five or ten favorite books on your shelves? What makes them different than the others?

Book Review: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling

Hello!

Well, this one took me forever to get through–mainly because for a while I was just casually reading this because of its sheer size! I seriously did not think I would be able to finish it this year, but I’m here now and we have much to discuss!

WARNING: If you have not read the books yet and want to sometime in the future, there are spoilers mentioned below so I figured I’d give you a heads up beforehand!


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Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age.

Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for hundreds of years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards.

And in his case, different can be deadly.

taken from Goodreads.

After reading the previous books, I knew going into this that I would be introduced to other things that were clearly missing from the film, but I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around everything! Honestly, there was one thing that annoyed me and it was like it just dragged on with certain sections. Other than that, I didn’t have much to complain about and considering it is 734 pages long, I feel like it was a success!

I always adore when Harry and Hermione go to The Burrow at the end of the summer holidays to spend time with Ron’s family. They may not have much, but you can always feel the love in that house, and with this book we get to meet Bill and Charlie! So, it was incredibly crowded and I can imagine Mrs. Weasley’s mind going to explode with all of those people under one “small” roof–especially with the crazy antics of Fred and George! I think James and Lily Potter would be pleased with how much love that Molly and Arthur care for their son and obvious well-being! I do have to mention that seeing Mrs. Weasley and Bill before the third task was so sweet! I totally cried during this scene because for one, you’re not expecting it to happen and if Harry ever thought he didn’t have supporters outside of Hogwarts in the games, he definitely knew at that moment.

We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.

Another element that isn’t mentioned in the films very much is we get to know more about house elves. What are house elves you ask? Well, they are these strange looking characters that work for the elite families in the Wizardry world. In the second book, “The Chamber of Secrets” we meet Dobby, who has the awful job for caring for the Malfoys. Dobby explained to Harry that elves are not allowed to leave unless they are given a piece of clothing, if their master gives them clothes, they are freed. Well, Harry freed Dobby by masking one of his socks as being from Mr. Malfoy. We get to see Dobby again in this book, and we get to know who exactly creates the daily feasts in the Great Hall. Unfortunately, we get to meet a very caring but heartbroken elf named Winky once we head into the Quidditch World Cup, which by the way, I FINALLY get to know who wins that damn game! I’ve hold it off knowing the truth in case I ever decided to read the series and it was awesome!

Now I will say, I wasn’t a blabbering mess after Cedric’s death like I thought I would; the only thing I could understand it was because I knew it happens and yes, as heartbreaking it is for everyone in the book and the Potter fans, I cried more when Mrs. Weasley surprises Harry than anything else. I do know, there would have been no way in hell I’d be able to replay everything in my mind minutes after witnessing Lord Voldemort coming back and everything that is mentioned in that chapter to retell it all to Dumbledore and Sirius. I mean, that is a lot for a person but given Harry is what? Thirteen in this book? Nobody needs to see that but unfortunately it happens and we have to heal and move on. The only thing that got me through this book was a little voice telling me, “we get to meet Luna Lovegood in the next one!”

I am very proud of myself for being able to finish reading this book. So far, this one is the one trying to come out of its spine! There is a good chunk that is now loose but it tucked back together with its dust jacket in the bookshelf. The next seems to be in better shape but we’ll see towards the middle on how much my cousin loved it! I’m not mad at him on the condition, these are first edition hardbacks, so I’m not terribly upset about their rips and tears, as they remind me that somebody before me definitely enjoyed them multiple times and I am perfectly fine with it!

Have you read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling yet? If you have, what were your favorite parts of the story? For those who watched the film before reading the series, how did you handle the death of Cedric Diggory?

Book Review: “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer

Hello!

Since I upped my reading challenge to 30 books, I was making that decision mainly to explore all kinds of stories. If I could, I would make room to read books that have made me curious in the past but fought against it at the time or lost interest either in the beginning or halfway through, and oddly enough Twilight is one of those books. As you might know, one of my favorites: The Vampire Diaries came on the air in 2009, which was less than a year after the first Twilight film came out. I do remember taking a chance and trying to read the book at my school’s library in that time frame but I just couldn’t shake it and ended up shoving it all away.

Mentally, I had Twilight on my to be read list, but it wasn’t until all of the films appeared in order on Showtime that I was like, “okay, I’m doing this! I am reading the books.” and within a few days, I had ordered it right along with my other books on my Kindle. It was the only print book I bought myself for a late Christmas gift and the sheer size intimidated me once again, even my dad thought it was a lot at the time, and was very proud to know that I had finished it too. These 300-400+ paged books have nothing on me anymore!


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About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

Deeply seductive and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight is a love story with bite.

taken from Goodreads.

The funny part about this whole thing, was my thought after I finished working on the banner above, it was simply, “would anyone be interested in another reading a review of Twilight?” I thought it was hilarious at first, but then it was, like I think I could make this different from others, to make it look like a brand new book. Eh, we’ll see what happens after this post publishes.

There is one more thing I need to point out; I have maybe seen each movie possibly once since they were all out on DVD. So, I was actually able to create what all of the characters, setting and what I was reading in general looked like, and it was so freeing! I’ve never been so proud of myself for doing this, because even though I kept seeing Billy Burk for Charlie, Anna Kendrick for Jessica, and Robert Pattinson for Edward, everyone else was very much of a blur at first but as I got towards the middle of the book, I could see different features for everything and it was interesting to say the least!

I want to say that I was pretty interested at the start, when we are introduced to Bella. It was sort of odd how Edward isn’t able to read her mind but yet we, as the reader, know everything she is thinking when she’s with and without Edward around, and as we continued in the story, I began to see this character in a new light, because I just thought she was too stoic, but learning more about her and how she thinks, was enlightening to me.

“How ghastly it would be, I thought, shuddering, if Charlie had, even the slightest inkling exactly what I did like.”

There are not very many times I will pick out favorite chapters, but I thought Chapters 13 to 16, were some of the most thrilling stories. It also answered a lot of things I remember weren’t really shared in the films. I absolutely loved learning more about Edward, how he became a vampire and what kind of circumstances were present when Carlisle gave him new life. My respect for Carlisle went over the roof as Bella was introduced to the story of how he was created and why he became a doctor in the first place. As I was reading these four chapters, I was allowing myself to slow my pace, because I have always been curious to learn more about the rest of the Cullens.

Once I got to Chapter 17, which is called “The Hunt” everything kind of changed and there was really no stopping in between because the events taking place are quick and you are automatically reading it as fast you can or at least, that’s what to me. Unfortunately, I had to stop just before I hit the epilogue, because my mom wanted to go to bed and it irked me so much to stop that I couldn’t get her out of my room fast enough; once she left though, I resumed my position and finished the book all in about four hours!

Now that I am done reading, I kind of want to restrain myself from actually watching the films and finishing the book series, in case, there is information featured that I might want to know beforehand. Of course, I’ve been waiting to watch the fist one for like two months and I don’t know when I’ll be able to receive the next book yet.

Have you read the Twilight series or maybe just one of the books by Stephenie Meyer? Do you remember if you had a favorite chapter(s) in that first book? Which couple do you ship?