What My Secret Santa Got Me for Christmas

This year was my first year participating in The Broke and Bookish’s secret Santa. It was a lot of fun! I loved picking things out for my recipient, and I loved receiving the books/gifts from my secret Santa! Hopefully my recipient loves the stuff I got her as much as I love the stuff I got!

For fun, here’s what came in my package. Thank you so much to Alyssa from The Eater of Books, who was my secret Santa!! I loved it!

The Stuff


  • Tsum tsum washi tape – this is sooo cute!  It’ll be decorating my bullet journal shortly 🙂
  • Cookies – nom nom nom
  • Pink pashmina – This is so pretty and so soft. Off to Pinterest to plan an outfit with it!
  • Candy cane shaped tube of Hershey-ettes – not pictured, because I ate it before I remembered to take a picture 🙂
  • Chocolate goodies – Need I say more?
  • Trinidadian Snacks – I’m so excited about these because I love trying international treats!


The Books


Alyssa put little notes on why she chose each book, which was awesome. I also love that she included books she has read and liked, knowing that I may like them as well.


  1. Hex Hall – This one was on my wishlist – I’ve wanted to read it forever! (You can see my whole wishlist here.)
  2. An Excess Male – This one is on my Goodreads TBR
  3. Magnolia – This one is also on my Goodreads TBR. Alyssa let me know that she loved it!
  4. #Scandal – Another one from my TBR. This is another one that she loved.
  5. Lark Rising – This one was not on my TBR, but is a favorite of Alyssa’s, an is “very swoony”. So of course, I’m quite excited to read this one!

That’s what I’ve got! If you participated, how did your secret Santa turn out? Did any of you (participants or not) get any great books for Christmas?

❤ Annette



My Favorite Christmas Tradition

This is going to be a super short post, but since one of my favorite Christmas traditions is book related, I wanted to share.

Every year on Christmas Eve, after we’d eaten Christmas dinner, gone to mass, and gotten into our pajamas, we would all pile on the couch and my dad would read us The Night Before Christmas. Even if we’d gone to midnight mass and it was super late, even if some of us were in high school, even if my Dad was almost falling asleep at the end of each sentence, we always read it. And I love that that was our tradition!

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My sisters, my dad, and me (my mom took the picture)

Our favorite version of the book is this one (which I still own).

(affiliate link)


We also had a mouse family version similar to the one below, which we read if we couldn’t find the other one. (We were all avid readers, so books roamed our house quite a bit. :))

(affiliate link)

I hope you and your families and friends have a wonderful Christmas!

❤ Annette


DIY Bookish Gifts

Here are ten bookish gifts that you can make yourself! There will be less pictures on this post because I don’t want to use someone else’s photos without permission. For all of my other bookish gift guides, click here.

1. Penguin Classics Poster

This super colorful poster is easy to make and makes a great decoration. You can find it at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

2. Embroidery Art

If you’re good at embroidery, you can make some embroidery hoop art. I like this one from Flamingo Toes which says “Shh… I’m reading”. I also like this one from Etsy, which shows a woman carrying a huge stack of books.

3. Cross-stitch Art

Very similar, but I find cross-stitching easier than embroidery, because it’s more structured. I like this clever pattern, in which one book remarks to another “you look thinner” and the second book says “I had my appendix taken out”.

4. Book Lover Necklace

This cute necklace features a colorful stack of books. It looks simple to make, and the blog (blog.darice.com) has great step by step directions.

5. Reading Pillow

This pillow has a pocket to hold your book when you’re not reading it!

6. Book Page Art Print

There are so many cute way to do this! I’ve linked some of my favorites (no directions, just inspiration) here, here, and here.

7. Charging Station (That Looks Like a Book!)

This charging station hides your charging devices within a book. It’s easily customizable because you can choose the book/book cover you use.

8. Book Clutch!

A perfect accessory! Or, if the book is big enough, I think it could make a beautiful jewelry box. One tutorial can be found here.

9. Giant Quilted Book Cushion

These are so fun! They’re giant cushions made to look like books! I think these would be extra fantastic in a classroom library/reading center.

10. Book Bag

Check out this sewn book bag or this crocheted one.

What do you think? Which item on this list would you most like to receive?

❤ Annette

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Gifts for Writers

How could I do a week of bookish gifts without making a list for writers – the people who bring these books into our lives! This post is mainly inspired by my writer friend, Rebecca Thorne. You can check out her blog here.

If you’re looking for other bookish gift guides, you can see all of the ones I have here.

Amazon links are affiliate links, the rest are for your convenience.

1. A Writer’s Mug

Most writers I know always have a cup of coffee or tea or cocoa by their side while they write. So why not give them an inspirational mug to accompany them?

2. A T-Shirt

This T-Shirt says “Never wrong a writer. They get their revenge in print.” I think it’s pretty clever, and it’s a great way to show off that you’re a writer! For a more subtle t-shirt, check out this one which has a heartbeat pattern written by a quill. (It’s cuter than I make it sound. :P)

3. Coffee or Tea

They’re going to need something to put in their mug! How about these punny Novel Teas?

4. A Print/Quote About Writing

Etsy has many great options for this. One I’m particularly fond of says “writing isn’t a hobby, it’s a calling”. You can find it here.

5. Fuzzy Socks

Do these really need explanation? Laptop (or notebook) + coffee + fuzzy socks = a great novel! 😀

6. Journal Bandolier

This gift is great for those who prefer to write by hand or those who use a bullet journal to organize their thoughts. It’s a leather “belt” that wraps around a notebook/journal and holds their writing utensils of choice.

7. Candle

Help them get in a soothing, focused mindset with a candle. My friend (and now me too) is a fan of Woodwick candles, because they crackle as they burn. It sounds like you’re next to a fireplace without having to build a fire!

8. A Domain Name

I got this idea from another friend (hi Krissy!), and I think it’s great. If your friend is trying to get their writing career started, they probably already have a website in mind. So why not buy them their domain name? (For those who are not tech-y, a domain name is a website address. For example, mine is akbookworm.com.) You can buy domains on sites such as GoDaddy or BlueHost.

8. Scrivener

This is the word processor for writers. It allows you to split up your novel into chapters or scenes, and then helps with formatting one you’re finished. It’s also great for storyboards and character plotting. There are so many more benefits to this software that you’ll have to ask another writer (or Google) about!

9. A Writer’s Conference

This one is quite pricy, which is why it would be an amazing gift to give to a writer. Find a writer’s conference in your area, or in their area of expertise and purchase their registration. You can check out Writer’s Mag for the list of the top ten conferences in North America.

10. Bookends

These bookends, which say WRI TER would be a great way to show off all of the books they have written!

What else should I add to this list? And shout out to all the awesome writers out there, who bring us the books we love so much!

❤ Annette

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Bookish Gifts for Men

It’s much belated, but here’s my post on bookish gifts for men! For my entire list of bookish gift guides, click here.

As per usual, Amazon links are affiliate links, and the others are just for your convenience.

1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Socks

Out of Print has some fantastic socks for all ages and genders. These Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy socks are sure to please any fan. (They even say DON’T PANIC on the bottom!)


2. Book Quote Leather Cuff

It’s hard to find jewelry for men, but I think this leather cuff with a J. R. R. Tolkien quote can definitely fit the bill. If this isn’t their thing, you can also check out these quotation mark cufflinks, which is also from Etsy.

3. Atticus Finch T-Shirt

This t-shirt from Amazon looks like it could be for a law offfice – but it’s actually a reference to To Kill a Mockingbird!

4. Tequila Mockingbird book

Okay, so this is a book and not a bookish item, but it’s too awesome not to share! It’s an entire book of cocktails “with a literary twist”. Perfect for the man who likes to bartend for friends and family.

5. Reading Ninja Bumper Sticker

I think this bumper sticker from Etsy could also be a good laptop decal. No book is safe! 😛

6. Funko POP Vinyl Character

These are so much fun! They make them for movies, TV, and books! (Well… mostly books made into movies, but whatever. :)) You can find them for Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, Stephen King’s It, Naruto, and more!

7. Triangle Book Stand

This book stand is a great way to set a book down for the night without losing your place!

8. Book-style Kindle Cover

Get them a cover for their Kindle that looks like a book! Check out this one which looks like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, or this one, which looks like a book of spells from the Harry Potter series.

9. Book Dragon Mug

Forget being a bookworm! (Although I’m a fan, personally :P) Get them a mug that celebrates that they are a book dragon!

10. A Floating Bookshelf

The pictured doesn’t look too impressive, but this is a fun way to store books as if there is nothing holding them to the wall! They just “float” there. 🙂

There’s what I found! What do you think? Anything I should add?

❤ Annette

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Books I Hope Santa Brings

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is books that we hope Santa brings. Instead of ten books this week, I have fifteen!

I also haven’t opened my The Broke and Bookish secret Santa gifts yet… so it’s totally possible that (secret) Santa definitely did bring some of these books! 🙂 As per usual, I’m linking my list up to The Broke and Bookish.

Clicking on the pictures will take you to Amazon through an affiliate link.

Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger

I loved Fail Carriger’s young adult series, and would love to start reading her adult series!

Flame in the Mist by Renee 

I loved The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdeih, so hopefully this book is great as well.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins 

This has been on my to read list for a looooong time.


How to Cake It: A Cake Book by Yolanda Gampp 

I love watching Yolanda’s YouTube videos and although I don’t do much baking myself, this book looks too pretty and too fun to pass up!

Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky 

This is another gorgeous book I would love to own.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo 

I’ve heard so many great things about this book.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

I’ve also heard many great things about this book, thanks mainly to BookTuber Thoughts on Tomes.

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce

I ❤ any book that has to do with Tortall! I (think) I’ve read all of them so far, and I definitely want to keep up with any new book Tamora Pierce publishes in this universe.

Everything On It by Shel Silverstein 

You’re never to old for some good Shel Silverstein poems!


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot 

My mom and my sister both read this one and thought it was great and intruiging. It’s about time I picked it up too.

Brooding YA Hero by Carrie Ann DiRisio

This one just looks really funny. 

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

This book sounds so cool!!

Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn 

This book just seems cute. I’m always down for a cute book.


Click’d by Tamara Stone 

Another book I’m excited to read.


What books are on your wish-list?

❤ Annette

Bookish Gifts for Women

Today I present to you some wonderful bookish gifts for women. If you want to see my other bookish gift guides, see the list of them here.

Amazon links are affiliate links, the others are for your convenience!

1. Geode Bookends

I think these bookends are so pretty, and they look much sturdier than the classic metal bookends! A beautiful household decoration that’s practical too.

2. Book Themed Travel Mug

If they’re not a coffee drinker, they probably drink tea or cocoa. So here’s a perfect bookish complement to that (often daily) habit.

3. Book Pillow

This one from Etsy is super colorful and reads “Drink Tea and Read Books”. Just looking at it makes me think of cozy winter days curled up with a good book and a warm beverage.

4. Tabletopics

These are book themed conversation starters. I think this would be great for a book club, since we always seem to struggle to find book related conversation starters. Plus, it’s in really pretty packaging. 😛

5. I’d Rather Be Reading Print

I found this print on Etsy and I love it. It’s a downloadable, so you don’t even have to wait for shipping! It’s beautiful and I know I definitely want one to hang next to my bookshelf.

6. Book Basket

If you’re nifty, you can crochet a basket like the ones here. Or if you’re not as creatively inclined (or pressed for time) you can get this one off of Amazon. (Although, sadly, it isn’t very colorful.)

7. Just One More Chapter Necklace

This necklace from Etsy is classy, trendy, and perfect for the book-loving woman in your life! (As a book-loving woman myself, I can verify that “just one more chapter” is pretty much our motto. :P)

8. Book Scarf

You can find scarves with the print from many different books out there. I personally like this scarf from Out of Print (this time via Amazon).

9. Book Candle

Apparently, book themed candles are a thing. Some of the favorite ones I found on Etsy are called Reading at the Cafe, Through the Wardrobe, and Midsummer’s Night Dream.

10. Book Earrings

More jewelry! Stacks of books make a cute accessory. You can find basic, whimsical ones here, or more sophisticated looking ones here.

Sorry there are less pictures in this one! A lot of the items were from Etsy and I’m not comfortable using their pictures without permission. What did you think of this list? Anything I need to add?

❤ Annette

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Bookish Gifts for Teens

Sorry that I wasn’t able to get all of these lists out in one week. It’s been a crazy week! (As a side note, I got to perform at the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona, so that’s pretty cool.)

Anywho, on to the list! This list is a collection of bookish items for teens. If you would like bookish gift ideas for a different age group, see all of my bookish gift lists here.

Amazon links are affiliate links, the other ones are just for your convenience.

1. My Weekend Is All Booked Mug

I love this phrase! What better way to spend a chilly day than to fill this with a cup of cocoa and grab a good book? This (and other items with this phrase) can be found at LookHuman.


2. Pride and Prejudice T-Shirt from Out of Print

Have I mentioned how much I love this website? Oh, I have? Well, here’s another item from them. This is a pretty Pride and Prejudice t-shirt.


3. Bookworm Necklace

This adorable necklace has a charm of a book and a worm. It pretty much sums me up in one jewelry piece. 🙂 It’s sure to please any book lover out there!

4. Hunger Games Collection of Nail Polish by China Glaze

Isn’t this the neatest idea ever? Hunger Games themed nail polish! There’s one color for each district. It includes fun shades such as Riveting (orange), Dress Me Up (rose), and Fast Track (glittery beige).

5. Book earrings

I found these fun earrings on Etsy. This particular pair has a pinkish version of the book Emma by Jane Austen. I’m sure you could easily find other variations on Etsy as well!

6. Book Washi Tape

This washi tape would be a cute way to decorate a planner, journal, scrapbook, and so much more!


I’m a big fan of this beautiful watercolor-style bookmark from Etsy. This one says “Just One More Chapter”, but Etsy has a lot of great bookmark options!

8. Harry Potter Coloring Book

There are some pretty great adult coloring books out there. This is one of my favorite book themed ones – it’s a Harry Potter one! You can also get Harry Potter coloring books devoted to just magical creatures, places and characters, or magic artifacts.

9. Book Scarf

I think this scarf is more fashionable than warm, but either way, it’s another great addition to a bookworm’s accessory collection. (If this is too “girly” for your particular teenager, you can also find a Harry Potter house scarf as an alternative.)

10. Pouf Ottoman

This pouf would provide a fun/comfy place to read. Plus, it comes in a wide variety of colors, so you can find one to perfectly match their existing decor.

That’s the list! What do you think?

❤ Annette

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Bookish Gifts for Children

If you have a child who is too old to be a toddler but too young to be a teen, then this list is for you! Below are ten book themed gifts for children. (You can find all of my bookish gift guides here.)

(Amazon links are affiliate links, the other links are simply for your convenience.)

1. When in Doubt Go to the Library T-Shirt

This is a great shirt for all ages really. You can find it at Out of Print.


2. Book Print

What could be better than some bookish art to add color to the walls of their bedroom? My favorite is from Etsy and has an Emily Dickinson quote that says “To travel far, there is no better ship than a book.”

3. By the Book, a Novel Stacking Game

How cute is this game?? I’ve never played it, but if it’s as fun as it looks, it’ll be lots of entertainment! You can find it on Amazon.

4. Very Hungry Caterpillar Tote

I think discovering Out of Print was one of the best finds this year, for me at least. This Hungry Caterpillar tote would be perfect for carrying books to and from school or the library. (And to be honest, I want one too!)


5. Bookshelf

I wanted to feature those whimsical teacup shaped bookshelves that keep showing up on Pinterest, but they are apparently made by an Etsy artist and are out of stock. So here is a fun Mickey Mouse bookshelf I found on Amazon! They also have Minnie Mouse and Frozen versions as well. (I imagine ordering a bookshelf on Amazon is nicer than getting it at the store, because you don’t have to haul it home, it just shows up at your door. :P)

6. Book sling

If you don’t want to purchase or put together a bookshelf, you can always opt for a book sling (like this one from Amazon). I like these because they display the books pretty well, and are great for picture books because there’s not a height restriction. Plus, they’d tuck easily into the corner of a living room or bedroom, for easy access to even more awesome books. 🙂

7. Bookworm bookmark

This one is for you crocheters out there – a DIY bookworm bookmark. You can find the free pattern here.

8. Bookmarks to color

A friend got me some bookmarks to color for my birthday this year, and I love them. Not only are the practical (you can never have too many bookmarks), but they’re a fun art project as well. The ones on sale at Target right now are ocean themed, but if that isn’t your child’s favorite, you can also search Etsy for lots of great options!

9. Legos

I know Scooby-Doo started out as a TV show and then became a book series, but since I loved (and still read) the books, I think it would be great to give Scooby-Doo legos (like these from Amazon). Pair them with a couple of the books and you have a great gift set!

10. Hungry Caterpillar Bookends

I’m sort of sorry I keep featuring Hungry Caterpillar items, but at the same time, not really. These bookends are sooooooo cute. Perfect for any child’s set of books!

What’s your favorite item from this list? Have you given or received any fantastic bookish gifts for children?

❤️ Annette

Bookish christmas gift guides

Book Review: The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Molly had a crush on Dylan for years while she was growing up. But he was ever only interested in her sister. After Dylan and Molly’s sister break up, Dylan moves out of town, leaving Molly with a ring and a promise of an adventure. Over a decade later, Molly has had the epitome of bad weeks and decides she’s had enough. She tracks down Dylan and asks him to follow through on his promise for an adventure.

What I Liked

  • It’s sort of Christmas themed. Which is a big plus for me!
  • This book was more fade-to-black than Susan Mallery’s typical romances. That’s not to say it was squeaky clean, nor is it to say that I rate books solely on their adult content. I just found that this author (and many others) tends to focus on the plot more when she can’t use adult content as a filler.
  • The characters aren’t perfect. Neither of the two main characters (Dylan and Molly) are cookie-cutter. It was fun to discover their quirks, and it was also great to see them struggle with their inadequacies. It made the story more realistic.
  • The story wasn’t insta-lovey. The characters have history, and I got to see the characters grow in their feelings for each other. They didn’t just start out with an instant attraction.
  • Overall, this was just a super cute story, with lots of little revelations along the way that hooked me and kept me reading.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It wasn’t on-the-edge-of-my-seat-oh-my-gosh sort of exciting, but it was exactly what I was looking for in a holiday romance. Just keep that in mind if you’re looking for something a little bit more adventurous.

In Conclusion

If you want a cute holiday romance (and are okay with PG-13 content) then this book is for you!

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)