Book Review: The Sheik and the Christmas Bride by Susan Mallery

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Kayleen is a school teacher who was raised by nuns and is trying to make the world a better place by caring for orphans. As’ad is a business focused sheik/prince whose aunt is secretly trying to set him up. He ends up in a situation where there is only one possible solution – adopt three girls and hire Kayleen to take care of them.

What I Liked

  • Sometimes you just need a good, cliche romance novel to cheer you up. This one certainly did the trick.
  • I loved the commoner/prince dynamic presented by this book. It was sort of like Netflix’s The Christmas Prince, but with character development and natural dialogue.
  • I was sort of a fan of As’ad’s pompous personality. He didn’t act that way because he was a jerk – he was just raised that way and knew no better. (If you’ve ever read the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce, As’ad is very similar in personality to Jonathan.)

What I Didn’t Like

  • I was looking forward to reading about a business focused male love interest – and instead got the stereotypical playboy love interest. It would have been nice to see something new.
  • There were some inconsistencies in the book. For example, they very explicitly state that none of the princes are playboys, and yet each of the ones we meet… definitely are. Kayleen’s character was a little inconsistent as well.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for the book version of A Christmas Prince, this is for you. (There is adult content in this book, be warned.)

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

 

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Book Review: Forgotten Carols by Michael McLean

Rating: ⭐⭐

Summary

A nurse named Connie Lou is assigned as a caretaker for “Uncle John” during Christmas time. She’s very starched and straight-forward and has no family of her own. She is a by-the-book rules follower. Uncle John is the exact opposite – eccentric, unpredictable, and charismatic. He shares Christmas with Connie Lou by telling stories about each of his unique ornaments.

What I Liked

  • Not much. This would have gotten one star, except that is reserved for books I loathe. And to be honest, this one wasn’t written well enough for me to loathe it.
  • Some of the messages were sort of okay? Or could have been, if written better.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It was very heavy-handed in its messages. Even as a Christian, I found it a little overwhelming.
  • For as heavy-handed as it was, it wasn’t very Biblically accurate.
  • I didn’t get it? I’m sure there was supposed to be a very obvious, heart-warming message in there somewhere, but I just didn’t get the story. It was weird and I didn’t understand the ending at all in the context of the rest of the book.
  • It was inconsistent. Half of the characters you meet are obviously supposed to be from the Bible. But the other half seem to be pretty random. There was no cohesiveness in this story whatsoever.

In Conclusion

I guess this is popular as a play, but as a book, it isn’t worth your time.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

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

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  • 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!

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The Books

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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.

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  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!)

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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 
Ahdeih

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.

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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.

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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!

7. Bookmarks

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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