Thursday, December 29, 2016

December Favorites| The Christmas-y Christmas Edition + MA BUNNY

This month has been very eventful. And Christmas was pretty crazy, too.
  • I finally watched Twilight. I am...not a fan. At all. Though I have now seen all of them thanks to my now Twilight obsessed mother. Maybe the books are better than the movies, and that's great, but I just can't stand the whole "At Every Turn, Jacob or Edward Is There To Save Me" thing that Bella seems to rely on. 
  • It snowed TWICE in my snowless little state. WHAT EVEN IS THIS CHRISTMAS MAGIC? 
  • We built a village of gingerbread houses complete with a lake and an island. 
  • ...and two sharks. 
  • ...and an Elsa ornament right in the middle of town square to rule with an icy fist. 
  • The lid to my rabbit's cage got left open, and he escaped. Then, after 18 hours of sadness and searching, we found him chilling under his cage in all the fallen hay. Isn't he adorable? 
HE'S TOO MUCH
  • Our Christmas was completely different than it has ever been before (though last year we had Christmas dinner at a Chinese place), and IT WAS SO FUN! Christmas is kind of the best.
  • And the most important event of December...I got two more potted plants! A poinsettia (tis the season!) and an orchid. They're both very pretty, and I am determined to not kill them.
I feel like I should make this stuffed full of Christmas cheer and glitter and snow since it was just Christmas, and I am still living in the Holly Jolly. Oh well, I will just have to pretend as though it is Christmas-y. I won't tell if you won't.
Book
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Made You UpTHIS BOOK WAS SO UNEXPECTED!

I had seen it in odd places on the internet, and I took note of the pretty cover, but for the most part, I assumed it would be just another YA romance with a tad of something else thrown in. Until one day, I finally worked my way to the bottom of one of my library towers where it sat.

To say that I was surprised is an understatement.

Me: *closes book* Well that was good.
Brain: Don't you mean AMAZING?
Me: Huh?
Brain: Remember Miles.
Me: Oh yeah... He was great.
Brain: And Alex was a treasure, right?
Me: You are correct.
Brain: AND THAT PLOT TWIST THO
Me: BRO
Brain: BRO
Me: We're on the same page now.
Brain: BRO
Me: We're done with that now.
Brain: Sorry, I got excited. 


EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BOOK WAS THE BEST.

+ Miles and Alex. Can we talk about how this did not feel like a typical romance? IT WAS DIFFERENT, OKAY? They're both messed up in their own ways and harboring their own secrets, but then they harbor secrets together, and it's adorable.

THE HISTORY IN THIS. I'm pretty sure I am 14.7% smarter after reading this book.

+ The school didn't feel like a High School Musical without the singing. IT WAS REAL, PEEPS. There were cliches, sure, but they were done masterfully. Most of the cliche characters had so much more depth than I gave them credit for at first. I get really tired of all those cliches from schools in books. Though maybe those actually exist. I don't actually know, being home schooled and all (#hermitsforlife).

+ It didn't waste a word. Usually books, even good books, have a lot of unnecessary words. It is my belief that every word should serve a direct purpose, and Made You Up follows that belief. The writing is crisp and purposeful, which is so refreshing.

Bless this marvelous book. Definitely buying it ASAP, or as I like to say, ASAIGM (As Soon As I Get Money).


Gemina: THIS BOOK GAVE ME HEART PROBLEMS. Towards the last 1/4 of the book, I was having a heart attack every two or three pages. IT WAS SO INTENSE AND CRAZY AND LOOK AT THAT LITTLE PILE OF STRESS, oh that's me. GOOD GLORY THIS BOOK WAS INTENSE.

I want to write a super long review about everything, but I don't even know where to begin. This is one of those books where it leaves you feeling winded. It is just so engaging!


Music
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Well, well, well. We found ourself at the first Christmas item of the post. Sleeping At Last's Christmas music is basically magic. I've had it on replay all month, and I am still holding onto it with a tight grip because I WILL NOT LET GO. It could be the middle of June, and I would still be listening to Christmas music. 

Character
Keefe Sencen from Lodestar. THAT BOY KILLS ME. He's literally my favorite type of character ever. He is sarcastic, hilarious, but what's this? He has hidden depth and uses humor to hide the pain? Whaaaat?? 

Blog Post
Wow, I actually had two posts of mine this month that I really liked. That's surprising. 
10 Books to Get You In the Holiday Mood ◊ Christmas Blog Post Ideas Blog Post - Because they were both just so fun to write. 

50 Ways to Recover From NaNo by A Writer's Life - Because this made me laugh and also presented me with many good options on how to retrieve whatever shreds of sanity I had left. 

The Love Series: Loving Ourselves by Acoustic Erin - Because this was exactly what I needed to hear. It's a concept that I know very well, BUT IT'S HARD, isn't it? 

The Snippets Tag by Scattered Scribblings - Because can we just take a second to appreciate the beauty of these snippets? Thank you.

Stories That Feel Like Home to Me by Meanwhile, in Rivendell - Because it's always nice to be reminded of those stories that are basically your childhood. 

The 8 Types of Book Reviewers Quiz by Paper Fury - Because this girl can always make me laugh, and apparently, I am a List Lover. That may or may not be accurate... 

Drink
I've done my best to find a perfect recipe for healthier Apple Cider, but there really is nothing like the sugary packet stuff that just tastes like magic and Christmas. The magic part might be the 20 grams of sugar coursing through your blood, but AT LEAST THE CHRISTMAS PART is probably also sugar.

Food
Bacon-wrapped Pork. That's right, my friends, deliciousness wrapped in more deliciousness. It's like the entire world has been waiting to bring me this marvelous creation. 

TV Show
Everything's on break!! What's with that? Are they trying to take away our life support? It's like they want us to live in the moment during the holidays or something.

...Oh. I get it now.

No TV Show this month because holidays are for family and fun, not consuming all the media I can (though that does sound fun).

Movie
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What is it with me and sharks? I've been wanting to see The Shallows since I saw the trailer. It definitely didn't disappoint. After watching all the Jaws movies and now this, I'm pretty sure my mother is never setting foot in the water again. Oops.

Blake Lively (the main actress) can do no wrong. Her performance was flawless. Even among all the action and tension, she didn't come off as overly dramatic as many actors do. Speaking of which,

THE TENSION. I'm finding out more and more that I really like thrillers. I love that edge of your seat feeling that leaves you glancing nervously at every corner, wondering if it is a shark coming to get you.
Because sharks can definitely lurk in corners without water.
For sure (though if you have a leak in your ceiling or an aquarium, there is a higher risk of shark attacks).

How was your Christmas?? What was your favorite present that you got (or gave)? Are you sad that Christmas is over? Or are you the type to cling to the Christmas tree in your Santa hat? Because if you are: let's get together and chat over some hot cocoa!!!

Toodlepip

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve| My Yearly Tradition

Twas the night before Christmas...
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All through the house, everyone is asleep except for me. I am perched on my little chair in front of the fire, watching the lights on the tree twinkle in all their Christmas glory.

Every year feels more strange than the last because every year it comes faster than the last. One of my worries this year has been forgetting -- forgetting the precious moments that make up my life. Anyone can remember big thing like vacations or birthdays, but not many people remember the small moments that made them smile, like this Christmas Eve.

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This Christmas Eve has been peaceful and wonderful, and I don't want to forget a second of it. That's why for the past few years, I have made up my own little tradition to stay up until midnight. Then, when it is finally Christmas Day, I go to sleep with a smile on my face, picturing the next morning's fun and gifts.

Winter has always been my favorite time of year. There really is something special about the whole world coming together to decorate their lives with pretty lights, and give gifts, and delight in music that only shows up one time of year. The world is happier around Christmas-time. On Christmas Eve, I always imagine how many kids across the world are waiting eagerly to wake up and find that Santa has visited, leaving bright wrapping paper and toys.

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But of course, the most important thing that I think of on Christmas Eve is our Lord and Savior. His sacrifice of being born on a sinful and dirty earth is so amazing. He left His perfect and beautiful world for our broken one. Every year, that sacrifice baffles me. How good our God is, and how quickly we forget...

Merry Christmas Eve.

Toodlepip

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

An FBI Interrogation Book Tag| Piracy + Bad Book Habits

Bookish tag + piracy = MY PRECIOUS

I bet you can all guess where this is going. I have stepped back into my old days of piracy (but only for a good cause, because stealing is wrong, kids). 

1.  Favorite childhood book?  
Here we see a female blogger in her natural habitat: A panicked state of forgetfulness. She stammers at the screen as she proceeds to forget every book she had ever read.

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2.  What are you reading right now?  
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Book: Our cover is pretty!! It says battle, blood, and gritty action sequences.
Me: Ooo, hello. I will read you first.
Book: Sooo, bad news: Our first chapter is kind of dedicated to a romantic relationship you don't even care about with a protagonist you don't know yet...
Me: WHY YOU GOTTA PLAY ME LIKE THAT?
Right now I'm struggling through the first couple of chapters. Honestly, I'm sure it'll get better, but it's not great so far. 

3.  What books do you have on request at the library?  
I have 15 books on hold, and I am too lazy to list them all. Just imagine the tallest pile of books towering over you. Yeah. It's like that. 

4.  Bad book habit?
,
Who needs to know? (Who. Hoo. Get it? No? ...okay)
When I am consuming my favorite snacks, sometimes the dastardly crumbs sneak their way into the folds of the pages. I don't know how they do it, but they really are sneaky little things. Do not turn your back on the crumbs or they will strike. 

I know, I know... I'm a disgrace.

5.  How many books do you have checked out from the library? 
How do you count the grains of sand in the desert? How do you count the leaves in a forest? You can't, for the amount is too plentiful to name.

That was my pitiful attempt to make "I AM DROWNING IN BOOKS" sound poetic. (Did it work?)

6.  Do you have an e-reader? 
Seeing as I am too poor to buy anything other than one chopstick (I'm saving up for the second one. Once I have enough money, I will finally be able to eat again).

7.  Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? 
Sometimes I am confident that I do not have the attention span of a forgetful goldfish, and I attempt to read more than one book. Before I know it, Katniss is skipping down the yellow brick road with Hermione Granger. 
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Other days, I read all my books at once, and I dedicate hours to different theories, maps, and connections. At the end of the day, I have conquered 1/4 of my library pile, and I feel as though I could rule the world!! 
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Either way, my family is concerned for me. 

8.  Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?  
Do you mean "Have you suddenly found yourself addicted to blogging and reading new books to try to have new things to blog about? Have you stalked book-bloggers and read all the books they've read because you have no self-control?"

The answer is: I'm sorry, I can't hear you because I'm curled up in the corner, sobbing because of all the books I have to read.

9.  Favorite book you've read this year? 
I have read so many amazing books this year that I don't even know where to start. I'm kind of overwhelmed by how many beautiful little butterflies I have stumbled across and wanted to add to my collection. 
10.  Favorite place to read?  

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Does it have a book? Then it's my favorite.

11.  What is your policy on book-lending? 
Oh it's pretty laid back... 
All you have to do is bring a satin pillow to place the book on, place it in a sealed glass case, and pet it for two hours a day... 

12.  Do you ever dog-ear books?  
See #11.

13.  Do you ever write in the margins of your books?  
See #12.

14.  Do you break/crack the spine of your book? 
Not on purpose, but the really old, well-loved books have their cracked spines.

15.  What is your favorite language to read in?  
Probably the one I can understand...so English. Though I would love to be able to read in German. (Because I have a German book I don't understand a word of).

16.  What will inspire you to recommend a book?  
If it offers me it's firstborn. 

17.  Favorite genre?  
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Guess? 
Definitely not fantasy! *rides away on a dragon in full elf costume* Nope.

18.  Genre [author] you rarely read but wish you did?  
I wish that I could be sophisticated and read the latest book on philosophies and life epiphanies. The title is always like "Clouds in the Sky" or "Turtles in a Lake", but I read the book, and IT'S CONFUDDLING. 
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19.  Favorite biography?  
I don't read a whole lot of biographies, but I would have to say any biographies about Freya Stark, Joan of Arc, Amy Carmichael, or anything Romanov.

20.  Favorite cookbook?  
...I'm not quite sure how to answer that.

21.  Most inspirational book you've read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? 
C.S. Lewis: Master Storyteller. Because HE IS MY WRITING ROLE-MODEL. 

22.  Favorite reading snack?  
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EVERYTHING.
23.  Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.  
Which book do I choose?
Image result for the fault in our stars book Image result for eleanor and park Image result for the hidden oracle Image result for insurgent 

24.  How often do you agree with critics about a book? 
I usually am not in tune with critics, and even if I am, I usually don't care. 

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25.  How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?  
Glad to be ridding the world of a book that is not worthy of my love. Usually I only review a book if it is good, but you know, sometimes it's fun to mix it up and rant about everything wrong with the literary world. Though if others like the book, then good for them...

26.  If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose? 
Oddly enough, German. I would also love to speak it. It's fun to shout at people.

27.  Favorite fictional character?
reactions shocked surprise shock zoom
That's not even a question.
*chokes*  Excuse me?  I can't even answer that. My babies would riot. They all vie for my attention because they love me. Or I will make them love me. 

28.  Favorite fictional villain?  
It took me a long time to narrow this down, but I realized that the answer was clear as day. 
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Arvin Sloane
He is despicable, lovable, and then despicable all over again. I hate him so much, but I also feel terrible for him. I JUST FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS ABOUT HIS EVILNESS.

29.  The longest you've gone without reading? 
I have never gone more than a day without reading. Even when I am camping, I bring my truckload of books and pretend to be doing schoolwork.

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30.  Favorite film adaptation of a novel?  
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I wish to be her when I adult.
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Movie Inkheart may be different from Book Inkheart, but I felt as though it captured the "Fantastical World and Larger Than Life Characters With Pinches of Sass and Firebreathing Guys". 

31.  Most disappointing film adaptation?  
Why is there a question mark? Everyone knows the answer:
Image result for percy jackson and the lightning thief
Why does this exist? So much is wrong with this movie that I don't even know where to begin. 
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32.  The most money [you've] ever spent in the bookstore at one time? 
I actually don't buy books in bookstores that often, but the most money I have spent in a bookstore is about $15. I know, it's not that much. I AM PROTECTIVE OF MY MONEY because I am a poor little bookworm.
33.  Do you like to keep your books organized?  
Yes. I rank them from my favorite darlings to my least favorite. There's a lot of rearranging once a new precious is introduced. All of the books have to discuss amongst themselves who stays at the top and who goes to the dreaded bottom shelf along with the glow-in-the-dark stars and old doll. 

34.  Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them? 
Since I am a bookdragon who protects my hoard at all costs...yes, I love to give away my books. It is my favorite thing. (Please note that I am sarcastic. If you ask to take a book, I will laugh in your face, and possibly breathe fire, depending on my mood). 

35.  Are there any books you've been avoiding?  
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I know it'll be good. I know I will love it. BUT WHY DID THEY MAKE IT SO TALL?? 

Note: I have now read it, and I ADORE IT! I shouldn't have avoided it. I had nothing to fear. 

36.  A book that you didn't expect to like but did?  
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I was very close to not starting this, but I am so glad that I did. I saw a side of "Contemporary Fiction" that I have never seen before. It really inspired me to bring genres together in a new, undone way. There's always room for experimentation, and Whisper To Me really reminded me of that. I also learned a lot more about different mental illnesses. 

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Literally me after that book.
This was a fun little interrogation, wasn't it? Until I grace you with my presence next time, (I know you wish I could stay forever, but alas, even fabulous queens such as myself must rest from time to time).
Toodlepip 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Blog Post Ideas Blog Post (Are you confused yet? Because I am)

Story Time: I wanted to write another Christmas themed post, but unfortunately, my little hamster brain was all Christmassed out. I hopped on the Google and searched "Christmas blog post ideas" to get inspired. They were inspiring.


You are headed to a Christmas cookie party, but as a cookie. What are you?
Um, don't cookies get eaten at Christmas parties? This sounds very dangerous.
...
Snickerdoodle.


Talk about finding out Santa wasn't real. How did it happen? What did you feel? 
What?! Santa's not real?? 

I never actually believed in Santa. I was the 5 year old that went around telling all the other kids that their childhood hero was a lie. I'm a monster. 
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Share a tradition you want to start in your own home one day. 
Putting the tree up the day after Thanksgiving. That day shall be sacred in my household, known as the day of merriment and holiday cheer for all. Also glitter. There should be silver glitter everywhere. If you do not leave my household looking like a confused disco ball, then I will have failed. 

The most dreadful part of the holidays is...
the songs. I love Christmas songs, but most traditional Christmas songs that become the world's national anthem for the month of December have been ruined for me by years of hearing them over and over. 
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OR YOU CAN NOT.
I would rather have my books burned than listen to Do You Hear What I Hear? one more time (this is an exaggeration. Do not take this as an invitation to burn my books. If you touch my bookshelf, you will face my wrath. I am armed with three sporks. Go ahead. Fight me).

Give This, Not That gift guide 

You know how your 3 year old nieces and nephews want all the latest action figures? Give them socks. I promise you they will thank you when they are 20. In fact, give everyone socks.


If you were Santa, what would you want to find on the plate awaiting you at the bottom of the chimney? 
My own presents. BECAUSE SANTA DESERVES GIFTS TOO. Just anything but an open fire. 

What holiday decor do you collect without apology?
Couldn't resist.
Sweaters. I wouldn't say it's so much a collection as it is a lifestyle.

What books are on your literary Christmas list this year?

If your year was going to be encapsulated in a snow globe, what would be included inside?
Books. Stress. Desserts. Tea. My laptop. More tea. 


And that concludes my "Christmas Blog Post Ideas" blog post. #blogception

What is your favorite part about Christmas? When do you put up your tree (or other assorted shrubbery. For a while, our Christmas tree was a dead potted plant. #sadtruth)? And the most important question of all: What kind of cookie would you be? 

Toodlepip

Saturday, December 10, 2016

10 Books to Get You in the Holiday Mood| Classics, Magic, and JUST ALL THE WINTER-Y THINGS

Because it's December, the blogging world has blown up with posts of snow and Christmas and lots of Holly Jolly. Therefore, just like the Christmas lemming I am, I decided to write a post that fits right into that notch.
Christmas has consumed every part of my life, and that includes one of the biggest parts of my life (who am I kidding, it's all my life is). Reading. And because I know you all are dying to hear my Winter recommendations, I thought I would be benevolent enough to bless you with this.


To fully get the true experience of the Christmas spirit, go ahead and listen to this song while you read. You're welcome. 

I feel as though it is my duty to mention the classics. I'm a sucker for Christmas cliches. 

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A Christmas Carol: For the longest time, this book scared me, but then I learned to embrace the ghosts and horrifying imagery that came from superb description and my wild imagination. I would love to see a retelling of this from the ghosts perspective. What else have they done? Who else have they haunted? Do they get together with other ghosts for tea on Wednesdays to chat about ghostly things? But I'm getting off track. A Christmas Carol is the perfect classic to put you right in the holiday spirit of gift giving and being kind to others (otherwise there is a 73% chance ghosts will show up and terrorize you. Take my word for it). 

The Gift of the Magi: One word: Memories. Every Christmas Eve, by the light of our dusty fireplace, my family would curl up on a couch and read The Gift of the Magi together. It's my favorite holiday story. I still find the whole situation hilarious. And this skit doesn't help but make it even more hilarious. 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Yes, this is a children's book. Yes, I am over the age of 6. Yes, this is one of my favorite books. 
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The Grinch is kind of my favorite character ever. I relate to him so much. 

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Not only is the Grinch terribly fun for all ages, but it's perfect for reciting at people when you don't know what else to say.

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I suppose this is another classic, but I wanted it to be separate because it's special like that. As I'm sure you can tell by the cover, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is seeped in winter, snow, and FATHER CHRISTMAS!!
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I highly doubt that out of all my followers, I am the only one who grew up reading the Chronicles of Narnia, so take this holiday as a perfect opportunity to revisit a childhood favorite. We all know you were searching for the perfect occasion to dive back into the wardrobe. Don't even try to deny it. 

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Another classic, but it's not specifically a Christmas classic! So it gets to have it's own little category, too. 

If you've been with me for longer than a week, you're sure to know my love for Jo March. She is the literary character that I relate most to. Everyone in my family fits into one of the personalities of the girls. I've always felt as though Little Women was an alternate portrayal of my family. And it is also sprinkled with it's own dose of merriment and cheer, perfectly fitting the description of: Holiday Book to Read When It's Snowing. 

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Confession: I haven't actually read this. THOUGH IT IS ON MY LIBRARY PILE, WAITING TO BE READ, so don't sue me. The cover looked frosty and winter-y. Also, that title definately screams "I am a winter book!". If it is not, then the book is to blame for my faulty recommendation. 

Image result for the eternal hourglass erica kirov

Just give me a moment with my nostalgia.
...
...
Thank you, that's good. The Magic-keepers series holds a special place in my heart as being one of my first introductions to the fantastical world of magic. The first book is stuffed to the brim with snow and Russian Magicians and white tigers (which is my favorite animal because of this book). There are also polar bears, creepy sorcerers, and skateboards. JUST READ IT ALREADY.

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I don't think this is technically a Holiday book, but I couldn't think of anything else. I mean, there's snow in this, right? Right? Close enough. Read this for all your winter wonderland needs (or at least a mention of snow? I'm 13% sure that I should have done more research for this. Whatever, no one will notice). 

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I actually haven't read this one either. I know, I'm a horrible holiday joy killer who doesn't read the right books. BUT ONE DAY I WILL. And that's all that counts. 

So this has a Russian vibe, and I'm assuming there is...winter. Probably. At least once. Maybe. 

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This is my favorite Christmas book ever. I'm pretty sure everyone should read this on Christmas Eve because if you don't believe in Santa Claus, then goshdarnit, after this book you will. Letters from Father Christmas positively sparkles with Christmas cheer. Whenever I read it, I feel like I should be by a Christmas tree drinking hot chocolate. Though, to be fair, that's how I feel 98% of the time. 

What are your favorite holiday books? Are there any childhood books you've recently discovered again? Are you excited for Christmas? (Do you wish you had snow as much as I do? And for those of you who do have snow, do you know how lucky you are? BECAUSE YOU SHOULD COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS EVERY DAY, and there would be one blessing at the top of that list. 1. Snow. The end. That is the only blessing you need)

Toodlepip