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Magan: We’re Not Talking About Books Q&A

Estelle and I are swapping questions and getting into the nitty gritty details… Welcome to our “We’re Not Talking About Books Q&A.” Today I’m answering Estelle’s questions and soon she’ll be answering mine. I haven’t even read her questions yet. I’m just copying and pasting them and writing whatever first comes to mind. Are you scared? I kind of am. But let’s get started, shall we?

I feel like you had a good traveling year. What was your favorite trip? Where do you want to try to go next year (a trip with the little one or maybe a romantical trip for two)?

I did! This year feels like such a blur because so, so many things happened, but we got to go on a few trips! First was our trip to DC in February, where we reunited for a little more than 24 hours. That was such a whirlwind trip; it went so fast and we tried to squeeze so many things in, but I loved that there were little moments like you and I taking the time to meet up with Sasha of Sash and Em for dinner. In May we went to Colorado with my family. It was our first trip as parents so that was a wee bit stressful for me and I’m positive we overpacked. I think I took enough diapers for an army. That trip and our August trip to Florida with Dustyn’s family were both very meaningful (and necessary) because this whole foster care process has been so stressful. If I didn’t highlight my hair, I’m certain you’d find a bunch of gray hairs on my head. Those trips really gave us time to escape reality, be a little family, and not focus on all the normal craziness we face on a daily basis.

non-bookish end of year reflections with magan

(Left) Magan (l) and Estelle (r) outside the Newseum in D.C.;
(Right) Magan + Her Husband, Dustyn, on the beach in Cape San Blas, FL

As for next year, we have zero trips planned right now. That seems kind of sad to admit, but there are still so many what-ifs in our lives with our foster daughter and we have Baby Blasig making an appearance in February of next year. I would love to plan a getaway trip with Dustyn at some point, but it would probably be mid-to-late 2014 to who knows where. It won’t even matter, I’m sure. Our 10-year anniversary is in July so hopefully we’ll do something memorable to celebrate!

It might just be because I’m your friend but when I think of you this past year, I feel like (if it’s possible) you’ve become more selfless and have really come into your own as a mom. You’re my first close friend who is a mom so maybe I’m just noticing it more? I don’t know! But I feel like it’s the coolest thing and I’m in total awe of all you do. Is there a change you feel in yourself after the past few months?

Oh, man. Were you intending to make me cry, Estelle? Geez, Louise. *grabs tissues* I definitely feel like I’ve changed a lot this year, but I can’t really pinpoint how I have or even begin to put that into words. I think my priorities have shifted so much. There’s definitely been so much less “me me me” (especially when it comes to spending money and shopping). I feel like almost every time we’ve had a court hearing, we’ve anticipated losing our foster daughter and that’s really taught me the value of time and how precious it can be. I’ve also had to be more gracious and accepting of a lot of situations I never thought I would be faced with. I don’t think I’ve particularly done anything TO change, but my heart and focus have been changed because of her. She’s just taught me so, so much. Especially how to be more patient. I’ve never, ever been a patient person and that’s one thing I’ve been told I am over and over again this year. (I’ve always secretly giggled at that because usually my insides are so anxious.) All of the changes I feel and am experiencing right now, I hope they last and are more than just temporary. You and I have talked a lot about, and I’m holding onto a card forever that you wrote me, about how because of our foster daughter, a lot of good has occurred. My pregnancy might never have happened. I might have stayed so selfishly me-focused, and my eyes certainly wouldn’t have been opened to the entire foster care world.

What do you want more of in 2014 that you didn’t get this year?

It’s funny you mention this because I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately. I’m never one to make big resolutions at the beginning of a new year, but I am hoping to change my perspective on a few things. Growing up, we never really had a ton of people over to our house besides grandparents. Now isn’t the time or place to discuss why that is, but recently a friend said to me, “I think it’s been a year since I’ve been to your house.” That really, really hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m finding that I love to have people over, but constantly feel self-conscious about the state our house is in (especially now that we have a little person who leaves toys stranded every three feet). One of my biggest hopes is to let those fears reside and to really be more inviting and allow more people into our lives. We do a lot of dinners out or hang out at friends’ houses, but I want to bring that sense of community into our home and not keep people at arm’s length. This answer is probably so much deeper than you were hoping for, but it’s just what’s been on my mind lately.

WHEN ARE WE HANGING OUT AGAIN? (Yes I screamed that.)

As soon as possible. Sadly I’m now in the not-safe-to-fly part of my pregnancy, but soon you’ll have a little Blasig to meet! And I really do want to visit NYC again soon. I feel like no matter how many times I go there, I’ll always find something new to see and experience.

Do you think we will get more Zac Efron next year? Because… I’m seriously disappointed in his life choices and lack of movies in my theater. What are we going to do with him?

I sincerely hope so. And hopefully our clean-cut Zac will return and there will be no more press releases about his rehab stays. (Has anyone else been as deeply disappointed with him as we have?) We haven’t seen nearly as many movies this year as we have in the past, and I’m sure Dustyn is oh-so-thankful for less of Zac’s smoldering physique, but come on! WE NEED MORE ZAC!

Can you share one of your favorite pics from the year?

Of course I can! This photo is from our Florida vacation where I seriously wished I had carried my camera everywhere we went. This is an iPhone photo of a boat floating by right by where we stopped to eat that evening. I don’t remember the food or what I ordered. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but I do remember the peacefulness of this moment and how absolutely beautiful the sky was.

magan

The most fun moment you had this year?

Goodness gracious. I know this may sound like a cop-out answer, but honestly, every moment you and I had together was so awesome. I wish that could happen way more often than it does. Talking/texting/chatting just isn’t enough. Aside from our gushy friendship, I loved finding out that we were expecting our first baby and telling our grandparents all about it at a surprise lunch. We had them all arrive at the same restaurant together. I made little boxes with scratch off tickets that told them we were expecting (which shocked them because everyone suspected maybe we had big foster daughter news to share). I also included one of our ultrasound photographs in frames for them and personal notes to each one of them about how excited we are for them to meet Baby Irmagerd. I also gained a new appreciation for my job this year that gave me a different perspective on why I love being a photographer; the bride from my last wedding of the year sent me an email on behalf of one of their groomsmen who wanted to know if my assistant that day was single. That’s pretty priceless!

And the best buy of 2013? (I’m sure there were many of them.)

You’re catching me on a day when I’ve just splurged on something super fun for myself. I bought the new Urban Decay Naked 3 palette, and ohemgee is it beautiful. (For those who aren’t aware, Estelle and I are make-up junkies, too.) When I was excitedly doing my make-up this morning, I couldn’t even begin to pick out which colors to use first. They’re all so beautiful! If you are a make-up-aholic, you need this in your life.

With just a few days left until Christmas, what’s a stand out memory from the holiday that you have?

Growing up, my maternal grandparents would always come over to our house to help us put up the Christmas tree. It was never planned and happened spur-of-the-moment, but I remember them always being there. This year, with baby girl in our house, Dustyn and I put the tree up pretty early so she’d have a long while to experience the lights and ornaments. We were initially having the problem of her going to the tree and taking (i.e.: yanking) all the bottom ornaments off. One day my grandma and mom came to Austin to hang out with us. We made a trip to Michael’s and my grandma mentioned wanting to get baby girl her own Christmas ornament. Baby girl chose a sparkly snowman with silly arms and legs. When we got back to our house, grandma unwrapped the ornament and let baby girl put it on the tree. Every single morning, one of the first things she does is run to our tree, find her snowman, and bend down to give him a kiss. I swear it’s the cutest thing in the entire world; she sporadically checks on him throughout the day, too. These two memories are so special because it’s essentially the meshing of my childhood with hers and having my grandma be so integral to both.

Stay tuned for Estelle’s answers to my questions!
Tell us your answers to any of the above questions…
We always want to get to know you guys better, too!

January 7, 2014 - 12:01 am

Top Ten Tuesday: Let's Talk 2014 Resolutions, Magan - […] guys… I’m worn out. And no, that’s not just the pregnancy talking. I mentioned in my Q&A with Estelle that I’d like to be more welcoming and have people over more often. Maybe these two concepts […]

December 29, 2013 - 10:50 am

Bookworm1858 - Such a fun idea to share more of the personality behind the blog. I’m super late obviously but I look forward to checking out Estelle’s shortly.

December 26, 2013 - 9:00 am

Estelle: We're Not Talking About Books Q&A, Estelle - […] Good morning, friends!  Today I’m answering some questions that Magan sent me a few days ago. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series so far! It’s been so fun to reflect on the past year together and share it with you. (If you misses Magan’s Q&A, here it is!) […]

December 22, 2013 - 1:55 am

Liz - I love reading this interview! Magan, I feel so lucky to have gotten to see how you and your family have changed in 2013. I’m really excited for you to have your baby. And I like how you talk about wanting to let people in more! That’s something I’ve found myself mulling over a great deal this year.

On a lighter note, I also recently got Naked 3 and it’s been a great purchase.

I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings for you!

December 20, 2013 - 7:48 pm

Alexa Y. - I loved reading your answers to E’s questions, M! It’s such a beautiful way to get to know you a little better, and to see how 2013 has changed and shaped you. Even with all your ups and downs, I also know that it’s been a crazy wonderful year for you. I’m honored to know you and be your friend, just because you’re a wonderful person with a genuinely good, caring heart and it shows so clearly how much you value family, friends and life in this post. Love it and love YOU!

December 19, 2013 - 8:58 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - Omigoodness, there are no words for how much I loved reading this! Magan, you made me tear up a few times, especially at the end with baby girl kissing the snowman — too freakin’ cute!

December 19, 2013 - 7:54 pm

Christina - I love the Naked 3 too!

December 19, 2013 - 11:53 am

Lisa Schensted - I would like to second Magan growing into motherhood as an incredible thing to witness and I absolutely adored every moment of it (and will continue to do so).

I love you both to the moon and back!

oxoxoxoxoxo

December 18, 2013 - 9:55 pm

Ellie - I just splurged on the Naked 3 Palette too! So in love with it.

December 18, 2013 - 3:16 pm

Meg - Loved reading this! You ladies are awesome. :) And I love that Florida shot! We don’t have our travel plans locked down for next year, either, but I definitely need to plan a vacation somewhere . . . . this year was consumed by wedding chaos, but all bets are off in 2014!

December 18, 2013 - 3:06 pm

Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit - Love this series. GREAT read – you both seem like such awesome people, it’s wonderful to get to know you better.

Magan, I am the worst about letting people into my home. My husband is great at it and unashamed of our sometimes untidy place, but I feel like the worst hostess when my place looks like crap, so I know what you’re feeling. I’m going to try to be better at it next year, too, because you’re right, bringing a sense of community into your home is important.

On a lighter note, I feel the same sad way about Zefron. Rehab for coke? Yikes. And we definitely need better movies from him…”That Awkward Moment”? REALLY? =p

December 18, 2013 - 9:58 am

alice-jane - I love the new Q&A series that you’re doing! It’s so nice to get to know bloggers not only through what books they like but also through personal posts like this! The iPhone boat picture is gorgeous, too.

All the memories that you’ve shared are so precious and I hope you have a great 2014 as well! :)

December 18, 2013 - 9:45 am

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - Wow, Magan, it seems like you’ve had a very busy, but good, year. As for the UD Naked 3 Palette – I just got that as well. It’s so pretty, and I think my favorite of all the Naked Palettes. So good to talk to another makeup addict.

December 18, 2013 - 9:28 am

Ginger @ GReads! - First of all, I LOVE this Q&A thing y’all got started. It’s nice to see personal posts on book blogs (something I am trying to do more of too).

Magan, I love that picture from Florida. I remember admiring your trip while y’all were there through your Instagram pics & thinking, wow! I need to visit this place. Also, that last question about the ornament and your grandmother: PRECIOUS. That’s definitely a keepsake to hold in your heart forever. I agree with Estelle that you’ve definitely evolved into this beautiful, selfless person. You inspire me, constantly.

PS – LOVE that tidbit about the groomsmen asking if your assistant was single, hehe.

TTT: Our New Favorite Must-Read Authors

Welcome back for a new Top Ten Tuesday post! Today, the awesome ladies at The Broke and the Bookish are asking which authors were new-to-us this year. That doesn’t have to be limited to newly published authors, but it could be someone we’ve had on our radar for a long while and finally picked up their book. We’re tag-teaming for this post since we both fell in love with some pretty amazing authors this year!

Magan:

Amy Spalding: Author of Ink is Thicker Than Water and The Reece Malcolm List

new author amy spalding

Amy explores really unique family situations with extremely in-depth character development. I adore how her character’s lives are so well-rounded and not focused on just one specific aspect with everything else left to question.

Andrew Smith: Author of Winger

andrew smith author

Have you guys noticed that I’ve recommended this book for just about every list we’ve created since I read Winger? I’m not kidding. It’s fantastic. I want ALL of Andrew’s books now.

Leila Sales: Author of This Song Will Save Your Life

recommendation for leila sales

I love books that really dive into finding your place and growing to accept who you are, even if you’re different than everyone else. This book is the epitome of that and though I didn’t always relate to Elise, I loved her journey.

Rainbow Rowell: Author of Fangirl and Eleanor & Park

recommendation for books by rainbow rowell

Full disclosure: Rainbow is an auto-buy. My husband has to accept that any books by her will be immediately pre-ordered. No questions asked.

Leila Howland: Author of Nantucket Blue

book recommendations for leila howland

As someone who has gone through some weird friendship mishaps, I felt Leila nailed the frustration and unease over a friendship disbanding. But then then there’s also the amazing setting and sexy love interest, too.;)

Estelle:

For the record, Magan STOLE a few of my picks from me. HOW DARE SHE DO THIS? I absolutely loved Leila Howland, Andrew Smith, and Amy Spalding’s work this year too!

Elana K. Arnold: Author of Burning

Burning by Elana K. Arnold

With so many YA books out there, it’s hard to stand out but Arnold succeeded with Burning: two teenagers, who grew up in totally different environments (one in a soon-to-be extinct mine town and the other with a family of modern gypsies) and are trying to come into their own. Unique circumstances but genuine and true feelings at the core. I need to read the rest of Elana’s backlist.

Rachel Shukert: Author of Starstruck

Starstruck by Rachel Shukert

Historical young adult books make me nervous but Shukert has researched Hollywood of the 30s so well I felt like I was really there. It’s glamorous, it’s daunting, and each of the ladies in this story have to deal with a certain amount of roadblocks and expectations. Such a well-rounded story, and I can’t wait for the next installment. (Plus Shukert used to write recaps of SMASH for New York Magazine and she is hilarious.)

Bill Konigsberg: Author of Openly Straight

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg

Konigsberg has delivered some of the most memorable characters I have ever read — Rafe, oh Rafe, I want you to be my best friend. He’s trying to figure himself out, making mistakes left and right, but he has so much heart. Openly Straight is one of my favorite books this year (maybe ever) and made me a Konigsberg fan for life.

Corey Ann Haydu: Author of OCD Love Story

OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

It can’t be easy to write a character who thinks she is the “normal” one when really she is just as much of a work in progress as the rest of her therapy group. OCD Love Story made me feel so uncomfortable, but only in the best way. I was totally channeling Bea, and whew, was it a journey. Can’t wait for Haydu’s Life in Committee (spring release) and you know what? She’s the best tweeter too!

Tamara Ireland Stone: Author of Time Between Us series

Time Between Us series by Tamara Ireland Stone

Why oh why did I wait so long to read these? I haven’t reviewed them on the blog but Ireland’s time travel rules, the romance, the families, and all the love of music? It’s so so wonderful and incredibly addicting.

[ Bonus ] Katie Cotugno: Author of How to Love

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

From page 1, I was completely invested and enthralled in Sawyer and Reena’s story. I stayed up all night to read it, and I still can’t pinpoint what exactly it was about this book. Here’s a guess: gorgeous, well-paced writing, the mystery of second chances, and a great balance of friends, family, and obtaining those out-of-reach dreams.

Who were your standout authors this year?
Who should we be looking forward to reading books by in 2014?

December 29, 2013 - 1:25 am

Bookworm1858 - Rainbow Rowell is definitely my pick for favorite-loved getting to read three books by her this year and am hoping for more to come in 2014!

December 20, 2013 - 7:50 pm

Alexa Y. - It makes me so happy to see that I’ve actually read a lot of the authors you guys picked out this year! A particular favorite is Tamara Ireland Stone, who has written two books that I really liked. As for authors I haven’t read who are on your list, I definitely want to read OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu because I really think I’m going to like it a lot!

December 17, 2013 - 4:44 pm

Lisa Schensted - I love the variety here! I’ll have to add more to my TBR, it seems!

December 17, 2013 - 2:52 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Seriously, ladies. You’re killing me. Because pretty much everything on your list that I haven’t read yet, I need to! Aw hell, I know I can always go to you for good book recs! Fantastic list, as always!

December 17, 2013 - 1:40 pm

Sara at WhatANerdGIrlSays - I definitely agree on Andrew Smith. Winger blew me away, it was my fave book of the year, tied with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Both amazing novels :) I met Elana K Arnold this year, and now I really want to read her books!

December 17, 2013 - 12:02 pm

Allison L - April gave me her ARC of Openly Straight, and I can’t wait to read it. Also, I feel like I really have to check out This Song Will Save Your Life sometime soon because I’ve heard so many good things about it.

December 17, 2013 - 11:43 am

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - I have lots of the same picks on my list (or people that easily could have been on my list). I’m so happy Estelle is on the Elana K. Arnold bandwagon now. All that’s left is reading her other two books!

December 17, 2013 - 11:35 am

Anna - Love your list, ladies! I definitely need to get on the Winger bandwagon — and Nantucket Blue too!

December 17, 2013 - 10:28 am

Meg - Going to have to add a ton of these to my wishlist for 2014! I’m particularly loving the sound of Starstruck.

December 17, 2013 - 9:10 am

Ginger @ GReads! - Ohh great list, ladies! I’m not sure how I managed to do this, but I forgot Amy Spalding on mine. Oops! I’m hoping to get to Winger next year.

December 17, 2013 - 1:07 am

Lucy - We have Amy Spalding and Bill Konigsberg in common, and how could I have forgotten Leila Sales! I just picked up Time Between Us so I’m happy to see it on your list. I’m looking forward to reading How to Love too. Great lists, ladies!

December 17, 2013 - 12:51 am

Allison @ The Allure of Books - I need to drop everything and get my hands on a copy of Winger. Everyone that has read it seems absolutely devoted to it! I MUST SEE WHAT I AM MISSING.

December 17, 2013 - 12:10 am

alice-jane - I haven’t read How to Love and any of Rainbow Rowell’s novels but hopefully I do by the end of the year since they all look really good! If I can’t hopefully I’ll get to read them sometime next year. New Year’s resolution planning, right?

I’m looking forward to Jenny Han’s release next year the most.

All Magan Wants for Christmas Is…

christmas music playlist

This happened last week. And you know… when Magan tells me to jump, I say how high! Well, kind of. But I can’t allow one of my closest friends to be BORED by her Christmas music. I can’t. I won’t allow it. And since I had so much fun putting together this collection of songs last year on Rather Be Reading (it’s also becoming a tradition to feature Magan’s face on these posts), here I am yet again.

Once Thanksgiving hits, I listen to Christmas songs on my way to work, at work, while I’m shopping/baking/wrapping/crafting, and I know you are probably shocked, while I’m writing this post. (We have some Tran-Siberian Orchestra playing at the in the background at the moment.)

So here are a few albums, I think of as staples in my collection (a.k.a. buy them!):

Holiday Album Must Haves - Rather Be Reading

Johnny Mathis: Merry Christmas | NSYNC: Home for Christmas | Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas

Johnny is definitely a classic crooner. I used to listen to this on cassette with my mom when we would drive to the mall to go Christmas shopping when I was young. NSYNC? I wore through two of these CDs. Reminds me of high school and college so much. And Mariah? Her voice is beautiful, every song is catchy, and I can’t believe it’s almost been 20 years since it came out. (Oh my god.)

What I think is worth buying this year:

Holiday Albums Worth Buying in 2013 - Rather Be Reading

Kelly Clarkson: Wrapped in Red | Matthew Morrison: A Classic Christmas | Mary J. Blige: A Mary Christmas

I am so obsessed with Kelly’s album. Touching and fun original songs, great versions of classics: I feel like it’s the first modern album since Mariah’s to make me feel so giddy and merry. You might know Matthew Morrison from Glee? He’s fantastic and he chose some great songs for this EP. And I never imagined I would be buying a Mary J. Blige album but I have so enjoyed her performances on Christmas specials this year + her version of “This Christmas” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” are just so great.

EEE! All of these make me so excited. (And also sad I can’t list every single album I own… Boo!)

Okay, okay. Am I trying Magan’s patience?:)It’s time for the 2013 Rather Be Reading Holiday Mix. I hope you enjoy this one!

What you’ll be hearing: Muppets, Leona Lewis, Jordin Sparks, Martina McBride, Lady Antebellum, Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, and more…

Be sure to leave any of of your favorites in the comments! I love hearing what everyone’s listening to this holiday season.

Happy listening!

December 20, 2013 - 7:53 pm

Alexa Y. - You know that I love holiday music! I’m really obsessed with NSYNC’s Christmas album (and have been for years). This year, thanks to your recommendation, I’ve been enjoying listening to Kelly Clarkson’s album too!

December 16, 2013 - 2:22 pm

Meg - It is simply not the holidays without Hanson’s “Snowed In” — and I’m not going to feign embarrassment about it! :) Released in 1997, that baby still finds its way into our speakers every. single. season. Many original songs, some classics. If it’s new to you, try it! I’m biased, but I love it. :)

December 16, 2013 - 1:17 pm

Tammy - The Killers release a Christmas song every year. One of my favorites is The Big Sled.

December 16, 2013 - 12:28 pm

alice-jane - I personally love the holiday collection that She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) made. It’s so good!

December 16, 2013 - 9:02 am

Megan Hoover - I’m totally in love with Kelly’s Christmas album too! It’s officially one of my all time favorite Christmas albums.

Big Kids’ Table: A 2013 Overview

big kids

The LAST Big Kids’ Table of the year? What?! Unfortunately I did miss last month but I hope you’ll forgive me with today’s post. It’s been so much fun to stretch the possibilites of this feature throughou the year: getting other bloggers involved (Rachel, Hannah, Ginger, Asheley, Cassie, and Elena), completely hacked by Daphne at Gone Pecan, and probably one of my favorite posts of the year: some of my top YA authors recommending their own big kid picks!

I can’t thank everyone who was game to help me out enough… especially Cassie, Hannah, and Asheley for always being enthusiastic about this feature and always refreshing my own affection for it! Yay!

So today TODAY is the day I make the final push for some great big kid books I devoured this year!

most surprising.

Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson + The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

Big Kids Table Most Surprising Reads 2013

These are two super different books (divorce/marriage and family/possible crime) but I became so unexpectedly obsessed with each that I read them both in close to a day. (Different days, of course.) Both are intense, heavier reads that are paced so cleverly and keep you interested until the very end.

a recommendation that was right on the money.

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

book cover of Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

I’ve never given into Cassie‘s book pushing before like I did with this one. Well-developed characters, real feelings, and a ton of charm are all encompassed in this little book (that I think a lot of our moms and best friends who are not total YA people would enjoy too). Did I mention the southern setting, a sister named Merry, high school football, and the best sounding food ever? There’s just so much to enjoy here and I’m so glad I took the time to seek it out (it was sold out at my B&N) and read it ASAP.

holy moly five stars.

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Big Kids Table Five Star Read 2013

I didn’t review this one; I’m not sure why. It’s a really long book, a total commitment but so worth it. I wanted to read it because I’m pretty obsessed with anything Kennedy but King made this book so much more. Time travel, the butterfly affect, falling in love, and how figuring out what is right takes a lot of tries. I was so emotionally moved by this book, completely re-energized about the history surrounding Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, and totally IN this world of time travel and its many many rules.

oh la la romance.

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins + Three Little Words by Susan Mallery + I Only Have Eyes for You by Bella Andre

Big Kids Table Top Romance Reads 2013

After reading a tremendous amount of romance this year, it was not easy to narrow down this list. Just a quick FYI: the last two options are super sexy, super racy. And just SO fun. I really liked both the stories. (They both have heroines who have had crushes for a long, long time.) And The Perfect Match? Great combo of comedy and romance. I can’t say enough positive things about it. A lot of the times the characters in romance novels aren’t super memorable, but I felt differently about those in The Perfect Match.

feels like the first time.

Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid + Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Big Kids Table Best Debuts 2013

Two debuts that made my TBR a very very happy place. Both main characters in each of these books are in their late 20s (strange coincidence) but one is dealing with the sudden death of her very new husband, and the other? Career aspirations, and wondering if she will ever make it in the big city. If anyone had either of these books under the Christmas tree, they would be very very lucky people. Beautiful writing, charming characters.

man and muppets

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

Jim Henson The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

One of the absolute best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. I know, I know. I’m a huge Muppet fan but I truly believe people interested in the arts, pop culture, Disney fans would sincerely be touched and get a kick out of what a workaholic Henson was, how his creative mind NEVER stopped working, and the origins of so many characters we hold near and dear.

here’s to the future and you.

Big Kids Table What I Want to Read Next 2013

Claudia Silver to the Rescue by Kathy Ebel + The Opposite of Love by Julie Buxbaum + Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Ah the hefty reading list. A burden a lot of us bring on ourselves. But that’s why we are here. A support system and the inevitable list of more books I want to make sure I get to next year. (Am I already jinxing myself?) I own the first two and I’ve heard such fantastic things about the third… must make these happen ASAP.

Thanks again for all of your support with this feature! I so appreciate it and
I’m looking forward to trying out some new things in 2014!

Now dish: what adult book fits in any of the above categories for YOU?

December 27, 2013 - 12:37 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - Yayyyyy for one of my VERY FAVORITE book features! Seriously, I hope you always do Big Kids Table because it’s something I absolutely look forward to each month. Thanks so much for letting me participate this year, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for you + adult fiction! I somehow missed Forever, Interrupted when you reviewed it – definitely intrigued by that one!

December 20, 2013 - 7:54 pm

Alexa Y. - I swear, it’s like your goal in life to make sure my TBR is never-ending and always growing ;) But seriously, the Big Kids’ Table is one of my favorite features on RBR! You always feature titles that interest me and that have great-sounding stories, and a lot of them are definitely still on my TBR. Here’s to hoping I read more of these titles soon!

December 15, 2013 - 1:28 pm

Estelle - The hubs better get on the guest reviewing! I think it’s hilarious he hasn’t read the King book yet. I do think there is some kind of unwritten rule. Once it hits a year, you should be free to borrow before he reads it. ;)

December 14, 2013 - 11:06 pm

michelle - i have the perfect match on my kindle. now i really want to read it. kristan higgins is the best <3

December 14, 2013 - 2:28 pm

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - I, too, gave into Cassie’s book pushing and purchased a copy of Nowhere But Home (she must have lots of Canadian followers too, because I had to visit two Chapters stores before I found a copy!) I haven’t read it yet, but it’s definitely on my 2014 reading list. And I still want to read that King book, but I still feel guilty reading it before my husband does, since it was his Christmas gift last year. He’s just too freakin’ SLOW when it comes to reading sometimes! He started The Book Thief about two months ago (I think?) and is about halfway through it. He’s promised to do guest reviews for me for all of the books that he DOES finish, but at this rate it’ll be about two books per year =P

December 12, 2013 - 2:36 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I’ve been in such a romance novel mood the last few weeks. I have been focusing on historical romances, but now I’m kind of shifting to contemporaries. I’m in the process of reading my firest Bella Andre book – Kissing Under the Mistletoe, and I’m really liking it so far. I can’t wait to read something by Kristan Higgins.

Thanks for sharing Big Kid Books!

December 12, 2013 - 12:17 pm

Lucy - Perfect timing! I was just in the mood for some “big kids” books and also have gifts to buy. The only one on your list I’ve read so far is Tell the Wolves I’m Home so I have some catching up to do! I think that book is right up your alley.

The first two titles on your list sound fantastic. And I own a copy of Nowhere to Run and Someday, Someday Maybe and must fit them in soon!

I’ve heard good things about the Jim Henson audio so I may go that route.

Thanks for the recs!

December 12, 2013 - 9:26 am

Meg - Such fun to read! I adore Julie Buxbaum and really enjoyed The Opposite of Love, though it’s been many years since I read it. Lauren Graham’s debut was a highlight of the year for me, too, and I was also totally digging Nowhere But Home! It was just such a unique premise — cooking last meals — and the Texas setting and romance were awesome. Thanks for bringing me back to a happy reading place! :)

Not That Kind of Girl Themed Gift-Pack

Not That Kind of Girl is my third book to read of Siobhan Vivian’s. And guess what? I think it’s my favorite so far. It’s exactly what I was needing — something extremely well written with a storyline easy to get into, a main character who I could understand (even if she sometimes made me want to punch her for her opinionatedness), and a nice steamy romance. I loved what Siobhan did with the story and the subtle discussion she was having about feminism and how what you’re presenting to the world sends out a message about who you are.

I couldn’t not create a book-themed gift-pack for Not That Kind of Girl. I had a little fun with it, and hope you’ll enjoy my choices!

not that kind of girl by siobhan vivian

  1. Rule the School Ruler — For uptight, type-A, Student Council President Natalie Sterling, the name of this ruler couldn’t be more perfect. Natalie is a rule follower. A feminist who believes in empowering women and making smart choices (a little Pitch Perfect reference for those of you who have seen the movie a million and a half times like I have). I’m sure straight-edge Natalie would find the perfect location for displaying this ruler decoratively and placing it in the perfect spot so it’s functional, too.
  2. Plaid Throw Blanket — Things get a little bit (okay, more than a little) steamy between Natalie and a certain boy who shall remain nameless (until you read the book) in a shed. Yes, a shed. It sounds kinda creepy, but his parents own a Christmas tree farm and everything sounds so adorable I want to visit there for real. A particular scene involves our nameless boy and Natalie secretly meeting up in the shed. And that is all I will say.
  3. Free Verse Duvet — I know, I know. This is a little nerdy and over the top, but when you’re a nerd… you’re a nerd.;)And when am I ever going to get to choose this as an option again?
  4. Mason Jar Hanging Tea Light Holder — Refer to item number two. Spice things up a little bit more. And lower the temperature by several degrees. Our nameless boy makes an attempt to spruce up the shed a bit and brought a lantern so they could actually see. Maybe this isn’t the exact lantern he would have brought, but how adorable are they? I’ll take five.
  5. White Picture Frame — Natalie is super concerned with her photograph making the Student Council wall-of-fame. She’s only the ninth female to be President in her school’s history. It’s kind of a big deal. Surely she’d be framing a copy of the photograph to keep forever and ever, right?
  6. A Movie Bundle — Natalie and her BFF are dedicated to watching the best movies of all time together. They’re making their way through the top 100. Though this isn’t the exact list they were following, I chose four from the list. I’m not going to say whether or not I have watched all of these. I plead the 5th.
  7. Burt’s Bees — This chapstick is Natalie’s staple. It’s the only thing she wears, so when it comes time to take her Student Council photograph and she needs to cover something up, she has to enlist Freshman Spencer for a little help. She has no clue how to use other cosmetics and she definitely needs an intervention.

So whaddya think? If you’re like me and (a few years) late to the Not That Kind of Girl party,
why don’t you add it to your TBR or gift it to yourself this Christmas?

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy from Barnes & Noble

December 14, 2013 - 11:09 pm

michelle - i love burt’s bees. it’s the only kind of chapstick i buy. not that kind of girl is in my kindle. i’ve had it for a while. maybe i’ll read it this winter break :)

December 11, 2013 - 9:51 pm

Wendy @ Book Scents - Such a great gift pack! I haven’t read this book but now I really want to! Those movies are also amazing – except I haven’t seen the godfather. (i knoww, i know)

December 11, 2013 - 3:52 pm

Alexa Y. - I am a nerd, and I love EVERYTHING in this post! I really like all the things that you included in this post, because they are things that I would like to own myself. I LOVE IT. (I also feel like I should read this book now.)

December 11, 2013 - 3:20 pm

Lucy - Based on this gift guide I think I would like this book very much! The only book I’ve read by Vivian is the co-written Burn for Burn, so I have some catching up to do. I sure love that free verse duvet, ruler and mason jar tea light holder.