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Holiday Gifts Ideas for the Reader in Your Life

Hello, bookish friends! The holiday season is quickly approaching, and sometimes, we all need a little help figuring out what to give to the most important people in our lives. One of my favorite things about the holidays is being able to spoil the people I love with things (both purchased and handmade!) I know they will enjoy for years to come. As an avid reader, I can only imagine how difficult it can be for a non-reader to come up with meaningful gift ideas for the book lovers in their lives – I sometimes even struggle with this and I’m supposed to be the biggest book nerd on earth! To lend a helping hand to book lovers and non-readers alike, I have created this gift guide to assist you with all your bookish holiday shopping needs. Who knows? You may even find a little something you’d like to add to your own letter to Santa. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

1) A Bookish Bouquet

If you are looking for a thoughtful keepsake that your reader will love and cherish forever, a bouquet of flowers made from the pages of one of their favorite reads might just be the perfect gift. The arrangment shown above was made by Blooming Books and I am completely obsessed with them. I love Gloria, the small business owner, because she is always willing to work with clients to create the most perfect, custom bookish centerpieces/wreaths/ornaments/so much more and the quality of her work really will last a lifetime!

2) Personalized Book Embosser/Stamp

Okay, so here’s the deal: I don’t actually have one of these myself. I know, right? How could I possibly be an avid reader, reviewer, blogger AND bookstagrammer and not have one of these bad boys to claim my books with? The reason is that I am completely head over heels in love with so many of the options out there that I haven’t figured out which one I want to purchase yet, so trust me when I say it’s a WHEN, not an IF kind of situation! I love these because you have the ability to make them completely your own. You can choose different fonts, what the stamp actually says on it, and whether you prefer an ink stamp or an embosser that creates your design by pressing into a page. The images above are just a few of the many styles you can choose from, but really the options are limitless!

3) Reader’s Journals

Bibliophile Reader's Journal: (Gift for Book Lovers, Journal for Readers and Writers)
You can purchase this journal on Amazon or at your local Barnes and Noble. Each page includes: start and end of reading dates, star rating, book title, author, plot notes, character notes, favorite quotes, and other books to read by the author.

If you’re looking for a gift that was literally made to aid reviewers, bloggers, bookstagrammers, and more compile their thoughts on the books they read, look no further than reader’s journals! The one pictured above is actually the first one I’d ever come across and I immediately fell in love. The beauty of this little notebook and those like it is that as you read, you can jot down any important notes that you’d like to include in a review and/or those you will need to remember for the next book in a series. I would venture to say that this might just be a reader’s most trusty companion!

4) Framed Book Page Prints

The Great Gatsby Book Page Art  Dictionary Page Art  image 1
BarkersBookArt is one of many places that can create these beautiful customized prints

The perfect addition to any in-home library or office space occupied by a book lover would be a framed book page print. The beauty of these is that they are completely customizable, so if you know one of your bookish friend’s favorite book quote (and bonus: the page number the quote is on in their respective book!) you can give them a really classy/sophisticated wall hanging that shows them that you have indeed been paying attention to their bookish ramblings, haha! This gift is even more sweet in the sense that if you’re a crafter like me, you could even put one of these together yourself fairly economically. Handmade gifts do hit differently!

5) Bookish Pins + Display

I know this gift may seem a bit obvious since basically every reader I know has at least one bookish pin, but what’s funny is these beautiful pieces are acquired, book lovers rarely know what to do with them. Well… at least I don’t anyway, and I am boldly assuming there are more people like me out there! Some pins have such elaborate detailing while others may feature the reader in your life’s favorite quote, so why not purchase them a simple display like the one pictured for them to hang on a wall in their homes to enjoy? This practical gift solves the problem of readers not getting to enjoy the tiniest pieces bookish merchandise they have collected over the years, and they will likely be shocked you even thought of such a nifty gifty!

6) Ideal Bookshelf Print

Custom PRINT
Just one example of the many customizable prints available from Ideal Bookself

Do you have a reader in your life who just moved into a dorm room or new apartment that is too small to store all of their beloved books from their family home in? Gifting them an ideal shelf print is an excellent gift for folks like these, as they can hang a customized collage of their favorite books on their wall and think of them fondly until they can be reunited once they return home again for a visit (or until they can finally move somewhere with enough space to store their books!). Though this item is on the pricey side, the enjoyment and comfort it will bring your reader will be priceless!

7) My Life In Chapters Journal

Guided Journal : My Life in Chapters | The Playful - Keeptake
My Life in Chapters journals come in many different colors, which can be found on the Keeptake website

If your book lover is like me, they have probably told you a million times that while they love to read what other people write, they can’t imagine ever trying to write something themselves because they don’t feel as though they have a story to tell. Purchaisng them a My Life in Chapters journal might just be the push they need to start thinking about all the amazing things that happen to them in their life. Once a year for ten years, the reader will take the time to reflect on various experiences they had that year through a set of relatively short prompts. At the end of the ten years, I’m fairly confident that if your reader wanted to end up writing their own book, they will have plenty of real life material to inspire their own work of fiction or nonfiction! And don’t tell them, but finishing the journal is basically finishing a little book in and of itself!

8) Bookish Scratch-Off Poster

Some readers really enjoy setting various goals for themselves, such as setting a number of books they want to read in a year’s time on Goodreads. If you want to help them take their goal setting to a brand new level, consider gifting them a scratch-off poster! As they read various titles on the poster, they are provided with instant gratification as they scratch off the coating to reveal the book’s cover. They make these posters with books from all kinds of genres and for different age groups, too, so you are sure to find one that your book lover will love!

9) Literary-Inspired Cookbooks

If you find that your reader is in the kitchen whipping up something delicious when their nose isn’t shoved in a book, this next gift is perfect for them! Over the years, there have been many literary-inspired cookbooks written and published, so there is bound to be one out there for them to enjoy. With this gift, your book lover can read a recipe that references their favorite novel(s) while they simultaneously fix themselves something yummy to eat – it’s the best of both worlds!

10) A Bookish Care Package

This is an example of a box put together by The Librarian Box

I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely ADORED putting together care packages for people, especially when they’re bookish! In addition to packing a box up with a book and bookish merchandise (bookmarks, mugs, etc.) you think your book lover will enjoy, you can also include body care items, snack/drink items, a gift card, and so much more! The beauty of this gift is 100 percent customizable and you can adjust the types and number of items you include to fit any budget.

I hope that you enjoyed taking a gander at this book lover’s dream gift guide! I had such a blast writing this post, as even though I love the warmer weather, the holiday season is my favorite time of the year. If you’re a reader, what do you hope to recieve (or gift to a fellow reader!) this year? Let me know in the comments and we’ll chat about all the bookish goodies!

Until next time, bookish babes!

Sarah ❤

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If You Liked That, Try This: Fantasy Edition!

Hello, bookish friends! Welcome to another installment of “If you liked that, try this!” This segment’s topic is all about fantasy novels. Be warned: There are some blasts from the past on this list (partly because I am a little behind on my newly-released fantasy novel reading. This summer, I’ve been on a crazy contemporary kick!). Without further ado, let’s get on with this thing, shall we?

If you liked Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, try Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings!

I know what you’re all thinking: How are these two books even remotely similar? Well, let me tell ya, folks: They are more alike than you could ever imagine! One of the shared elements I loved about both of these books were the “crews” the characters were a part of and the adventures they went on together. While I’m a sucker for some good romance, I appreciated that this component took a backseat in both of these books, keeping the focus on the characters’ individual journeys. If you enjoyed all of these elements while reading Six of Crows, as well as its completely unexpected plot twists at every turn, Zenith may just be the perfect read for you!

If you liked The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, give A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer a try!

When I was trying to come up with these book pairings, I honestly could not think of a better match than these two in terms of overall concept/structure. Both The Cruel Prince and A Curse So Dark and Lonely have protagonists who are thrown into completely different worlds and fight back against those who try to force them to adapt to their new surroundings. These books also have the “tortured male lead” and “normal girl falls for the royal” tropes going on. If you enjoyed the political intrigue, strong female protagonist, and supernatural elements of The Cruel Prince, check out A Curse So Dark and Lonely!

If you liked House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, give From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout a try!

I couldn’t help but include both of these adult fantasies on this recommendation list because they are two of my favorite reads of 2020 thus far! It also just so happens that many of the elements I enjoyed about House of Earth and Blood are also at the forefront of From Blood and Ash. Both books have super awesome, kick butt female protagonists who are taking control of their lives after coming to terms with some seriously traumatic events. As you can probably guess already since we are talking about Sarah J. Maas and Jennifer L. Armentrout, after all, you will probably want to hate but will end up loving the male leads (ughh. It happens to me every time!). If you fell in love with the witty characters, sizzling romance, and stunning world-building of House of Earth and Blood, From Blood and Ash is the perfect book for you to check out next!

If you liked Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, give Invictus by Ryan Graudin a try!

Calling all time travel fans — this recommendation is totally for you! Both Passenger and Invictus take the reader on a journey through time as their protagonists race against the clock to discover long lost truths about members of their families. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even be faced with the ultimate choice to make: Is rewriting history worth the cost? In addition to this critical similarity, Bracken and Graudin both have very distinct writing styles, making their storytelling incredibly compelling. If you’re on the hunt for a book to help fill the hole that Passenger left behind when you finished it, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Invictus!

If you liked Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, give Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick a try!

In addition to both of these books having supernatural creatures in them (aliens and fallen angels) and the fact that they have similar “struggle between two factions to save humanity” concepts, the main similarity I couldn’t help but point out is the fact that the male leads in both books are kind of… broody, especially when the female protagonists first meet them. I would also argue that the way the romances in these books start out are very similar to one another, in that there is sort of this “instant attraction” element that while I’d love to hate it, I can’t help but love. If you enjoyed the broody, mysterious dude that is Daemon Black, the can’t-help-but-ship romance, and the battle between good and evil in Obsidian, I highly suggest giving Hush, Hush a read!

If you liked Divergent by Veronica Roth, give Matched by Ally Condie a try!

There’s been a lot of talk about both of these books, and it appears that one similarity between Divergent and Matched is the fact that readers either love or hate them. While neither of these books were necessarily make my list of favorite reads of all time, I did find myself enjoying a lot of things about them. I found the overall concepts of these dystopian novels to be really interesting, and the worlds these writers created were so neat to learn about. I found myself relating to the main characters on more than one occasion, and even though I didn’t always agree with the choices they made, I still enjoyed watching their journeys play out. If you enjoyed the plot twists, dash of romance, and watching the protagonist attempt to destroy the corrupt government systems in their world play out in Divergent, definitely give Matched a shot!

There you have it, folks — another recommendation list, as if our TBRs aren’t long enough as it is! Did a book you love that’s similar to those above not make the list? Drop your recommendations in the comments below!

Until next week, bookish peeps! 🙂

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If You Liked That, Try This: Contemporary Romance Edition

Hello, fellow booklovers! For today’s post, I’ve decided to suggest books similar to those you’ve already read and loved. Since we’re in the throes of summer, I decided to start this bonus content series off with a list of YA contemporary romances — my go-to genre for summer reading! Let’s jump right into this thing, y’all!

If you liked To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, try Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

While this may seem like an out-there pick, I promise there’s a method to my madness! Eleanor & Park combines the elements of quirky and flawed characters we can’t help but love while also tackling the complicated topic of a person’s first time falling in love. Not only that, but both To All the Boys and Eleanor & Park do so in a realistic way as opposed to idealizing life and love like a lot of other YA contemporaries tend to do, making them that much more relatable to their audience.

If you liked Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, try Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welsh.

One of the parts of Anna and the French Kiss readers can’t help but love is the protagonist traveling abroad and finding themselves in a country that’s completely new to them. If you were one of these readers, Love & Gelato is going to be right up your alley. Both of these reads also have some pretty sweet romances, and while they weren’t all that realistic at times, I couldn’t help but ship these cute couples. If you’re looking for books that take you on international summer adventures right from the comfort of your own home, definitely check these two beauties out!

If you liked Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson, try Just Listen by Sarah Dessen.

If you were a big fan of the playlists Matson included in Since You’ve Been Gone, you are sure to love the musical tie-ins in Just Listen. In addition to this obvious connection, both books highlight two teens who are trying to figure out who they are without the support of their best friends (who have basically become their sisters) behind them. If you’re looking for a similar read to Since You’ve Been Gone that gives you all the feels and has you rooting for the protagonist as they struggle to figure out who they are and become who they want to be, Just Listen might just be the perfect pick-me-up for you!

If you liked Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry, try The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia.

Nowhere But Here is one of those books that has it all: a unique concept, multi-dimensional characters that constantly surprise you, and a whole truckload of romance. If you’re looking for a book with similar features, The Lovely Reckless would be the perfect choice! Similar to Emily and Oz in Nowhere But Here, Frankie and Marco both have tough exteriors as a result of their negative past life experiences, but as they get to know one another, they manage to let their guards down just enough to begin healing. Oh, and did I mention that there’s street racing in The Lovely Reckless? Not exactly the same as the motorcycle club situation in Nowhere But Here, but if you’re an adrenaline junkie (or, like me, live vicariously through fictional characters as they do risky things you’ve never have the guts to do in real life) and are looking for a fix, The Lovely Reckless may do the trick!

If you liked Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines, try The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Until Friday Night and The Problem with Forever both have an element to them that’s rare in YA: the main character refuses to speak after experiencing a traumatic event. While the protagonists in these books come from different backgrounds, their journeys are similar in that they’re both trying to overcome the pasts that have held them back and move forward. While there are romantic interests in both books, the romances are placed on the back burner, which I appreciated because I found the characters’ individual journeys much more compelling than the relationships. If you’re looking for another book that places most of the focus on character development but still have romantic undertones, The Problem with Forever is a good option for you!

If you liked Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi, try Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett.

Awkward first encounters and undeniable connections the protagonists try to pretend don’t exist, but to no avail? Yeah, I’m a big fan, too! While Emergency Contact focuses mostly on communication via text between Penny and Sam and Serious Moonlight on in-person interactions, many of the things we all love about Emergency Contact also ring true in Serious Moonlight: witty characters that are fully aware of their quirks doing their best to adjust to their new-found independence, the characters’ willingness to dream big and go after what they want in life regardless of the struggles it takes to get there, and stunning writing that keeps you hooked from beginning to end.

If you liked My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, try No Place Like Here by Christina June.

As you’ve seen from some of my other posts, My Life Next Door is one of my favorite contemporaries of all time. However, a good many of the elements I fell in love with can also be found in Christina June’s No Place Like Here. If you enjoyed the complex family dynamic in My Life Next Door as well as the sweet romance that blossoms from a strong friendship and mad respect for the other person, No Place Like Here is your cup of tea! I don’t have all that much to share about these because I want you to get to experience the awesomeness that are these two books for yourselves. Trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed with No Place Like Here, especially if you are a My Life Next Door mega-fan like I am!

If you liked The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren, try Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally.

Oddly enough, I was totally shocked that I enjoyed both The Last Thing You Said and Breathe, Annie, Breathe as much as I did, and for similar reasons. Both of these books tackle the tough topic of the protagonist losing someone they were close to unexpectedly, and the guilt they feel about being alive while their loved one is not. In both instances, the person lost was very young at their time of passing, making it that much more difficult for those living to overcome their grief and continue living like the person they lost would have wanted them to. If you liked the fact that the healing of the characters took precedent over the romance that bloomed in The Last Thing You Said, you should definitely give Breathe, Annie, Breathe a shot!

Well, there you have it, folks! I’ve always loved reading these types of posts and seeing what books other readers suggest. Do you have a favorite contemporary that didn’t make the list, or maybe you have an alternative rec for a book I’ve listed above? Let me know below! Until next week, lovelies! 🙂

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8 Books Sure to Put You in the Summer Spirit

There’s nothing I find more relaxing than sitting in the sunshine with my nose in a good book. With summer quickly approaching, I couldn’t think of a better time than now to throw some summery book recommendations your way! Regardless of if you’re about to head out on an island getaway or just enjoying the warmer days from your own backyard, here are some books that are sure to make the perfect companion for your summer adventures!

1) Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Amazon.com: Moonglass (9781442416956): Kirby, Jessi: Books

I chose Moonglass for this list because it’s an emotional, raw, hit-you-in-the-feels contemporary with a stunning beach setting– a setting that provides so much comfort to our main character, Anna. While moving to the area was hard on her, I love that Anna starts to embrace her new home as she learns more about how important the area was to her mother, who she lost unexpectedly ten years earlier. While a super sweet romance was also blossoming in the background, I appreciated that the majority of the book focused on the importance of remaining connected to loved ones who have passed and rekindling relationships with those you’ve drifted away from. Overall, I really enjoyed all this book had to offer, and it just seems fitting that it be read in the summer months!

2) This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This Is What Happy Looks Like (This is What Happy Looks Like, #1)

Can we all just take a moment and appreciate how simple and sweet this cover it? In addition to the setting being a quaint little town in the summertime and the characters taking advantage of all the fun that comes along with the season, I specifically chose This Is What Happy Looks Like for this list because Smith’s writing is so captivating, poetic, and reads so beautifully. There’s just something about the fluidity of her words that blend in so well with the aspects of summer that are at the forefront of this book. In all honestly, I really can’t think of another book that better fits the description of “summer pick-me-up” than this gem!

3) The Beholder by Anna Bright

Amazon.com: The Beholder (9780062845429): Bright, Anna: Books

There’s something about loose fairytale retellings that draw me in during the summer months. The Beholder just might be my favorite to date, though, because it’s got a little bit of everything I look for to keep me enthralled in a fantasy: a strong female lead who, while understandably kind of a hot mess, always manages to find the strength to keep going, undertones of the Odyssey, and even a little romance thrown in. If you’re missing your weekly episodes of “The Bachelorette” while they’re in the off-season, this book may just be the perfect alternative to help you pass the time, as Selah is the star of her own version of the show, just in literary form and, well, ya know, there being a dash of magic thrown into the mix!

4) What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Amazon.com: What I Thought Was True (9780803739093): Fitzpatrick ...

I chose What I Thought Was True for this list because the overall theme of mending bridges is at the forefront. What better time than summer to take the opportunity to learn to forgive and rekindle a relationship with someone you were once close to? This is exactly what Gwen spends her summer doing on her homeland of Seashell Island, in addition to trying to figure out what she wants out of life after graduating from high school. A lot of big decisions are made in the summer, and this book would be the perfect read for high school and college seniors who are fixing to start new journeys of their own. Maybe they’ll even realize that they have some relationships mending to do themselves before they venture off to begin their new chapters of life!

5) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Amazon.com: An Ember in the Ashes (9781432850340): Tahir, Sabaa: Books

I’m not really sure why this book screams “summer” to me, but somehow I just can’t imagine reading this fantasy novel in any other season! Maybe it’s because in a lot of ways, this book is the total opposite of what I would use to describe summertime– pretty dark, cold, gloomy, and slightly depressing, at times. But, the adventures these characters set out on are super action-packed and suspenseful, so even if you can’t go on one of your own this summer, you’ll be able to escape from the real world for awhile when reading An Ember in the Ashes!

6) The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever

I find that some of the most grand summertime adventures don’t have to take you someplace new. For some people, like Macy the Perfectionist, your not-so-fun but oh-so-important trials may take place right at home. I loved that this book was all about how taking advantage of new opportunities that are outside your comfort zone help you discover so many new things about yourself you never knew existed. It’s also a testament to how surrounding yourself with good people can help heal old wounds. The sweet romance that blossomed in this book was just the icing on the cake to make this one of my favorite summer reads to date!

7) Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You've Been Gone

While I could have picked literally any of Morgan Matson’s books for this list because she’s the QUEEN of summery contemporaries, I chose Since You’ve Been Gone because its premise is very different from those of her other books. This book has less emphasis on romance, and more on the importance of personal growth and independence from those we tend to use as a crutch to avoid challenging ourselves. I absolutely adored all of the summertime activities on the list Sloan left Emily to help push her out of her comfort zone and how Emily seemed to embrace the whole experience, even though I would have found quite a few of the activities listed terrifying myself! I was so engrossed in this compelling story that at times, I felt like I was accompanying Emily on her escapades, which was so much fun to experience! Overall, I just felt like all the working pieces of this book fit the mold of summer to a T, and I think a lot of readers will be able to relate to Emily’s journey of breaking out of her shell at a really critical time in her life.

8) Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welsh

Amazon.com: Love & Gelato (9781481432559): Welch, Jenna Evans: Books

Love and Gelato is the perfect summertime read, with is gorgeous Italian setting, whimsical descriptions of all the country has to offer, and the adorable bond that forms between Ren and Lina as they scramble to uncover a hidden secret about Lina’s family. This books stands out from other contemporaries in that it’s such a quick, fun, and enjoyable read and while it does have some emotional moments in it, the focus remains on all the good life has to offer! Not only will this book lift your spirits when you’re feeling down, but it will totally convince you to bite the bullet and take your own summer trip abroad!

I hope you all find this list helpful as we head into the summer months! What are some of your go-to summer reads? Let me know below!