Day 10 of 12 Days of Christmas: My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff
Published: October 31, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Format: NetGalley
Rating: 4/5

Charlotte Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Ortiz. He s the school s star athlete, in the National Honor Society, invited to every party, contributes to the school paper (where Charlie is co-editor), and is about to be featured as One to Watch in a teen magazine basically, he's exactly the type of guy Charlie s meant to be with. The only problem he barely knows she exists.

But Charlie is determined to be Teo's date to the Christmas ball. And she has a plan: To rig the paper s Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Ortiz Teo s cousin, and possibly the most annoying person on the planet. He s easy going, laid back, unorganized, spontaneous, and makes a joke out of everything the exact opposite of Charlie (and Teo). But he s willing to provide insight into what Teo wants, so she's stuck with him.

Yet, the more time Charlie spends with J.D., the more she starts to wonder: Does she really know what, or rather who, she wants for Christmas?

My Thoughts
Is it possible to love a book, its storyline and supporting characters yet dislike the main character? Well, this was my dilemma with My New Crush Gave to Me. You see I fully enjoyed this book with its predictable storyline but that’s ok what wasn’t was my dislike of Charlie. Why is that? Well, I just felt she was a tad annoying and so blind cause she couldn’t see that J.D. not Teo was the guy for her! I wish I could’ve leaped in the book and shake her silly. I know its just a book but geez can anyone be so blind to what was clearly right in front of them?

So why despite all my yammering did I give it 4 stars? Well like I said I did really love this read. I thought it was cute and funny and yes despite Charlie not being able to realize who was the right guy for her right away I did love the interaction between her and J.D. their chemistry was off the charts and the slow built up of that was well worth it. So if you want something fun and flirty to read this Christmas pick it up it's definitely worth the time.


Day 9 of 12 Days of Christmas: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily [Dash & Lily #2] BY Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Published: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Knopf BYR
Format: audiobook via Overdrive
Rating: 4/5

Dash and Lily have had a tough year since readers watched the couple fall in love in Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. Lily's beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition. Lily's spark has dimmed so much that Langston, her brother, has put aside his grudge against Dash to team up and remind Lily what there is to love about life.
With only twelve days left until Christmas--Lily's favorite time of the year--Dash, Langston, and their friends take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the holiday spirit of New York City in December, a time and place unlike anywhere else in the world. Told in alternating chapters, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily is bound to be a Christmas favorite for seasons to come.

My Thoughts
Oh, Dash & Lily how I have missed you! I instantly fell in love with these two a few years back in the first book in the series and was finally excited that I finally got to read the follow-up. We catch up with Dash & Lily a year later but this time it’s Dash who has set out to bring Christmas cheer to Lily’s life. She has had a hard year with dealing with her grandfather’s heart attack, her brother who has moved out and now her parents who want to move out of state for their jobs, how could a girl not feel a bit blue?

Both are wondering if they can get over this hump or are they just not connecting anymore as a couple like they use to? Dash tries his hardest to get Lily back in the Christmas spirit and to show her how much he loves her. All the while Lily wonders if Dash even still wants to be together, talk about miscommunication! I’ve always loved the alternating chapters because I feel we see both sides of the story as each one sees it. Of course, I will always root for these two they had me from the very start with their red moleskine notebook! So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I, of course, enjoyed this read just as a much. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Dash & Lily what are you waiting for? Go get both reads and snuggle in for some delightful Christmas reading time.


Day 8 of 12 Days of Christmas: What Light by Jay Asher

What Light by Jay Asher
Published: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Little Brown and Co.
Format: audiobook via Overdrive
Rating: 4/5

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

My Thoughts
In What Light we met Sierra and her family who own a Christmas tree farm and every Christmas they go down to California to sell their trees. Sierra has had a double life of sorts since she splits some time between her Oregon life and her California life. She has two sets of friends but all of that is in danger when this might be the last Christmas her family goes down to California due to problems with the business.

When she is in California she focuses solely on helping her family and spending time with her friend, she rarely thinks of dating especially since she is never there long enough to think about getting involved with anyone. However all of that changes when she meets Caleb someone she never saw coming and of course, he captures her heart quicker than she could ever imagine. There is a chemistry between them that either can deny but there is a rumor out there that she soon finds out about that could end things before they even begin.

I listened to this on audiobook and found it to be a quick and easy going read. I really liked this story and found Sierra to be the nice girl who always played by the rules but when others don’t agree with her choice of guys she stands up for herself and her gut feelings about Caleb. She believed in him from the start despite what others think and was determined to get to know the real person behind the image and not just rely on rumors.

This was the typical tale of young love with that dash of Christmas magic that I love so much. The real stars were the romance between the two but also the tale of growing up and finding ourselves, finding who they are and what they ultimately what to become. There is nothing better than a coming of age tale but add Christmas time as the backdrop and well you have a winner of a read.


Day 7 of 12 Days of Christmas: Children's Christmas reads

During my holiday reads I like to look for children’s books that I think will be entertaining for the little ones and I found three I thought you might what to check out for the kiddos.

The Warm-Hearted Snowman by Sigal Adler
This is a tale about a friendship between a snowman and rabbit and how the magical sense of Christmas means everything. I really enjoyed this cute read and the illustrations are so beautiful! My little cousin really loved this book. A cute read with a great message.

Snowflake and Christmas by Ezra Monson
I must admit this cover got me, I’m a sucker for a cute cover and I was so happy that the book was just as amazing! This is the story of Snowflake and her wanting to know everything about Christmas. She soon finds out that its true meaning is being together and the love we have for one another.

Santa Ate my Gingerbread House by Mark I. Sutherland
This is the tale of Tommy who loves Christmas more than everything but when Santa mistakenly eats his gingerbread house Tommy is determined to be the naughtiest boy ever. This was an okay read for me mainly because I found Tommy to be a snotty kid. My little cousin also said she didn’t like Tommy either because he was just plain mean.

I hope you check out any of these reads, these were all free kindle reads when I got them so hopefully, they still are so you can check them out as well.


Day 6 of 12 Days of Christmas: The Reading Group by Della Parker

The Reading Group: December by Della Parker
Published: December 1, 2016
Publisher: Quercus
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 4/5

Meet the Reading Group: six women in the seaside village of Little Sanderton come together every month to share their love of reading. No topic is off-limits: books, family, love, and loss . . . and don't forget the glass of red! Grace knows that the holiday season is going to be different this year. No turkey, no tinsel, no gorgeously wrapped gifts under the tree . . . how on earth is she going to break it to her little boys that Christmas is effectively canceled? And can she bear to tell anyone her embarrassing secret? Enter the Reading Group: Grace's life might have turned upside down but there's no problem they can't solve.

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this short story about a group of friends who initially came together for their love but books but soon realize that this group was much more than that. This story is about friendship and their support of one another and that it can pull them through anything that life throws at them.


Day 5 of 12 Days of Christmas: Under the Mistletoe by J. Parker

Under The Mistletoe by J. Parker
Published: December 23, 2016
Published: HHH Books
Format: free Kindle read
Rating: 2/5

It's Christmas Eve, and Grace still hasn't seen a present under the Christmas tree from her husband. When Todd announces there is no present coming, she feels snubbed, not realizing that he's got a different surprise planned. But is his gift what she really wants? Or even what she needs?

My Thoughts
This is a very short read around 20 pages or so but what I didn’t like about this story was Grace the main character. I felt like she wasn’t very nice to her husband and I just didn’t like her overall attitude. My dislike for her ruined the story for me.


Berkley Bookmas

A Southern Girls Bookshelf is so excited to participate in Berkley Bookmas and I'm hosting Julie James's favorite holiday cookie recipes today! Berkley Bookmas is chock full of exclusive content from authors like exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, author recipes and more!

Check out the calendar of events below

Need Cookies for the holidays? I’ve got your back.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things about the holidays was my grandmother’s cookies. She used to spend days baking, and when we visited her house every Christmas Eve, there would be platters and tins of cookies seemingly everywhere.
Over the years, my cookie recipe book has expanded, but below are two classics that have been part of my family’s holiday traditions for years. Both are kid-friendly, adult-friendly, easy to make, and loaded with chocolate (generally a requirement for all my cookies, snickerdoodles excepted.) Enjoy!
Snowball Cookies

1 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups flour
1 package Hershey’s kisses
Confectioner’s sugar

Beat butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and nuts. Shape dough around kisses and roll into balls. (Hint for first-timers: you don’t want too much dough; use just enough to cover the Hershey kiss.) Bake on cookies sheets lined with parchment paper at 375 degrees for about 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies are a light golden brown. Let cookies cool, then roll them in confectioner’s sugar.

Variation: Mr. James is a little fussier than I am about cookies, and doesn’t like milk chocolate. (Miraculously, we’ve managed to stay married for 15 years despite this character flaw.) So for some of the cookies, I roll the dough around a bunch of semi-sweet chocolate chips (instead of a Hershey’s Kiss), and everyone’s happy. ☺
M&M Cookies

1 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 pound bag of M&Ms
Julie’s add-on: I also throw in 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips because more chocolate = yummy goodness

Beat butter and sugars, then beat in vanilla and eggs. Add remaining dry ingredients, mix well, then stir in M&Ms (and chocolate chips). Bake at 375 degrees on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper for 9-11 minutes, or until light golden brown.
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For tomorrow’s fun, head to one of the following blogs:
·         Stuck in Books
·         Thoughts in Progress
·         The Romance Dish