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Books

Book Gift Guide 2020

I know Christmas is going to be here before we know it and it’s less than 2 weeks away now! But in case you are still looking for last minute gifts for a book lover in your life I wanted to share some books that I loved this year.

I’m only breaking up my list into 2 categories: fiction and cookbooks. Because I love fiction and I love cooking so that’s basically all I need to cover, right? Plus, I ran out of time to think of more categories.

Fiction Picks

These are all books that I read and loved since Christmas 2019.

  1. Textrovert by Lindsey Summers – I read the original version of this on Wattpad where it was called The Cell Phone Swap. I loved this book so much and this book, along with my next pick, helped inspire me to actually write fiction instead of only dreaming up storylines and never doing anything about it. Since reading this book I’ve online friends and pen pals with Lindsey! Hopefully, one day we’ll get to meet in person!

    In the novel, high schooler Keeley accidentally swaps phones with a boy named, Talon. They communicate via text and get to know each other, eventually falling for each other. But, there is something Talon isn’t tell her…
  2. The QB Bad Boy and Me by Tay Marley – This one was sent to me to read so I never read the original Wattpad version, but I absolutely loved the book and all of the books in the Lahey universe. As mentioned in my pick above, this was the other book that helped push me to start my own Wattpad and finally write. I’ve also become online friends with Tay!

    In the novel, Dallas is a high school cheerleader with dreams of going to college in California and becoming a famous dancer. Drayton Lahey, is the start quarterback at their high school and after a chance encounter, Drayton seems to be everywhere. The tension between the two who are so interested in each other, but fighting it half the time, is so thick and you instantly fall in love with the characters.
  3. The Summer of ’98 by Tay Marley – This is the prequel to The QB Bad Boy and Me and follows the story of Drayton’s parents and how they met during the summer of 98. A must-read if you enjoy The QB Bad Boy and Me!
  4. Fly, Butterfly by Anniken R. Day – I really enjoyed this novel and thought it was beautifully written. Maya is a successful New York businesswoman. She goes to Hawaii for a conference and while there realizes she needs to make changes in her life.
  5. Lifeline to Marionette by Jennifer Waitte – This novel is hauntingly beautiful and beautifully written. I really loved this novel. Michelle is a supermodel, thrust into the spotlight at a young age she has gone through a lot. A difficult and lonely childhood that led to a glamorous, but dangerous career in terms of her physical, emotional, and mental health. The novel begins at a point in Michelle’s life that she could easily live or die. While I’ve never been in a situation similar to Michelle’s, Waitte had a way of making her pain so relatable and you could feel everything she was going through. (P.S. Jennifer sent this to me with a bottle of wine from her vineyard!)
  6. Trapeze by Leigh Ansell – Another book published by Wattpad and another one that I loved. Corey Ryder is 17 and a trapeze artist. She grew up with the traveling circus, raised by her aunt who helps manage the circus. After tragedy strikes the circus, Corey has no choice but to stay with her mother who she hardly knows. There, she has to learn what it’s like to go to a regular high school, interact with kids her age, and navigate feelings for a boy in town with a complicated life.
  7. Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – I was invited to a book launch event for this book back in summer 2019 but I didn’t get to read it until the winter (the curse of my ever growing tbr list). The author was so nice! It was so interesting and magical. Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest taylor in the land. When the emperor is looking for a new tailor, her frail father has been “asked”, which is basically ordered, to travel to the emperor and compete to win the honor. Knowing that her father would not survive the arduous trip, she disguises herself as a man and goes in his place. It’s like Mulan meets Project Runway. Magic and adventure are woven in the story as well to make a great book. There is a follow up to this novel, but I haven’t gotten to read it yet!
  8. Bound in Flame by Katherine Kayne – I really enjoyed this novel. It’s set in 1909 and Letty Lang’s family is prominent in Hawaii. She wants to be a veterinarian which is scandalous in that time – a highly educated woman that wants to work? But, unbeknownst to her, she is a mākāhā, a Gate to the healing fires of the land. But her power can be dangerous too, which does not bode well for her love interest.

9. Hazel & Holly by Sara C. Snider – I love magical, whimsical books and this one was perfect. Hazel and Holly are two sisters who are witches. They live in an enchanted community in the forest called The Grove. Their beloved mother has been dead for some time and their father has been dabbling in the dark arts of necromancy to trap their mother’s soul. They need to find him and put an end to his treachery. With the help of a pair of warlock brothers they go on a journey to try to right this wrong. I loved this book and I’m hoping she has a follow-up to it!

10. The Selection by Kiera Cass – This is book 1 of a series and I would include the whole series, but my gift guide would get too long. I read the whole series over the spring and summer with a few middle school girls who were my students. We made an informal book club via Zoom and one of the girls loves this series wanted the rest of us to read it. It is The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. The novel takes place in the future where the United States no longer exists and we’re ruled by a monarchy. The country is divided into different districts and people live in certain castes. The prince is now at an age where he must pick a girl to marry so The Selection takes place. Girls from around the country apply for the competition and 35 girls are selected to go to the palace and compete for Prince’s affections. America Singer has no desire to go or compete, but at the urging of her mother and secret boyfriend she applies. If you become a finalist you get to move up in caste and each week you are a contestant, money gets sent home to your family so she decides to do it. The whole competition is more eye opening than she could have anticipated and her indifference to Prince Maxon quickly changes. This is being turned into a Netflix movie and I can’t wait!

11. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – This is another very popular series, but I’ve only read book 1 so far and I’m in the middle of book 2. ACOTAR is a fantasy novel in a world where just beyond the wall of human life is a whole world and kingdom of fae. When 19 year old Feyre kills a wolf in the woods she has no idea what she has just kickstarted. To atone for her sin, she is taken beyond the wall by Tamlin – a high fae who has the power to turn into a beast. But not is all what it seems and soon she learns more about the fae world and gets swept up in the battles that must be fought there in order to protect the human world. This series is so interesting and you’ll get hooked instantly. It’s the perfect mix of fantasy, magic, adventure, and steamy romance.

Cookbooks

  1. Molly on the Range – I don’t have this cookbook by Molly Yeh, but I am a big fan of her and her show Girl Meets Farm on the Food Network.
  2. Cravings – Another cookbook I do not own, but I love Chrissy Teigen and I enjoy watching all of her cooking videos on Instagram.
  3. Cravings Hungry for More – Chrissy Teigen’s follow up to her successful first cookbook.
  4. The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook – I was sent this cookbook and made carrot cake cookies recently. Such a fun book with recipes of popular items at the Disney parks. It would make a great gift for a foodie and/or Disney fan!
  5. The New Fondue CookbookThis cookbook was just released last week and it is full of all different fondue recipes ranging from different cheeses, savory fondue meals, and sweet fondue meals. I can’t wait to try out some things from this book. I asked for a fondue set for Christmas so I’m excited to try out the recipes, especially since my local Melting Pot closed!

That’s it for my 2020 book gift guide. I hope this helps give you some ideas! Happy reading!

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Welcome to my blog! I'm a teacher during the day and lifestyle blogger by night. I love pop culture, entertainment/TV/movies/music, food, beauty, travel & fashion! www.twitter.com/jamwong www.instagram.com/lifeaccordingtojamie

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