Secret Santa: I never promised you a ‘wild rose’ garden

I like surprises, mail, books and Christmas. Put them all together, and what do you get? A December full of awesome Secret Santa gifts!

My first package arrived in a sturdy box from Katie W. in Wisconsin, my present as part of The Neverending Shelf’s Book Lovers Secret Santa. Katie was more than generous and I was thrilled to receive six books, including my wishlist title Georgia’s Kitchen by Jenny Nelson. Other wonderful books included Wild Roses by Deb Caletti (on my wishlist since reading Amanda’s review!); Mia King’s Sweet Life; Seth Baumgartner’s Love Manifesto by Eric Luper; Kristina McBride’s The Tension of Opposites; and The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker. A bonus gift was a Hide-a-Cover, a clever plastic sleeve that covers up the exterior of your current read. Mine is the Plate Tectonics And You design!

The next two packages that arrived are the real mystery here — and both are still unsolved! They were sent anonymously — sans card or address labels — and all I know is that All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins and The Icing On The Cupcake by Jennifer Ross arrived from Housing Works: Bookstore Cafe in New York City, and Sarah Lyall’s The Anglo Files had a New Jersey address, I believe? (The packaging wasn’t in my hands too long — had to rip that baby open!) I’m not sure which package arrived from which swap, either, though my options are narrowed down to the Book Bloggers Holiday Swap or The Broke and Bookish Secret Santa.

If either of the latter two packages came from you, please let me know — I’d love to say thanks! I’m very excited to read all of them and appreciate the care each Secret Santa took to choose the titles for me. Wishing everyone a very happy holiday!

Holiday book acquisitions

guernsey_literaryPosting has been (and will probably continue to be) light as I emerge from my post-Christmas malaise, but I have plenty of adventures and holiday photos to share in the near future! As I’m visiting with friends and family, I’m not near my c0mputer as much — and not at work (hooray!). But I can now bring you the awesome books now circulating my house, all courtesy of Santa — and some very astute family members!


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows


Waiter Rant: Thanks For the Tip by Steve Dublanica, “The Waiter”


Annie Leibovitz At Work by Annie Leibovitz


The Reluctant Tuscan: How I Discovered My Inner Italian by Phil Doran
The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln
by Kate Clifford Larson

I got Guernsey! I knew my sister wouldn’t let me down! And I’m off to a family party and more festive weekend activities . . . hope everyone is doing well, and I’ll look forward to hearing all about the holidays and fun book endeavors soon!

How I spent my rainy Friday

After failing to properly budget my leave this year, I’ve actually found myself with . . . extra leave. I know, it’s a terrible dilemma! Except it actually has been hard to figure out when I could leave work without my projects crumbling up before the holidays. Thankfully I have some great co-workers and we’ve all reached a peaceful resolution!

I left work at noon today, got home and promptly pulled on a hoodie. Then I set about doing . . . whatever. I watched back-to-back episodes of “Divorce Court,” “Judge David Young,” “Judge Alex,” “Judge Joe Brown” and, of course, “Judge Judy.” I’m clearly a sucker for court shows! And I can’t even remember the last time I was able to spend a whole afternoon lounging around watching crazy people squabble over rent and car accidents.

And I got to work on a few other projects, like . . .


sending out mail and . . .


crocheting a secret gift!
(That hopefully remains secret a little longer.)

And I was incredibly excited when my dad brought in the mail today! An enormous package with my name on it arrived from Louisiana. Palmer’s father and stepmother sent gorgeous gifts, and they came at the perfect time — it’s been a really dark, dreary week. I was going to wait until Christmas to open them, per my boyfriend’s instructions, but decided my life needed a spot of sunshine and tore them open!

Well, I didn’t tear them open. The package was too pretty!


And everything in it was . . . pink! My favorite color in the world. They know me too well!


Very exciting. Thank you so much!

Everyone have a great weekend! If you’re anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard, it’s promising to be quite wet. Be careful!

Booking Through Thursday: Books as gifts

booking_through_thursLet’s go Booking Through Thursday!

Do you give books as gifts? To everyone? Or only to select people?

How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?

I absolutely give books as gifts . . . in fact, I think books are some of the best gifts of all! There’s absolutely a book out there for everyone — whether it’s a mystery, a romance, some literary fiction, a World War II discussion, a recipe book — and books provide entertainment and knowledge all in one neat package!

I don’t necessarily give books to everyone, but I almost always get books as gifts for my parents and sister. We all enjoy reading for fun and I like finding something that I know will be a bit of a surprise to unwrap! When I was working often in the bookstore, I found potential gift books all the time. I would dutifully copy down the ISBN and other information and store it away birthdays and holidays.

And I love to get books as gifts — again, they’re some of the best gifts! I get so excited when I crack the spine of a fresh book, pour through the inside and skim over the back cover. My wish list is ever growing!

‘Tis the season to… catch a cheater?

christmas_treeSo I’m an editor — I work in special sections for a newspaper and complete more than 500 feature products a year, many of those on a weekly basis. Right now I’m working on a holiday gift guide and need editorial content to help flesh out a few of my pages. I decided I would turn to the trusty Internet, of course, for some story ideas. Ezine Articles usually has some amusing content, such as this gem: “How Christmas Gifts Can Expose Your Cheating Husband.”

Seriously? I’m looking for light, friendly and fun story content for my simple, innocent lil’ holiday gift guide. And I come up with how to confirm that my dirty, lying, no-good husband is cheating on me — over the holidays, no less?

Now, I’m not saying that such advice is unnecessary. In fact, I’m sure that it’s quite necessary for many folks. And the article is… well, informative.

So, in case you’re worried that your lying, cheating, no-good hubby is prowling around for expensive jewelry for someone other than you, here are some things to look out for, provided by author Ruth Houston:

• Suspicious withdrawals from checking or savings accounts.
• Unusual or unexplained ATM withdrawals.
• Credit card statements that show unusual charges made at jewelry stores, boutiques, or women’s specialty stores.
• Receipts for gift items that you didn’t personally receive.
• Hidden gift items clearly intended for someone other than you
• Giving or receiving Christmas gifts of an extremely personal nature to or from another woman.
• Giving a disproportionately expensive Christmas gift to or receiving one from a female business acquaintance or casual friend.

Yikes… temptation is everywhere?