Saturday, December 15, 2018

*Review* The Gladiator's Downfall by Kristen Banet


Genre: Epic Fantasy
Published: December 14, 2018
Pages: 363



Mave knows where she stands in life. 

She’s an Andinna. A member of the winged, horned, and tailed warrior race that the Elvasi Empire defeated in the Hundred Year War and then enslaved. She’s a slave, and has been one for a thousand years, the personal property of the Empress of the Elvasi Empire, since the end of the War. She’s a gladiator, thrown onto the sands of the Colosseum to die, though it backfired on those who wanted her dead. She’s the Champion of the Colosseum, and has been for roughly nine hundred years. 

All of these things have marked her as an outcast among her own people. Hated, distrusted, and despised, she knows the name of her people, but not much else. 

But she knows where she stands. Keeping her head down and her blades sharp has carried her this far, and she refuses to acknowledge the deepest wishes she holds in her heart. Those will only get her killed. 

Alone, she’s stood against everything they have ever thrown at her, refusing to give them what they want. 

What Mave doesn’t know is that it’s all about to change. 


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to this book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

Epic fantasy is one of my favorite genres, so I was super excited to be hired to proofread one (since a lot of my reading time anymore is devoted to proofreading). This book did not let me down. In fact, if I thought there was any chance I could actually talk Ms. Banet into only writing epic fantasy from now on, I would absolutely try. I don't see that happening though, so I'll just have to console myself with the knowledge that this is just the first book in a series from her.

This story is full of action, mystery, and intrigue, all centered around Mave. I spent a significant portion of the story wondering why not only did the other gladiator's not like Mave, but many were actively hostile towards her. Since the story is told mostly from Mave's perspective, I was working with limited information because while she understands, she's ashamed of the cause, so it's not information that she's willing to share. Once I had the information, I felt like her isolation was even more heartbreaking.

While I never really felt like I was fully in Mave's shoes while reading, because she was keeping things from me and the book isn't set entirely in her perspective, I did feel like I was very much with her for the ride starting at the beginning of the book. I became hesitant to hope for good things to happen because it seemed like they always turned to shit somehow, and yet I still desperately hoped that Mat and Rain would be different.

And I don't want to say too much more for fear of spoiling the story. Overall I give The Gladiator's Downfall 4.999 stars. - Katie 



Kristen Banet has a Diet Coke problem and smokes too much. She curses like a sailor (though, she used to be one, so she uses that as an excuse) and finds that many people don’t know how to handle that. She loves to read, and before finally sitting to try her hand at writing, she had your normal kind of work history. From tattoo parlors, to the U.S. Navy, and freelance illustration, she’s stumbled through her adult years and somehow, is still kicking.

She loves to read books that make people cry. She likes to write books that make people cry (and she wants to hear about it). She’s a firm believer that nothing and no one in this world is perfect, and she enjoys exploring those imperfections—trying to make the characters seem real on the page and not just in her head.

She might just be crazy, though. Her characters think so, but this can’t be confirmed.

Check out her social media to catch what's going on in the worlds inside her head. She drops teasers, new covers, and opens ARC reader slots through her Facebook group, The Banet Pride.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kristenbanetauthor/
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheBanetPride/
Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17235359.Kristen_Banet


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*31 Days of Christmas* Christmas at Pemberley Manor

Thanksgiving is over and the countdown to Christmas has officially begun (at least in my house). I don't limit myself to just reading cheesy Christmas romances during this time of year. Oh no. I also find myself binge watching Christmas movies on Netflix and the Hallmark Channel. And I thought, why not incorporate that into my blog as well. So I give you the 31 Days of Christmas (which will be much easier to accomplish with movies than books like I've tried to do in past years).

Next up is Christmas at Pemberley Manor.



Watched on: Hallmark
Duration: 1 hour, 24 minutes
Originally aired on: 27 October 2018
Directed by: Colin Theys
Starring: Jessica Lowndes, Michael Rady, and Cole Gleason
Please see IMDb for full cast and crew info.

Synopsis

Loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, event planner Elizabeth Bennet is initially at odds with Mr. Darcy, the owner of Pemberley Manor, which she intends to be the venue of her next event, but soon finds herself irresistibly attracted to him.

Review

A modern-day event planning Elizabeth Bennett heads to the small-ish town where a college friend is now mayor to plan and execute the town's annual Christmas festival. Disaster strikes in the form of a burst water line under the town square, where the festival is always held. This leaves Elizabeth scrambling to find a suitable location with almost no time to spare. Enter Pemberley manor, a grand estate on the edge of town that is set for demolition at the beginning of the new year.

Like most Christmas movies, and certainly fitting for a movie based on Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy do not get along in the beginning. Elizabeth is a real firebrand who takes no shit from anybody, except of course from her overbearing boss. But she refuses to see someone else at the mercy of a boss like hers without saying something. I'm sure you can see where this is going.

I liked how even though Elizabeth and Darcy got off to a rocky start, they didn't spend the whole movie at each other's throats. It was a nice change of pace that once Elizabeth schemed to get what she needed from Darcy (and he knew she was behind it), they got along really well. The interactions between Elizabeth and Darcy were a wee bit squeal inducing.

This movie includes a town square catastrophe, a Santa lookalike, carriage painting, and a jab at pineapple on pizza.

I would definitely watch this movie again next year, and maybe again later this year, if I have time. 

My Rating
Check Out My Other Christmas Movie Reviews

Review
Review




















Cancel Christmas starring Judd Nelson, Justin Landry, & Natalie Brown
Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe starring Lacey Chabert, Brendan Penny, & Genevieve Kang
The Princess Switch starring Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, & Nick Sagar
The Holiday Calendar starring Kat Graham, Quincy Brown, and Ethan Peck
The Christmas Switch starring Natasha Henstridge, Brian Kraus, and Cedric Smith
48 Christmas Wishes starring Khiyla Aynne, Elizabeth Ellsworth, and Maya Franzoi
The Spirit of Christmas starring Thomas Beaudoin, Kati Salowsky, and Steven A. Miller
A Shoe Addict's Christmas starring Candace Cameron Bure, Luke Macfarlane, and Jean Smart
Mingle All the Way starring Jen Lilley, Brant Daugherty, and Lindsay Wagner
A Majestic Christmas starring Jerrika Hinton, Christian Vincent, and Adaya Ariana
Finding Santa starring Eric Winter, Jodie Sweetin, and Jay Brazeau
It's Christmas, Eve starring LeAnn Rimes, Tyler Hynes, and Gwynyth Walsh
Christmas Next Door starring Jesse Metcalfe, Fiona Gubelmann, and Brittany Bristow
A Christmas Melody starrinLacey Chabert, Brennan Elliott, and Kathy Najimy
The Christmas Chronicles starring Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, and Judah Lewis
Once Upon a Holiday starring Briana Evigan, Paul Campbell, and Greg Evigan
Christmas Inheritance starring Eliza Taylor, Jake Lacy, and Andie MacDowell
The Most Wonderful Time of Year starring Brooke Burns, Henry Winkler, and Warren Christie
Sleigh Bells Ring starring Erin Cahill, David Alpay, and Dakota Guppy

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*Stacking the Shelves* 15 December 2018


(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too, which covers the books I receive through Netgalley. So my STS post will feature all the books I've been one-clicking on Amazon. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week. All Goodreads First Reads ebook wins unless otherwise specified.

Christmas Kiss by Tammy Andresen - I snagged this beauty for free (no longer free). It'll be a great read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point. 
Bared Secret by C.K. Wiles
English as a Communication System by Kenneth Chastain
Detonation Event by John Andrew Karr
Ms. Compton's Christmas Romance by Sophie Barnes - I won this on Goodreads but it'll be a great read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
The Christmas Countdown by Ani Gonzalez - I snagged this beauty for just 99 cents (still 99 cents). It'll be a great read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
Pull Out: Men, Modern Life, and Mutiny by Arvin Vohra
Afterglow by Guy Connor
The Snow Man by Diana Palmer - I snagged this on sale for just 99 cents (no longer on sale). It'll be a great read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
Her TV Bachelor Fake Fiance by Kimberley Krey - I grabbed this on sale for just 99 cents (no longer on sale). It'll be a good book to read for my 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge in the future. 
His Mighty Hand: Half-Light by Keelan LaForge 
The Burnt Sunset by Chris Ledoux 
We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union - I grabbed this audiobook on sale for just $2.95 as an Audible Daily Deal. I'd had my eye on it for a bit, but kept passing over it when it was included in sale selections because there were other books I just wanted more. I finally decided to just go ahead and grab it now though. 
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins - I snagged this book on sale for just $1.99 (no longer on sale). I think the premise sounds really intriguing. 
The Doctor's Christmas Proposal by Eve Gaddy - I grabbed this book as a freebie (still free). It'll be a great book for my 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
The Christmas Wish by Barbara Ankrum - I got this book for free (no longer free). I look forward to reading it at some point for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
Texas Christmas by Holly Castillo - I snagged this book for free (still free). It'll be a good read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
Once Upon a Texas Christmas by Katherine Garbera - I grabbed this book for free (no longer free). I plan on reading it for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point. 
Once Upon a Winter's Eve by Tessa Dare - I got this book as a freebie (still free). It'll be good read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
A Father for Christmas by Rachelle Ayala - I got this book as a freebie (still free). It'll make its way into my 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge reading at some point. 
Tangled in Tinsel by Stacy Eaton - I grabbed this book for free (still free). Plan on reading it for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point. 
Silver Bells by CJ Hunt - I got this book as a freebie (still free). It'll be great for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point too. 
Christmas Lovebirds by Rachelle Ayala - I got this book for free (still free). Plan on reading it for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point. 
The Castle Mountain Lodge Collection by Elena Aitken - I got this book for free (still free). It'll be a good read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point in the future. 
Christmas Kisses: A Zodiac Shifters Paranormal Romance Anthology by various authors - I grabbed this book for free (still free). I plan on reading it for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point. 
Melody's Christmas by ID Johnson - I got this book for free (still free). It'll be a good book to read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
Christmas with the Sheriff by Victoria James - I got this book for free (still free). I'll be reading it for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point I'm sure.
Christmas on Cougar Mountain by Nancy Radke - Got this book for free (still free). It's going on the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge list too. 
The Cowboy's Christmas Bride by Laurie LeClair - I got this book as a freebie (still free). It's another book for a future 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
All She Wants for Christmas by Amy Rose Bennett - I got this book for free (still free). It'll be going on my 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge list at some point. 
His Christmas Cowgirl by Alissa Callen - I got this book as a freebie (no longer free). Plan on reading it for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge sometime. 
The Christmas Hirelings by ME Braddon - I got this audiobook for free from Audible for being a subscriber. 
Kidnapped from Berryhill Mountain by Sue Cory Person - I got this book for free (no longer free). I think I saw it shared by the author on Facebook. 
Studmuffin Santa by Tawna Fenske - I snagged this book as a freebie (still free). It'll be a good read for my 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge in the future. 
Get to Be Happy: Stories and Secrets to Loving the Sh*t Out of Life by Ted Larkins
Ancient Civilizations of North America by Edwin Barnhart - I snagged this audiobook for just $3.95 as an Audible Daily Deal. I figure this could be a good audiobook to listen to on road trips with the kids. Maybe we'll all learn something. 
The Dragon's Champion by Sam Ferguson - I got this book for free (still free) after seeing it in an author newsletter. 
Favored by B. Griffin - I got this book for free (still free) after seeing it in an author newsletter. 
The Lost City of Alfarin by Keaton James and Sam Ferguson - I grabbed this book for free (no longer free) after seeing it in an author newsletter. 
Arethel's Adventure by Sam Ferguson - Got this book for free (still free) after seeing it shared in an author newsletter. 
The Viscount Can Wait by Marie Tremayne
Teaching Frankenstein by Viktor James - I grabbed this book for free (no longer free). I'm not sure where I saw it shared. 
You for Christmas by Madeline Ash - I snagged this book for free (still free). It'll be a good book to read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge. 
Upon a Midnight Dream by Kathryn Le Veque - I got this book for free (still free). I plan on reading it for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point. 
Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert - I grabbed this book for free (still free). I will be using it for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point I'm sure. 
My Christmas Break Mistake by Anne-Marie Meyer - I got this book for free (no longer free). It'll be a good book to read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge sometime. 
A Kiss for Christmas by C.C. Wood - I got this book for free (still free). It'll be a good read for the 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge at some point. 
Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler - I got this audiobook for free (still free) after seeing it shared by the author on Facebook. 
Magic of Fire and Shadows by Raye Wagner and Rita Stradling - I got this book for free (still free) after seeing it shared on Facebook. 
Fantasy of Frost by Kelly St. Clare - I grabbed this book for free (still free) after seeing it shared on Facebook. 
Prism: The Color Alchemist Book One by Nina Walker - I snagged this book for free (no longer free) after seeing it shared on Facebook. 
Mother of Shadows by Meg Anne - I grabbed this book for free (no longer free) after seeing it shared on Facebook. 
Fallen Empire by K.N. Lee - I got this book for free (still free) after seeing it shared on Facebook. 
Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis - I got this book for free (still free) after seeing it shared on Facebook. 
Two Princes of Summer by Nissa Leder - I snagged this book as a freebie (no longer free) after seeing it shared on Facebook. 
Love at the Christmas Ball by various authors - I grabbed this holiday collection for just 99 cents (still 99 cents). It'll be a good book to read for my 12 Books of Christmas reading challenge in the future. 

And that is all the books that I picked up this past week. There were so many freebies that I took advantage of, and so many of them were festive to boot. 

What new books did you pick up this past week? - Katie 

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can stop by and see all your new pretties.*


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Friday, December 14, 2018

*Review* 180 Seconds by Jessica Park


Genre: NA/Romance
Published: April 25, 2017
Pages: 300



Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.


I listened to the audiobook version of this book, and the narration was excellent. The opposite gendered voices didn't come off as caricatures and the pacing (listening at 1.5 speed) was great.

This book sucks. It made wet stuff leak from my eyes and melted my face off. Do not read this book if you value your face. This is how my review originally appeared on Goodreads, and because the author has since used it in promotions, I figured I should start this review with it.

I felt like this book had several different layers to the story. There was the budding romance between Allison and Esben, the friendship between Allison and Steffi, and the relationship between Allison and Simon, her adoptive father. All of these relationships were woven together seamlessly, working off of each other to get me more invested just so Ms. Park could destroy me in the end. She is basically an evil genius, and this book makes that perfectly clear.

So I'll say it again, don't read this book if you value your face. 4.9998 stars. - Katie 



Jessica is the author of CLEAR, The Left Drowning Series (LEFT DROWNING and RESTLESS WATERS), the New York Times bestselling FLAT-OUT LOVE (& the companion novella FLAT-OUT MATT), FLAT-OUT CELESTE, and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. She lives in New Hampshire where she spends an obscene amount time thinking about rocker boys and their guitars, complex caffeinated beverages, and tropical vacations. On the rare occasions that she is able to focus on other things, she writes. 

Please visit her at jessicapark.me and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicapark and Twitter @JessicaPark24


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*31 Days of Christmas* Homegrown Christmas

Thanksgiving is over and the countdown to Christmas has officially begun (at least in my house). I don't limit myself to just reading cheesy Christmas romances during this time of year. Oh no. I also find myself binge watching Christmas movies on Netflix and the Hallmark Channel. And I thought, why not incorporate that into my blog as well. So I give you the 31 Days of Christmas (which will be much easier to accomplish with movies than books like I've tried to do in past years).

Next up is Homegrown Christmas.



Watched on: Hallmark
Duration: 2 hours (with commercials)
Originally aired on: 8 December 2018
Directed by: Mel Damski
Starring: Lori Loughlin, Matt Hamilton, and Gwynyth Walsh
Please see IMDb for full cast and crew info.

Synopsis

After stepping down as CEO of her dream job, Maddie (Lori Loughlin) heads home for the holidays to gain perspective. She finds herself running into her old high school sweetheart Carter (Victor Webster), and tensions quickly arise. When forced to put together a Christmas dance for the local high school, Carter and Maddie find themselves putting their differences aside and rediscover what made them fall in love all those years ago.

Review

This second-chance romance features a workaholic woman who returns to her small town for the holidays. For the first time in years she has loads of time on her hands, so she volunteers to help run a Christmas dance for her alma mater high school. Things are really tense between Maddie and Carter, and it's not immediately obvious exactly why. I knew they were high school sweethearts and then things went south, but it took a while for them to come out and say why things went south. 

Complicating matters, Carter works for Maddie's family's company and is treated like he's one of them. It definitely seems like Maddie's family is conspiring against her to throw her and Carter together at every possibly opportunity, and considering their rocky history, it's definitely necessary for them to find their way back to each other. 

I liked how in this movie Carter and Maddie weren't immediately all over each other, and even when they start talking about the past and why they made the choices that they did, they still kept their emotional distance for a while. It felt a lot more realistic than most second-chance romance Christmas movies. 

This movie includes tree cutting, cookie baking with an intense cookie swap, a snowball fight, 

My Rating
Check Out My Other Christmas Movie Reviews

Review
Review




















Cancel Christmas starring Judd Nelson, Justin Landry, & Natalie Brown
Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe starring Lacey Chabert, Brendan Penny, & Genevieve Kang
The Princess Switch starring Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, & Nick Sagar
The Holiday Calendar starring Kat Graham, Quincy Brown, and Ethan Peck
The Christmas Switch starring Natasha Henstridge, Brian Kraus, and Cedric Smith
48 Christmas Wishes starring Khiyla Aynne, Elizabeth Ellsworth, and Maya Franzoi
The Spirit of Christmas starring Thomas Beaudoin, Kati Salowsky, and Steven A. Miller
A Shoe Addict's Christmas starring Candace Cameron Bure, Luke Macfarlane, and Jean Smart
Mingle All the Way starring Jen Lilley, Brant Daugherty, and Lindsay Wagner
A Majestic Christmas starring Jerrika Hinton, Christian Vincent, and Adaya Ariana
Finding Santa starring Eric Winter, Jodie Sweetin, and Jay Brazeau
It's Christmas, Eve starring LeAnn Rimes, Tyler Hynes, and Gwynyth Walsh
Christmas Next Door starring Jesse Metcalfe, Fiona Gubelmann, and Brittany Bristow
A Christmas Melody starrinLacey Chabert, Brennan Elliott, and Kathy Najimy
The Christmas Chronicles starring Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, and Judah Lewis
Once Upon a Holiday starring Briana Evigan, Paul Campbell, and Greg Evigan
Christmas Inheritance starring Eliza Taylor, Jake Lacy, and Andie MacDowell
The Most Wonderful Time of Year starring Brooke Burns, Henry Winkler, and Warren Christie

For more info or to sign up, click here.

*Book Blogger Hop* 14 December 2018



We are on to a new week for the Book Blogger Hop hosted by the lovely folks over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This weeks questions is:
Do you listen to music while you are writing your blog posts? If so, what genre of music do you listen to? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)
Not usually, but on the rare occasions when I do have music on, it's what I would classify as Bitchy Pop (because I think that's what the Spotify playlist I usually gravitate towards is called). Basically it's women power type songs (think All the Single Ladies by Beyonce, or just about anything by Destiny's Child). I'm more likely to put on a movie or show on Netflix that I've seen before so I don't necessarily have to keep a close eye on it, but can stop and watch from time to time. At the moment, that means watching cheesy Christmas movies, which I like to watch but don't feel the need to focus on.

What about you? Do you listen to music while you write blog posts? - Katie

*If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your post below so I can see your answer.*

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

*Review* I Know What I'm Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself by Jen Kirkman


Genre: Memoir
Published: April 12, 2016
Pages: 272



New York Times bestselling author and stand-up comedian Jen Kirkman delivers a hilarious, candid memoir about marriage, divorce, sex, turning forty, and still not quite having life figured out.

Jen Kirkman wants to be the voice in your head that says, Hey, you’re okay. Even if you sometimes think you aren’t! And especially if other people try to tell you you’re not.

In I Know What I’m Doing—and Other Lies I Tell Myself, Jen offers up all the gory details of a life permanently in progress. She reassures you that it’s okay to not have life completely figured out, even when you reach middle age (and find your first gray pubic hair!). She talks about making unusual or unpopular life decisions (such as cultivating a “friend with benefits” or not going home for the holidays) because you don’t necessarily want for yourself what everyone else seems to think you should. It’s about renting when everyone says you should own, dating around when everyone thinks you should settle down, and traveling alone when everyone pities you for going to Paris without a man.

From marriage to divorce and sex to mental health, I Know What I’m Doing—and Other Lies I Tell Myself is about embracing the fact that life is a bit of a sh*t show and it’s definitely more than okay to stay true to yourself.


I listened to the audiobook version of this, and highly recommend it. In fact, I would recommend doing it with a glass of wine (or your libation of choice), because it's a lot like listening to a girlfriend  gossip, which is great if you're an involuntary hermit like me. It's almost like having someone there chatting with you, except you don't get to say anything in return (in other words, you're not expected to provide any input or anything! So it's basically awesome).

This book is chock full of questionable advice for adults. But it's told in such a way, that I kind of want to try it all. Jen's ride may have been bumpy, but it sure sounds fun. I think the most important aspect of this book though, is that Jen doesn't act like she has all the answers...or any of the answers. Really, the ultimate takeaway for me was essentially "You do you, boo" because the choices we make in life may not seem like the right choices to outsiders, but they're not the ones who have to live with the consequences. And even if we don't always like the consequences of our actions, we can learn from the experience and be better for it.

Overall I give I Know What I'm Doing and Other Lies I Tell Myself 4.698 stars. - Katie 



Jen Kirkman is a world-touring stand-up comedian and the author of the New York Times bestseller I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales of a Happy Life Without Kids and I Know What I’m Doing—And Other Lies I Tell Myself: Dispatches from a Life Under Construction. Her Netflix original comedy special I'm Gonna Die Alone and I Feel Fine streams worldwide, and she has released two comedy albums, Self Help and Hail to the Freaks (which hit #13 on the Billboard charts). She was a longtime writer and panelist on the E! Network’s Chelsea Lately and the narrator of many episodes in the award-winning TV show Drunk History on Comedy Central.

For more info or to sign up, click here.

*31 Days of Christmas* Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa

Thanksgiving is over and the countdown to Christmas has officially begun (at least in my house). I don't limit myself to just reading cheesy Christmas romances during this time of year. Oh no. I also find myself binge watching Christmas movies on Netflix and the Hallmark Channel. And I thought, why not incorporate that into my blog as well. So I give you the 31 Days of Christmas (which will be much easier to accomplish with movies than books like I've tried to do in past years).

Next up is Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa



Watched on: Hallmark
Duration: 2 hours (with commercials)
Originally aired on: 18 November 2018
Directed by: Sean McNamara
Starring: Andrew Baker, Rukiya Bernard, and Michelle Choi-Lee
Please see IMDb for full cast and crew info.

Synopsis

When Lisa (Wagner) takes a last-minute Christmas trip to her hometown of Evergreen, she finds that the historic general store has been closed. Using her skills as a professional retail designer, Lisa decides to keep local tradition alive and help the good people of Evergreen bring the store back to life. As Lisa charms a local contractor named Kevin (Deklin) into working with her, the pair find themselves facing one surprise after another as they restore the store to its former glory. When the staff at the Kringle Kitchen temporarily accept the store's beloved 'Mailbox to Santa' for safekeeping, the townspeople find and rally around a mysterious 25-year-old letter that never made it to the North Pole. As old traditions are made new again, Lisa finds herself falling for Kevin, the traditions, and the town of Evergreen.

Review

This movie falls into the woman returns to her festive small town for Christmas trope. Unlike most movies in that trope, however, she doesn't dislike or avoid Christmas on principle. So the main plot of the story doesn't revolve around her finding the Christmas spirit again. In addition to that, her obvious love interest also doesn't dislike Christmas. So the bulk of the story revolves around saving the closed general store that Lisa loved as a child. And obviously the only person in town that can help her with that is Kevin. 

One of the things that I really liked about this movie is that Lisa is not portrayed as in need of saving in some way. In fact, the very first thing she does upon arriving in Evergreen is helps Kevin get an old truck running so he can get back to town. And while she needs help fixing up the general store for show to entice a buyer, she knows what help she needs and how to get it. And she's persistent and won't take no for an answer. 

This movie includes witty banter, an idyllic Christmas town, cookie decorating, and a town coming together to revive an old tradition. 

I would definitely watch this movie again if I'm in the mood for a festive happy-cry movie (because this definitely tugged a few of those out of my eyes at the end). 

My Rating
Check Out My Other Christmas Movie Reviews





















Cancel Christmas starring Judd Nelson, Justin Landry, & Natalie Brown
Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe starring Lacey Chabert, Brendan Penny, & Genevieve Kang
The Princess Switch starring Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, & Nick Sagar
The Holiday Calendar starring Kat Graham, Quincy Brown, and Ethan Peck
The Christmas Switch starring Natasha Henstridge, Brian Kraus, and Cedric Smith
48 Christmas Wishes starring Khiyla Aynne, Elizabeth Ellsworth, and Maya Franzoi
The Spirit of Christmas starring Thomas Beaudoin, Kati Salowsky, and Steven A. Miller
A Shoe Addict's Christmas starring Candace Cameron Bure, Luke Macfarlane, and Jean Smart
Mingle All the Way starring Jen Lilley, Brant Daugherty, and Lindsay Wagner
A Majestic Christmas starring Jerrika Hinton, Christian Vincent, and Adaya Ariana
Finding Santa starring Eric Winter, Jodie Sweetin, and Jay Brazeau
It's Christmas, Eve starring LeAnn Rimes, Tyler Hynes, and Gwynyth Walsh
Christmas Next Door starring Jesse Metcalfe, Fiona Gubelmann, and Brittany Bristow
A Christmas Melody starrinLacey Chabert, Brennan Elliott, and Kathy Najimy
The Christmas Chronicles starring Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, and Judah Lewis
Once Upon a Holiday starring Briana Evigan, Paul Campbell, and Greg Evigan
Christmas Inheritance starring Eliza Taylor, Jake Lacy, and Andie MacDowell

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