Unsure what to buy that special or not so special person on your holiday list? Well of course my answer is buy them a book! Which book? The choices are so hard and there were so many fantastic titles out this year. Well never fear, we here at Bookalicio.us have created the perfect holiday gift guide that spans the ages of young to young at heart. I have buy now links with all of the books listed from Hicklebee’s which is an iconic indie bookstore. Support Hicklebee’s this holiday season and buy now!
It’s a Book by Lane Smith makes the list for the fantastical illustrations and the appeal for adults. The book follows a kind Monkey who loves to read and his tech savvy Jack-ass friend who can’t seem to understand what a book is for. You and your child will love this book!
The Llama Llama series continues with Holiday Drama which is all about Christmas. Llama gets a little overwhelmed by all the shopping and baking and true to Llama fashion has a complete melt down. This story is a great way to talk about the true meaning of the holidays and share some story time and a cup of chocolate with your little one.
Middle Grade Fiction
The Familiars is a fantastic story for your Middle Grader. We follow a starving alley cat named Aldwyn through a thoughtful plot as he finds his true place in the world. Plenty of life lesson is weaved into the tale and your child will enjoy riotous laughs and plot twists along the way.
Franny Flanders and her antics are a laugh a minute kind of book. Franny finds a box of spells and sets out to make her world a better place never thinking of the world at large. When all her spells take a wrong turn and things end up even worse than they were to begin with Franny has to turn to her new age Granny and Justin Timberlake for help. Okay so maybe Justin Timberlake doesn’t know magic but he is in the book!
Finnikin of the Rock is an epic fantasy full of fantastical writing and complex plot. As a child Finnikin has a dream that he will have to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom, however when his country is invaded and it’s citizens are ousted Finnikin will have to sacrifice a lot more to bring glory back to his land and bring his people home. With the help of a young girl named Evangaline he sets out on his final journey that may or may not be his final sacrifice.
Young Adult Contemporary
Stolen is one of the absolute best books I have read this year. I have to thank Scholastic for sending me this book with a note saying that I would enjoy it. I most definitely did. Stolen is the story of a girl who has to come to grips with her kidnapping and try to find a way home and away from Ty who has stolen her away to the outback and there seems to be no escape in any direction Gemma looks. It is easier for the reader to be sympathetic towards Ty at times but the author always reminds you that his is a bit off. Stolen gave me Stockholm’s just from reading. It would be a fantastic gift for your teen.
Sea is a beautiful story perfect for the holiday season. We follow Sienna through a coming of age story that is heartfelt and beautifully written. Sienna’s mother has died in a plane crash and her psychologist father is doing the best he can raising her on his own. When he gets the chance to travel to Indonesia to help the children of Tsunami he decides to bring Sienna with him. Scared to fly Sienna overcomes her fear and travels to Asia. This is where Sea truly begins. She meets a boy who is marked by so much tragedy his sadness mirrors Sienna’s.
The Heart is Not a Size is another fantastic contemporary hit this year. Beth Kephart pulls at your heartstrings and brings tears to your eyes with this poignant tale of helping those who are not as fortunate as ourselves while discovering what we are truly about on the inside. Highly recommended for your young adult.
Tell Me a Secret is brilliant contemporary YA writing at it’s best. Cupala weaves a coming of age story with the mystery of murder and unplanned parenthood perfectly. I was unable to put this book down and read it within a span of five hours. I had real tears in my eyes when I finished this novel and I love the generous dose of life lessons. I cannot wait to see what this debut author has up her sleeve next.
Young Adult Paranormal
Nightshade is the epitome of Wolves this season. Calla knows what she needs to do, what she is supposed to do as the alpha of her pack but sometimes it seems that what her brain says and what her heart wants are two totally different things. Cremer creates a world of magic with her guardians and I am waiting with bated breath for the next in the series.
Rampant is everything I thought it wasn’t going to be. Killer unicorns?! I avoided this book for as long as possible but when it eyed me from a local library shelf I knew I had to pick it up. Rampant was an amazingly funny tale of a girl who didn’t believe in killer unicorns even though her mother told her a time may come when she had to do her duty and be a virginal killer of these mythical beasts. Peterfreund paints a tale of a reluctant hero and does it in a laugh out loud style.
Beautiful Creatures starts this New York Times best selling series with a bang. We are told the story from small southern town born and raised Ethan who learns that all towns have their secrets. He keeps having dreams of this girl he loves and is losing to a darkness but the problem is he hasn’t even met the girl yet. When Lena literally blows into town she brings a world of intrigue, danger, and beautiful caster powers with her. Beautiful Darkness is a continuation of this Southern Gothic and both are perfect for this cold season.
Young Adult Fantasy
Plain Kate was my absolute favorite read title this year. It has been so long since I read such a simplistic fantasy it reminded me of the old fashioned fairy tales I loved to read as a child. There is no epic love triangle, no one sparkles, and I loved every sweeping minute. Kate is an amazing gal and I loved her dearly. I do believe this book is suitable for Middle Graders as well and it was purchased by the same guy who thought Harry Potter would be a great story! Pick up Plain Kate for anyone on your list young or not so young and you will not be disappointed!
Poison Study is a great book to buy this holiday season! Yelena is an orphan living in a mildly dystopic environment. She is a prisoner on death row for murder when she is brought from the dungeon dirty and diseased and given a choice. Be hanged or become the poison tester for the man in power. He has some powerful enemies and the most recent food tester passed away. They never seem to last long. Yelena figures she has nothing to lose and she trains with Valek for her new job. Yelena learns a few tricks along the way and that she may very well have a lot to lose if her life is ended tasting the food of the man who imprisoned her.
The Turning is a very fun book for that animal lover on your list. Who knew that our domesticated house cats were having a turf war with the stray cats in the neighborhood and that young adult shifters who turn into cats led the armies into battle? Not, I. I was intrigued by the concept of this book and when the orange kitten showed up the real story began for the domestics. Add in a boy who loves being a cat so much he can hang with either group and has stayed in cat form so often he has disfigured his own body, another boy who hates being a cat and is just biding his time until the curse is over. The protagonist has some very tough choices.
The Iron King and The Iron Daughter are both fantastical reads for those Faerie lovers in your household. Meghan Chase’s brother has been replaced with an evil changeling and she is on a mission to get him back. She could care less for the Fey politics including the fact that the summer and winter courts are in danger because they exist only because man kind believes in them. Man believes in technology now too and a new race of Fey is born. The Iron Fey, we all know that summer and winter are allergic to iron in a deadly way. Meghan will have to get involved to save her brother. This series is sure to knock the proverbial red and green Christmas socks off your little guy or gal.
Young Adult Crossover for the Adult who loves YA
Clockwork Angel is a great gift idea for anyone on your list. Young or not so much, male or female. Cassandra Clare starts a new series set in her provocative world of angels and demons. We go back to Victorian England and see how the Shadow Hunters we know and loved from The Mortal Instruments Series got their beginnings and rules. An evil man skilled in the dark arts is create steam punk style automatons with real souls who have only one thing in mind. Kill the Shadow Hunters. Tessa has some tricks up her sleeve as well. She doesn’t quite know what she is but she hopes to find out. Is she demon, wizard or something even more horrible? Either way she can’t have the man she loves even if she survives the automaton attack.
Merlin’s Harp is a moving retelling of the Arthurian Legend. Beautiful prose and delightful new insight astounds the reader in this tale of Niv daughter to the Lady of the Lake on her life journey and bearing the cross her own mother had to carry. Niv and Merlin carry the weight of the fate of Britain on their shoulders and the old wizard has made quite a few mistakes that Niv will have to clean up.
The Prophecy of the Sisters starts us on an epic journey of good and evil that outshines Bray’s Gemma Doyle Series by light years. Alice and Lia are twins buthave never been exactly close. When they find out they have an epic destiny to complete they fall even farther apart as one chooses light while the other chooses dark. Guardian of the Gate continues this saga and is a thought provoking sequel. These are must-read-faster-I-can’t-put-it-down books and are highly recommended.
Meena Harper never knew what hit her when Mr. Right flies into town…. on bat wings. Insatiable is laugh out loud funny and Meena is a riot. It takes all the vampire lore and pokes the big fun stick at it and has a very interesting mystery plot as well. Meena is a television writer for a daytime soap and the producer wants it to ‘go vamp’ and star her hot pasty new boyfriend. Meena has grown up watching this show and writing for it is her dream come true. Can she solve all the mysteries and keep her show vamp free?
Syrie James reinstilled my love for the classic Dracula with her rendition of this classic. So many questions were left unanswered in Stoker’s tale and James has give us the gift of a female perspective. I enjoyed this look into Dracula’s tale immensely and I suggest it for any lover of the genre. You will fall in love with the danger and the man all over again.
Darkfever is a sexy dark tale of evil beautiful fae and the sister of a woman who got caught up in the middle and died. When Mac goes to Dublin to find out what happened to her sister she is drawn into the dark war herself. This series is absolutely addicting and I am waiting for the final installment to come in January. This is perfect for anyone who loves sexy paranormal reads.
A Reliable Wife is one of those books that everyone loves. I originally read it because I had promised to read a chick-lit book this year. I read the synopsis on the book jacket and thought this book would be tolerable for a genre that I generally do not like. Oh it was so much more than tolerable. The intrigue, the lies, the outright passion of the book knocked my proverbial socks off and I am still reeling from the ending of this dark contemporary read. Pick this up for any reader and I guarentee they will have a mind trip!
Sacred Hearts is the perfect read for the literary reader who loves history! Sarah Dunant’s books are always a masterpiece of the time period and her latest is no different. We follow a young novice who was forced into the nunnery by her family as many young Italian women were at the time. She wants to run away and live free and love but the convent is more restricting than a jail. Another nun uses the convent as a protection from the outside world and a place to practice the craft her father taught her, her love of medicine is almost ungodly but the nunnery is in need of a healer. These two women and their lives intertwine in a heartbreaking story perfect for any lover of historical fiction, literary, or love story.
I was introduced to Silent in the Grave by a local bookseller in Richmond. I had seen the book everywhere over the summer and decided to pick it up while I was in the shop. For someone who doesn’t really like mysteries the corset gripping action in this novel by Deanna Raybourn had me on edge. I have read through the rest of the series and each of the books is a fantastic gift idea for the lover of Victorian England, mysteries, and great romantic fiction without all of the dirty explicit stuff.
I have had and tried several of the e-readers on the market and I have to say I absolutely love my Nook. I didn’t buy the 3G version but instead went with plain old wifi. Buying books from B&N is super easy and there is always a great free selection available. I highly recommend this device over Amazon’s Kindle. That being said don’t fall for the new NOOKcolor scam. If I wanted to read with a backlight and kill my eyes I would buy an iPad.
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The LightWedge is thin and lightweight and easily slips into a backpack, tote bag, or briefcase. Also, when not in use, it is useful as a convenient bookmark stored between a book’s pages. The bright LEDs that illuminate the LightWedge have two brightness levels and a lifetime warranty. The light can run for 40 hours on four AAA batteries. The LightWedge can rest on the left page and then simply be flipped over to read the right page
Need even more suggestions? Check these out!
Goodreads: The drizzle had broken into patches as they walked. As Drina scooped up the pale sand, Kate found herself standing in the smudge of shadow cast by the deadfall. She had never before noticed the way shadows gave things weight, made them look heavy and real and connected to the ground. Without hers…
She edged into the light.
Her shadow looked strange and thinned. It seemed not cast against the ground, but floating above it, like a fog. What Linay had said was true: No one would notice this, at first. It was just an uneasy little change, like the half-felt movement of a boat that slowly induces a great sickness.
Plain Kate lives in a world of superstitions and curses, where a song can heal a wound and a shadow can work deep magic. As the wood-carver’s daughter, Kate held a carving knife before a spoon, and her wooden talismans are so fine that some even call her “witch-blade”: a dangerous nickname in a country where witches are hunted and burned in the square.
For Kate and her village have fallen on hard times. Kate’s father has died, leaving her alone in the world. And a mysterious fog now covers the countryside, ruining crops and spreading fear of hunger and sickness. The townspeople are looking for someone to blame, and their eyes have fallen on Kate.
Enter Linay, a stranger with a proposition: In exchange for her shadow, he’ll give Kate the means to escape the angry town, and what’s more, he’ll grant her heart’s wish. It’s a chance for her to start over, to find a home, a family, a place to belong. But Kate soon realizes she can’t live shadowless forever — and that Linay’s designs are darker than she ever dreamed.
Words cannot describe the feelings I have for Plain Kate. Erin Bow gave me a gift, she gave all who read Plain Kate a gift. It’s the gift of a perfectly written story without all of the cliche’s that are hounding young adult literature at the moment. There is no love story for Kate, therefore no epic love triangle. Kate is a self aware heroine, she knows her faults and accepts them. Therefore there is no self depreciating lead character. Plain Kate is a book that you will continue to not only think about but to feel long after you have read it.
It’s hard for me to review Plain Kate. I almost thought about making this a blog post instead. I was afraid that if I praise the book and the author too much that it will read as hype, but I realized Plain Kate is not about hype, it is just about phenomenal story telling and that will show through even my rambling thoughts.
We begin with Kate being fanatically happy with her life. Her father is a Master Carver and has promised to take Kate on as his apprentice when she is old enough. The mother has long since past and Kate never knew her making the relationship with her father all the more important. Kate has strange colored eyes and isn’t much to look at so they dub her Plain Kate in the town. Kate is accepted, even though she is strange by her father’s tremendously positive reputation in the town.
Everyone is afraid of anyone who looks, talks or walks like a witch and when Kate’s father succumbs to witch’s fever, Kate has some growing up to do, and quickly! She is not old enough to take over his position so a new carver is sent to town, she is alone, homeless and missing her father but she does not whine. Kate picks herself up by her bootstraps and simply survives. It is then she meets a set of kittens and raises them. Two abandon her but one stays loyal and on the day the beautiful man in white comes to town, well that is the day Plain Kate’s adventure begins.
We are then taken on a magical journey of Gypsies, new scenery, magic, and heartbreak. Through-out Plain Kate I laughed and cried and was so invested in so many of the characters I became completely conflicted with myself. Erin Bow is simply a masterful story teller. Sometimes it takes a simple fairy tale to show you what you have been missing in your reading for so long. I strongly urge any fairy tale or fantasy lover to pick up a copy of Plain Kate. I assure you that you will immensely enjoy yourself.
In which Erin Bow reads Plain Kate and shows off her stripper pole!
I received a copy of Plain Kate from the Publisher. It was an ARC therefore holds no monetary value. So there you have it FTC.