Book Nerds Unite: A Sharing is Caring Giveaway!

Tis the season…and all that jazz. You know how it goes. The holidays start (earlier and earlier these days) and it is all about giving. Well now it is time for some getting. With the help of 19 other bloggers we bring to you, Book Nerds Unite, a Sharing is Caring giveaway!

Book Nerds Unite: A Sharing is Caring Giveaway

**Graphic by Rachel from Hello, Chelly

Here’s a little backstory for you: Andi — of Andi’s ABCs — got this fantastic idea after seeing so many fashion blogs give out high-value items for giveaways, she brainstormed and thought it would be a good idea to let us book bloggers dip in to the fun! She contacted some lovely bloggers to inquire if we would be interested and I am so happy to say that we have a wonderful group here putting together something extra special for YOU! Each blogger has pitched in to bring you not one but TWO top dollar prizes for one exciting giveaway event!

It’s pretty easy to enter. Just click on the Rafflecopter link/widget and start following some great bloggers. For your trouble we are offering a first place prize of $150.00 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card and a 2nd place prize of $50.00 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Really you are the big winner either way as you get to add some fabulous new blogs to your blog feeds. Just a few rules to follow before you get started:

  • Giveaway is US only. (Sorry to international folks!)
  • It runs from 11/24/14 to 12/11/14.
  • Winners are selected at random.
  • PLEASE don’t mark a blog as followed if you haven’t in fact followed. All entries WILL be checked as we are putting together this giveaway just because we want someone to win this awesome prize, so please don’t take advantage of the generosity of these other bloggers! ❤ Happy giveaway, happy winners!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Holidays, and good luck friends!

Review: Krampus by Brom

Title: Krampus

Author: Brom

Publishing Information: October 30, 2012 by Harper Voyager

Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Mythology

Series information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 357 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of dark fantasies, mythologies of all kinds, and the other side of Christmas.

One Christmas Eve in a small hollow in Boone County, West Virginia, struggling songwriter Jesse Walker witnesses a strange spectacle: seven devilish figures chasing a man in a red suit toward a sleigh and eight reindeer. When the reindeer leap skyward, taking the sleigh, devil men, and Santa into the clouds, screams follow. Moments later, a large sack plummets back to earth, a magical sack that thrusts the down-on-his-luck singer into the clutches of the terrifying Yule Lord, Krampus. But the lines between good and evil become blurred as Jesse’s new master reveals many dark secrets about the cherry-cheeked Santa Claus, including how half a millennium ago the jolly old saint imprisoned Krampus and usurped his magic.

Now Santa’s time is running short, for the Yule Lord is determined to have his retribution and reclaim Yuletide. If Jesse can survive this ancient feud, he might have the chance to redeem himself in his family’s eyes, to save his own broken dreams, and to help bring the magic of Yule to the impoverished folk of Boone County.

You might remember that a while back, I read and LOVED The Child Thief, a retelling of Peter Pan, written by Brom. Despite my love of the author/artist, it somehow passed by me that he was writing a story about my favorite Christmas demon, Krampus. I was walking through Barnes & Noble last year and saw the cover and HAD to have it, I read it over two days while snowed in from a terrible storm, and it was an absolutely perfect experience.

One of the most interesting aspects of this novel is the way in which Brom blends the line between traditional fantasy elements, and contemporary issues. Small town problems such as drug addiction and trailer park romances meld together with Norse lore and Yuletide demons. In this sense, there is darkness in the character of Krampus, he is, after all, seeking to murder Santa Clause and take back his right as the reason for the season. Beyond that, Brom explores the darkness of humanity, there are many twisted characters who partake in abuse, addiction, and torture, but there is hope throughout as well.

One of my favorite thing in literature is when an author writes multilayered characters. Characters who are neither good nor evil, but fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, and that was completely Krampus for me. Looking at the cover of the novel you expect this character of the “Christmas demon” to be a completely evil and harsh in the light of something as lovely as Christmas, but he wasn’t. Instead, I found Krampus to be understanding and just, I really do think that he believed he was right in his claims.

“Your dreams are your spirit, your soul and without them your are dead. You must guard your dreams always. Always. Lest someone steal them away from you. I know what it is to have your dreams stolen. I know what it is to be dead. Guard your dreams. Always guard your dreams.”

It wasn’t just the story and illustrations that spoke to me, some small details of this novel were reminiscent of my childhood which made me really fall deeper into the novel. For example, Jesse tells Isabel that he is going “snipe hunting,” and the inclusion of the Shawnee characters, who are part of my ancestry really spoke to me. At one point, Krampus teaches some girls that they should honor him by leaving their shoes outside with a treat or trinket inside them as tribute. My family is from Germany, and my grandmother raised us to leave our shoes out with something such as a coin, or piece of fruit for Krampus, when he comes with Saint Nicholas. We did this every year and were always please to find that Krampus left us gifts of our own. In our household, we held Krampus as high as we held Santa, which was in the front of my mind as I read the novel and the stark differences between the two characters.

Brom writes a beautiful novel, he really has a way with words, and the illustrations are breathtaking and one of a kind. Upon finishing, I was positively giddy over the perfection that is Krampus. For personal reasons this book spoke to me on a different level, and as always, Brom succeeds in simultaneously breaking and melting my heat. For readers looking for a dark and harrowing story on the origins of Santa Clause, differences between Christmas and Yuletide, or a vivid novel steeped in Norse mythology, this novel is highly recommended.

Fortnight of Fright – Movie Review: The Devil’s Carnival


It’s almost Halloween! Last year we showed you some of our favorite Halloween shows and movies, so this year I thought I would go out on a limb and watch something that Netflix keeps recommending to me: The Devil’s Carnival. You guys, The Devil’s Carnival is a horror film. It is also a musical. A horror musical. STOP IT. You had me at hello.

The Devil’s Carnival uses Aesop’s Fables (I KNOW!) at the core of its story and long story short, the three main characters arrive in Hell and have to live out the punishments for their sins committed during their life on Earth.

The Devils Carnival Poster

Arguably, the best thing about this movie is the soundtrack. The songs sound at first like simple and fun tunes, but once you delve deeper and listen to the lyrics they are very dark and deadly. It was the songs “In All My Dreams I Drown,” and “Trust Me,” that I heard on a whim while listening to a Halloween playlist on 8tracks that had me sold on the film. Take a listen..

While we are on that topic…Let’s just be honest, we’re all friends here, so you guys know that I love me the macabre. What do I love more than the macabre? Bad boys. Just wait for it though…how about a bad boy, in a leather jacket, with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, brooding, begging, and singing at you to “trust him,” I die. Am I right? Everything about this screams YES PLEASE. Which brings us to my favorite character/song/part of The Devil’s Carnival: The Scorpion (played by Marc Senter). The official website describes him as,

I can't even. With the hair and the singing.

I can’t even. With the hair and the singing.

“A rebel even in Hell, this drifter is always seeking beautiful, new targets for his death-defying knife-throwing act. Any takers, ladies?”

Um, PICK ME! Honestly, gals, if you don’t watch this for the amazing soundtrack and life lessons, watch it for this guy. *fans self*

Need I say more? Head over to the official website to learn more about the other characters, or just to watch the music videos over and over again like yours truly. After that catches your attention, head to Netflix, take an hour out of your day and fall in love with The Scorpion.

Also, head over to see what B has in store this week!

Fortnight of Fright: Hallow’s Reads


Welcome, welcome!! It is day one of Fortnight of Fright! For those of you wondering what Fortnight of Fright consists of, head on over to the intro post and take a gander!  I am so excited to have so many excellent blogger and author participation this year, we are going to be bursting at the seams with Halloween happenings! To kick off the event, Brittany and I thought that we would compile a list of some great Halloween recommendations from our fellow bloggers. So here we go, best Halloween reads!!

First up we have April from The Steadfast Reader recommended some of her favorite Halloween reads…and quick side note: I am PETRIFIED of IT (and all clowns, really) so there won’t be any images of him over here!!

– It by Stephen King (blog review): Why I love it: First line: “The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years–if it ever did end–began, so far as I can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”

It’s a deep and intricately woven tale about childhood, love, loss, and imagination. At it’s core it’s about the loss of innocence and the power children and imagination have. King does a masterful job of putting the reader in the shoes of his characters. The Loser’s Club, in all their glory, both as children and adults are what make this novel the fantastic piece of horror literature it is.

Why it’s great for Halloween? It’s the penultimate horror story. Every creepy, scary archetype ever rained down upon mankind is found in this book. What scares you? Clowns? Check. Sewers? Check. Spiders? Check. Dead children? Okay, that’s less of an archetype and more of a tragedy — but that’s in there too. It should be noted depending on your reading speed, if you start on Halloween, this one might take you until Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that the journey isn’t completely worth it.

– Demon Theory by Stephen Graham Jones: Why I like it: It’s a unique piece of work in that it’s written as a treatment for a screenplay. It’s packed with footnotes and so full of pop-culture that it’s practically bursting at the seams! I honestly can’t say that I’ve ever read anything else like it. Between that and the emotions that it pulled from me, I classify it as art.

Why it’s great for Halloween? Well, the screenplay treatment is for three movies that take place on Halloween. This piece pulled some visceral emotional response from me. There’s both camp-horror and really scary horror. This makes it an ideal spooky Halloween read.

Secondly we have Celine from Nyx Book Reviews  and as you can see Celine ALSO recommends IT as one of the scariest books out there…I TOLD YOU!!

– It by Stephen King (Goodreads)

It is by far the scariest book I have ever read. Not only does it deal with the evil inside humans, it also features a monster that is evil itself and that turns into your greatest fears. While reading this Stephen King classic you will find yourself turning on all of your lights and hiding underneath a blanket. It’s even more terrifying if you’re afraid of clowns.

 – The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (Goodreads – my review)

With such a creepy cover, it’s almost impossible to go wrong. The Replacement is a lovely scary young-adult book, which has one of the most unique story lines and setting I have encountered so far. Deliciously weird, The Replacement is a great read for people that love their books atmospheric, but that value getting some nightmare-free sleep at night.

– The Trial by Kafka (Goodreads – my review)

Never has a book made me as uncomfortable as The Trial has. At first glance it sounds like your average thriller – a man gets accused of a crime. Kafka manages to turn this simple premise into an absurd surreal experience that gets under your skin. Reading this book is uncomfortable and confronting, and ultimately scarier than most books about monsters are.

Thanks so much for sharing your recommendations with us, girls!! I will definitely be adding a few of these to the TBR – and steering clear of a certain CLOWN..ahem..Make sure to head over to Brittany’s blog for some other Halloween recommendations!! Happy reading, my friends!

Fortnight of Fright (2)


Hello my friends!

Two awesome things coming your way…

First, you may remember that last year Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide and I hosted a two week event called Fortnight of Fright, where we shared different posts on ALL OF THE HALLOWEEN THINGS. This year we are working together again to showcase different creepy books, movies, author interviews, and other excellent autumn and Halloween related goodies! The best part is that we get to work together with some awesome bloggers to make this happen, and the more the merrier, so if you think that you want to assist in ANY way, even if it is just telling us your favorite thing about Halloween, sign up via the Google Doc down at the end, below part two of this post!

Some fun posts from last year included:

The Scary-Funny Sweet Spot by Heidi at Bunbury in the Stacks

Favorite Villains

Favorite Halloween Shows

…and so many more!!

All Hallow's Read

Second, you may also remember that I told you all about All Hallow’s Read, which is a lovely new tradition started by Neil Gaiman where people give each other BOOKS instead of CANDY. Doesn’t that sound AMAZING?! Brittany, Amy and I are all participating and we are gifting each other Halloween-y books for us to read and review during the month of October. I can’t tell you how excited we have all been to choose books for each other (and um we are obviously psyched to receive those books as well!!) and you have time before Halloween so I suggest that you get together with some friends, and give each other books, because WE ALL LOVE BOOKS. For more information on All Hallow’s Read, head on over to their website, and I will keep you all in the know as well because last year Neil Gaiman gave away a free short story via Audible and it was PHENOMENAL.

Happy reading, my friends!!

Book Hoarders Anonymous (3) December Edition!

I don’t usually do a post about my bookish goodies as, to be honest, I don’t get many! However December has been VERY kind to me and I have a hoard!

First, the beau surprised (and spoiled me) with an early bday present of Krampus by Brom! I had hoped to read and review it by Christmas but I just don’t see that happening! So far it is just as awesome as Brom’s other works and I have already ordered some of his amazing artwork. (Not pictured: The Birthday Fairy also sent me a copy of Bill Willingham’s Fairest: Wide Awake!)


Second, I participated in The Broke and The Bookish Secret Santa this year and it was SO FUN! I was lucky enough to have been picked by my dear friend Amy from Tripping Over Books and she spoiled me to the max!


How awesome is she?! Not only did she get me The Lion of Ireland, Goose Girl, and The Lost Conspiracy but she also got me an AMAZING Slytherin Quidditch shirt (Um, yes, I AM a Slytherin AND PROUD), some DELICIOUS peppermint hot chocolate (already tasted it,) a yummy chocolate treat and WARM, FUZZY SOCKS!! I swear I have the best friends. ❤

Third, Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide sent me a signed copy of The Evolution of Mara Dyer! AH!


Also, we took our last trip of the year to The Book Barn and I picked up a lot of goodies!


My awesome finds:

Nocturnes and The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair (Found after searching for a copy for Heidi!)

Dragon’s Blood, A Sending of Dragons and Sword of the Rightful King by Jane Yolen (Can you believe I still haven’t read anything by Jane Yolen?)

Woo hoo! I’m back! How was everyone’s holiday? Mine was beautiful AND I got some lovely new books from the loved ones:


Sandman: Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman – SO EXCITED to read this one!!

Fairy Tales From the Brother’s Grimm by Philip Pullman

Werewolves of the Heartland by Bill Willingham – Actually already read this one right after I opened it up and I LOVED it!!

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan – Finally going to pick this baby up!

The Lost Novels of Bram Stoker (Not pictured) – How amazing is it that there are LOST NOVELS by BRAM STOKER!!??

I also got quite a bit of Barnes and Noble spending money so help me spend it, friends! Suggestions are welcome!!!

Christmas Love: TV Movie Edition

Today Janice from from Janicu’s Book Blog is here to tell us all about her favorite made for TV Christmas movies! You know the ones that you obsessively cannot stop watching (just me?) but you know you should? The ones where Joey Lawrence makes a gal fall back in love with Christmas and into his arms? THOSE MOVIES. Take it away, my friend!

When I volunteered to guest post over here at Books Take You Places, I knew EXACTLY what I was going to post about: Christmas movies. And not just Christmas movies, TV Christmas movies. Every year after Thanksgiving, I clap my hands with glee and set TiVo to record the made-for-TV movies produced by Lifetime, Hallmark, and ABC Family. My husband, who is Jewish, rolls his eyes and pats my head, but this is what he gets for marrying me. I likes my cheesy holiday movies. 

Much-used tropes include:

  • A workaholic who spends too much time WORKING and not APPRECIATING the love of FAMILY during the holidays. Bonus points for their children not getting to see their parents enough because of their job.
  • Some back story where someone’s past has made them cranky during the holidays, and someone else has to show them how to enjoy it again
  • A family struggling financially before Christmas but thanks to the HOLIDAY SPIRIT things are always sorted out by December 25th
  • Matchmaking Santa / Elf / Mrs. Claus
  • An office Christmas party where someone makes a fool of themselves
  • A character who believes in extreme Christmas decorations
  • A character named “Holly”, “Carol”, or “Nick”

Here’s a selection of what I’ve watched this year and my thoughts on each. This may be a long list but it is no where near as many Christmas movies I have seen. Should I be admitting to this? Eh, what’s a little indulging… 
(links are to the channel pages for these movies)

It’s Christmas, Carol! (2012, Hallmark)
Carol (Emmanuelle Vaugier) is a heartless head of a publishing house who only cares about profit and not about good books. She treats everyone badly – to the point that her employees are starting to revolt. They remember the good old days, when Eve (Carrie Fisher) was still alive and heading the business. On Christmas Eve, Carol is visited by Eve’s ghost, who shows Carol her past, present, and future in order to have Carol think about the way she’s living her life.


My take: This is set in book publishing, so you’d think I’d be more enthusiastic about this one, but I’m leaning towards telling you to skip it. Carrie Fisher can do no wrong, so it’s not her fault – this was just a really cheesy remake. The character of Carol was pretty extreme, and I had trouble holding back my disbelief at several things: that she fought against the ghost right up to the point that she suddenly gave in and flipped over to being Good; that she had to use a search engine to look up the plot of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol even though she’s a BOOK PUBLISHER; and that her employees can start revolting but then do a 180 just because of one speech at the end. I wouldn’t rewatch this. 

All About Christmas Eve (2012, Lifetime)
Eve (Haylie Duff) is an event planner struggling to please a demanding boss (Connie Sellecca) when she meets a cute guy at a bar named Aidan (Chris Carmack), and gives him her card. He turns out to be the CEO of a giant social network company called Gobble and hires Eve’s company for a end-of-year event. Eve has to fly to California for the job, which means missing a trip with her boyfriend Darren, but on the morning she takes her flight, two different paths emerge: one in which she misses her flight, and one in which she makes it.


My take: Hmm, I don’t know. This was very Sliding Doors, complete with the coming back home in time to catch her cheating boyfriend timeline. The upside of the plot being literally two stories was that this was one of the more unpredictable Christmas movies I’ve ever watched. I suspected Eve is supposed to be with Aidan in the end, but while she was in California flirting with him in one timeline, she’s unemployed and nursing a broken heart in another, and I wasn’t sure how everything would all tie together. The downside is that there are some very weird, what-just-happened moments in this movie, and I’m not sure how I felt about how things ended (although – yes, this has that required happily ever after). 

Christmas on Chestnut Street (2006, Lifetime)
When an employee at the Great American Store overorders Christmas lights, his friend Lou (Robert Moloney) saves him from being fired by suggesting a Christmas light competition. Daughter of the store owner Dianne Crouch (Kristen Dalton), a rich overachiever with her life planned out, decides that Lou needs to decorate his house and win the contest (with her supervision of course). This give the two of them an excuse to get to know each other. All the while, the town goes crazy decorating their houses for a chance to hours of free shopping at the store. 


My take: Lots of nutty neighbors going overboard competing for the prize in this one. At one point there’s a fistfight over the last roll of some white covering. This couple has a very in-your-face relationship – arguing over everything, including if they are on a date and if one is falling for another.  But the impediment for their relationship (besides their class difference) becomes the contest itself. Has a little twist ending, which might not be that twisty.  There were things I liked about this relationship (the chemistry), and those I didn’t (Dianne was made out to be the flawed, not-easy-to-get-along-with character while Lou is painted as patient and perfect one she’s lucky to have found – it was unbalanced). 

A Bride For Christmas (2012, Hallmark)
Unable to disappoint people, Jessie has said ‘yes’ whenever her boyfriends have popped the question, which has been during a weather forecast, on a theater marquee, and on a Jumbotron. As a result, she’s broken three engagements – the latest on her wedding day to a plumber named Mike (Sage Brocklebank). Bachelor Aiden (Andrew Walker) bets his friends he can get a woman to want to marry him by Christmas, and chooses Jessie when he meets her at a art show. Despite her turning him down for a date, he uses her interior design business as an excuse to spend time with her. 


My take: Cute. Despite the whole “bet” thing, Aiden doesn’t really come off as a jerk, which is a feat, and I liked the way they actually seemed to complement each other (both dog, card game, and horror movie lovers). I also liked that there was a good use of sappy, happy faces when this couple admits they like each other. Rather nice romcom holiday fare and a cute couple. 

Once Upon A Christmas (2000, PAX Network – showing on Hallmark now)
When the balance of Naughty versus Nice tips over to “Naughty” for the first time, the daughter of Santa Claus (Kathy Ireland) leaves the North Pole in order to prove hope still exists. If she can get one family, the Morgans – single dad Bill (John Dye) and his two spoiled children off the Naughty list by Christmas, her despondent father won’t give up and retire as he threatens to. 


My take: Eh. This falls on the treacly side of the Christmas movie spectrum, where Santa Claus is real and Kristen Claus is his perfect, good daughter. Her older sister, Rudolfa (yes, really), reminds me of a cheesy Disney villainess come to life and plans to turn Christmas into a holiday were people give each other joke gifts. Kathy Ireland’s character is generally angelic and speaks in hushed, reverential voice that really grated on my nerves. The point of the story is to have Morgan siblings Kyle and Brittany learn to be less spoiled and for their father to realize he needs to spend more time with his children, but this story was just so preachy it was difficult to enjoy. (There’s a sequel, Twice Upon a Christmas that I haven’t seen).

Hitched for the Holidays (2012, Hallmark)
A couple of single people, Rob and Julie (Joseph (Joey) Lawrence and Emily Hampshire), pretend to be together to fool their families (she to stop her parents from setting her up with her ex-boyfriends, and he to fulfill his sickly grandmother’s wish to see her grandson married). 


My take: Decently cute. This had a traditional romantic comedy storyline with Christmas trappings. There’s the meddling but well-meaning families on both sides and both have issues they have to overcome in order to get together (she would rather tell “white lies” to spare people’s feelings than tell it like it is, and he runs away before his relationships get serious). The movie involves a lot of getting to know each other time in the guise of their pretending for their families. It’s a pretty typical romcom, but I did like that she’s Jewish and there is a funny storyline that involves him pretending to be Jewish too (so we have a bit of Hannukah overlapping with Christmas in this one). I liked this couple’s friendly banter. 

Come Dance With Me (2012, Hallmark)
Jack (Andrew McCarthy) decides to secretly learn how to dance in order to impress his girlfriend Demi (the boss’s daughter) before Christmas, but begins get close to his dance instructor Christine (Michelle Nolden). Jack is in for some trouble in more ways that one: he’s involved in development that means demolishing buildings that the dance studio is part of, and Christine, not knowing this, turns to him for advice when she gets a notice of eviction. 


My take: Depends on if you can overlook the hero being something of a dishonest guy. For most of the movie Jack lies through omission about his part in the dance studio being torn down, and the longer he did this, the less comfortable I was. I was in accordance with his best friend who told him to tell the truth early on (who Jack ignores by the way). In the meantime, he isn’t the best boyfriend to the girl he’s supposedly dating – you get the impression he’s with her for because of status and not for herself. There was good chemistry between the main couple though – I think their acting holds this story together. 

The Mistle-Tones (2012, ABC Family)
The Snow-Belles are an elite Christmas caroling group that performs every Christmas at the local mall. When a slot is finally open for a new member, Holly’s (Tia Mowry) bad luck robs her of getting to the audition on time, and the Snow-Belles dictatorial leader Marci (Tori Spelling) wouldn’t let her in the group anyway. Still determined, Holly starts her own group out of people from her office and convinces the mall manager to make the performance a contest for the best group to sing at Christmas. 


My take: A little campy, but they know it, and the singing is good. I spent a lot of the movie marveling over how much Holly’s uptight boss Nick (Jonathan Patrick Moore), looked like Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s younger brother. This has a lot of training montages and at first seemed to be about the Snow-Belles versus the Mistle-Tones, but a romance sort of sneaks in there. It’s predictable fluff. Nice karaoke bits in here. 

Lucky Christmas (2011, Hallmark)
Holly (Elizabeth Berkley) is a single mom struggling to make ends meet with three jobs and a son, when her car is stolen with a winning million-dollar winning lottery ticket in it. She goes on TV to stop the thieves from being able to cash it in. Mike (Jason Gray-Stanford) is a construction worker whose dad’s company is in trouble. One night when Mike is sick, his idiot friend’s car is booted, so he “borrows” Holly’s car. Now Mike has to deal with the repercussions and try to make things right without getting in trouble himself. 


My take: Is alright. On the drama side of the romantic comedies.The lottery ticket/ stolen car thing is a reason to get Mike and Holly together while also throwing a wrench into their relationship before it starts (see also practically every romcom). This is one where the side stories add substance to the main romance (Holly’s son’s need for a father figure, Mike’s problems with getting his older brother to listen to his ideas for the business). And I sort of wanted to strangle Mike’s friend for most of this movie. 

Love at the Christmas Table (2012, Lifetime)
Sam (Dustin Milligan) and Kat (Danica McKellar) have spent every Christmas Eve together with their parents and their friends. From 4 to 30, we get to see these two grow up together, but somewhere in their twenties, things get complicated. In the present day, Sam is ready to ask Kat to marry him and looks back at the years. 


My take: I actually really liked this one. These holiday parties look like fun. Everything takes place at Elissa Beth’s house (Lea Thompson), a friend of Kat’s father, Kat’s surrogate mother, and a Christmas junkie (something that gets explained – with a surprising link to Great Expectations). Kat and Sam pretty much indulge in a lot of shenanigans at the kid’s table every year, and when they get into their twenties, they start getting romantically attached, but never seem to actually get together. The relationship is further complicated by Sam leaving for college and job opportunities in the city while Kat stays and works at her father’s business. There was a nice amount of depth to their characters as these life choices and other things are actually discussed and part of the story. And the ending was pretty sweet – it was on the side of “this wouldn’t happen this way in real life”, but it was still nice. 

If you want to catch some of these (or to see what else is showing), here are some links for you.




And THE MEGA LIST here at the Christmas Specials wiki

Wow! How bad is it that I desperately want to go and watch all of these holiday movies? Even the ones that you said weren’t that good? Personally, I stay away from Lifetime and Hallmark but when I was a Companion my little old lady friends would watch them obsessively and once I started I couldn’t. stop. watching. Thanks so much for helping me indulge in my closet love of (somewhat cheesy) holiday movies!!

Have a Very Cherry Christmas!

Today Candice from The Grown-Up YA is here today to talk about one of her favorite holiday treats! Try to have a snack handy because your tummy will be rumbling after reading this post!

For as long as I can remember, giving my dad chocolate covered cherries has been a NECESSITY for Christmas. I would hate to see what would happen if we didn’t give him any for Christmas; I imagine it would be similar to the events described in the Book of Revelations.

My dad is also an expert at “guessing” what’s in his gifts. Which is annoying, especially when we go to great lengths to try to trick him. You know, wrapping a DVD in a giant box. We’ve event tried it with his chocolate covered cherries, but I truly believe he’s like Toucan Sam. He can smell those things a mile away and just follows his nose to them.

After Christmas, those cherries become high cotton in our house. He may offer you one on Christmas morning, ‘tis the season and all. But after that they are OFF LIMITS. Seriously. He puts them in the freezer – they last longer that way you know – and I actually think he takes inventory of those things.

Luckily, I’ve never developed a fancy towards them, so I’ve never wanted them. I don’t think any of us really like them. Thank goodness for Daddy, right?!

Several years ago I discovered how to make homemade Chocolate Covered Cherries and my dad LOOOOVVVEEEEDDD them. I try to make an effort to make him some every year for Christmas, in addition to the store bought ones. Of course, it’s even more of an effort not to eat half of them BEFORE Christmas!


Chocolate Covered Cherries

Maraschino Cherries (approx. 50-60), with stems or without

Dipping Chocolate

2 C Powdered Sugar

1/4 to 1/2 C Sweetened Condensed Milk

¼ C Margarine or Butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla or almond extract (almond adds a great flavor)

Dash of Salt

Drain and rinse cherries; freeze.

Mix powdered sugar, ¼ C sweetened condensed milk, margarine or butter, extract and salt until it makes a dense paste ball. You can add more condensed milk as needed.


Roll paste into 1” ball.


Flatten into disk and wrap around cherry until completely covered. You can roll the paste covered cherry in your hands to help shape it into a ball. Repeat for all cherries.

Melt chocolate. Dip cherries into chocolate, covering completely. If you don’t have cherries with stems, use a fork to help. Shake off excess chocolate and place onto wax paper.


Sometimes cherries can juice out of any cracks or weak spots in the chocolate. Use a toothpick or tine of a fork to cover with extra melted chocolate.

The cherries will “ripen” after you cover them in the fondant and chocolate, meaning the sugar in the fondant will cause the cherries to juice, creating a sweet liquid between the chocolate and the cherry, kind of like the store bought ones. The longer you let them sit, the more they “ripen.”

But good luck making them last that long!



These sound delicious, Candice! I have never been fond of chocolate covered cherries myself but my mouth was surely watering after looking at these pictures! Your dad is one lucky man! 

How about you, friends? Any special holiday treats you make or receive every year?

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Moving along with our Holiday love over here, we are focusing on our favorite holiday movies from our childhood! I have some of my favorites which I hope to review on the blog in the next few weeks. (Namely, those holiday classics like The Island of Misfit Toys and of course, A Muppet Christmas Carol) Brittany from The Book Addict’s Guide is here to share her favorite holiday films with us. Let’s see what some of her favorites are!


Christmas Everyday is a movie with YOUNG Erik Von Detten before he appeared in several Disney movies/TV shows and decided never to wash his hair again. This movie is sort of a Groundhog Day for a different holiday – Christmas, of course – and our protagonist EVD needs to figure out how to get his act together, be nicer to his family and his little sister and also figure out how to get the girl! He’s gotta get it all right or else he’s doomed to repeat Christmas (which doesn’t sound half bad to me) until he figures it out!

This was one of my favorite Christmas movies as a kid and every year I try to catch it on TV (when it’s actually on) and somehow each year I keep missing it. 


The Santa Clause is another Christmas classic – and this one I DO usually catch when it’s on TV. I love the idea for this movie and I usually enjoy Tim Allen’s roles (in case you didn’t remember, the Home Improvement episodes are my all-time favorite Halloween episodes…). I hated the mom’s haircut in this movie and totally didn’t get that, but I guess that’s only a minor thing, right? It distracted me as a kid. Loved Bernard’s role at the head elf – although I felt bad that Santa DIED. What!? – and I always thought that one other kid elf that kept popping up was kind of cute (I think I was young enough at the time to think that….). Anyway, love the movie and the message behind it! Lots of Christmas fun!


My family has always loved the Muppets! No need to go into deep explanation here since (I HOPE) we all know who the Muppets are – but we used to watch Muppet Family Christmas MANY times over when my sister and I were kids (“Watch out for the icy patch!”) and for some reason our Christmas party at school when I was in elementary school (Catholic Pre-8 school) ALWAYS had a viewing of A Muppet Christmas Carol. I’m not sure why, but I’m pretty sure we watched it almost every dang year while we got sugared up with candy and cookies. These two are definitely a big part of my history!


White Christmas isn’t specifically a kid’s movie, but it was another family favorite in my household! My mom always loved Danny Kaye and maybe a little less Bing Crosby since these were actors she grew up with in her home as well. We LOVE musicals and my mom, my sister, and I always used to watch old movies with Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby (Holiday Inn would be a good Christmas one too!) so I always get nostalgic when watching this one!


So the Harry Potter movies aren’t Christmas movies (but apparently ABC Family doesn’t know that), but I really like the Christmas scenes that are in each one! The clip above is from HP1 and it’s one of my favorites! It still helps me get in the Christmas spirit.


I’m pretty sure I don’t have to say much about Elf! This is more of a movie for my sister and I – We try to watch one of the MANY showings that play on TV each year and I swear, I never get tired of it. I think I even saw it two, maybe three times in theaters when it first came out. Can’t wait to watch it again this year!!


Mean Girls isn’t a Christmas movie either. Not by a long shot. But would it be Christmas without a skeazy rendition of Jingle Bell Rock? I guess the answer to that question is yes, but I still think this scene is ridiculously fun. Fun fact: One of my friends in high school (male friend, by the way) loved this scene in Mean Girls so much (yes, he loved Mean Girls) that he convinced our choir teacher to include Jingle Bell Rock in one of our holiday medleys. Very true story.

Britt, I also had a rather interesting winter show for choir after this movie came out. They wouldn’t let us do the moves so we added them (inappropriately) to our dance in the pep rally…Rebels, I know. I also agree with you, The Muppet Christmas Carol is like my FAVORITE and I put on every year while decorating my tree!! Also, HP totally counts.

Happy Ho Ho Ho To You!

Today is the kick-off for the CHRISTMAS FUN that will be happening on the blog this month! We have Kristina here from Gone Pecan talking about her favorite holiday tunes! I’m a hateful sort of person so I made her stick to only SIX titles lest she get carried away with the Christmas LOVE, bah, humbug indeed!

I am partial to The Christmas Song performed by Nat King Cole myself but I have been rocking my “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” Pandora playlist since Thanksgiving! Let’s hear what K has to say…

When Alyssa asked me to guest post I agreed automatically since she is awesome sauce but to say I’m slacking in posts for November / December is putting it mildly. It’s the holiday season and life gets in the way of the blog.  It also doesn’t help that I’m not a fan of Christmas. Maybe it’s because I live in south Louisiana where even though we are in December it’s still in the 70s and there is always at least a 50/50 chance I can wear shorts on Christmas day.  Maybe it’s because everyone makes enough money to just buy what they want so Christmas is filled with less gifts each year and more cash and gift cards or maybe because I make my grandmother’s pralines and I have so many requests each year that I have to start making them three weeks before taking up what little weekend time I have left after trying to shop for gifts.  Or the real reason may be that it doesn’t help me with my anti-social tendencies.  (Bah Humbug!)
Regardless of all these things there is one thing I love that is a direct result from this holiday. The music. Ah yes, I’m a sucker for Christmas music. We even have a couple of stations where I live that switch to all Christmas music all the time after Thanksgiving.  So after thinking about what kind fo Christmas related post I could do why not talk about my favorite songs of the season?
 Louisiana Christmas Day by Aaron Neville – I’m from Louisiana so this one doesn’t need much explanation.  🙂
Last Christmas by Wham! – Ah, George Michael my first crush on someone that later came out as gay.  Note I did say first because apparently I have a knack for picking the closeted gay member of any boy band (I’m not saying that they all have at least one gay member nor that there is anything wrong with that, just that is who I end up crushing on and they are playing for the other team.)  But come on, George Michael when he had that scruffy beard, leather jacket, and aviator glasses?  I know I wasn’t alone.
Hard Candy Christmas by Dolly Parton – Hard Candy Christmas is hands down my favorite Christmas song of all time.  We’ve listened to this song so much that my brother who is NOT a country fan can identify this song by the fifth note.  (Believe me we’ve tested him.)  This song plays in one of the best movies ever The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and if the name alone doesn’t make you want to watch it I have nothing left to say to you!
All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey  This is my second favorite Christmas song.  I sing it every single time it comes on (and maybe do a little dance) regardless of who is around me so I apologize to anyone that has been subjected to this demonstration.  How can you not want to sing/dance to it though?  I feel the need to point out this is the ONLY Mariah Carey song I like and I’m pretty sure it’s going to stay that way.  (SIDE NOTE:  They sing this in Love Actually as well, a version that I can accept since the little girl singing is so darn cute.)
Blue Christmas by Elvis Presley – Every now and then there comes a song that my whole family sings.  This is one of them.  We not only sing it, we act it out, and definitely include the back up singers.  There is a local radio DJ that loves all things Elvis and he said something about Elvis hating this song and not wanting to record it so he told the back up singers to make up the most ridiculous riff they could.  I have no idea if that’s true but I find it funny.
Mele Kalilimaka by Bing Crosby – I admit it, I like this song almost entirely for that fact that I learned how to say something in Hawaiian.  I feel more cultured.  I know, it’s sad.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra by Wizards of Winter – Have you seen that new Volkswagon commerical with the guy playing air drums in his car?  (my favorite part is when he tosses the drumstick up and catches it).  This song has the same effect on me and I LOVE IT.
So while I spend Christmas with my family trying to pretend that I actually like it (not hanging with my family mind you, just the holiday) and trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t stuff my face with everything sweet I’ll be listening to all my favorites.  What about you??

Thanks, Kiki! Some of these songs brought back some fond memories for me and some I have actually never heard before! Love me some Dolly Parton though! Rock out kids! Share the love, what songs do you HAVE to listen to this time of year?