Friday, December 29, 2023

2023 Rewind

Apparently, writing and posting one whole book review this year has motivated me to do a whole year rewind post. 😂 Let’s go!

2023: A Totally Insane Year. Am I Right?

It feels like the world has been living in some alternate universe the past few years, so I’m not trying to sound special when I say, 2023 has been a completely crazy year. Like, the kind where one year feels like three, and you hardly recognize your life anymore.

On the personal side, in 2023 I: went back to NYC for the first time in 10 years, got married, left my job of almost 10 years, started a business, ate some incredibly delicious food, drank a lot of coffee, cried a lot, and otherwise tried to keep my shit together. And again, I’m sure many of you can relate.

I Read Some Books, Too!

I actually completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge for the first time in TEN years! There’s that number 10 again, lol. I even OVERACHIEVED by reading 24 out of 23 books- YEAH! As I write this post, I might even SUPER OVERACHIEVE by squeezing in another book before 2023 ends. I can’t even!

I read a steady diet of self-help and business books this year, which is a very good indicator of how 2023 went. I was actually in the mood for a Christmas-y book this year, so I picked up The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily, which ended up being one of my favorite books of 2023. I only read 2 fiction books, Dash & Lily being one of them. Getting back into fiction made me realize how much I’ve missed it and that I need to read more of it in 2024.

I also attended a local bookstore event with Chloe Gong in September. She did a Q & A and then very graciously signed everyone’s books. It was a lot of fun to listen to her talk about her books and writing, and she was super sweet chatting with everyone while signing their books.

Dear 2024: Please Be Kind to Everyone

Seriously. 😂 I hope 2024 brings everyone peace, happiness, and lots of good books!

Monday, December 25, 2023

Review: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily (Dash & Lily #2)
By Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: It’s Lily’s absolute favorite time of the year, but the Christmas season just isn’t the same with all of the changes happening in her family. As much as Dash has tried to be there for her, Lily worries that things just aren’t right between them. Now it’s up to Dash, not exactly the biggest Christmas fan, to try and revive Lily’s holiday spirit.

Review: It’s been a hot minute since I read a YA book. It’s been an even hotter minute since I wrote a book review. And just to belabor the point, I last read a Christmas book in 2018.

So what prompted 2023’s sudden burst of motivation to do all the things? A strong possibility is the steady diet of self-help and business books I’ve been reading all year. It was time to switch gears, and what better way to do so AND get into the holiday spirit by catching up with some familiar fictional characters?

I loved Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares and felt a bit dismayed when I saw meh reviews for the follow-up, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily. But it’s been such a strange year that I summoned some optimism and dove in.

First, let me say how wonderful it was, indeed, to read about these two characters again. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed Dash’s snark and Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s gift for capturing New York City’s incomparable character, especially during the holiday season.

I get why some readers viewed the book with mixed feelings. We quickly learn that Lily’s beloved grandfather has suffered a heart attack and is still undergoing a challenging recovery, with Lily insisting upon being his primary caregiver. All the time she’s been spending with her grandfather has not only meant seeing less of Dash, but it’s also put a huge damper on Lily’s normally indomitable Christmas spirit. Dash is trying to support his girlfriend as best he can, but sometimes Lily longs for more from him, especially with expressing his feelings.

I admit that at first, Lily wishing that Dash fit the perfect boyfriend mold prompted a small eyebrow raise from me because it came across kind of petulant in a, “Why can’t Dash just do X?” “Why can’t Dash be more Y?” way. But Lily learns from some older and wiser adults in her life that Dash can’t read her mind. That’s when I also called myself out for also being guilty of the same expectation. So then I applauded Lily’s character growth for its realism.

While Lily is understandably not the ebullient Lily from the first book, that’s not to say there’s not lots to love about this sequel, like anatomically correct gingerbread men, glitter-related injuries, the logic (or lack thereof) of Dash’s friend, Boomer, and the sage observations of Lily’s great-aunt, Mrs. Basil E. If you enjoyed Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, go ahead and give this one a read.

All in All: Just what Santa ordered in a Christmas read.