The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily

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Remember Dash & Lily? Kismet in the Strand Bookstore in NY! Mysterious notebooks, book love and adventures!

Dash and Lily found each other through a series of challenges left by Lily in a red moleskine notebook at the Strand in Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, the original novel by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. Extremely cute and clever, it gave us bibliophiles the warm and fuzzies all the way to the last page.

Now we have our sequel, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily. Set one year after Dash & Lily fall for each other, fans of their first escapade will notice the change in tone in the initial few chapters. Quite serious and a bit sad, the book begins with Lily trying to take care of her grandpa after he has a heart attack. She isn’t her usual optimistic self, isn’t excited for christmas and to make matters worse, she and Dash seem to have drifted apart in their relationship.

When Lily ditches school, runs away from her family and feels completely unreachable; Dash decides it’s time to intervene. He arranges a set of clues to lead Lily on her own adventure. Each clue rekindles her joy in christmas and leads her back to him, and all those who love her.

Though not as warm or wondrous as the original – Dash & Lily enthusiasts will appreciate this second dose of the adorable pair. This bittersweet sequel is worth picking up to experience what happens next in their story. It brings back a little of that unique Dash & Lily magic to get you in the spirit for the holiday season.

And, fair warning, it might make you deathly afraid of glitter.

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Holiday happily ever afters

“Before I take you into the beating heart of the story, let’s get one thing out of the way. I know from experience that when it comes up later, it will distract you so much that you won’t be able to concentrate on anything else I will tell you. My name is Jubilee Dougal. Take a moment and let it sink in.” – Let it Snow

“Let it Snow” by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle is a holiday treat for anyone who is getting into the spirit of the season.

This holiday trifecta begins with “The Jubilee Express” by Maureen Johnson. We are introduced to Jubilee on the night before Christmas, when her parents are arrested in an incident at the Flobie Santa’s Village showroom in line to buy one of the collectible ceramic village pieces they make – a fateful misunderstanding that leads to Jubilee being put on a train to her grandparents for Christmas. An epic snowstorm strands the train, and Jubilee ends up on a funny, romantic adventure that leads her to a happier Christmas than she originally envisioned.

In “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle” by John Green, we are introduced to JP, the Duke and Tobin. The Duke is a young lady; JP and Tobin are her two best guy friends. They are hanging out when they get convinced by a friend to brave the weather and travel to the local Waffle House despite the blizzard outside. Their journey to the Waffle House is full of missteps with their car, snowbanks, local rivals, the need for Twister and a little personal chemistry.

Last but not least, “The Patron Saint of Pigs” by Lauren Myracle is a charming story about a slightly self-involved Starbucks barista named Addie. She has just broken up with her boyfriend and must find a way to see through her amusing, but selfish haze of despair to help her best friend acquire a special something she has been wanting for a long time.

By going out of her way to help someone else through the goodness of her heart, Addie may get a second chance at her own happiness.

If you’re in the mood to escape with a blanket, hot chocolate and a sweet, simple read to put you in the holiday spirit, this book is the perfect pick for a chilly December afternoon.

These three seasonal stories intertwine, leaving readers with a satisfyingly warm and fuzzy feeling, much like a fleece gingerbread onesie for our souls.

Through everything from chance encounters to missing teacup pigs, we are delighted as each character eventually achieves his or her own holiday happily ever after.

Great Gifts for Book Lovers

This past weekend I went shopping for my loved ones and since many of them are book lovers, I ended up finding a lot of lovely bookish gifts. I thought I’d share a few ideas here for those who are looking for last minute bookish gifts for the holidays.

Franklin Books 

I found some of these for sale in a used bookstore and after seeing them in person, I can say these are some of the most beautiful books I’ve ever laid eyes on. They are all well bound, beautiful colors, excellent quality and of course, a lot of amazing reads. They have everything from books on space signed by astronauts to classic favorites like Alice in Wonderland or Moby Dick. At around $100+ a book, it is a little more expensive but they’re books that will stay in a library for life and be loved forever. As a book lover myself, I’d be ecstatic if someone bought me one of my favorite books from these collections.

Alibris – A Signed First Edition 

Another great gift for bookish friends and family is a signed and/or first edition of their favorite book. I’ve always had great luck finding these on Alibris, especially since you can search by ‘hardcover’ ‘first edition’ and ‘signed’ to easily find the best books to give as gifts. Not all book lovers crave this of course, but I do think it makes a nice and thoughtful gift regardless. I’ve found them for as cheap as $20 and as expensive as $2000, so it totally depends on the book, condition and rarity.

Book Jewelry   

Some of the coolest gifts I’ve found are on websites like Etsy, especially book related gifts. You can find styles for book lovers, like for the lover of steampunk books, there is steampunk jewelry (see left necklace) or simple bookish adornments like the necklace on the right. These range anywhere from $10 to $500+ depending on what your style and budget is.

Penguin Postcards     

These one hundred postcards from penguin feature different book covers over the years published by Penguin Books.  I’ve actually wanted these for a couple years now and my friend got it for me this year. The picture on the right is one I took of some of the postcards in my box. I absolutely love it. At $16.50, its a decently priced and adorable gift for a book lover.

Library Smell in a Bottle  

In my head this smells like parchment and silence, but really, it could smell like anything. As I haven’t smelled it myself, I can’t vouch for how great this is but I think its a really cute gift idea for a book lover.

Novel Tea  

Novel themed teas for the tea drinkers in your life. I’m a coffee girl myself so I haven’t tried it, but it looks great!

Out of Print Clothing    

One of my favorite new bookish websites, Out of Print makes really cool shirts, phone cases, tote bags, eReader covers and other bookish gifts. I own the Moby Dick iPhone case, and can say it’s a great quality cover with an awesome design.

The Literary Gift Company

Another literary bookish site with lots of book related gifts from purses to stationary. I haven’t bought something from them myself, but they look like a great resource for bookish gifts.

Hope this helps someone find a great gift this season! Best of luck and Happy Holidays.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

I particularly loved the adjective bookish, which I found other people used about as often as ramrod or chum or teetotaler.

Oh David Levithan, may I call you David? I now officially adore you. Rachel Cohn, I haven’t read your work before but I certainly will now. I truly enjoyed the sweetness of A Lover’s Dictionary, but Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares stole my heart. This book is like a big bear hug infused with lots of intelligence, wit and an almost obsessive love of books. (which we all know, is the best kind.)

Its Christmas season in Manhattan and Dash and Lily, 16, are thrown together in a whirlwind adventure that starts and ends in the Strand. (If you don’t know the Strand, it is also known as the most awesome bookstore in New York.) Lily leaves a red moleskine notebook (because what other kind would feature in a bookstore adventure?) which she hides among the stacks of the Strand, next to Franny and Zoey, of course. She leaves a trail of literary clues in the notebook for a boy to find and follow. Dash, a fellow book lover, finds the notebook, follows her clues and then in return, leaves some of his own. They pass the notebook back and forth in places that tell the other person a little about their personality and their lives. Lily leaves it with Santa (she loves-loves-loves christmas), Dash leaves it at the movie Grandma Got Run Over By Reindeer (dash, obviously, does not.) And on and on they go, until well.. you’ll see.

This book is obviously written by a bibliophile and will appeal to all such like-minded book geeks everywhere. But it will also appeal to anyone who loves a good laugh and a great turn of phrase. They, and their story, are clever while being irresistibly charming. Although at times it may feel a little unrealistic because these teens are so well read, so articulate, so eloquent and so lovely, I found myself not caring. It is just extremely satisfying to believe, if only within the pages of this book, that such teens exist. That such people exist.