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Forge Your Own Holiday Party!

By Ariana Carpentieri, Athena Palmer, and Jennifer McClelland-Smith

 It’s the most wonderful time of the year to cozy up with some good books while you’re feeling fervently festive. If you’re looking for some inspo to throw your own little bookish soirée this holiday season, then look no further! Team Forge has you covered. Read below to see the food & drinks we think would make the perfect pairings with some of our 2022 books so that you can forge your own holiday party!


A Dog’s Perfect Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog's Perfect Christmas

What to Eat: This poignant book is centered around love and family, so we think a food that’s shareable with your loved ones would be a great fit. A delicious pull-apart crescent Christmas tree is going to warm you up inside and have anyone you choose to share it with feeling extra cheery.

Oh, and we can’t forget about your canine companions! They certainly deserve some doggy-safe rolls of their own so they can take part in the festive fun!

What to Drink: A classic Christmas tale such as this one simply must be paired with a staple Christmas beverage! And nothing screams ‘Christmas’ more than a good ole cup of eggnog does. Feel free to make yourself a spiked eggnog if you’re looking to spice things up a little!

And of course you can also brew up a cup of cheer for your sweet puppy pal by making them this dog friendly version of eggnog.

All the Dirty Secrets by Aggie Blum Thompson

All the Dirty Secrets

What to Eat: This book is set in the upscale DC private school scene, so we think a fancier food that’s popular in the DC area would be the way to go. One of the most iconic dishes in our nation’s capital is a delicious lobster French toast. A comforting breakfast meets a decadent beach cookout, this French toast is bedecked with lobster galore, diced cucumber, Asian pear, and an alluring sesame mousse. Furthermore, this is definitely a perfect pick because All the Dirty Secrets has some deadly beach party scene secrets! 

 What to Drink: Chapter one starts off with the mention of a whiskey sour—a drink that will pack the perfect punch for such a strong read like this one. Want to make it festive? Then you can try this delicious-sounding gingerbread version! But if you’d rather sip on something a little less potent, then a whiskey sour mocktail would work just as well.

The Last Dreamwalker by Rita Woods

The Last Dreamwalker

What to Eat: Nothing would pair better with this book than a warm, traditional Gullah Geechee meal. Whether you’re within driving distance of a Gullah restaurant or your everyday grocery store, Gullah Red Rice is hot, easy, and delicious.

What to Drink: Your iced tea of choice.

Her Perfect Life by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Her Perfect Life

What to Eat: Her Perfect Life is set in Boston, so we recommend going with the classic Boston combo of fresh seafood followed by a rich dessert from a family run Italian bakery. Clam Chowder and Cannolis might not sound like a natural pairing, but trust us, it works. 

What to Drink: Depending on what time of day you’re reading, either a hot black coffee from Dunkin Donuts or a glass of wine.

Carolina Moonset by Matt Goldman

Carolina Moonset

What to Eat: Matt Goldman brings Beaufort, South Carolina to life in this atmospheric book club read. Celebrate coastal living and Southern flavors with a classic like Shrimp & Grits. Top it off with a Lady Baltimore Cake for dessert.

What to Drink: Famous throughout South Carolina, enjoy an old-fashioned Blenheim’s Ginger Ale. It packs a powerful gingery punch. Looking for a boozy option? Top your ginger ale off with your favorite whiskey!

A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

A Thousand Steps

What to Eat: Set in Laguna Beach, you can practically feel the Pacific waves tickle your toes throughout T. Jefferson Parker’s throwback to the 60s. Capture the best of SoCal cuisine with shrimp tacos. Enjoy some of the best berries in the country with Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.

What to Drink: A margarita on the rocks with fresh lime juice is in order for a trip to Laguna Beach. A fresh juice featuring citrus, pomegranate or berries will also do the trick.

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Tor Books’ Severely Unmoored Winter Holiday Quiz

We are in the midst of winter, and the holidays loom on the horizon, offering portents of fun times to come and the social obligation of procuring gifts for the loved ones in your life! Don’t worry. We’re here to give you book recommendations to help you take care of the second part, so you can get right to the holiday snacking and relaxing!

Take the quiz. Discover your perfect bookly gift.



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Happy PAWlidays!: 5 of the Best Gifts to Get Your Pet

By Ariana Carpentieri:

Are you someone who has a ruff time of figuring out what presents to get your furry best friend? Or perhaps you’ve got the dogs of your friends’ and family that you need to give gifts to this holiday season? If so, we’ve got you covered! Take a look at our gift guide to see some ideas that all the canine companions in your life will pawsitively go mutts for! 


A Rudolph-Themed BarkBox 

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Looking to really wow your pet pals? Your dog doesn’t need a red nose to still be the leader of the pack when it comes to having the best gifts under the tree, and giving them a BarkBox will definitely do the trick! The box includes 4 toys, 4 treats & 2 chews!

A Yeti Dog Bowl

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Yeti products have been all over Instagram lately, so a fancy bowl for the pooch would definitely up their IG status! And the Yeti Rambler would be a great gift to pair with it for the pet parent. 

Merry & Bright Deck the Howls Dog Treat Advent Calendar

Image Placeholder of - 18In need of a gift to give a little earlier in the season? Your doggy will love getting a yummy treat everyday from the start of December through Christmas Day with an advent calendar!

A Fa La La Llama Plush Toy

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Your dog will be the coolest on the block with this llama-wearing-sunglasses toy hanging out of their mouth. If only we could all be this chill.

Warm Fleece Blankets Good for Both You and Your Dog–For Every Blanket Sold, One is Donated to Shelters!

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Are you looking for a way to give back this holiday season? Then this would be the perfect gift because every blanket purchase provides a cozy, warm, durable blanket to a shelter dog in need!

And as a bonus, for the dog-loving folks in your life, you can gift them a copy of A Dog’s Perfect Christmas by W. Bruce Cameron–now out in paperback!

A Dog's Perfect Christmas

#1 New York Times bestselling author W. Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Perfect Christmas is a beautiful, poignant, delightful tale of what can happen when family members open their hearts to new possibilities. You’ll find love and tears and laughter—the ideal holiday read.

Click below to grab your copy today!

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The Books We’re Thankful For in 2021

It’s the last day of the year and we’re looking back at the chaotic, indescribable year that was 2021 the only way we know howthrough books. Check out the books that helped our staff get through 2021 here!


Poster Placeholder of - 20Lizzy Hosty, Marketing Intern (she/her)

A book that I’m definitely thankful for this year is All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman. I was so delightfully surprised by how impressive the world building was, and how immersed into the setting I felt. The cliffhanger at the end was absolutely wild, and I won’t be able to sit still until the second book comes out!

Image Placeholder of - 22Desirae Friesan, Publicist (she/her)

There are so many books I loved this year, but one I keep coming back to is Katherine Addison’s The Witness for the DeadSince The Goblin Emperor is one of my favorite books I was so delighted for more of Katherine Addison’s beautiful writing, and to be back in the world of The Goblin Emperor following Celehar as he drinks tea, listens to people’s problems, and tries to help . I cannot express how much I need this book this year, a book about grief, about daily strugglies, about justice, but most of all a book about healing and finding connection. Beyond the satisfaction of a mystery solved, when I put down this book I felt hopeful and uplifted, both for Celehar and for myself.

Place holder  of - 65Samantha Friedlander, Marketing Assistant (she/her)

Comfort Me With Apples – This book was absolutely mind-blowing! For such a short novella, it packs a powerful punch and leaves you hungry for more.
For the Wolf – I loved the atmosphere of this book: dark, haunted, woodsy, and romantic. The romance was sweet and reminded me of so many other characters that I’ve loved over the years.
A Spindle Splintered – I loved the way that Sleeping Beauty was reframed in this novella. I loved the main character right from the very first line.
A Marvellous Light – The grumpy one falls for the sunshine one, plus magic and a murder mystery? How could I resist? This was another book with an amazing atmosphere that I sank right into.
Cemetery Boys – This book didn’t come out in 2021, but it was one of my favorite spooky season reads this year! There’s a beautiful romance, amazing characters, and magic that leaps off of the page.

Placeholder of  -65a cat, Marketing Coordinator (he/him)

This year I’m thankful for flying magical islands, winged shapeshifting lions, and young adult books with adrenaline-fueled action and adventure that unfolds so addictingly fast you won’t put down the book until you’ve turned the final page. I’m talking about Shannon Price’s magnificent The Endless Skies, of course. This novel rocked. I loved it. So will you.

Image Place holder  of - 79Julia Bergen, Marketing Manager (she/her)

I’m thankful that Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune exists! Really, I’m thankful to be in a world where TJ Klune exists and is writing such beautiful stories. The idea that I get to keep reading more books by him is a luxury I do not take lightly.

image-37917Yvonne Ye, Ad/Promo Assistant (she/her)

SORCERER OF THE WILDEEPS by Kai Ashante Wilson
Kai Ashante Wilson’s novella is so lyrically haunting and generically wall-breaking that I did a double take when I found out it had been published Six Whole Years Ago. The way Wilson slides effortlessly between registers of language to craft a gorgeous story of love and survival of mythic proportions is absolutely incomparable. Also, I challenge anyone to name another spear-and-sandal novella that casually drops “the exigencies of FTL travel” in the middle of a conversation. I’ll wait.
INTERIOR CHINATOWN by Charles Yu
Never have I ever met a diaspora book that was so poignantly incisive and utterly unhinged. I spent all 288 pages yelling about the way Charles Yu toys with (and gleefully manipulates) the formal elements of screenwriting to write a blistering critique of Asian portrayals in Hollywood and cinema that also managed to be a rollicking good ride all the way down. I lost my absolute mind when I realized the title itself was a play on “INT. CHINATOWN,” and this quote haunts me to this day:
“…If you didn’t know it already, now you do: old dudes from rural Taiwan are comfortable with their karaoke and when they do karaoke for some reason they love no one like they love John Denver.
 
Maybe it’s the dream of the open highway. The romantic myth of the West. A reminder that these funny little Orientals have actually been Americans longer than you have. Know something about this country that you haven’t yet figured out. If you don’t believe it, go down to your local karaoke bar on a busy night. Wait until the third hour, when the drunk frat boys and gastropub waitresses with headshots are all done with Backstreet Boys and Alicia Keys and locate the slightly older Asian businessman standing patiently in line for his turn, his face warmly rouged on Crown or Japanese lager, and when he steps up and starts slaying ‘Country Roads,’ try not to laugh, or wink knowingly or clap a little too hard, because by the time he gets to ‘West Virginia, mountain mama,’ you’re going to be singing along, and by the time he’s done, you might understand why a seventy-seven year-old guy from a tiny island in the Taiwan Strait who’s been in a foreign country for two-thirds of his life can nail a song, note perfect, about wanting to go home.”

SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN by Shelley Parker-Chan

Speaking of books that made me lose my absolute mind, Shelley Parker-Chan’s debut novel smashed every expectation I had for it and more. With every page of bilingual excellence and imaginative historical reclamation, I became cemented in my belief that Shelley Parker-Chan is the mad diaspora genius we didn’t know we could have and desperately needed. I try not to foist books on my friends because we all have guilt-inducing TBR piles, but I definitely shoved this one in everyone’s face approximately thirty seconds into casual conversation.

image-39355Rachel Taylor, Marketing Manager (she/her)

I am very lucky that I got to read A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows early and wow, what a treat. It has basically everything I could ever want from a booka queer romance, mutual pining, and lush prose that left me longing for more. I can’t wait for everyone to read this one in 2022!

gif-master-of-denimKaleb Russell, Marketing Assistant (he/him)

  1. The temerity of Luster by Raven Leilani is absolutely awe-inspiring. This stupendous debut was a tumultuous journey consisting of countless painful, cringe-worthy moments and I relished every second of it. The novel gives an earnest portrayal of a 23-year-old black woman named Edie trying to find her way… and falling flat on her face several times throughout the process. And *that’s* what makes this book so stunning; it’s willingness to be messy! It’s not often you get this sort of portrayal of Black women in fiction, one where they’re not held up to this absurd standard of Black Exceptionalism™.

Here, Edie gets to be this flawed person who makes some *extremely* misguided decisions and isn’t derided for it. She’s a hot mess like the rest of us, but that doesn’t mean she’s any less deserving of love and contentment. Leilani’s precise characterization and sumptuous prose makes Luster a life-affirming narrative about the growing pains of your 20s and all the beauty and anguish it entails.

  1. Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee – The final book in Fonda Lee’s perilous Green Bone Saga left me in tears. Lee’s ability to write a compelling family drama is exemplary. Conversations and arguments between characters are more gripping, more pulse pounding  than any jade duel. Words cut deeper than talon knives. This is easily one of the most remarkable trilogy endings I’ve had the honor of reading.

  2. A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark – After reading A Dead Djinn In Cairo (and just about everything else Clark has penned) I knew his debut novel would be nothing short of spectacular. And I was correct! Clark’s version of Cairo (like all of his worlds) is one rife with wondrous magic and infinite possibility. Fatma el-Sha’arawi remains a compelling main character who is as charismatic and wise as she is dapper. And best believe this woman’s fashion sense is impeccable! I hope we see more books in this universe.

What books helped you get through 2021? Let us know in the comments! 

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The 2021 Gift Guide for Your Fun (and Sometimes Funny) Family

It’s the (theoretically) most wonderful time of the year and we are BACK once more to help you win over your fun (and sometimes funny) family and friends with the timeless gift of books. From your nosey great aunt to the ghost cat haunting your house, we have recommendations for every important person in your life. Check out the full gift guide below!

By Rachel Taylor and a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat


The great aunt who keeps asking if you’re dating anyone yet

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Don’t we all hate the ‘but why aren’t you seeing anyone’ question from nosey family members? The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey will put a stop to that! Just tell her you’d rather hangout with the clone that your crappy ex made of you. You are much better company. 

The music buff in your life

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You’ve gotten your favorite music lover everything they could possibly want—CDs, posters, and tickets to their favorite concert, but now you’re starting to run out of ideas. Let’s go in a bit of a different direction and gift them the soulful new book Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki, filled with musicians, demonic deals, and donuts. What more could a person want?

To the person you’ve been ‘talking’ to but haven’t defined the relationship with yet

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Win their heart with a copy of Winter’s Orbit, a sweet love story among the stars that’s also a murder mystery! Nothing says love like solving a murder and figuring out the pesky problem of there only being one bed. If they don’t sweep you off your feet after reading this tale of two space princes going from husbands to friends to lovers, they don’t deserve you.

Your nephew who thinks you’re the cool aunt

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You’ll need to live up to your rep and get them something with explosions, battles for the galaxy, and sentient space suits. You’re in luck because Christopher Paolini’s epic space adventure To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is in paperback and features ALL OF THOSE THINGS plus pirates and a ship pig named Runcible.

Your niece who thinks you’re the cool uncle

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Want your niece to think you’re Super Cool™? Give her The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman. It’s got goblin wars, assassins, giant ravens—all the things the kids love nowadays.  

Or, it will arrive late, but lean into the weird and get them James Rollins’ new fantasy book, where the moon threatens. That swiss cheese-faced bastard has had it out for us since day one, and in The Starless Crown, the moon threatens to destroy all life on earth. It’s up to a godling, a disgraced prince, a pack of misfits, and a bunch of giant bats to save us. 

The sibling who’s always gotta read the book before the adaptation comes out

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The Wheel of Time from Amazon Prime is officially out in the world and your sibling is refusing to watch it with you until they’ve read the source material. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the brand new The Eye of the World official tie-in edition from Robert Jordan! 

To the ghost cat that lives in your wall

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Want to appease the angry ghost cat currently lurking in your wall? Give them the offering of The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward, complete with its own sentient, deeply enraged feline. But make sure your haunted feline doesn’t get too many ideas from it….

To the friend who needs to disconnect from work once and awhile

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We all have that friend that works too hard and needs some inspiration on better work/life balance. Give them a nudge with Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune and maybe they too will see the light at the end of the tunnel.  

Your kid sister in college who has the attention span of a goldfish

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Set her up for success and give her some novellas to read! They’re travel sized for her convenience, and snackable so she can get into the story before she gets too squirrely. We recommend starting with A Spindle Splintered or The Chosen and the Beautiful, for a bit of action adventure with a lot of heart.

Your ride or die BFF

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Your BFF deserves only the best and what is the best but the SUPER FANCY, EXTRA SPECIAL edition of New York Times bestseller The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab! Complete with ribbon bookmark, extra art, and a special note from the author, your BFF will have this one displayed on the shelf that only the fanciest of books go. 

That guy who is a probably a distant cousin but you’re not even sure how you’re related

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If you have to pour through your family tree to figure out who the heck this guy is, he should do something useful, like catch up with the latest Sanderson (Rhythm of War, now available in paperback) so you can talk shop and debate who the best Knight Radiant is.

Your sibling that wishes it was still Halloween

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Don’t we all have that one person in our lives who is sulking over the fact that the holiday decorations went up in October, COMPLETELY overriding the precious holiday of Halloween? Give them the scares they crave with Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, to remind them the Halloween spirit never dies. 

Which books are you gifting to your loved ones this year? Let us know in the comments! 

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