The 12 Books of Christmas, and My First Review For “Adios to All the Drama”

My husband is a huge fan of commercials. In fact, he often requests that I rewind the DVR to watch one that caught his eye (he’s in marketing—it’s a sickness). So I’ve come to appreciate a good ad. And when you’re sitting at a bar on a Friday night talking about an ad you saw recently, you know it’s good. So kudos to for putting together this fabulous ad:

Let’s face it–how many times have you visited someone’s house and pick up a Yankee Candle? I know I’m guilty of purchasing “Home Sweet Home” for a housewarming, or “Wedding Day” after a couple gets married, and let’s not get into all the scents they have for Christmas. But this year—no offense to Yankee Candle—I’m asking you all to think outside the scented gifts. Give a book. It costs the same amount (cheaper if it’s a paperback), and it carries a lot more meaning than the “Scent of the Month.”

So to get you all started, here are my personal recommendations.

The Twelve Books of Christmas

For Infants:
1) Urban Babies Wear Black (Board book)
By Michelle Sinclair Colman
I’ve given this as a gift several times. It’s THAT cute, and perfect for a New Yorker or any urban mom.

For Ages 4-8:
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin
By Gene Barretta
I recently gave this as a gift to two of my nephews. Even I was unaware of some of Ben’s inventions (did you know that he invented scuba flippers?).
FULL DISCLOSURE: This author is from Philly, and I did an event with him. He’s super cool, and his brother is a Muppeteer who did the voice of the Swedish Chef (if I’m remembering correctly).

For Ages 9-12:
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
by Jeff Kinney
I gave this book to one of my other nephews (I have many). It’s hysterical, and there’s now an entire series with fun tie-ins.

By Laurie Halse Anderson
FULL DISCLOSURE: I ordered this and haven’t had the chance to read it yet. But just the first chapter has me riveted. When do you get to read about slavery from a child’s perspective?

Young Adult
There are so many to choose from, my head is going to explode. But here are just a couple to get you going.

For the girl who loves the Princess Diaries
First off, buy the final installment, Forever Princess, which debuts January 6th.

But if she loves Mia, then she’ll love Georgia:
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (series)
By Louise Rennison
This British series is so funny, I was laughing on a city bus. Plus, there’s a movie in the works, so get a jump on the frenzy.

For the girl who loves Gossip Girl
Violet on the Runway (series)
by Melissa Walker
The Violet series is tons of fun, and very high glam. Teens will love it!

For the girl who loves the Amor and Summer Secrets series (come on, I had to plug my own books)
Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies)
By Justina Chen Headley
Any multicultural teen will relate to this funny and heartwarming story.

For the girl who loves Twilight
A Jane Austen gift set
I’m going back to the classics here, but if your teen has fallen in love with the noble Edward than she might be prone to love Mr. Darcy as well. Give it a shot. After all, Bella reads the classics.

For a college student
The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Another oldie but a goodie. This is probably my favorite book, and I read it whenever I need a bit of pick-me-up. I think college kids are the perfect age to get the meaning in this classic tale.

Adult Fiction

For your girl friend who loves Jennifer Weiner
11) Dirty Girls Social Club
And it’s sequel, Dirty Girls on Top
By Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
It’s smart, witty women’s fiction at its finest. Trust me, you won’t be able to put these books down—and don’t we all have a little bit of “Lauren” in us?

For your girl friend who loves romance novels
By Stephenie Meyer
I know Stephenie doesn’t really need any sales help from me, but I’m surprised by how many of my adult friends shied away from this series because they thought it was for “kids.” Trust me, if your friend loves a good romance, then she’ll love Edward.

And of course to plug my own novels even further (hey, it’s my blog), I’ve got some great news to share.

First, Amor and Summer Secrets was selected as one of the Best Books of 2008 by Latinidad. I feel very honored. Check it out here.

Amor was also recently featured on Justine Magazine’s website, with two glowing reviews from teen readers. Read the reviews on Justine Magazine’s Spark website.

Also, I have a new interview up on author Laura Bowers’ website (author of Beauty Shop for Rent). If you ever wondered what I looked like in 8th grade with a perm, I’d check it out. I don’t release photos like that lightly.

And Adios to All the Drama has received its first review! And it’s positive! Read what Harriet Klausner (Amazon’s No.1 Book Reviewer) thinks:

The cast is solid and the subplots involving Teresa, Madison and Emily add to the overall teen angst, but no question there is only one star in Diana Rodriguez-Wallach teen series, Mariana, who first hand understands the Loving Spoonful’s prime question of the universe (and not that of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy): Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?. ADIOS TO ALL THE DRAMA is an interesting look at teen decision making, information gathering, and especially drama queen angst.

The whole review can be found here.


I’m sad to see this show go. But I gotta give it up to David E. Kelley for writing the show’s cancellation into the plot. How often to do you see actors argue in court about why their show was cancelled? And how there aren’t enough TV shows featuring actors over 50? It was very tongue-in-cheek and fun to watch. Plus, I was surprised to learn that I have the same viewing tastes at my parents’ 50-plus community. I mean, who doesn’t love a good closing argument?

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