Pass The Cake: Happy 26th Birthday To Me! Celebratory Giveaway Included!

First of all, I would like to say a big ‘Thank You!’ to Gillian over at Writer Of Wrongs whose own introductory ‘getting to know you’ Birthday Post inspired this one. I’m using a similar format with her gracious permission. This post wouldn’t have been possible without her!

So, today is my birthday! I’m officially twenty-six. Now there’s only four more years until the big 3-0. I guess you could say it’s all downhill from here. πŸ˜‰ Just kidding! In truth, I’ve never made much of a fuss about my birthday. That said, if there’s one thing I’ve wanted to do more on Pop! Goes The Reader recently, it’s open up and be a little more personal with my readers. With that in mind, here are fourteen things you (might) not know about me!

1) I Adore Musicals.

Singin’ In The Rain. Oklahoma. Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. My Fair Lady. Musicals are the first films I remember watching as a child and remain some of my favourites to this day. Sometimes it’s nice to believe that all of life’s problems can be fixed with a few costume changes and a choreographed dance. As a child I was so obsessed with my favourite musical, Singin’ In The Rain, that I became convinced that Gene Kelly and I were distantly related. Aside from looking alike, we have the same crescent moon-shaped scar on our cheek in the exact same spot. In truth? I still like to believe it’s true.


2) I’m In A Committed Relationship With My DVR

I’ve often joked that I’m a self-professed television addict and frankly this might be putting it mildly. Based on my viewing schedule of currently airing programs, over the course of an average week I can watch upwards of twenty hours of television over the course of seven days. Yes, I’m serious. Hey, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? Some of my favourite television shows include Boardwalk Empire, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Chuck, Dawson’s Creek, Deadwood, Friday Night Lights, Homeland, Justified, Luther, Mad Men, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Southland, Top Chef, Veronica Mars and The Wire. I will talk your ear off for hours about any and all of these shows given half the chance.

3) I Have The Cutest Cat In The World
Okay, so I might be a little biased.

But seriously. Just look at him!

4) I’m An Only Child

No, I never wished I had siblings. No, I was never lonely. Why are these always the first two questions people ask?

5) I Was Named After a Literary Character

My middle name is ‘Anne’ and I was named after Anne Shirley from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables series. For this reason I like to believe I was destined to become a great reader from the womb. Now if only I could find my Gilbert…

6) I’m A Feminist

No, I don’t hate all men. No, I’m not a lesbian (though there would be nothing wrong with that if I were). No, I do not believe that all women are perfect creatures above reproach or criticism. No, I’m not a vicious harpy determined to shriek my views at the first poor, unfortunate soul to make eye contact with me. For a long time now ‘Feminism’ has been a dirty word associated with a series of troubling, and even worse infuriating, connotations that have little to do with the actual movement. For me, feminism means advocating for the equal treatment and respect of women. Period. It’s really not that difficult a concept to grasp. We’re not there yet. But I believe we will be. Someday. For a more eloquent, thoughtful reflection on the subject, I highly recommend you read Beth Revis’ wonderful article “I’m Not A Feminist, But…”, to which I will simply respond with a resounding ‘Amen!’

7) Marilyn Monroe Is My Favourite Actress

By that I don’t mean ‘I’ve seen one of her films and consider myself a die-hard fan.’ I’ve been a fan of Marilyn’s work for well over ten years now, and am fascinated with her both as an artist and an individual. I have watched her entire filmography innumerable times and have read each and every book I could find on the subject. I firmly believe she’s talented actress and a misjudged figure who isn’t given the respect, credit and admiration she rightfully deserves. My favourite Marilyn film is Some Like It Hot, followed closely by Don’t Bother To Knock.


8) I Hate Talking About Myself
Which made this entire experience rather uncomfortable. Anyway, enough about me. Tell me a little more about yourself… πŸ˜‰

9) I’m Canadian
Which means I’m genetically predisposed to find any and all hockey players attractive.

10) I’m A Disney Fanatic

I love reading about it. I love listening to it. I love watching it. (In fact, forcing me to choose a favourite Disney film would inspire an irreversible existential crisis) But most of all, I love visiting it. For me, there is no happier place on earth than Walt Disney World. Nothing will bring a smile to my face or a tear to my eye faster than stepping through the gates of the Magic Kingdom. I try to visit every other year, when possible, and I’m perpetually planning my next trip. My next goal? To participate in Walt Disney World’s Princess Half-Marathon in February 2015.

11) Marcus Flutie Is My Book Boyfriend

Yes, I realize I might have to fight Anna over this one. Sure, I’ve experienced a number of literary flirtations over the years, but there will only ever be one Marcus Flutie. Having spent my formative years reading Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series, I grew up with these characters and this series still acts as the yardstick by which I measure most other young adult stories. You, yes, you, Marcus Flutie, have stolen my heart and never returned it. And I couldn’t be happier about it.

12) I’m A Sucker For A Happy Ending

More specifically, I’m a Nora Roberts fanatic. I own every single book the woman has ever published, often in more than one format. She’s my go-to author when I’m looking for something relatively light and comforting. My favourite Nora Roberts’ series is The Bride Quartet.

13) I Have A Mind Like A Steel Trap

I can quote verbatim a number of my favourite films from start to finish including (but not limited to) The Great Race, Clue, Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, Ghostbusters and Die Hard. Don’t tell me I don’t have marketable skills!

14) Book Blogging Is The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

Last though certainly not least (and stolen shamefully from Gillian). When I first launched Pop! Goes The Reader back in June 2013, I never could have imagined what it would come to mean to me. While I’ve had a number of memorable experiences and opportunities along the way, none are quite so important as the friends I’ve been lucky enough to make. Blogging is a difficult, time consuming, labour intensive pastime and is certainly not without its bumps and frustrations along the way. These ladies make it all worth it. A giant hug and all the cookies they can eat to Alexa, Anna, April, Ashley, Betty, Bree, Estelle, Gaby, Gillian, Ginger, Giselle, Giselle, Hannah, Jamie, Jana, Jenna, Jenni, Magan, Rachelia and every single person who made me feel welcome in their own way. Thank you for your kindness, warm acceptance and, most importantly, your friendship. You’ve made the last ten months one of the best, most fun and special periods in my life.

To celebrate my birthday and give a little something back to a community that has already given so much to me, I’ve decided to hold a little giveaway. Hey, it’s my birthday and I’ll give away gifts if I want to! πŸ˜‰ More specifically, I will be giving away not one, not two, but eight books! Yes, I said eight. Not a fan of the contemporary genre? I promise you will be after reading these!

Each of the books below has had a significant impact on my life, and I believe have helped to change me for the better. While there are a number of others I would also have loved to include (Wintergirls, Attachments, Ask The Passengers, Something Like Normal, Side Effects May Vary, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, etc) the eight titles below are the closest ones to my heart. Thoughtful, unique, inspiring and heartwarming, I can only hope this collection of novels will bring someone else as much happiness as they have brought me.

For this giveaway two winners will be chosen:
Β» One winner will win the entire set of eight books
Β» One winner will win their choice of any one book from this selection

So what are you waiting for? Go enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

37 responses to “Pass The Cake: Happy 26th Birthday To Me! Celebratory Giveaway Included!”

  1. Makaela says:

    Happy birthday! I hope you have a very fun day! I’ll be 26 in a few months… it’s pretty surreal to be almost 30. It’s kind of a big deal. =P My fiance just bought me tickets (yesterday) to see my favorite comedian, Maria Bamford perform.. ON my birthday, so I am very excited! Golden is pretty close to my heart as well. It was a unique and exciting mystery. Kirby did a great job hooking me in with a likable main character. It seemed like a true story!
    Makaela recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Don’t Touch by Rachel M. WilsonMy Profile

  2. Becky says:

    Happy birthday to you… and well you know the rest. I hope you have a lovely day and have exciting plans to celebrate the day.

    I really liked this post, it’s nice to get to know the people who create the blogs I read. I am completely with you on the love of musicals, mine is a more recent appreciation after seeing Singin’ in the Rain with my nan a few years back, but I’ve loved them ever since.

    I find a giveaway to celebrate your birthday to be a strange, but lovely, concept, the idea of giving others gifts on your own birthday. It’s like the whole thing where you’re expected to bring treats into work for your birthday as you did at school (I don’t know if you do that in Canada or if that’s a British thing though) but you get what I’m saying I hope It’s nice that you’re doing a giveaway anyway. I’ll stop now, I’m rambling.
    Becky recently posted…Panic – Lauren OliverMy Profile

  3. Happy 26th Birthday Jen,
    Have a great year ahead, in terms of both real life and reading life… Hope all of your wishes will come true!

    I think the best gift I’ve ever received is a scrapbook from a bestfriend. She filled it with facts about me, photos of me and us and my favorite things, birthday wishes from our friends, also favorite quotes… Things like that. I really appreciated it because it must have took a long time for her to put all of those together, and it was very beautiful and well-made. Next to it is a DLSR camera from my parents for my 16th birthday two years ago. What about you? What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? πŸ™‚

    By the way, I’m surprised to know that you’re an only child. Me too! And I totally know what it feels like to be asked those questions all the time (no, I do not feel lonely, and no, I do not want to have any sibling) being an only child rocks! Well, at least for me :p
    Tirta @ I Prefer Reading recently posted…Open Road Summer by Emery LordMy Profile

  4. Leanna says:

    Happy birthday, Jen and thanks for the AWESOME giveaway!

    p.s: Your cat is the cutest! πŸ™‚
    Leanna recently posted…Stacking The Shelves #6 – New Books From Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Donnelly, Jennifer E. Smith & More!My Profile

  5. Happy birthday!! I love musicals too, btw. πŸ™‚ Hope you had a lovely day.
    Melissa @ Bookmark Dragon recently posted…Feature Friday: The Ten Most Read Books in the WorldMy Profile

  6. Happy Birthday, dear friend! I am like you, age is nothing more than a number. And Disney! Musicals! I knew there was something about you that I loved! πŸ˜‰

    Here’s to many more happy years of friendship, blogging and good books. So glad I met you this past year. xoxo
    Jenna (Does Books) recently posted…Burn Out Blog Tour: Interview + GiveawayMy Profile

  7. Missie says:

    Happy birthday! I am also in a committed relationship with my Roku and am a Disney & musical fanatic! Too bad we don’t live closer to each other!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings
    Missie recently posted…Week Recap – That’s a Big BookMy Profile

  8. Frasier says:

    Happy happy birthday my love! I am honored to be a small part of your life. If I can touch you a small way you have touched me, I will be happy and content in life.

    Also, I’m in a pretty serious relationship with my DVR, too!
    Frasier recently posted…In the Shadows by Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo (Illustrations)My Profile

  9. Holy cow, owning every single book Nora Roberts has written is something! She has so many books. I love her books, too. I’m particularly fond of her Macgregor books. I’ve been feeling like rereading Sullivan’s Woman lately. It’s an oldie, but I love it.

    I’m an only child, too, and I loved it as a kid. The last few years, though, I’ve really wished I had a sibling.

    And seriously YAY for Singing in the Rain. It’s the best movie!
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Book Haul #50My Profile

  10. Meg says:

    Happy Birthday! I knew a lot of this stuff already, but it’s always nice to hear more about my favourite bloggers!

    I’ve read one of the books in your giveaway (The Rosie Project – at your suggestion!) and own another (This Song Will Save Your Life – also courtesy of you!). I haven’t read a ton in the contemporary genre, but I’m pretty sure everything I’ve read so far has been at your recommendation. I trust your taste.

  11. Katie says:

    Aww sweet post, Jen! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Loved getting to know you better. Also, who DOESN’T love musicals? Heartless people, that’s who! πŸ˜‰ Make sure you eat ALL THE CAKE today! πŸ˜€
    Katie recently posted…My Most Anticipated 2014 DebutsMy Profile

  12. Happy birthday!! I turn the big 3-0 next month so I know the feels! Hope your day is everything you hoped for!

  13. Maria says:

    The best gift that I could think of getting for my birthday, are tickets to the last home game at The Candlestick Park for the San Francisco 49ers. It was such a good game. Such good memories. My cousin who was stationed in London at the time and long distance boyfriend are both from the military, and they got the days off to go to the game with me. What topped it off, was the Niners winning the game.
    Maria recently posted…My First Read-a-thonMy Profile

    • Maria says:

      Happy Birthday! …. I also I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland earlier this year. So my goal is also to run in the Princess Half Marathon at Disney World. I haven’t been to Disney World yet. So to just be there is already a Dream come true. lol well anyways.. I hope you do end up doing a marathon there. Looking forward to a blog post of it too. πŸ™‚

  14. Kari says:

    Great giveaway, and happy birthday!

    My birthday is right after Christmas, and honestly I can’t remember many great gifts. I have fun birthdays and my family is always generous, but nothing super different stands out. My mother in law gave me my first Kindle and I think that was a very nice gift and totally pandered to my bookish nature. πŸ˜‰

    Also, your cat IS the cutest. Also, I think Bye, Bye, Birdie may be my favorite musical. ALSO, I’ll fight you for Marcus Flutie. πŸ™‚

  15. Sarah says:

    1. Happy Birthday!
    2. Awesome giveaway πŸ™‚
    3. The best present I ever received was a cat.

  16. Mary says:

    I also love musicals. In fact, I wish life was a musical. It would be so fun to break out in song and dance from time to time.

    My favorite birthday present was a sewing machine. Got it 5.5 years ago and taught myself how to use it.

  17. Becca Fowler says:

    BOOKS, of course! πŸ™‚
    Becca Fowler recently posted…Bookish GendersMy Profile

  18. Sarah F says:

    Ohhh that is an easy question. My fave bday gift is the one I got this year! My husband is building me a custom designed bookcase and I would LOVE to be able to add these eight FAB books to my collection! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!! πŸ™‚

  19. Tammy says:

    Happy birthday! Yay for Taurus! My favorite birthday gifts are always the homemade ones. Whether it’s a card, album or food, taking time out of your busy schedule to hand make something is always appreciated.

  20. Emmah says:

    This year my friend Jerrica bought us tickets to see Ed Sheeran in September! My birthday is in June and my ticket is my birthday present from her. That’s the best present that comes to mind first.


    First of all: I love getting to know bloggers, therefore I loved this list. Twitter’s pretty good for revealing little bits at a time but I totally devour posts like these. I love knowing which things make my blogging friends happy, what links and pics I should tweet at them and, mostly, seeing things in my day-to-day that remind me of the people who shouldn’t only exist in my online life just because they’re my online friends!

    Second of all: It means so much to be to be on your list of bloggers up in item number 14. I never expect to be on any of those lists when bloggers make them and, when I am, it honestly makes me feel like all the time I spend typing away on my computer is worth it. Also, your blog is too pretty for me not to interact with you online. So deal with.

    Third of all: The best birthday present I ever received was… well. I don’t know? Usually people just get me what I ask for (EX: my parents with my SodaStream this past year). My favorite presents are the ones I don’t ask for/expect. Like this past year my friend got me a mug that says something that totally describes our friendship and it makes me smile every time I see it. Or another friend once got me a Law & Order SVU mug because freshman year of college I binged the whole show and that’s what I was known for (I swear I’m not a murderer, and that that’s not my favorite show anymore). I don’t know why the best presents as of late have been mugs. But maybe there’s something to that… Anyway. Moral of the story: The best stuff is the stuff you don’t expect.

    (Wow I can really go on, can’t I?)
    Gaby @ Queen Ella Bee Reads recently posted…What Should I Buy? (5)My Profile

  22. Alysia says:

    Happy Birthday!! Lot’s of very interesting facts to about you!

  23. Happy, happy birthday! 26 seems like a great age to be – you get the freedom of being adult but are far from being old. πŸ™‚

    As for the best present I ever received, the first thing that comes to mind is a set of 101 Dalmatians figurines that I got on (I believe) my third birthday. I’ve received objectively “better” presents, but in pictures, I can see the utter joy that was on my face as I unwrapped that one. It made me so ridiculously happy. πŸ™‚
    Emily @ Forever Literary recently posted…Ignore the YA ScornerMy Profile

  24. Anika says:

    Happy birthday! Jealous of your amazing quote memory. I’m fairly sure there’s a crucial link missing somewhere in my brain. I forget EVERYTHING.
    Anika recently posted…The Real Fictional WorldMy Profile

  25. Sandy S. says:

    Happy birthday! Oh, do something special and crazy today to make the day memorable. I am also a cat person, have always had one by my side. They provide great comfort and are so entertaining.

    The best present I have ever received was a glass dish my daughter got me when she was about 8. The neighbor across the street was having a garage sale and she wanted to go over there and shop. She took her own money, wrapped the covered dish and proudly gave it to me on my special day. My husband asked took my other kids shopping for presents for me and she told him she already had my gift. I still have this dish and it’s been over 10 years. It holds a special place in my heart.

  26. Though I’m a day late commenting HERE, I did wish you a happy birthday on THE day over at twitter πŸ˜‰ Jen, I hope you had a fabulous day celebrating yourself. You are one of a kind and deserve every bit of happiness sent your way. I love that you put together this post, because even though I do know you, I am constantly learning more about you. And I think that’s what makes a friendship so beautiful, discovering new things about the other, learning and growing. You have selected a fantastic array of books to give away. I will now go forth and shout it to the world! Thank you for the sweet mention in this post, xoxo. AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
    Ginger @ GReads! recently posted…We Were Liars by E. LockhartMy Profile

  27. A trip to Vegas for my 21st birthday!! Happy Birthday belated to you!!!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    Kelly @ Belle of the Literati recently posted…If You Ask, I’ll LieMy Profile

  28. Tracey says:

    First of all, happiest of birthdays to you, Jen!
    Second, Tuxedo cats for the win! We’ve had many cats over the years, but the best was our black & white kitty. He was adorable, just like yours.
    Third, Disney for the win too! We try to go as a family every other year as well. My oldest daughter is actually starting the Disney College Program in June for 8 months. What a dream come true to work and play in the parks! Sigh…wish I was college-aged again!
    Fourth, the best birthday present I’ve received? So easy…my middle daughter was born on my birthday and she is far and away the best present I have ever or will ever receive, birthday or otherwise!
    Fifth, thanks for the chance to win these awesome books! I have three daughters (13, 16 & 20) and they would devour these (and I might too!)

  29. Ashley says:

    I’m glad I stumbled across your blog – I think you and I may be the same person! Big musical and Disney fan here – 27 is never too old for Disney!

    I like the memories surrounding my birthday more so, I think.
    Ashley recently posted… Cold Calls by Charles BenoitMy Profile

  30. Lisa says:

    So I thought about this for a long time and I honestly have no idea what the best birthday present I’ve ever received is. I usually don’t ask for anything, so whenever someone does get me something it’s a shock and super cool. My last birthday I got, like, 5 books from people and I was completely stoked. One time (I think it was my 18th birthday) my brother was off to college with his girlfriend and they totally surprised me by driving two hours to my place and showing up at my house with a few other people in tow. I had no idea they were coming, so it was cool. But yeah, as far as big gifts or things go: it’s always something less material.

  31. Katie says:

    Happy Birthday Jen! What a fun post and awesome giveaway! Birthdays are meant to be celebrated with lots of books and cake! πŸ˜€ I can relate to how you feel about your cat–I think my cat Charlotte is just adorable and brag about her all the time. πŸ™‚
    Katie recently posted…#AtoZchallenge: β€œX” is for Xenodocheionology–Love of HotelsMy Profile

  32. Casee Marie says:

    Happy belated birthday!! This post was perfect, I loved learning more about you and I might have to steal the idea for my birthday in a few weeks? (Also 26 – yay for ’88 babies!) I never get personal on my book blog largely because I have a separate blog where I share sort of off-the-cuff personal/lifestyle bits. But I always worry that the lack of that personal element takes some of the warmth out…does that make any sense? Anyway, I was nodding my head to so many things you listed here so this comment is going to be a bit ridiculously long – sorry in advance!

    First, I love musicals! Singin’ in the Rain was really my first favorite and it kicked off my love for Gene Kelly (I also love him in An American in Paris, Anchors Aweigh, and The Pirate). My two other biggest favorite musicals are Guys & Dolls and Bells Are Ringing (if you haven’t seen that one, DO. Dean Martin is a dreamboat and Judy Holiday is perfection).

    Everything you said about being a feminist is so. darn. true. I didn’t identify as a feminist (because I only knew the stigma) until just a few years ago when I saw the documentary Half the Sky and I understood this true and powerful side of feminism that’s all about supporting women and celebrating women’s achievements. It was life-changing, really. (I’m planning to finally read the Half the Sky book this month and I’m so excited!)

    Despite considering myself a huge classic film fan I think the only films I’ve seen Marilyn in are The Misfits and All About Eve. It’s just been a huge oversight on my part. But I’ve always had such admiration for her spirit and her sweetness. There’s a particular set of photos she did that I love deeply because there’s such a naturalness in her emotions. Audrey Hepburn is my biggest hero/favorite person and I think she and Marilyn are both victims of being underrated for their talents as well as maybe being remembered for an image that isn’t all that accurate to who they really were, you know?

    Also, your cat is adorable and Disney is the best.

    Okay: the best gift I ever received… I can’t remember how old I was, but sometime in my teens my mom did this elaborate “around the world” gift: she gave me a big map of the world and each individual gift had a country’s flag stuck on it, so I’d stick the flag on the map and open the gift. There was a hand-painted Venetian mask from Italy, a china teacup from England, a plate hand-painted with a Shetland Sheepdog (my puppy) from Scotland, plus desserts from France, Germany, and Turkey. It was pretty amazing!

  33. Alexa S. says:

    YAY JEN! Happiest of birthdays to you, again, though my comment here is belated. I’m so grateful we met through this crazy book blogging thing! It’s always such a joy to see your comments or chat on Twitter, and I look forward to more chats to come. Hope your birthday was amazing!
    Alexa S. recently posted…Moth and Spark – Anne Leonard (Review)My Profile

  34. Happy Birthday to you! I’m glad Ginger just retweeted you because it looks like you read similarly to me. I take G’s recs seriously because I found contemporary largely because of her and I read a ton of adult romance, so obviously her opinion and reading tastes matter to me. So happy to meet you (: I love that you put the musicals up there – makes my heart happy. I spent more hours than I could can count watching musicals with my grandmother as a child and WOW this just makes me smile. Takes me back. Hope you’ve had a wonderful birthday and I’m really excited to have found your blog.
    Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) recently posted…Royally Lost by Angie Stanton Review, Playlist, Gift Card GiveawayMy Profile

  35. Rashika says:

    Holy crap (because this needs to be said and I apologize if this was completely random .-.)

    Happy belated birthday!!!!!!!
    I hope you had lots of cake and lots of fun and got tons of books! πŸ˜€

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