10/19/17

Spookathon - Day Four

It's day four of Spookathon -- and I've totally tossed my TBR out the window.  BUT, but but but -- I'm currently reading my third book and I'm SUPER PROUD of myself.

The challenges:

1. Read a thriller -- check!  Both books that I've read so far count for this challenge.
2. Read a book about a childhood fear -- check!  I'm cheating a little on this one, as Black Feathers takes place in my hometown.  And the idea of a serial killer in my hometown is super creepy.  I honestly don't think I really had a childhood fear, so I had to get a little creative with this one =P
3. Read a book with orange on the cover -- in progress!  I'm currently reading He Will Be My Ruin, and the cover is orange.
4. Read a book with a spooky setting -- check!  Black Feathers was definitely spooky; the main character lived on the streets.
5. Read a book with a creepy word in the title -- check!  Black, Ruin, any of those will work.  I'd planned to read Unwind this week, which miiiiight still happen, but I'll call this a success regardless!

Are you participating in Spookathon?  If so, how is your reading coming along?  This is honestly the first October that I've ever really craved reading spooky books, and I'm loving it so far!  Plus, two of them are ebooks, which is totally helping me reach my goal of getting my ereader down to 20 books by the end of the year.

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10/16/17

Spookathon TBR

The #spookathon started at midnight today and runs until midnight this coming Sunday.  It was created by Lala @ Books with Lala (one of my favourite BookTubers -- she's Canadian!)  You can see the full details in her announcement video.

I'm planning to read three books this week -- fingers crossed!

1. Black Feathers by Robert J. Wiersema
This book will satisfy the challenge of reading a thriller, as well as slightly cheating on the challenge of childhood fear.  The book takes place in my hometown, so it has an element of childhood.

2. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
This book satisfies the challenge of reading a book with orange on the cover, as well as the challenge of a spooky setting.

3. Unwind by Neale Shusterman
This book satisfies the challenge of reading a book with a creepy word in the title.  The idea of unwinding still gives me the heebie jeebies, and I can't wait to read this book again and (hopefully!) continue with the series.

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10/10/17

This Darkness Mine - Mindy McGinnis

It's been a few days since I finished this book, and I feel like I'm still trying to figure out what on earth I just read.  And not in a good way.

I went into this book fully blind, not even reading the Goodreads summary before I dove in.  Mindy McGinnis has quite a following in the bookish community and I hadn't read any of her books prior to picking this one up.

I won't say anything about the plot, since I think going into this book blind is the best way to approach it.  I will say that the atmosphere of the book reminded me a lot of the Mara Dyer trilogy, but I didn't enjoy that trilogy much either, which probably contributed to my feelings on this book.  The main character is super unlikeable, so I never really understood her motivations and behaviour throughout the book.  It was an interesting concept and I kept reading because I was anticipating things that didn't end up happening.  The whole book was a bit of a letdown.  If you like weird psychological thrillers, this book will probably be right up your alley, but from reading this book I've learned that weird books are not my thing.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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10/5/17

Burn - Julianna Baggott

I have this bookish problem that I think that many others will identify with.  There's this series.  A series that I love with all my heart.  Strangely enough, I haven't even read the third and final book, even though I have had it sitting on my shelf for YEARS.  Why haven't I read this book, if I really and truly love this series so much?  BECAUSE I JUST CAN'T BEAR FOR THE SERIES TO BE OVER.

The Pure trilogy and I go way, way back.  I read Pure shortly after starting this blog, back when I was reading all the dystopians.  Back when Divergent was just a book.  Although I had read a LOT of dystopians by then, the book absolutely blew me away.  Julianna is a poet, and it clearly shows in her writing.  She makes a horrific world feel beautiful because of the way she weaves her words, similar to the feeling I had while reading Lauren Destefano's Wither.

Fast forward a few years, and I've had a baby.  With a month or so of newborn raising under my belt, I decide that it's time to get back into reading.  I pick up Fuse, the sequel to Pure, scarcely remembering what happened in the first book.  I fell head over heels for the second book, and have distinct memories of reading sections of the book aloud to Marko, as he cooed on the floor next to me.  You're supposed to talk to newborns and engage with them, but baby talk isn't my thing, so I figured reading aloud would be good for his little brain -- I think it might have worked!

Fast forward another few years, when I saw this book pop up on Netgalley.  I requested it, and was thrilled when my request was approved, only to realize that it expired in a few days and I knew that I'd never read it in time.  So I put the book on hold at the library, and waited months for it to arrive.  When I picked it up from the library, life must have gotten in the way, because I returned it unread, and late.  I borrowed it twice more, and I think returned it late both times.  I've paid some serious library fines for this book, but still it remained unread.  Then, I stumbled across the first two books in the series on Book Outlet, and decided that it was a series I'd like to own.  I bought Pure and Fuse and  happily added these beautiful books to my shelves.  The paperback release of Burn was in the fall, so I put it on my Christmas wish list and my husband delivered.  And STILL this book sat on my shelves unread.

Fast forward at least another year and I vowed to myself that I wouldn't let 2017 end without me finishing this series.  Let me tell you that it was worth the wait.  All that I hoped would happen happened.  I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced at spending some more time with these characters that I had fallen in love with.  I love that this series has carried me through some life-changing moments, and I seriously cannot wait to reread it at some point, and experience the majestic story from beginning to end without years of waiting in between each instalment.  If you're sick of dystopians, please don't overlook this series -- it's truly unique and spellbinding.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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10/3/17

Top Ten - Katie Cotugno

I love, love, LOVED How to Love when I first read it and knew that Katie Cotugno was a new favourite author.  99 Days was really good too, but I was disappointed by Fireworks.  When I saw that Katie was publishing a second book this year, I was a little nervous because her last book was disappointing and I worried that maybe she'd rushed through writing in order to get two books out this year.

YOU GUYS, THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME.  ALL KINDS OF AWESOME.  Maybe Fireworks was disappointing because she rushed through that one to spend more time on this book, who knows, but this book is everything that I loved about How to Love, and more.  What I loved the most about How to Love is that Katie creates these absolutely REAL characters who are messy and imperfect and REAL and genuine.  I love that her characters are raw and sometimes you love them and sometimes you want to shake them and sometimes you want to reach into the book and hug them.  Top Ten features another two characters like that and their story is just so imperfectly wonderful.  I scarcely have the words to talk about this book because I read the entire thing in two days.  I'm so full of feelings for this book, and have so much love for the way that Katie writes her characters' stories.  She's definitely back at the top of my favourites list and I hope that she writes more books like this one in the future.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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10/2/17

Reading Round-up - September

At the beginning of the month, I shared my tongue-in-cheek TBR pile of doom, where I had originally planned to read five books, which then grew to eight and then capped out at a whopping thirteen.  I did well this month, and finished with a total of nine (and a half!) books!  Here's what I read...

1. Top Ten by Katie Cotugno
My review for this one will be posted on release date, but let me just say that I loved it.

2. Ringer by Lauren Oliver
I had to DNF this one, sadly.

3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
YOU GUYS.  I FINALLY READ A BRANDON SANDERSON BOOK.   He deserves all the hype.  I loved it -- the world building, the allomancy, the characters, everything.  Halfway through the book, I told my hubby that I was putting books two and three onto my Christmas wish list, but by the time I finished the book I decided that I can't wait that long.  I'm throwing the rest of the year's TBR goals out the window and making time to finish this series.

4. Flyte by Angie Sage
5. Physik by Angie Sage
I reread Magyk last year because I own almost all of the books in this series, but couldn't remember what happened in the first book.  The Magyk series was recommended to me by a Chapters employee many, many years ago and, although I normally balk at "if you liked Harry Potter" recommendations, I was sold on this series.  It's really good, and I'm hoping to finish off the last three books this year as well.  I had also planned to read Queste this month, and I got about halfway through the book, but I think I was burning out a little so I took a break.  I'll finish it in October for sure, but this reminded me about why I don't usually binge read back to back =)

6. Lilac Girls
I saw a read along group on Instagram, and decided to join on a whim.  The group picked this book and, although I'd never heard of it, I borrowed the audiobook to keep me company during a data entry project at work.  The book is compared to The Nightingale and, while I think The Nightingale was a better WWII book, this was still a solid read.  The audiobook is worth checking out, as it's told by a different narrator for each of the three women.  I love books with multiple narrators, and this one was well done.

7. The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I blasted through the Lux series last month, and was disappointed.  This sounded like a Colleen Hoover-esque contemporary, but I was also disappointed.  I'm going to give JLA one more shot because I have Half Blood on my shelves, but I'm not impressed with her work thus far.

8. Love Her Wild by Atticus
I followed Atticus on Instagram a while back and loved his words enough to pick up his book of poetry.  I loved it and devoured it in one day.  I'm now wanting to read all of the poetry books -- recommendations more than welcome!

9. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
I struggled with this one, and it makes me sad because this was totally a favourite series.  Maybe it's partly because I got distracted with a couple of other books, and kept setting this one aside, but I definitely didn't enjoy this instalment as much as previous ones.  I already have Tower of Dawn, which I'm planning to read next month, and I'm feeling hopeful about a book that can help me to fall in love with this series again.

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9/25/17

Marko Monday [24] - Dinosaur Bones!

This summer, we made our annual trek to Alberta to visit my in-laws.  Normally, we split our trip between Edmonton and Calgary, but this year we added in a night in Drumheller.  Marko has loved dinosaurs since he was little and I knew that a trip to the dinosaur capital of the world would be one that he'd remember forever.  The best way to describe him in the Royal Tyrell Museum, seeing dinosaur bones and life-size dinosaurs for the first time, is to compare him to the ball in a pinball machine.  He literally ran from one spot to the other, shouting, "Look, a stegosaurus!  And a T Rex!  Look, a T Rex!  And a brontosaurus!  And a triceratops!"  It was awesome to watch and experience the wonder through his eyes.

When we returned home from our trip, my husband had one more week at home with him.  One morning, they were watching the kids programming on CBC and there was a show called Bookaboo (or something along those lines).  It featured a book called Drumheller Dinosaur Dance, and my husband insisted that we head to Chapters THAT DAY to find Marko a copy.  It's quickly become a new favourite book in our household, and has a really fun read-a-loud rhythm to the story.  The dinosaur bones wake up at night to dance, and there's a fun "rickety tack whackety whack" kind of rhyming pattern that goes along with the story.  We've read this one over and over again, and Marko often takes it out with him to read in the backseat as well.  If you've got a little dinosaur fan, I'd highly recommend checking this one out!

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9/20/17

Fall TBR!

I rocked my summer TBR pile, seriously rocked it.  One book was a DNF, but I finished the other three, including the infamous Shantaram.  I also planned to tackle my ARCs and, as of this moment, I still have that one long-expired egalley, but otherwise I am all caught up!  In addition to the expired book, I have one more fall ARC to read for the end of October and a second one for March 2018.  I'm feeling pretty proud of myself!

Now, onto the books that I hope to get to this fall...

1. Shadow of Night and Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
I started this series two years ago (?!?) and liked the first book a lot, but haven't finished the series yet.  Lauren @ Lose Time Reading LOVES this series and I need to just hurry up and finish it already.

2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
This is one of the books on my 17 books to read in 2017 list and I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.  I felt the same about Mistborn, but I'm loving it, so I'm hopeful that I'll find another fantasy book to fall in love with.

3. Unravelling by
It's embarrassing how many times I've said I'm going to read this book, and then I just don't follow through.  Like, seriously embarrassing.  I need to just read it already.

4. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
I reread The Handmaid's Tale earlier this year, and fell in love with Atwood's writing all over again.  This is another book on my 17 books to read in 2017 list.

5. Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman
I'm hoping to finish this series and the Discovery of Witches series during October (five books, no big deal!) since it feels like a good creepy series to read around Hallowe'en.  I really, really hope that I enjoy the rest of the books as much as I liked Unwind because I own them all in hardcover.

I have other goals during fall as well, like Tower of Dawn and the rest of the Magyk series.  Plus my last fall ARC, and book club books and read along books.  Just like my September TBR pile of doom, I like to challenge myself -- what can I say?  What is at the top of your TBR pile this fall?  Have you read any of the books that I'm planning to read?  If so, which one should I read first?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you for stopping by!

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9/5/17

They Both Die at the End - Adam Silvera

Anyone who is part of the blogging community, the Bookstagram community, the BookTube community or even just Goodreads has heard of Adam Silvera.  He's a very well-loved author in the online bookish community and his books have received very high praise from so many readers.  Although I haven't read either of his previous books, I thought I'd give his writing a chance with They Both Die at the End.

I went into this book with very high expectations, and I think that is why I felt the way that I did at the end.  I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I didn't love it as much as I had hoped to.  For me, there was a disconnect with how I felt about the characters.  I love a good sad book, especially one that leaves me in a puddle of tears at the end.  Based on the title alone, I fully expected a book that was going to tear my heart to shreds.  Instead, I enjoyed a book with good characters, an interesting premise and a book that was more about living than dying.  The relationship that develops between the main characters is sincere and genuine, but I felt like my heart stayed on the outskirts of the story, rather than being drawn into the emotions of the story.

They Both Die at the End is a solid story with good character development, but won't be topping my list of favourite reads this year.

Note:  An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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9/1/17

September TBR Pile of Doom

I'm only doing seasonal TBR piles this year, so this TBR post is a bit tongue in cheek.  I'm kind of laughing at myself this month, because I have no idea if I'll be able to read all of the things that I've planned to read ... but I'll be seriously impressed with myself if I actually plan to do it!

So, basically, I made myself a monthly plan for books that I will need to read each month if I want to finish my list of 17 books to read in 2017 as well as all ten series that I had planned to read this year.  According to that plan, I have to read five books this month:
1. Empire of Storms
2. Mistborn
3. Flyte
4. Physik
5. Queste

I'm reading Empire of Storms on audio at the moment, and I'm planning to break up Mistborn into 21 pages per day, similar to what I did with Shantaram, and I expect that the book will take me all month to finish.  Flyte, Physik and Queste are the next three books in the Magyk series, a middle grade fantasy series that I started last year and had planned to finish this year.

Then, I realized that I have four ARCs that have early October publication dates, which means I need to read and review them this month.  Fortunately, I finished one at the end of August, but that leaves three more books to read this month.

Eight is a manageable total for me for the month.  And that would have been fine, except...

I started Falling Kingdoms while I was in Alberta and I want to finish that one as well.

I saw a read along group thing on Instagram, and jumped on board that ship.  They're reading Lilac Girls this month, a book I'd never heard of, but I decided to borrow it on audio from the library.  I have a data entry project at work this week, so I can probably breeze through at least half of it while I'm working.

I read The Girl at Midnight a few months ago and put the next two books on hold at the library.  The third book just came in, but I'm still waiting on the second one.  If the second one comes in before the third book is due back, I may blast through both of those books.

I'm starting school on September 18th.

And, finally, I'm still thinking about This Savage Song, and really craving the sequel.  I put it on hold at the library, but I may cave and buy it.

Which is a grand total of 13 books.  Still kind of doable -- but seriously, what I am thinking?  Does anyone else's TBR pile doomed like mine?

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8/31/17

Reading Round-up - August

Last month, I shared my reading through mini-reviews, and I'm going to do the same this month.  We were on holidays for two weeks and I got a lot of reading done during that time.  Without further ado, here goes!

 

Opal, Origin and Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
This series was on my list of ten to finish this year, and I can honestly say that I'm glad it's over.  WAY too much eye rolling for my taste.  If I hadn't already bought all of the books, I wouldn't have continued reading the series, but now that I've finished it I've already put the books in a donation box.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
I haven't fallen victim to bookish hype in a long, long time, but I heard that the audiobook was amazing on this one, and I had unused Audible credits and a mindless project at work so I decided to give it a shot.  It was good, and definitely unlike anything else that I've read, but I wouldn't say it was amazing.  Tom Riddle from the Harry Potter movies narrates the audiobook, and his voice made it worthwhile.


The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
I decided on a whim to participate in August's round of Tome Topple, but then wasn't in a fantasy mood, so I decided to have my husband choose a book off my shelves and he picked this one for me.  Emery Lord never fails to disappoint, and this book was just as good as all of her previous books.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
September's book club book, and it was a quick easy read.  I'm not sure if it was a thrilling thriller, or if I couldn't put it down simply because I was racing against my dying ereader battery.


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I'd heard mixed reviews about this one, some loved it but Hannah @ So Obsessed With posted that she was disappointed with TJR's latest book.  I went into this book with low expectations and was blown away.  Evelyn is an incredibly unlikable character, but I found myself absolutely captivated by her story.  It kind of reminded me of Marissa Meyer's Fairest in a way, because you don't want to feel sympathy for this unlikeable character, but it's so interesting and different to read from the perspective of someone so awful.


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
I read and absolutely LOVED the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy earlier this year, and that series is easily one of my favourite series of all time.  I've seen around the blogosphere that people either love her YA books or her adult books, but it's rare to see people that love both.  There was something about the premise to this duology that kept calling my name, so I decided to give it a shot.  And I LOVED IT.  I'm already itching to pick up the second book and I will be obsessively stalking my library until it arrives.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This is one of the 17 books that I planned to read in 2017 and I'm SO GLAD that I finally read this.  Such a beautiful story, and I absolutely adored Ove's character (his idiosyncrasies reminded me a little of my own husband .... and I can totally see him turning into a funny old man like Ove!)

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis
I just finished this one last night, and I'm still trying to figure out what the heck I just read.  My full review will be forthcoming closer to the publication date.

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8/7/17

On Reading Multiple Books

I've had this post simmering in the back of my mind for a few weeks now, and seeing this post on Book Riot propelled me to actually write it.  I have multiple books on the go at the moment, and by multiple books, I actually mean five.  FIVE BOOKS.  The funny thing is that I actually wrote a post with an identical title back in 2014, where I explained my thoughts on the matter in a completely different way (click here if you want to see what 2014 me thought on the topic), or keep reading to see how 2017 me thinks differently.

In 2014, I'd just delved into e-reading, so I found myself with a physical book, an audiobook and an ebook on the go at the same time.  Bouncing between formats was fine, but I'd decided that this was too much and I was going to slow down and read only a physical book and an audiobook at the same time.  Flash forward three years, and I've upped that quotient, but strangely enough, I'm okay with this.  My feelings on the matter are very in line with the Book Riot article, where the writer talks about taking the time to savour a longer read, but knowing that she'll feel like a book slump is coming on if she reads the same book for too long.  THIS IS SO ME.

I read Shantaram last month and it took me exactly one month from start to finish.  I loved it, every moment of it, and I spread it out over the month on purpose, planning to read 30 pages per day.  In all honesty, part of me thought that it might end up being the only book that I read in July, but I found myself reading through my 30 pages on the train to and from work, and then reading another 30 pages in the evening, resulting in me being a day ahead of schedule.  So, at one point over the long weekend in July, I set aside Shantaram and read a thriller.  Then, there were a few scorching hot days where my brain was melting and I picked up a lighter read.  Every time I went back to Shantaram, it was because I was excited to pick it up, not because I was trying to get my pages read.  In the end, I ended up finishing the book ahead of schedule because I was enjoying it so much and tore through the last part of the book, but I absolutely loved both taking the time to savour it and allowing myself to read other things at the same time.

Yesterday, Tome Topple started and, although I haven't posted a formal sign-up post, I'm joining in.  I picked up Strange the Dreamer, which I hadn't planned to read this year, but it's been calling my name from the shelf.  It's just over 500 pages, so it satisfies the challenge, and I totally plan to savour it over the next couple of weeks because Laini Taylor's writing is utter perfection.  I also have a non-fiction book on the go from the library (the GTD method, which I heard about on Boho Berry's channel), plus I'm finishing up the Lux series and I have two audiobooks on the go.  And, you know what?  It's totally working for me.  Although it's a lot of books, I find myself gravitating towards what I'm in the mood to read, and I'm actually reading more this way than I have in previous years.  I've already read 52 books this year and, if I can stick to my reading plan, I may even finish all of the books that I had planned to read this year (for the first time EVER!)  I love that I'm still reading what I want, when I want, and haven't felt slumpy at all in recent months.

So, we'll see if there's another similarly titled post in three years' time about how reading multiple books isn't working for me, but for now it's working just fine.  If you read multiple books, or if you don't, please let me know why in the comments below!

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8/3/17

Leave Me - Gayle Forman


I read If I Stay back when I first started blogging, and didn't enjoy it much, but I really liked the movie when I was home sick one day and found it on TV.  I picked up Just One Day when the blogosphere went crazy over it and liked it, but I felt a little underwhelmed.  I chalked it up to the hype, and thought I'd give Gayle one more chance with Leave Me.  It's an adult novel about a mother, so I was ready to connect with the main character and feel all kinds of feelings.

Nope, nope, nope.  This book just did not work for me.  I stopped reading the physical copy and switched to the audio so that I could get through the story and see if the main character redeemed herself at all by the end, and was supremely disappointed.  First of all, the premise is that the main character has a woman who's so busy juggling her life (husband, twins and work) that she doesn't realize that she's had a heart attack.  While recuperating, she packs her bag and leaves.  Just up and leaves her family!  Although I understand her perspective of being the rock that holds the family together (I sometimes joke that my husband would be lost without me because he doesn't know the password to his own email account), there is absolutely no way that I would ever walk away from my family like that.  Granted, I've never suffered a major health crisis, and it's hard to predict with any certainty how I would react in that situation, but the whole point about fiction is to explore these imaginative situations and "experience" them in a safe way, like having a dream about doing something you'd never do in real life.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't connect with her actions, and the fact that she stayed away for a ridiculously long amount of time.  If the story had been spread out over a weekend, and she'd panicked and fled, and just needed a day to calm down and return home, I think I might have connected with her a bit better.  She was gone a LONG time, and it just didn't feel realistic to me.

If you're a fan of Gayle Forman's other books, you'll definitely like this one, as it has her signature writing style and character development.  It's no better or worse than her other books, but reading this has solidified my belief that I'm just not a Gayle Forman fan.  I wish I could say differently, because she's so loved by so many readers, but this is my unpopular opinion.

Note: I received an egalley of this book for review from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence my review of this book in any way.
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8/1/17

The Secret History of Us - Jessi Kirby

Jessi Kirby is one of those underrated writers that really deserves more credit.  My first of her books was Things We Know By Heart, which I read as a review book a couple of years ago.  I had Golden sitting on my shelves for a couple of years, and read that one shortly after.  I still have two of her books on my TBR and I'm grateful for that fact because each of her books have managed to wow me in a different way.  Some contemporary writers write a particular style of book that works for them (think Sarah Dessen and her perfect of growth and learning books), which is awesome and I love the predictable enjoyment factor.  With Jessi Kirby's books, however, I go into each one not really knowing what type of story to expect, which I LOVE.

The Secret History of Us is a thriller and opens with a girl being pulled out of the lake.  Everyone around her is certain that she's dead and her rescuer begins performing CPR.  The girl lives and its her story that we read, as she tries to piece together her memories of that fateful night.

The opening scene perfectly set the pace of the book; I was sucked into the story from page one and couldn't put it down.  Liv's character development is so real and genuine and I found myself really connecting with her as she tried to puzzle through her life.  It's a short, well-paced book and I flew through it in 24 hours, sneaking a page or two in whenever I could.  This book releases in the summer, and is perfect for a camping trip read, curled up by the campfire or stretched out in the sun on a warm dock, but will also be perfect to curl up with in front of a roaring fire when the weather turns chilly.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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7/31/17

Reading Round-up - July

A little part of me misses writing reviews, but not the full length kind.  So I thought I'd try something new and recap a little of what I read this month!


Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
I've struggled with graphic novels over the past couple of years, and I think I've finally decided that the genre just isn't for me.  Although I have read a couple of exceptional graphic novels (Blankets and The Sculptor), on the whole I end up underwhelmed with most of the ones that I've picked up.

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
This was an eARC, so watch for my review tomorrow!

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
I wanted to love this one.  I wanted to have more Morgan Matson to read while I wait (not so) patiently for her next book.  But I was disappointed with this one, and it was just okay.  Not worth continuing with the series.


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
I love, love, loved, LOVED this one.  Super sweet middle grade book, told through the eyes of a gorilla.  It reminded me a little of Ishmael, full of profound truths and fascinating observations.  A little gem of a book for sure.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
I decided earlier this year to re-read the Throne of Glass series in preparation for FINALLY reading Empire of Storms, and I'm glad I did.  I'm re-reading it all on audio, and I've been enjoying it.

The Gammage Cup
I haven't DNFed a book since January, but I just couldn't get into this one.  I even switched it up and tried in on audio, thinking I could quickly get through five hours on audio, but nope. 


Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
I FINALLY READ SHANTARAM YOU GUYS.  If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I picked this book up when I was pregnant (circa November 2012), but ended up putting it down when I developed pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel and the book was too heavy to hold.  I've wanted to pick it up since then, but it's also hella intimidating.  Not to mention the fact that anyone who saw it on my shelves raved about it, so the hype was a real thing.  But I LOVED IT.  And I'm so, so, so glad that I finally read it.  I laughed, I cried and I devoured the book in less than a month.  So worth it, and I'll be recommending this to others for sure.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Another eARC (summer books are READ!) and I'll have a review up for this one on its release date in early September!
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7/27/17

The Best of Adam Sharp - Graeme Simsion

I read, and LOVED, The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect in early 2015, so when I saw that Graeme Simsion was writing a new book, I knew that I had to get my hands on a copy.  I saw the book pop up on Netgalley, and requested a copy on a whim, feeling pretty confident that my request would be declined, so imagine my surprise when it was approved!  I immediately downloaded it and started reading.

I loved the book from page one, and knew that, although I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy for review, I just had to savour this one in printed format.  For one, it was a PDF, which means I have to read it on my iPad, rather than on my Kobo and it's a little harder on my eyes.  So I pre-ordered a copy from Chapters and dove into it as soon as it arrived.

Although I'm incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to read it in advance, I'm SO GLAD that I waited and read the hard copy because I would have missed out on something truly, truly incredible.  THIS BOOK HAS A PLAYLIST.  It might be included in the ARC (I didn't go back to check), but it's at the back of the physical book.  It lists off all of the songs referenced in the story, and THERE'S A SPOTIFY LIST THAT GOES WITH THE STORY.  It was mind-blowing you guys.  MIND BLOWING.  I love music (love, love, LOVE) and I'm always a sucker for stories that have music interwoven (like Amy & Roger's Epic Detour or Just Listen).  For me, it's a fine balance between making music an integral part of the story, and just name dropping music and artists (like Love is a Mix Tape, which felt like the writer was just showing off his musical prowess).  This book did the music and story blend so well; on a scale of one to ten it was utter perfection.

This book isn't long, but it took me close to a month to finish because I'd read a few paragraphs, listen to a song, read the lyrics to the song, go back and reread the paragraphs, listen to the song again and just feel all the feels.  I knew some of the songs referenced in the book because my dad raised me on a steady diet of oldies, but loved discovering new songs and learning to love the songs even more.  Patti Smith's "Because The Night" is a new all-time favourite because of this book.  I knew the song before, but I truly love the song now.

Music aside, The Best of Adam Sharp is an untraditional love story.  It's the story of Adam, who lives with a bit of regret over the great love of his life, Angelina, and how they ended their relationship.  Life gives them a very strange type of second chance, and it gives them a chance to consider what could have been as well as the paths that their lives took because they went their separate ways.  In some ways, this book felt like a Taylor Jenkins Reid novel because he portrays these messy relationships in a way that makes them feel completely real.  We, as human beings, aren't perfect and our relationships and lives are fraught with moments of "what if?"  This book captures all of those moments, and then some.

If you've read the Rosie books, please know that this book is very different.  It's heartfelt and raw and delicious and wonderful and utter perfection, especially if you opt to listen to the playlist as you read the book.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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7/12/17

A Blogging Identity Crisis

On April 15th, I started writing this post.  And by "writing," I mean that I wrote in a title for the post and hit save.  That's basically how I lock down my ideas, with the intention of coming back later to flesh out the idea.  This post has been simmering on the backburner of my mind for a while now, and I've opened the draft post a few times, but the words didn't come.  Until tonight.  Tonight I feel ready to share.

This November, I'll be celebrating six years of blogging.  SIX YEARS in this little corner of the internet.  It's still quite little after all these years, mainly because I have never really had enough time and energy to devote to networking.  I admire those bloggers that can pour so many hours into their blogs, and their devotion shows in reader engagement and content development.  I wish I could be like those bloggers and, to be honest, sometimes those feelings are what gets in the way of blogging. It's not a numbers game for me, but it's more a frustration over the quality of my content.  I shared a post a while back, sometime after Marko was born, where I reflected on the thought and care that I used to put into book reviews when I had the time and energy to write them.  As time has gone by, I've stopped writing reviews (except for review copies and if I have a burning need to say something) and have toyed with a number of bookish content ideas.  In all honesty, after so many years of writing about books, I think I'm just running out of bookish ideas.

Which leads me to the topic of this post -- my blogging identity crisis.  I've been wrestling with the idea of making this blog about more than books (and I even tried doing this last year, but didn't follow through).  I have other interests, and spend a lot of time watching videos or looking on Pinterest to support these hobbies (searching for bullet journal ideas on either one is a BLACK HOLE).  I've also discovered non BookTube channels lately, like Cheyenne (Studyrose on YouTube) who I discovered through her Plan With Me videos, but then got caught up in all of her other creative content.  I was watching a video the other day where she mentioned listening to inspirational podcasts, and I thought to myself, "Yes, I should find some of these podcasts to listen to on my commute."  And then I had a huge realization: I have been spending more time lately passively engaged with my hobbies instead of actively engaged with them.  I look for lettering inspiration and bullet journal layout ideas instead of picking up my pen and journalling.  I scroll through Goodreads to see what my friends are reading and watching TBR videos on BookTube instead of reading a couple of chapters of my current read.  I spend more time adding to my TBR pile than subtracting from it, or more time planning and deciding what to read than actually reading.

I'm going to start actively engaging in my hobbies, instead of passively engaging with them.  I'm going to write more on here, write more in my bullet journal, reading more books and, most importantly, reconnecting with my yoga mat.  I've just done two days in a row and am feeling amazing.  I'd like to keep this up ... for once.  And I'm going to blog about whatever the heck I feel like blogging about.  I thought about making a plan for how to roll out new features and content but, you know what?  I barely have time to blog, so I'm just going to go with it and see where it leads me.  If you've stuck with me this long, please know that I am eternally grateful for you and the fact that you pop by every now and then to read these words.  Let's see where this leads, shall we?

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7/10/17

Marko Monday [23] -- Going to the Zoo!

Holy smokes -- it's been a long, long time since I posted one of these!  Now that I'm slowly putting a tentative toe back into the blogging pool, I want to focus on the posts that bring me joy, and this is definitely one of them.  So, you'll see a few more regular picture book reviews popping up here and there, as well as photos of my beautiful boy.

Most of Marko's books come from Value Village, or other used bookstores.  We scored this one from our local used bookstore (which also sells amazing organic loose tea) and it was an immediate hit.  It's written to the tune of "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," but features all of Marko's favourite jungle animals.  We read it again and again and again.  The brightly coloured pictures are paired perfectly with words that have the perfect read-aloud rhythm.

Tigers and snakes have been a household favourite since we watched the new Jungle Book a couple of months ago.  Although I struggle with the idea of supporting keeping animals in captivity, I finally decided that Marko would really gain a lot out of a trip to the zoo.  So we went, and he LOVED IT.  He got to touch a python, saw a real Shere Khan pacing back and forth waiting for meal time and saw a few of his other favourites up close.  My husband was absolutely blown away by seeing a real live giraffe (picture below).  On the way home, Marko said that his favourite part was the "cobra brastrictor" -- ha ha ha!



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6/30/17

June Wrap-up!

The year is already halfway gone.  I'm normally a glass full kind of gal, but with time I have to look at the year as halfway behind us already... SLOW DOWN TIME.

The Books

Books Read: 6 (Lord of Shadows, The Handmaid's Tale, The Best of Adam Sharp, Burn, Heir of Fire, The Girl at Midnight)
I really took my time with Lord of Shadows and loved every minute.  My review for Adam Sharp is forthcoming, and will explain why it also took me a long time to read, despite it being a short-ish book.  AND I FINALLY READ BURN. #lifegoal  Also, I read all five books on my spring TBR!!!!

Books Acquired: 5 (The Best of Adam Sharp, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Once and for All, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, The Life Intended)
No regrets.  No regrets at all.

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +16 (Lord of Shadows, Burn and Heir of Fire)
TBR Challenge: +2 (Burn and The Girl at Midnight)
Flights of Fantasy: +2 (Lord of Shadows and Heir of Fire)

The Blog

I'm sloooooowly getting back into the swing of blogging, and have my sights set on mid-July when my course is done and I'll have two glorious homework-free months!  I did a second round of the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag and shared my summer TBR.  This week, I looked back at my reading resolutions and reading challenges to see where I was at.

 The Other Stuff

Summer has definitely arrived in British Columbia, and we celebrated Father's Day by purchasing our first "grown-up" BBQ (i.e. the first time that we haven't bought the cheapest one that we could find, knowing that we'd buy another in a year or two).  We have a natural gas hook-up on our deck, so it's also nice to BBQ without worrying that we'll run out of propane.  My husband LOVED making a BBQ feast for us for Father's Day, and we've also had some friends over to enjoy some yummy BBQ. This weekend, one of my best friends is coming to stay for the weekend and I'm already looking forward to more yummy BBQ as well as finding some Canada Day celebrations to enjoy.

Otherwise, it was a fairly quiet month.  I'm finishing up my course in mid-July, and already looking forward to some blissful time off.  We're Alberta-bound in August for some family time as well, and I can already see myself lounging on my mother-in-law's deck with a good book and a cup of tea.

How about you?  Anything exciting happen to you in June?  Let me know if you've read something amazing so far this year and which books are on your summer TBR!  Thank you for stopping by =)

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6/28/17

Reading Resolutions - Halfway Point

I like looking back at my resolutions halfway through the year to see where I'm at ... I'm doing well, but still a ways to go.  Let's break it down...

1. Reduce my physical TBR to less than 100 books.
Although I didn't have a specific number at the beginning of the year, I guesstimated that I had approximately 130 unread books on my shelves.  Today, I have 122 books.  I have been reading most books from my shelves, but there were also a lot of new releases to buy this year (plus others that have wandered onto my shelves).  The remainder of the year doesn't have as many new releases, so this challenge still feels achievable.

2. Reduce my e-book TBR to less than 20 books.
I've been really good about not buying too many cheap e-books this year, and knocked off quite a few short reads in March, but I'm still sitting at 27 books.  I usually pack one book and my Kobo when we head to Alberta in the summer, so hopefully I'll gobble up a few e-books under the prairie skies.

3. Finish 10 series.
I've finished two of the 10 series that were on my original list, but I also binge read the entire Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, so I'm counting that one as well.  Still a ways to go on this challenge, but I'm hoping to focus on series over the summer.

4. Blog whenever hubby plays video games.
Well, hubby promptly stopped gaming after I posted my new year's resolutions!  There has been a LOT of hockey on this year, as my husband's beloved Oilers made the playoffs this year.  I've been popping in my earbuds and listening to Peaceful Piano on Spotify, and have been doing well at tuning out the hockey and getting some reading done.  I've also taken a couple of non-intentional breaks from blogging -- I think I was burning out a little with blogging.  I'm coming up on six years in November and, although I do still love my little corner of the internet, I've been having a blogging identity crisis.  Hopefully, I'll have a post soon detailing exactly what that is and what it entails, but I haven't quite decided just yet.

5. Participate in three online events.
This is a success already!  I participated in the Love-a-Thon, the All the Short Ones readathon and the third round of Tome Topple.  YAHOO!  In the remainder of the year, there will hopefully be a second round of Tome Topple and my favourite event of all, the Broke & Bookish Secret Santa.

Did you making reading resolutions and, if so, are you on track with your goals?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you for stopping by =)

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6/26/17

Reading Challenges - Halfway Point

To start with, I set my Goodreads reading challenge at 50 books, despite the fact that I read 73 books last year.  So far, I've read 42 books.  I've enjoyed taking my time with a few chunky reads, and setting my target lower has really helped with that.  Plus, participating in the All the Short Ones Readathon in March helped to rack up the read books quickly, and then I slowed right down in April with Tome Topple.


My goal is 30 books, and I've read 15 books so far.  There have definitely been quite a few ARCs read this year, as well as some library books, but having my books out of storage has been great, and I've read a lot of books off my shelves so far too!

My goal for the Prequel & Sequel Challenge is Professional (76 to 100 points).  I thought I was super behind on this challenge, but I'm actually at 66 points already!  I've completed four series already, which I think is definitely helping.  If I manage to knock a couple more off my TBR pile, I'll complete this challenge with no issues.


My goal is 12 books and I've read 13 books so far!  I've been really, really enjoying the fantasy books that I've read this year, and am already looking forward to reading some more before the year is up.  CHALLENGE COMPLETED!

How about you?  How are you doing on your reading challenges so far this year?

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6/20/17

Summer TBR!

I also had one book from my spring list that I didn't get to (The Girl at Midnight) and I'm currently reading Burn, but will complete it soon.  Our summer weather has been all over the place (hot and sunny one day, cold and rainy the next) so my reading tastes are a bit all over the map.  Even if I don't read these precise books, my focus this summer will be on the books that I had originally planned to read this year, with a specific focus on series.

1. A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman
Out of all of the books on my Kobo, this book has been calling to me lately.  It's on the list of 17 books that I had planned to read this year.

2. The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall
I tried to read this a month or so ago, but put it aside.  I'm not 100% sure that I'll enjoy this, so I may end up DNFing it, but I have to give it a try this summer.

3. Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
This is the next in a series on my TBR, but I think it would be an easy, summery read.

4. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
I have a plan for reading this book in bite size chunks throughout July.  I'll write a full length post on this at some point, but this strategy has been working well for motivating me to read intimidating books lately.

5. ARCs
Another of my big (and lofty) summer goals is to catch up with my ARCs.  I have two books that I have read and not reviewed, one that I'm about to finish, and one long-expired ARC that I still haven't read.  I also have six fall e-galleys to read.  At the bare minimum, I would like to catch up with my ARCs, but it would also be lovely to read ahead.  I've got big dreams.

How about you?  What's on your summer TBR?  Let me know in the comments below =)

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6/16/17

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag - Round 2

I did this tag last year, and saw it popping up all over BookTube again, so thought I'd join in the fun with a 2017 version!  The tag was originally created by ReadLikeWildfire (see her video here) and Ely Jane (see her video here).

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017. 
Everyone's going to say this, so I'm going to pick the two most popular answers to this question: A Court of Wings and Ruin and A Conjuring of Light.  There, I said it; however, they're both just PERFECT SERIES ENDERS.  PURE PERFECTION.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2017.
Ha ha ha, see above!  Clearly I should have read the questions through first before I started answering.

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.

I still have The Names They Gave Us, Once and For All, Strange the Dreamer, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and Always and Forever, Lara Jean to read!  This time last year, I only had one unread new release ... umm, OOPS?

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo in September.  I'm also excited for Renegades by Marissa Meyer and Warcross by Marie Lu, but I'm not a fan of the covers for both books, which has reduced my enthusiasm for both.  Of course, there's also Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas but I haven't read Empire of Storms yet (I know, I know!) so that's also reduced my enthusiasm.

5. Biggest disappointment.

The Bane Chronicles.  I love Magnus Bane's character, but this series of novellas about his character was just meh.  It made a mindless project at work a little more bearable with this book on audio, but other than that I was very underwhelmed.

6. Biggest surprise.

The Hate U Give.  As soon as I saw that Jamie @ The Perpetula Page-Turner had loved it, I downloaded an e-galley.  I knew that I would love it too, but the surprise for me was that I loved it that much.  It blew me away.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

V.E. Schwab.  I DEVOURED the Darker Shades of Magic series.  Absolutely DEVOURED.  I loved it so much that I'm tempted to try This Savage Song.  The premise sounds intriguing, but I've heard others say that the either love her adult books, or her young adult books, but people rarely love both.  So I think I might just stick with her adult books.  BUT I loved the series so much that I also wonder if I might be part of the small group that loves all of her books.  So conflicted.

8. Newest fictional crush.

I'm not much of a book boyfriend kind of girl, so can I just pick Rhysand again this year?

9. Newest favourite character.

Lila Bard.  Hands down, no question.

10. Book that made you cry.
LORD OF SHADOWS.  It's been two weeks since I finished that book, and I'm still not okay.

11. Book that made you happy.
Although graphic novels aren't my favourite thing, it did make me happy to have a little bit more time in the Lunar Chronicles' world.  And Iko.  More Iko is happiness inducing.

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
Strange the Dreamer.  Maybe because I also know that Laini's beautiful writing awaits inside those gorgeous covers.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
OH MY GOSH.  So many.  In order to finish the 17 books that I had planned to read, I still need to read The bone Season, Empire of Storms, Unraveling, Burn, Graceling, Shataram, The Girl at Midnight, A Man Called Ove, The Gammage Cup, Robber Bride and a Brandon Sanderson book.  And I've only read two of the ten series that I had planned to read this year, which still leaves the Lux series, the Throne of Glass series, the Magyk series, the Unwind dystology, the Everneath trilogy, the All Souls Trilogy, His Dark Assassins trilogy and the Pure trilogy.  I'm currently reading Burn, which will knock one of each list (hurrah!)  But that would still leave a total of 31 books to read!  Considering I've already read 41 books, it's possible!

Although the questions don't actually ask me to tag anyone, I'm gonna do it anyways, because I'm crazy like that.  I tag Jessica @ Novel Cravings and Lauren @ Lose Time Reading.

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5/31/17

May Wrap-up!

Let me not even start on how quickly May disappeared, and marvel at the fact that SUMMER is nearly here.  SUMMERTIME PEOPLE.  Wasn't it just Christmas last week?

The Books

Books Read: 5 (The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules, A Court of Wings and Ruin, Crown of Midnight, Lady Midnight, Milk and Honey)
Again, less books than last month, but two of them were long reads, and I enjoyed taking my time with both of them.

Books Acquired: 3 (A Court of Wings and Ruin, The Names They Gave Us, Lord of Shadows)
So many good books came out in May, and I'm so happy to have these three on my shelves.

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +14 (ACOWAR and Crown of Midnight)
TBR Challenge: +1 (Lady Midnight)
Flights of Fantasy: +3 (ACOWAR, Crown of Midnight, Lady Midnight)

The Blog

This is actually the first and last post of this month!  I unintentionally took a month off of blogging, and I think it was a needed break.  I'm slowly feeling like I'm ready to jump back into it, but we'll just see where things go after this post.  I'm looking forward to reading some good books next year (currently reading Lord of Shadows, and I think I'm off to a good start) and slowly climbing back aboard the blogging train.

 The Other Stuff

May feels like it was really busy, but now I'm struggling to remember exactly what made it so busy. We had my in-laws visit at the beginning of May, when my niece and nephew were baptized.  It was a fun, family-filled week, but it was also nice to have our house back to ourselves after everyone went home again.  Then, for the Victoria day long weekend, we went to the Island to visit my family.  Again, a lovely weekend, but it's just as tiring to be away from home as it is to have people visiting.  I'm such an introvert =P  I like the time with family, but I also need that time to recharge from all the craziness.

We all came down with a summer cold, and I used my first official sick day.  My previous job didn't have sick days, so I'd drag myself in feeling like crap, or have to use a vacation day if I wanted to be paid for staying at home.  There's no legislation in British Columbia to require employers to provide sick days, but many choose to do so as a courtesy to their employees.  Honestly, it was lovely to be able to take the time to catch up on some much needed rest, and I felt SO MUCH better the next day.  Generally, it would take me a week or so to really get over a cold since it would linger, but I honestly felt like I kicked it in a day, since I had the time to rest and recover.  Sick days really should be part of our minimum employment standards, like minimum wage and maternity leave.  I'm so grateful for this new job, since I know in my heart that I already have a better work-life balance than I've ever had before.

The weather has been cold and rainy ALL SPRING so far, but it just warmed up last week and got HOT.  We've had 25ish degrees for the past week, and my body is already craving fall.  We haven't busted out the A/C just yet, but I have a feeling that day is not too far down the road.  Plus, I'm already itching to start planning my summer TBR list.  Anyone else get that itch as soon as the weather gets warmer?  I do the same thing as summer nights start to get colder, imagining which books I'll be reading when I get my Snuggie back out, which books I'll be reading by the fireplace in wintertime, and then which books I imagine reading next year.  I'm always planning for the next season =)

How about you?  Anything exciting happen to you in May?  Let me know if you've read something amazing so far this year and if you're planning your summer TBR too!  Thank you for stopping by =)

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4/28/17

April Wrap-up!


I start to feel like a bit of a broken record ... but seriously, how is April over already?

The Books

Books Read: 6 (A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light, The Glass Arrow, The Bane Chronicles, Throne of Glass and The Midnight Star)
This seems like a much smaller number than last month; however, I participated in Tome Topple, and two of these books were over 500 pages, so I'm pretty proud of myself.  At the time of writing and scheduling this post, I'm not quite finished The Midnight Star, but I'm 99% sure that I'll have it done by the 30th.

Books Acquired: 8 (The Anne of Green Gables series)
I've been craving a re-read of this series for a while now.  I read the first few when I was younger, but never continued all the way through the series.  If not this year, then I will definitely make this a new year's resolution for next year.

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +28 (finished two series!)
TBR Challenge: +3 (The Bane Chronicles, The Glass Arrow and The Midnight Star)
Flights of Fantasy: +5 (all except The Glass Arrow, it was a good fantasy month!)

The Blog

Another quiet month on the blog -- just a few reviews shared, and my Tome Topple post.  I think I've been in a bit of  a blogging slump, and lacking focus with what I want to write on here.  I'm going to do some deep thinking in May and see what comes next.

 The Other Stuff

I started my new job on April 3rd and I am loving it so far.  In previous jobs, I've always been tossed into the workload, and just learned as I went along.  This company had a very formal training program set out for me, with lots of time to read and learn and explore before starting with my real work.  It was a refreshing change to be able to take the time to learn, but I'm also super excited to start doing my actual job.  My team members are all really nice and welcoming, and I am incredibly grateful that this change has worked out so well.

Our bathroom renos finally wrapped up on the Easter long weekend, and we've spent a ton of time cleaning and organizing and getting the house put back together.  And, of course, a couple more trips to Ikea for a few more things.  Finally, I think we're almost done with purchases and renos (with the exception of a reading armchair for me).  And just in time as it appears that the warmer spring weather is approaching!  We've been to a few local parks and explored some trails, and I cannot wait to spend more time outdoors this summer.  Here's a photo of Cliff Falls, a beautiful waterfall that we just stumbled across a couple of weeks ago.


How about you?  How was your April?  Let me know if you've read something amazing so far this year!  Thank you for stopping by =)

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4/26/17

Tome Topple Wrap-up

Tome Topple was hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes.  This challenge wrapped up last Friday, April 21st, but I've been lazy about posting my wrap-up!

CHALLENGES: 
1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel 
3. Read a tome that's part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome 
5. Read an adult novel

I started A Gathering of Storms before the readathon started, but finished it a few days into the readathon.  Then, I read and finished A Conjuring of Light, which was over 600 pages!  So, technically, I completed three challenges: I read more than one tome, read a tome that was part of a series, and read an adult novel.  I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing the entire series this year though (pats self on back).  I'm already looking forward to the next round of this readathon!

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4/18/17

Fireworks - Katie Cotugno

I
I loved Katie Cotugno's debut novel, How to Love, and really enjoyed her second novel, 99 Days.  While I enjoyed Fireworks, there were a few things that fell flat for me.

The story follows Dana and Olivia, two best friends.  Olivia has her sights set on being a singing star, while Dana is waiting tables in their hometown.  When Olivia heads to an audition, Dana decides to tag along and ends up getting cast in a girl group alongside her best friend.

First, the things that I liked.  The book is set in the 1990s, so there were a lot of elements of my own teen years that I could identify with.  Dana's character development was also incredibly strong, as she struggled with her alcoholic mother and her feeling of entrapment in her hometown.

Unfortunately, the friendship between Dana and Olivia fell flat for me, and I found Olivia to be quite annoying and immature.  The whole idea of one friend being famous and another being along for the ride was very reminiscent of Emery Lord's Open Road Summer, but ORS handled the friendship better than this book did.  The book also addressed eating disorders, but it felt like the issue was overshadowed and not properly handled.  It also seemed quite unrealistic that Dana would be given the opportunity to be part of a singing quartet with no formal training, other than dancing and singing in her friend's living room.

I did enjoy Katie's writing, as I did with the previous books, and am already looking forward to picking up her next book.  I still liked this one, even though it didn't wow me like her previous books.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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4/11/17

Literally - Lucy Keating

I first heard about Lucy Keating last year, when I saw the beautiful cover of Dreamology all over Bookstagram.  Although I haven't picked up that book, the premise of Literally drew me in and I knew that I wanted to give Lucy's books a shot.

As a former English student, I loved the metafiction aspect of this book.  Annabelle, our main character, discovers that she's actually a character in a story, and the author makes an appearance in the book when Annabelle finds out that Lucy is controlling her life in order to create a Happy Ending.  There's so much excellent commentary on what makes a good story -- from happy endings to love triangles and everything in between.

If you haven't guessed from the amount of reading nerdiness on this blog, I am a massive book nerd and this book warmed my nerdy heart.  Annabelle's character irked me a little at the beginning of the book, but quickly grew on me and I found myself tearing through this short, sweet little book.

For those of you who like your contemporaries short and sweet, this book is perfect.  And if you're a literary connoisseur, you'll enjoy this book even more =)

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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