Top 10 Books of 2017

It has been MONTHS since I last shared a Top Ten Tuesday post, hosted by the wonderful ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week bloggers share a list based on a particular theme, and this week's topic is one of my end-of-the-year favourites: my top ten favourite reads of the year.  I've been working on my end of the year survey and picking one favourite book for the year is HARD.  So this week's topic gives me the perfect excuse to pick ten favourites instead of just one!

In no particular order ...

1. The Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab
First item on the list, and I'm already cheating.  But it's my blog and I can do what I want, and I read so many amazing books this year that I can't give three of the ten spots on this list to this series, even though it is amazing enough to merit three spots.  I already can't wait to reread this one, and am contemplating a reread on audio, even though I've heard mixed feelings on the narrator.  I just loved it so much.

2. This Savage Song duology by Victoria Schwab
I was on the fence about picking up Schwab's young adult work because I'd heard that you either love her adult fiction or her YA fiction, but not usually both.  I'm SO GLAD I picked up This Savage Song because I LOVED it (Shades of Magic is still my all-time favourite of hers though!  It's pretty hard to beat Lila Bard, although Kate is a close second).

3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
I READ A BRANDON SANDERSON BOOK THIS YEAR AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.  I'm dying to read the rest of the series, and bought them all already, but then life got crazy and I want to read them when I can take the time to enjoy them in all their gloriousness.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
This book was everywhere on Instagram after it was included as a Book of the Month pick.  Even though I'm in Canada, and can't subscribe to Book of the Month, I'm definitely keeping my eye on their picks because I read couple of other BotM books this year and was wowed by all of them.

5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This book is going to be on a lot of favourites lists, but it deserves every single mention.  

6. The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare
Lady Midnight was one of my high-priority books for this year, especially after I thought I'd do the Make-Me-Read-It-A-Thon last year, and the book community picked this book off my TBR.  This is another one of those books that deserves all the hype, and I don't think my heart has fully recovered from reading Lord of Shadows.

7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
TJR is an auto-buy author for me, and I have loved each of her books.  She writes solid adult contemporaries that are full of heart, but this book was very different from her other books.  Evelyn Hugo is a very unlikeable woman but, as I felt with Fairest by Marissa Meyer, I was absolutely captivated by Evelyn's character and her motivations, and the plot kept me turning the pages long past bedtime.

8. Love Her Wild by Atticus
I ADORED this book, and the combination of stunning photographs with beautiful words is an experience that I have yet to recreate.  I've stumbled across a few other poets on Instagram, and I'm going to order a few volumes of poetry in the new year, hoping to recreate the experience that I had while reading this gorgeous book.

9. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
I've loved each one of John Green's books, so I never doubted that Turtles would be on my list of favourites.  The narrator in the story blew me away, and I felt honoured that John wrote such a personal book that helps readers to truly understand how the narrator's mind works.  It made the book even more important when I saw so many reviewers expressing gratitude to John for writing a book that made them feel less alone, and a book that showed the world that someone understands their mental health struggles.  

10. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
This was a surprise favourite, although I should know by now that when Estelle @ Rather Be Reading loves a book, it'll be a favourite of mine too.  This is a book that I wish I could have read as a teen, but it warms my heart tremendously to know that teenage girls today can read this.

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On Trying New Things

It's December, and with December comes a lot of time for reflection on the past year of reading.  Looking back over the books that I've read this year, I'm pretty proud of myself for diving headfirst into two genres that I didn't read a lot of prior to this year...

Adult Fantasy

Ever since Alexa Love Books started hosting the Flights of Fantasy challenge (two years ago? three years ago?), I've been slowly getting back into fantasy.  As I've mentioned on here before, I read a LOT of fantasy as a child, but then slowly veered towards contemporary and more reality-based stories as I grew up.  I started slowly getting back into fantasy over the past couple of years, but have stuck primarily to young adult fantasy books, mainly because I still find adult fantasy intimidating.  The books are often tomes and I worry that the world-building will be overly complex and confusing.  

BUT, this year I did it.  I binge read the entire Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.  AND I tackled of the most intimidating books and authors on my shelves and I READ A BRANDON SANDERSON BOOK.  And it was AWESOME and INCREDIBLE and ALL THE THINGS EVERYONE SAID IT WOULD BE.

Lesson learned: don't be scared of the fantasy.

Plan for the future: read lots more of the fantasy.


I joined #Spookathon this year, and had only selected one thriller-esque book for my TBR, but once I read Black Feathers, I just wanted more.  So I threw the rest of my TBR out the window (how unlike me, I know!) and binge read two more thrillers.  And I'm currently reading another thriller.

This fall I've had a lot going on.  Work has been busy.  I finished the last class for my HR Management certificate (and it was a dry, difficult class filled with lots of labour legislation).  As a result, I struggled a lot to find the energy to read and, as a result, have watched a lot of TV this fall (Stranger Things and This Is Us).  And although I'll always give myself the flexibility to walk away from reading when I need a break, I've also noticed that picking up a gripping contemporary (like Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova) or a thriller (like my current read, Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter) seems to be a surefire way to suck me back into reading.

Lesson learned: I like a book that I can't put down.

Plan for the future: read lots more of these unputdownables.

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Reader Problems Tag

I love watching tag videos on BookTube, and have been writing posts on tags whenever I feel inspired to do so!  The Reader Problems Tag was created by About to Read, and you can see the original video here.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
I've tried all kinds of things, from TBR jars to having my husband pick my next book. I've tried sticking to TBR lists too, but in the end I just pick what I'm in the mood for. Sometimes I have to pick up and put down a few books before I find something that sticks.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?
Definitely quit. If I can tell that I'm just not in the mood for the book, I'll set it aside to read at a different time. But if it's a book that just won't work for me, I have no problem DNFing the book. Life's too short to waste time reading books that aren't my cup of tea!

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?
I've purposely set my Goodreads challenge way lower than I need to because I don't like the pressure of trying to read a certain number of books by the end of the year. So, as a result, I'm never behind!

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?
It bugs me but I wouldn't waste money replacing the books of the series. Except Harry Potter -- I'm on a mission to acquire all of the original Canadian hardcovers.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?
Hmmmm.... I have similar bookish taste with Jessica @ Novel Cravings and Lauren @ Lose Time Reading, so chances are I'll be able to chat with one of them about the book.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?
I'd just go with it! This has actually happened to me on a ferry with Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes and it ended with a sweet little old lady sharing her chocolate and Kleenex with me.

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?
It depends on my love for the series. Sometimes I'll re-read it, but other times I'll just look up a synopsis online and then dive in. If it's been a long, long time since I read the series, and I've lost interest in the series, I'll just move on with my life.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?
I don't mind lending out books, but I'm always cautious about lending books to people who know how to take care of their books. I lent a book to a coworker once whose cat knocked over a glass of water and water damaged the book, like the book would never lay flat again because the pages were utterly warped. While I understand that accidents can happen, this coworker returned the book without even acknowledging the damage or apologizing, just said "Thanks for lending it to me; it was pretty good." Needless to say, I didn't lend any other books to her.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?
This happened to me a couple of years ago, and it was AWFUL. In all honesty, I just stopped reading altogether. I watched a lot of BookTube, binge watched Dance Academy on Netflix, and reading was there waiting for me when I was ready to come back.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?
I buy the books that I know I'll love and want to cherish forever. Generally, I research my book purchases pretty well, so I have a pretty good idea ahead of time that it's a book that I'll love. If it's a book that I'm not sure about, I'll borrow it from the library instead.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?
Honestly, since I'm such a mood reader, it totally depends. I've read about half, or a little more than half, of the books that I've bought this year. I'm pretty proud of that, and I know that the books that I haven't read are the ones that I just haven't been in the mood to read just yet. But they're there and they're shiny and pretty and waiting for me when I'm ready.

And now the fun part -- I tag Jessica @ Novel Cravings and Lauren @ Lose Time Reading, since I mentioned you both in my post!

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December TBR

I know, I know, I said no monthly TBRs and now this is, what, four months in a row?  I have tons of books that I want to read right now, so let's see how many of these I get to before the year is over!

Library Books
1. Warcross by Marie Lu
I'm not 100% sure that I'll like or finish this one, since I loved her Legend series but could barely make it through her Young Elites series.  I'm willing to give it a shot though.

2. Endless by Kate Brian
3. Hereafter by Kate Brian
I gobbled up Shadowlands last month, and immediately put the next two on hold at the library, even before I hit the crazy cliffhanger of an ending!

4. Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
I read, and loved, Unravelling a couple of months ago, and want to finish up this duology while the first one is fresh in my mind.

Review Books
5. Someone in the Way by Rachel Del
I reviewed Rachel's book How to Be Someone Else on the blog last fall, and really enjoyed it.  I was honoured when she reached out to ask if I'd be interested in reading this book, which is a complete re-write of her first book!  It comes out in early January.

6. She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop
This one may not happen, as it's a February release, but I would love to start the year ahead on my ARC game.  Wishful thinking, but a girl can dream, can't she?

From My Shelves
7. The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
8. Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
9.  Pretty Girls by Karen Slaughter
10. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
These are the books calling my name from the shelf at the moment.  The Passion was gifted to me by my Secret Santa last year, and I'm so intrigued by it.  I ADORED Stargirl when I read it many, many years ago and I think it's time to pick up the sequel.  I've read a lot of thrillers this fall, and saw that Jordan @ The Jordan Journals really enjoyed Pretty Girls, so I hope that I will too.  And, finally, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto has just been calling my name for a while.  I love that the story is narrated by music (or something like that) which just gives me some good Book Thief type vibes.  Plus, I saw someone on Instagram say that he read it in a day because he couldn't put it down.

Ten books is fairly ambitious and, knowing my moodiness when it comes to reading, I'll likely change up my entire TBR by the time this post goes live!

What about you?  What are the books that you're hoping to get to before the end of the year?

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Reading Round-up - November

It's Christmas next month.  CHRISTMAS.  This year has flown by so incredibly fast!  November was a pretty good reading month for me.  I started off thinking that I might actually hit 100 books this year, but then I slowed down and read some chunkier books, so we'll see where I end up at the end of the year.  I'm not too concerned either way.

1. Little Fires Everywhere
This book was INCREDIBLE.  I saw rave reviews popping up all over, and the hype is so so SO deserved for this book.  It centres around two families in a suburban town, and I was riveted from page one.  I already can't wait to re-read it; hopefully, with the Badass Book Bitches (my new reading crew on Instagram).

2. Felicity by Mary Oliver
Every since I read Love Her Wild during the summer, I've been searching for another poetry book to blow me away.  This one was very good!

3. The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
After I finished Little Fires Everywhere, I could feel a reading slump coming on because I couldn't decide what I was in the mood to read.  I tried picking up The Name of the Wind and the second Mistborn book, but couldn't get into any of them.  Then I thought I felt like a contemporary, but couldn't settle on one.   So Marko picked a book off the shelf for me, and he chose this one.  I read The Shadow of the Wind on my honeymoon and LOVED it, but hadn't picked up either of his other two books.  I'm so glad it read this one, as it evoked a lot of the magic that the first book did.  I'll definitely be picking up the third book in the not-too-distant future.

4. For One More Day by Mitch Albom
The Five People You Meet in Heaven is one of my all-time favourite books and, although I've enjoyed each of his other books, I still haven't quite hit that WOW factor that I found in Five People.

5. Shadowlands by Kate Brian
So I randomly realized the other day that I picked up a cheap ebook of this book AND my OTSP Secret Sister bought me a copy, so reading this book knocked a book off both TBR piles.  And HOLY SMOKES this book was unputdownable.  It was amazing content-wise, but once I started I raced through to the end.  And then put the next two on hold at the library.

6. The Power by Naomi Alderman
I have a new reading group on Instagram called the Badass Book Bitches.  An amazing group of inspiring ladies, and we're dedicated to feminist reads.  As I've likely mentioned on here before, I have a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Women's Studies, so I've read a lot of feminist texts or read texts through a feminist perspective, but university was a long, long time ago, and it's been refreshing to discuss with these ladies and really delve deep into a text.  The Power was good, but not amazing, but our conversations were truly the highlight of the reading experience.

7. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
My book club picked this one, and I listened to it on audio.  The beginning was really dull and I contemplated DNFing the book, but it got better as it went on.  Although reading from the perspective of the mother was interesting, I think Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult did a better job of tackling the concept of school shootings and, possibly, no other book on the topic will ever compare?

8. It Happens All the Time by Amy Havatny
I picked this one up on a whim because I was buddy reading The Power and took my ereader to work, but needed another book to read after I'd finished the week's allotted reading.  I flew through the book, absolutely enthralled by the story and the dual narration.

9. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
OMIGOSH THIS BOOK.  It's been hyped all over, but totally lives up to the hype.  It's the book that I wish I could have read as a teen, because it's full of feminism and grrrrrrl power and all the things I wish I'd been exposed to at a younger age.  BUT, with that being said, I'm just happy that teens today can be exposed to this book and its awesomeness.

10. Shopgirl by Steve Martin
At the time of typing this, I'm not 100% sure I'll finish this by month end, but considering the fact that it's only 130 pages, I think it's possible.  I picked this up on a whim at a used bookstore, when I asked the bookseller for a recommendation.  At first I thought, Steve Martin, like the funny guy, and thought it couldn't possibly be that good; however, Steve Martin can WRITE.  It's very well written and I'm totally caught up in the plot line already.

11. Flora & Ulysses by Kate diCamillo
I was looking for an audiobook and wasn't quite sure what I wanted to spend my Audible credits on, so I hopped onto Overdrive instead and saw this.  Kate's other books, The Tale of Despereaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, are high up on the list of my all-time favourites, so I always have high expectations for her books.  This one is good, and the narrator is delightful, but I realized halfway through that the book is illustrated, and I think I might be missing out on the full magic of the story because the illustrations aren't a part of the audio experience.  SO, while I will finish this one (I only have 45 minutes left in the audio), I know that I'll revisit it in print format.

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Marko Monday [25] -

Lately, Marko has been into snakes.  For his birthday last year, he acquired a large plus snake, and has acquired three more since then.  On weekend mornings, we can hear the rattle of his rattlesnake's tail as he brings all four plush snakes down the hall and climbs into our bed.  Then we all have to "squeeze up like a happy family" with him and his snakes in the middle.

So when we stumbled across this book at Value Village one day, we had to grab it and it's been a favourite lately.  The story is told from the boy's perspective and the snake's perspective, and the book is flipped upside down when switching perspectives (front to back, and then back to front). It's a cute story, because the boy is scared of the snake, and then when the snake tells the story, he's scared of the boy.  As a mama who wasn't super fond of snakes to begin with, this is a good reminder that they're probably just as scared of us as we are of them.

It's hard to believe that we're closing in on this little man's fifth birthday.  He's growing like crazy and has lost some of his short stockiness, as he's quite tall and a bit lankier now.  He loves imaginative play as well as curling up on the couch with a book or watching a movie together.  Cuddles are harder to come by these days as sometimes he's "too busy" but it just makes them all the more enjoyable when he does slow down for just a minute to snuggle.  I always want to grab him and squeeze him and demand that time slow down, just a little bit.  But he squirms away and races off to fight some more bad guys before dinner.  For "just one more minute, okay Mama?"

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Tome Topple - Round 5

My favourite part of November is Tome Topple, especially as I always seem to feel myself burning out on reading towards the end of the year, as I try to catch up on reading challenges and read all the things I'd planned to read.  Generally, by November I've either realized that I'll get it all done in time, or I've completely given up hope.  This year it's the latter, and I'm fully ready to curl up with a tome or two for the last half of November, and just enjoy reading.

Tome Topple was created by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and you can watch her announcement video here.  The challenges for each round of Tome Topple are the same and as follows:

1. Read more than one tome.
2. Buddy read a tome.
3. Read a graphic novel.
4. Read a tome that is part of a series.
5. Read an adult novel.

I've never managed to complete all five challenges for this readathon, mainly because the focus is on reading larger books and I'm always impressed with myself for getting through one book!  In order for a book to count as a tome, it has to be over 500 pages.

For this round of Tome Topple, I will be reading Janet Fitch's new release The Revolution of Marina M.  To say that I'm excited about this book would be an understatement as Janet Fitch is, without a doubt, one of my favourite authors of all time.  I read White Oleander when I was 17 and loved that book so much that I flipped back to page one as soon as I was finished because I couldn't bear for it to be over.  I absolutely cannot wait to get lost in her writing again, and this book is a BEAST -- 800 pages!  Perfect for Tome Topple.

If I feel like a second book, I'm considering either the second book in the Mistborn trilogy or The Cuckoo's Calling, both of which count as a book in a series.  BUT we'll see.  One massive tome will likely be more than enough =P

Are you participating in Tome Topple?  What are you planning to read?  Let me know in the comments below, and good luck with your reading goals!

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Looking Back ... At Six Years of Blogging

Six years ago, I shared a post called Hello World and dove into the world of blogging.  To say it's been a whirlwind adventure would be an understatement, but I wouldn't change a moment of this adventure for the world.  I thought I'd share a few highlights of the past six years, including some of my favourite posts.  Thank you to all of you that have been on some or all of this adventure with me.  From reading my words to leaving thoughtful comments ... your presence and support mean the world to me.  Here's to another six years!

  • Meeting Evie @ Bookish (unfortunately, right before she moved away!)  She was so lovely and supportive and encouraging for a new blogger, and I know that she's one of the reasons that I kept blogging in the earlier years
  • My first blog award (are these even a thing anymore?) because it meant that someone was validating what I was doing
  • My first Bloggiesta, where I made a friend who showed me how to make a blog roll
  • Announcing a reading slump .... caused by pregnancy!
  • Meeting Lisa Genova, and the first time I posted a picture of myself on the blog
  • Sharing our how we met story (spoiler: it was in a bookstore!)
  • I meet Lauren @ Lose Time Reading through The Broke and the Bookish's Secret Santa -- and we're still friends today!
  • My beautiful baby boy, Marko, arrives
  • Losing my e-book virginity
  • The first Marko Monday
  • Summer of Standalones -- a fantastic readathon hosted by Cass @ The Casserole, and one that I've found myself unofficially doing every summer since
  • I made a series-ous decision to conquer my list of unfinished series
  • My first round of blogging blahs
  • My most personal review ever, Me Before You, where the story of my dad's accident and his strength
  • My first If We Were Having Coffee post -- despite the above-noted personal review, this was the first time that I really felt like my book was about ME and not just books
  • I started hosting The Prequel & Sequel Challenge with Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat.  Despite the fact that we don't talk regularly, and the fact that I've been the crappiest co-host, I still consider Jessi to be one of my bestest blogging buddies
  • Meeting Marissa Meyer
  • My blog gets a makeover
  • Wrote one of my favourite posts about ARCs
  • Revisited the series-ousness of my physical TBR -- I loved putting together the stats on this!
  • Shared my first (and only) Reading On My Mat post -- I will bring this series back soon
  • Shared the beginning of my Reading Journey -- another series I plan to continue
  • Lauren @ Lose Time Reading and I were SO EXCITED about our Lose Time RRReading Readathon -- it was a bit of a flop, but I'd love to try it again someday
  • One of the worst reading slumps in my life, but the comments on this post warmed my heart
  • Had one of the most amazing Secret Santa experiences with the incredible Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit
  • Joined the OTSP Secret Sisterhood, and met Jessica @ Novel Cravings and Amanda @ Books, Brains and Brawn in my first round -- friends forever!
  • Participated in the first of many rounds of Tome Topple
  • Received and reviewed my very first physical ARC (I still squeal internally when I remember opening this package from Random House)
  • Participated in #Bookmas, while moving houses (I'm still amazed that I posted so much this month considering all the hecticness that was my life at the time!)
  • Although this year was my second time participating in the Love-a-Thon, it was the first time that I really felt that I joined in
  • My dear friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings hosted the All the Short Ones Read-a-thon and I read SO MANY BOOKS
  • Went through a blogging identity crisis (in all honesty, I think I'm still there!)
  • Participated in Spook-a-thon and, although I can't link it here, I posted on Instagram for all 30 days of the challenge!
  • Shared 25 Bookish Facts About Me -- a recent post, but another one that I'm quite proud of!

In addition to all of the things that I've linked above, I've participated in a lot of other fun things, like Top Ten Tuesday, Life of a Blogger and much, much more.  I'm so grateful for the friendships that I've made through blogging, and the opportunity to share a little bit about myself in this little corner of the internet.  I'm eternally grateful for each one of you that takes the time to stop by my blog (yes, you, you wonderful person!) and I cherish each and every comment.  I'm excited to continue blogging -- who knows where this blog will be in six more years?!?

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On Dusty Books

Last week, I shared a list of books that I've bought this year, and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I've read about half of the books in the same year that they were purchased.  A few years ago, I tried my own version of a book buying ban, where I promised myself that I'd only buy a book if I planned to read it right away.  There's something exciting about coming home from the bookstore and diving into a new book right away, rather than sticking it on the shelf and forgetting about it.

One of my reading goals this year is to get my physical shelves to less than 100 unread books.  Currently, I'm sitting around 115 so it feels doable by the end of the year.  I've also unhauled a few old ARCs that were gifted to me that I have zero interest in reading, to help bring my numbers down. I have a few short books that I was thinking of blitzing through, as it'll get the numbers down quickly and, if I don't like them, I can just immediately drop them into the unhaul pile.  But there's something holding me back.

I have had a truly incredible reading year.  Truly, truly incredible.  For a while, it felt like every book that I was picking up was blowing me away and I was marvelling at how few DNFs I had this year.  This is precisely what's holding me back from picking up some of these older titles -- I'm fairly certain that they're books that aren't my cup of tea anymore; however, I don't want to just unhaul them without giving them a shot first.  BUT, since I'm having such a stellar reading year, I also don't want to pick up and DNF a string of books in a row, just to get my unread numbers down.  There's always a little part of me that thinks that I might love the book, if I read it at a different time in my life.  For example, I used to read a lot of middle grade, so I have about 20 unread middle grade titles on my shelves.  I don't read much middle grade anymore, which isn't to say that I won't enjoy those books, but I probably would have enjoyed them more if I had read them ten years ago.  Or maybe I'll enjoy them in another five years.

In conclusion, I probably won't sweat my reading goals and will just keep picking up the books that I want to read when I want to read them.  I read 13 books last month, so finishing off 15 more from my shelves in two months doesn't seem unreasonable.

What about you?  How do you deal with dusty books that you're not sure you are interested in reading?  Do you keep them for a rainy day or try them and DNF or just unhaul them?  I'm interested to hear your thoughts, so let me know in the comments below -- and thanks for stopping by!

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25 Bookish Facts About Me

I saw this tag over at Confessions of a Book Geek a long, long time ago and, although I wasn't tagged, I just had to participate.  What a fun way to share bookish things with you all!

1. My name is literary.  My parents picked Melissa because they were watching Little House on the Prairie while my mom was pregnant, and they liked Melissa Gilbert's name (the actress who played Laura on the show).  My mom's middle name is Ann, which she wanted to pass along to me, but she preferred "Anne with an E" from Anne of Green Gables, so that's how she spelled it.

2. I loved Rachel's story of how she started reading Harry Potter, so I thought I'd add my own.  I was a Girl Guide leader at the time, and the girls were OBSESSED with talking about Harry's adventures and I had to figure out what Quidditch was.  I had only planned on reading the first book, just so that I'd understand what the fuss was about, but quickly binge read the four books that were released at that point ... and never looked back.

3. Speaking of Harry Potter, I worked at the launch of the sixth book and was in line for the seventh book at midnight.  I have yet to find another series that has impacted me so profoundly, although some of the adult fantasy that I've picked up this year has come pretty close.

4. I don't write in my books or dogear pages, but I haul my books around in my purse and they get pretty beaten up while I'm reading them.  Even though I recently scored a Book Beau in an Owlcrate, I still find myself shoving my book into my purse ... alongside the Book Beau *hangs head in shame...*

5. I'm not too concerned about the wear and tear on my books, but I despise it when I lend a book out and people don't care about how they treat the borrowed book.  I once lent a book to a coworker who spilled a glass of water on it, and then returned it without either acknowledging the damage or even apologizing.  I'm not super concerned about the wear and tear on my books, but I think that people should be super considerate and careful with borrowed books, and if accidents happen at least say sorry!

6. It bothers me a little when my series don't match, but I would never really consider spending the money on books that I already own.  In that vein, I don't own multiple copies of beloved books.

7. Further to number 6 above, the one series that does irritate me is Harry Potter.  I'm slowly replacing my mismatched set whenever I stumble across one of the original Canadian hardcovers.  So far, I've got my original books six and seven, and I found book four a few weeks ago.

8. Again, further to number 6 above, I also recently bought the third illustrated Harry Potter book, and plan to pick up the first two if my lovely husband doesn't pick them off my wish list this Christmas!  So, I will own multiple copies of the Harry Potter series, but I think I'll cap that at two copies per book.

9. I can't WAIT to read the Harry Potter series aloud to Marko!!!  This is the sole reason that I've purchased the illustrated versions.  Reading them aloud with the pictures is going to be MAGICAL.

10. I don't own any funko pops (is that what they're called?) and don't have a desire to.  I'm not a fan of things that I have to dust, except my books.  I think that makes me a bit of an anomaly in the bookish world, but I'm okay with that =P

11. I have yet to find a bookshelf organization system that works for me.  I've organized my shelves purely alphabetical, but later reorganized by genre so that my husband's sci-fi and horror wouldn't be sitting with my books.  I later shuffled by size so that I could fit everything together, and lost the alphabetical order.  After our recent move, I unpacked books into read and unread shelves, and I hopeful that splitting up my unfinished series will motivate me to reunite the books!

12. I sometimes wish that I could start my Goodreads shelves all over again, but I have way to many books on my shelves and it would take HOURS to reorganize it all.

13. I love the idea of doing a rainbow shelf organization, but I know that it would take FOREVER to set up, and would promptly drive me bonkers.

14. I met my husband in a bookstore!  He was a customer and I worked in the store.  And we lived happily ever after.

15. We had a bookish wedding (I'll link my post with our how we met story and a few pics of the wedding, if you're interested!)

16. I spend an hour and a half commuting to work, and another hour and a half commuting home.  The way Vancouver is laid out, the only place to make a decent salary is downtown, and the only place one can afford to purchase a home is waaaaay east, so most people have a similar commute.  But you know what, I kind of love it.  I drive half an hour with my husband, who drops me at the train station, and then I blissfully sip my coffee and have some uninterrupted reading time!

17. Due to the reasons above, it's entirely possible that I may finish 100 books this year -- gasp!

18. I recently stumbled across a video of myself explaining my 2010 New Year's Resolutions.  In the video, I explained that the previous year I'd planned to read one book a month, but in 2010 I was planning to read two books a month.  In consideration of the item noted above, my first thought was WHO IS THIS GIRL AND HOW IS SHE POSSIBLY A PAST ME?

19. I recently subscribed to Owlcrate and, although it's been fun getting bookish mail, I'm not 100% sure I know what to do with all the "stuff" that comes in the box.  Last month's box was good because the items were all functional (tea, mug, coaster, etc.) but I may cancel my subscription if there's too many trinket-y things.  As mentioned above, I don't clutter my shelves with candles and bookish things.  There's just books and framed photos on my shelves.

20. I'm only a few days away from my sixth blogoversary.  I still can't believe that I've been doing this for SIX YEARS.  If you want a good laugh, here's my first post -- it still makes me laugh to this day.

21. When I stumble across a new blog, the first thing I do is read the blogger's very first post.  I like to see where people began, and I especially love it when the first post is a "welcome to my blog" or similar introductory post, rather than a review.

22. If Marko doesn't love reading when he's all grown up, it'll probably shatter my soul.  No seriously, it probably will.

23. I totally judge books by their covers.  (Shhh, I won't tell anyone that you do too).  As a result, there are a few books that I probably would have totally passed over because the covers didn't wow me (like Me Before You or Turtles All the Way Down), so thank goodness for people raving about these books online and convincing me to give them a shot!

24. Speaking of covers, my biggest cover pet peeve is putting a real person's face on the cover.  I don't want the publisher to tell me what the character looks like; I want to imagine it for myself.

25. For the very reason noted above, I will search high and low for the original printing of a book in order to avoid buying a movie tie-in cover.  NO THANK YOU to Hollywood actors on the front of this girl's books!

Well, there you have it -- 25 random bookish facts about me!  This post sat in my drafts for WAY TOO LONG (as with many other posts lately!) but I'm happy I finally finished writing it.  Let me know some bookish facts about you in the comments below, or leave a link to your post and I'll stop by!  I love learning about other people's weird (or totally normal) bookish idiosyncrasies!

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An Entire Year's Book Haul -- in one post!

Book hauls are my favourite posts to write and to read; however, I actually haven't shared ANY this year!  I thought I'd wrap up my year's worth of purchases in post ... since I stop buying for myself November 1st, this will be all I buy this year!  The next one of these will be my Christmas haul.

Books Bought and Read

  • Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
  • Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
  • The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
  • Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Love Her Wild by Atticus
  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Books Bought and Not Yet Read

  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, et al
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
  • The Ministry of Almost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
  • All Our Wrong Yesterdays by Elan Mastai
  • Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  • It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany
  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
  • The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
  • Before She Rises by Jodi Meadows
  • Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
That's a long list of books, but I'm actually quite proud of the fact that I've read about half of what I've bought this year!  There are quite a few that I still hope/plan to read before the year is up.  Do you see any favourites in my list?  Let me know if there's a book that I should prioritize!

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November TBR

I decided that I was doing away with monthly TBR lists, but I've also kind of changed my mind on my fall reading since I posted my fall TBR list ... so here I am, back with another monthly TBR list!

Towards the end of June, I planned out the rest of my reading for the year, thinking that if I focused on certain books, I might be able to get through the 17 books that I planned to read in 2017, as well as the ten series that I had planned to finish.  At this point in the year, I've tossed that all out the window.  At last count, I believe that I have four of the 17 books still to read, and plan to read one this month, possibly two.  Finishing all but two of that list is WAY better than I did last year, so I'm pretty proud of myself!  And, in all honesty, the two books that are left (The Bone Season and Graceling) are books that I'm not sure I'm even interested in reading at all anymore, but we'll see.  Maybe next year.

1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
This book is my top priority this month.  At 21 pages per day, it might take me all month to finish it, but that's okay.  I'll probably pair it with some contemporaries, just to lighten the mood.  Books that are currently calling my name include...

2. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
3. The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
4. The Elegant Gathering of White Snows by Kris Radish
5. Mercy or Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
In all honesty, I'm not sure which of these I'm in the mood for.  I just picked up The Elegant Gathering of White Snows and I've been sucked in so far, but I'm also battling a head cold, which always makes reading a little trickier!  Edit: After finalizing this post, the audiobook for Little Fires Everywhere came in at the library, so looks like I'm picking that one up first!

6. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
I don't know if I'll read this one in November or December, but I would like to pick it up before the year is over.  I've been eyeing Alias Grace on my shelves as well, and I have PVRed the show to watch after I read the book, but Robber Bride is a little bit shorter so I think I'll start with this one, and then move to Alias Grace later.  I've been craving another of Atwood's books since I reread The Handmaid's Tale earlier this year.

7. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
I've always been intrigued about this book, but equally terrified by it as well, especially now that I'm a mother.  I'm listening to it on audio, and I'm about two hours in and it's not as sad as I thought it would be?  It's our next book club book, and I can already tell that this will be a book that some love and some hate, which always makes for excellent discussion.

Plus, I'm also contemplating another Mistborn book, since I ordered the rest of the series.  Another round of Tome Topple starts mid-month, so stay tuned for a TBR post if I decide to participate!  We'll see how The Name of the Wind is coming along, and whether I just blast my way through that, or tackle another tome!  Who knows, maybe it might also be time to pick up A Little Life?  Oh, who knows -- I'm all over the map with my reading!!!

How about you?  What are you reading this month?  Have you read any of the contemporaries that I listed above?  I need some help deciding what to read along with The Name of the Wind!
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Reading Round-up - October

Seriously ... HOW are there only two months left in this year?  I had a pretty good reading month this year, and a momentous moment where I gave up on all of my reading goals and just decided to read what I feel like reading!

1. Always and Forever, Lara Jean
My bookish buddy, Jessica @ Novel Cravings, binge read the first two in a ridiculously short time, so we decided to finish the series off by buddy reading the final book.  I gobbled up the first two books in an equally ridiculously short amount of time last summer, and I can't BELIEVE that I waited so long to pick up the final book!  While it was still a delightful conclusion to the series, there are a couple of things that I wish had been done differently.

2. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
I had originally planned to read ten series this year, and I just might make it, but they won't be the original ten series that I had planned to read.  One of the reasons for that is that I discovered Victoria Schwab this year, and binge read the Shades of Magic series earlier this year, and the This Savage Song duology later in the year.  HOLY COW this woman can write and this duology is INCREDIBLE.  ALL THE STARS.

3. Unraveling
Amber @ Books of Amber has been telling me (sometimes in SHOUTY CAPS) to READ THIS BOOK ALREADY for two, maybe three years?  And I did it.  I FINALLY DID IT.  AND IT WAS AMAZING.   I already put the sequel on hold at the library, and I'm passing along my copy to a friend to spread the love for the series.

4. Queste by Angie Sage
Phew, made it through book four in this series!  As much as I wanted to finish all seven books this year, I think I need a little break from this world -- this series will go on my 2018 TBR list instead.

5. Black Feathers by Robert J. Wiersema
For the #spookathon, this book was calling my name from the shelves.  So glad I decided to go with my gut and pick it up.  It was creepy and captivating and set in my hometown.  Highly recommended. 

6. The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
After Black Feathers, I was craving more adult thrillers, so I started this one.  I read, and loved, Alessandre Torre's book Love, Chloe and was eager to see what she wrote under a pen name.  The Girl in 6E was so different, but in such a good way.  I love it when an author can write completely different things, and have each style work in its own way.  Definitely checking out some more of her books!

7. He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker
Still craving thrillers, so I cracked open my last unread thriller on my Kobo.  This was also excellent, and my first experience with K.A. Tucker's work won't be my last!

8. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
I don't need to say much about this one because everyone's been gushing about it.  Let me just say this: the hype is real, and this is going to be a book at the top of many favourites lists this year.  Aza's character is incredible, and I feel like I learned a lot about what it must be like to live with anxiety and OCD.  Truly an incredible book.

9. The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
After Turtles All The Way Down, I knew I needed something different, so I grabbed this on a whim off my shelves.  I was absolutely sucked in from the first chapter, and read 130 pages in one day!  This book reminded me a lot of Taylor Jenkins Reid's Maybe in Another Life, and I loved every minute of it.

10. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
I started this in September, and it took me well over a month to finish.  In all honesty, I'm falling a little out of love with this series, and I'm glad that there is only one more book left.  This book was good, but not incredible, and I think I'm just reading on because I've invested so much time and energy into the series, rather than because I love it so much.

11. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
As soon as I picked up Colleen's newest book from the library, I knew that I was done with Spookathon and ready to dive in.  I always gobble up her books in two or three days, depending on how much I have going on, but this one was different.  I read the first half, then got distracted by a few other books before returning to finish the last half.  It was good, but I had trouble connecting with Merit's character, which made it less un-put-down-able than her other books.

12. Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
I did a "try a chapter" thing last week, when I couldn't decide what to read, and this book captivated me from page one.  Lisa's books are like that -- so relatable and well-researched and well-developed that I was enthralled with the story from the beginning, and that love carried me right through to the end.  I can hardly wait for her next book in 2018!

13. The News by Rob Taylor
After I finished Love Her Wild, I asked some poetry-loving friends for recommendations, and this was one of the recommended books.  I really enjoyed this collection of poems, covering the duration of his wife's pregnancy week-by-week, but I also wish that I could read the same collection from thm the wife's perspective.

I can't believe that I read 13 books this month!  It's close to the number of books that I read in March, when I was only reading books under 300 pages.  Granted, two of the books were ones that I started last month, but my far-fetched goal of hitting 100 books this year doesn't feel so far-fetched anymore!

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Trying a Chapter...

I'm having some trouble deciding which book to pick up next, so I thought I'd pick five books and try a chapter of each ... and then read the one that grabs my attention the most!  So here goes...

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
My mom passed along a copy of this book after she read and loved it.  We have similar taste for some books, but often very differing tastes.  I read the first 15 pages of this book and I'm definitely not interested in it.  In fact, I think I'm going to put it into my unhaul pile.

2. How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie Debartolo
My copy of this book is an ARC and I picked it up back in 2005 when I worked at Bolen Books.  I've hauled it through five moves, and still haven't read it.  I read the first chapter and I'm already intrigued!  I love books that weave music into the narrative and I can already tell that music is going to be central to this story.

3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
I won this book on Epic Reads' Tea Time many years ago.  I read the first couple of pages and liked it, but I don't think it's what I'm in the mood for at the moment.

4. Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
I've read, and loved, all of Lisa's previous books so I can't believe that I haven't read this one yet!  I read the prologue and, holy moly, this is going to be just as good as her previous books.

5. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
This is a recent acquisition -- I didn't even know he had a new book out until I stumbled across a bargain copy at Coles this week.  I read the first few pages of this one and I know that I will love it.

In the end, it's a toss up between The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto and Inside the O'Briens.  Although I know that I will love The Magic Strings, I think I'm in the mood for Lisa Genova's writing.

And now, off to read a few more chapters of my pick!

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Spookathon Wrap-up

Well, I didn't end up reading the books that I'd planned to read, but I did complete the challenges!  Pretty proud of reading three books over the course of the readathon too!

Books Read:
1. Black Feathers by Robert J. Wiersema
2. The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
3. He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

Challenges Met:
1. Read a thriller - all of the books are thrillers!
2. Read a book with orange on the cover - He Will Be My Ruin
3. Read a book with a creepy word in the title - Ruin
4. Read a book with a spooky setting - there were spooky setting moments in all three books
5. Read a book with a childhood fear - I struggled with this one because I couldn't really think of any fears that I had as a child, but I went with Black Feathers because it's set in my hometown

I only read one of the three books that I had originally planned to read, but I finished Black Feathers and was in the mood for more adult thrillers, rather than an adult paranormal and young adult dystopian.  I'm so glad that I read the books that I did, and I can honestly say that this is the first year that I've really craved Halloween-esque reads.

I'm so happy that I decided to join in with the Spookathon this year, and I'm already looking forward to joining next year as well!  If you read any spooky books this month, let me know in the comments below ... and thanks for stopping by!

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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