10/31/17

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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10/26/17

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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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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