8/7/19

Under the Table - Stephanie Evanovich

When a book takes place in NYC, it's almost a guaranteed good read for me. Zoey has fled to NYC to escape her deadbeat husband and stay with her sister while she figures out the next steps to take. She starts a small catering business and meets Tristan when she's asked to cook for a date night. The relationship between Zoey and Tristan grows from a friendship to something more as she helps him to learn how to be in a relationship and he helps her to figure out how to free herself from her tangled past.

Zoey's character was a bit spineless for my taste but I did enjoy Tristan's adorable nerdiness. It was a light fun read that I polished off in a couple of days ... perfect to tuck into a beach bag this summer!

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

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8/5/19

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag - Round 4

I've done this tag the past three years and thought I'd make it an even four ... it's way past the actual middle of the year, but that appears to be my brand this year ... so let's do this anyway! The tag was originally created by ReadLikeWildfire (see her video here) and Ely Jane (see her video here).

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019. 
SO MANY GOOD BOOKS this year. Kingdom of Ash was a phenomenal series ender and I read some incredible middle grade in March (Echo, Sweep, and Nevermoor). Plus some awesome adult fiction (Where the Crawdads Sing and all the Christina Lauren I could find).

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2019.
Whoops, should have saved KoA for this question! But also The Bride Test (which is a companion, not a sequel, but whatever). The Rosie Result too - loved having more of Don Tillman in my life.

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

King of Scars! Definitely happening when fall arrives.

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

Twice in a Blue Moon - I have only one unread Christina Lauren book left and my heart can't handle it.

5. Biggest disappointment.

99 Per Cent Mine ... I adored The Hating Game and this one just fell flat for me.

6. Biggest surprise.

Nevermoor. I always approach a "just like Harry Potter!" book with extreme caution, but this one BLEW. ME. AWAY.

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

Jill Santopolo. I loved The Light We Lost so so much that I immediately ordered her new book.

8. Newest fictional crush.

I'm not a book boyfriend kind of girl, but I love all of the love stories that Christina Lauren writes ... so can I just say that I'm crushing on their love?

9. Newest favourite character.

Bri from On the Come Up.


10. Book that made you cry.
The Girl He Used To Know is the only one that was added to my "Books That Made Me Cry" shelf on Goodreads, but I'm pretty sure I teared up in Kingdom of Ash too.

11. Book that made you happy.
I reread Eleanor Oliphant this year because my book club picked it and I wanted to have the story fresh in my mind and it gave me all the goosebumps all over again.

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
The Priory of the Orange Tree, King of Scars, and Bridge of Clay are three of the prettiest ones ... but when I get my hands on the illustrated edition of Goblet of Fire it'll blow all the other books out of the water. 

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
My answer to this every year: OH MY GOSH.  So many.  

I've already finished six series this year, which is more than I've finished in any previous year, but I'm still hoping to read Queen of Air and Darkness and Archenemies (and possibly Supernova, depending on what I think of book 2). I'd still like to finish the Shatter Me series this year too, and probably another to make an even ten!

I've made some progress on my 19 books to read in 2019 list but will also need to add King of Scars, The Last Widow (which I found out later is a Will Trent book, which means I'd need to read the other seven first), Alias Grace, The Prisoner of Heaven, We Were the Mulvaneys, Back Roads, Midwives, Girls Burn Brighter, Peace Like a River, and The Tea Rose. Lots of good books in store for me!

My primary focus for the year is going to be to reduce the number of books that I buy, unless they're new releases by beloved authors, book club picks, or continuations of series. Hopefully I can get my total unread books down, since I started the year at 123 and was at 150 in the middle of the year. I need to read faster than I buy if I want to make my goal of having all my unread books fit on my book cart!

How's your reading going so far this year? Anything you'd like to prioritize for the remaining months of the year?


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7/16/19

Summer Reading Tag

I saved this as a draft post last summer so I don't know who to credit for where I found this or whose tag it is … if you know, please let me know too!

1. What three books do you want to read this summer?
I plan to read all of the things! Three that I really want to get to are: Queen of Air and Darkness (I AM READY!), Crimes of Grindelwald (plus watching the movie for the first time!), and Wundersmith (because I loved the first one so much).

2. Which character most embodies the traits of summer?
Amy in Roger and Amy's Epic Detour. I kind of want to reread this book!

3. What book do you most associate with the physicality of summer?
Anything by Sarah Dessen -- her books are the definition of summer.

4. What kind of books do you like to read on holiday? Any books that hold memories to certain places?
I read such a wide variety of books in the summer, so it's hard to say specifically. Generally, I gravitate towards contemporaries in the summer, but I also have very distinct memories of reading Shadow of the Wind on a beach on my honeymoon, which is pretty much the opposite of contemporary.

5. If you could go on holiday with any author, who would you go with and where? What would you want to know?
To Hogwarts with J.K. Rowling!

6. What's your top book of the year so far?
I've read so many! I loved Kingdom of Ash, three middle grades (Nevermoor, Echo, and Sweep), The Light We Lost, Where the Crawdads Sing and SO much Christina Lauren.

7. How did you spend your summer holidays as a child?
Ha ha … reading! We'd always go on a big camping trip and I'd load up on library books and read in the backseat, at the campsite, and every other spare moment throughout the summer.

8. What are your plans this summer?
Still the same as when I was a child … reading! My husband and my son are heading out on vacation just the two of them so I'll have three weeks solo before I join them. It'll make the days go by quicker to be lost in a good book, plus I have some catching up to do with how little I read in April and May and how many books I've purchased so far this year (#theunreadshelfproject2019 I'm coming for you!) I'm also participating in #summerofmyshelves on Instagram and committing to no library books and purchases for the summer (ignoring the first week of July when I added a few more to my shelves … oops!)

How about you? Any exciting summer plans and books that you plan to pick up in the next few months? Let me know in the comments below!
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7/11/19

Where Have I Been?

Hello … if there's anyone still out there reading my blog!

It's been forever and a day since I last posted on here … I've been missing it for sure but it's been tough to find the time. To make a long story short, I had an insanely busy couple of months at work overseeing a huge project which didn't leave much time for hobbies. I was spending nearly every spare minute I had workingworkingworking and, when I wasn't working, I didn't even have the energy to read much less blog.

My work-life balance has shifted back to normal and I've spent the past few weeks just getting back into reading. I knew in the back of my mind that I needed to come back to the blog, but the longer I stayed away the harder it became to figure out what I should say in this post.

I have a crap ton of reviews to catch up on (sorry publishers!!!) so that'll be the main content for the next little while. BUT there are also some fun readathons coming up at the end of the month after my boys head off for summer holidays, so I'm looking forward to losing myself in a stack of books to make the time go by faster before I head out to meet up with them (my husband has waaaaaaay more summer vacation than I do!)

So, in short, I'm back! Who knows how long this will last, but I'm happy to be back in this space. Thank you if you're still here … and let me know in the comments what you've been up to and if you have any exciting plans this summer!

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4/2/19

The Girl He Used to Know - Tracey Garvis Graves

On the Island, Tracey's first book, is one of my best friend's favourite books. She selected it for our book club and I went in apprehensively, since the story centres around a student and teacher relationship, which is one of the tropes that I just can't handle in books (it comes with the territory of being married to a teacher!) Although the romance trope in On the Island still wasn't my cup of tea, I still had a lot of respect for how Tracey told a story, and the book captivated me from page one.

When I saw this book pop up on Netgalley, I requested it, knowing that I'd be in for a good story. I set Kingdom of Ash aside one weekend to take a contemporary break (and rest my wrists -- that book is HEAVY!) and decided to read The Girl He Used to Know.

This book is MAGIC, mainly because I lost an entire day of my life that just disappeared while I was wrapped up in Annika's story. If you loved The Kiss Quotient, give this book a try -- it doesn't have the same steamy factor that the Kiss Quotient has, but the main character is also on the autism spectrum and I loved how Annika and Stella have so many similarities and yet are so completely different at the same time. I feel like we're only beginning to understand autism and what it's like for those who live with autism, and this book opened my eyes even further to another experience.

The Girl He Used to Know is a solid contemporary, well-written with an absolutely captivating main character who will hold onto your heart long after the final pages are turned.

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

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3/29/19

My Reading Year So Far - Books 1 to 20

I always intend to post these at the end of each month, but the last couple of months I've been so close to finishing one more book at the end of the month that I don't quite get around to getting the post finished ... and then all of a sudden it's two months later! Instead of trying to catch up with every book I've read this year, I've taken a page out of Novel Cravings' book and just post books in increments of 20 as I read them.

1. The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
I needed something light to read on the plane home from Disneyland and this book did not disappoint! Check out my full review here; I've rekindled my childhood love for Gordon Korman's books.

2. Honeybee by Trista Mateer
I posted a review of this book with a couple of other poetry books that I read this year.

3. The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
The writing was beautiful but the story was a little weird. Read my full review here.

4. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My book club picked this one for January. It was a quick read, but ultimately a little unsatisfying.

5. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
I finally read a Brene Brown book! I have Dare to Lead on my list of 19 books to read in 2019, but I thought I'd start with this one. I really enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to Dare to Lead.

6. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
I got a jump start on my February ARCs and DEVOURED this one. Check out my review here.

7. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas
I started this on December 27th and it took me most of January to finish it because I kept setting it aside and picking up other things. Not because I wasn't enjoying it! I fell out of love with this series in the last couple of books but KoA brought back all the love for these characters and ended the series in the best ways possible.

8. In Pieces by Sally Field
My book club does a Christmas book exchange and I took home this one. I decided to listen to it on audio since I love memoirs that are narrated by the author and this one was fantastic. I had no idea about all the tough life experiences that she went through.

9. My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
My obsession with Christina Lauren is back on after reading their latest book and I have a feeling that I'll devour every last book these ladies have written by the end of this year.

10. The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
I picked this one up because @jennastopreading on Instagram raved about it but I've also found that Reese Witherspoon's book club picks are often favourites of mine. This one was no exception -- I found myself ignoring my entire weekend to do list in favour of getting lost in the pages of this incredibly captivating love story.

11. Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren
I started this one last year but hadn't finished it. After reading My Favorite Half-Night Stand, I dove back into this series … and when I finished this book I bought the rest of the series.

12. Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
This one was SO CUTE. Hazel's character irritated me a bit at first, but I quickly found myself captivated by her quirkiness.

13. Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
Ginger @ Greadsbooks posted that she was rereading this series during the month of February and I wanted to give it a shot. Finished book one and promptly purchased the rest of the series. Sorry, not sorry!

14. Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren
I love that the characters from the Wild Seasons series have slightly crossed over into the Beautiful series (although I didn't like that I kind of spoiled myself for book two of Wild Seasons!). This one wasn't my favourite of the series so far but still a solid read.

15. Quiet by Susan Cain
I love it when my boss recommends books for my professional development and this one was no exception. I bought a physical copy but I listened to the audiobook from the library and I have a feeling I'll be rereading this one in the future so that I can sticky note and highlight the crap out of this book.

16. Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
This book was a SLOG to get through and I ultimately ended up putting it down roughly halfway through. It was a book club pick, but it was making me do anything and everything to avoid reading it ... which made me not want to read at all.

17. The Mermaid's Voice Returns in This One by Amanda Lovelace
18. Every Word You Cannot Say by Iain S. Thomas
Check out my poetry reviews for my thoughts on both of these!

19. Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manual Miranda
I listened to this one on audio and it was so sweet! I always love hearing a book in the author's own voice and it made me smile all the way to the train and back.

20. The Mortgage Code by Angela Calla
I was an early reader of one of Angela's initial drafts and then read the book in its entirety when it was released last year, but I wanted to experience it again on audio. Angela narrates it and I do love a book narrated by the writer because it adds an extra layer of authenticity. Loved listening to this on my drive to and from the train station, and it felt like I had Angela sitting next to me, just chatting away about mortgages.

This round up of reading has taken me right into the first week of March, so stay tuned for the next round of 20 books!

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3/26/19

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Last week's topic was the top ten books on my spring TBR, but I've been so caught up with reading and work in the past few weeks that I haven't been blogging at all! When work gets crazy, I escape into books and binge watching things on Netflix ... I spend so much time staring at the computer at work that it's the last thing I want to do when I get home. But I promised myself that I'd only blog this year when I felt like it, so no apologies from this girl ... it is what it is.

Even though I'm a week late, this top ten topic is my favourite so I'm gonna do it anyways!

1. Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend
I read and LOVED Nevermoor for Middle Grade March and I purchased the second book when I was only halfway through the first one ... a sure sign that this series is a new favourite. April's challenge for the Unread Shelf Project is to read the book most recently acquired ... and that is this book!

2. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
I'm gonna do ... I'm going to reread this series this year, all the way up to Restore Me and the new one. If it's going to happen, I have to start now.

3. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
I think there's another round of Tome Topple coming up and this is the book that I plan to pick up for that. Bonus is that it's one of the books on my 19 books to read in 2019 list.

4. Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
The longer I wait, the more I'm forgetting what happened in Lord of Shadows so I need to read this SOON. Plus, if The Tea Rose is a quick read, this one is also a beast.

5. Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I love putting my current read on these lists because I'm guaranteed to check at least one off the list!

6. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
7. Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
8. The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion
9. Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
10. Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Frederick Backman
I don't know if ARC April is still a thing? (Am I showing my age?) Even if it isn't, I'm totally spending the month of April focusing on all of the ARCs so that I can whittle down the list of books that I need to read and review over the coming months. It isn't an unmanageable list, but I've got about three or four per month and I'd love to just get a jump start on the reading as well as diving into all of them while I'm super excited that I was just approved for egalleys.

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