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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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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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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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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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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Poetry Reviews

I've read a few poetry books on Netgalley this year, so I thought I'd review them all in one post! The first book has been out for a few months now, but the other two are both out in the world today.

She was the whiskey:
a hard hit with a slow burn.
I was the chaser.

Honeybee by Trista Mateer
I've wished for books on Netgalley, but they're usually books that I never thought I had a chance of actually receiving for review, so I was surprised to get the email that my wish had been granted for Honeybee! I went into this book completely blind since I'd requested it because it was poetry and because the name Melissa means honeybee (from the Greek word melia). While I can't say that Honeybee has taken the title of favourite poetry collection of all time, I still really enjoyed this one. The writing was lyrical and beautiful and I loved all the little extras (like pressed flowers) in between the poems that made the book feel so real. I haven't yet seen this one out in the world, but I imagine that it's quite spectacular in hardcover. 

"i wish i could be her friend,"
the girl whispers
down into the
tear-stained pages,
lovingly caressing
the gold-dipped edges.

"no--i'd rather be her."


the mermaid's voice returns in this one by amanda lovelace
I read, and loved, amanda's first collection of poems, but I haven't yet read the second one. After reading this volume, I know that I need to go back and read them all together because they are amanda's story as she gains back the strength that was taken from her. Her writing is so powerful and I absolutely love the way she takes fairy tales and flips them on their end, giving the girls in the stories back the power that the traditional fairy tale has stripped away. Incredible poetry, absolutely incredible.

Every Word You Cannot Say by Iain S. Thomas
Sadly, I didn't enjoy this poetry collection as much as I've enjoyed others. Iain does some creative things with his words, include shape poems, but on the whole the collection fell a bit flat for me. At first, I was intrigued by the fact that he has some words in colour on the page but I kept getting distracted by the coloured words and trying to figure out if there was some meaning behind which words were in colour (if there was, it went over my head).

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I Owe You One - Sophie Kinsella

I've loved some of Sophie Kinsella's books, but others (especially the Shopaholic books) were just too silly for my tastes. But I Owe You One is, by far, the best of Sophie's books that I've read so far. I found Becky in the Shopaholic books to be so immature that she verged on annoying and some of Sophie's other characters were so cringeworthy as I could see their disasters coming a mile away while they just kept puttering along, oblivious to so many things that were SO OBVIOUS.

In I Owe You One, our main character still had a lot of growing up to do, but it was in a completely believable way and I found myself rooting for her growth and self-awareness as the storyline progressed. She still had some silliness that is typical in Sophie's protagonists, but not unbearably so.

Fixie is true to her name by being a person who always has to fix things. After an unexpected moment of heroism, a stranger in a café says he owes her one. This "IOU" forms the basis for how the storyline unfurls, and I won't say anything more for fear of spoilers! It was a whirlwind ride filled with memorable characters, moments that made me giggle and a few "awwww" moments too.

Expect to see this one tucked into more than a few beach bags this summer!

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

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