6/14/18

Reading Journey [2] - High School

The first part in this series chronicled my elementary school reading years.  Read on for the next instalment... 

Ahh high school...  While I was a voracious reader as a child, mainly as an escape from elementary school bullies, junior high school found me reading less since my main focus was on building friendships.  I still read a lot but found myself gravitating towards love stories and yearning for my own prince charming.  Whenever I found a book with a particularly beautiful description of falling in love or the perfect first kiss scene, I'd copy the passage into my journal and swoon over it again and again.  It would be a few years before a boy would notice me (first, I'd have to lose the braces, figure out how to tame my wild curls and switch to a pair of glasses that didn't take up half of my face!)  Until that day arrived, I dreamt of finding love and enjoyed experiencing it through the pages of my books.

In senior high school, a boy noticed me and I fell head over heels in love.  When he broke up with me six months later, I experienced my first heartbreak.  Coincidentally, this was around the same time that I outgrew the young adult romance stories and gravitated towards adult fiction for the first time.  Some of my earliest choices were White Oleander and The Poisonwood Bible, which are still two of my all-time favourite books.  Discovering Oprah's book club list helped me to choose from the daunting selection of adult books and I found many authors that remain favourites today.  (This was a much better option than my original idea to work through the adult fiction section, starting with A -- which meant I read about ten V.C. Andrews books in a row).

In high school, I also had a brief obsession with reading classics.  I wanted to be a writer and felt that reading the most inspirational writers would help me to become a better writer.  I read The Hobbit, Wuthering Heights, The Handmaid's Tale, and a few others that I can't remember (eclectic mix, I know).  In senior high school, I had quite a few classics as required reading and many, many more in university -- and I think that was what ended my desire to read the classics on my own time.

But my university reading is a story for another time...

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6/11/18

Marko Monday [31] - Plant a Seed, See What Grows

My co-worker lives in a co-op and has a basket in her lobby where people leave books.  Her neighbours always seem to be getting rid of books that fit perfectly with things that we are learning about or doing in our household!  This month she brought me a book about planting seeds and seeing what grows ... just as we were planting our own seeds!

What makes this book extra special is that it's locally published.  I tried to find an image on Goodreads, but it's not listed, but I found their webpage.  I hope that this organization is still around because they've given copies of this book to all of our local libraries and their motto is absolutely beautiful:

“One seed can grow a forest, one child can change the world, one idea can inspire a generation.”

Plant a Seed, See What Grows is a story of a little boy and his mom that plant a seed and watch it grow, learning along the way about worms and what happens below the soil, as well as the patience required to wait while nature works its magic.  The illustrations are full colour and gorgeous and Marko loves to have the story read to him as well as making up his own story to go along with the pictures (in his version the worms are bad and try to eat the seed).

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6/5/18

Save the Date - Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson can do no wrong.  Her books are the perfect summer reads and Save the Date is no exception. 

I struggled to get into the book at first but I think that had more to do with the fact that I had a lot going on in life at the end of May because once I settled into the book, the story FLEW by.  I read the last half of the book in two sittings, tearing through the pages to see how it would all unfold. 

Save the Date chronicles one of the wackiest, funnest families I've seen featured in fiction since the family next door in My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.  The Grant family's mom has penned a cartoon version of her family for many, many years and the comic strip is ending its publication the same weekend that the eldest daughter is getting married.  The story is filled with hijinks from wedding plans gone awry and features a host of colourful and genunine characters.  There are moments of laughter (lots of moments of laughter actually) and some emotional moments to balance out the story.

My only critcism of this book is that although our main character, Charlie, is at the end her senior year of high school, her character acts and behaves in a much more juvenile fashion.  Granted, she is the youngest in the family and maybe I just don't identify with that younger sibling mentality, but there were a few occasions where I felt like she should have acted in a more mature fashion.  There were also a couple of plot twists that I had figured out wayyyyy before the characters did, which left me just waiting for them to realize what was going on.  In some ways, Morgan's writing in this book reminded me a lot of Katie Finn's writing -- the story is mostly silly and angsty and doesn't have quite as much emotional heart as some of her other books.

Regardless of my minor qualms with Save the Date, I've still preordered a copy and will be adding this one to my Morgan Matson collection.  Although this one isn't at the top of my favourites list, Morgan is still a favourite author.

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

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6/1/18

June TBR - Shatter Me

Last month, I planned to read a book that I didn't pick up so I "unhauled" it over to my husband's bookshelves.  This month, I'm planning to pick up a book that I've already read -- another one that I won't have to unhaul if I don't get to it, but one that I still hope to read this month regardless.

I originally read Shatter Me back in May 2012 (the early days of this blog!) and had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the entire series.  I love love LOVE Tahereh's writing but the storyline was a bit over the top at times.  I really enjoyed Unravel Me, but by the time I picked up Ignite Me I'd forgotten most of what happened in the first two books so I didn't enjoy the final instalment very much.

BUT, despite all that, I still bought a copy of Restore Me (partly because it's so PRETTY) and I'm hopeful that I may enjoy the series more the second time through.  So wish me luck!

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5/31/18

May Wrap-up

It's June tomorrow -- JUNE.  I feel like I say this every single month, but how is the year flying by so quickly?  Marko went to kindergarten orientation this week -- KINDERGARTEN.  Seriously.  And at the rate the year is flying by, I'll blink and it'll be September.  I'M NOT READY FOR THAT.

But this post is about the books that I read in May, so let's dive in...


1. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
This book almost lived up to the hype for me, but not quite.  It was beautiful and heart-wrenching but also fell a little flat for me.



2. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
After The Astonishing Color of After, I went into The Great Alone with a little bit of hesitation as the hype for this book was even bigger.  THE HYPE IS REAL PEOPLE; this book was INCREDIBLE.


3. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
Three for three with my reading in early May -- Lisa Genova can do no wrong and I'm so pleased with myself for keeping up with her books!


4. Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
I won't have a review up until August when it's released, but this book satisfied my craving for a perfectly sweet middle grade read.  Sharon Creech is such a wonderful writer.



5. In Honor by Jessi Kirby
I felt like I was still reeling from The Great Alone and, although I was supposed to be buddy reading The Name of the Wind with Jessica @ Novel Cravings, I just craved contemporaries.  In Honor was perfect and sweet and reminded me a lot of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour (minus the playlists).


6. If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales
I've already read and reviewed this one on the blog, but it's a tough read (content wise) but one that is so valid and relevant and needed in today's world.


7. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
LOVED THIS.  So so so much.  Spoiler alert: loved it so much that I ran to the store and bought two more of Lianes' books.  Sorry, not sorry.


8. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Ginger @greadsbooks read and raved about this one, so I put it on hold at the library.  It was such a sweet romance and I absolutely adored it.



9. The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel
I've been craving some good adult contemporary and this one had just a touch of historical, which I loved.  It took a while to get going but once I was sucked into the story I could barely put it down.


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5/29/18

Top 10 Bookish Worlds I Want To Live In

Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl!  Today's topic is bookish worlds that I want to live in.  There are so many bookish worlds that I WOULDN'T want to live in that I couldn't think of more than five!

1. Hogwarts
This will be at the top of everyone's list, I'm sure!

2. Victorian Era
With a caveat: I want to wear the dresses, but I want to leave this world before I need to pee.

3. Mistborn
Although I've only read the first book in this series, I love the world

4. Red London
With Lila Bard and Kell, of course.

5. The Chemical Garden Trilogy
As I mentioned before, so many fictional worlds are ones that I wouldn't want to live in, but this one straddles the line.  The world itself is horrible (forced pregnancies and early death) but Lauren DeStefano paints the horror in such a beautiful, whimsical way that I think I'd still want to experience it, if only for a short time.

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5/24/18

Book Haul [34] -- SO. MUCH. WORSE.

Last month, I ROCKED at buying fewer books.  But that's okay because I've still only read two library books this year.  TWO.  Every other book has been one I owned (and one borrowed from a coworker).  But I haven't ordered anything from Book Outlet in YEARS and found a book that I absolutely had to have for WAY cheaper than Chapters ... so I had to place an order.  I'm excited for every single one of these books though...and at the time of posting this, I've already read two of my new purchases!


1. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
This was a no-brainer -- gotta have the next instalment in the series!  Although I've already heard mixed things, and I think the novella is not really my thing.


2. A History of Loneliness by John Boyne
After reading, and loving, The Heart's Invisible Furies and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, I plan to slowly read the rest of John Boyne's books.


3. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I've already read this one and HOLY COW IT WAS AMAZING.


4. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
I'm planning to re-read the Shatter Me series this year and I feel like I need more of Tahereh's writing in my life.  After Middle Grade March, I have almost no middle grade left on my shelves!


5. In Honor by Jessi Kirby
6. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
I've already read In Honor and plan to pick up Moonglass really, really soon.  The saddest part will be that I will have no more Jessi Kirby left to read though =)


7. The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel
I read The Life Intended last year and loved it, and bought The Room on Rue Amélie earlier this year.  I can't wait to read another of Kristin's books.


8. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
This book is the reason why I placed the Book Outlet order.  Hannah @ So Obsessed With binge read this series and loved it, and I absolutely ADORED The Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly earlier this year.  It was $22 from Chapters, but only $4.99 on Book Outlet!


9. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
More Jennifer Donnelly?  Couldn't say no.


10. Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
I really enjoyed This Song Will Save Your Life when I read it a couple of years ago and I also really enjoyed her most recent book (and I reviewed it last week -- go check it out!)  So of course I need some more of Leila's books in my life.  She writes really intense contemporaries.


11. Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
12. The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
The Vancouver Public Library had a book sale last month and I snagged both of these -- The Poisonwood Bible is one of my all-time favourite books and I can't believe I'm so behind on Barbara's books!  A week after I snatched up these two, I was approved on Edelweiss for her newest book -- now I just need to decide if I should catch up on her backlist first, or dive straight into her latest book.


13. Exodus by Leon Uris
A former coworker told me that this was his favourite book of all time -- and it was $0.50 at the book sale, so I thought, why not?

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