Reading Resolutions - Halfway Point

Hard to believe that we're almost at halfway mark in 2018!  I've already read SO MANY great books this year and I've been approved for so many amazing ARCs.  I am so excited to see what the rest of the year has in store, but for now it's time to take a peek at my reading resolutions and see how I'm doing.

1. Have less physical books on my TBR on December 31 than I do now.
Ummm.... I have bought a LOT of books so far this year, but I'm also doing a really good job of reading what I own.  I've bought 46 books and read 43 books that I own.  I've also unhauled quite a few books so I think I'm doing okay on this challenge!  I've only read four library books this year which is a HUGE difference from previous years.

2. Have less ebooks on my TBR on December 31 than I do now.
I've only bought four ebooks this year, but I've only read two ebooks, so I'm still up two.  I do have two ebooks in progress -- both books that I picked up in March/April and just haven't finished yet.

3. End the year with no 2017 or earlier ARCs.
I think I actually intended this goal to read 2018 or earlier ARCs!  I still have the one expired ARC, which I hope to get to this year, but I've requested (and been approved for) a LOT of egalleys.  Some of my most anticipated reads of the year and I'm so honoured and excited to be reading these books ahead of time.  This goal is going to be one of my primary focuses between now and October, while I attempt to read the seven egalleys currently on my Kobo, plus the one long-expired book and finish this goal like a champ!

3. Finish 10 series.
Hmmm.... only at two series so far!  BUT there are a few series enders that I've ordered and will hopefully get to this year (ha ha, not helping much with my first goal though!)

4. Blog whenever I feel like it.
I've felt ZERO PRESSURE to blog and, as a result, have totally blogged more this year!  I've resurrected some old series that I had planned to write years ago, and it feels really, really good.

5. Participate in three online events.
I've participated in two so far: ATSOReadathon and Middle Grade March, both of which took place in March.  Both were a BLAST!  I tried a couple of instagram challenges this month, but wasn't quite in the mood.  Tome Topple is on next week so I'll probably attempt that, plus a fun Read-Eh-Thon which sounds so fun!  Stay tuned for my TBRs!

Do you set reading resolutions?  Are you keeping up with them?  Let me know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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Top 10 Books on My Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl!  This week's topic is the books on my summer reading list.  I'm not terribly adept at actually reading the books that I plan to read each season, so I thought I'd switch things up this season and give myself ten goals.

1. Finish one series.
2. Start a new series.
3. Read a book that has been on my shelves for over a year.
4. Read a backlist title written by a favourite author.
5. Read one book off my 18 books to read in 2018 list.
6. Read one ARC.
7. Read a book purchased in 2018.
8. Read an intimidating book.
9. Read a book that my husband chooses for me.
10. Read a book that my son chooses for me.

What are you summer reading goals?  Let me know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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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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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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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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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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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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