TGIF [15] - August 31

Happy Friday Everyone!

TGIF is hosted, as always, by Greads. This week's question is: Choose Your Next Read: How do you go about choosing what you read next? Do you have a schedule you follow, or do you read whatever makes you happy at the moment?

I've been posting my top ten books to read this winter/spring/summer/fall as part of The Broke and Bookish's Top Ten Tuesday feature, but have failed miserably at reading the books that I set out to read each season.  Generally, the books that I read are dictated by what's come in at the library, since I read the library books before going to my shelves of unread books.  And, as I am a very frequent patron at the library, there are a LOT of books that are unread on my shelves!  When I am taking a break from library books, I will always choose whatever makes me happy.  Sometimes, when decisions are difficult to make, I'll lay out six or so books on the dining room table and ask my husband to decide for me.  And once, during this decision making process, my cat sat down on City of Lost Souls, so I picked that book (if the cat chose it, it was destined to be good, right?!?)
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Tune in Tuesday [11] - August 28

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by GReads. Last week I posted about how excited I was that Alanis Morissette's new album was coming out -- and today that day has arrived!  I'm downloading the album today, and haven't had a chance to listen to it just yet, so I thought I'd share the track that's been playing on the radio for the past few weeks.  If this song is any indication of what's to come, then I'm certain I'll love the entire album!

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Reading Slump -- and Fifty Shades

It's been a while since I've posted a review on here!  The summer's been a busy one, with two trips out of town and not as much reading time as I'd normally have.  And, to be perfectly honest, I've been in a bit of a reading slump -- I feel like every book that I've picked up hasn't grabbed my attention, so I've put it aside and reached for another book ... with the same effect.  Perhaps it's the weather, or the fact that hubby and I have just started watching Game of Thrones (that show is SO amazing and so addicting!) or ... the other big news: WE'RE HAVING A BABY!  I'm due in early February and, although I've been feeling 100% fine all along, it's still more fun to read about how big baby is or that he or she has eyelashes and eyebrows already (seriously!) more than diving into a fantastical storybook world.

With that being said, I did get sucked into the rest of the Fifty Shades series while we road tripped to Alberta earlier this month.  I'm not going to write a full review on them: if they books are your cup of tea after reading the first one, you'll keep reading since there's something ridiculously addicting about the series.  After reading the first one, I hadn't even realized that the books originally started as Twilight fan fiction, but I kept comparing the readability of the books to the Twilight series.  They books aren't well written, the characters have moments where I wanted to reach into the book and tell them to smarten up, yet I devoured two books in less than a week.  Same as Twilight: I wouldn't say that I loved the series, and there were SO MANY things that irritated me about the plot, the characters, the vampire mythology, etc, etc, yet I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading just one more chapter, while my eyelids became progressively heavier.  Can anyone explain this weird phenomenon?  What is it about books that are poorly written but are just so un-put-down-able?  Seriously.

So, that's what's new in my part of the world.  I've just started reading Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky, which has grabbed me in its initial few pages, so I have my fingers crossed that the end of the slump is nigh.  Plus, Anna and the French Kiss just arrived at the library (I can't believe that I haven't read this book yet, and I originally put it on hold on NEW YEAR'S DAY).  So, with two good books on the horizon, I'm feeling optimistic.  Besides, I've only got another five months to read like a crazy maniac -- who knows how much free time I'll have come February?!?
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TGIF [14] - August 24

Happy Friday Everyone!

TGIF is hosted, as always, by Greads. This week's question is: Back to School Reading: Which books would you like to see in today's high school Literature classrooms? 

Almost any book would be better than the ones that I read in high school (i.e. Lord of the Flies and Catcher in the Rye).  My husband is a high school English teacher, and I love that he doesn't do class novel studies.  Instead, the kids read their own book choices, and then do "book talks" in front of the class, introducing and promoting the book, as well as telling what they liked and disliked about the book.  The kids all set their own reading goals, based on their reading levels.  The best books that I read in high school were the ones that I was allowed to choose for myself.  And with the wide variety of excellent YA literature that is now available to teens, why not allow them to explore a variety of genres and find their own favourites?
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Tune in Tuesday [10] - August 21

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by GReads. Only one week to go until the release of Alanis Morissette's newest album, "Havoc and Bright Lights."  Can I just say for a moment how unbelievably excited I am for this album?!?  I've been re-listening to all of her other albums for the past few weeks, on my drive to and from work, and I just can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

In the meantime, here's one of my favourites of her older tracks, "This Grudge."  I purchased this CD during the summer of 2004, when I was taking summer courses at UVic.  This song immediately resonated with me, as I was still working through the residual hurt over ending my relationship with my high school sweetheart.  I'm sure that I filled up just as many journals, rehashing our tormented love, but Alanis' words about the fact that holding onto a grudge only hurts the one who is holding the grudge really hit home.  I realized that he had moved on, and it was time for me to do so too.  Looking back at the past only prevents us from moving forward into what the future holds.  And you know what?  I met my future husband very shortly afterwards.

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TGIF [13] - August 17

Happy Friday Everyone!

TGIF is hosted, as always, by Greads. This week's question is: Pimp Your Review: Feature a favorite book review you've written in the past that you feel deserves more love!  It's been a few months since I read this book, yet I find that I still think about it (and recommend it to everyone I know).

Wonder - R.J. Palacio

The funny thing about writing reviews is that sometimes it's excruciatingly difficult to write a review about a book that you didn't enjoy, but sometimes even harder to write a review about a book that you loved with all your heart.  Wonder is one of the latter types of books.  I finished this one in a day last weekend, and have struggled to find the words to review it ever since.

I first read a review of this book on GoodReads, written by the wonderful
Wendy Darling, whose opinion on books I hold in high esteem.  At the time, my library didn't yet have this book on order, since it was so new, but I immediately added the book to my TBR list.  Once my copy arrived in the library, and I devoured it in a single day, I will definitely be purchasing a copy of this book, since I think it's a must-have for any library.

Wonder is a middle-grade novel that would appeal to any age group.  I recommended it at work to a woman with an eight-year old son and to some of my much older coworkers.  As Wendy so eloquently put in her review, this book can be recommended to anyone with a beating heart.  It'll warm your heart, break it a little and then leave you with a feeling of absolute satisfaction and euphoria.  After finishing this book, I immediately told my husband that all elementary schools should have this book as a novel study.  If more kids read Wonder, I sincerely believe that there would be no more bullying.  It's the kind of book that touches your heart and makes a difference.  The kind of book that sticks with you long after the final words have been read.  The kind of book that makes your soul sing and makes you happy to be a reader.  The kind of book that comes around once in a while and reminds how profoundly we have an impact on the lives of one another.

I won't write anymore, since the slightest thoughts about the plot of this book have me tearing up all over again.  But let me leave you with this: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.  If you read nothing else this year, read this one.  It's, hands down, the best book that I've read this year.
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Tune in Tuesday [9] - August 14

Tune in Tuesday is hosted by GReads.  I missed the first couple of Tuesdays this month, due to being super busy at work (and it's SUMMER when it's supposed to be QUIET!) and going away for a bit to visit some friends on the Island.

My husband introduced me to this song.  I'd heard it on the radio, and thought it was pretty good, but didn't totally fall in love with it until I saw the music video.  It's David Guetta - Titanium feat. Sia.

I love the story aspect to the video, which is rare to see in videos these days (since it's mostly just booty shaking).  What do you think?  Leave me a comment, and a link to your post, and I'll stop by to visit!
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TGIF [12] - August 10

Happy Friday Everyone!

TGIF is hosted, as always, by Greads. This week's question is: Unexpected Books: Which books did you have reservations about reading, but ended up loving once you did?

When I pick up a book, it's usually because a) I've already read (and loved) other book(s) by the same author or b) I've read rave reviews online, written by bloggers whose opinions I trust or c) a friend has recommended the book to me.  With any of these three criteria, I'm almost always guaranteed a great read.  Every once in a while, I'll pick up a book and I'm honestly not sure why, yet I end up being pleasantly surprised.  One recent example that I can think of is Brodi Ashton's Everneath.  I'd had this book on hold at the library (while it was being processed as a new acquisition) that I honestly forgot why I'd put it on hold at the library.  Prior to starting to read it, I'd seen mixed reviews on Goodreads; it seemed that readers either loved it or hated it, and I wasn't sure what side of the coin I'd fall on.  Once I opened the first page and dove into the story during a ferry ride to Victoria, it was incredibly difficult to tear myself away from the story.  I loved every moment of the book, and I'm really looking forward to reading the next installment of the story, Everbound, which is coming out next year.
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The Immortal Rules - Julie Kagawa

I read The Iron King back in February, and liked it.  (Read my full review here).  At the time, I put the rest of the series on hold at the library, but ended up with way too many library books to read in a short period of time, and therefore didn't finish the series.  As time went on, my recollection of the book diminished and I started to remember it as being an okay book, rather than the enthusiasm that I had clearly felt when I wrote my review.

So when I saw people raving about The Immortal Rules on blogs and Goodreads, I was on the fence on whether or not I wanted to try the book.  My library didn't have a copy, and I wasn't sure if it was a book that I actually wanted to buy, so I added it to my TBR list and promptly forgot about.  I kept seeing rave reviews posted on Goodreads, and finally my library put the book on order.  When the book came in, I was wowed all over again by the haunting cover.  Seriously, does that not just look like the most creep-tastic book EVER?

I took the book on the ferry with me last weekend, hoping to make a decent size dent in the 500 page book during four hours of ferry riding.  The storyline didn't grab me immediately, but that may have been due to the fact that the Olympics were on in the background, and it was hard to get into a new story with new characters while the Olympic coverage was highlighting the runner from South Africa with two amputated legs (and what an amazing person he is!)  But once I was able to tear my eyes away from the Olympics and focus on the storyline, Kagawa immediately pulled me into the world and I didn't surface again until two days later, so incredibly satisfied with the way that the book turned out.

This story has it all: vampires, zombies (although they're called rabids), adventure, mystery and just an all-round fantastic storyline.  There's also a slight love interest in the book, but no pesky love triangle.  It's a hefty book (close to 500 pages in length), but it didn't feel like an arduous read.  I'm looking forward to finding out what happens in the next installment of Allie's story.
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WWW - August 8

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

W...W...W...Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.  To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
I just started Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity yesterday evening.  I love WWII books, and I'm hoping that this one will live up to my expectations.

What did you recently finish reading?
Joy Kagawa's The Immortal Rules, which was SO GOOD.  I'll have my review up tomorrow.

What do you think you'll read next?
I still have Lissa Price's Starters to read from the library, plus Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss has finally come in at the library -- I've had this book on hold since January!

What about you?  What are you reading?  What did you recently finish?  And what are you looking forward to reading?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll come visit!
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Book Haul [6]

It has been a long, long time since I last posted a book haul -- in fact, so long ago that I can scarcely remember which books were included in my last post! 

I read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Shadow of the Wind last summer on a beach in Montenegro while my husband and I were on our honeymoon.  I LOVED the book, absolutely loved it.  I purchased another of his books a few months ago (The Angel's Game) but then was super excited to see that there was a companion book (The Prisoner of Heaven) to Shadow of the Wind published in July.  Then, when the book arrived, I discovered that all three books are based on the same characters, setting and story, and I'm kicking myself for letting Angel's Game sit on my shelf for so long.  I love his writing and I'm hoping that these second two books captivate me in the same way that Shadow of the Wind did, even without the beach setting.

I also picked up three new books from the library, which I've had on order for AGES...

I've already finished The Immortal Rules, which was just as good as I had hoped it would be (review to come shortly) and am planning to dive into Code Name Verity this evening.
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Second Chance Summer - Morgan Matson

I first heard about Second Chance Summer from two amazing bloggers, Magan @ Rather Be Reading and Hannah @ So Obsessed With, and I will be eternally grateful for their encouragement to pick up this book.  I read Amy & Roger's Epic Detour first (see my review here), which I loved, so I was super excited when this book arrived in the mail.

I waited to read it until the warmer summer weather arrived.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I started reading the book when the Olympics started, so the storyline didn't have my fullest attention.  Normally, I'm pretty sure that I would have polished off the entire book in a day, or two at the most.  Instead, due to my Olympic-fuelled distractions, it took me nearly a week from beginning to end.  In hindsight, I am glad that I read the book when I was mildly distracted by the television, since it meant that I was able to savour the story in half-an-hour-before-bed installments, rather than gobbling up the entire story at once.  Second Chance Summer is a book that is SO GOOD and you want it to NEVER END.  Although I knew how the book would ultimately come to its conclusion, I wasn't sure that my heart could handle the ending, so I kept putting the book aside throughout the last 100 pages or so.  If I don't read the ending, it won't happen right?  Finally, I curled up in bed the night before we were planning a weekend away, determined to finish the last 80 or so pages, since there's nothing that I dislike more than taking an almost-finished book on holidays, because then I have to pack a second book because I'll finish the first one before we've even left the driveway!  I read one more chapter that evening and knew that it was going to be a sobfest of an ending, so I decided to just finish the book in the morning before we left.  I curled up on the couch with my morning coffee, book in hand and hubby less than an arm's reach away because I was a MESS at the end of this book.  Like The Fault in Our Stars times 10.  Messy, ugly, sobbing crying, unlike anything I've experienced while reading any other book.  And, as mentioned earlier, although the ending of the book is understandable, Morgan Matson lets the events unfold with such heart and feeling that it's impossible to not be captivated and moved along with the characters.  With two stellar novels under her belt so far, I cannot WAIT to see what Ms. Matson comes up with next!

P.S. I just discovered today that the author also has playlists that she's created for each on of her books.  I've been listening to the Second Chance Summer playlist while writing this review and it is awesome -- Morgan and I definitely have some similar tastes in music, and those songs on the list that I hadn't heard of are already new favourites of mine!  Check out the playlist here.
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TGIF [11] - August 3

Happy Friday Everyone!

TGIF is hosted, as always, by Greads. This week's question is: Book Olympics: In the spirit of the Olympics, which books would you give the gold, silver, and bronze medals to? It can be from any genre, new or old.

My husband and I have been watching nothing but the Olympics for the last week -- it's seriously cutting into my reading time!  We always plan to watch just one more event, and then turn off the TV, but then an hour will go by and we'll realize that we've already seen the gymnastics highlights twice =S

It's hard to pick the three best books overall, so I'm going to have to award these medals for books that I've read during the last year...

Gold: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This is going to be the book that I rave and rave and rave about.  If you haven't already read it, what are you waiting for?!?

Silver: The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene
Need I say more?

Bronze: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
After hearing Magan @ Rather Be Reading and Hannah @ So Obsessed With GUSH about Second Chance Summer, I had to start with this book while I waited for my copy to arrive in the mail.  And I loved it -- it was so refreshingly different from anything that I could have anticipated. 
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WWW - August 1

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

W...W...W...Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading.  To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions...

What are you currently reading?
I'm currently LOVING Morgan Matson's Second Chance Summer, which was lovingly recommended to me by both Magan @ Rather Be Reading and Hannah @ So Obsessed With.  It's the perfect summer read, and I'm glad that I'm savouring it while the weather is beautiful outside!  (In between watching hours of Olympic coverage that is!)

What did you recently finish reading?
Jennifer Weiner's The Next Best Thing.  I love her books -- read my full review here.

What do you think you'll read next?
I think Insurgent's going to have to be next on the reading pile -- it's been sitting on my bookshelf for WAY too long!

What about you?  What are you reading?  What did you recently finish?  And what are you looking forward to reading?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll come visit!
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