12/30/12

WEverb [30]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

30. capture [LISTEN]:  How can you bring more joy into your life in 2013?

This is an easy one to answer -- in February, we'll be welcoming our new little son or daughter into the world.  How can my life not be filled with joy with a new baby in the house?  With that being said, I plan to enjoy every little moment, even the exhaustion and the projectile poop.  Because those initial few weeks will be over so quickly and the little one will be sleeping through the night and getting bigger before our very eyes.  And because even the grossest moments will bring even more laughter into our house!
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12/29/12

Book Haul [7]

Happy Saturday Everyone!  Here is my very first vlog -- hopefully I don't sound like a total dork =P  The sound seemed to speed a couple of times, and I can't figure out why (this webcam thing is all new to me!) but hopefully it's still understandable.

I wanted to do this vlog to share with you all of the books that I received over the holidays, both from my wonderful family and the Library Santa, who was equally good to me.  And, if you watch until the very end, I'll show you my baby bump -- which is feeling HUGE these days!  Only six-ish weeks to go until we get to meet Baby, and hopefully I'll have a chance to read some of these books before Baby arrives!

Please leave me a link to your book haul / stacking the shelves post and I'll be sure to stop by.  Also, I'll include a list of titles, as well as links to Goodreads below the video.


From the library:
My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatrick
Audrey, Wait! - Robin Benway
Bright Young Things - Anna Godbersen
Beautiful Days - Anna Godbersen
Envy - Anna Godbersen
Bright's Light - Susan Juby
Fall for Anything - Courtney Summers
Cracked Up to Be - Courtney Summers
Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta
Finnikin of the Rock - Melina Marchette

Gifted:
The Lucky Ones - Anna Godbersen (thank you to Epic Reads)
Lovely, Dark and Deep - Amy McNamara (from my hubby)
The Lost Girl - Sangu Mandanna (from my hubby)
Going Too Far - Jennifer Echols (from my sister-in-law)
Such a Rush - Jennifer Echols (from my sister-in-law)
Spells - Aprilynne Pike (thank you to my Secret Santa, Lauren @ Lose Time Reading)
Starcrossed - Josephine Angelini (thank you to my Secret Santa, Lauren @ Lose Time Reading)
Velveteen - Daniel Marks (thank you to my Secret Santa, Lauren @ Lose Time Reading)
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12/28/12

WEverb [28]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

28. empower [HOPE]:  What did you do to recharge your batteries in 2012?

Taking time for myself is of the utmost importance, especially when life gets super busy and stressful. "Me time" includes reading, going for a walk with my hubby, doing some yoga, taking a nap or any combination of these things.  All of these have featured prominently in my pregnancy thus far, and I'm certain that this is one of the reasons that I've been feeling great all along.  When work got a little overwhelming, as I outlined in some of my previous WEverb posts, I found myself not sleeping all that well and extra emotional.  I took a couple of "me days" from work, which I've never done before.  In my five and a half years at my current job, I'd only previously taken five sick days, three of which were last year just before Christmas when I had the flu.  So I'm not one to call in sick for no reason at all.  But now I felt justified in doing so, knowing that even though the reason for taking a day off work is not only for my own health and sanity, but also that of the baby that I'm carrying.  And it was wonderful to just curl back up in bed and sleep for a few more hours, followed by a long shower and an afternoon snuggled up on the couch with a book, a mug of steaming tea and my cat.  Definitely recharged the batteries, and I was ready to tackle work the next day, both physically and emotionally!
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12/27/12

WEverb [26 & 27]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

I kind of fell off the WEverb train over the holidays -- too busy eating turkey and Nanaimo bars to reflect!  But now I'm back on board, and looking forward to sharing the next few posts...

26. chronicle [LIVE]:  What distant memory/time did you find yourself longing for in 2012?

I try not to live looking back at the past, and wishing that things were different.  My mom and I were actually talking about this over the Christmas holidays, and she was saying how she'd been asked recently if she had one wish, what would she wish for.  Although my dad's accident and recovery have been hard on him, as well as the rest of our family, she said that she wouldn't wish for the accident to not have happened, since she's met so many amazing people along the way.  Instead, she'd wish for spinal cord injury research to progress to the point that it would allow my dad to make even more of a substantial recovery, as well as all of the other people that are dealing with spinal cord injuries.  Seriously, how awesome is my mom?  That's the same philosophy that I have on life too: there's no point to wishing that bad things hadn't happened, but instead use the strength gained from surviving and living through that experience to inspire tomorrow.

27. sacrifice [GROW]:  Did you read a book this year that left you craving more when it was over?

Honestly, what book doesn't leave you craving more when it's over? Those are the best kind. I'll just name a few that really resonated with me, and I wanted more of the story, more of the characters, more of the author's writing, long after I'd savoured the last few words of the story: Morgan Matson's Second Chance Summer, R.J. Palacio's Wonder, and John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.

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12/22/12

Once Upon a Time ... in a Bookstore

Once upon a time there was a boy who was looking for a book about cats.  Even though he had three cats living in his house, he wanted to find some more information on these sleek and furry creatures for the story he was writing.  In the city of Victoria, there was no better place to go looking for a book than Bolen Books.  He looked down at his ratty T-shirt and shorts and wondered if he should put on something nicer for this outing.  Running a hand over his scruffy chin, he shrugged and slipped on a pair of flip-flops, figuring that he’d be back home in an hour to keep working on his story.

Five minutes later, he pulled his old Mustang into the parking lot of Hillside Mall.  Pushing his orange sunglasses on top of his head, he strode into the store.  He made his way towards to the centre of the store, into the children’s section, and started browsing through the titles on the shelves.
“Can I help you find something?” a voice asked to his left.  He turned his head and saw a girl with dark brown ringlets, smiling at him.
“Umm...yeah,” he stammered, wishing that he had taken at least the time to shave before leaving the house.  “I’m looking for a book.  A book about cats.”
The girl smiled brightly and led him towards the end of the aisle, where she began slowly turning a rotating shelf, scanning the rack as she turned it around.  “I’m sure that there’s a book about cats in the Eyewitness series,” she said.  She selected a book, passed it to the boy and asked, “Is this the type of book that you’re looking for?”
“Yes, I think so,” he replied and then explained that he was writing a story about his cat and his publishing advisor had suggested that he do some research before writing.  In the sunlit aisles of the children’s section, they discussed the use of animals as narrators in children’s literature and the marketing appeal of his idea for a novel.  Customers and other booksellers passed by them, arms laden with books, but for these two it seemed like they were the only ones in the store.
It wasn’t the only time that the girl would see the boy in the aisles of Bolen Books.  Although, the next time he came by the store, he made sure that he was nicely dressed and clean-shaven.  Sometimes he came in to pick up his special ordered magazine; other times, he picked up a new novel to read.  While he was in the store, he always found the girl, whether she was shelving a cart of books or ringing up a customer’s purchases, and stopped to chat for a few moments.
One busy December day, at the height of the Christmas shopping season, the girl was up at the front desk at the store, helping a co-worker bag books for a customer’s purchase.  She saw the boy waiting in line and smiled.  He came up to the counter and said that he needed help finding a book.
“Can you help me to find The Power of Now?” he asked.
“Certainly,” she replied.  “Follow me; it’s in the Psychology section.”  He followed her to the bookshelf and she passed the book into his outstretched hands.  He looked down at the title, The Power of Now, and the title, the immediacy of the word NOW filled him with a type of courage that he needed.  Taking a deep breath, he raised his head to look into the girl’s big brown eyes and asked, “Would you like to have coffee with me sometime?”
“Sure,” she replied.
Maybe it was the nerves, or the noisy bustling of the seasonal shoppers, but he pressed on as if he hadn’t heard her.  “Or, if you don’t like coffee, we could go for ice cream?  Or milkshakes?  Do you like milkshakes?”
She smiled and placed a hand on his arm.  “I said yes.  To coffee, ice cream or milkshakes.”
He smiled too, relieved, and they exchanged numbers before the frenzy of last-minute shoppers pulled her back to work.
After an evening of discussing their favourite books over coffee and cheesecake, the boy and the girl knew that they were falling in love.  Finally, the day came where they merged their book collections into one library in their new home together.  After arranging the bookshelves, in alphabetical order of course, they discovered that they had four boxes of duplicate books.  The boy wanted to tuck the books into storage, on the off chance that their new living arrangements didn’t work out and they decided to go their separate ways.  The girl took his hands in hers and looked solemnly into his hazel eyes.  “But that will never happen,” she said.   So the boxes of books were dropped off at the used bookstore and exchanged for some new titles.
Five years later, on their anniversary, the boy and the girl planned a trip back to Victoria, to reminisce about how their relationship had begun.  After a stroll around the University of Victoria and lunch at their favourite Chinese restaurant, they strolled through the doors of Bolen Books.  Hand-in-hand, they walked to the Psychology section, where it had all begun.  As the boy held a copy of The Power of Now in one hand, he asked the girl if she remembered what he’d asked her in that same spot five years before.
“Of course,” she replied.  “You asked me if I’d like to go for coffee.  Or ice cream.  Or milkshakes.”  They laughed together and, as the laughter faded away, he turned to her, his expression serious.
“Now, I’m going to ask you something else,” the boy said, as he reached into his jacket pocket.  Holding a small box in one hand, he dropped to one knee.  Just like that first day in the heat of summer, the bustling Christmas shoppers melted away into the background.  The boy’s green eyes met the girl’s brown ones.  “Now I’m going to ask you to marry me.”
*  *  *
So here’s our story, about a love that blossomed in the aisles of Victoria’s favourite bookstore.  So maybe next time you’re standing in the fiction section, trying to choose your next book to read, you might think about approaching that cute stranger down the aisle.  You never know what you can find in a bookstore: a great new book to read, a new friend or maybe, just maybe, true love.
*  *  *
Since books were (and are) such a big part of both of our lives (although my husband reads more chess books and I read more fiction), books were a huge part of our wedding as well.  I found old encyclopedias on Craigslist, glued them shut and painted them red (one of our wedding colours).  We decorated the covers with gold paint pens (the second wedding colour) and transformed them into our favourite books.  We had bookmarks as our wedding favours, with a list of our favourite books on the back.  Finally, our first dance song was "Storybook Love" from The Princess Bride (the Willy DeVille version with words, although I walked up the aisle to the instrumental original from the movie). 


We also took some of our wedding pictures in a used bookstore, in order to capture where it all began.  As promised, here are a couple of the shots -- our photographer asked us to ham it up for the camera a little, so I pretended to be engrossed in my book and ignored him =) 


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12/19/12

WEverb [18 & 19]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

18. soak [LISTEN]:  What have you soaked in this year? (Baths, sun, ideas?)  How did it affect your mentality?

I haven't soaked in either baths or sunshine this past year -- in 2011, we went on our honeymoon in Serbia and Montenegro, and spent a blissful week on the beach in the sunshine.  The summer of 2012 was somewhat lacking in sunshine soaking.  And I'm not much of a bath person -- my bathtub is less than ideal, so I think I might be more of a lounging bath person if I had a better tub =)

When it comes to soaking in something metaphorical, I think I would say that I soaked in positive energy.  As I mentioned in one of my earlier WEverbs, one of my constant struggles is not letting other people's negative energy mess with my positivity.  Soaking up positive energy by aligning myself with people who have positive views on life is a great way to avoid negativity in my life.


19. exercise [LIVE]:  How did you live actively in 2012?  What will change in 2013?

I've always dabbled in a little bit of everything, and this year was no exception.  With my growing belly, I've changed some of the things that I used to do, and substituted them for different activities.  I haven't been to the gym much this year (and feel slightly guilty when I see that automatic debit from my bank account each month, when I know I haven't set foot on the premises for months!).  I've been walking outside a LOT, either with my husband in the evenings or with my co-worker during our lunch break.  I used to do hot yoga, but switched that up for prenatal yoga, which I'm LOVING.  Such a great way to stay grounded, and pain-free, while also bonding with my unborn baby.
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12/17/12

WEverb [17]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

17. think [HOPE]:  Write a thank you note that you've been meaning to send this year.

Dear Book Blogging Community,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you (and you know who you are) for being so wonderful and supportive to us new book bloggers.  From helpful tweets to book recommendations to support with Blogger, your advice and caring helpfulness is invaluable.  I've made so many friends in the year and a half since I started this blog and I wouldn't have kept going this long if it wasn't for you all!  So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Sincerely,
Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads
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12/16/12

Every Day - David Leviathan

I've been reading through other blogger's End of the Year Survey's for the last couple of weeks (and if you haven't participated yet, head over to The Perpetual Page-Turner -- it's a great way to reflect on your reading for the past year!)  This book seems to have popped up on at least half the surveys that I've read so far ... and the consensus is love, love and more love.  So I put the book on hold, with a little trepidation.  Although I completely respect and value the recommendations of other bloggers, I haven't exactly had the best experience with David Levithan so far.  I was SO excited to read The Lover's Dictionary, and really intrigued by the premise of a story told in dictionary entries, but the story fell flat for me.  David is a beautiful writer, but the story just didn't grab hold of me.

Every Day was a completely different experience.  Anyone with a beating heart would have a hard time not relating to A's struggles in this book.  Each morning, he wakes up in a different body and spends the day as that person.  He's come to accept his existence of never really being too attached to his surroundings, knowing that he'll be gone the next day, and that person will continue on with his or her existence, without even knowing that A was there.  But one day, A enters the body of Justin, and falls in love with Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon.  From that moment on, A isn't able to deal with the day-to-day changing of bodies in the same way, because he finds himself inextricably linked to Rhiannon.

It's hard to find the words to describe exactly what it was about Every Day that made it so memorable.  The book is more about emotions than about actual events.  The struggles that A goes through while trying to understand his existence and the way he comes to terms with his relationship with Rhiannon is both uplifting and heart-wrenching at the same time.  I devoured this book in just over a day, which I haven't done in a LONG time, and then found myself thinking about it for a few days afterwards.  Every Day deserves its spot atop all of those best of 2012 lists, and has renewed my faith in David Leviathan's ability to tell a really great story.
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WEverb [15 & 16]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.


15. quote [GROW]:  What inspirational quote would you associate with this past year for you?

I went onto Goodreads to look for a quote from Delirium, since I've been reliving this book through a coworker, who's reading it for the first time.  Then, I saw this quote from Bob Marley, and it just jumped out at me.  With all of the sadness currently in the world, it just seemed appropriate to talk about love...

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.” 


16. replicate [CREATE]:  What were you inspired to create/make this year based on something else? (i.e. a pin from pinterest, recipe from a friend, etc.)

I saw a YouTube video about junque journals while I was researching techniques for making books for our wedding centrepieces.  I bookmarked it, but didn't actually get around to starting one until this year.  I'm always very conscious of what I'm keeping in the house, worried about becoming excessively pack-rat-ish, like my mother.  When I saw the idea for a junque journal, I thought it was the perfect way to allow me to keep things that I have a hard time getting rid of, while also ensuring that I can't keep everything.  Even with the amount of stuff that I've glued onto the pages so far, it's not even a quarter full -- I know that I can continue to work on this for years and years to come.  Plus, it looks kind of pretty too, and is more of a functional home for things that I don't want to part with.  If you're interested, here's the link to the first video that I watched:



The second project that I've just started is compiling a photo album of the eight years that my husband and I have spent together, in advance of Baby arriving next year.  With the exception of our wedding and honeymoon albums, all of our photos are in digital format on the computer.  Sometimes it's nice to actually sit and flip through an album, reminiscing about the places we've been or the things that we've done together.  I've started weeding through the pictures that we have on the computer and compiling a "best of" -- the next step will be putting them all together into one album.  Then, after Baby's arrival, I can hopefully keep up with putting together albums on a semi-regular basis.
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12/14/12

WEverb [14]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

14. walk [LIVE]:  Describe the path to a favourite place of yours to walk in 2012?  What's meaningful about the place or the journey?

I'm honestly not sure if I've actually walked this path in 2012, but there is only one favourite path in my life, and that's along Dallas Road, in Victoria, British Columbia, where I grew up.  Victoria is on Vancouver Island, and Dallas Road winds along the water.  Growing up on an island, the ocean is an integral part of who I am and I'm honestly not sure if I could live super far away from the ocean.  My husband and I have talked about moving to Alberta, where he grew up, since wages there are higher and housing is much more affordable, but there's a certain pull of the ocean and the forests and the mountains that only British Columbia can offer.  But I digress -- I'm going to let a picture do the talking on this one.  This one was taken in December, hence the gray skies.


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12/13/12

WEverb [13]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

13. associate [LISTEN]:  What blog/book/article spoke to you the most in 2012?

There have been lots of books and blogs that have spoken to me over the last year but, as I have a terrible memory for remembering these things (and recently lost all of my bookmarked favourites!), I'll go with something that I recently stumbled across that really resonated with me.  

While attempting to reconstruct my list of favourite blogs, I began checking out some blogs that my favourite bloggers are always talking about -- seriously kicking myself for not doing this earlier.  During this process, I've started reading Anna Reads.  I love the way she writes, her quirkiness and the fact that she's never afraid to keep things short and sweet.  Sometimes I feel like my reviews are shorter than they should be, but I just can't find the words to say anything more.  Anna's posts are just perfect.

While reading through her end-of-the-year survey, she referred to a post that she'd written earlier, about why she reads YA books.  In typical Anna fashion, it's succinct and to the point and everything that she wrote just made me yell out "Yes! Yes! YES!" while I was reading it.  The fact that YA literature resonates with so many of us "grown-ups" is the fact that many of the themes present in YA literature are things that we still have to contend with as adults, even if we do wish that everyone would just grow up and move on.  So, if you haven't read Anna's post, I would strongly recommend it -- I hope it resonates with you the same way it did for me.
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12/12/12

WEverb [12]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

12. toss [GROW]: 2012 was the last time for _______________.

As the year draws to a close, it's hard not to think of the year as an ending.  In many ways, 2012 will be the year of the lasts, but in more ways, 2013 will be a year of many, many, many firsts.  I'm not thinking of this experience as a goodbye to our single lives, a goodbye to the last time we'll be able to go to an action movie in the theater, or go to a fancy restaurant for dinner, or have an evening that's just the two of us.  Of course, our lives are going to change a LOT once Baby arrives in February, but I'm more excited about the new experiences that we'll get to have as a family than I'm sad about what we're losing.  Sure, I may not have as much time to curl up with a book next year, but I'm going to be a MOTHER and that's a pretty special thing.  So, I'd prefer to look forward to 2013 as a time of new beginnings, rather than mourning the loss of life as I knew it in 2012!
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12/11/12

WEverb [11]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

11. spend/save [LIVE]:  Are you richer or poorer this year, compared to last year.

In all honesty, I have never considered myself to be rich or poor based on the number of dollars in my savings account or the amount owing on my Visa.  In my mind, I am always richer at the end of the year, as compared to how many memories and experiences I have had throughout the year.  Last year, I was celebrating my first year of marriage to my amazing husband (and seven incredible years together); this year, we've added one more phenomenal year of marriage and togetherness, plus we have a baby on the way.  It's hard not to feel incredibly blessed when my life seems so rich and full of happiness.  I have no doubt that next year will be equally incredible, if not more, as we discover what our lives will be like as parents!
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12/10/12

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors Read in 2012



It's Tuesday and time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is my favourite new-to-me authors that I read in 2012.  I read so many books by some amazing authors this year, some of which had been around for a while and I just hadn't discovered, but others were debut authors that positively blew my mind.  In no particular order, here goes...

1. Stephanie Perkins
I can't believe that I waited so long to read Anna & the French Kiss and Lola & the Boy Next Door.  Love, love, LOVED these books!  I was also super excited to see that Stephanie has a new book coming out next year; if I had realized that before, then it would have been included on my anticipated releases of 2013 list!

2. Courtney Summers
I am indebted to Magan @ Rather Be Reading for encouraging me to pick up my very first Courtney Summers book.  After I read, and loved, Some Girls Are, and devoured This is Not a Test, I am definitely planning to read her other two books.

3. Marie Lu
Legend was a sleeper hit for me, because I found the cover to be less than intriguing.  As soon as I found out that it was loosely based on the story of Les Mis, and heard Jaime @ The Perpetual Page Turner gushing over the story, I knew that I would love it.  And I did.

4. Morgan Matson
There are no words to describe how much I loved Amy & Roger's Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer.  Well, there are, but I've already used them in my reviews.

5. Lauren DeStefano
I read both Wither and Fever this year, and absolutely loved the world that Lauren created in these books.  It never ceases to amaze me how she can make something so cruel and terrible seem so beautiful.

6. Marissa Meyer
Cinder was a great read, and I have very high hopes for Scarlet's release next year -- some of my favourite bloggers have already been gushing over the book, so I'm sure that I won't be disappointed.

7. Laini Taylor
I was pleasantly surprised by Daughter of Smoke & Bone.  It was more fantasy-based than what I usually read, but Laini's writing style was so poetic and beautiful that I got swept up in the story.  I'm still waiting for my copy of Days of Blood & Starlight to come in at the library, but I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be impressed.

8. Kristen Simmons
As you will read in my review, I read Article 5 in one day while on a bus trip to visit one of my best friends for her 30th birthday.  It was THAT GOOD.

9. Brodi Ashton
Everneath taught me that sometimes it's good to judge a book by its cover.  I picked this one up based on the gorgeous cover and, with no idea what the book was about, proceeded to be swept away by the magical story contained inside.

10. R.J. Palacio
I have a feeling that every recap post for 2012 is going to contain a reference to Wonder.  Seriously, this book is my all-time favourite read of 2012.  It's middle grade, but it is SO GOOD.  You should read it.  Seriously.

All of the links above will take you to my reviews of these books, just in case you'd like to visit any of my reviews of these titles.

What authors have you discovered this year?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by to visit!
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WEverb [10]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

10. lose [HOPE]:  Did you have to say goodbye to a person, or even a cherished object, this year?  Take a moment to celebrate the memory.

This actually hasn't been a year of loss for me -- if I think back to previous years, I can immediately recollect memories of cars going to the parking lot in the sky, the loss of my grandfather or saying goodbye to our beloved orange cat.  In the grand scheme of things, the goodbye that I've had to contend with this year is on a much different scale than the loss of a loved one, but still unexpected in its own way.  

My company hired my mat leave replacement in August and she worked for a couple of months just assisting with general office work, helping whoever needed an extra set of hands.  Then, in October, my boss insisted that she start learning my portfolio as soon as possible.  It seemed awfully early, since I'm planning to work until the end of January, but the last girl who went on mat leave had her baby a month and a half before her expected departure date, so I'm sure that he was just worried that I'd leave unexpectedly as well.  So, I started training her, thinking that we'd work together on my portfolio through until Christmas, and then she'd be on her own with the workload while I phased out.  

But at the beginning of November, my boss met with me again and asked that I let her work independently on my portfolio because he wanted to see if she could handle the volume of work that I was capable of doing.  So, with still three months left at the company, I found myself unexpectedly uprooted from my desk (I was moved to the opposite side of the office) and I wasn't doing the work that I love, and that I am good at.  Instead, I was just available in case anyone needed extra help but, as no one in the office seemed to know that they could ask me for help, it left me with very little to do to fill my day.  Add in several managers walking by and jokingly asking why I'd been "banished to the corner" and I felt very isolated and unappreciated.  

After many long sob sessions with my husband, and two days where I couldn't even face going to work and called in sick, I finally realized (through the cloud of pregnancy hormones -- it's seriously like being a hormonal teenager all over again, but with the added [dis]advantage of being able to rationally look at my tear-soaked self and know that I'm being silly), that it was going to be harder than I had thought to give up my job.  I didn't realize how much my job had become part of who I am and that I was proud of doing my job well.  By having my work taken away from me so quickly, I felt like there was a part of me that still needed to be validated at work but, when I wasn't doing my usual work, it was hard to find that validation.  It took me a while to accept it, but I realized that my boss wasn't trying to purposely make me feel uncomfortable, but that my replacement really did need the time to try out my job and see if it was the right fit.  Being an observer, rather than a direct helper, allowed me to objectively see if she was able to handle the workload.  I was able to offer constructive suggestions to my boss, who reorganized some of the girls' workloads in order to allow the new girl a chance to breathe, but also giving a couple of girls who had extra time on their hands some additional work to do.  In the end, it's worked out really well, and I'm actually enjoying not having such a stressful work day.  I've carved out my own niche in my new role at work, designating myself as "special projects" for any manager that needs something extra done.  And it's working out really well -- with only a month and a half left to go before I'm outta there and on to a new adventure!
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12/9/12

Insurgent - Veronica Roth

This book taught me a very valuable lesson: do not base my choice whether to read or not to read solely on Goodreads reviews that show up in my news feed.  I honestly can't remember whose reviews I saw, only that the general consensus shortly after the release date seemed to be that Insurgent wasn't as good as Divergent.  So my copy sat untouched on my shelf for months.  I knew that I'd read it one day, but I just wasn't inspired to pick it up right away.

Insurgent was well worth the wait though -- I loved it!  I felt that Divergent did an excellent job of setting the stage for this book, by explaining the factions and creating this amazing dystopian world.  Insurgent was more about the action and adventure, and it seemed like the book was perfectly paced from one adventure to the next.  I could have raced through this book in a couple of days, but I'm trying to read a little bit slower in order to savour what I'm reading, rather than gobbling up books.  (It's a new year's resolution of mine, but I'm starting a little earlier this year).

There's not much more that I can say about the book without giving anything away, so let me just leave it at this: Insurgent is a fast-paced, adventure-packed book that picks up right where Divergent left off.  What I loved best about this book is that you don't know who to trust throughout the book, as it seems like everyone's allegiances keep shifting.  Tris' character grows a lot throughout the book, and I love her as a heroine even more after finishing Insurgent.  And the ending just made me want to read Book #3 RIGHT NOW!  It's going to be a long, long wait until September!
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WEverb [9]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

9. triumph [CREATE]:  How were you challenged by a project or goal this year?  What did you learn from it?

I work in a busy property management office as an administrative assistant.  I assist five property managers, and have always helped a more senior administrative assistant with her work when she gets super busy.  At the beginning of this year, I started to feel like the other admin assistant was taking advantage of me, and giving me things that she didn't have the patience to do, or just didn't feel like doing, rather than because she actually needed the help.  It seemed like the mindless projects, or directives that made no sense, were the things that were landing on my desk, and I could hear her giggling to another co-worker about the fact that she'd given the work to me to do.  Finally, I got to the point where I'd had enough, and went and asked my boss if I could make a change to how my workload was organized.  It's a little difficult to understand, but basically some of my easier administrative tasks had been done by a girl with less seniority than I had, so that I would be able to help the girl with more seniority than me.  I proposed to my boss that I would prefer to do all of the admin work for my five managers myself, rather than giving some of my tasks to another girl and then taking on tasks from this senior admin girl.  My boss agreed with me, and I instigated the change.  The senior admin girl actually stopped talking to me for a while (without ever actually saying that she was angry that I wasn't helping her anymore), but it all eventually worked itself out.  I found that it made my work day much more enjoyable to be in control of my own workload, rather than having tasks dictated to me by others.  I was also really proud of myself for approaching my boss and demanding that I be allowed to alter my work day and that I not be treated like a doormat by this other admin girl.  And, most recently, my boss has reorganized the admin department yet again so that two other girls are doing all of the admin work for their respective managers as well, which just shows that my industrious idea worked well enough that it became a basis for how our workloads are organized!
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12/8/12

WEverb [8]



Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

8. respond [LISTEN]:  Do you actively listen to your inner voice/conscience?  Describe a time this year you heard and responded to it.

I consider myself to be fairly in tune with my inner voice.  It's hard to think of one exact time that I heard and responded my conscience, but I think that I have been better this year at being at peace with myself.  Sometimes my teenage insecurities rear their ugly heads, and I worry excessively about what others think of me.  This worry then turns inwards and makes me feel bad about myself.  But this year I think I've been much better at remaining positive, and not worrying so much about others' perceptions.  It's hard, and will always be a lifelong struggle, but one that I take one day at a time -- because, really, that's all we can do, right?
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12/7/12

WEverb [7]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

7. enliven [GROW]:  Was there a book or article that inspired you to make a change in your life this year? What was the source and what did you change?

I don't know if they're books that inspired me to make conscious changes in my life, but two books that affected me profoundly this year would definitely be John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and R.J. Palacio's Wonder.  TFiOS reminded me about the power of love and its ability to transcend even the most tragic of situations.  I'm a huge sap of a romantic to begin with, but reading Augustus and Hazel's love just made me fall in love with the idea of love even more.  Similarly, Wonder taught me about our tendency to judge people before we get the chance to know them and, by seeing the world through Auggie's eyes, it just made the world that much more beautiful.  Both stories are so beautiful and heartwarming and touching; it's hard not to have your world shifted just a little bit by reading either one.
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12/6/12

WEverb [6]



Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

6. cook [LIVE]: What was your best recipe/dish of the year? Share it!

In all honestly, I'm not the cook of the house -- my hubby enjoys cooking much more than I do, so he usually makes dinner and then I do the dishes afterwards.  But every once in a while, I give him a break from the kitchen.  My criteria for cooking is that it has to be EASY; I won't spend hours slaving over the stove!

A fall favourite of ours has been one of my mom's recipes for a Gibson stew (not sure what the Gibson part of the name implies, but it's good).

Chop carrots, celery, potatoes, onion and stewing beef into a large casserole dish.  Add spices to taste.  Pour in a large container of V8 juice.  Bake for 4 hours at 300 degrees Farenheit.  Serve with bread or buns and enjoy!
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12/5/12

WEverb [5]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

5. fellowship [HOPE]: What community has engaged you most this year and what did it you get out of your participation?

I'm going to be mushy and say the book blogging community.  When I started blogging in August 2011, I was a little shy and just read my favourite blogs, rarely leaving comments.  I was in awe of some bloggers who just seem so confident and out there in the community.  But over the past six months or so, I've started connecting with some of my favourite bloggers via Twitter, and it's just so amazing to see that they're just normal people, just like me.  (Honestly, at first, it seemed a little like sending a celebrity a fan letter!  And then having that movie star actually WRITE BACK.)  What I've learned from this experience is that it's totally worth it to just throw yourself out there -- you never know when you might make a new friend!
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12/4/12

WEverb [4]



Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

4. experiment [GROW]: What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?

The most amazing experience of 2012, which I definitely haven't done before, is being pregnant.  It's been an amazing experience so far -- but I think I'll wait until the baby arrives next year before stating in writing that I'll do this again =)  We've planned on having two kids, but only time will tell.  I've been really lucky and haven't felt sick at all, no morning sickness to speak of.  The last couple of weeks I've started to feel a little more run down and I'm having a little trouble sleeping because it's harder to get comfortable and Baby clearly takes after his/her dad and is a major night owl, happily kicking away while I'm trying to sleep =P  I finally decided to take a day off work in the middle of the week and just catch up on some sleep, which was absolutely wonderful.  I've already trained my mat leave replacement, so nobody really missed me at work for the day, and it was kind of nice to have a "me day."  I started reading Insurgent (LONG overdue) and was able to participate in the Epic Reads live chat, instead of reliving it when I got home via Jaime @ The Perpetual Page Turner's tweets.  Plus, I won a book, so it wasn't a bad day at all!
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12/3/12

Books that I Hope Santa Brings



It's Tuesday and time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful people over at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is books that I hope Santa brings ... which is perfect timing, since hubby and I just exchanged wish lists this past weekend!  I put my foot down and told him that we can't do all of our shopping on December 23rd this year, since I just don't have the shopping stamina that I normally do.  We are typically the Christmas shoppers that didn't leave everything until the last minute (because, duh, we're shopping on the 23rd, not the 24th), but still spend the day running around in a panic from store to store, finally settling on gift certificates for everyone.  And then he randomly decides that he needs to add more people and/or things to the shopping list at the last minute, which stresses me out a little.  This year, since he has to cater to my pregnant whims (woo hoo!), we've made a list, checked it twice, and we're doing a little bit of shopping each weekend until we're done.  We both spent an hour on separate computers last weekend  placing an order with Chapters (because, really, that's easier than going to the store!), so I'm hoping *fingers crossed* that a couple of these books will be under the tree for me!

The Evolution of Mara Dyer - Michelle Hodkin
I just read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer a couple of months ago, and really enjoyed it.  I'm intrigued to see how the storyline progresses and, since I own the first book, I have to own the second, rather than borrowing it from the library, right?

The Lost Girl - Sangu Mandanna
I've had my eye on this book for a while now and have been seeing rave reviews all over the place, especially from bloggers whose opinions I trust.  My library doesn't seem to have a copy, so maybe Santa will bring me one?

The Spindlers - Lauren Oliver
It's Lauren Oliver.  I own every book that she's published thus far.  Need I say more?

Wanderlove - Kirsten Hubbard
This is another book that I've seen reviewed by bloggers that I love, but my library has still not acquired a copy.  The storyline sounds like something that I'll love, so I'm really excited to read this one.

Lovely, Dark and Deep - Amy McNamara
I first saw this book on Evie @ Bookish's book haul post -- the cover is sooooo gorgeous and the book sounds intriguing.  Plus, it looks like the perfect wintry read!

Something by Jennifer Echols
I think I'm going to start with Going Too Far, which was recommended to me via Twitter as a good place to start with her books.  I thought I'd borrow one of her books from the library, just to see if I like her writing style, but my library actually doesn't have any of her books.

Most of the other books on my wishlist are books that are coming out next year.  Perhaps I could also ask Santa to bring me a time machine, so that I can zip forward in time and purchase the books that are coming out in the first few months of 2013?

What's on YOUR Christmas wishlist this year?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by to visit!
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WEverb [3]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.

3. stay [LISTEN]: How did you stay in the moment this year?

Staying in the moment is always hard to do.  One of my struggles this past year was not letting other people's negativity overwhelm or cancel out my positive attitude.  I work with a girl who's always very negative and I had a ... it's hard to call it an argument, because she stopped talking to me for a while.  To make a long story short, I decided to make a change in how my workload was organized, and it didn't make her happy, although it was my decision to make, not hers.  It was hard for me to remain positive throughout this experience, since it brought back so many memories of being bullied in elementary school.  But the situation eventually resolved itself and I'm not going to be working there much longer anyways.  I just repeatedly told myself just that: I already knew that I was pregnant, although no one at work knew just yet, so I knew that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that I would soon be leaving.  I also told myself that I made a change at in my workload in order to preserve my own sanity and well-being, as well as that of my baby, and if she didn't like it then it was her problem, not mine.  Sometimes it's easy to get dragged down in other people's negativity, which detracts from being in the moment.
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12/2/12

WEverb [1 and 2]


Estelle & Magan @ Rather Be Reading (one of my ALL TIME favourite blogs) are participating in WEverb this year.  I'd seen some tweets about this, but it wasn't until I was checking out their blog this afternoon that I realized exactly what WEverb is.  According to the website, WEverb is a series of questions and prompts that allows you to reflect back on 2012 and look forward to 2013.  Each day in December, there's a new prompt.  I'm a day behind, so I'm going to do prompts 1 and 2 today, and then see if I can keep this up throughout the month.  This seems like a great way to post a little more often (since my blog's been pretty quiet over the last two months), as well as close out 2012 and get ready for 2013, which is going to be AMAZING.

1. compose [CREATE]: Write a haiku for 2012 (bonus: write one for 2013)

2012:
Bun in the oven
Our little family grows
Miracle of love

2013:
Becoming a mom
Not knowing what to expect
Confidence and faith

2. watch [LIVE]: What movie did you see this year that you would recommend to a friend?

I'm going to take a page out of Estelle's book and recommend a Disney Pixar movie that my hubby and I watched recently and absolutely ADORED: Brave.  It had all of the elements that I love in a movie: adventure, magic, family, a kick-ass heroine (who might even be just a little cooler than Katniss from Hunger Games since she ROCKS with her bow!) and a really, really great soundtrack.  Toss in some Scottish accents and humour (I was enthralled with Merida's little brothers) and you have a recipe for a perfect movie.
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12/1/12

End of 2012 Book Survey

I participated in last year's end of year book survey, hosted by the wonderful Jaime over at The Perpetual Page Turner, and have been looking forward to this year's survey for a few weeks now!  As the year winds down to a close, it's time to reflect on the bestest books of the last year and look forward to what's coming in 2013....

Best in Books 2012

1. Best book you read in 2012?
I'm sure that John Green's The Fault in Our Stars is going to show up on a LOT of lists this year, but I'm going to go with R.J. Palacio's Wonder.  This book simply blew my mind.

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?
I was totally excited to dive into the Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, but wasn't as amazed as I had thought and hoped I would be.  I'm still on the fence about whether or not to read any further.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
I'll have to go with Brodi Ashton's Everneath.  I picked up this book based on its gorgeous cover and had no idea what it was about.  The storyline ended up impressing me, and I'm looking forward to reading the second installment next year.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
If I could have bought shares in R.J. Palacio's Wonder, I would be independently wealthy by now!  I have raved about this book on at least a dozen occasions on this blog alone, not to mention how many times I've recommended it to friends.  I seriously believe that there would be no more bullying if everyone in the world could read this story.

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
I started a LOT of series in 2012, so it's hard to choose just one.  Many of the series that I started were just book one, so I'll go with the Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano (Wither and Fever) because I've invested more time in the storyline.  She writes so brilliantly and I'm really intrigued to see how the series comes to a close next year.

6. Favourite new authors you discovered in 2012?
There are so many: Stephanie Perkins, Morgan Matson, Brodi Ashton, Julianna Baggott, Lauren DeStefano, R.J. Palacio, Marie Lu, Tahereh Mafi, Marissa Meyer, Courtney Summers, Siobhan Vivian (and I'm sure I'm forgetting at least a few more!)

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
My first impulse was to say Fifty Shades of Grey, but I don't know if I can consider that to be a BEST book.  Hard to put down, yes, but not really best.  I'll have to go with Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke & Bone.  I used to be a HUGE fantasy reader when I was younger, but gradually moved towards more contemporary reads.  It was really great to dive back into a fantastical realm that was a little more "out there" than just paranormal and/or dystopian fiction.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
I'll have to go with Stephanie Perkins' Anna & the French Kiss.  I'd picked up and put down quite a few books, not really feeling any of the storylines.  But I knew, based on other bloggers' love for the book, that it would be a hit.  And it was -- I think I read it in a day and a half.

9. Book you read in 2012 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
I haven't re-read a book in a long, long time!  Since I'm going to be a mom in February, I may re-read some of my older favourites next year, but likely not anything that I read this year.

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2012?
I don't know what it is about this cover, but I just love it!  The story inside was awesome too.

11. Most memorable character in 2012?
Probably Taylor in Morgan Matson's Second Chance Summer.  My heart broke while reading this story and there was some serious messy crying at the end -- it's so hard to read this book when you're a daddy's girl!  

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?
My initial thought would be the first two books in the Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano (Wither and Fever), but while looking through my books read in 2012 on Goodreads, I think I'll go with Julianna Baggott's Pure.  The style in that book took me completely by surprise, although she's a poet so I shouldn't have been so shocked at the beautiful way she wrote about such a horrific world.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?
Can't choose just one: Wonder made me believe in humanity and kindness, Second Chance Summer tore my heart apart, as did John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.  Pure was a surprising read, as I didn't expect such a horrifically beautiful dystopian, and I loved the melding of historical fact with a dystopian setting.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?
Definitely Anna & the French Kiss.  This book had been on my TBR list for ages and ages and it was well worth the wait!

15. Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2012?
I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once. - John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

16. Shortest and longest book you read in 2012?
Shortest book: Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl (170 pages) -- thank goodness this one was so short, otherwise I wouldn't have finished reading it!
Longest book: Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (636 pages) -- although, if I can finish Shantaram by the end of December, that'll blow this one out of the water... it's 933 pages!

17. Book that had a scene in it that had you reeling and dying to talk to somebody about it?
Probably Second Chance Summer -- after I stopped crying.  Fortunately, I sobbed on hubby's shoulder, then poured out the story of the book and we talked about it.  And Magan @ Rather Be Reading and Hannah @ So Obsessed With both shared in my emotional state over the book.

18. Favorite relationship from a book you read in 2012?
Probably Anna and St. Clair in Anna & the French Kiss.  I loved the simplicity of the budding relationship in that book.

19. Favourite book you read in 2012 from an author you read previously?
Lauren Oliver's Pandemonium -- so, so, SO good.

20. Best book you read that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
Both Some Girls Are and This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers, which were recommended to me by Magan @ Rather Be Reading.  BLEW my mind with both books, and I fully intend to read her two other books as soon as I can!

Book Blogging / Reading Life in 2012

1. New favourite blog you discovered in 2012?
I discovered lots of new blogs, but lost all of my bookmarks when our computer died a month or so ago.  I'm slowly recreating the list, starting with my all-time favourite blogs.

2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2012?
May I take a moment and promote Wonder ... just one more time?  (No promises that this book won't make a reappearance again by the end of this survey!)

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
I don't get a lot of discussion on my blog; most people stop by to comment and, although I try to reply to all of the comments, it doesn't really turn into discussion.  Some of the most thoughtful comments that I had were on a Top Ten Tuesday post about series that I hadn't finished.

4. Most thought-provoking review you read on somebody else's blog?
This is hard -- I love so many bloggers' reviews!  One that has stuck with me, especially because I kept checking back in to read the comments, was Lea's review of Shattered Souls.  Although I love reading the gushy, "oh my goodness, this is the best book I've read all year," solid 5 star reviews, it's sometimes refreshing to see when someone really eloquently describes why a book just didn't work, as Lea did in this review.

5. Best event that you participated in?
I met Lisa Genova in person, which was awesome.  Authors so rarely come to town, so it was really fun to meet her and have my book signed.

6. Best moment of blogging in 2012?
Probably when Morgan Matson responded to my gushy tweets about her books -- it was so cool to connect with a real writer via social media.

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?
My post for the launch of my Something Wicked Comes giveaway -- although gaining followers has never really been a goal of blogging for me (I'm always thrilled if even one person stops by to comment on a review or a post), it was pretty thrilling to see how many entries I had in the giveaway by the end of the month.

8. Post you wished got a little more love?
Again, not too worried about that -- I have at least a couple of comments on most of my reviews, and that's just fine with me!

9. Best bookish discovery?
I ordered from the Book Depository for the very first time this year ... this could become a very, very bad habit.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of the year?
I want to say that I failed miserably at all of the challenges that I set out to do, but that isn't entirely true.  I aimed to read 75 books on my Goodreads challenge and have already surpassed that.  I also signed up for Bookish's TBR Pile Challenge and, although I read quite a few books that had been on my TBR list for over a year, I didn't really keep track of what I read.  Same goes for the Dusty Bookshelf Challenge.  And the very first challenge that I signed up for was the Outlander challenge, and I didn't even read the first book.  Although I did say that I would read that for my next TBR Intervention book ... so perhaps it's time to give it a go?

Looking Ahead...

1. One book you didn't get to in 2012 but will be your number 1 priority in 2013?
Hmm... definitely planning to read as much as I can in January, before Baby arrives in February, but I can't say that I have really planned out which specific titles I'm hoping to get to.

2. Book you are most anticipating for 2013?
I can't choose just one.  Requiem, Scarlet, new Sarah Dessen -- read my full list of eagerly anticipated titles here.

3. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging in 2013?
My only goal at this point is to just keep doing it.  As a first time mom, I really have no idea how much free time I'll have for reading and blogging but, as I'm enjoying it, I'm really hoping to find the time!

And that's it for me -- I can't wait to start checking out everyone else's end of year surveys!  Please leave me a link to your survey, and I'll stop by to visit!
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