12/31/14

Reading Challenges - 2014

I started drafting my sign-up post for my 2015 reading challenges, and realized that I really had no idea how I'd done.  I didn't set very specific goals for myself and didn't do a very good job of keeping track of my progress either.  Before I look towards 2015, I thought I'd actually take a moment to look at how I did this year!



Books read:
  • Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  • Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
  • How to Love by Katie Cotugno
  • Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker
  • Reboot by Amy Tintera
  • Arclight by Josein McQuein
  • Sever by Lauren DeStefano
  • Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
  • The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
  • Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson
  • Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer
Total: 16 Books!  A Friendly Hug
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12/30/14

Book Haul [14] -- Christmas Edition!

Hello fellow bookworms!  Hope you all had a very merry Christmas, and that Santa was good to you all!  My husband and my Secret Santa SPOILED me this year, and I'm so excited to share this book haul with you all.

From my Secret Santa, Kathy @ A Glass of Wine:

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle
Kathy had an extra copy of this ARC, and added it into the package.  The premise sounds intriguing!

Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Kathy chose this book off my "to-read" shelf on Goodreads because it's one of her favourites!  I can't wait to read it!

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Yay!!!  My Morgan Matson collection is complete!!!  I love love love this book, and am so happy to own a copy!

Kathy also sent me some tea and chocolate -- two of my very favourite things to enjoy while reading.  I also loved that she personalized each gift with a little sticky note explaining why she'd chosen each item.  Very thoughtful and sweet.

From my husband: 

I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
I've heard nothing but amazing things about this book from bloggers that I trust, and my library actually didn't have a copy!  Since I'm on a bit of an adult kick at the moment, I'm hoping to dive into this one soon.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
I've been coveting this book since Hannah @ So Obsessed With reviewed it ... last year I think?

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
I was chatting with some bloggers on Twitter about adult fiction and both Jaime @ The Perpetual Page Turner and Estelle @ Rather Be Reading highly recommended this one, so it was instantly added to my TBR.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
My husband got me a signed copy!!!

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson
Although I still haven't finished the Mortal Instruments series or the Infernal Devices series (I know, I know!) Magnus Bane is definitely one of my favourite characters, and I'm looking forward to seeing what his story is like, as well as how the contribution of two more writing styles adds to the story.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
It's taking ALL of my will power to not crack this one open right this very second, but a) I'm in the middle of another book and b) I'm waiting for Lauren @ Lose Time Reading to finish Crown of Midnight so that we can squeal and fangirl over this one together!

How about you?  What did Santa bring you this year?  If you have a Christmas haul, please leave me a link below and I'll stop by to visit!  If you've any of my new books, please let me know in the comments below -- I'd love to hear your thoughts on which book I should read first!

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12/21/14

2014 End of the Year Book Survey

One of my favourite end-of-the-year moments is when Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner launches her end of the year book survey!  It's a great opportunity to look back through the books that I read last year.  Plus, I LOVE reading other blogger's responses.  So, if you took part in the survey, please leave me a link below so that I can check out your answers!  Without any further ado, here goes...


Number of Books You Read: 60
Number of Books You Re-Read: I think 3?
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary

1. Best Book You Read in 2014?
I discovered the Throne of Glass series this year, so I'll go with Crown of Midnight for this question!  For the remainder of this survey, I will try not to use this series for every.single.answer.  But no promises.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Probably Ignite Me.  It was one of my most anticipated releases this year and, while I did enjoy it, it wasn't AS good as I was expecting.

3. Most Surprising (in a good or bad way!) Book of 2014?
I wasn't expecting much when I picked up Ann Brashares' The Here and Now, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.

4. Book You "Pushed" the Most People to Read (and they did) in 2014?
I've talked a lot about the Lunar Chronicles to my co-workers, although they kind of gave me a funny look when I used Cinderella and cyborg in one sentence...

5. Best Series you Started in 2014?  Best Sequel of 2014?  Best Series Ender of 2014?
Throne of Glass would be an easy choice, but I'm going to go with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, since I gobbled up seven of the books so far this year!  In terms of sequel and series ender, I'm going to have to go with Laini Taylor's Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters.  What a beautiful series!

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2014?
I adored Open Road Summer, and will definitely be picking up Emery Lord's new book when it comes out next year!

7. Best Book From a Genre You Don't Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?
I started the Song of Ice & Fire series this year, which is enormous and fantasy, two things that I usually shy away from.  I'm currently reading the third book, and loving it.

8. Most Action-Packed, Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2014?
Definitely The Assassin's Blade.   It was my first introduction to Celeana, and I found myself sneaking in a paragraph or two while waiting for the elevator at work.

9. Book You Read in 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I'm planning to do a couple of re-reads next year, mostly book 1s in a series that I started a LONG time ago, but none of them are books that I read this year.

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2014?
I downloaded a review copy of No Place to Fall specifically because I loved the cover so much!

11. Most Memorable Character in 2014?
Celaena Sardothien, hands down.  Okay, I can't promise that I won't use this series for every single answer.  All bets are now off.

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2014?
Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy.

13. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2014?
Katie Cotugno's How to Love.  Although I didn't review most of the contemporaries that I read over the summer, finishing How to Love prompted me to open up my laptop and write a gushy, incoherent review purely based on all of the emotions that I was feeling at the end of the book.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
Probably Outlander.  It had been sitting on my shelf for YEARS, and even my mom had already read it.  It was okay, but definitely didn't live up to the hype.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?
I don't jot down quotes too often, but I knew that I would love Celaena from page one of The Assassin's Blade when she's irritable at being called to a meeting in the middle of the night, only to be told, "Perhaps if you hadn't been reading all night, you wouldn't be so exhausted."  Oh yeah, she's a badass AND a reader? I'm in.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?
How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.
Longest -- A Game of Thrones (801 pages!)
Shortest -- Delirium Stories (208 pages)

17. Book that shocked you the most?
Without being spoilery, there was a moment in Crown of Midnight where I thought my heart would break and I had to put the book down for a bit because I just couldn't see through the tears.

18. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)
Although I still don't fully understand the whole "ship" thing, Chaol and Celaena, hands down.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
The friendship between Reagan and Dee in Open Road Summer.

20. Favorite book you read in 2014 from an author you’ve read previously?
Jojo Moyes' Me Before You topped the charts for me last year, and One Plus One and The Girl You Left Behind were two five-star reads for me this year!

21. Best book you read in 2014 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
I asked for help choosing a series to start, and the response was overwhelmingly in favour of the Throne of Glass series.  You guys were sooooo right!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
I'm not really a "book boyfriend" kind of girl.

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
I didn't love it, but probably Amy Zhang's Falling into Place.

24. Best worldbuilding / most vivid setting you read this year?
Throne of Glass!!!!!

25. Book that put a smile on your face / was the most FUN to read?
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? actually made me laugh out loud, which books don't often do.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2014?
*sobs*  Crown of Midnight *curls up into fetal position*  Oh my heart.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
Most of my five-star reads are the ones that everyone else loves too, so I don't know if I read too many hidden gem books.

28. Book that crushed your soul?
Crown of Midnight.  Gosh, I'm really not doing very well with not picking this book for every question!

29. Most unique book you read in 2014?
I loved the unique non-traditional narrative style of Where'd You Go, Bernadette?  Actually, I think that this book might just be my hidden gem book.  I loved it, but it's a little under the radar.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
This is going to be the most unpopular of opinions, but I really, really, really disliked Outlander.  Like angry rage for most of the book.  The rape, the beating, the insta-love -- UGH from beginning to end.


1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2014?
In all honesty, I don't do a very good job at keeping up with the blogs that I followed pre-2014, and haven't added any new blogs to the roster.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2014?
Probably my rambling thoughts after I finished How to Love.  It's a great feeling when you finish a book and just have to say something right away.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
When I asked you guys for help on starting a series!  Or my post about bookish guilt.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
Sydney @ Utterly Bookish has written some of my favourite posts, but her ranting discussion "Quit Making Me Feel Like I Need to Defend YA" is, hands down, the best post I read all year.  Every time I read her blog, I'm amazed that she's a teenager, because she sees the world in a much more adult fashion than I did at her age.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I only went to one author event this year and met Marissa Meyer!

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2014?
Probably joining a book club again, thanks to my wonderful new co-worker who invited me to join her book club.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
I have had a tidal wave of spam comments this year so, if my stats are to be believed, it's my review of Girl of Fire & Thorns, and my second Marko Monday post (both from 2013).

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I was really proud of my post about ARCs and, while it did have some love, I had hoped for just a little bit more.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I've never bought anything from Etsy, but have spent quite some time browsing bookish things.  I haven't yet decided what or if I want to purchase, but I'm sure that I will know once I find it!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I didn't really set any goals for myself, nor did I do a very good job of keeping track of my stats, but I feel pretty proud of how many series I completed, as well as how many books I read off my shelves.


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?
Heir of Fire, although I will be starting that one as soon as I unwrap it on Christmas morning, so there's a possibility that I'll be done by the time the new year arrives!  Otherwise, hopefully Requiem!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?
I posted a list of my most anticipated 2015 releases, but basically: SARAH J. MAAS.

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I haven't had my eye on any debut books for next year, but I'm excited to see what's on everyone else's horizons for next year!

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?
Definitely the Lunar Chronicles!

5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging in 2015?
Keep having fun, whether it's posting what I want or reading what I want -- 2015 will be fun and stress-free!

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Looking Forward...to 2015!

It's hard to believe that 2014 is almost behind us!  Even though I'm always sad to bid a fond farewell to the past year, I'm always excited about the fresh start that a new year brings!  Here are my bookish resolutions for the coming year ...

1. Read what I want when I want.
I think that I learned a lot about myself as a reader last year.  I went through a couple of mini-slumps when I was wearing myself out by reading what I had planned to read, and ignoring what my heart was telling me I should read.  Next year, I will still make my seasonal TBR posts, because it's FUN, but I will read what I feel like reading because I enjoy what I read more when I'm not forcing myself to read.

2.Not be afraid to try new things.
In 2013, I dipped my toes into fantasy when Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books encouraged me to try out The Girl of Fire & Thorns.  I used to read a lot of fantasy when I was younger (basically, if there was a unicorn involved, I was THERE).  As I grew up, I gravitated towards contemporary and then to dystopian.  This year, however, I delved further into fantasy and found that I'm really loving it!  I will definitely be open to trying new things in 2015.

3. Stay true to myself.
Even though I'll be open to reading something out of my comfort zone, I have also realized over the past year that I know myself best and, even if it's a book that everyone is RAVING about, it doesn't necessarily mean that I have to read it.  I have fallen victim to bookish hype quite a bit and every time that I'm disappointed I've realized that it's a book that I picked up because of the hype, but it wasn't really a ME book.  This year, I will still pay attention to the reviews when books are getting a lot of buzz and attention from bloggers that I trust, but I won't necessarily jump onto every popular bookish train.

4. Read books that I own.
I've always thought that the whole of idea of a "book buying ban" was funny, as I do buy a fair amount of books, but I've never felt that my book buying is out of control and requires an intervention.  I do sometimes struggle with the feeling of bookish guilt over the number of unread books on my shelves.  I've toyed with implementing a book buying ban, just to reduce the number of unread books on my shelves, but at the same time, I know that there are books that I will want to buy, and I don't want to restrict myself.  But then, I thought of the PERFECT way to get my physical TBR shelf down: I will not buy a book this year unless I plan to read it right away.  Yup, you heard it correctly.  Whenever I buy a book this year, it'll be because I plan to dive into it RIGHT AWAY.  I did this on two separate occasions this year (Black Dagger Brotherhood book #2 and Crown of Midnight) and it was AWESOME.  I loved the excitement of going into the bookstore because I was almost finished the first book, desperate to have the next installment in my hands.  Then, as soon as I finished the final pages of book 1, I jumped straight into book 2.  It was awesome, and I want to experience that more in 2015.

5. Continue to make progress with my series.
This goal goes hand-in-hand with the goal above.  While I definitely plan to complete some more series in 2015, I also want to binge read some series that I already own and haven't read yet.  Specifically, Marie Lu's Legend series, Neal Shusterman's Unwind series, Kristin Cashore's Graceling trilogy and the rest of the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series.  It's going to be epic.

How about you?  Do you have any bookish reading goals for the year?  Leave me a comment below -- and thanks for stopping by!

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12/13/14

Prequel & Sequel Challenge - Sign-Up for 2015!

preqseqbutton2015

It's time for another year of the Prequel & Sequel Challenge! Last year I was happy that Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat decided to take me on as a co-host, and we're giving it another go in 2015!

Welcome to the 2015 Sequel & Prequel Challenge, hosted by Novel Heartbeat and Writer Grrl Reads! The goal: To read as many prequels and sequels as you can. You set your goal at whatever number works for you.

Guidelines

  1. The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st.
  2. Any books started before Jan. 1 will not count.
  3. All books in a series count for points (see below)
  4. Novellas count, either prequels or sequels (i.e. #0.5, #1.5, #2.5, etc).
  5. Books can be of any publication date. They don’t have to be released in 2015.
  6. In order to get 10 points for a completed series, there must be at least 3 full-length books in the series.
  7. You can still get sequel points for a duology, you just can't get the 10 bonus points for finishing it.
  8. Sign-ups will be open until December 1st, 2015.
  9. To join, add the URL of your challenge post to the linky widget. (If you’d like to wait, it’s ok to use your blog URL and send us your link as soon you get the post up)
  10. At the end of each quarter (every three months), we will post a linky for you to add your sequel reviews to. The linky will rotate between our blogs on alternate quarters, so you can link up at Novel Heartbeat at the end of March and September, and here at Writer Grrl Reads at the end of June and December. If you have a ton of reviews for the quarter, you can always link to wherever you're keeping track of your progress. This will make it much easier for us - not only is it less posting, but it will be easier to keep track of how many points everyone has.
  11. We will try to do some giveaways throughout the year for participants (as long as we can afford it), as well as some mini-challenges and read-alongs ... so stay tuned for further details!
  12. There will be a giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge!
 

The Point System

For each prequel and sequel read this year, points will be awarded as follows:
  • 1 point for each prequel or sequel novella read and reviewed
  • 2 points for each full-length sequel read and reviewed
  • 10 points for completing and reviewing a full series (doesn't require novellas)*†
  • **You do not get points for the first book in a series
To get points, you must review the book/novella somewhere. If you want to earn points, please link up your reviews at the end of each month, and enter the number of points earned (we will give examples in the linky). Each point earned is an entry into the giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge. So, the more sequels you read, the better your chances of winning the giveaway! Plus, we are also considering one prize for the "overachiever award" -- the person who gets the most points!

*The 10 bonus points is for finishing a full series. That means that all books must be published (unless you got an advance reader copy early). i.e. If you are completely caught up on a series, and the next book is not releasing until 2016 (and you do not have an advance reader copy), that does not count toward the 10 bonus points.

If you started the series before 2015, you can still get the bonus points for finishing it if you reviewed the other books in the series at some point. For example: You read The Hunger Games in 2014, but read Catching Fire and Mockingjay in 2015 - you would get 2 points for both sequels and 10 bonus points for finishing the series (14 points total). You don't have to start the series in 2015 to get the bonus points.
10-25 points: Newbie
25-50 points: Amateur
51-75 points: Advanced
76-100 points: Professional
101+ points: Veteran

So let this year be the year that we stop whining about how many sequels are sitting on our TBRs or cluttering up our shelves! Take control of your reading destinies and sign up to read with us!

Grab a button:

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Link up!



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12/10/14

Looking Back...at 2014!

It's that time of year again, when we all get retrospective and revisit the bookish resolutions that we made last year!  Here are mine:

1. Read.
I started off this year with not setting a Goodreads reading challenge.  Shocking, I know!  But then I got tired of continually seeing it in my sidebar, just begging me to start, so I decided to just put 20 books as my goal, knowing that I could easily complete it.  But I read 20 books by May-ish, so I increased it over the summer to 60 books -- and I will definitely make it!  I definitely spent less time on Goodreads this year (my "currently read" shelf seems to always be hopelessly outdated!) so I definitely didn't stress about how much I was reading ... and I read quite a lot!

2. Read more books that I already own.
I definitely took a hiatus from library books this year, and read lots more of my own books!  I still have to total up how I many previously-owned books I read, but it was definitely better than previous years!

3. Read some more "big kid" books.
I ROCKED at this!  My winter TBR is all adult books, but I read quite a few this year, including the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and A Song of Ice & Fire (I'm not done either series yet, but they're both so good!)

4. Conquer my series TBR.
Well, I wouldn't say I conquered my TBR, but I definitely made a dent in the stack!  I also started a few new series this year, but definitely crossed quite a few off the list.

5. Be more selective with review titles.
I had spurts in the year where my review pile got a little overwhelming, but I've been using my e-reader less and less over the past few months, which has resulted in less e-ARCs.  At the moment, I only have four ARCs to read, all of which are 2015 titles.  I think I learned a lot about my ARC requisition process this year, which was really great.

I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments this year.  How did you do with your bookish resolutions?  Leave me a comment below!  I'm also still sloooowly working on my end of the year book survey (it takes me SO LONG to put that post together!) so stay tuned for more bookish retrospectiveness!

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12/8/14

No Place to Fall - Jaye Robin Brown

To be perfectly honest, I chose this book specifically because the cover was super cute and the tagline on the cover spoke to me: A girl. A dream. A choice.  Seriously, doesn't that sound like a fun and lighthearted contemporary?

Jaye Robin Brown has woven a good story.  Amber Vaughn is faced with a few tough choices throughout the book, choices that ultimately define who she is as a person.  And while there were certain moments in the book where I was enraptured by her tale, the book ultimately felt a bit preachy at times. Also, I finished the book over a month ago and didn't write my review right away, and I'm struggling to remember the exact content of the story.  Ultimately, it's an easy read, but not one that will leave a lasting impact long after the last page is turned.

Note: I received an e-galley of this book from Edelweiss.  The fact that I received this book for review did not influence my opinion of this book in any way.
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12/6/14

On Forcing Myself to Read

I have written on here (more times than I care to admit) that Requiem will be the ONE book that I MUST finish reading this year.  I've set a goal for myself to finish this series so many times, and each time I just never quite get around to picking it up.

I requested an ARC of Burn by Julianna Baggott earlier this year, but only had a very short period of time in which to read it so it sits unreviewed on my Netgalley account.  I've borrowed the hard copy twice from the library, renewed it three times over (once even incurring fines), but have I read it?  Nope.

I want to finish both of these series so badly, but I just can't bring myself to pick up either book.  They've both been sitting on my nightstand, on and off, all freakin' year.  Yet they remain on my tbr-series-to-finish shelf on Goodreads.

Why, you ask?  Because I just can't force myself to read anything anymore.

I've had a mood reading post in a draft format for a while now, but I've been having trouble explaining my reading moods.  The truth of the matter is that I've been enjoying books more when I choose what I'm in the mood for, rather than focusing on what I've promised myself that I will read.  The past few books that I've read have been absolutely fantastic reads, and I feel like this is really working for me.  Of course, it presents a bit of a challenge with review books, but it has given me pause to think over my reading habits.

I've never been one to read off a strict schedule, and have been handling my review book schedule really well of late.  I generally choose what I want to read when I want to read it, and I want to continue to do so.  Unfortunately, this means that Requiem and Burn are just going to hang out unread for a little while longer, waiting until my heart feels that it's time to knock these two series off my TBR.  Hopefully soon, but we shall see!

Do you guys have roadblocks like this when it comes to certain books?  How do you handle it?  Leave me a comment below -- I hope that I'm not the only one!

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12/1/14

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To Reading in 2015


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Today's topic is books that we're looking forward to reading in 2015.  I'm already in the midst of planning my end-of-year-survey post, as well as some bookish resolution posts, so my eyes are already on the 2015 horizon .... let's see what next year has in store for us!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (May 2015)
I still haven't read Heir of Fire, but Sarah J. Maas is a new favourite author for SURE.

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (March 2015)
New Lauren Oliver?  YES PLEASE!

The Start of Me & You by Emery Lord (March 2015)
I looooooved Open Road Summer, and can't wait to see what Emery writes next!

99 Days by Katie Cotugno (May 2015)
How to Love topped the charts for me this year, and I'm excited to read Katie's second novel.

Untitled (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas (September 2015)
I have a feeling that, after I finish Heir of Fire, I'll be counting down the days until the release date for this one.

Winter by Marissa Meyer (November 2015)
I finally caught up in this series, and cannot WAIT to see how it all wraps up!

I couldn't quite think of ten books, but I'm sure I'll see some books that I missed on my list once I read through all of your lists!  Are you excited for any of the books on my list?  Leave me a comment below -- and thanks for stopping by!

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11/30/14

Book Haul [14]

Happy Saturday!  We had our first dusting of snow this weekend, and holy crap it's cold!  Here on the West Coast (or the Wet Coast, as we call it), we don't actually get much snow!  Usually it just rains most of the winter (hence the name), so I'm not used to the temperature being below freezing!  It's the perfect weather to stay indoors though -- we all watched Ice Age this afternoon =)

I know it seems odd to do a haul this close to Christmas, but I ordered a few books towards the end of August, and I had to wait until the latest release date until they shipped, so the whole order came in November.  I also picked up a few review books from Edelweiss in the past couple of weeks, which I'm excited to share with you ... so, here goes!


Lauren Oliver's Rooms
I'm a bit apprehensive about this one, since it's adult (which is new for her) and it's been compared to Her Fearful Symmetry, which I liked but didn't love, but it's LAUREN OLIVER, so I'm also a little bit excited.  My winter TBR pile is full of adult picks, and this one is sure to be added to that list!


Michelle Hodkin's The Retribution of Mara Dyer
I've only read the first book in the series, and am desperately trying to remain spoiler free (seriously, people, with the Goodreads status updates!)  I'm excited to binge read this series, hopefully in the new year!



Jojo Moyes' Me Before You
This was one of my favourite reads of 2013, so when I saw this as a bargain buy at Chapters, I just had to scoop it up!  This story resonated with me on a such a personal level that I just had to have a copy for my shelves...


Megan Shepherd's A Cold Legacy
I'm having a tough time getting into this one, and I honestly think I probably should have stopped reading the series after book 1, since I'm not loving it.  I'm on the fence with finishing this book -- if you've read it, let me know in the comments!

Katie Cotugno's 99 Days 
I was super excited when I saw this book up on Edelweiss!  How to Love is one of my favourite reads in 2014, and I can't wait to see what Katie has in store in her next book!

  
Neal Shusterman's Challenger Deep
I looooooved Unwind when I read it a few years ago, although I haven't continued on with the series.  I downloaded this one on a whim, but just noticed that it has incredibly high reviews on Goodreads so far!

Hilary T. Smith's A Sense of the Infinite
Wild Awake was one of my favourite reads last year, so I'm looking forward to seeing what Hilary does next!


Jessi Kirby's Things We Know by Heart
Confession time: I have not yet read a Jessi Kirby book.  I know, I know, shame on me!  I even have a copy of Golden on my shelf, but I haven't taken the plunge just yet.  I'm excited to see what I think of her writing!

What about you?  What's new on your shelves?  Leave me a comment below -- and hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

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11/27/14

Life of a Blogger - Thankfulness


My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat runs this awesome feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

So, we're a month late, but today's topic is Thanksgiving related!  Since us Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving last month, and I don't really have any Thanksgiving traditions anyways, I thought I'd just stick to the topic of thankfulness, since that's a year-round topic anyways.

Bear with me while I get a little bit mushy, but I am thankful for my husband.  Today, while all my American friends are eating turkey, my husband and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary!  And next month, on December 22nd, we will have been together for TEN years.  Ten YEARS folks!  That's a long time!  I feel like I've known him forever, and I can scarcely remember a time that he wasn't a part of my life.  He's my best friend, my soul mate, my support system, my EVERYTHING.

And there's another special little man in my life, whom I am also incredibly thankful to have, and that is my 21-month old son, Marko.  Every day he amazes me with the new words he's learning, or new ways that he sees the world.  He still likes to read books, and will sometimes push my hands away when I'm turning a page because he's still examining the pictures or he wants to read the story to me!  He's also obsessed with Elsa from Frozen (we listen to the soundtrack over and over and over again on our commute -- goodbye audiobooks!) as well as Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc.  Although he can't quite sit still for a whole movie, my hubby and I have enjoyed watching part of a movie for half an hour or so on a rainy Saturday afternoon, all snuggled up on the couch together as a family.  Each moment that I spend with him just reminds me of all the amazing memories and moments that we have yet to experience.  Being a mom is simply one of the most precious gifts and I am incredibly thankful to be living this experience.

So happy Thanksgiving to you all, if today is your turkey day, and hope you're all taking a moment to be thankful, even if it isn't Thanksgiving in your part of the world!

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11/25/14

Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  In all honesty, I've been such a mood reader lately, but I still love planning my seasonal TBRs (even if I pretty much suck at actually following the list!).  Once I posted my fall TBR, I almost immediately started planning my winter one.  I've been craving some good adult fiction lately, so I'm super excited to share this stack with you all...



First up, some review copies that I need to read:
1. Ann-Marie MacDonald's Adult Onset (there will be tears, I can feel it)
2. Miriam Toews' All My Puny Sorrows (a sister story!)
3. Marisha Pessl's Night Film (this seems dark and mysterious ... good for winter!)

A new series to love?
4. Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches (Lauren @ Lose Time Reading LOVES this series, and I hope that I will too!)

An author I've read before:
5. Chris Bohjalian's Midwives (I've read two of his books thus far, and loved both of them)

Some new-to-me authors:
6. Carol Rifka Brunt's Tell the Wolves I'm Home
7. Liza Palmer's Nowhere But Home
8. S.J. Watson's Before I Go to Sleep
9. Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain
10. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows' The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Have you read any of these books?  Any suggestions on where to start?  Leave me a comment below and thanks for stopping by!


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11/19/14

When Bookish Hype is so, so, SO RIGHT

Earlier this year, I wrote about my fear of starting a new series, and then later asked for your help for me to choose a new series to read.  The response was overwhelmingly in favour of the Throne of Glass series, as I had the first book sitting on my shelves.  I was a little bit excited, but mostly scared because I know that this series is so beloved across the blogosphere and I was so worried that I'd be the only person who didn't like it.  I let my fear of bookish hype get in the way for MONTHS, until Lauren @ Lose Time Reading and I decided to take the plunge together.  She's new-ish to fantasy, as am I, so I felt a bit more confident with her by my side. 

We decided to start with the novellas, and I'm so glad we did!  I felt like I really got to know Celaena's character and the novellas prepared me for who she had become by the time I reached the opening pages of Throne of Glass.  I liked Throne of Glass as well, especially towards the end when the plot got really exciting.  And then I started Crown of Midnight -- and oh my god you guys, my heart has shattered so many times while reading this book!  I'm about 100 pages from the end and I want to finish reading it, but I'm scared of the heartbreak that's awaiting me!  Plus, I've put Heir of Fire on my Christmas wishlist and Christmas is TOO FAR AWAY.  What will I DO while I wait for the next installment?!?!?

Honestly, if I try to talk about this book anymore, it'll be simply this: apoiufuhrhdughfjdieidkdk because my thoughts are all over the map, and my heart is aching, so let me end with this.  This series is AMAZING and totally worth the hype.  If you've been hesitant to start it because of fear of it not living up to the hype, let it go and just read it.  Seriously, seriously amazing and I absolutely cannot WAIT to see what happens next in this epic series!!!!!!

P.S. Thank you thank you thank you to those of you who recommended this series, but especially to Lauren @ Lose Time Reading for taking the plunge with me and to Sydney @ Utterly Bookish for gushing over Twitter once I'd started the series!

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11/17/14

Delirium Stories - Lauren Oliver

I haven't written a book review in quite a while, but it's Novella November, so I thought I'd do a little
update on what I've read so far!  What's Novella November you ask?  Hop on over here to find out more and sign up -- we still have half a month to go!

In all honesty, I'd never read a novella before.  Shocking, I know, right?  My Goodreads timeline is filled with my fellow reading friends' progress and I always see others polishing off the last pieces of a series, but I've just always felt fulfilled after the three books in a trilogy.  After chatting with Lauren @ Lose Time Reading, she begged me to read the Delirium stories by Lauren Oliver.  I'm still hoping to finish Requiem by the end of the year, so I thought I'd give the novellas a shot and allow the stories to spark my interest in the Delirium world once again.

Honestly, I loved the book!  The Delirium series is told through the eyes of Lena so, although we do get to know the other characters, we don't really get into their heads the same way we get to experience Lena's mind.  This collection of stories follows Hana (Lena's best friend), Annabel (Lena's mother) and Raven, who Lena meets in the Wilds.  Of the stories, Raven's was definitely my favourite, although Annabel's story definitely struck a chord with me because I'm also a mother.

I don't know if I'm a full convert to the world of novellas, but for a series that I adore, I will definitely consider picking up an extra piece of the storyline!

What about you?  Do you read the novellas in a series, or have you always skipped over them, as I had done?  Are there any can't-live-without-this-novellas that I should add to my TBR?  Leave me a comment below -- and don't forget to check out Novella November if you'd like to join the fun!

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11/11/14

Looking Back ... at the Past Three Years!

I've never celebrated my blogoversary before, and honestly wasn't too sure exactly when it was, until Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat and I were chatting and realized that ours were fairly close!  We briefly thought of doing something jointly to celebrate, but I've been a very disorganized blogger as of late, and didn't get my butt in gear in time!  Oh well, there's always next year... right?

Then, Magan & Estelle at Rather Be Reading shared their blogoversary post, and I realized that Writer Grrl Reads started at the same time as a few of my favourite blogs!  I feel honoured to share space on the internet with these wonderful ladies...

Inspired by Rather Be Reading's post, I decided to be retrospective as well...

In 2011... I'd just taken a library course in which I had learned all about blogs.  The Perpetual Page Turner was one of the very first blogs that I read, and I found it inspiring that she wrote all about books and reading and bookish stuff, and people responded and interacted and loved what she had to say!  I was a bit shy about starting up my blog, wondering if anyone would even read what I wrote, and shared these thoughts in my first post -- Hello World!  The very first book I ever reviewed on Writer Grrl Reads was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, a book that my husband had been bugging me to read ever since we first met.

Offline, I was working at a property management company as an administrative assistant and I was two years into my library technician program.  My hubby and were still newlyweds, having gone on our honeymoon in the summer of 2011.  We were talking about starting a family, but weren't quite there yet.  Romeo, our fur baby, was still a rambunctious kitten!

In 2014... My blog isn't the biggest or the most popular, but I'm pretty proud of my little corner of the internet.  In my first blog post, I wrote that "a Writer Grrl writes and a Writer Grrl reads," but in all honesty, I don't write all that much anymore.  Blogging has been the place where I do commit words to the page, and it's been my little safe haven to share my thoughts, whether those thoughts are about a book I recently read, a bookish topic on my mind, or just the latest news about my little man.  I'm deeply honoured and humbled whenever someone takes the time to comment on something that I've written.  I appreciate each and every person that stops by my blog, even if you're just reading.  I'm even more appreciative of those who I can call friends -- even though we may not have met in real life, you have changed  my life for the better ... from book recommendations to fangirling over favourite reads or to just knowing that I'm not the only person out there who's obsessed with books and reading.

Offline, I started a new job working as an administrative assistant in an engineering firm, which was the best decision that I have made in a long time.  My new job is so amazing and I work with some incredible people.  I only wish that I'd made this move a long, long time ago.  My hubby and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary this month, and our TENTH anniversary of being together next month!!!!  We're planning our first night away from Marko so that we can have a fancy dinner and overnight stay downtown -- a small getaway, but not TOO far away.

I've never done a blogoversary giveway, but I want to share some bookish love this year.  So, in celebration of three years of books and reviews, I will give away to one winner, one book of your choice (up to a $20 value).  This giveaway is open internationally, provided that the Book Depository ships to you!  Please enter using the Rafflecopter below -- and thanks for being a part of Writer Grrl Reads' adventures thus far!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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11/6/14

Life of a Blogger - Concerts


My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat runs this awesome feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

Today's topic is a fun one -- concerts that I've been to!  I was a late bloomer when it came to checking out concerts, mainly because I grew up on an island that didn't have too many concerts, since it's super expensive for an artist to get all their stuff to the island, and there weren't any massive concert venues where they could recoup some of those expenses.  After I moved to Vancouver, I went to my very first concert, to see Christina Aguilera (yes, I know, but I love her!!!) and I haven't looked back since then.  In no particular order, my husband and I have seen the following:
  • Snow Patrol
  • Blue Rodeo
  • The Tragically Hip
  • The Tea Party
  • Alanis Morrisette
  • City and Colour
  • Feist
  • 54/40
  • U2
  • Kings of Leon (twice!)
Now that I look over this list, that's a heck of a lot of Canadian music!  All of the shows were phenomenal, with the exception of the Tragically Hip, who were a bit of a disappointment....  We'd originally planned to see them at an outdoor concert called Rock the Shores, but the show was postponed due to a lightning storm.  I was three months pregnant at the time, and the show was poorly organized, so they ran out of food and we were starving.  Since we didn't know when, if ever, the Hip was actually going to be on stage, we opted to leave.  Then, we found out that they would be performing a year later at a smaller indoor theatre venue.  Since we'd missed their outdoor show, we were super excited to see them.  Unfortunately, Gord Downie (the lead singer) decided to play around with his more popular songs and mixed them around so much that it was impossible to sing along (which is one of my favourite parts about seeing a beloved band perform live!) and the volume was turned up so incredibly loud that we couldn't hear what he was saying when he talked to the audience between songs.

My favourite of the shows that we've seen is probably Blue Rodeo.  When we bought the tickets, the show was scheduled for a month before my due date, which made us a bit nervous, but this is OUR BAND and we just knew that we had to go.  The song "Lost Together" has a special significance for us, as it's been a bit of a theme song for our journey together, and we had it incorporated into the video slide show at our wedding.  The show was perfect from beginning to end: Blue Rodeo rocked out when they needed to be loud, then brought a mellow vibe for some of their slower songs.  The show was held in the same smaller theatre venue that hosted the Hip's concert, but Blue Rodeo really knew how to work the smaller venue.  Plus, this concert was one of our last big outings pre-baby, so it was super special to see one of our all-time favourite bands before our lives were irrevocably changed forever.

How about you?  What's one show that you saw that changed your life?  Leave me a comment below!

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11/1/14

Series Spotlight - November


Welcome to the November edition of the Series Spotlight!  This is a monthly feature where we'll highlight some of our anticipated series books that are releasing this month, as well as which series are on our TBR piles for this month!

New Releases ...


Michelle Hodkin's The Retribution of Mara Dyer (release date: November 4)
I read, and really enjoyed, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and have the second book sitting on my shelves.  I've heard that the ending is an OMG -- WHAT?!?!? moment, so I wanted to wait and read them both together ... maybe with re-read of book 1 first?


Robin LaFevers' Mortal Heart (release date: November 4)
It's another month of featuring series enders for series that I haven't even started yet!  Grave Mercy is on my fall TBR list, and I'm excited to start this series knowing that all of the books have been published.

From My TBR Pile ...

I originally read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer in October 2012, so my memory of the storyline is fuzzy.  I'd like to re-read book one, then binge read the next two -- hopefully I can make this happen!

What about you?  What's on your TBR pile this month?  Let me know in the comments below!


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10/31/14

Novella November Sign Ups!

novellanovember2014

Welcome to the second annual Novella November! We changed the name up a bit since last year (Last year it was called "November Novella Knockout Mini Challenge" and that title is a bit long!) Last year it was hosted by Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat and Reanna @ Phantasmic Reads, but due to Reanna's busy schedule she was unable to host this year (don't worry, she'll probably be back next year!). Since Jessi and I are doing the 2014 Prequel & Sequel Challenge together, she invited me to co-host this monthly challenge with her!

The goal

Read as many novellas as you can - you set your own goal!

The rules

  • The challenge will run from November 1st at 12:00 am until November 30th at 11:59 pm
  • You can sign up here or at Novel Heartbeat
  • To join, just make a sign up post and add it to the linky below
  • Any short story counts, not just those in a series
  • Any series novellas read during this month will count for double points in the Prequel & Sequel challenge (2 points each instead of 1)
  • We will try to host a small giveaway for all participants at the end of the challenge!

Grab a button


Sign up!


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Prequel & Sequel Challenge -- October Wrap Up!

Hello fellow prequel and sequel challengers!  I know that I said this in the August wrap-up post, but I STILL can't believe that this year is flying by so quickly!  Seriously, there's less than two months left until CHRISTMAS.  Where is 2014 going?

We still have two months left for this challenge, so lots of time to finish up some series ... or start new ones!  Remember that every book after the first one counts, so even if you want to binge a series in the next two months, you can!

I'm pretty proud of my reading in this challenge so far.  I've read some more of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, started the Throne of Glass series and am poised to finally, yes FINALLY!, read Requiem!  Seriously, this is the one book that I cannot, simply cannot, leave until 2015.  I'm also hoping to binge read the Mara Dyer series next month!

As always, please include the number of points earned when you link up your reviews below!  Happy reading guys!



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10/30/14

Life of a Blogger - Hallowe'en


My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat runs this awesome feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

Hallowe'en has changed for us over the past couple of years.  When we first met, we dressed up to answer the door for trick-or-treaters (see the pic below), but only had five kids come to the door, so we haven't done that since then.  We hosted Hallowe'en parties for a couple of years, and then went out to parties for the next few years.


Marko's not quite old enough to really participate in Hallowe'en, so last year we spent the evening at a friend's house, handing out candy.  Both our boys were six-ish months old, so we dressed them up anyways, just for fun.

This year, we'll likely go check out the Hallowe'en activities our local mall.  Marko has some Superman pajamas, which will be cute.

The biggest Hallowe'en change for me is that I will be dressing up for work!  Years ago, when I worked in retail, I used to LOVE dressing up for work.  The whole staff would be in costume and we'd have trick-or-treaters coming through the mall.  Then, at my last office job, NO ONE dressed up.  I did the first year, and felt like a goof for being the only one in costume, so I stopped after that.  This year, however, our whole office is on board, which is super fun.  There's three of us at the front desk, and we decided to do a group costume: The Three Blind Mice!  It's going to be fun, which is yet another reason to add to the list of why I love my new job so very, very much!

What about you?  What are your Hallowe'en plans?  Leave me a comment below and hope you all have a very happy Hallowe'en!

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