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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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