1/31/15

Book Haul [15]

Happy Saturday everyone!  In my 2015 new year's resolutions, I shared my version of a book buying ban for this year, where I swore to only buy a book if I planned to read it right away.  So far, I'm more or less on track!  With the exception of the second and third books on this list, but I just received them in the mail this week, and I'm currently reading the first book on in this haul ... so that's pretty good, right? =)


The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
My husband bought me The Rosie Project for Christmas, which I've already read and absolutely LOVED.  I spotted The Rosie Effect at Costco the day after I finished The Rosie Project, and I dove in almost immediately.  Don's character makes me laugh so much!


Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
I had to place Chapters order because I wanted to buy Marko some Monsters Inc. books for his upcoming birthday, and had to buy Orphan Train because it's my book club's next pick.  I was close to finishing Grave Mercy and already own a copy of Dark Triumph.  I knew I'd be finishing the series in one big gulp, so I grabbed Mortal Heart.  


The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
I've already read this book, multiple times in fact, but I lent my copy to a former friend, shortly before we had a falling out and she removed herself from my life.  Unfortunately, my book went with her!  I'm happy to own a copy again, as this is one of my all-time favourites.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
I've had my eye on this book since it was first featured on a Heather's Picks table at Chapters.  Luckily, I found a copy for $6 at a used bookstore, so I snatched it up.  Hopefully, I'll be able to read this one before spring rolls around, as it looks like a wintery read.

Most shockingly -- I have NO new review books!  I have a small-ish pile of books from last year, and haven't been inclined to grab any off Edelweiss or NetGalley recently, so I'm enjoying the break! Most of the e-galleys that I have are for April/May releases, so there's definitely no pressure....which I am LOVING.

How about you?  Anything new on your shelves?  Have you read any of my new books?  Leave me a comment below!

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1/30/15

January Wrap-Up!

Wow, the first month in 2015 is over already?!?  I was doing seasonal wrap-ups last year, but I thought I'd mix it up a little and try monthly wrap-ups for a bit...so, here goes!

The Books

Books Read: 4 (Grave Mercy, Tell the Wolves I'm Home, Saga Vol. 1 and The Rosie Project)
Of these books, three were books that were from my own shelves (even if The Rosie Project was a recent addition from Christmas!).  Only one book was borrowed from the library.

Books Acquired: 3 (The Rosie Effect, Mortal Heart and Orphan Train)
I bought The Rosie Effect as soon as I finished reading The Rosie Project.  In keeping with my New Year's Resolution, I'm reading it right now!  Orphan Train is my book club's next read, so it'll be coming up on my reading list soon.  After I finish The Rosie Effect, I'm hoping to jump straight into Dark Triumph, so I'll be completing the His Fair Assassin's trilogy soon, and needed to have Mortal Heart close by.

The Challenges:
Prequel & Sequel Challenge: None so far, but I started two series this month! 
Flights of Fantasy: 2 books read! (Grave Mercy and Saga Vol. 1)
TBR Challenge: 3 books so far! 

The Blog

I felt a renewed sense of blogging fire this month, and shared a LOT of posts!  I discussed racing to finish a read on December 31, and why reviewing has been hard lately.  I shared my challenge goals for 2015 and wrapped up the 2014 Prequel & Sequel Challenge.

I was excited to join back in with two of my favourite memes, so I shared some thoughts on scars, bad habits and achievements as well as lists of 2014 releases that are still on my TBR and series that I want to finish and binge this year.

I was just as excited to bring back two of my own features: Marko Monday and Favourite Friday!

The Other Stuff

2015 has been a great year so far!  I'm approaching a year at my new job, and I couldn't be happier.  There have been a lot of staff changes at the company since I started working and my position and grown and changed along with the company.  At my previous job, I would often come up upset about something someone had said or done, and would often spend the evening either complaining about work or sobbing on my husband's shoulder.  I'm a very positive and upbeat person by nature, and I didn't like the fact that the negativity in that office was starting to affect me as a person.  Now that I've left that job, I love how much I love my new job.  I'm still doing the same type of work (administrative), but my new co-workers are just amazing and the company is so great!  I took a leap of faith with my decision to start a new job, but it has paid off SO well.

I started my second to last semester towards my library technician diploma!  This semester is my field work (practicum) so it's not a regular class with reading and assignments.  Our final grades are just pass/fail, so we have to tour a bunch of different types of libraries and then do a two-week practicum.  My placement hasn't been confirmed yet, but I think I might be placed in a hospital library, which sounds pretty cool!

Marko's second birthday is coming up on February 9th!  It's hard to believe that it's been almost two years since I first shared a post about his arrival into this world!

With 2015 off to an awesome start, I'm excited to see what February will bring!  Hope you all had a great January, and thanks for stopping by!

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1/29/15

Life of a Blogger - Dreams


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 dreams.  Since I don't often remember my dreams in the morning, I thought that I'd write about the broader definition of dreams.  Here are some of the big dreams that I have...
  • Buy a house.  We currently live in a two bedroom condo and, while it's enough space for our small family, I would like to have a house to call my own, with no strata rules and no one living above me.
  • Publish a book.  I wrote a YA novel years and years ago, and sent it off to a few publishers.  After receiving some rejection letters, I put the book on the backburner and haven't revisited it in a long, long time.  I would love to see my name on the cover of a book one day!
  • Travel more.  I've been to quite a few places, but I would love to see more of the world, and go back to Serbia/Montenegro, where my husband and I spent our honeymoon.
How about you?  What are some of your dreams?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by!

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1/25/15

Marko Monday [13]

Marko Monday is a monthly-ish feature where I share a book that my son and I have read together, as well as a little update on what he's up to these days.


In all honesty, Marko hasn't been spending as much time with his books over the past few months as he used to but I think it's because we were buying him new books on a fairly regular basis, so he always had something new to read.  Just like his mama, he's a sucker for a shiny new book!  I'm also planning to buy him a bookshelf in the not-too-distant future, since his box of books is overflowing!  I think it'll re-ignite his interest in his books when they're organized and easy to access.  At the moment, he can't even see the books at the bottom of the box.

And here's my little angel -- enjoying some sunshine last weekend, and sporting his absolutely favourite T-shirt ... he adores Mike & Sully!



Thanks for stopping by!

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1/22/15

Life of a Blogger - Achievements


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 achievements.  Although I have a few big life achievements, like getting married, buying a condo, and having a baby, I thought I would share something that I haven't written about on this blog.  After high school graduation, I went directly to university and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women's Studies and English.  I changed my mind a few times throughout the five and a half years of my degree, and ultimately ended up graduating with my degree just so that I could be finished with school and off to my next adventure, so often I have a tendency to look at my degree and think of it as a waste of time and money.  Then I have to remind myself that, even if I'm not specifically using the knowledge gained during the pursuit of higher education, the achievement of this degree is still a significant thing and something of which I should be proud!

How about you?  What is your biggest achievement?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by!

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1/21/15

WWW - January 21



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

What are you currently reading?
I seem to be back to a few books on the go at the same time!  On audio, I am halfway through George R.R. Martin's Storm of Swords and Neil Patrick Harris' Choose Your Own Autobiography.  I started
Katie Cotugno's 99 Days on my e-reader, and am also reading Robin LaFevers' Grave Mercy.  Grave Mercy has been sitting on my shelves for a long, long time and, although it's a bit slow-paced, I am enjoying it so far.

What did you recently finish reading?
I recently finished The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and LOVED it.  So much so that I picked up The Rosie Effect almost right away, which I will be reading SOON (as per my self-imposed book buying rules!)  I just love the way that the main character, Don, sees the world.  I've been watching a fair amount of BookTube videos lately (it's a black, black hole guys) and saw a few people gushing over the Saga series, by Brian K. Vaughn.  I borrowed Volume 1 on a whim from the library, since it's been a LONG time since I've read a graphic novel, and I enjoyed it!  Parts were a bit confusing since it's fantasy, but I loved that one of the main characters is named Marko.

What do you think you'll read next?
If I'm going to keep my book-buying promise to myself, next up is definitely going to be The Rosie Effect.

What are YOU reading this week?  Please leave me a comment below!

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1/20/15

Series I Want to Finish and Binge This Year


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is a freebie and, since I'm cohosting a series reading challenge this year, I thought I would share the series that I'm planning to finish and binge read this year -- ten of each!

Ten Series I Hope to Finish in 2015

1. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Winter)
2. Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire)
3. Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Prince & Clockwork Princess)
4. Unwind Series by Neal Shusterman (UnWholly & UnSouled)
5. Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin (Evolution & Retribution)
6. Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward (Books 8 to 12)
7. Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver (Requiem)
8. Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas (Heir of Fire & Book 4)
9. A Song of Ice & Fire (Books 3 to 5)
10. Legend Series by Marie Lu (Prodigy and Champion)

Ten (Err...Nine!) Series I Want to Binge Read in 2015

1. Graceling Trilogy by Kristin Cashore
2. Unraveling Duology by Elizabeth Norris
3. All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
4. His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers (I'm currently reading Grave Mercy!)
5. Shadow & Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
6. Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
7. Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard
8. Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
9. Starcrossed Trilogy by Josephine Angelini

Note: The series that I want to binge read are ones that I have not yet started reading, although I have at least the first book on my shelves.  If I don't enjoy the first book, I'm not committing myself to finishing the series so, at the very least, I will try these series this year.  Hopefully, I'll love them all!

Also, a random note: THIS IS MY 500TH POST!!!!!

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1/16/15

Friday Favourite - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


I recently finished reading Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project and the narrator, Don, reminded me a lot of the narrator in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  Christopher is an autistic teenage boy, who sets out to solve the mystery of his neighbour's dog's death, just like his hero, Sherlock Holmes.  I absolutely loved seeing the world through Christopher's eyes, and found that I learned a lot about autism and how someone with autism processes certain things.  It was a riveting read and one that has stuck with me long after I read the final pages. If you haven't yet picked this one up, please do!

P.S. The Rosie Project is also an excellent read, as Don is pretty much a grown-up Christopher.  Hilarious and a really fun read!

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1/15/15

Life of a Blogger - Bad Habits


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 bad habits.  I honestly don't think that I have too many bad habits.  I'm a pretty clean person, but I find that I have to clean earlier in the evening.  If we finish dinner, and I don't unload and load the dishwasher right away, then I get lazy and feel that it's perfectly acceptable to leave the dirty dishes until the next day.  I also have a tendency to forget to empty the dryer when it's finished, which necessitates "fluffing" the load the next day so that it's not all wrinkly when I fold the clean clothes!

How about you?  Do you have any bad habits?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by!

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1/14/15

Top Eight 2014 Releases I Didn't Get To


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I'm going to try to participate in Top Ten Tuesday a little more often this year, because I love making lists and hopping around to see other lists on the same topics!

I had this post scheduled for Tuesday, but it somehow didn't schedule properly -- so I'm a day late to the party!

This week's topic is 2014 releases that I didn't read last year, but would like to read this year.  My shelves are full of unread books and, as I outlined in my bookish resolutions, I've come up with a way to read what I own in a more efficient manner in 2015!  With that being said, here are the 2014 releases on my shelves that I would really like to read this year.

1. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
I have to finish this series this year, most definitely.  Hopefully I can read this one, as well as the Infernal Devices, because I know that I'll love them all!

2. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, et al.
This book was a Christmas gift, so it hasn't been sitting on my shelves for too long.  When I overdose on the Shadowhunter world, that reading spree will definitely include some more Magnus Bane.

3. Rooms by Lauren Oliver
I didn't get my copy until November, so it hasn't been sitting on my shelves for TOO long, but there's always room in my life for more Lauren Oliver.

4. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
I haven't yet read The Evolution of Mara Dyer, but I'm definitely feeling a binge read of this series in the not-too-distant future.

5. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
I received this book for Christmas so, again, it hasn't been on my shelves for too long but I am DYING to read this one.

6. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
I received a copy for review and have picked this one up a couple of times, but just couldn't get into it.  I loved the first one though, so I'm hoping it was just the wrong time to try reading it?

7. Night Film by Marissa Plessl
Another review copy that I will get to soon -- it sounds fascinating!

8. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
Another review book -- definitely will be read soon, since it's a sister story!

Surprisingly enough, those are the only unread 2014 books on my shelves!  I read quite a few of the new release books that I picked up last year -- I'm actually feeling quite proud of myself at the moment =)  Review copies is where I can still improve!

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1/12/15

On Reading and Reviewing

Last year, Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner wrote this amazing post about hanging up her hat as a reviewer and, even though she shared it almost a year ago, it has stuck with me.  I've been having a really tough time with reviews lately and feeling like I SHOULD have reviews on my blog even though a) they are really hard posts for me to write and b) they rarely ever get any comments.  This just makes me feel like I can't see the point of writing them anymore.  In the past six months, I have only reviewed ARCs, with the exception of a few mini-reviews that I shared in the summer and my gushy word vomit after I finished How to Love.

When it comes to reading others' reviews, I am always amazed and impressed by the effort that some of my favourite bloggers put into reviewing books!  Seriously, the amount of time that goes into writing some of those reviews, and the eloquence with which they are written, is possibly what paralyses me when it comes to typing out my own reviews.  As hard as I try not to, I do sometimes compare my own blog to others, and definitely feel inadequate over the quality of my reviews.

I also have to admit that I don't always read others' reviews.  This is often for a few reasons: a) I haven't read the book and don't want to be spoiled, b) I'm really anticipating the book and don't even want to see any advance ratings or c) it's a title that I'm just not interested in reading.  If it's a book I've already read, I do enjoy reading other bloggers' thoughts on the book, and will then take the time to comment if the blogger has pointed out something that I found interesting.  Talking about books is one of the reasons why I love the blogging community!

This brings me back to my original thought: whether or not I want to continue with reviews on Writer Grrl Reads.  At the moment, I have about a dozen ARCs and finished review copies to read and review, and will definitely still commit to those.  I'm also toying with the idea of just writing up monthly mini-reviews on what I've read, similar to what I've been doing with my WWW posts.  In all honesty, sometimes my thoughts at the end of a book are, "Holy crap, that was GOOD!" which just isn't enough for a full review!

What do you guys think?  Do you like reading and writing book reviews?  Share your thoughts in the comments below -- I'd love to hear what you think!

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1/8/15

Life of a Blogger - Scars


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.

After a brief hiatus from Life of a Blogger, I am so happy to be joining this fun meme again!  Today's topic is scars.  I only have two scars, other than a couple of chicken pox scars.  The first one is next to my left eye, and I got it when I was about three or four.  I don't remember the incident, but apparently I was playing behind a rocking chair at daycare, and someone sat down in the chair and started rocking.  It's a very faint scar that you can barely notice unless you knew it was there.  The second, and more significant, scar is from the c-section birth of my son.  That one will likely never fade, but it will always be a reminder of the epic adventure of Marko's arrival, so I wouldn't want it to fade.  It's always hidden by my clothes, and not even noticeable in a swimsuit, so it's a private scar that I don't even need to show to the world.

Honestly, I'm surprised that I have so few scars, since I'm a MAJOR klutz!  How about you?  Do you have any scars with stories behind them?  Leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by!

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1/7/15

WWW - January 7


Happy Wednesday Everyone!  I haven't participated in this meme for months, primarily because my reading was so all over the place with multiple books on the go.  I'm trying to be better this year at only reading one or two books at a time.  Or three. 

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

What are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and it's pretty funny so far!  On audio, I am halfway through George R.R. Martin's Storm of Swords and Neil Patrick Harris' Choose Your Own Autobiography.

What did you recently finish reading?
Shortly after New Year's, I finished Carol Rifka Brunt's Tell the Wolves I'm Home.

What do you think you'll read next?
I'm going to try alternating physical books with e-books until I'm caught up with my review copies, so I think I'm going to dive into Katie Cotugno's 99 Days.  After a few adult titles in a row, I think I'm ready for a YA again.

What are YOU reading this week?  Please leave me a comment below!

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1/5/15

On New Year's Reading

I had this odd thought on New Year's Eve.  I was about 100 pages away from the end of my current read, and had this odd urge that I should finish the book before midnight so that I could start the new year with a fresh new read.  I didn't end up finishing the book until later in the afternoon on January 1st, but it made me wonder if anyone else felt this way?  Did you push yourself to finish the final book of 2014 IN 2015, or are you okay with having a book that bridges the old year and the new year?  Or if you finish a book on, say December 30th or 31st, would you start a new book, knowing that you might have to continue reading it in the new year?

I'm honestly not sure if this has ever happened to me before!  Perhaps last year, I just happened to finish my current read prior to December 31st, or maybe I just didn't care, but this year I did.  In the end, I suppose it worked out in my favour, since I'd already completed by Goodreads goal, and now I already have one book read for 2015, even if I technically started it last year =P

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1/2/15

2014 Prequel & Sequel Challenge - Wrap-Up Post & Giveaway!

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Hey guys! First of all, we want to thank you guys SO much for participating! We were thrilled to have such a great turnout. We're also excited to be hosting it again this year! (If you missed it, here is the signup post.)

We're planning better (and more fun!) things for next year's challenge. We're also condensing the review link ups to every quarter instead of every month, since this year we got too busy and missed a lot of link ups. With a baby (Melissa) and a new house (Jessi), life just got in the way! We hope this won't discourage you from participating again next year.

2014 Wrap up

Here is the linky for you to add your final progress post to. (Please don't add every single review!) This linky is only for others to see how you did. It does not get you an entry into the giveaway. For the giveaway, please see the Rafflecopter below.

Giveaway

To win, you must be following BOTH challenge hosts and you must have also signed up on the original sign up post for the challenge. The final progress post is also mandatory for the giveaway so we can see that you participated. If you don't provide the link to your final progress post, you will be disqualified!

The winners will be announced on Feb 1st on this post. If you win, we will notify you by email and you will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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1/1/15

Reading Challenges - 2015!

Happy 2015!  That's going to take some getting used to -- I still feel like I blinked and 2014 was over.  With a new year upon us, I've already taken time to reflect on last year's bookish resolutions and set some new goals for 2015, but now it's time to share which challenges I will be participating in!  As with previous years, I'll be updating my reading challenges page (or trying to!).


1. The Prequel & Sequel Challenge
This challenge is hosted by Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat and myself.  Last year, I didn't set a goal for myself,and surprised myself with the number of points that I had earned!  This year, I'm aiming for over 100 points, or Veteran level.  I was close last year, with 92 points, so I know I can do it next year!


2. Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge
Honestly, prior to 2014, I never would have called myself a fantasy reader but after Throne of Glass, I feel like I'm craving fantasical worlds!  When I saw Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books' sign-up post, I just knew that I had to jump on board!  I like that this one has no rules, other than to just read some fantasy in 2015 -- sign me up!


3. TBR Pile Reading Challenge
I sign-up for this challenge every year but I usually end up reading more library books than books on my shelves.  I've been better in the past few months at actually reading books that I own, and am planning to continue that trend in 2015.  I'd love to have shelves filled with books that I read and loved, rather than books that I'd like to find time to read ... one of these days.   Last year, I read 16 TBR books, but this year I'd like to double that number.  As I shared in my bookish resolutions, I've come up with my own version of a book buying ban, where I'll only buy books that I plan to read immediately.  I also have a tendency to read library books first because of the due dates; therefore, I'm going to take a brief hiatus from the library and focus on my book shelves.

How about you?  Are you participating in any reading challenges this year?  If you'd like to join any of the challenges that I've listed above, just click on the title of the challenge and I've linked the sign-up pages! 

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