Looking Back at 2016...

Another year, gone in the blink of an eye!  2016 was a pretty awesome year, with the two highlights being the purchase of our first home and the birth of my niece and nephew.  I can't wait to see what wonderful things 2017 will bring!  But first, let's look back at my bookish resolutions for the past year...

1. Read mainly books from my shelves.
I definitely did well at this challenge, and I'm pretty sure that I have less unread books on my shelves now than I did at the beginning of the year.  I acquired a lot of books this year, but read more books than I acquired, so I'm pretty sure my physical TBR pile shrunk.

2. Stay away from review copies.
I did pretty well at this challenge, even though I currently have two expired e-galleys (although they're like two years expired) and one read but not yet reviewed title.  I also have three (I think?) e-galleys for next year.  Out of the review copies that I acquired this year, I did read and review all of them on time (except one but I was approved for a review copy after it was released) and I'm proud of myself for that!

3. Stay true to myself.
I feel very out of touch with what's current and popular right now because I really did stick to this resolution.  I only succumbed to hype twice this year: once when everyone was re-reading the Raven Cycle in preparation for the release of the final book, and the second time when everyone online was falling in love with A Court of Mist and Fury.  Even though the first one didn't work out, the second book ended up being my top read of the year.  So that counts as a success, right?

4. Try to interact online more.
SUCCESS.  I participated in the Love-a-thon and two rounds of Tome Topple.  I signed up, but didn't really complete, the Make-me-read-it-a-thon.  I also participated in two rounds of the OTSP Secret Sister project, and the Broke & Bookish's Secret Santa for a fifth year!

5. Continue to make progress with my series.
I had planned to read five newer series, and five older series.  Out of the newer series, I finished three of the five that I planned to read (the Lunar Chronicles, ACOTAR and the Retribution of Mara Dyer).  I didn't catch up with the Throne of Glass series or the Pure trilogy.  Out of the older series, I finished two of them (the Infernal Devices trilogy and the Among the Hidden series).  Both included a re-read of the first book!  I also re-read Magyk in preparation for finishing the series, but none of the books could be used for checking off the Around the World in 52 Books challenge, so I opted for reading other things.  I didn't get to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series or the Unwind series.

How about you?  Did you have reading resolutions and, if so, did you complete them?  Let me know in the comments below, and Happy New Year!

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2016 End of the Year Book Survey

This is one of my favourite things about the end of the year, looking back over my past year of reading and forward to next year as well!  This annual survey is hosted by the incredibly talented Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner.

2016 Reading Stats

Number of Books You Read: 73
Number of Books You Re-Read: 9
Genre You Read The Most From: Suprisingly, it's sci-fi/fantasy, although I grouped paranomal and dystopian into this category too.  Without those two included, it would be a toss-up between sci-fi/fantasy and contemporary.  This is probably the first year that contemporary hasn't won by a landslide!

Best in Books

1. Best Book You Read in 2016?
This is always the toughest question to answer.  I read a lot of five star reads this year, but I'm going to award this question to A Court of Mist & Fury.  I liked, but didn't love, A Court of Thorns and Roses when I read it last year, but the second installment to this series made me LOVE a book about fairies.  And that's saying something.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Raven Boys.  So many people love this series, and I really thought that I would love it too.  A very close second would be Finnikin of the Rock.  I wanted to love that book so badly.

3. Most Surprising (in a good or bad way!) Book of 2016?
Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre.  I thought it was going to be a fun contemporary, but it had way more heart than I was expecting.

4. Book You "Pushed" the Most People to Read (and they did) in 2016?
My coworker has read almost all of Taylor Jenkins Reid's book at my urging, and she's always started on Jennifer Weiner's work =)

5. Best Series you Started in 2016?  Best Sequel of 2016?  Best Series Ender of 2016?
I started (and finished) the Six of Crows duology in 2016 and it was incredible!  Best sequel would have to be A Court of Mist & Fury -- I've already pre-ordered the final book!  And best series ender, hands down, is Winter.  I'm already craving a re-read of the Lunar Chronicles, and thinking that I'll pick them up on audio next year.

6. Favorite New Author You Discovered in 2016?
Rachel Del, who I also befriended on Instagram, is so sweet and a great writer too!

7. Best Book From a Genre You Don't Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone?
Historical fiction and memoirs are both out of my usual reading zone.  For these genres, it's a three-way tie between Brain on Fire, All the Light We Cannot See and The Nightingale.

8. Most Action-Packed, Thrilling, Unputdownable Book in 2016?
The Girl on the Train.  I read it on a plane ride, and I was thankful to have such an engaging book during such a long, exhausting day of travel.

9. Book You Read in 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I just finished my re-read of the Harry Potter series on audio.  I'm currently reading the three novellas, and then I plan to re-read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

10. Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2016?
How could I not choose both of these books -- stunning, just stunning.

11. Most Memorable Character in 2016?
All of the characters in the Six of Crows duology -- Kaz, Inej, Nina, Jesper, Wylan, Matthias ... they're all still in my heart.

12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2016?
Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See.

13. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2016?
Jodi Picoult's Small Great Things was a book that resonated with me on so many levels, and Ruth's story stuck with me long after I finished the book.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read?
Finnikin of the Rock.  It's been sitting on my shelves for YEARS.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?
Dumbledore's words at the end of year feast in the Goblet of Fire stuck with me, and felt even more relevant to today's world after the American election:
 I say to you all, once again – in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?
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 Feast for Crows (852 pages)
Shortest -- The Little Prince (83 pages)

17. Book that shocked you the most?
I really didn't like The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, so I think I can honestly say I was shocked by how much I enjoyed To All the Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.  I gobbled up both in about three days while I was on holiday over the summer.

18. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!)
Feyre and Rhysand, Kaz and Inej and Nina and Matthias.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year?
The friendships in the Six of Crows duology, and the sense of camaraderie between the gang members.

20. Favorite book you read in 2016 from an author you’ve read previously?
Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid BLEW ME AWAY.

21. Best book you read in 2016 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else?
Both Love, Chloe and The Hating Game were recommended by Alyssa @ Swept Away By Books.  And I loved 'em both!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?
I'm not really a "book boyfriend" kind of girl, but I have to admit that Rhysand is pretty sexy.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?
I didn't read a lot of debuts this year either, but I really, really enjoyed Emily Henry's The Love that Split the World.

24. Best worldbuilding / most vivid setting you read this year?
The Lunar Chronicles -- what a world.

25. Book that put a smile on your face / was the most FUN to read?
I listened to Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, and the book definitely had me giggling aloud quite a few times!

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2016?
A Court of Mist and Fury.

27. Hidden gem of the year?
How to Be Someone Else by Rachel Del.  It was my first indie read, my first request from an author for a review copy, and I really, really enjoyed it.  Definitely planning on picking up more of Rachel's books so that I can support her writing!

28. Book that crushed your soul?
I had a lot going on in life during the week that I finished Crooked Kingdom.  It didn't crush my soul the way it would have if I had been able to devote more attention to the book, but I can still appreciate the soul crushing elements of the story, and know that I would have reacted differently, had I been paying more attention to my reading and less attention to life in general.

29. Most unique book you read in 2016?
I searched for a short classic to read in order to complete my Around the Year in 52 Books challenge, and stumbled across Ayn Rand's Anthem.  Since I have had Atlas Shrugged on my shelf for years, I thought I would give her writing style a shot.  It was a very strange narrative style, since the narrator calls himself "we" and "us" but after I got used to it, I enjoyed the story and the writing style.

30. Book that made you the most mad (doesn't necessarily mean you didn't like it)?
I read A House in the Sky for book club and, although I enjoyed the book and sympathized with what the author went through, some of her decisions were unbelievably naive, which irked me.

Your Blogging / Bookish Life

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?
Novel Cravings.  I was Jessica's Secret Sister during the OTSP Secret Sister project at the beginning of 2016.  I was thrilled to be assigned a new mom as my sister, and we bonded and continued to chat long after the round of OTSP was over.  She is sweet and kind and all around wonderful.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?
I didn't write too many reviews this year either, but my favourite would be Small Great Things.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?
It wasn't really a discussion, but I received the sweetest comments on my post about the end of my reading slump.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?
I read a lot of blogs at the beginning of the year, but my blog reading fell off the wagon towards the latter half of the year.  I am determined to get back to reading and commenting in the new year!

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
I loved being part of the OTSP Secret Sister project for two rounds, as well as the Love-a-thon, two rounds of Tome Topple, the Make-me-read-it-athon (which I failed at, but still fun!) and, of course, the Broke and Bookish Secret Santa.

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2016?
Participating in the OTSP Secret Sister project was definitely the highlight.  I've been toying with the idea of taking the next round off, but I do enjoy the community as well, so I can't decide.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
This is horrendously embarrassing, but it's actually the post where I asked for help choosing which book to read for the Make-me-read-it Readathon ... the readathon that I epically failed to complete.  BUT, Lady Midnight (the book that was chosen for me) WILL be on my to-read list for 2017!

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
My On My Nightstand posts don't get a lot of love, and I'm undecided on whether or not to continue them.  I like sharing mini thoughts on what I'm reading, or have recently finished, but I think I need to switch up the format.  

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I joined Audible this year, and it has been AWESOME.  It's a little expensive, but worth it.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I participated in four reading challenges this year, and completed all of them!  My Goodreads goal was set at 52 books (the number required for the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge), and I surpassed it by reading 73 books!  I also completed the Prequel & Sequel Challenge as well as the TBR Pile Challenge.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?
I thought for sure I would read Julianna Baggot's Burn this year but, alas, it didn't happen.  2017 will be the year for that book, I hope.  I would also like to read Lady Midnight and Heartless.  I'll have a full list of 17 books that I plan to read in 2017 coming up in the next week or so.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?
A Court of Wings and Ruin for SURE, as well as the final installment of the Throne of Glass series.  

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I have an e-galley of The Hate U Give, and I've already heard amazing things about this book.  

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?
It's a toss-up between ACOTAR and TOG.

5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish or Do in Your Reading/Blogging in 2017?
Continue tackling my physical TBR pile and not being afraid to tackle some larger/intimidating reads, especially fantasy books.

If you filled out this survey, please leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by!  Thanks, as always, for taking the time to visit my little corner of the internet =)

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#Bookmas - Top 12 Reads of 2016

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.  I love recapping my favourite reads.  This list was incredibly hard to compile, as I read so many great reads this year!

1. Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
This book received a lot of mixed reviews and, while it wasn't as amazing as the rest of the series, I'm still so grateful that I got to experience one more book set in this incredible world.  I also reread the series on audio this year, which was an incredible experience in itself.  So much love for this world and these characters, so this book just had to top my list.

2. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
I picked up this book on a whim after seeing that Alyssa @ Swept Away By Books loved it, and when I needed something light to read during the American election.  I haven't been blown away by a contemporary novel in a while, but this book did just that.

3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
I liked, but didn't love, A Court of Thorns and Roses when I read it last year.  I couldn't remember a thing about the book, so I decided to reread it on audio this year, and then dove into ACOMAF.  I devoured the book and absolutely LOVED it.  I'm already counting down the minutes until the next book.

4. Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I read both books this year, and both were just incredible.  So much love for these characters and this world too, and I hope that, one day, we may get another book featuring at least one of these characters or at least another book set in the Grishaverse.

5. Winter by Marissa Meyer
I actually read Fairest, Winter and Stars Above this year, and this is another series that is at the very top of my favourites list.  I'm contemplating an audio reread of the whole series since I love it that much.

6. Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Taylor is an auto-buy author and I've loved every one of her books thus far, but this one absolutely blew me away.  I loved the dual narrative and the ideas of fate and destiny.  Such a perfect book.

7. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
I've been putting off this series for YEARS but this year I dove in and gobbled up all 1,500+ pages in ONE MONTH.  And it was incredible.

8. The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
This was an impulse buy at Chapters, and reminded me of the power of an adult fiction read.  I really do need more big kid books in my life.

9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Another incredible book that blew me away!

10. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
This book was my first ever physical ARC, but was also a return to my love for Jodi's work.  Her last few books have been a bit meh for me, but this one was just as good as her earlier work.

11. How to Be Someone Else by Rachel Del
Another sweet contemporary that warmed my heart.

12. The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
I'm not really a graphic novel person, but this book was INCREDIBLE and I couldn't put it down!

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#Bookmas - Top 11 Anticipated Releases of 2017

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.  Today's topic is most anticipated releases of 2017 -- there are quite a few books that I'm eagerly anticipating for next year!!

1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury was one of my absolute favourite books of 2016, and I cannot wait to see how this trilogy wraps up!

2. Throne of Glass #6 by Sarah J. Maas
I haven't read Empire of Storms yet (I know, I know) but seeing how this amazing series wraps up is still high on my priority list for 2017.

3. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
Again, haven't read Lady Midnight yet, but I already have a feeling that this series is going to be better than her previous two, based on the love that I've seen around the blogosphere.

4. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I thought I would get my hands on this book in late 2016, and was so disappointed when the publication date was postponed until 2017.  I NEED more of Laini's writing in my life.

5. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
I gobbled up the first two books in what was a duology, and then joined the rest of the world with surprise and delight to learn that a third book would be released in 2017.

6. Warcross by Marie Lu
I really liked The Young Elites, was midly disappointed by The Rose Society and have yet to read The Midnight Star, but the Legend trilogy remains one of my all time favourite dystopians.  Marie is still an auto-buy author for me.

7. Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo
I'm currently reading Crooked Kingdom, and have loved everything that Leigh has written.  This forthcoming series by some of my favourite authors will begin with this installment and I CAN'T WAIT.

8. The Gatlon School for Vigilantes by Marissa Meyer
I didn't know that this book was coming out until I searched for 2017 release dates in order to prepare this list.  NEW MARISSA MEYER?  SIGN ME UP!

9. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
Of course, I knew that this one was coming out -- MORE IKO PLEASE.

Honestly, I can't think of two more to finish up this list -- anyone know of anything that I should add to my TBR for next year?

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#Bookmas - Top 9 Books Published in 2016

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.  I read a lot of new releases this year, so this will include some repeats from previous lists.  In no particular order, here are my top nine reads that were published this year:

1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
2. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
4. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
5. When We Collided by Emery Lord
6. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
7. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
8. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
9. Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre

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#Bookmas - Top 8 Books I Want to Read in 2017

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.  Today's topic is my favourite of them all -- planning eight books that I'd really like to read in 2017, split between YA and adult fiction.

Four YA titles:
1. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
2. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
3. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
4. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Four adult titles:
1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
3. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
4. Bedtime Story by Rob Wiersema

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#Bookmas - Top 7 Series Sequels/Finales in 2016

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.  Today's topic is the top seven series sequels/finales that I read in 2016.

1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
This book received a lot of mixed reviews this year, but I loved it.  Sure, it had a few issues and the play structure made it completely different from the rest of the series, but I just loved being back in the Harry Potter world for just a little bit longer, in whatever shape or form the book came in.

2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
I liked A Court of Thorns and Roses when I read it last year, but didn't instantly fall in love with the series the same way I did with Throne of Glass.  BUT, re-reading the first book on audio reignited my interest in the series and then I absolutely fell in LOVE with the second book.

3. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I savoured this book for almost an entire month because I was in the process of moving.  It was so wonderful and perfect and I love the characters in this series so, so, so much.

4. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
I read Clockwork Angel when it first came out, but put off reading Clockwork Prince for so long that I knew I'd have to reread the first book before I could finish off the series.  I loved this series so much that I read all 1,500+ pages in a single month.  While also (kind of) studying.

5. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I read the last three books in this series (Fairest, Winter and Stars Above) this year and what an epic series.  So unique, and unlike anything else I've ever read.  I'm already contemplating if this will be my next series reread on audio.

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I'm close to finishing my re-read of the Harry Potter series on audio and, although I've read most of the books at least twice already in print, this is my very first time re-reading the final book.  I read it the day after release day.  In all honesty, I forgot a lot of the smaller details, so I've been discovering it anew.

I'm going to have to end the list at six books, because the other series books that I read weren't as awesome as the ones on this list.  I'm going to stick with six stellar sequels, rather than mixing it up with one less than stellar sequel.

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#Bookmas - 6 Books I Wish I Read in 2016

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.  Today's top is six books that I wish I had read in 2016.  This topic is the easiest for me, since I had a list of 16 books that I planned to read in 2016; however, I only managed to read nine of them, leaving a total of seven books for this list!

1. Unraveling
I even put this book on one of my monthly TBRs, picked it up and read the first couple of pages, but I wasn't in the mood.

2. Beautiful Disaster
I actually read a chunk of this book last year, before my copy of Queen of Shadows came in and I set it aside.  It was okay, but not amazing, but I'd still like to finish it.

3. The Angel's Game
I'm putting this series on my TBR for next year, but I think I'm going to start with a re-read of The Shadow of the Wind on audio.  I want to get lost in this world from the very beginning.

4. Bedtime Story
I packed this one early into the year, and thought we'd be moved into our new place in early fall, leaving me with time near the end of the year to read it.  When I realized that we wouldn't be moving until mid-December, I even put it on hold at the library, but still didn't pick it up.  There's always next year?

5. Burn
This is the one series that I had really hoped to knock off my TBR but, alas, it didn't happen.  I feel like early next year it'll be time.  I hope.

6. Across the Universe
The more I look at this book, the more I just want to take it back to the used bookstore.  But I can't bring myself to get rid of a book that I haven't even tried, even if I'm 99.9% sure that I'm not going to like it.  Low expectations anyone?

7. Half-Blood
Still want to read this one, but I also don't want to dive into another JLA series until I finish the Luxe series, which I packed earlier this year.  Putting the last three books of that series on my 2017 TBR list, and then we'll see if I have time to start this one.

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#Bookmas - Top 5 Classics Read in 2016

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.

As a former English student, I read my fill of classics during university and have steered clear of them in subsequent years.  I didn't read many classics this year, and only picked up two because they worked with my Around the Year in 52 Books challenge.  I read Anthem by Ayn Rand because it was a classic under 200 pages, and because I've had Atlas Shrugged sitting on my shelves for years because it's so intimidating.  Then, I also picked up The Little Prince because it was short and it was originally written in a language that's not English.

Joining the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge was good for pushing myself out of my reading comfort zone, because I honestly wouldn't have picked these books up otherwise.  I would like to challenge myself to read a classic or two again next year, simply because I have a few unread classics sitting on my shelves and enough time has passed since my university days -- I may be able to simply enjoy them without planning out my paper in my head as I read.

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#Bookmas - Top 4 Underrated Reads of 2016

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.  Day 3 is the top three underrated reads of 2016.

1. How to Be Someone Else by Rachel Del
Goodreads showed me that only 35 other people have read this book, compared to my most popular read of 2016, Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone, which 4.5 million people have read.  This sweet contemporary was full of heart, and definitely my most underrated read of the year.

2. The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry
This book made it onto my top debuts of the year, but it's also a book that had mixed reviews around the blogosphere, so many readers probably gave it a pass for that very reason.  It's a unique read, and unlike anything that I've ever read before, but in a good way.

3. Brain on Fire by Suzannah Cahalan
I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but when I do I enjoy a good memoir.  I don't think I've ever read a memoir that sucked me in as intently as this book did, and I raced through the book.  Utterly captivating and a very good read.

4. The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
I'm not a huge graphic novel reader, but I do follow the bookish buzz about graphic novels, and honestly hadn't heard much about this one.  It's SO GOOD.  For someone that couldn't get into the Saga series, this one hooked me from the beginning and I read the entire thing (almost 500 pages!) in a single afternoon while Marko napped.

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#Bookmas - Top 3 Most Anticipated Book to Movie Adaptations

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.  I'm honestly SO far behind in movie watching, it's not even funny.  I haven't seen the new Star Wars (the one that came out last year), nor have I finished the Hobbit trilogy.  And I'm TWO STAR TREK MOVIES BEHIND.  TWO!!!!

Today's topic is book to movie adaptations that I'm anticipating.  Although I probably won't watch these anytime soon, I am looking forward to seeing Before I Fall and Wonder, as these are two of my favourite books of all time.  While researching for this post, I also just learned that The Nightingale will become a movie, and I can't wait to see this heartbreaking story transformed onto the big screen.

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#Bookmas - Top 2 YA Debuts of 2016

#Bookmas is a Christmas video/blog/Instagram challenge hosted by Hailey @ Hailey in Bookland.  Today's challenge is Top 2 YA Debuts of 2016.  This one was tricky for me, as I honestly don't read a lot of debuts -- I have a tendency to jump on an author's bandwagon after a few books are released, and most of the books that I read this year were by authors that I had read before.  But I did read one YA debut, and a couple of adult debuts, so I'll share my top two picks.

The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry was an incredibly unique reading experience.  Part Native American legend, part time travel, part romance, part beautiful writing, the book captivated my from its opening pages.  Read my full review here.

I picked up The Hating Game on impulse after seeing Alyssa @ Swept Away by Books raving about it (I've read some excellent books on her recommendation!)  I needed something light and funny after watching so much depressing election coverage, and this book was exactly that.  It's rare for me to give a contemporary book five stars, but this book is completely deserving of that rating!

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#Bookmas -- An Intro, but not a Book Tree

Late last year and early this year, I was in one of the worst reading slumps of my entire life.  During that time, I discovered BookTube and watched a LOT of bookish content online, while avoiding my TBR pile.  Hailey of the newly-renamed Hailey in Bookland is one of my favourite BookTubers, and we share many of the same reading tastes, and she's Canadian too!

Although I have a TON on my plate this week (and I'm moving in two days), I couldn't resist joining in her countdown to Christmas, aptly titled Bookmas.  As I prepare to move into my first home, I'm feeling exceptionally festive this year, even though the Christmas tree is still in a box, waiting by the front door for the moving truck.  I just have a feeling that this year is going to be an extra special Christmas.  So, in addition to enjoying my daily David's advent tea (today's is hot chocolate and mmmmmm it is yummy!), I will be sharing a daily Bookmas post for you all.  Today's post is to create a Bookmas Tree but, since my books are all in boxes, I can't participate in that this year.  I could try a tree out of boxes but .... eh, I don't think that has the same appeal somehow!

The real Bookmas posts will begin tomorrow -- let the Christmas countdown begin!

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December TBR

The year is almost over!  I completed my Goodreads challenge months ago, wrapped up my series reading challenge in October and my TBR pile challenge in November.  I only have one reading challenge left this year, which is Around the Year in 52 Books.  When I originally posted that I was joining this challenge, I didn't think that I would complete all of the challenges, but thought that it would push me out of my reading comfort zone -- and I ended up doing both!  I only have two challenges left to complete, and here are the two books that I plan to read:

I have seen the movie P.S. I Love You, but have never read the book.  I've heard that it's quite different from the movie, so I'm excited to read it!

With my Harry Potter re-read drawing to a close, I've already purchased the three novellas that were recently released, and plan to read at least one of them to satisfy the "read a novella from your favourite genre" prompt.

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November Wrap-up

Sooooo excited to see the year draw to a close!  December brings all kinds of fun, reflective blogging posts, looking forward to the coming year and, of course, our upcoming move!

The Books

Books Read: 7 (Dangerous Girls, The Hating Game, The Nightingale, The Husband's Secret, The Little Prince, Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, Anthem)
Less than what I read last month, but I've spent close to two weeks savouring Crooked Kingdom, and I've already completed my reading challenge for the year, so it's nice to read at a slower pace for a change.

Books Acquired: 1 (Shadow Lands)
I'm overdue for another book haul (I don't think I've officially hauled the books that were listed as acquired in my wrap-up last month!  Spoiler alert: this book was sent to me by my wonderful OTSP secret sister =)

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +2 (Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince) -- COMPLETE
TBR Challenge: +3 (Dangerous Girls, The Little Prince, The Nightingale) -- CHALLENGE COMPLETE!!!!
Around the Year in 52 Books: Three more challenges completed ... and the ones that are left are pretty hard!
  • A book originally written in a language other than English (The Little Prince)
  • A classic book with less than 200 pages (Anthem)
  • A crime story (Dangerous Girls)
  • A book about books (The Hating Game)
  • A book about a major world event (The Nightingale)
  • A fairytale from a culture other than your own (The story of the Warsaw Mermaid)
You guys -- I signed up for the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge, fully expecting that there was no way I'd complete it ... but I'm only TWO CHALLENGES AWAY.  Seriously, only TWO.  I have to read a book that I've seen the movie of, but haven't read the book.  I'm planning to pick up P.S. I Love You, because I've heard it's excellent.  The second challenge is to read a novella from your favourite genre.  As I'm getting close to completing the Harry Potter series, I think I'll also pick up one of J.K. Rowling's recent Pottermore novellas before the end of the year.

The Blog

It's been a very quiet month for me, both here on the blog and in real life.  I didn't share too many posts, but I did start the month out with my November TBR (and read one of the two books I'd planned to read, but both of the back-up books that I planned to read if I had time).  I shared an On My Nightstand post and participated in the Tome Topple Readathon.

 The Other Stuff

November flew by and, in all honesty, I'm not 100% sure what I was so busy doing.  It feels like it was a hectic month, but in all honesty, I just remember lots of family time and errands.  We are gearing up for our move mid-December, and are getting the keys to our new home on December 7th, so there's been lots of planning renovations, looking at paint colours, picking out carpets and deciding on new furniture.  Plus making TONS of to-do lists.  My enthusiasm for bullet journaling was waning in early November, but with the move just around the corner, I rejuvenated it in order to have a place to track the million and one things that need to be done and taken care of before the end of the year.  Basically, we get the keys and my father-in-law flies into town to help us paint and visit.  Then he flies out and my mother-in-law flies in on the day that we move (she stays with my sister-in-law for the first few days, then comes to stay with us from December 22nd to the 28th).  Then, we have a nanny moving in with us on the 26th, which is exciting and a little bit scary at the same time.  I'm looking forward to (hopefully!) a nice relaxing week off between Christmas and New Years.  My office is closed for a couple extra days after Christmas, so I'm only using three vacation days, but get to enjoy 10 blissful days away from the office.  If you're looking for me, I'll be unpacking and organizing my library =)

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On My Nightstand - November 28

Recently shelved as read:

It's been a few weeks since I've shared one of these posts and, in that time, I've finished quite a few books.  The Hating Game and The Nightingale are two that stick out in my memory though.  I was set on plowing through the rest of The Young Elites series, but after watching so much depressing American election coverage and news, I opted for a lighter read.  I devoured The Hating Game, and loved it so, so much.  It's been a while since a contemporary really grabbed me like that, and it was sweet and funny and witty and romantic, and absolute perfection.

Brie @ A Slice of Brie read The Nightingale a few months, and raved about how incredible the book was, but how it left her a sobbing mess at the end.  I had had this one on my TBR for quite a while, and decided that now was the time to pick it up.  You guys, I was crying during the FIRST CHAPTER.  This book was incredible from cover to cover and it absolute tore my heart out.  If you haven't picked this one up and you love a good WWII story, or a story about two sisters who couldn't be more different, then please pick this up.

I also finished Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince on my drive home from work today.  I'm not sure that my heart is ready to jump into the final book, but I'm determined to finish my re-read of the series this year.

On my nightstand:

I'm slowly savouring Crooked Kingdom.  I chose this book for Tome Topple, and I'm not sure if I'll finish it by Friday, but we'll see.  It's been excellent so far, but my evenings have consisted of online furniture shopping and house-related discussions with hubby, with little reading.  Hopefully, I'll find the time to finish this one soon.

I went to this open house BBQ thing for work over the summer, and met a nice lady who was chatting about books with me.  She told me how she'd just listened to her first audio book, and what she had thought of it, and then gave me the audiobook because she didn't plan to reread it.  I've been meaning to pick this up for a few months now, and thought I'd give it a listen between Harry Potter books while I let my heart recover a little from the ending.

Calling my name from the shelf:

In all honesty, I don't know WHAT to read next!  I've put P.S. I Love You on hold at the library, which will be one of two remaining reads for the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge.  Other than that, I've packed almost all of my books, and just kept out a couple of choices for when I finish Crooked Kingdom.  I'm thinking either Heartless or Empire of Storms.  Any suggestions?

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Tome Topple TBR!

Earlier this year, I participated in the Tome Topple readathon, hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes.  She's hosting a second round of this readathon, which starts on November 18th and runs for two weeks.  Normally, I don't participate in readathons because I'm not able to read all that quickly, but I love this readathon because it's two weeks long, and it encourages readers to pick up longer books.  Too often, as we try to meet our reading challenges, we opt for the shorter books and neglect those chunky reads that end up collecting dust on our bookshelves.  The focus of this readathon is books that are over 500 pages, and that's the only rule.  There are five challenges, but I won't be meeting all of them (and that's okay!)

1. Read more than 1 tome2. Read a graphic novel 3. Read a tome that's part of a series4. Buddy read a tome (use goodreads and twitter to find buddies!)5. Read an adult novel

The book that I'm planning to read is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, which is tome-worthy at 536 pages.  I loved Six of Crows earlier this year and I'm looking forward to finishing the series.  This will satisfy the challenge of reading a tome that's part of a series.  If I finish it, I might pick up Empire of Storms, which is also a tome, but we'll see.  I'm planning to savour Crooked Kingdom, so it might take me two whole weeks to read it!

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On My Nightstand - November 11

Recently shelved as read:

I finished The Rose Society, which I didn't love as much as The Young Elites.  I also finished Leave Me by Gayle Forman, but will have a review posted sometime in the next couple of weeks.

On my nightstand:

Since I didn't love The Rose Society, I had my husband choose my next read from a pile of books that I wanted to read before the end of the year (my wishful thinking pile!)  He picked The Midnight Star so I figured I'd finish up the series.  But after watching all the election coverage and hearing about so much hate and anger in the world, I needed something different in my bedtime reading, so I picked up a copy of The Hating Game, which I'm loving so far.  My bookclub picked The Husband's Secret, which I read a couple of years ago while participating in Epic Recs.  I was laughing at myself because I couldn't remember what the husband's secret was, so I knew that I needed to re-read the book before the meeting.  I'm listening to it on audio, and the narrator is incredible.  

Calling my name from the shelf:

I'm hopeful that I can finish up all the books above before next Friday, when the Tome Topple readathon starts!  My TBR post is coming on Monday.  I also have Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale on audio from the library, so that'll be my next audiobook before I get back to my Harry Potter re-read.  Brie @ A Slice of Brie loved it, and I can't wait to have my heart broken by this book.

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November TBR

Only two months left in 2016 -- holy smokes!  I find that my reading starts to slow down at this time of the year, and I think it's because I start to stress out a little about the number of books left on my planned TBR lists.  So this month, I'm taking a look back at books that I had hoped to read, while also including what I'm in the mood to read.

Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes is hosting her Tome Topple challenge later in November.  I'll have a sign-up post coming for that readathon at a later date, but I'd definitely like to dive into Crooked Kingdom for that readathon.  And I'm almost finished with The Young Elites, and I'm enjoying my binge read of the series, so I might as well finish it off with The Midnight Star.

In addition to these two, I'd also like to read Dangerous Girls if I can, as it's one of 16 books that I had hoped to read in 2016.  And, if time permits, maybe also Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince.  It's entirely possible that I may finish my re-read of the Harry Potter series before the end of 2016!

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October Wrap-up!

Another month come and gone, and we're drawing ever closer to December ... and my final move!  Super excited to see the end of the year arrive, and to be finally settled in our forever home, and excited that we now only have just over a month until we get the keys!

The Books

Books Read: 10 (Among the Enemy, Among the Free, How to Be Someone Else, The Undomestic Goddess, The Girl on the Train, Night of Cake & Puppets, Before We Were Strangers, The Young Elites, Leave Me, The Rose Society)
Finished off a series -- hurray!  And started a new one -- hurray!  I honestly don't feel like I read all that much this month, but sometimes I surprise myself when I add it all up!

Books Acquired: 6 (Empire of Storms, Burning Kingdoms, The Rose Society, Crooked Kingdom, Lips Touch and The Midnight Star)
With all of the packing and moving, I haven't bought too many books this year!  But there were SO MANY good fall releases, and many Indigo sales and specials and, well, yeah.  Things happen.

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +17 (Among the Enemy, Among the Free, Night of Cake and Puppets, The Rose Society) -- CHALLENGE COMPLETED!
TBR Challenge: +3 (The Undomestic Goddess, Night of Cake and Puppets, The Young Elites)
Around the Year in 52 Books: Three more challenges completed ... and the ones that are left are pretty hard!
  • A book about an anti-hero (The Young Elites) -- I had previously assigned Mara Dyer for this book, but have switched that one to 16th book on my TBR list.
  • A book with food or drink in the title (Night of Cake and Puppets)
  • A book from Goodreads recommendations (Before We Were Strangers)
  • A book that takes place more than 100 years ago (The Rose Society) -- I had previously assigned Burial Rites for this book, but have switched that one to a historical fiction book

The Blog

Since last month's TBR was a bit of a flop, I started the month off with a much more achievable TBR goal (and read 'em both -- hurray!).  I also caught up on all of my review books, and shared reviews for Replica, Small Great Things and How to Be Someone Else.

The Other Stuff

Oh October, you were great and not so great.  I started off the month by embarking on a new project: bullet journalling!  My husband surprised me with a Chapters gift card as a thank you for my hard work on getting us moved and settled in, so I treated myself to a Leuchtturm 1917 journal, which is absolutely gorgeous.  I then spent the first couple of days in October watching YouTube and scrolling through Pinterest, searching for inspiration before I put pen to paper.  It's been a fun adventure so far, as I'm slowly learning what I need out of the journal to be more organized in my life, but also keeping it light and not making the bullet journalling into a chore.

Then, one Sunday evening, I overflowed a teacup full of boiling water and scalded my left hand really badly.  I sat with my hand in a bowl of cool water from 9:30 p.m. until 3:30 a.m., when it finally felt like the skin was no longer on fire and I was able to sleep.  It was gross and blistered and peeled and was just all round icky, but it's finally healed now!  And I'm very careful with my teacup now =)

The highlight of the month, by far, was my trip out to Ontario for one the wedding of one of my closest friends.  It was my first time travelling alone, since I left my boys at home.  I missed them like crazy, but also enjoyed a little adult getaway and LOVED all the reading time on the plane.  The wedding was absolutely perfect, and it was such an honour to stand beside one of my best friends as she ventured into married life.

The second highlight of the month, by far, was Hallowe'en.  Although this is Marko's fourth Hallowe'en, it was the first one that he was really into.  We went carved pumpkins and he was really excited about dressing up as Chase from Paw Patrol.  Although I've loved every single stage along the way, I really feel like he's getting to be the age that will be the MOST fun of all.

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On My Nightstand - October 21

Recently shelved as read:

Holy smokes, it's been another month since I shared another one of these posts!  I went through a period time of being all over the place with my reading, and having a ton of books on the go at the same time, so I won't bother summarizing all of them.  Stay tuned for my wrap-up, coming in just over a week.  I'm going to try to get into the habit of doing these posts on a weekly basis again.

On my nightstand:

I still have two books on the go, plus one that I've set aside in favour of a library book.  I just finished The Young Elites last night, so I'm diving straight into The Rose Society, which I'm buddy reading with Lauren @ Lose Time Reading.  I haven't binge read a series in a long, long time, and I also have The Midnight Star on my shelf so hopefully I can plow through them all!

On audio, I was listening to the fifth Harry Potter book, but I put Gayle Forman's Leave Me on hold at the library.  I have an eARC for review, but the font is too tiny to read on my Kobo, so I thought I'd listen on audio instead.  The narrator is great but I'm not loving the story too much.  As a mom, it's hard to identify with what the main character is going through.  We'll see how I feel by the end.

Calling my name from the shelf:

I'm hoping that I love The Rose Society, and then I'll dive straight into The Midnight Star.  It's been a while since my last binge read!

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How To Be Someone Else - Rachel Del

I started following Rachel Del on Instagram, intrigued by the fact that she is a Canadian writer living in the States, and also that her son is close to Marko's age.  I'd interacted with her a few times on Instagram, and then requested a review copy of her upcoming book, How to Be Someone Else.

I honestly didn't know what to expect when I started this book, especially because it was my very first indie read.  While it didn't blow me away, it was a very sweet and heartfelt book that hit all the right points for a good contemporary.  Rachel Del's writing style is fluid and easy to read, and I flew through the pages.  There were a couple of plot twists that I could see coming, but they were still well thought out.  In many ways, the book reminded me of Colleen Hoover's coming-of-age type stories (Colleen is the only indie-esque writer that I have experienced, since she used to self-publish) and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it from beginning to end.  I scalded my hand quite badly while making tea one evening and this book was the perfect companion as I sat up reading late into the night, my hand soaking in a bowl of cool water.  It's a page turner with interesting and compelling characters, and has just the right amount of heart without becoming too sappy.

Highly recommend picking this one up if you're looking for a good new adult read with just the right amount of sexiness and character growth!

Note: An eARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, but this fact did not influence my opinion of the book in any way.

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Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

Just like my review of Replica last week, I've been a fan of Jodi Picoult's for YEARS.  Most of her earlier work top my all-time favourites, but some of her later releases have failed to impress.  I had heard that Small Great Things was more exemplary of some of her earlier work, so I went into the book with mixed expectations.

HOLY SMOKES THIS BOOK WAS GOOD.  Despite the fact that I started reading it a week before we moved, I found myself reaching for the book every time I had a spare minute to read.  Even with so much going on personally, I tore through the book in only eight days.

The storyline is heartwrenching.  It follows a black nurse named Ruth, who is asked by a white supremacist couple to have no involvement with their newborn son.  When the baby goes into cardiac arrest, Ruth is the only one in the room and she hesitates because she doesn't know if she should follow orders or save the baby.  After the baby dies (this isn't a spoiler, it's on the back of the book), the remainder of the book follows a court case to determine if Ruth is responsible for the baby's death.

I live in Canada, but have seen the recent racially-provoked deaths in the United States and the resulting Black Lives Matter / All Lives Matter discussions online.  It breaks my heart to see so much hatred in the world, and the resulting violence that stems from this hatred.  Although the level of racism in Canada is more muted, it's still present and I see it in the way that people of Asian and East Indian descent are treated in my community.  Although Small Great Things is written by a white woman, I think that she's done an excellent job of shedding light on this issue, and the voice that she gave to Ruth rang true for me, and even made me question my own thoughts and actions.  As a white woman living a life of privilege, it is easy to make snap judgements about others, even unintentionally, and that's why I believe that books like this one are important in this day and age.  Of course, I'm reading this book from a place of white privilege, and therefore may have a different way of reading than a reader of colour, but I loved this book for the way that it made me think and feel.  I was also overjoyed to fall in love with another of Jodi's books, after recent disappointments with her work.

Add this book to your TBR piles; it will make you think and reflect and, hopefully, be a better person as a result.

Note: I received an ARC from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.  The fact that this was my first ever physical ARC (squeeeeeeee!) did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.

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How To Be Someone Else - Cover Reveal

I've just returned from a wedding in Ontario, and am a little late to the party, but super excited to be sharing my very first cover reveal here on the blog!

I started following Rachel Del on Instagram earlier this year, and am very honoured to be participating in the cover reveal, and reviewing a copy of her latest novel, How To Be Someone Else.  I've already had the opportunity to read it and, although my review will be posted on the release date, let me just say that it is such a fun read!

But today we're talking about the beautiful cover.  Without any further ado ... here it is in all its glory!

Title: How To Be Someone Else
Author: Rachel Del
Release Date: Oct 20, 2016


Sometimes it is the one who knows you best who can love you best.

Penny has lived her life letting others take the reins, leaving her to simply follow in line. After completing her senior year of College she’ll join her father’s marketing firm, get married and start a family.

When her parents drop a bomb on her — that they are getting divorced — Penny decides it’s time to start living by her own rules. And when she meets mysterious P.J. Hawthorne, a published writer who seems to know much more about Penny than she lets on, she knows this is her chance to finally get her life moving in the right direction.

But as questions about her new life overwhelm her, so do thoughts of sweet and gorgeous Alex — who just so happens to be her best friend.

What follows is a series of poor decisions, each one more worrisome than the last, forcing Penny further and further away from not only Alex, but from becoming the woman she’s sure she’s meant to be.

Author Info:

Rachel Del is a head-in-the-clouds introvert, homebody and thirty-something writer currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband and three-year-old son. Originally from Ontario, Canada she works in publishing, and spends her free time reading, writing and drinking far too much black coffee.

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