May Wrap-up!

May has been a truly wonderful month ... read on to see what wonderful things happened for me!

The Books

Books Read: 3 (On the Island, The Love that Split the World, A Court of Thorns and Roses)
I'm still two books ahead on my Goodreads challenge, but took the time to slow down and savour these reads this month, which was a nice change after my voracious series reading the month before!  There's been a lot going on off the page this month, but more on that later in this post.

Books Acquired: 4 (When We Collided, The Unexpected Everything, A Court of Mist and Fury and The Nest)

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +0 
TBR Challenge: +0
Around the Year in 52 Books: 3 more challenges completed:
  • A book with a beautiful title (The Love that Split the World)
  • A book on a summer reading list (On the Island)
  • A book with a beautiful cover (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

The Blog

I started my third HR class this month and school work interfered with the amount of blogging that I was able to do.  I think I hit my stride with balancing work, school and reading, so hopefully you'll see a more regular posting schedule next month.  I'm also crazy behind with my blog visiting -- if I haven't stopped by to say hi in a while, I will try to visit next month!

The month started with my May TBR, and I didn't read either of the two books -- oops!  I acquired a fair number of books this month, and shared two hauls.  The first one featured books that my amazing OTSP Secret Sister sent to me, as well as some e-books, and the second was my birthday order, featuring some yummy summer contemporaries!  I joined Top Ten Tuesday once this month, and shared a list of characters that I'd love to revisit as an adult ... or just have another volume to their stories!  Finally, I shared the intimidating TBR tag -- this one was so much fun to write!

The Other Stuff

May has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotion, but in a good way.  We officially listed our condo in early May and had a lot of interest, and then a collapsed over, but finally, FINALLY, as of yesterday, OUR CONDO IS SOLD!!!!!  Sooooo excited and relieved, especially because I can finally stop trying to keep my house looking like a show home.  It's exhausting to clean for one or two hours every day, and constantly tell your toddler to stop touching things.  We have to move by September 12th, which gives us lots of time to look for and find a house to buy.  This journey is far from over, but I'm excited for the next steps.

At work, I received a promotion!  I've been wanting to take on more of a management role for a while, to supplement the human resources program that I'm taking at school.  Our administrative team has been exceptionally busy over the past month or so, so the owner of the company has decided that it's time to add an extra member to our team.  My first task in my new role is to find and hire this new person, and then going forward I will be supervising and coordinating the administrative team to ensure that our workload is balanced and that we're able to pull together to meet deadlines.  I've also been working for the past six months on a proposal for the owner of the company to digitize 300 boxes of archived files.  After an enormous amount of work and coordinating and test scanning, we finally shipped all of the boxes off site for scanning!  I half-jokingly referred to the completion of this project as my life's greatest achievement =)

How about you?  Was May as awesome for you as it was for me?  Have you read anything sensational so far this year?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you so much for stopping by =)

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Marko Monday [21]

It's hard to believe that two months have flown by since the last one of these posts!  Since the majority of Marko's books have been packed, we've been making weekly trips to the library for new books.  Marko grabs a basket on wheels the moment we walk into the library, and loves filling it up with new stories to read at home.

He's moving away from wanting to read the same story over and over and over again (byyyyyeeee Brown Bear, Brown Bear!) and loves discovering new stories.  Reading with him is such a joy and a challenge as I try to read the story, while also answering "What is this Mama?" or "What he doing?" as he points to the pictures on each and every page.

We've discovered some truly wonderful wordless picture books lately that allow us to make up a story as we read it, and just answer his endless stream of questions while we go through the book.  David Weisner has become an instant favourite and, although all of his books this far have been fantastic, Flotsam was one of Marko's favourites.  It's the story of a camera that washes up on the beach, and the boy who finds it gets the pictures developed, showing the truly mystical underwater adventures that the camera has taken.

This kid just fills my heart with so much joy.  We took a couple of trips to Ikea earlier this month to buy, and then to pick up, a new bed for him to use at his nanny's house and each time we stopped for an ice cream cone.  This particular picture is from Mother's Day, where I spent the entire day just feeling grateful that I am a mama for this incredible little boy.

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On My Nightstand - May 27

Recently shelved as read:

I liked A Court of Thorns and Roses when I read it last year, but I think it was a bit overhyped for me because I didn't love it as I had expected to.  When I A Court of Mist and Fury arrived in the mail, I couldn't remember a single thing that happened in the first book, so I decided to give it a re-read.  I LOVED it the second time through, and immediately wanted to read the next book.

On my nightstand:

I'm almost finished with The Raven Boys, and I'm not loving it.  It's an okay read, but I'm not super invested in either the story or the characters.  Maggie's writing is beautiful though.  

As mentioned above, I just had to pick up A Court of Mist and Fury right away because I needed more Sarah J. Maas in my life.  It's wonderful so far, but I'm going to take my time and savour it.  Empire of Storms is still months away, after all!

Calling my name from the shelf:

I think I'm craving a summery contemporary ... maybe The Unexpected Everything?  Or When We Collided?

How about you?  What are you reading this weekend?  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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Book Haul [27] - Summer Reads

When We Collided by Emery Lord
I really liked Open Road Summer and absolutely ADORED The Start of Me and You, so I can't wait to see what her newest book is like!

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Morgan IS summer.  Summer isn't summer without a Morgan book.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
I'm already reading (and loving) this book.  Sarah J. Maas can do no wrong.

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
I went into Chapters to pick up a book for my OTSP Secret Sister, and a book seller approached me and sold me on this book.  I've seen it around, but the cover isn't that attractive.  A week after I picked it up on a whim, my book club selected it as our June pick, so I'll be jumping into this one soon!

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On My Nightstand - May 16

Recently shelved as read:

I loved this book so, so much.  I will have a review up soon (hopefully this week!) and will share more of my thoughts, but what a beautiful and unique read.

On my nightstand:

I'm close to the end of The Raven Boys and I'm liking it, but not loving it.  I've set it aside for the time being, while I audio and re-read A Court of Thorns and Roses.  I'm liking this book even more the second time through, since I was a bit underwhelmed last year.  I had just finished Heir of Fire and so many beloved bloggers had read ARCs of ACOTAR and were RAVING about it.  It was good, really good, but I didn't fall head over heels for this book like I had expected to.  But I'm really, really liking it this time through, and Feyre isn't as annoying this time -- I think her character drove me a little bit nuts last time.

Calling my name from the shelf:

I don't know WHAT I'm in the mood for!  I haven't read either of the books on my May TBR, and might not read either of them at all this month.  But I'm okay with that, since I have a 100% success rate for the previous months!  Also, I have three books out from the library, all of which I really want to read.  And unused Audible credits.  AND three brand new 2016 releases that just arrived.  What's a bookworm to do?!?

How about you?  What are you reading this weekend?  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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My Intimidating TBR Pile Tag

I saw this tag making the rounds on BookTube, and have really enjoyed watching some of the videos.  It was originally created by Lindsey Rey (see the original video here), and I just had to join in!  I've only tried a vlog once, and it was an epic fail because the audio and video didn't sync up for some weird reason, so I'm joining in via handwritten answers =P

1) What book have you been unable to finish?
I have two shelves on Goodreads of books that I've either set aside with the goal of picking up again, or books that I actually DNFed.  But for this question, I'll go with a super intimidating unfinished book, Shantaram.  My former boss recommended it, and since I didn't go back to my old job after mat leave, I didn't have the motivation to finish reading it.  I'm sure that I'll love the book, but it's over 800 pages, so I just haven't had the time.

What book have you yet to read because...
2) ...you just haven't had the time?
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.  My TBTB Secret Santa sent me a copy this year, and I know that I'm going to need to devote some serious thinking time to this book, since it's a higher fantasy than what I'm used to reading.  Since I'm still new-ish to fantasy, I can't fly through them like I can with other novels.  I know that I'm going to need to have a significant chunk of free time on my hands before I dive into this series.

3) ...it's a sequel?

After spending two months working my way through A Feast for Crows, I know that I will need to read Dance of Dragons (?) at some point.  It was so tough to get through book 4 that I'm just really not in the mood to pick up the next one, which is so huge that it's divided into two books!

4) ...it's brand new?

A Court of Mist and Fury!  It's so beautiful, but such a large book!  Plus, I don't remember what happened in the first book, so I'm going to re-read it.

5) ...you read a book by the same author and didn't enjoy it?

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.  I tried to read Jellicoe Road a couple of years ago, but couldn't get into it.  So many people love that book, and Melina Marchetta in general, that I'm also afraid that I'll be the one person on the planet who doesn't enjoy this series ... so I'm scared to pick it up!

6) ...you're just not in the mood for it?

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  Like Mistborn, I know that I'm going to need a significant chunk of time to read and digest this book, which I haven't had so I haven't been in the mood for a time-consuming read.  Between work and school and family time, my reading is usually about 30 minutes before bed, which doesn't give me the time I need to invest in a heavy fantasy novel.  So, although I really want to read this one, I just haven't been in the mood just yet.

7) ...it's humongous? 

All of the books on this list!  They're all chunky reads.  But I think I'll have to go with Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, which my husband has been pestering me to read since we first met.  It's a WESTERN and it's crazy long.  He says that it's amazing, but still ... it's a WESTERN.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.

8) ...because it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?

Hands down, Halo by Alexandra Adornetto.  I mean, ,just look at this beautiful cover:

The entire series is gorgeous, but the reviews are not so good.  It's sat unread ever since I bought it in hardcover when it was first released -- Goodreads says in 2010?!?  I hope that my low expectations will pay off, since I'd love the own the whole series ... they're so beautiful!

9) What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?
Hands down, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.  One of my best friends recommended this book to me years ago, and I picked up a copy, but the sheer size and the fact that I know it's dense and profound make it the most intimidating book on my TBR pile.

10) Who do you tag?

I've found out about so many great tags from Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook, so I tag her, as well as Lauren @ Lose Time Reading, because she needs to start blogging again and this was a fun tag to do!

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On My Nightstand - May 6

Recently shelved as read:

My book club picked this book, and we had our meeting on Wednesday evening.  It was a really lighthearted beachy read, but also provoked some good discussion.  I'd had this book on my Goodreads TBR for YEARS, so I'm really glad that I was finally able to pick it up!

On my nightstand:

I'm about halfway through The Raven Boys, and I'm enjoying it but I'm not sure that it's quite living up to the hype just yet.  Perhaps it's because it's a little bit slow, although the writing is gorgeous for sure.  I also picked up The Love that Split the World on April 30th, so even though I didn't finish it in April, at least I started it!  I'm enjoying it so far.

Calling my name from the shelf:

Definitely picking this one up next -- I'm tired of hearing myself say that I'm in the mood to read it, so I just need to read it already =P  I also picked up the sequel, so I can binge read them back to back if I feel like it.  My book club has picked The Nest as our June read and I'm excited to get into this one.  Our meeting isn't until early June, so I have a few weeks until I need to pick this up.  I always wrestle with picking up the book club read right away so that I'll have time to finish it if it's a slower read, but then also wanting to read it closer to the date so that I don't forget everything that happened in the book but also run the risk of not having enough time to finish the book on time.  It's a bookish struggle people, and it's real =P

How about you?  What are you reading this weekend?  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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Top Ten Childhood Characters to Revisit as an Adult

Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  I haven't participated in this meme very much this year due to being busy and feeling uninspired for most of the topics, but today's looks fun!  Here's my list of childhood characters that I'd love to revisit as an adult.

1. Sheila from The Secret of the Unicorn Queen
I stumbled across the first three books in this series at a used bookstore a few years ago, and I'm so scared to re-read them.  I loved, LOVED this series as a pre-teen, and would always bring home any or all of the six book series whenever I spotted one of the books on the library's shelves.  I'm scared that I won't love the series as much as an adult, and I don't want to taint my voracious childhood love of this series and this character.

2. Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield from Sweet Valley
This is another series that completely defined my childhood.  I absolutely LOVED reading Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later when it came out a few years ago, and adored being back in the world and seeing those familiar characters again.  I'd happily read Fifteen Years Later, and Twenty Years Later and...

3. Anne from Anne of Green Gables
4. Emily from Emily of New Moon
I read the first few Anne books when I was young, but never finished the series because Anne "got boring" once she grew up in the later books.  Now that I, myself, am older and probably boring, I would love to revisit the series.  I read the Emily books when I was 18, and loved them so so much, probably even more than the Anne books.  I'm more interested in re-reading and finishing the Anne series, but I'm also interested in re-reading this series as well.

5. Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz
I read and re-read all ten (or more?) books in this series and loved them all (except the Wheelies, which still give me the creeps to this day!)  I'd love to re-read these with an adult eye, and see if they're still as magical and beautiful as they were back then.

6. Bastion in The Neverending Story
I have so much, SO MUCH love for this book, as it came into my life at a time when I was being bullied in school, just like Bastion in the story.  I felt like this book saved me a little, by giving me my own Neverending Story to read, even if I couldn't literally escape into the story, as Bastion did.

7. Hermione from Harry Potter
Although I was technically in my late teens/early 20s when I first picked up this series, I still consider the Harry Potter series to be a key component of how I became who I am.  I had been hoping to re-read this series this year, or at least start doing so, and I'm excited to see if I love it as much as an adult!

8. Laura in The Little House on the Prairie
Like Anne, I'm not sure if I read this entire series as a child, or if I stopped once the girls grew up and therefore became boring.  It would be interesting to revisit this series as an adult, especially when I saw a few beloved bloggers doing just that!

9. The children in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Clearly my inability to finish series comes from honest beginnings, as I'm pretty sure that I didn't read the entire Narnia series either.  Now that I've been getting back into fantasy, it would be interesting to revisit this series, which is loved by so many beloved blogger friends!

10. Sara in A Little Princess
Really, this final spot on the list could go to this book, or The Secret Garden or Little Women.  Although I loved the Sweet Valley books with all my heart, my mother didn't like them and wanted me to read books that were better quality.  We compromised and I read the odd book of her choice, while still devouring the Sweet Valley adventures in between.  I read these classics under duress, and I wonder if I would appreciate them more as an adult when I read them by choice, rather than necessity.

I wish that I could have hundreds of extra hours in order to read all of these books, plus my pile of TBR books!  I'm not a huge re-reader (and I have a post on this coming in a few weeks) so I've never really had a huge urge to pick any of these books up.  How about you?  Do you re-read books from your childhood?  Do you find that your opinions of them change when re-reading, and is this change a good thing?  Part of the reason that I'm terrified to pick these up is that I hold the books in such high regard, and I don't want to taint my experience of reading the books if I don't enjoy them as an adult.  Oh, reader problems, hey?

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Book Haul [26] -- #OTSPSecretSister & More E-Books!

It's been a while since I've posted a haul!  I was going to wait until my May pre-orders came in, but I already have TWO #OTSPSecretSister packages that I haven't hauled yet, so this post is overdue.

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter
I've had my eye on this book since Betty @ Book Rock Betty and Brave New Betty read and loved this one a few years ago, and my super wonderful OTSP Secret Sister sent me a copy for my birthday in March!  Although I'm not the biggest fan of Alice in Wonderland (it's just so WEIRD!), the premise of this one sounds intriguing and I hear that there's a sexy boy too!

Harry Potter Colouring Book
When I received my April package from my OTSP Secret Sister, I actually squealed with glee when I saw this colouring book inside!  Although I was sent my first adult colouring book for review last year (see my review of Lost Ocean here), this is the colouring book that I've wanted ever since I saw that it was coming out.  SO excited to dive into this one, and I had planned to listen to the series this year as a re-read, so I might just do that while colouring!

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
I have heard mixed reviews about this one, but it was super cheap as an e-book, so I bought it on a whim.  I hope that I'll like it!

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
This is my book club's May pick, and I've already read it.  A super light summery read, and it reminded me a lot of Hatchet, which I read in elementary school.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My bookish friend Teresa loved this book, and recommended it to me on Goodreads.  I think I'll read this for the corresponding challenge of reading a book from the recommendations page, although I have heard that this book is heartbreaking and sad.

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I'm usually so excited to plan these TBR posts, and am generally looking forward to what I plan to read next month ... even before the current month is even close to being over.  But this month, for some reason, I'm really struggling with what I want to read.  

I've had Unraveling on many, many On My Nighstand posts lately, and I think I'd definitely like to knock this one off my TBR pile this month.  I've already grabbed the sequel from the library, so I can binge read both together if I like the first book.

Since I didn't finish both books on my April TBR, and the unread book is a review book, I'm definitely going to try to get to The Love the Split the World in May, but I've also been eyeing The Undomestic Goddess for a while now too.  It'll be a quick chick lit read, and one that I'll likely bring back to the used bookstore when I'm done and will make room for the three pre-orders that are coming in this month!

Have you read either of these books?  Which books are on your TBR pile for May?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you for stopping by =)

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