ARC August TBR!

In April, I unintentionally participated in ARC April by reading two review copies (one e-galley and one finished copy).  I didn't realize that it was a thing until I saw Twitter buzzing about ARC August, and immediately knew that I had to jump aboard.  I have two e-galleys to read on Edelweiss, both of which I would like to finish this month.

I also have two expired e-galleys on Netgalley, but I don't want to be too ambitious for the month.  I'm heading to Alberta to visit the in-laws for a week and a half in the middle of the month, so I'm only going to pack my e-reader, which should encourage me to read both of these.  I have a tendency to gravitate towards physical copies instead of e-books, so hopefully I can get both of these read during my vacation.

How about you?  Are you participating in ARC August?  If you are, please leave a link to your post, as I'd love to stop by =)

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My Harry Potter Reading Story

One of my favourite bloggers EVER, Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books, shared the story of how she and her husband read and fell in love with the Harry Potter series, as part of a month long celebration of all things Harry Potter, hosted by Kristin @ Super Space Chick and Megan @ The Nerdy Girlie.  Since I am also PUMPED for the upcoming release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (less than two weeks to go!), I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with reading the Harry Potter series!

I was late to the Harry Potter game as well, and started reading the series after the fourth book was already out.  I was a Girl Guide leader at the time, and the girls were constantly talking about Hogwarts and Quidditch, so I just wanted to know what this series was all about.  I had only planned on reading the first book, just to get an idea of what the books entailed, but after the first book I was HOOKED.  I gobbled up all four in a month, and then joined the rest of the world to wait for the fifth book.

When the fifth book was released, I was working at a summer camp in upstate New York.  I'd re-read the first four books before I left for camp, and then patiently waited for one of the girls to finish reading her copy so that I could borrow it.  

When the sixth book came out, I had just moved to Vancouver with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, but returned to Victoria for the weekend so that I could work at the launch party with my former co-workers.  Since I wasn't officially employed by the bookstore anymore, I received a copy of the book as a thank you for working that evening.  It was an amazing experience to see so many people in costume and the line-up wrapped halfway around the mall!  The energy was incredible and I loved being a part of it all!

I attended the midnight release for the seventh book as well, but this time as a customer at my local Chapters.  I went with my husband (who had just started reading the series and wasn't quite into it just yet) and another couple (who were each buying a copy because there was NO WAY that they could share!)  Again, it was so amazing to be part of such happy energy over a book, and I loved being part of the crowd.  It was well after 1 a.m. by the time we got our book and went home, but I stayed up for another hour reading, and then read the rest of the book the next day.

I've already pre-ordered my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but won't be going to the midnight launch.  I'll dash into the bookstore on Sunday to pick up my copy for sure, but I just don't think I can stay awake long enough to be part of the midnight launch for this one!  The launches of books six and seven will forever remain special memories in my heart, and I sincerely hope that there's another series that will touch Marko's life in the same way that the Harry Potter series has touched mine.

Here's a picture of me and my co-workers dressed up at the launch of Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince:

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Make Me Read It Read-A-Thon - Wrap Up!

The week has come and gone!  I had a three-way tie on which book I should read, so I took the top three to Twitter, and Lady Midnight won by a landslide.  I started this book this week, and read a grand total of 80 pages.  Yup, only 80 pages out of this 600+ page book.  It's good, really good, but I just had too much going on this week to focus on reading.  But I will definitely be continuing on with this book, as it's the only book that I've bought this year and haven't read yet.  I'm definitely in more of a summery contemporary mood at the moment, and have already gobbled up a couple of chapters of Past Perfect, which I'll probably finish in the coming days.

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Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

There is nothing that I love more than making lists of books that I plan to read, freaking out about all the ones that I haven't read, and then making more lists of books to read.  So, when I saw a bunch of BookTubers posting the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag, it seemed like a fun thing to do here on the blog.  The tag was originally created by ReadLikeWildfire (see her video here) and Ely Jane (see her video here).

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2015. 
I've read so many great books this year!  Honestly, it's probably a three way tie between Winter, Six of Crows and A Court of Mist and Fury.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2015.
Again, a tie between Winter and Six of Crows.

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.

Happily enough, I only have one unread 2016 release on my shelves, and that is Lady Midnight.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Another three way tie, but this one is between Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Crooked Kingdoms and Empire of Storms.

5. Biggest disappointment.

Hands down, the Raven Boys.  I expected WAY more from that book, and was extremely disappointed.

6. Biggest surprise.

Probably Brain on Fire.  I had to read it for book club and, while memoirs are hit and miss for me, I was absolutely riveted by this book, and could barely put it down!

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

I was absolutely riveted by Love, Chloe after I saw Alyssa @ Swept Away by Books raving about it on Instagram.  I'll definitely be checking out more books by Alessandra Torre.

8. Newest fictional crush.

I've never been much of a fictional crush kind of person, but Rhysand is definitely sexxxxxxxy.

9. Newest favourite character.

Inej from Six of Crows.  I'm so excited to learn more about her in Crooked Kingdoms.
10. Book that made you cry.

Definitely A Court of Mist and Fury.  My heart aches just thinking about it.

11. Book that made you happy.
The Unexpected Everything.  PUPPIES and ICE CREAM!?!?

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
It's a toss up between A Court of Mist and Fury and Lady Midnight.  Since I'm currently reading Lady Midnight, I can't be 100% certain that it's going to be beautiful inside and out, but if it's as good as everyone says then it'll be tough to choose between these two!

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Omigosh, SO MANY.  I definitely plan to read the rest of my 2016 releases list since, after I finish Lady Midnight, I will be completely up to date with new releases.  I still plan to read It Ends With Us, Empire of Storms, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Crooked Kingdoms, Strange the Dreamer and Heartless.

Then, in order to finish my 16 books to read in 2016 list, I still have to finish Unraveling, Beautiful Disaster, The Young Elites, Dangerous Girls, The Angel's Game, Bedtime Story, Finnikin of the Rock, Burn, Across the Universe, Past Perfect and Half-Blood.  YIKES.

14 Favourite Book Community Member (Blogger, Booktuber and Bookstagrammer).
Again, SO MANY.  I know that I'm not as active at interacting in the community as I wish I could be, but please know that I love all of you!

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On My Nightstand - July 13

Recently shelved as read:

The Start of You and Me absolutely blew me away last summer, so I had really high hopes for When We Collided.  I really liked it, but it was definitely darker than I was expecting.  The Moon and More was cute, but not as good as some of Sarah's other books.  Still a solid read, but I can understand why people were a little underwhelmed by it.  I've also powered through the first two Harry Potter books on audio!  Loving re-discovering them in a new format!

On my nightstand:

Although I missed the official sign-up, I'm participating in the Make Me Read It Read-A-Thon.  I love the idea of getting YOU to pick my next read!  There was a three way tie on the poll on my blog (Lady Midnight, To All The Boys I've Loved Before and The Young Elites), so I took the top three to Twitter and Lady Midnight was the clear winner.  Since there was so much love for the other two, I'll definitely pick them up soon, but I'm really glad that Lady Midnight won!  There's no way that I'm going to finish the book during the read-a-thon, since I have a final paper and a final exam due this week, but I know that this book would have sat unread on my shelves for a long, long time if I wasn't encouraged to pick it up.  Just like the Infernal Devices, I know that I'm going to love this book, but I needed the encouragement to just read it already!  

Calling my name from the shelf:

After the epicness of Lady Midnight, I think I'm going to finish off my July TBR and enjoy another contemporary.  I've been doing quite well with both my July and summer TBRs, and I'd like to keep it going!

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On Changing Book Buying and Reading Habits

Last summer, I took a long hard look at my physical TBR and was surprised to discover that I had 136 unread books on my shelves (but, in all honesty, I thought the number would be much higher).  Since then, I've been keeping track of my TBR, and I'm down to 129!  I've bought lots of books since my initial count, but have also committed to read more of the books that are on my shelves.  I've noticed some changes in both my book buying and book reading habits...

...I'm reading what I buy pretty much right away.  
Granted, I haven't bought too many books this year at all, mainly because 98% of my book collection is currently packed away in boxes in our storage locker in preparation for our upcoming move.  I've borrowed a few books from the library that I felt like reading, but had already packed, but have definitely focused on reading what I own.  The few new releases that I've acquired this year have almost all been read right away.  I think that this is because they don't get put onto my shelves and lost in amongst all the other books that I want to read.  I've been picking them up right away because A) I'm really excited to read them and B) I don't have as many unread books to choose from.

...I'm becoming more and more of a mood reader.
I've had a post on mood reading drafted for over a year, but this year has really solidified my position as a mood reader.  I put books on hold at the library, but by the time they come in, I'm not really in the mood for that particular genre or topic, and they usually go back unread (sometimes even late and I pay fines on books I didn't even open!)  I've pretty much only read book club books from the library, because those are ones that I have no choice in reading, and some of them aren't books that I want to own.

...I'm committed to reducing my physical TBR.
I've really enjoyed having less of a physical TBR to choose from, and have thoroughly enjoyed treating myself to a new release and then diving into it right away.  I'd definitely love to have less than 50 unread books on my shelves, and am committed to reaching that goal.  It might take a few years, but ultimately it would be nice to go book shopping, buy a new book and start reading it that night.  Last year, I made a self-created book buying ban whereby I promised to only buy books that I planned to read right away.  The ban flopped because I bought way more books than I read, but this year I've definitely been more selective with the books that I've bought and it's worked out quite well. I think the secret is staying away from Book Outlet =P

How about you?  Do you find that you book buying and book reading habits have changed over the years?  Let's chat in the comments below, and thank you so much for stopping by =)

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Reading Challenges - Halfway Point!

Goal: Professional (76-100 points)

Books Read:

  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer (+1)
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer (+12)
  • Stars Above (+2)
  • A Feast for Crows (+2)
  • The Retribution of Mara Dyer (+12)
  • Clockwork Prince (+2)
  • Clockwork Princess (+12)
  • A Court of Mist and Fury (+2)
Total so far: 45

I'm more than halfway there!  And with my Harry Potter re-read, it should be a snap to wrap-up this challenge this year.  I'm super glad that I picked a lower level than last year, since I don't feel too badly about taking the summer to enjoy some sensational standalones.

Goal: Sweet Summer Fling (31-40 points)

Books Read:

  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
  • A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
  • The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Total so far: 12

I need to pick up the pace with this challenge, since I've read quite a few new releases this year, or books that I hadn't had on my TBR (mainly book club picks).  I've only read four of the 16 books that I had planned to read in 2016 so, if I can finish this list, that'll add another 12 points to the list and bring me closer to my goal.  

Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge (from Goodreads)

This list is long and messy, but I've completed 28 out of the 52 challenges thus far.  These are the ones that are still outstanding:

5. A book with a title beginning with the 1st letter of your name
7. A book about books
8. A classic book with less than 200 pages
10. A book by an author you feel you should have read by now
11. A book from the Rory Gilmore challenge
12. A childhood classic
13. Reader’s Choice
16. A book from the top 100 mystery novels
21. A book from the Goodreads Recommendations page
25. A book whose main character is in a profession that interests you
29. A book by an author who writes under more than one name
30. A fairytale from a culture other than your own
32. A historical fiction book
33. The 16th book on your TBR 
35. An award winning book
36. An identity book - a book about a different culture, religion or sexual orientation
37. A book that you've seen the movie of but haven't read
40. A novella from your favorite genre
41. A book about a major world event (fiction or non-fiction)
45. A book related to a hobby or passion you have
46. A crime story 
47. A book with a type of food/drink in the title
48. A dystopia
50. A book originally written in a language other than English

It's not an impossible list, but I'm not 100% sure that I'll be able to complete them all.  There's a lot of historical fiction left to read, and not many left on my TBR, not to mention the fact that I'm not super keen on reading mystery novels.  We'll see.  I'll definitely be meeting my Goodreads goal of reading 52 books, but they may not be the 52 challenges on this list =P

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Bookish Resolutions -- Halfway Point!

I always see mid-year resolution posts on other blogs, but have never been organized enough to a mid-year check-in myself.  This year though, is the year of getting all of the reading things done.  Let's see where I'm at on my 2016 resolutions...

1. Read mainly books from my shelves.
Definitely doing this!  Most of the library books that I've borrowed have been books that I own, but packed.

2. Stay away from review copies.
I've been much better at this and, as of the time that I type this, I'm all caught up on my finished copies for review, but still have two expired e-galleys.  I have two fall releases yet to read, but I'm feeling good about meeting those deadlines.

3. Stay true to myself.
I'm definitely rocking this one, since the only book that I've been disappointed by so far is The Raven Boys.  I really thought that I would like that one more, since so many people have loved it and they have similar reading tastes to my own.

4. Try to interact online more.
I've been terrible at keeping up with my Bloglovin' feed this year, and will try a little harder to visit and comment on blogs.  But I have been more active in the bookish community, as I participated in the Love-a-Thon, Tome Topple and OTSP Secret Sister.

5. Continue to make progress with my series.
I've knocked four series off my TBR for the year, with six more remaining.  Two of the series only have one book to read (Empire of Storms and Burn), so I'm confident that I'll hit six by the end of the year for sure.  I'd definitely like to tackle one of the older series next, I'm thinking either the Magyk series or Among the Hidden, since they're middle grade and quick reads.

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

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July TBR!

I wasn't going to do TBR posts for the summer, but since I kicked some series butt on my June TBR, I figured why not?  I'm working my way through my summer TBR list anyways, so here goes!

I have read every single book by Sarah Dessen ... except The Moon and More, despite having it on my shelves for three years.  I think the mixed reviews scared me away from picking it up, but I'm hopeful that I'll love it anyways because 1) it's Sarah Dessen and 2) low expectations usually pay off for me!

I read This Song Will Save Your Life last year (or maybe the year before?) and really liked it.  Again, I've had Past Perfect collecting dust on my shelf for a couple of years, ever since the lovely Estelle from Rather Be Reading surprised me with a copy as an extra bonus for a giveaway that I won.  I know that I'm going to love it!

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