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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Book Haul [29] - It's Been A While!

Holy smokes, my last book haul was in June!  I need to get back to doing these more regularly, since it's hard to remember which books I've acquired since my last haul!  Here goes...

From my OTSP Secret Sister, Amanda @ Books, Brains and Brawn

I was SUPER excited to receive my last package from Amanda and learn that she was my secret sister.  Although I had a guess, I was completely wrong.  I also loved the way she revealed her identity.  She had coloured a picture of Dobby and posted it on Twitter, saying that her OTSP Secret Sister would be receiving it.  As soon as I opened the package, I gasped because I knew she was my sister!  We've had fun chatting back and forth on Twitter and Instagram, and I love that I still have a few unread books that she sent me so that I can share my thoughts with her in the coming months.

For my last package, she sent me a copy of Quidditch Through the Ages.  I had never really planned to read these books but, after starting my re-read of the series and gobbling up Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I am craving all things Harry Potter.  Definitely picking this one up this year, or early next year.  And, of course, I can't wait to colour my Harry Potter colouring books!

The previous package was equally incredible, and contained two signed books!  An ARC of Firsts (which I've already read and it was awesome), as well as a book that Amanda RAVED about, Exit Pursued by a Bear.  I had planned to pick up Exit in the summer, but got distracted with something else.  I'll definitely try to read it soon!

From my new Secret Sister:

Hard to believe that we're already two months into the new round!  My secret sister has already sent two packages.  The first one included 99 Days by Katie Cotugno, which I read as a review book last year, but wanted to add to my collection since I loved it so much.  My co-worker was immediately intrigued by the premise and asked to borrow it.  I love sharing beloved books with others.

My second package included a colouring book, so I really need to step up my colouring game!  I already have four colouring books, but have only coloured one so far.  I think popping in an audiobook and colouring for a while in the evenings while my hubby watches sports would be a good way to unwind in the evening, so I'll definitely give this a shot once hockey season starts (and our TV is on for extended periods in the evening!)


1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling
On release day, because DUH.

2. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
Haven't read this yet, no spoilers!  Although I was so excited to have it in my hands, I'm going to save this one for a little bit, maybe even until early 2017.  It'll make the wait less painful for the last book.

3. Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano
I picked up the first book in this series last year, and haven't read it yet.  I needed a cheap book to add to my order in order to qualify for free shipping, so I grabbed this one.  Strangely enough, they actually shipped the books separately -- silly Chapters!

4. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My book club picked this for our October meeting -- I've heard great things, and I'm excited to bring it on the plane with me this week!


It is embarrassing how many e-books I have bought in the last few months, although I actually did read a couple of ebooks over the summer.  I'm already planning to make a bookish resolution to tackle my ebook TBR next year -- it's starting to topple!

1. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
2. Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino
3. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (and read it too!)
4. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
5. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
6. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
7. He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker
8. Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
9. Shadowlands by Kate Brian
10. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
11. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
12. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

See anything that I should bump to the top of my reading pile?  What's new on your shelves?  Let's chat in the comments, and thank you for stopping by =)

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Replica - Lauren Oliver

After I read Before I Fall and Delirium, I knew that Lauren Oliver had secured a spot at the top of my favourites list.  Her writing is so beautiful and these books are some of my all-time favourites.  Although I've read most, but not all, of her later releases, I haven't found a book that wowed me as much as her first two releases.  Her later books have been good, and full of her beautiful writing, but I didn't feel that heartfelt connection to them the same way that I did with her first two books.

I had high expectations for Replica, and it didn't disappoint.  Although still not quite at the same level as my favourites of hers, I definitely enjoyed Replica more than some of her later books.  As I had an e-galley, I could only read the book from cover to cover, rather than flipping back and forth between points of view.  I am definitely planning to buy a physical copy of the book so that I can reread it at some point.  I LOVED Lyra's half of the book, and found her to be such a riveting character.  The way she saw the world was captivating and I tore through the first half of the book.  Gemma's character was less likeable, and I found certain elements of the book to be a little repetitive.  I think I was hoping for more WOW moments in the second half, but instead it dragged a little.  The second half of the book was still a solid read, but just not quite as good as the first half.

If you're contemplating purchasing this book, I would highly suggest a physical copy over a digital copy, as I think this book would be better to read in alternating points of view, rather than cover to cover.  If you've been disappointed with some of Lauren's later titles, give her another chance with this book.  It's really, really good.

Note: I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This fact did not influence my opinion of the book in any way.

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October TBR!

Soooo, I didn't read either of the two books that I had planned to read in September!  When the weather turned cold and rainy at the end of August, I immediately started craving darker reads, but by the time we were into the first week of September, the sunshine returned and I didn't feel like reading those books anymore!  To be perfectly honest, I spent most of September finding things to do that didn't involve reading, but I think I was stressing out a little about my reading challenges.  As the year starts to draw to a close, I find myself seeing all the books that I had planned to read and I freak out a little because there's not enough days in the year to read them all.  And when I freak out a little, I stop reading, rather than encouraging myself to read more.  So I decided to stop worrying about what I may not have time to read, and instead just focus on reading some more awesome books!

I'm keeping things simple this month, and choosing a book that we're reading for book club (The Girl on the Train) and the book that I'm currently reading and enjoying (The Undomestic Goddess, which was on a TBR list previously this year!)  I know that I can read both of these =)

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