3/31/16

March Wrap-up!

Another month already come and gone, and what a busy month it was!  I'll get into all the personal stuff later, but let's start with the bookish stuff...

The Books

Books Read: 9 (The Light Between Oceans, Of Metal and Wishes, A Feast for Crows, Stars Above, Brain on Fire, Burial Rites, Changing His Game, The Retribution of Mara Dyer and Love, Chloe)
I had a crazy good reading month and completed twice the number of books that I read last month!  Of course, A Feast for Crows has been ongoing for the last couple of months =P

Books Acquired: 1 (Lady Midnight)
We're not counting e-books, right?  RIGHT?  I honestly hadn't even planned to pick up Lady Midnight, but, well, it happened.

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +16 (A Feast for Crows, Stars Above, Mara Dyer)
TBR Challenge: +4 (The Light Between Oceans, A Feast for Crows, Burial Rites, Mara Dyer)
Around the Year in 52 Books: 9 more challenges completed:
  • A book set in a different continent (The Light Between Oceans)
  • A book about a thing that goes bump in the night (Of Metal and Wishes)
  • A top 100 fantasy novel (A Feast for Crows)
  • A book about an anti-hero (The Retribution of Mara Dyer)
  • A short story from a well-known author (Stars Above)
  • A book you're embarrassed to read in public (Changing His Game)
  • A book about mental illness (Brain on Fire)
  • A book with a first name in the title (Love, Chloe)
  • A book set in the past (more than 100 years ago) (Burial Rites)

The Blog

I started the month off by sharing my March TBR and I'm definitely enjoying sharing these posts, especially since I'm 4/4 for the books that I had planned to read!  I brought back Marko Monday with another update on my little man and a review of our latest favourite book.  I didn't share too many creative posts this month (which is maybe why I read so much?!?) so the rest of my posts are mainly On My Nightstand updates and Thursday Tracks.  I'm really quite proud of the post that I wrote about Blue Nile's Soul Boy.  And, although I'm not counting my e-book purchases under my "books aquired" above, you check out my outrageous e-book purchasing habits in two book haul posts (linked here and here).

The Other Stuff

The month started off with my birthday weekend, half of which was devoted to moving most of our stuff into storage.  Our place is now so empty that it actually echoes.  The next step will be painting and working on the landscaping in our yard to make it showhome ready.  Fingers crossed for putting it on the market in mid-April!  Despite the hecticness of moving, we still had a small family BBQ for my birthday.

The following week, I came down with a nasty cold that lingered for the rest of the month.  I alternated between losing my voice, coughing like a pack-a-day smoker and being so stuffed up that I couldn't breathe.  This is probably another reason why I read so much this month!

My mother-in-law and her husband came to visit for the last week, in honour of her 60th birthday.  We spent lots of family time together, including a family photo session.  We're now getting ready for my father-in-law to fly in tomorrow, and he'll be painting our condo this weekend (with my husband's help) as well as celebrating his 65th birthday with us on Sunday.

How about you?  What was the highlight of March for you?  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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3/30/16

On My Nightstand - March 30

Recently shelved as read:


Omigosh you guys, I loved this book so so SO much.  I have never read a NA that was a five-star read (usually NA is more meh than good) but this one was fun, flirty, sexy, steamy and the perfect combination of contemporary goodness!  It was a super cheap e-book too, so if you're looking for a light read that has some serious heart, definitely check this one out.

On my nightstand:


I'm almost finished both of these books, but still currently reading for today.  Year of Yes is really good, quite funny and definitely inspirational.  I'm enjoying The Retribution of Mara Dyer, but it's definitely not going to be on my favourite series of all time lists.

Calling my name from the shelf:


This just came in at the library, and I've downloaded the audiobook as well so that I can blast through this re-read.  I've already put Clockwork Prince on hold at the library too, so hopefully I can make it through this series in the next month or so!

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

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3/23/16

On My Nightstand - March 23

Recently shelved as read:


Another really great reading week!  It helps that I was sick with a cold for most of last week, and am also off on holidays this week.  In between scrambling to get caught up with school work, I finished Burial Rites (loved, loved, loved it -- such a unique story and I cried at the end!)  I started Changing His Game a few weeks ago, and read the first few chapters, but got distracted with something else and forgot to finish it.  I gobbled up the rest in one evening -- a cute, fun romance novel for sure.  I knew that I'd pick up a romance novel for the challenge of reading a book that I'd be embarrassed to read in public -- this cover is definitely steamy!

On my nightstand:



Alyssa @ Swept Away By Books raved about Love, Chloe on Instagram and I instantly downloaded.  Then Betty @ Brave New Betty picked it up, and I knew that it would be next on my TBR list.  It's just perfect so far -- a light contemporary that has substance and some serious heart.  I love books set in New York City, and this one is no exception!  I've also just started Year of Yes on audio, and I'm liking it so far!  Shonda's a great narrator, and I've already laughed aloud a few times.  It's a short audiobook, which is perfect to tide me over until my next book club read.

Calling my name from the shelf:


I'm still waiting for Clockwork Angel to come in at the library, so will likely knock Mara Dyer off my TBR list first.  Unless sometime else strikes my fancy before then -- anything is possible for this mood reader!

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

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3/17/16

Book Haul [25] -- These Books Bought Themselves ... Honest!

I know, I know -- I posted a book haul last weekend, and another one just a couple of weeks before that!


Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
I wasn't going to buy this book ... honest!  I was going to finish reading the Infernal Devices, and then the Bane Chronicles and THEN I was going to buy the book.  But I went to Costco, and it somehow followed me home!  On the plus side, I'm finally in the mood to read the Infernal Devices, so hopefully it'll happen soon!  I've heard nothing but great things about this book so far, so I'm hoping that I'll like it too!



Love, Chloe by Alessandra Torre
Alyssa @ Swept Away by Books posted about this book on Instagram earlier this week, and I downloaded it on a whim since it was inexpensive.  I haven't read much new adult lately, so I'm excited to check this one out!

Changing His Game by Megan Erickson
I saw this on Kelly @ Belle of the Literati's blog and loved her description of nerd love.  I don't read much romance, but knew that I would pick one up for the "book you're embarrassed to read in public" challenge -- it's really good, and very steamy, so far!

And while I was downloading Love, Chloe, I just happened to notice that Kobo was having this crazy awesome sale .... and the rest of this just happened ...


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
This was the most expensive e-book that I bought (but still only $4.99).  I'm not completely sold on this series, but I would like to give it a shot since I know that so many people love it.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
I've heard nothing but amazing things about this one!



Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
This book has crazy good reviews, and it's been on my TBR for quite some time.

The Queen of the Tearline by Erika Johansen
I thought that I had bought this book for super cheap last year, but it turns out that I bought the second one!  Oops, but now I have both of the books in this series, and would definitely like to give this series a shot.



Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This premise of this book sounds intriguing, but I've always been somewhat disappointed by the cover.  Here's hoping that it's underwhelming in the same way that Me Before You was, and contains a truly wonderful story.

Have you read any of these books?  Anything that I should bump up my TBR pile?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you so much for stopping by my blog =)

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3/16/16

On My Nightstand - March 16

Recently shelved as read:

I had a really good reading week, and sailed through the rest of Of Metal and Wishes (really, really liked this one -- it was very different than I had expected!) and then gobbled up Stars Above.  Oh my heart, I'm sad that this beautiful series is over, but am still looking forward to the Iko graphic novels, not to mention the release of Heartless later this year.  My favourite story by far was The Android, but I still enjoyed each and every one of them, and loved having more glimpses into each character's life.  And I FINISHED A FEAST FOR CROWS!  FINALLY!  It wasn't my favourite of the series thus far, and felt like a filler book?  Not much happened.  I'm definitely pumped for the new season next month, but not in the mood to read another of the books for a bit.

On my nightstand:




I was going to jump into The Retribution of Mara Dyer, since that's the second book on my March TBR list, but I wasn't quite feeling it.  So I decided to let my husband pick from my basket of unpacked books -- and he chose Burial Rites.  It's intriguing so far, even though I've only read 20ish pages.

Calling my name from the shelf:


I've had my eye on this one for a while, and am craving some chick lit so I think I'll check another one off for a few challenges -- my TBR pile challenge, as well as a book for the Around the Year in 52 Books: a book by an author that writes under more than one name!  I'm also finally in the mood to jump into the Infernal Devices series -- although I packed those books.  I'm borrowing them from the library, so will hopefully still be in the mood to dive into the series when my copy comes in at the library!  Plus, I will hopefully still have time to finish off the Mara Dyer series this month -- fingers crossed!

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

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3/15/16

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR List


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is one of my all time favourites -- planning my spring TBR pile!

As I shared last month, we're planning to sell our condo, which means that we've spent the past month packing up all of our non-essential belongings, moving them into a storage locker and are now getting ready to paint and put our place on the market!  It's exciting and terrifying all at the same time.  I've kept one box of books in my closet (hidden from my husband who told me to pack them ALL) and I'll be secretly picking from this box over the coming weeks.  I likely won't be reading as much in the coming months, as we will hopefully be selling and buying by summertime, but it's also equally possible that I'll be escaping into book worlds because life is so busy and stressful.  So, here's what I'll be escaping into:

1. The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
This one's going to be read this month, as I want to knock this series off my TBR.  I have a feeling that this one's going to be a bit of a disappointment, so this series is tentatively in the bag of books that are going back to the used bookstore.

2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
This is another book that I kept out of the packed boxes, mainly because I'm not certain that I'll finish this one.  It's on my list of 16 books to read in 2016, mainly because it's been collecting dust on my shelves since I started blogging and I need to see if I'm still interested in this series.

3. Burn by Julianna Baggott
I may end up putting this book on a few TBR lists this year, but this is one series that I am committed to finishing this year ... at some point.

4. Brain on Fire by Suzannah Calahan
This is cheating ... just a little, but this is my book club's next pick, so it's one that I'll be reading for sure.

5. Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
I also kept all my Black Dagger Brotherhood books out of the boxes, because I pass these along to my sister-in-law when I'm done reading them.  She hasn't been reading much lately, but at least they're stored at her house instead of mine -- see how sneaky I am with my book packing/hoarding?

6. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
I've read all of Sophie Kinsella's books, except this one and I have owned it for years.  It also satisfies another of the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge, which is read a book by an author that writes under more than one name.

7. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
I'm scared to read this one, really really scared.  I feel the same way about this series as I did going into Throne of Glass.  It's so beloved by so many that I'm afraid that I'll be the only person that doesn't like it, but I'm also a little bit excited that I'll find another series to love.

8. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
9. When We Collided by Emery Lord
10. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
I pre-ordered all three of these from Chapters, but they won't be delivered until close to the end of May.  I may not finish all three by the first day of summer, but I'll try!

How about you?  What's on your spring TBR pile?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you so much for stopping by my blog =)

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3/14/16

Marko Monday [20]

I missed last month's post, since my end-of-the-month wrap-up fell on the day when I would have featured this post!  I may not post these at the end of the month, but will still aim for once a month-ish.  Ish, as always =P

Marko received The Little Blue Digger for his birthday last month, and this book has quickly rocketed to the top of his favourites list.  It's a super cute story of a little blue digger who isn't allowed to help on the construction site, since he's so small.  But when a huge pile of bricks fall on top of the big yellow digger, it becomes apparent that little diggers can also be helpful.  The graphics in the story are great, and I love the message that each person has a special skill.

Now that he's three, his little personality just continues to grow and get stronger with each passing day.  Frequently heard phrases include: "No I do it!" and "But I want to!"  Each day presents us with the challenge of encouraging his growing independence, while also dancing the fine line between wanting to keep him happy and letting him run the show.  In short, keeping up with a toddler is pretty exhausting!

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago and shared it on Instagram, while Marko was "helping" to pack by emptying out a bag of chess pieces and then pulling all his book shelves off the shelf.  This is our boy: chess + reading = one happy kid.



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3/10/16

Thursday Tracks - Soul Boy by The Blue Nile


Thursday Tracks is hosted over at Gone with the Words and gives me the opportunity to share another passion of mine -- MUSIC!

My co-worker is completely smitten over someone right now, and it's been so incredible to watch her go through this experience.  She arrived at work, excited about this song that she'd heard (A Thousand Years by Christina Perri) and was gushing about how beautiful the lyrics are.  I commented that it's an older song and she agreed, but said that she'd never really heard and connected with the lyrics before.  When she read out a few of the key lyrics that were speaking to her, it made me realize that her connection to the song was directly impacted by her blossoming new relationship.  I smiled wistfully as I remembered listening to love songs in a whole new way once my husband and I started dating.  In fact, in our early months, he made a few mixed CDs entitled "Songs That Make Me Think of You."

One evening, we were at his sister's house, and she played this new song she'd discovered.  As soon as I heard these lyrics, they spoke to me so profoundly:

Let me be your soul boy
Let me be your soul
There's been no one like you
Trusted and true
For so long

To this day, my husband is listed as "My Soul Boy" in my cell phone contacts.  It's a nickname that I've called him since we heard that song, and I knew that the lyrics described our connection perfectly.  Plus, it's got this amazing beat and mellow vibe that I just love to bits.



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3/8/16

On My Nightstand - March 8

Recently shelved as read:

After Brie @ A Slice of Brie read and loved this book earlier this year, I just knew that I had to pick it up.  It had been collecting dust on my shelf for over a year, but it was worth the wait!  The writing in his book is absolutely beautiful and the story is heartbreaking.  The book had a few slow moments, but on the whole I couldn't put it down as it wound slowly towards a breathtaking conclusion. 

On my nightstand:

 

I'm getting closer to finishing A Feast for Crows!  Only seven-ish hours to go?  I picked up Of Metal and Wishes, which was gifted to me by my OTSP Secret Sister, and I am really enjoying it.  I went in completely blind, without even reading the dust jacket, which I rarely ever do.

Calling my name from the shelf:


I can't resist this beautiful book any longer!

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

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3/4/16

Book Haul [24] - Ebook Edition!

I receive daily e-mails from a few different e-book sites, which sometimes feature great deals.  Most of these books were $1.99 or less and they're books that I was interested in or heard some buzz about them, but I'm not sure if they're books that I actually want to own for my shelves.

Never Too Far - Abbi Glines
Forever Too Far - Abbi Glines
I picked up a copy of the first book for cheap after my co-worker insisted that I pick it up, because Abbi's books are never on sale.  Well, after I read the first one, I paid full price for the next two simply because I just had to keep reading!

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
I'm a little hesitant when it comes to fantasy, and I've heard mixed things about this one, but I'd like to give it a try!
Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
My book club read this one a few months before I joined, but it comes up quite frequently during discussion as people reminisce about how much they loved this book, and how hard they cried.  I hope that I love it too.
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
This sounds like a really fun, light contemporary read.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Like Queen of the Tearling, I'm not 100% sure that I'll like this one, but I'd like to try it since so many bloggers that I follow love this series.

Written in Red by Anne Bishop
I messaged Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat when I saw this book on sale, because I was pretty sure that she read it and loved it.  As soon as she confirmed that it was the correct book, I downloaded it and am excited to try it out.

Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
Lauren @ Lose Time Reading and I have very similar tastes in books, and this was a fun addicting read for her when she was in a reading slump, so I'm saving it for a slumpy time.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender b Leslye Walton
I've heard that this is a beautiful, but odd, little book and I'm intrigued.

Have you read any of these books?  Any that I should bump up my TBR pile?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you for stopping by =)

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