4/30/16

April Wrap-up!

Spring has sprung, and already we're onto another monthly wrap-up!  I'm pretty happy with the amount and variety of reading that I've done so far this year, and I'm even ahead by 3 books on my Goodreads challenge, despite taking the time this month to read three chunky books!

The Books

Books Read: 5 (Year of Yes, Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess, Tell the Wind and Fire)
Although this is technically less books than last month, the Infernal Devices series is over 1,500 pages, and I read the entire thing in three weeks!  I count this as a super successful month!

Books Acquired: 1 (Alice in Zombieland)
Big thanks, yet again, to my wonderful OTSP Secret Sister!  I can't wait to give this series a try -- especially since I know that Betty @ Brave New Betty loved it so much.  

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +14 (Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess)
TBR Challenge: +3 (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess)
Around the Year in 52 Books: 5 more challenges completed:
  • A non-fiction book (Year of Yes)
  • A book of young adult fiction (Clockwork Angel)
  • A book that you feel like everyone has read but you (Clockwork Prince)
  • The highest rated book on your TBR (Clockwork Princess)
  • A book with a great opening line (Tell the Wind and Fire)

The Blog

It was a quieter month on the blog, mainly because I was so enthralled with the Infernal Devices.  I started the month off with my April TBR (and I only read one of the two books this month because of, you guessed it, the Infernal Devices!)  I caught up on my read and unreviewed books, and shared reviews for Everything, Everything, Tell the Wind and Fire and Lost Ocean.

The Other Stuff

I feel like April flew by, but I'm not really sure what I did this month.  My father-in-law visited during the first weekend of the month, both to help my husband paint our condo and to celebrate his 65th birthday.  After that weekend, the rest of the month was just filled with work, cleaning, some work in the garden and reading the Infernal Devices.  Did I mention that reading TID took up pretty much my entire month?  We did have a crazy heat wave mid-April with summer-like temperatures, so there was lots of park and outdoor time.  Marko absolutely loves going outside, so we try to spend as much time outdoors as the weather will allow.  We've also started exploring parks in our potential new house area, just to get a feel for the neighbourhood.  Our place will be officially on the market in early May, and as soon as it's sold we'll start officially house hunting!  I'm excited to have a bigger place, and a place that is all ours rather than living in an apartment building.  I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we find our dream home for the perfect price and the right move-in timeline.

How about you?  What was the highlight of April 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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4/29/16

On My Nightstand - April 29

Recently shelved as read:


I finished the Infernal Devices!  Honestly, I can't believe that I waited so long to read this series ... so, so, SO good.  And Tell the Wind and Fire was also excellent, once I was able to give it my full attention!

On my nightstand:


After seeing SO MUCH HYPE online about the release of The Raven King, and so many people re-reading the series in preparation for the last book, I decided to give this series a shot.  I'm listening to it on audio, and luckily am also in the midst of a dusty filing project at work so I have listened to a fair bit of the book this week, and I'm really enjoying it!  On the Island is my book club's next read, and our meeting is next Wednesday, so I'll hopefully be finishing this book up this weekend!  I really like it so far, but it's a lot like Gary Paulsen's Hatchet, which I read in elementary school.

Calling my name from the shelf:


I'm likely not going to finish my April TBR this month (thanks Infernal Devices!) so I'm not sure which of these books I'm going to pick up.  Also, depending on how The Raven Boys ends, I may be dying for book two?  Seriously not sure what I'm in the mood for these days, so we'll see =)


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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4/27/16

Tell the Wind and Fire - Sarah Rees Brennan

It was the best of times until it was the worst of times.  This is how Tell the Wind and Fire opens, and I was hooked from page one.

In some ways, this story is everything that fantasy lovers will enjoy.  It has magic, mystery and intrigue, taking place in a fantastical New York City, where the work is divided into Light and Dark cities.  The Light magicians control the work, keeping the Dark "buried" in their own city and unable to partake in the Light world.  But there is civil unrest in this world, the world where Lucie escaped the Dark city and now lives in the Light city.  It's a story of finding oneself, of first loves and of contrast.  The Dark and the Light cannot exist without one another; both are dependent on one another for strength, even as they seek to destroy each other.

Although I haven't read Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, I can see the parallel with the French Revolution.  The story actually reminded me a lot of Marie Lu's Legend, which was loosely based on Les Misérables, set at the same time.  I'm not much of a classics reader, but I'm definitely intrigued by the fact that this story is based on Dickens, and I'm tempted to pick it up!

If you like urban fantasy and a great story with a lot of heart, you'll enjoy Tell the Wind and Fire.  I haven't yet read Sarah's other series, the Lynburn Legacy, or her collaboration with Cassandra Clare on the Bane Chronicles, but I am SO excited to read more of her writing!

Note: An e-galley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This has not affected by thoughts on this book in any way.

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4/20/16

On My Nightstand - April 20

Recently shelved as read:


Holy smokes, I cannot put this series down!  With a final exam and lots of pre-listing housework in the mix, I've still managed to chomp through another 500 pages of the Infernal Devices.  I may be lacking a little in the sleep department, but gosh I'm enjoying this series!

On my nightstand:


I think that Tell the Wind and Fire is just going to simmer on the backburner until I'm finished with Clockwork Princess (which should be soon!)  I'm absolutely loving this series, and I know that I will also love Tell the Wind and Fire once I can give it my undivided attention, rather than it sitting in the shadows.

Calling my name from the shelf:


I still feel like I'm in the mood for a quick thriller-esque read, but I also have The Love that Split the World left on my April TBR list.  Not sure that I'm in the mood for this book at the moment though, which is my constant struggle with review books!  Contemporary season is on the horizon, however, and I know that it won't be long until I'm binge-reading summery reads.


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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4/14/16

Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford

At the same time that I requested Everything, Everything, I also requested Lost Ocean.  Having never owned an adult colouring book, I wasn't sure what to expect but I knew that I wanted to try out this fad that seemed to be taking the Instagram community by storm!  I've also newly subscribed to Audible, and thought that colouring while listening to an audiobook would be a relaxing way to spend some time before bed.

It'll be no surprise to anyone that the illustrations in these books are incredible and intricate.  What surprised me though, is the sheer amount of time that it takes to colour even the smallest section.  I started with the title page, and each fish swimming around the title took me close 15 minutes!  It was just over two hours for just that page, which is one of the least intricate pages in the entire book.  I coloured a lot as a child, whether in colouring books or just on blank paper, and I think I was expecting to move through the pages as quickly as I did as a child; however, the intricacy and details of the pictures mean that it takes a lot longer than I was expecting.  This isn't a negative thing, but it was definitely surprising!  I've had this book in my possession for two months now, and I'm still working on the second page so it is going to take me a long, long time to finish.  I'm enjoying it though, and am enjoying listening to audiobooks outside of my car while I colour.

If you have been contemplating picking up an adult colouring book, go for it!  Lost Ocean is beautiful, but Johanna Basford has produced many other colouring books and I'm sure that they're all as incredible as this one.

Note: A copy of this book was provided for my review, but this has not influenced my thoughts in any way.

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4/13/16

On My Nightstand - April 13

Recently shelved as read:


I know, I know, I said last week that it would be a while before I shared another one of these posts, but I couldn't put this book down!  I bounced back and forth between the audio and print versions (which, to me, seems to be the best way to get through a chunky read in a reasonable amount of time) and LOVED IT.  I've been hesitant about picking this series up because I've been disappointed by the Victorian-era YA books that I've read recently (The Madman's Daughter, Something Strange and Deadly) and I think I'd decided that the 1800s just wasn't a time period that I enjoyed reading about.  The women in both other books were so spineless and weak and, even though I know that women had less rights and freedoms in that era, I just couldn't stand being constantly reminded of them fainting, and being so weak, and needing help, etc. etc.  Just not for me.  But TESSA -- here's a woman who is a typically Victorian woman, but still has so much fire and personality!  I loved it, and it was everything that the other books were lacking.

On my nightstand:


I'm still reading Tell the Wind and Fire, which I'm absolutely loving when I'm reading it.  The problem is that, when I'm not reading it, all I want to read is the Infernal Devices.  On occasion, I've made myself pick it back up and take an evening away from Tessa and Will, and then I'm loving it.  But I'm not generally in the mood to pick it up when I'm not reading it, which is no fault of the book itself, but just related to how much I'm enjoying the Infernal Devices.  Although I had my final exam on Monday, I did no studying since I jumped straight into Clockwork Prince.

Calling my name from the shelf:


The next book that I pick entirely depends on how speedy the library is!  I've already put Clockwork Princess on hold, since I know that I'll just want to gobble up the rest of this series.  But if it takes a little while to come in, then I'll probably read Unraveling.


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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4/11/16

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything is just as beautiful as its cover.  It's a book that took the blogosphere by storm when it was first released, and I was delighted when Penguin Random House sent me a finished copy for review.  I'm so happy that I loved it as much as everyone else did, and it looks gorgeous sitting on my shelves with my other contemporary beauties.

Our main character, Madeline, is allergic to everything.  Seriously EVERYTHING.  She lives with her mom and doesn't leave her germ-free house, with its special air filters and goes to school via Skype with her tutors. Since she can't physically escape her home, she escapes through the books that she reads, which arrive in special shrink-wrapped, disinfected parcels.  Although her life is unlike anything I could imagine, she's relatively content -- until a boy moves in next door and she begins to long for all she cannot have.

It's hard to talk about this book without being spoilery, but I'll try.  The characters grab onto your heart and won't let go, and I identified and understood each character's point of view.  I understood why Madeline wanted to spread her wings, but as a mom I also understood why her mom wanted to keep her safe at all costs.  There are twists and turns in this book, and an absolutely perfectly told romance.  I know that this book had many rave reviews, but also quite a few people that were disappointed by the story, but I felt that this book blew me away.  The writing is eloquent and beautiful and there are little illustrations sprinkled throughout the text that add an extra special touch to the story.  I am so glad that I picked this one up, and will definitely be looking forward to more of Nicola's storytelling.

Note: Although I received a copy of this book for review, this did not affect my thoughts on this book in any way.

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4/6/16

On My Nightstand - April 6

Recently shelved as read:


I finally finished the Mara Dyer trilogy!  It was okay, but the series definitely is not one of my all-time favourites.  The writing was beautiful though, especially the last 50 pages of so of the book, so I will definitely check out Michelle's next book(s). 

Year of Yes was absolutely wonderful.  I downloaded it on a whim from Audible, and I'm so glad that I did.  It was funny, heartwarming and even brought a tear to my eye a couple of times.  It was such a great reminder to say YES to the things that scare us or make us nervous, but also to say yes to the things that we sometimes push aside in order to make room for what seems to be important.

On my nightstand:


I'm actually doing it!  I've started re-reading Clockwork Angel, with the goal of finally finishing the Infernal Devices this year!  I've also just started Tell the Wind and Fire and I'm really loving Sarah's writing style so far.  The premise is also really intriguing, with the idea of Light and Dark magic.  It's probably going to take me a week or two to work through these books, so my nightstand posts might be a little less frequent this month!

Calling my name from the shelf:


I've already picked up Clockwork Prince from the library, so I might just dive into this one next, depending on how I feel after I finish Clockwork Angel.  They're so long, but easy reads too.  If I feel like a bit of a break, I might pick up Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris.  Amber @ Books of Amber raved about this book a couple of years ago, and I got it for Christmas two (?) years ago, but still haven't read it.

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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4/1/16

April TBR

I'm pretty proud of myself for reading all of the TBR books that I had planned to read, and haven't felt stressed or pressured to read my TBR books at all.  Two books per month seems like a good number, with lots of room for reading others in between.  This month I have my final paper due, as well as my final exam, but I'll be done with school by the middle of April and will make up for lost reading time then!  So, without any further ado, here are my TBR books for the month...


As I shared in my bookish resolutions for 2016, I had resolved to stay away from review copies.  I've definitely done that this year, but have still acquired a couple.  I'm dedicating April to getting myself caught up with these two pending review books: Sarah Rees Brennan's Tell the Wind and Fire and Emily Henry's The Love that Split the World.  Stay tuned for some reviews!

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