Fireworks - Katie Cotugno

I loved Katie Cotugno's debut novel, How to Love, and really enjoyed her second novel, 99 Days.  While I enjoyed Fireworks, there were a few things that fell flat for me.

The story follows Dana and Olivia, two best friends.  Olivia has her sights set on being a singing star, while Dana is waiting tables in their hometown.  When Olivia heads to an audition, Dana decides to tag along and ends up getting cast in a girl group alongside her best friend.

First, the things that I liked.  The book is set in the 1990s, so there were a lot of elements of my own teen years that I could identify with.  Dana's character development was also incredibly strong, as she struggled with her alcoholic mother and her feeling of entrapment in her hometown.

Unfortunately, the friendship between Dana and Olivia fell flat for me, and I found Olivia to be quite annoying and immature.  The whole idea of one friend being famous and another being along for the ride was very reminiscent of Emery Lord's Open Road Summer, but ORS handled the friendship better than this book did.  The book also addressed eating disorders, but it felt like the issue was overshadowed and not properly handled.  It also seemed quite unrealistic that Dana would be given the opportunity to be part of a singing quartet with no formal training, other than dancing and singing in her friend's living room.

I did enjoy Katie's writing, as I did with the previous books, and am already looking forward to picking up her next book.  I still liked this one, even though it didn't wow me like her previous books.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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Literally - Lucy Keating

I first heard about Lucy Keating last year, when I saw the beautiful cover of Dreamology all over Bookstagram.  Although I haven't picked up that book, the premise of Literally drew me in and I knew that I wanted to give Lucy's books a shot.

As a former English student, I loved the metafiction aspect of this book.  Annabelle, our main character, discovers that she's actually a character in a story, and the author makes an appearance in the book when Annabelle finds out that Lucy is controlling her life in order to create a Happy Ending.  There's so much excellent commentary on what makes a good story -- from happy endings to love triangles and everything in between.

If you haven't guessed from the amount of reading nerdiness on this blog, I am a massive book nerd and this book warmed my nerdy heart.  Annabelle's character irked me a little at the beginning of the book, but quickly grew on me and I found myself tearing through this short, sweet little book.

For those of you who like your contemporaries short and sweet, this book is perfect.  And if you're a literary connoisseur, you'll enjoy this book even more =)

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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Tome Topple TBR -- Round 3

Crazy that this is the third round of Tome Topple!  I participated in both rounds last year, and really enjoyed taking the time to enjoy a chunkier read.  Too often we overlook these chunky books on our shelves in favour of quicker reads so that we can meet our Goodreads challenge or other reading challenges.  Having just finished the All the Short Ones Readathon, I'm really looking forward to savouring a lengthier read.  I have a lengthy list of books because I just frankly can't choose what I'd like to read at this exact moment.  I had added a poll on Goodreads to ask for help, and A Gathering of Shadows was picked for me; however, A Conjuring of Light then showed up at my library, so I had to start AGoS before Tome Topple so that I can read ACoL.  Book nerd problems, I tell ya.

This challenge is hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes.  It starts on April 7th at midnight in your time zone, and runs until April 20th, again at midnight in your time zone.

1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel 
3. Read a tome that's part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome 
5. Read an adult novel

Books that I'm considering:
1. A Conjuring of Light (because it's a library book)
2. The Bane Chronicles (because it's ridiculous how long this has sat on my shelves)
3. Strange the Dreamer (because it's pretty and just showed up in my mailbox)
4. Lady Midnight (because I think I'm the only person in the world who hasn't read this yet)
5. Shantaram (because it's intimidating as hell and I said I'd read it this year)
6. The Name of the Wind (see above)
7. The Way of Kings (see above, yet again -- is there an intimidating books readathon?  because I think I should join that one too)

Clearly I'm not going to complete all the challenges (especially because there's no graphic novels on this list!) and I definitely won't read all of the books on the list, but there's some good (and intimidating!) books to choose from.  Anything that you've read that I should bump to the top of my pile?  Let me know in the comments below.  If you're participating in this readathon, hope your enjoy your tome(s)!

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Gem & Dixie - Sara Zarr

I've read, and thoroughly enjoyed, two of Sara Zarr's previous novels (Sweethearts and How to Save a Life), so I went into Gem & Dixie hopeful that it would be another heartwarming contemporary.  I liked it, I did, but I think it was missing a little bit of the "wow factor" that I felt in her other two books.

The story follows two sisters, Gem and Dixie, who live with their mother who is often absent from their lives, due to working evenings and her on and off again struggle with drugs.  The story is told from Gem's perspective, the older sister who is struggling to shelter and take care of her younger sister who, in turn, is trying to pull away from his sister's shadow.  When the girls' father comes back into their lives suddenly, a series of events spinball from there that tests the strength of their relationship and their sense of identity.

I think my main struggle with this book is that I found it hard to identify with either of the girls.  At first, it seemed like I would identify with Gem, since she's an older sister, but I found it hard to for most of the book.  I've been thinking and reflecting about the characters and the story for a couple of days now, and I still can't quite put my finger on what it is that caused Gem to rub me the wrong way.  There were definitely some moments where I just couldn't understand her rationalization for doing the things that she was doing, and it made it hard to connect to the story.

With that being said, I do think that this is an excellent story of sisterly bonding and touches on the imperfect family bond in a thoughtful way.  Although it's not a new favourite, it's still a solid contemporary with serious heart.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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March Wrap-up!

The Books

Books Read: 14 (The Mothers, Girl Coming in for a Landing, The Tiger Rising, Freak the Mighty, A Little Something Different, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, Little Knife, The Too-Clever Fox, the second and third Harry Potter novellas, Lips Touch, The Assassin's Blade, Gem & Dixie and Exit, Pursued by a Bear)
My ADSOReadathon TBR was 14 books, and I honestly didn't think that I could read that many.  Although I didn't read exactly the 14 books that I had planned to read, I did read the number that I had planned to read!  SUPER proud of myself this month.

Books Acquired: 1 (Strange the Dreamer)
Just the one pre-order!

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +4 (the novellas!)
TBR Challenge: +12 (all except The Mothers and Gem & Dixie)
Flights of Fantasy: +1 (Lips Touch)

The Blog

Definitely a quieter month on the blog, but I had a lot going on in the real world (more on that in the section below!)

 The Other Stuff

First of all, let me just tell you that I AM SO READY FOR SPRING.  We've had the snowier and colder winter than any other year, and I am so done with the white stuff.  It even snowed in early March.  MARCH!  On the West Coast of Canada, we generally get a couple of cm of snow in early December, maybe a week or two of chilly weather, but it just rains for the majority of the season.  This year we had weeks and weeks of snow, and weather so cold that the snow never melted!  I'm ready for rain, sunshine, cherry blossoms, daffodils and tulips -- bring on the balmy spring weather!

We started some more renovations in our house and are currently close to completing the addition of a bathroom in our basement.  The house came with the plumbing roughed in, but we had to do the rest.  Or our contractor did actually, but it was fun to learn a little bit about construction along the way!  I'm writing my final exam for my course in early April, and am already looking forward to having a break from school to A) read a ton and B) deep clean my house from all of the renovation dust that has spread into every little nook and cranny!

Finally, the highlight of the month is that I found a new job!  Since we moved, the commute has been less than ideal, with a drive, a train and a bus ride in order to get to work.  Plus, I've been wanting to move into more of a managerial role, and there weren't any opportunities for advancement at my current workplace.  So, I started looking for something downtown, which is geographically further away from my home, but more accessible because there's a direct train that connects the outlying city where I live with the downtown core.  I found a job that will be challenging, but will also provide me with some growth opportunities, so I'm excited!  My first day will be April 3rd.

How about you?  Are you as ready for spring as I am?  Let me know if you've read something amazing so far this year?  Thank you for stopping by =)

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ATSOReadathon -- Halfway Point!

It's hard to believe that we're already halfway through March, and halfway through the All the Short Ones Readathon, hosted by the lovely Jessica @ Novel Cravings.  I thought I'd take a moment to share the books that I've already read this month...

1. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
I honestly didn't know what this book was about, but as a mother I thought I'd like it.  It was a heartwarming, incredibly unique story and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.

2. Girl Coming in a for a Landing by April Halprin Wayland
This was cute, but a bit too cute for my tastes.  It's a middle grade collection of poetry and was a quick, easy read.

3. The Tiger Rising by Kate diCamillo
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Kate's books.  While this one wasn't as amazing as The Tale of Despereaux or The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (two of my favourite books of ALL TIME), it was still a beautiful middle grade story.

4. Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
I loved the movie when I watched it years ago, and have had the book collecting dust on my shelves for years.  It was great, and I enjoyed it, even if it didn't tug on my hearstrings the same way the movie did.

5. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall
This is the only genuine disappointment of the readathon so far.  The structure of this book was AWESOME -- told from nine (I think?) different perspectives, including a squirrel and a bench.  But I just couldn't get past the fact that everyone in the story only thought or talked about whether the two main characters (whose perspectives we do not see) are going to get together.

6. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This book slowed me down a little, as it's short but the content was a little heavier than the previous few books.  It was really different than I had expected (honestly, I wasn't too sure what to expect!) and I really, really enjoyed it.  Definitely glad that this readathon is motivating me to pick up books that I otherwise would have continued putting off!

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Spring TBR!

I didn't quite finish my winter TBR pile (just The Bone Season left) but I definitely plan to catch up and read these five books now that spring is here!

1. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
So, here's a funny thing -- I have a list of TBR books in my bullet journal, and I accidentally checked this off, when I meant to check off a different book.  So now I have to read it, like ASAP.

2. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
This book is on my All the Short Ones readathon TBR, so it'll be finished by the end of March.

3. The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
4. Burn by Julianna Baggott
I'd like to knock a couple of series off my TBR list this season.

5. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
I read, and loved, A Darker Shade of Magic last month, and I want to keep reading this series while it's fresh in my mind.

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Forever, or a Long Time - Caela Carter

I used to be a big middle grade reader, but slowly veered away when I discovered YA.  I've picked up a couple of middle grade books in the past few years and have been absolutely blown away, which has reminded me that these books can pack a serious punch, even if they're targeted at younger readers.  Forever, or a Long, Long Time is one of those books -- the cover looks sweet and innocent, but this book is heartfelt and heavy.

The story follows an older sister and younger brother who have been bounced around in the foster care system.  They have both been adopted into a loving blended family; however, they still bear the scars of their traumatic past.  Each sibling needs to learn to trust in the idea that this home is forever and relearn what family and love mean.

There were moments in this book that tore my heart out and moments where I was smiling through my tears.  Although the subject material may not be for everyone because of its triggering nature, the way these two children see the world is so unique.  I loved exploring the world through their eyes, and learning to trust the things that most of us take for granted.  The writing is beautiful, the characters are absolute perfection and the story is one that stuck with me long after I'd savoured the final pages.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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February Wrap-up!

The Books

Books Read: 4 (Forever or a Long, Long Time, Wires and Nerve, A Darker Shade of Magic, Station Eleven)
A much quieter reading month, but I started back at school and have been trying to figure out a way to balance it all.  Plus, I took my time and savoured ADSOM and LOVED IT.

Books Acquired: 4 (Wires and Nerve, A Darker Shade of Magic, A Little Life, A Gathering of Shadows)
Two Chapters trips this month -- oops -- plus a pre-order.

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +1 (can I count Wires and Nerve?  I think so.)
TBR Challenge: +1 (Station Eleven)
Flights of Fantasy: +2 (Wires and Nerve, A Darker Shade of Magic)

I still need to switch gears and focus on some series books and my TBR challenge, but I am proud of myself for already reading three of the ten fantasy books that I had planned to read this year!

The Blog

I started to write that it was a quiet month on the blog, and then remembered that I participated in the Love-a-thon this month, so it was actually quite busy!  I won't link up all the posts, just my introductory post.  This was my second year participating and I had a ton of fun, although I got sick halfway through the weekend, so I didn't get to do as much on Sunday as I had hoped.  I also read and reviewed my first book of poetry since my university days, The Princess Saves Herself in This One.  I loved The Hate U Give as much as I had hoped that I would!  I'm also looking forward to Novel Cravings' month-long readathon All the Short Ones, and planning to catch up a bit with my TBR pile challenge.

 The Other Stuff

OK, seriously, how is it March already?  I have a feeling that this is going to be the question that I ask each and every month -- time is just flying.

The highlight of the month, by far, was celebrating Marko's fourth birthday.  I should have shared a birthday post on the blog, but it was such an emotional week for me.  He came down with a low-grade fever the day before his birthday, and then I was a MESS at work the next day, worrying about him.  My co-worker offered me a ride home mid-day and I gratefully accepted, just feeling like I needed some Mama-Marko time.  I absolutely loved the afternoon that we spent together, just playing and hanging out.  He knew that I'd come home early as a special treat, and it was absolute bliss.  Next year, I'm definitely taking his birthday as a holiday from work -- I just felt like I needed to be with him that day.  Any other mamas feel that way?

The lowlight of the month was the stomach flu.  My husband came down with it on a Thursday evening, and we both called in sick on Friday, him because he was sick and me because I was sleep-deprived after being awake with him all night.  Then early Sunday morning, I succumbed to the flu, and ended up off work Monday as well.  We were so lucky that Marko didn't catch it, as neither of us have been that sick in a long, long time.  Thankfully, we're all healthy now, and hopeful that this is the end of the flu season for our family!  As a result, yoga has taken a bit of a back seat, but hoping to get back on that train in March.

How about your?  Have you stayed healthy so far this year?  Let me know if you've read something amazing so far this year?  Thank you for stopping by =)

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The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

This book first appeared on my radar after Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner tweeted that she'd finished reading it and wanted to know if anyone else had because she was dying to talk about it.  I love books that make me instantly want to discuss them, so I searched it out on Edelweiss.  Plus, any book that Jaime enjoys is almost a definite win for me as well, so I went into this one with the highest of expectations.  The bookish hype is fully deserved for this book.

I was sucked in from page one and read this book in TWO DAYS.  TWO DAYS.  I have a full time job, an almost four year old and a big house that takes forever to clean.  Plus I'm kind of hooked on the new season of The Bachelor.  That doesn't leave a lot of time to read these days, but I shoved all of my other obligations aside one weekend and absolutely devoured this book.  Bathrooms can be cleaned later, right?

The characters were so strong in this book.  Starr's family was one of my favourite parts of this story.  Everyone was so real and genuine that I felt like I was sitting around their living room, living the story alongside these characters.  And the story, what a story.  It is especially fitting that I'm writing this review on the day that Trump is officially sworn in as the President, while the entire world holds its collective breath and waits to see what will happen next.  This story addresses racism and self-identity and fitting into a pre-determined place in society and socio-economic differences and what it means to assume things about others.  It's a total issue book, but it tackles all these issues in such a powerful way that I never felt that I was being preached to, the way other issue books have felt to me in the past.

In short, this is a book that captured my heart and wouldn't let go, long after I'd finished the last page.  I will definitely be buying a physical copy for my shelves, and it's a book that I will reread for sure.  If you're looking for a book that will change you for the better, add this one to your TBR.  If Trump does what he plans to do, we're going to need to continue to love one another and this book will teach the world how to love, one page at a time.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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All the Short Ones Readathon

I love the idea of readathons, but it's hard for me to participate because, on average, I read about a book a week, not seven.  So when my friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings told me that she was holding a month long readathon, I was immediately intrigued.  Now this is the type of readathon that I can get behind -- a whole month to read books, and the focus is on short books!  Without any further ado, here's my TBR pile...

1. The Tiger Rising
2. Freak the Mighty
3. The Passion
4. Milk and Honey
5. For One More Day
6. Exit, Pursued by a Bear
7. A Little Something Different
8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society
9. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore
10. I Shall Be Near to You
11. Little Knife
12. Too Clever Fox
13. The Beedle & the Bard
14. Half-Blood

I doubt that I can read 14 books in a month, but we'll see.  If I can, it would be awesome, as all 14 would count towards my TBR challenge since I've had them on my TBR piles for a while.  Five of them are e-books, which would reduce my e-book TBR (one of my 2017 reading resolutions) and one of the books is on my 17 books to read in 2017 list.

If you're interesting in joining this readathon, head on over to Novel Cravings for more info!

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Mini Challenge #8 - On the Road

Last mini challenge of the Love-a-thon -- how fast did this weekend go by?  I have a hot cup of tea, Station Eleven and the couch calling my name, so this is going to be short-ish.

In my perfect road trip, Morgan Matson would have prepared all of the road trip mixes.  Amy & Roger's Epic Detour holds a special place in my heart, as it's the one book that I've read that perfectly, PERFECTLY pairs music and literature.  In fact, I bet someone has the soundtrack to that book on Spotify, which is the perfect excuse for a re-read.  *checks Spotify*  Yup, there totally is a playlist.  This is going on my summer TBR pile for sure.

So, Morgan's in the backset because we have an iPod with a long auxiliary cable so she doesn't need to be in the passenger seat.  In the passenger seat we have Macy from The Truth About Forever because she's serious and studious and would map-wield like nobody's business.  And because she started the book off quiet and serious, but learned how to open up and relax a little, which is what she's going to learn on our road trip as well.

And finally, the second body in the backseat is Dana from Fireworks because she needed to get out of town with someone who is not Olivia and I can be her ticket out.  You'll have to wait for my review in April to hear the rest, but Dana was the stand-out character in this book for me.

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Mini-Challenge #7 - Let Me Sing You a Love Song

Music and reading are my two biggest hobbies, and I have really struggled with this post.  I love so many books, and so many songs that pairing the two was almost impossible.  BUT, I think I've come up with a few good ones.

To Auggie from Wonder...All of Me - John Legend
Wonder is all about appreciating inner beauty and looking past physical imperfections.  Even though this is a romantic song, the lyric "Love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections" always reminds me of this incredible book.

To Celeana from Throne of Glass...Unstoppable by Sia
This is my theme song these days.  Whenever I'm feeling a little low, I just crank this up and it gets rid of the blues instantly.  I love the growl in her voice, and the lyrics "I'm so powerful, I don't need batteries to play."

Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury...Quit Playing Games with My Heart by The Backstreet Boys
I wasn't the biggest fan of Rhysand in ACOTAR, but he stole my heart in the sequel.  And I'm not a bookish crush kind of girl.  Usually I answer those questions with "I don't have one."  But this worries me, because I wonder if he's going to be one of those love to hate and hate to love characters, and I'm going to end up despising him.  Maybe this song should be dedicated to Sarah J. Maas?

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Mini-Challange #6 - Valentine's Care Package

If I had the opportunity to send a Valentine's Care Package, I would send one to Hermione at Hogwarts.  Since we're both fellow bookworms, I'd include a couple of books that I'd read and loved, and just knew that she'd enjoy them too.  I'd include a cute little notebook and a pen, since she'll either be writing down her thoughts on the books or journalling a little.  There would also be some cute little magnetic bookmarks because there's NO WAY that Hermione would dog ear her books.  Nuh uh.

With all that reading and writing, I'd also include some earl grey tea and a cutesy bookish mug.  With all those and cold snowy nights at Hogwarts, Hermione must have curled up with a cup of tea on many occasions.  No good cup of tea is complete without nibble of some delectable dark chocolate.  I'd include a bar of dark chocolate that has a hint of strawberries, because my OTSP Secret Sister sent me this chocolate two rounds ago, and I can't stop buying it.  It is my new favourite thing ever.  I'd enclose a pack of thick, cozy reading socks since Hogwarts must be cold and drafty, and cuddly socks are the best for reading.

What would you send Hermione in a Valentine's Care Package?

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Mini Challenge #5 - X Meets Y

I'm not a huge movie/TV watcher.  There are not enough hours in the day to do all of the things that I love, and movies and TV often don't make the cut.

BUT, with that being said, my husband and I are Bachelor addicts and are currently hooked on finding out whether Nick ends up picking Corrinne.  Because, honestly, I think he just might.  I'm still rooting for Vanessa, because she's got a good head on her shoulders, and she's Canadian, but I also think that she's too good for him.

If you love the Bachelor too, and you haven't picked up Sally Thorne's The Hating Game -- YOU MUST.  This book has been all over the online book community, and the love and praise is well deserved.  It's smart and it's funny and it's pure chick lit perfection.  I love to hate the Bachelor (or hate to love depending on the day) and the love-hate dichotomy fits in well with this book.

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Mini Challenge #3 - Book Spine Poetry

Before I go to sleep, before I wake,
I shall be near to you.
The start of me and you,
The love that split the world,
The truth about forever,
Lips touch: the marriage plot.

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Mini Challenge #2 - Mix 'n' Match

Besides reading, yoga is my other main hobby.  I even started a feature last year, entitled Reading on My Mat to chronicle my yoga journey, and I'm planning to reignite that feature this year!  I entitled it reading on my mat because, when I would go to the studio to practice, I'd always sneak in a few more pages of my current read before the class started ... like this:

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Mini Challenge #1 - Mad Libs -- Fairytale Edition

Once upon a time, in a far away Canada, there lived a smart witch. She lived alone in a grocery store, where she had grown up with the deceased owner. She had beautiful toes, and she was known for her shiny red yoga mat, the only thing she had left of her parents.

Alas, the duchess of the country became jealous and wanted to own this yoga mat. So, she became a wanted person and had to flee into the forest to find a place to hide. After stretching around for hours, hungry and tired, she stumbled upon Vancouver. An old lady appeared, offering her shelter from the bitter cold.  She looked at the witch with zen and said: "I will protect you, but I need your help first. Years ago I lost something precious and I want it back. You need to climb into the sky and get my piano back. Here is a magical toast, throw it into the earth, sprinkle with water and it will sprout a beanstalk. You have seven days to return before the stalk withers." 

She followed the instructions given to her, and lo and behold, a beanstalk grew and grew and grew all the way up to the clouds. After an exhausting climb, she saw a huge townhouse. She walked to the door and knocked. A soft spoken voice said: 'Fee-fi-fo-fum, who dares to come and enter my house?" She was not afraid and said: "My name is Jamie and I've come to collect an item." 

The door made a tapping sound when it opened and revealed a large kitchen filled with golden marbles.  She stepped inside and walked towards the spiraling staircase, where a figure moved, cloaked in darkness.

"Who are you? Step in to the light, so I can see your face."
The beast growled angry. "Why did you come here? I just want to be left alone." Still, it moved and stood in front of Jamie. There were three horns on his head, and hair all over his face and his mouth was filled with large teeth. He wore fashionable clothing.

"What happened to you?" She reached out to touch one of the horns, but the beast flinched. "Many years ago I was cursed by a witch. I have one year left to walk so I can break the spell, but I'm not brave enough."

"If you give me the piano, I will help you."

In keeping its promise, the beast and Jamie worked for a few hours and that afternoon, the beast transformed into an ordinary older guy. "I can't wait to return to my job as office manager in the normal world. Can I come with you?" Together they climbed down the beanstalk, carrying the instrument for the old lady. The moment she saw the guy and her beloved instrument, she started to weep.

"My husband, you have returned!" They hugged and looked at Jamie.

"We have to tell you something," the old lady said. "You are our child. We were separated after the curse, but now we are reunited!" From that day, the three of them lived together in the forest, happily ever after.

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Love-a-Thon -- Introduction Post!

Hi Everyone!  I had such a fun time participating in the love-a-thon last year, and this event was at the top of the list of things that I wanted to do again this year.  This event represents everything that I love about the online bookish community =)  To kick off this weekend, here's my introductory post...

An Introduction to You and Your Blog

What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from?

My name is Melissa, and I'm blogging from the West Coast of Canada, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Tell us your history with reading. Were you always a reader? Were you a reluctant reader? Was there a book that convinced you to become a reader?

I've been a reader for as long as I can remember.  My mom used to take me to the library and I'd borrow a huge pile of Sweet Valley High, Babysitter's Club and Nancy Drew books, and then beg to go back to the library two days later because I'd read them all.

How did you get involved in the online book community?
I started my blog in 2011, after taking a course where I learned all about social media, blogs and online resources.  Nearly six years later, I'm still proud of my little corner of the internet.

How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc)? How did you come up with your blog name?
We learned about Blogger and Wordpress as part of this course, and I just picked Blogger to start with.  I've always been a reader, but also a writer, hence Writer Grrl Reads.  The "Grrl" is a shoutout to my Women's Studies background (that's what I studied in university).  We learned about the Riot Grrl movement in one of the courses that I took, and I always loved the edginess of "Grrl."  Feminine, but with a little growl too.

What’s your favorite thing about the online book community?
The friendships that I've made along the way.  There are a few bloggers who were around when I first started, and we're even friends on Facebook (as close to "real life" as we can get!)  Two of the best bookish friendships are with Lauren @ Lose Time Reading (I met her through TBTB Secret Santa many years ago) and Jessica @ Novel Cravings (I met her last year through OTSP Secret Sister).  Both of these ladies are amazing, and we text constantly about books and real life things. 

What sort of posts can readers expect from you?
I don't review much these days, other than books that have been provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but I do provide updates on what I'm reading with my On My Nightstand posts.  This year, I've switched from monthly TBR posts to seasonal TBRs.  I've dabbled with a number of features over the years, but this year I'm planning to bring back Marko Mondays (where I share updates on my son and provide picture book reviews) as well as Reading on My Mat (a series of posts about my yoga journey).

What book genres do you talk about most?
I used to read primarily YA, but I got back into adult fiction last year and it's been great.  You'll still see a lot of YA on here, but I'm trying to branch out a bit.  Fantasy is another recent addition to my reading palate, and I'm trying to be a bit more adventurous with high fantasy.


Favorite food? Beverage?
I like all kinds of food, except Indian curry and liver and onions.  My favourite beverage is a cup of Earl Grey tea, with a tiny dab of honey and a splash of milk.

Favorite colour?

Favorite things to do apart from reading?
I've recently started bullet journaling, but I do that while listening to an audio book, so does that count?  Ha ha ha.  Ditto with adult colouring books.  I'm slowing getting back into doing yoga more regularly, and my husband and I are currently watching The Bachelor (Corinne is CRAZY!)  And, of course, spending time with my four year old son, Marko, who is the light of my life.

Favorite tv shows?
At the moment, The Bachelor.  We're also slowly working our way through Star Trek: Voyager.  The other series that we have on the go are Mr. D, Friday Night Lights, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Being Erica.  I'm also counting down 'til the next season of Game of Thrones.  Oh, and my husband makes me watch The Walking Dead with him, although I hide under the blankets for most of it, so I'm not sure that it counts.

Favorite movies?
At the moment, I pretty much watch Disney Pixar movies, but I won't list those =)  Most of my favourite movies include one of my three celebrity crushes: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling or Tobey Maguire.  And She's All That, which is pretty much my favourite movie EVER.

Favorite musical artists?
Again, SO MANY...  The 1990s were my decade, and I still love Savage Garden, Christina Aguilera, Will Smith and Alanis Morrisette.  New favourites include Florence + the Machine, Sia, Lady Gaga, Blue Rodeo, Snow Patrol, City and Colour, Kings of Leon, and many more that I can't think of right now.  I love listening to my favourites and discovering new ones.

Favorite places to shop?
Ummm... the bookstore?  Or a bookstore with a tea shop?  Which I just happen to have found in my new neighbourhood -- pretty much retail perfection.

Favorite childhood books?
Hands down, Michael Ende's The Neverending Story.  It's a book that I'm dying to revisit one of these days.

Favorite books read in the last five years?
Oh my gosh, these are impossible questions!  Anything by Sarah J. Maas, Marissa Meyer, Leigh Bardugo, Morgan Matson, Emery Lord, Katie Cotugno or Sarah Dessen.  Love that this is a split between fantasy and contemporary.

Favorite genres?
A year ago, I would have said contemporary, hands down, but I've been drifting into fantasy more and more and I have to say that I am liking it!

Book Talk

Underrated book, series or author you love?
I read Rachel Del's How To Be Someone Else last fall and it was such a cute contemporary, but with some series heart.  Rachel is also just a super sweet person in general, and a mama to a little boy who is close to Marko's age, so I love following her on Instagram too.

A book you want to see made into a film or tv show?
I'm hopelessly behind with seeing adaptations, but I did recently finish reading A Darker Shade of Magic, and I thought that the scene at the end would be spectacular on screen.  Not to mention seeing all the different Londons come to life.

Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book BFF? Book family?
I'm not really a book boyfriend kind of girl, but then I read A Court of Mist and Fury.  And, well, you all know how that goes.  For best friends, I loved the friendship in The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord.  And book family would go to Starr's family in The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Books you want to read in 2017?
I have a whole list of 17 books that I'm aiming to tackle this year!  But two books that I absolutely want to read are Empire of Storms (I know, I know) and Burn (because I said I would read it last year, but didn't).

This was super fun, and I'm already looking forward to bouncing around the internet and meeting new people!  Let the Love-a-thon begin!

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The Princess Saves Herself in this One - Amanda Lovelace

I have a degree in English, and I've read a lot of poetry for school.  But it's been a long, long time since I've picked up any poetry and, in all honesty, I haven't read any since I graduated from university.  I purchased a copy of Milk & Honey last year, and have been itching to read it, but the title of this one caught my eye on Netgalley, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

I've seen some criticism for this book that it's not "real poetry."  Honestly, is there such a thing?  I used to write poetry as a teenager and, looking back, I could say that it's all rubbish, but the truth is that it was what I was feeling at the time and it's full of emotion.

In my opinion, there is no wrong way to write poetry.  Amanda's collection of grows as she does, into the princess who saves herself.  It's raw, it's honest and it's pretty freakin' good.  There are some highlight-able, sticky note-able moments in this book, and it's one that I definitely plan to pick up for myself.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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January Wrap-up

A new year, and a new round of monthly round-ups!

The Books

Books Read: 9 (Heartless, The Invention of Wings, Scrappy Little Nobody, The Hate U Give, Fireworks, Literally, A Day of Signs and Wonders, By Your Side, The Princess Saves Herself in This One)
I'm not doing well with any of my challenges so far, but I've been ROCKING my ARC pile!

Books Acquired: 4 (The Marriage Plot, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, Inside the O'Briens)
One Chapters trip and one trip to a used bookstore (but in all honesty, I went there to unhaul books -- that's gotta count for something, right?)

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: 0 -- not a strong start series-wise, but I've read some great standalones!
TBR Challenge: +1 (Heartless)
Flights of Fantasy: +1 (Heartless)

I'm definitely going to focus harder on some series books and the book on my shelves next month, but I am proud of myself for making a big dent in my spring ARCs, even if none of them counted for challenges.

The Blog

I started the year off with my reading resolutions for 2017, as well as the 17 books and 10 series that I'd like to read this year.  I wrapped up last year's challenges and signed up for this year's challenges.  I'm also going to do seasonal TBR lists, but only five books at a time, and I'm actually doing quite well already with my winter TBR.  I shared one On My Nightstand post, but only to chat about what I'm currently reading and what I've recently completed.  And, finally, if you've missed it, the sign-up (finally!) went live for the 2017 Prequel & Sequel Challenge.

 The Other Stuff

I feel like New Year's Day was yesterday, but yet somehow we're at the end of the month already!  January was cold and snowy for the first half of the month, but thankfully we had a solid week of rain and the snow is now gone!  I'm not a fan of the cold, white winters and much prefer our usual grey, rainy winter days.

We spent most of the month unpacking, organizing and settling into our new house.  We officially moved in on December 14th, after a week of painting and cleaning and carpet installation.  My mother-in-law and her husband were here over the holidays so we were busy with family.  It was wonderful to be able to host Christmas dinner in our home, which we were never able to do in our small condo.  I'm happier that I ever thought possible in our new home, and looking forward to enjoying many happy years here.  Plus, this girl doesn't want to pack her books again.  Like, ever.

I'm also slowly getting back into yoga.  It's hard to find the energy during the week, but I've been averaging about three times per week, which is a HUGE improvement over last year (but, then again, I was moving and packing and cleaning almost every day -- that totally counts as physical activity, just not yoga).  I find that I'm in a better head space with yoga in my life, and I plan to continue this trend throughout 2017.  I'm also slowly working on changes in my life that will enable me to have more time in the day for the things that I love.  I still have yet to see what those changes may be, but I'm confident that they'll be good ones.  Keep your fingers crossed for me, but good things are coming.

How about your?  How has your 2017 been so far?  Let me know if you've read something amazing so far this year, or if you're still on board the new year's resolutions train?  Thank you for stopping by =)

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By Your Side - Kasie West

Confession: I've never read a Kasie West book before.  Or, at least, I hadn't read one yet when I chose to download an e-galley of By Your Side.  Kasie West is a well-loved author around the blogosphere, so I knew that I had to give her books a try.

This book started off strong when Autumn gets locked in the library with a boy.  After the first few chapters, I found the pacing of the book slowing way down, as not much happened while they whiled away their time in the library.  Since I read this close to publication date, I had to push through in order to finish in time, and by the 2/3 mark I could barely put the book down!

From the beginning of the story, I was expecting a cute love story, especially because of the cutesy cover.  I wasn't expecting the story to have as much heart as it did, and I was truly surprised that the book addressed anxiety.  I wasn't sure that I really understood anxiety, but I found this book to be quite eye-opening and showed me what it would be like to struggle with an anxiety disorder.  I can't say if the book addressed this well or accurately, since I don't have any point of reference, but I felt that it was handled well.  It wasn't the primary focus of the book but it also wasn't completely glossed over as a minor sub-plot.

If you like your contemporaries cute but also heartfelt, then add By Your Side to your TBR.  I'll definitely be checking out some of Kasie's other work after reading this one!

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not affect my opinion of this book in any way.

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2017 Prequel & Sequel Challenge Sign-up

This is horrendously late, but better late than never, right?  Jessi and I were so busy last year that we didn't do a very good job at keeping up with the challenge (even though I did meet my reading goal -- wahoo!).  We're both planning to do better this year but, you know, life happens sometimes.

Welcome to the 2017 Sequel & Prequel Challenge, hosted by Novel Heartbeat and Writer Grrl Reads! The goal: To read as many prequels and sequels as you can. You set your goal at whatever number works for you.


  1. The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st.
  2. Any books started before Jan. 1 will not count.
  3. All books in a series count for points (see below)
  4. Novellas count, either prequels or sequels (i.e. #0.5, #1.5, #2.5, etc).
  5. Books can be of any publication date. They don’t have to be released in 2017.
  6. In order to get 10 points for a completed series, there must be at least 3 full-length books in the series.
  7. You can still get sequel points for a duology, you just can't get the 10 bonus points for finishing it.
  8. Sign-ups will be open until December 1st, 2017.
  9. To join, add the URL of your challenge post to the linky widget. (If you’d like to wait, it’s ok to use your blog URL and send us your link as soon you get the post up)
  10. At the end of each quarter (every three months), we will post a linky for you to add your sequel reviews to. The linky will rotate between our blogs on alternate quarters, so you can link up at Novel Heartbeat at the end of March and September, and over at Writer Grrl Reads at the end of June and December. If you have a ton of reviews for the quarter, you can always link to wherever you're keeping track of your progress. This will make it much easier for us - not only is it less posting, but it will be easier to keep track of how many points everyone has.
  11. We will try to do some giveaways throughout the year for participants (as long as we can afford it), as well as some mini-challenges and read-alongs ... so stay tuned for further details!
  12. There will be a giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge!

The Point System

For each prequel and sequel read this year, points will be awarded as follows:
  • 1 point for each prequel or sequel novella read and reviewed
  • 2 points for each full-length sequel read and reviewed
  • 10 points for completing and reviewing a full series (doesn't require novellas)*†
  • **You do not get points for the first book in a series
To get points, you must review the book/novella somewhere. If you want to earn points, please link up your reviews at the end of each month, and enter the number of points earned (we will give examples in the linky). Each point earned is an entry into the giveaway at the end of the year for all participants who completed the challenge. So, the more sequels you read, the better your chances of winning the giveaway! Plus, we are also considering one prize for the "overacheiver award" -- the person who gets the most points!

*The 10 bonus points is for finishing a FULL series. That means that all books must be published (unless you got an advance reader copy early). i.e. If you are completely caught up on a series, and the next book is not releasing until 2018 (and you do not have an advance reader copy), that does not count toward the 10 bonus points.

If you started the series before 2017, you can still get the bonus points for finishing it if you reviewed the other books in the series at some point. For example: You read The Hunger Games in 2016, but read Catching Fire and Mockingjay in 2017 - you would get 2 points for both sequels and 10 bonus points for finishing the series (14 points total). You don't have to start the series in 2017 to get the bonus points.
10-25 points: Newbie
25-50 points: Amateur
51-75 points: Advanced
76-100 points: Professional
101+ points: Veteran

Please head on over to Jessi's blog to sign up with the Linky:  http://novelheartbeat.com/2017/01/2017-prequel-sequel-challenge-sign-ups/ 

So let this year be the year that we stop whining about how many sequels are sitting on our TBRs or cluttering up our shelves! Take control of your reading destinies and sign up to read with us!

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On My Nightstand - January 21

I'm bring back this series of posts this year, because I enjoy providing a brief update on what I've read and what I'm currently reading.  I'm discontinuing the part about the next book calling my name from the shelf, as I've often changed my mind about what I plan to read by the time I finish my current book =P  Ahh, the woes of a mood reader!

Recently Shelved...

It took me a little while to get into Heartless by Marissa Meyer.  The story wasn't instantly captivating, but Marissa's writing kept me going and soon I had been drawn into Cath's story and couldn't put it down.  While the book isn't as amazing as the Lunar Chronicles, it's definitely still a solid read.

I LOVED Pitch Perfect.  Loved, loved, LOVED it and I was super pumped about listening to Anna's memoir, but this one fell flat for me (ha ha, no pun intended!)  Anna's story had some funny moments but I felt like she was very whiny and immature throughout most of it, and I didn't feel like there was really a message that she was trying to portray with this book.

I love going into a book with zero expectations and no idea what the book is even about, especially when it pays off like Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings.  I was blown away by this story and, even though it had excruciating and heart-wrenching moments, I couldn't put it down.

Currently Reading...

I've never read a Kasie West book, but I downloaded By Your Side on a whim from Edelweiss one evening.  I'm only a couple of chapters in, but the premise of being locked inside a library is an interesting one!

Kit Pearson is one of my favourite middle grade writers and one of my favourite Canadian authors.  She wrote one of my favourite books of all time, Awake and Dreaming, which is also set in my hometown.  When I saw that she has a new book, I immediately put it on hold at the library.  Then I got sucked into reading ARCs (seriously, I read three in a week!) so I might end up paying some late fines on this one, but I'm determined to read it.

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Winter TBR

Last year, I did monthly TBR lists.  I picked two books per month and actually completed almost all of my monthly TBR lists!  I've also participated in Top Ten Tuesdays when they've had their seasonal TBR lists but I rarely ever get through all ten books that I say I'll read.

So this year, I've decided to switch it up a little, and pick five books per season.  It's a little less commitment than two books per month, and a lot less commitment than ten books per season, but I do love making lists of books to read regardless.

Without any further ado, these are the five books that I plan to read over the coming months...

1. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
I'm currently reading this book, and loving it so far.  It's also one of the books on my list of 17 books to read in 2017 so I'm starting the year off strong.

2. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
This is also on my 2017 list, and the series wraps up soon so there's a lot of people reading and re-reading the series at the moment.  I want to read it while it's a big thing online, even though part of me is a little nervous for a repeat Raven Boys experience.  Low expectations, gotta keep those expectations low.

3. Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
This is my book club's January pick, and I'm hosting the meeting for the first time in my new home!  I LOVED The Secret Life of Bees when I read it a million years ago, and I can't wait to read another one of hers.  Also, it's an Oprah book -- I didn't realize that Oprah had brought her book club back!

4. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Another book club pick -- I'm choosing this one of our next read, and it also happens to be one of the 17 books that I had planned to read this year.

5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I have a few e-galleys from Edelweiss that I need to get cracking on and this one is at the top of my oh-my-goodness-I-want-to-read-it-now list.  So I'm just gonna read it.

How about you?  What's on your TBR list this winter?  Have you read any of these books?  Let's chat in the comments below =)

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2017 Reading Challenge Sign-up

Another year, another round of reading challenges!  This year, I'm keeping things simple(r), and participating in three challenges, in addition to the Goodreads challenge.  I've set my Goodreads challenge at 50 books, which should be no problem as I read 73 books last year.  I just don't want to be pressured by a number, or to see how many books I'm behind whenever I log into Goodreads =P

I've always participated in Evie @ Bookish's TBR pile challenge; however, it doesn't look like she's hosting it this year, so I've decided to join the Rock my TBR challenge instead.  Same idea, but I like that this challenge also encourages buddy reads as a motivator to get those TBR books read.  I'm going to set a goal of 30 TBR books.

I'm going to participate in the Prequel & Sequel Challenge again this year (obviously!) and am indebted to Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat for not kicking me off, as I'm an awful co-host (and the sign-up post is coming guys, promise!).  Hopefully, life will be a little quieter this year, which will allow more time and focus on blogging and reading!  My goal for this year will be the same as last year, Professional (76 to 100 points).

Last year, I signed up for the Around the Year in 52 Books challenge as a means of broadening my reading choices, but found that I spent the latter part of the year ignoring the books and series that I had planned to read because none of the books fit the challenges that were left.  I was incredibly proud of myself for finishing the challenge, but this year I'm just going to broaden my reading by reading more fantasy, in addition to my usual reading choices.  I'm going to set myself a goal of 12 books.

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2016 Reading Challenges Wrap-up

Last year, I participated in four reading challenges and, for the first time EVER, I completed each and every one of my goals!

Goodreads Challenge

Goal: 52 books
Read: 73 books
I set my goal at 52 books because of the Around the Year challenge, and blew it out of the water!

TBR Pile Challenge

Goal: Sweet Summer Fling (31-40 points)
Result: 32 books
I'm super proud of myself for acheiving this goal, even though I had to go to the library to borrow books that I own, but had packed, in order to fulfill my goal.

Prequel & Sequel Challenge

Goal: Professional (76-100 points)
Result: 108 points
Last year, I aimed for the top category (101+ points) and missed it by a long shot.  This year, I played it safe, but still managed to achieve the top category!  Re-reading the Harry Potter series really helped, as well as the Among the Hidden series.

Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge

Goal: Wasn't aiming to complete all challenges
Result: Actually completed all challenges!
I honestly didn't plan to complete this challenge, and didn't even think that I could complete it.  But when I realized that I had only ten challenges left towards the ned of the year, I decided to go for it, and I'm proud of myself for finishing it.

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2017 Series TBR

Like I shared in my bookish resolutions, I am planning to finish/catch up on ten series this year.  Similar to last year, this is a mix of newer and older series.  Hopefully I can stick to this list, but ultimately, I'd just like to check ten series off my TBR list, even if they aren't the ones on this list.  But here goes...

1. Lux (Opal, Origin and Opposition)
3. TOG (Empire of Storms and Book #6)
4. Magyk (Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren, Darke, and Fyre)
5. Unwind (UnWholly, UnSouled and UnDivided)
6. Everneath (Everbound and Evertrue)
7. The Young Elites (The Midnight Star)
8. A Discovery of Witches (Shadow of the Night and Book of Life)
9. Grave Mercy (Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart)
10. Pure (Burn)

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17 Books to Read in 2017

I came up with the idea of 16 books to read in 2016 after watching several BookTubers' videos with the same title.  I didn't end up read all 16 books on my list, but I am proud of reading nine of them!  I've decided to try this again, so here are the 17 books that I plan to read in 2017...

1. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
This series wraps up this year, and I've had the first book sitting on my shelf for over a year.  

2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Reading this book scares the crap out of me because it's so loved, it's HUGE and it's fantasy.  2017 will be the year of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and this book meets that criteria.

3. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
I thought I would read this one right away, but I was in a bit of a reading slump for the latter part of 2016 simply because I had so much going on with two moves in four months.  BUT, I can't let Throne of Glass descend into one of those series that I just never got around to finishing, so I WILL continue on.

4. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
I'm currently reading this, but only a few chapters in, so it can still be included on this list.  Marissa Meyer can't sit on my shelves unread for too long.

5. Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
I would like to try reading all of the unread books on my 2016 list, in addition to these, but I didn't want to fill up my who list with all the books that I didn't get to last year.  Instead, I've chosen to just include this book because I feel like it just HAS to happen this year.  It just MUST.

6. Burn by Julianna Baggott
Per the above, this series will also get knocked off my TBR list this year.  For SURE.

7. The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
I read the first two books in this series towards the end of 2016, and I must pick up the final installment before I forget what's happening in the series!

8. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I started reading this book with Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat a couple of years ago, but I got distracted with other things and never finished it.  I own all three books in the series, so I need to finish it and love it, and then binge the series, or finish it and unhaul the series.

9. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
This is another book that I started, but never finished, due to my pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel and the fact that this book is HEAVY.  It's another book that scares me a little, but this will be the year.

10. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
My Secret Santa sent me this book this year, and I want to make an effort to read gifted books a little quicker.  She said that it's one of her favourite books too, so I can't wait to let her know what I think of the book.

11. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnson
This book is on my list for the same reason as Station Eleven.  My secret sister sent this to me over the summer, and she loves the book and the author so much.  I can't wait to experience her writing.

12. The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
This is the latest book sent to me by my current secret sister, and it was read and loved by Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat.  I've had my eye on it since its release, and I have very high expectations!

13. Mistborn or The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
I'm not promising to read both, or even to finish one, but this year I'd like to try Brandon Sanderson's writing, and I have two of his books on my shelves.  This is the third book on my list that scares the crap out of me, but hey, let's do this thing!

14. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
In conjunction with my resolution to clear off my e-book TBR, this is one that I have had my eye on for a while, and I think I'm going to love it.

15. The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall
I re-read the entire Harry Potter series this year on audio, and stumbled across this book while I was unpacking last week.  I seem to recall a controversy a while ago where it seemed like J.K. Rowling had copied some elements from this book because they're very similar to Harry Potter, but I think it was proven to be untrue.  Anything that's described as being just like Harry Potter always piques my interest, but also makes me wary because nothing can be just like Harry Potter.  I haven't read much middle grade in recent years, so this will be a fun read too.

16. The Glass Arrow by Kristin Simmons
I pre-ordered this almost two years ago, and haven't read it.  I think I'm going to love it too, but I just need to read it already.

17. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
One of my bookstore co-workers recommended this to me shortly before I left the store, and I think she even described it as life-changing and her favourite book of all time.  High praise from a bookworm!  I haven't read any Atwood in a LONG time, and I have loved most of her books.

Have you read any of these books?  Which book should I start with?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you for visiting my blog =)

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... And Looking Forward to 2017!

I looked back at my reading resolutions from last year, and one of the things that I noticed was that it was hard to qualify whether or not I had succeeded at any of my resolutions because there wasn't any tangible proof.  I've purposely kept my resolutions vague for this very reason -- I can decide if I did a good job at reading the books from my own shelves, even without knowing whether or not my physical TBR pile shrunk and, if so, by how many volumes.  

But for this year, I'm opting to do something a little different.  I'm going to attach some tangible numbers to these resolutions, just to see how it works this year.  Shaking it up a little, ya know?   So, 2017, let's do this thing!

1. Reduce my physical TBR to less than 100 books.
When I counted up all of my unread books, I was sitting around 130.  I know that I've acquired a fair number of books this year, but I also feel like I've read more than I acquired, or at the very least I've broken even.  If that's the case (worst case scenario), I will have to read what I own, but also what I buy in order to achieve this goal.

2. Reduce my e-book TBR to less than 20 books.
I've bought SO MANY cheap e-books over the past year, but haven't read many of them!  So my e-book TBR is 30ish books.  It's nice to have that many e-books on hand for travelling, but I really need to read some as I buy.  So this year, I'd like to read a third of what I own.

3. Finish 10 series.
Last year, I picked out five old series and five newer series.  I did okay with that list, but part of the struggle was that most of my books were packed for the entirety of the year.  This year, I'm determined to make a dent in that series TBR, especially since I've decided to separate my read and unread books on my shelves -- it's the only way to reunite them!

4. Blog whenever hubby plays video games.
When we packed up the majority of our possessions in February, the video games were put away.  I used to get lots of blogging done while hubby gamed, since I find it hard to read with the flickering glow of the TV beside me.  We just unpacked his video games, and he's excited about getting into another game.  I want to make good use of this time to work on my blog, visit/comment on others' blogs and just be more present online.

5. Participate in three online events.
Last year, I participated in more than three, so this should be an easy resolution.  I thought of five, but I don't know how busy life will be in 2017, and thought I'd be better to aim for three events where I can give it my all, rather than scrambling to complete five.  I'm thinking, at the very least, the Broke & Bookish Secret Santa, a readathon and one other event.

How about you?  Did you have reading resolutions and, if so, did you complete them?  Let me know in the comments below, and Happy New Year!

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