11/16/17

Tome Topple - Round 5

My favourite part of November is Tome Topple, especially as I always seem to feel myself burning out on reading towards the end of the year, as I try to catch up on reading challenges and read all the things I'd planned to read.  Generally, by November I've either realized that I'll get it all done in time, or I've completely given up hope.  This year it's the latter, and I'm fully ready to curl up with a tome or two for the last half of November, and just enjoy reading.

Tome Topple was created by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and you can watch her announcement video here.  The challenges for each round of Tome Topple are the same and as follows:

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

I've never managed to complete all five challenges for this readathon, mainly because the focus is on reading larger books and I'm always impressed with myself for getting through one book!  In order for a book to count as a tome, it has to be over 500 pages.


For this round of Tome Topple, I will be reading Janet Fitch's new release The Revolution of Marina M.  To say that I'm excited about this book would be an understatement as Janet Fitch is, without a doubt, one of my favourite authors of all time.  I read White Oleander when I was 17 and loved that book so much that I flipped back to page one as soon as I was finished because I couldn't bear for it to be over.  I absolutely cannot wait to get lost in her writing again, and this book is a BEAST -- 800 pages!  Perfect for Tome Topple.

If I feel like a second book, I'm considering either the second book in the Mistborn trilogy or The Cuckoo's Calling, both of which count as a book in a series.  BUT we'll see.  One massive tome will likely be more than enough =P

Are you participating in Tome Topple?  What are you planning to read?  Let me know in the comments below, and good luck with your reading goals!

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11/15/17

Looking Back ... At Six Years of Blogging

Six years ago, I shared a post called Hello World and dove into the world of blogging.  To say it's been a whirlwind adventure would be an understatement, but I wouldn't change a moment of this adventure for the world.  I thought I'd share a few highlights of the past six years, including some of my favourite posts.  Thank you to all of you that have been on some or all of this adventure with me.  From reading my words to leaving thoughtful comments ... your presence and support mean the world to me.  Here's to another six years!


  • Meeting Evie @ Bookish (unfortunately, right before she moved away!)  She was so lovely and supportive and encouraging for a new blogger, and I know that she's one of the reasons that I kept blogging in the earlier years
  • My first blog award (are these even a thing anymore?) because it meant that someone was validating what I was doing
  • My first Bloggiesta, where I made a friend who showed me how to make a blog roll
  • Announcing a reading slump .... caused by pregnancy!
  • Meeting Lisa Genova, and the first time I posted a picture of myself on the blog
  • Sharing our how we met story (spoiler: it was in a bookstore!)
  • I meet Lauren @ Lose Time Reading through The Broke and the Bookish's Secret Santa -- and we're still friends today!
  • My beautiful baby boy, Marko, arrives
  • Losing my e-book virginity
  • The first Marko Monday
  • Summer of Standalones -- a fantastic readathon hosted by Cass @ The Casserole, and one that I've found myself unofficially doing every summer since
  • I made a series-ous decision to conquer my list of unfinished series
  • My first round of blogging blahs
  • My most personal review ever, Me Before You, where the story of my dad's accident and his strength
  • My first If We Were Having Coffee post -- despite the above-noted personal review, this was the first time that I really felt like my book was about ME and not just books
  • I started hosting The Prequel & Sequel Challenge with Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat.  Despite the fact that we don't talk regularly, and the fact that I've been the crappiest co-host, I still consider Jessi to be one of my bestest blogging buddies
  • Meeting Marissa Meyer
  • My blog gets a makeover
  • Wrote one of my favourite posts about ARCs
  • Revisited the series-ousness of my physical TBR -- I loved putting together the stats on this!
  • Shared my first (and only) Reading On My Mat post -- I will bring this series back soon
  • Shared the beginning of my Reading Journey -- another series I plan to continue
  • Lauren @ Lose Time Reading and I were SO EXCITED about our Lose Time RRReading Readathon -- it was a bit of a flop, but I'd love to try it again someday
  • One of the worst reading slumps in my life, but the comments on this post warmed my heart
  • Had one of the most amazing Secret Santa experiences with the incredible Tiff @ Mostly YA Lit
  • Joined the OTSP Secret Sisterhood, and met Jessica @ Novel Cravings and Amanda @ Books, Brains and Brawn in my first round -- friends forever!
  • Participated in the first of many rounds of Tome Topple
  • Received and reviewed my very first physical ARC (I still squeal internally when I remember opening this package from Random House)
  • Participated in #Bookmas, while moving houses (I'm still amazed that I posted so much this month considering all the hecticness that was my life at the time!)
  • Although this year was my second time participating in the Love-a-Thon, it was the first time that I really felt that I joined in
  • My dear friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings hosted the All the Short Ones Read-a-thon and I read SO MANY BOOKS
  • Went through a blogging identity crisis (in all honesty, I think I'm still there!)
  • Participated in Spook-a-thon and, although I can't link it here, I posted on Instagram for all 30 days of the challenge!
  • Shared 25 Bookish Facts About Me -- a recent post, but another one that I'm quite proud of!

In addition to all of the things that I've linked above, I've participated in a lot of other fun things, like Top Ten Tuesday, Life of a Blogger and much, much more.  I'm so grateful for the friendships that I've made through blogging, and the opportunity to share a little bit about myself in this little corner of the internet.  I'm eternally grateful for each one of you that takes the time to stop by my blog (yes, you, you wonderful person!) and I cherish each and every comment.  I'm excited to continue blogging -- who knows where this blog will be in six more years?!?

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11/13/17

On Dusty Books

Last week, I shared a list of books that I've bought this year, and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I've read about half of the books in the same year that they were purchased.  A few years ago, I tried my own version of a book buying ban, where I promised myself that I'd only buy a book if I planned to read it right away.  There's something exciting about coming home from the bookstore and diving into a new book right away, rather than sticking it on the shelf and forgetting about it.

One of my reading goals this year is to get my physical shelves to less than 100 unread books.  Currently, I'm sitting around 115 so it feels doable by the end of the year.  I've also unhauled a few old ARCs that were gifted to me that I have zero interest in reading, to help bring my numbers down. I have a few short books that I was thinking of blitzing through, as it'll get the numbers down quickly and, if I don't like them, I can just immediately drop them into the unhaul pile.  But there's something holding me back.

I have had a truly incredible reading year.  Truly, truly incredible.  For a while, it felt like every book that I was picking up was blowing me away and I was marvelling at how few DNFs I had this year.  This is precisely what's holding me back from picking up some of these older titles -- I'm fairly certain that they're books that aren't my cup of tea anymore; however, I don't want to just unhaul them without giving them a shot first.  BUT, since I'm having such a stellar reading year, I also don't want to pick up and DNF a string of books in a row, just to get my unread numbers down.  There's always a little part of me that thinks that I might love the book, if I read it at a different time in my life.  For example, I used to read a lot of middle grade, so I have about 20 unread middle grade titles on my shelves.  I don't read much middle grade anymore, which isn't to say that I won't enjoy those books, but I probably would have enjoyed them more if I had read them ten years ago.  Or maybe I'll enjoy them in another five years.

In conclusion, I probably won't sweat my reading goals and will just keep picking up the books that I want to read when I want to read them.  I read 13 books last month, so finishing off 15 more from my shelves in two months doesn't seem unreasonable.

What about you?  How do you deal with dusty books that you're not sure you are interested in reading?  Do you keep them for a rainy day or try them and DNF or just unhaul them?  I'm interested to hear your thoughts, so let me know in the comments below -- and thanks for stopping by!

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11/8/17

25 Bookish Facts About Me

I saw this tag over at Confessions of a Book Geek a long, long time ago and, although I wasn't tagged, I just had to participate.  What a fun way to share bookish things with you all!

1. My name is literary.  My parents picked Melissa because they were watching Little House on the Prairie while my mom was pregnant, and they liked Melissa Gilbert's name (the actress who played Laura on the show).  My mom's middle name is Ann, which she wanted to pass along to me, but she preferred "Anne with an E" from Anne of Green Gables, so that's how she spelled it.

2. I loved Rachel's story of how she started reading Harry Potter, so I thought I'd add my own.  I was a Girl Guide leader at the time, and the girls were OBSESSED with talking about Harry's adventures and I had to figure out what Quidditch was.  I had only planned on reading the first book, just so that I'd understand what the fuss was about, but quickly binge read the four books that were released at that point ... and never looked back.

3. Speaking of Harry Potter, I worked at the launch of the sixth book and was in line for the seventh book at midnight.  I have yet to find another series that has impacted me so profoundly, although some of the adult fantasy that I've picked up this year has come pretty close.

4. I don't write in my books or dogear pages, but I haul my books around in my purse and they get pretty beaten up while I'm reading them.  Even though I recently scored a Book Beau in an Owlcrate, I still find myself shoving my book into my purse ... alongside the Book Beau *hangs head in shame...*

5. I'm not too concerned about the wear and tear on my books, but I despise it when I lend a book out and people don't care about how they treat the borrowed book.  I once lent a book to a coworker who spilled a glass of water on it, and then returned it without either acknowledging the damage or even apologizing.  I'm not super concerned about the wear and tear on my books, but I think that people should be super considerate and careful with borrowed books, and if accidents happen at least say sorry!

6. It bothers me a little when my series don't match, but I would never really consider spending the money on books that I already own.  In that vein, I don't own multiple copies of beloved books.

7. Further to number 6 above, the one series that does irritate me is Harry Potter.  I'm slowly replacing my mismatched set whenever I stumble across one of the original Canadian hardcovers.  So far, I've got my original books six and seven, and I found book four a few weeks ago.

8. Again, further to number 6 above, I also recently bought the third illustrated Harry Potter book, and plan to pick up the first two if my lovely husband doesn't pick them off my wish list this Christmas!  So, I will own multiple copies of the Harry Potter series, but I think I'll cap that at two copies per book.

9. I can't WAIT to read the Harry Potter series aloud to Marko!!!  This is the sole reason that I've purchased the illustrated versions.  Reading them aloud with the pictures is going to be MAGICAL.

10. I don't own any funko pops (is that what they're called?) and don't have a desire to.  I'm not a fan of things that I have to dust, except my books.  I think that makes me a bit of an anomaly in the bookish world, but I'm okay with that =P

11. I have yet to find a bookshelf organization system that works for me.  I've organized my shelves purely alphabetical, but later reorganized by genre so that my husband's sci-fi and horror wouldn't be sitting with my books.  I later shuffled by size so that I could fit everything together, and lost the alphabetical order.  After our recent move, I unpacked books into read and unread shelves, and I hopeful that splitting up my unfinished series will motivate me to reunite the books!

12. I sometimes wish that I could start my Goodreads shelves all over again, but I have way to many books on my shelves and it would take HOURS to reorganize it all.

13. I love the idea of doing a rainbow shelf organization, but I know that it would take FOREVER to set up, and would promptly drive me bonkers.

14. I met my husband in a bookstore!  He was a customer and I worked in the store.  And we lived happily ever after.

15. We had a bookish wedding (I'll link my post with our how we met story and a few pics of the wedding, if you're interested!)

16. I spend an hour and a half commuting to work, and another hour and a half commuting home.  The way Vancouver is laid out, the only place to make a decent salary is downtown, and the only place one can afford to purchase a home is waaaaay east, so most people have a similar commute.  But you know what, I kind of love it.  I drive half an hour with my husband, who drops me at the train station, and then I blissfully sip my coffee and have some uninterrupted reading time!

17. Due to the reasons above, it's entirely possible that I may finish 100 books this year -- gasp!

18. I recently stumbled across a video of myself explaining my 2010 New Year's Resolutions.  In the video, I explained that the previous year I'd planned to read one book a month, but in 2010 I was planning to read two books a month.  In consideration of the item noted above, my first thought was WHO IS THIS GIRL AND HOW IS SHE POSSIBLY A PAST ME?

19. I recently subscribed to Owlcrate and, although it's been fun getting bookish mail, I'm not 100% sure I know what to do with all the "stuff" that comes in the box.  Last month's box was good because the items were all functional (tea, mug, coaster, etc.) but I may cancel my subscription if there's too many trinket-y things.  As mentioned above, I don't clutter my shelves with candles and bookish things.  There's just books and framed photos on my shelves.

20. I'm only a few days away from my sixth blogoversary.  I still can't believe that I've been doing this for SIX YEARS.  If you want a good laugh, here's my first post -- it still makes me laugh to this day.

21. When I stumble across a new blog, the first thing I do is read the blogger's very first post.  I like to see where people began, and I especially love it when the first post is a "welcome to my blog" or similar introductory post, rather than a review.

22. If Marko doesn't love reading when he's all grown up, it'll probably shatter my soul.  No seriously, it probably will.

23. I totally judge books by their covers.  (Shhh, I won't tell anyone that you do too).  As a result, there are a few books that I probably would have totally passed over because the covers didn't wow me (like Me Before You or Turtles All the Way Down), so thank goodness for people raving about these books online and convincing me to give them a shot!

24. Speaking of covers, my biggest cover pet peeve is putting a real person's face on the cover.  I don't want the publisher to tell me what the character looks like; I want to imagine it for myself.

25. For the very reason noted above, I will search high and low for the original printing of a book in order to avoid buying a movie tie-in cover.  NO THANK YOU to Hollywood actors on the front of this girl's books!

Well, there you have it -- 25 random bookish facts about me!  This post sat in my drafts for WAY TOO LONG (as with many other posts lately!) but I'm happy I finally finished writing it.  Let me know some bookish facts about you in the comments below, or leave a link to your post and I'll stop by!  I love learning about other people's weird (or totally normal) bookish idiosyncrasies!

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11/6/17

An Entire Year's Book Haul -- in one post!

Book hauls are my favourite posts to write and to read; however, I actually haven't shared ANY this year!  I thought I'd wrap up my year's worth of purchases in post ... since I stop buying for myself November 1st, this will be all I buy this year!  The next one of these will be my Christmas haul.

Books Bought and Read

  • Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
  • Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
  • Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
  • The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
  • The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
  • Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Love Her Wild by Atticus
  • Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Books Bought and Not Yet Read

  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, et al
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
  • The Ministry of Almost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
  • All Our Wrong Yesterdays by Elan Mastai
  • Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
  • It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany
  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
  • The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
  • Before She Rises by Jodi Meadows
  • Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
That's a long list of books, but I'm actually quite proud of the fact that I've read about half of what I've bought this year!  There are quite a few that I still hope/plan to read before the year is up.  Do you see any favourites in my list?  Let me know if there's a book that I should prioritize!

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11/1/17

November TBR

I decided that I was doing away with monthly TBR lists, but I've also kind of changed my mind on my fall reading since I posted my fall TBR list ... so here I am, back with another monthly TBR list!

Towards the end of June, I planned out the rest of my reading for the year, thinking that if I focused on certain books, I might be able to get through the 17 books that I planned to read in 2017, as well as the ten series that I had planned to finish.  At this point in the year, I've tossed that all out the window.  At last count, I believe that I have four of the 17 books still to read, and plan to read one this month, possibly two.  Finishing all but two of that list is WAY better than I did last year, so I'm pretty proud of myself!  And, in all honesty, the two books that are left (The Bone Season and Graceling) are books that I'm not sure I'm even interested in reading at all anymore, but we'll see.  Maybe next year.



1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
This book is my top priority this month.  At 21 pages per day, it might take me all month to finish it, but that's okay.  I'll probably pair it with some contemporaries, just to lighten the mood.  Books that are currently calling my name include...

2. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
3. The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
4. The Elegant Gathering of White Snows by Kris Radish
5. Mercy or Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
In all honesty, I'm not sure which of these I'm in the mood for.  I just picked up The Elegant Gathering of White Snows and I've been sucked in so far, but I'm also battling a head cold, which always makes reading a little trickier!  Edit: After finalizing this post, the audiobook for Little Fires Everywhere came in at the library, so looks like I'm picking that one up first!

6. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
I don't know if I'll read this one in November or December, but I would like to pick it up before the year is over.  I've been eyeing Alias Grace on my shelves as well, and I have PVRed the show to watch after I read the book, but Robber Bride is a little bit shorter so I think I'll start with this one, and then move to Alias Grace later.  I've been craving another of Atwood's books since I reread The Handmaid's Tale earlier this year.

7. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
I've always been intrigued about this book, but equally terrified by it as well, especially now that I'm a mother.  I'm listening to it on audio, and I'm about two hours in and it's not as sad as I thought it would be?  It's our next book club book, and I can already tell that this will be a book that some love and some hate, which always makes for excellent discussion.

Plus, I'm also contemplating another Mistborn book, since I ordered the rest of the series.  Another round of Tome Topple starts mid-month, so stay tuned for a TBR post if I decide to participate!  We'll see how The Name of the Wind is coming along, and whether I just blast my way through that, or tackle another tome!  Who knows, maybe it might also be time to pick up A Little Life?  Oh, who knows -- I'm all over the map with my reading!!!

How about you?  What are you reading this month?  Have you read any of the contemporaries that I listed above?  I need some help deciding what to read along with The Name of the Wind!
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10/31/17

Reading Round-up - October

Seriously ... HOW are there only two months left in this year?  I had a pretty good reading month this year, and a momentous moment where I gave up on all of my reading goals and just decided to read what I feel like reading!

1. Always and Forever, Lara Jean
My bookish buddy, Jessica @ Novel Cravings, binge read the first two in a ridiculously short time, so we decided to finish the series off by buddy reading the final book.  I gobbled up the first two books in an equally ridiculously short amount of time last summer, and I can't BELIEVE that I waited so long to pick up the final book!  While it was still a delightful conclusion to the series, there are a couple of things that I wish had been done differently.

2. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
I had originally planned to read ten series this year, and I just might make it, but they won't be the original ten series that I had planned to read.  One of the reasons for that is that I discovered Victoria Schwab this year, and binge read the Shades of Magic series earlier this year, and the This Savage Song duology later in the year.  HOLY COW this woman can write and this duology is INCREDIBLE.  ALL THE STARS.

3. Unraveling
Amber @ Books of Amber has been telling me (sometimes in SHOUTY CAPS) to READ THIS BOOK ALREADY for two, maybe three years?  And I did it.  I FINALLY DID IT.  AND IT WAS AMAZING.   I already put the sequel on hold at the library, and I'm passing along my copy to a friend to spread the love for the series.

4. Queste by Angie Sage
Phew, made it through book four in this series!  As much as I wanted to finish all seven books this year, I think I need a little break from this world -- this series will go on my 2018 TBR list instead.

5. Black Feathers by Robert J. Wiersema
For the #spookathon, this book was calling my name from the shelves.  So glad I decided to go with my gut and pick it up.  It was creepy and captivating and set in my hometown.  Highly recommended. 

6. The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
After Black Feathers, I was craving more adult thrillers, so I started this one.  I read, and loved, Alessandre Torre's book Love, Chloe and was eager to see what she wrote under a pen name.  The Girl in 6E was so different, but in such a good way.  I love it when an author can write completely different things, and have each style work in its own way.  Definitely checking out some more of her books!

7. He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker
Still craving thrillers, so I cracked open my last unread thriller on my Kobo.  This was also excellent, and my first experience with K.A. Tucker's work won't be my last!

8. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
I don't need to say much about this one because everyone's been gushing about it.  Let me just say this: the hype is real, and this is going to be a book at the top of many favourites lists this year.  Aza's character is incredible, and I feel like I learned a lot about what it must be like to live with anxiety and OCD.  Truly an incredible book.

9. The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
After Turtles All The Way Down, I knew I needed something different, so I grabbed this on a whim off my shelves.  I was absolutely sucked in from the first chapter, and read 130 pages in one day!  This book reminded me a lot of Taylor Jenkins Reid's Maybe in Another Life, and I loved every minute of it.

10. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
I started this in September, and it took me well over a month to finish.  In all honesty, I'm falling a little out of love with this series, and I'm glad that there is only one more book left.  This book was good, but not incredible, and I think I'm just reading on because I've invested so much time and energy into the series, rather than because I love it so much.

11. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
As soon as I picked up Colleen's newest book from the library, I knew that I was done with Spookathon and ready to dive in.  I always gobble up her books in two or three days, depending on how much I have going on, but this one was different.  I read the first half, then got distracted by a few other books before returning to finish the last half.  It was good, but I had trouble connecting with Merit's character, which made it less un-put-down-able than her other books.

12. Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
I did a "try a chapter" thing last week, when I couldn't decide what to read, and this book captivated me from page one.  Lisa's books are like that -- so relatable and well-researched and well-developed that I was enthralled with the story from the beginning, and that love carried me right through to the end.  I can hardly wait for her next book in 2018!

13. The News by Rob Taylor
After I finished Love Her Wild, I asked some poetry-loving friends for recommendations, and this was one of the recommended books.  I really enjoyed this collection of poems, covering the duration of his wife's pregnancy week-by-week, but I also wish that I could read the same collection from thm the wife's perspective.

I can't believe that I read 13 books this month!  It's close to the number of books that I read in March, when I was only reading books under 300 pages.  Granted, two of the books were ones that I started last month, but my far-fetched goal of hitting 100 books this year doesn't feel so far-fetched anymore!

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10/26/17

Trying a Chapter...

I'm having some trouble deciding which book to pick up next, so I thought I'd pick five books and try a chapter of each ... and then read the one that grabs my attention the most!  So here goes...

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows
My mom passed along a copy of this book after she read and loved it.  We have similar taste for some books, but often very differing tastes.  I read the first 15 pages of this book and I'm definitely not interested in it.  In fact, I think I'm going to put it into my unhaul pile.

2. How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie Debartolo
My copy of this book is an ARC and I picked it up back in 2005 when I worked at Bolen Books.  I've hauled it through five moves, and still haven't read it.  I read the first chapter and I'm already intrigued!  I love books that weave music into the narrative and I can already tell that music is going to be central to this story.

3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
I won this book on Epic Reads' Tea Time many years ago.  I read the first couple of pages and liked it, but I don't think it's what I'm in the mood for at the moment.

4. Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova
I've read, and loved, all of Lisa's previous books so I can't believe that I haven't read this one yet!  I read the prologue and, holy moly, this is going to be just as good as her previous books.

5. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
This is a recent acquisition -- I didn't even know he had a new book out until I stumbled across a bargain copy at Coles this week.  I read the first few pages of this one and I know that I will love it.

In the end, it's a toss up between The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto and Inside the O'Briens.  Although I know that I will love The Magic Strings, I think I'm in the mood for Lisa Genova's writing.

And now, off to read a few more chapters of my pick!

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Spookathon Wrap-up

Well, I didn't end up reading the books that I'd planned to read, but I did complete the challenges!  Pretty proud of reading three books over the course of the readathon too!

Books Read:
1. Black Feathers by Robert J. Wiersema
2. The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre
3. He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker

Challenges Met:
1. Read a thriller - all of the books are thrillers!
2. Read a book with orange on the cover - He Will Be My Ruin
3. Read a book with a creepy word in the title - Ruin
4. Read a book with a spooky setting - there were spooky setting moments in all three books
5. Read a book with a childhood fear - I struggled with this one because I couldn't really think of any fears that I had as a child, but I went with Black Feathers because it's set in my hometown

I only read one of the three books that I had originally planned to read, but I finished Black Feathers and was in the mood for more adult thrillers, rather than an adult paranormal and young adult dystopian.  I'm so glad that I read the books that I did, and I can honestly say that this is the first year that I've really craved Halloween-esque reads.

I'm so happy that I decided to join in with the Spookathon this year, and I'm already looking forward to joining next year as well!  If you read any spooky books this month, let me know in the comments below ... and thanks for stopping by!

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10/19/17

Spookathon - Day Four

It's day four of Spookathon -- and I've totally tossed my TBR out the window.  BUT, but but but -- I'm currently reading my third book and I'm SUPER PROUD of myself.

The challenges:

1. Read a thriller -- check!  Both books that I've read so far count for this challenge.
2. Read a book about a childhood fear -- check!  I'm cheating a little on this one, as Black Feathers takes place in my hometown.  And the idea of a serial killer in my hometown is super creepy.  I honestly don't think I really had a childhood fear, so I had to get a little creative with this one =P
3. Read a book with orange on the cover -- in progress!  I'm currently reading He Will Be My Ruin, and the cover is orange.
4. Read a book with a spooky setting -- check!  Black Feathers was definitely spooky; the main character lived on the streets.
5. Read a book with a creepy word in the title -- check!  Black, Ruin, any of those will work.  I'd planned to read Unwind this week, which miiiiight still happen, but I'll call this a success regardless!

Are you participating in Spookathon?  If so, how is your reading coming along?  This is honestly the first October that I've ever really craved reading spooky books, and I'm loving it so far!  Plus, two of them are ebooks, which is totally helping me reach my goal of getting my ereader down to 20 books by the end of the year.

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10/16/17

Spookathon TBR

The #spookathon started at midnight today and runs until midnight this coming Sunday.  It was created by Lala @ Books with Lala (one of my favourite BookTubers -- she's Canadian!)  You can see the full details in her announcement video.

I'm planning to read three books this week -- fingers crossed!

1. Black Feathers by Robert J. Wiersema
This book will satisfy the challenge of reading a thriller, as well as slightly cheating on the challenge of childhood fear.  The book takes place in my hometown, so it has an element of childhood.

2. Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
This book satisfies the challenge of reading a book with orange on the cover, as well as the challenge of a spooky setting.

3. Unwind by Neale Shusterman
This book satisfies the challenge of reading a book with a creepy word in the title.  The idea of unwinding still gives me the heebie jeebies, and I can't wait to read this book again and (hopefully!) continue with the series.

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10/10/17

This Darkness Mine - Mindy McGinnis

It's been a few days since I finished this book, and I feel like I'm still trying to figure out what on earth I just read.  And not in a good way.

I went into this book fully blind, not even reading the Goodreads summary before I dove in.  Mindy McGinnis has quite a following in the bookish community and I hadn't read any of her books prior to picking this one up.

I won't say anything about the plot, since I think going into this book blind is the best way to approach it.  I will say that the atmosphere of the book reminded me a lot of the Mara Dyer trilogy, but I didn't enjoy that trilogy much either, which probably contributed to my feelings on this book.  The main character is super unlikeable, so I never really understood her motivations and behaviour throughout the book.  It was an interesting concept and I kept reading because I was anticipating things that didn't end up happening.  The whole book was a bit of a letdown.  If you like weird psychological thrillers, this book will probably be right up your alley, but from reading this book I've learned that weird books are not my thing.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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10/5/17

Burn - Julianna Baggott

I have this bookish problem that I think that many others will identify with.  There's this series.  A series that I love with all my heart.  Strangely enough, I haven't even read the third and final book, even though I have had it sitting on my shelf for YEARS.  Why haven't I read this book, if I really and truly love this series so much?  BECAUSE I JUST CAN'T BEAR FOR THE SERIES TO BE OVER.

The Pure trilogy and I go way, way back.  I read Pure shortly after starting this blog, back when I was reading all the dystopians.  Back when Divergent was just a book.  Although I had read a LOT of dystopians by then, the book absolutely blew me away.  Julianna is a poet, and it clearly shows in her writing.  She makes a horrific world feel beautiful because of the way she weaves her words, similar to the feeling I had while reading Lauren Destefano's Wither.

Fast forward a few years, and I've had a baby.  With a month or so of newborn raising under my belt, I decide that it's time to get back into reading.  I pick up Fuse, the sequel to Pure, scarcely remembering what happened in the first book.  I fell head over heels for the second book, and have distinct memories of reading sections of the book aloud to Marko, as he cooed on the floor next to me.  You're supposed to talk to newborns and engage with them, but baby talk isn't my thing, so I figured reading aloud would be good for his little brain -- I think it might have worked!

Fast forward another few years, when I saw this book pop up on Netgalley.  I requested it, and was thrilled when my request was approved, only to realize that it expired in a few days and I knew that I'd never read it in time.  So I put the book on hold at the library, and waited months for it to arrive.  When I picked it up from the library, life must have gotten in the way, because I returned it unread, and late.  I borrowed it twice more, and I think returned it late both times.  I've paid some serious library fines for this book, but still it remained unread.  Then, I stumbled across the first two books in the series on Book Outlet, and decided that it was a series I'd like to own.  I bought Pure and Fuse and  happily added these beautiful books to my shelves.  The paperback release of Burn was in the fall, so I put it on my Christmas wish list and my husband delivered.  And STILL this book sat on my shelves unread.

Fast forward at least another year and I vowed to myself that I wouldn't let 2017 end without me finishing this series.  Let me tell you that it was worth the wait.  All that I hoped would happen happened.  I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced at spending some more time with these characters that I had fallen in love with.  I love that this series has carried me through some life-changing moments, and I seriously cannot wait to reread it at some point, and experience the majestic story from beginning to end without years of waiting in between each instalment.  If you're sick of dystopians, please don't overlook this series -- it's truly unique and spellbinding.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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10/3/17

Top Ten - Katie Cotugno

I love, love, LOVED How to Love when I first read it and knew that Katie Cotugno was a new favourite author.  99 Days was really good too, but I was disappointed by Fireworks.  When I saw that Katie was publishing a second book this year, I was a little nervous because her last book was disappointing and I worried that maybe she'd rushed through writing in order to get two books out this year.

YOU GUYS, THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME.  ALL KINDS OF AWESOME.  Maybe Fireworks was disappointing because she rushed through that one to spend more time on this book, who knows, but this book is everything that I loved about How to Love, and more.  What I loved the most about How to Love is that Katie creates these absolutely REAL characters who are messy and imperfect and REAL and genuine.  I love that her characters are raw and sometimes you love them and sometimes you want to shake them and sometimes you want to reach into the book and hug them.  Top Ten features another two characters like that and their story is just so imperfectly wonderful.  I scarcely have the words to talk about this book because I read the entire thing in two days.  I'm so full of feelings for this book, and have so much love for the way that Katie writes her characters' stories.  She's definitely back at the top of my favourites list and I hope that she writes more books like this one in the future.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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10/2/17

Reading Round-up - September

At the beginning of the month, I shared my tongue-in-cheek TBR pile of doom, where I had originally planned to read five books, which then grew to eight and then capped out at a whopping thirteen.  I did well this month, and finished with a total of nine (and a half!) books!  Here's what I read...

1. Top Ten by Katie Cotugno
My review for this one will be posted on release date, but let me just say that I loved it.

2. Ringer by Lauren Oliver
I had to DNF this one, sadly.

3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
YOU GUYS.  I FINALLY READ A BRANDON SANDERSON BOOK.   He deserves all the hype.  I loved it -- the world building, the allomancy, the characters, everything.  Halfway through the book, I told my hubby that I was putting books two and three onto my Christmas wish list, but by the time I finished the book I decided that I can't wait that long.  I'm throwing the rest of the year's TBR goals out the window and making time to finish this series.

4. Flyte by Angie Sage
5. Physik by Angie Sage
I reread Magyk last year because I own almost all of the books in this series, but couldn't remember what happened in the first book.  The Magyk series was recommended to me by a Chapters employee many, many years ago and, although I normally balk at "if you liked Harry Potter" recommendations, I was sold on this series.  It's really good, and I'm hoping to finish off the last three books this year as well.  I had also planned to read Queste this month, and I got about halfway through the book, but I think I was burning out a little so I took a break.  I'll finish it in October for sure, but this reminded me about why I don't usually binge read back to back =)

6. Lilac Girls
I saw a read along group on Instagram, and decided to join on a whim.  The group picked this book and, although I'd never heard of it, I borrowed the audiobook to keep me company during a data entry project at work.  The book is compared to The Nightingale and, while I think The Nightingale was a better WWII book, this was still a solid read.  The audiobook is worth checking out, as it's told by a different narrator for each of the three women.  I love books with multiple narrators, and this one was well done.

7. The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I blasted through the Lux series last month, and was disappointed.  This sounded like a Colleen Hoover-esque contemporary, but I was also disappointed.  I'm going to give JLA one more shot because I have Half Blood on my shelves, but I'm not impressed with her work thus far.

8. Love Her Wild by Atticus
I followed Atticus on Instagram a while back and loved his words enough to pick up his book of poetry.  I loved it and devoured it in one day.  I'm now wanting to read all of the poetry books -- recommendations more than welcome!

9. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
I struggled with this one, and it makes me sad because this was totally a favourite series.  Maybe it's partly because I got distracted with a couple of other books, and kept setting this one aside, but I definitely didn't enjoy this instalment as much as previous ones.  I already have Tower of Dawn, which I'm planning to read next month, and I'm feeling hopeful about a book that can help me to fall in love with this series again.

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9/25/17

Marko Monday [24] - Dinosaur Bones!

This summer, we made our annual trek to Alberta to visit my in-laws.  Normally, we split our trip between Edmonton and Calgary, but this year we added in a night in Drumheller.  Marko has loved dinosaurs since he was little and I knew that a trip to the dinosaur capital of the world would be one that he'd remember forever.  The best way to describe him in the Royal Tyrell Museum, seeing dinosaur bones and life-size dinosaurs for the first time, is to compare him to the ball in a pinball machine.  He literally ran from one spot to the other, shouting, "Look, a stegosaurus!  And a T Rex!  Look, a T Rex!  And a brontosaurus!  And a triceratops!"  It was awesome to watch and experience the wonder through his eyes.

When we returned home from our trip, my husband had one more week at home with him.  One morning, they were watching the kids programming on CBC and there was a show called Bookaboo (or something along those lines).  It featured a book called Drumheller Dinosaur Dance, and my husband insisted that we head to Chapters THAT DAY to find Marko a copy.  It's quickly become a new favourite book in our household, and has a really fun read-a-loud rhythm to the story.  The dinosaur bones wake up at night to dance, and there's a fun "rickety tack whackety whack" kind of rhyming pattern that goes along with the story.  We've read this one over and over again, and Marko often takes it out with him to read in the backseat as well.  If you've got a little dinosaur fan, I'd highly recommend checking this one out!

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9/20/17

Fall TBR!

I rocked my summer TBR pile, seriously rocked it.  One book was a DNF, but I finished the other three, including the infamous Shantaram.  I also planned to tackle my ARCs and, as of this moment, I still have that one long-expired egalley, but otherwise I am all caught up!  In addition to the expired book, I have one more fall ARC to read for the end of October and a second one for March 2018.  I'm feeling pretty proud of myself!

Now, onto the books that I hope to get to this fall...

1. Shadow of Night and Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
I started this series two years ago (?!?) and liked the first book a lot, but haven't finished the series yet.  Lauren @ Lose Time Reading LOVES this series and I need to just hurry up and finish it already.

2. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
This is one of the books on my 17 books to read in 2017 list and I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.  I felt the same about Mistborn, but I'm loving it, so I'm hopeful that I'll find another fantasy book to fall in love with.

3. Unravelling by
It's embarrassing how many times I've said I'm going to read this book, and then I just don't follow through.  Like, seriously embarrassing.  I need to just read it already.

4. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
I reread The Handmaid's Tale earlier this year, and fell in love with Atwood's writing all over again.  This is another book on my 17 books to read in 2017 list.

5. Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman
I'm hoping to finish this series and the Discovery of Witches series during October (five books, no big deal!) since it feels like a good creepy series to read around Hallowe'en.  I really, really hope that I enjoy the rest of the books as much as I liked Unwind because I own them all in hardcover.

I have other goals during fall as well, like Tower of Dawn and the rest of the Magyk series.  Plus my last fall ARC, and book club books and read along books.  Just like my September TBR pile of doom, I like to challenge myself -- what can I say?  What is at the top of your TBR pile this fall?  Have you read any of the books that I'm planning to read?  If so, which one should I read first?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you for stopping by!

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9/5/17

They Both Die at the End - Adam Silvera

Anyone who is part of the blogging community, the Bookstagram community, the BookTube community or even just Goodreads has heard of Adam Silvera.  He's a very well-loved author in the online bookish community and his books have received very high praise from so many readers.  Although I haven't read either of his previous books, I thought I'd give his writing a chance with They Both Die at the End.

I went into this book with very high expectations, and I think that is why I felt the way that I did at the end.  I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I didn't love it as much as I had hoped to.  For me, there was a disconnect with how I felt about the characters.  I love a good sad book, especially one that leaves me in a puddle of tears at the end.  Based on the title alone, I fully expected a book that was going to tear my heart to shreds.  Instead, I enjoyed a book with good characters, an interesting premise and a book that was more about living than dying.  The relationship that develops between the main characters is sincere and genuine, but I felt like my heart stayed on the outskirts of the story, rather than being drawn into the emotions of the story.

They Both Die at the End is a solid story with good character development, but won't be topping my list of favourite reads this year.

Note:  An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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9/1/17

September TBR Pile of Doom

I'm only doing seasonal TBR piles this year, so this TBR post is a bit tongue in cheek.  I'm kind of laughing at myself this month, because I have no idea if I'll be able to read all of the things that I've planned to read ... but I'll be seriously impressed with myself if I actually plan to do it!

So, basically, I made myself a monthly plan for books that I will need to read each month if I want to finish my list of 17 books to read in 2017 as well as all ten series that I had planned to read this year.  According to that plan, I have to read five books this month:
1. Empire of Storms
2. Mistborn
3. Flyte
4. Physik
5. Queste

I'm reading Empire of Storms on audio at the moment, and I'm planning to break up Mistborn into 21 pages per day, similar to what I did with Shantaram, and I expect that the book will take me all month to finish.  Flyte, Physik and Queste are the next three books in the Magyk series, a middle grade fantasy series that I started last year and had planned to finish this year.

Then, I realized that I have four ARCs that have early October publication dates, which means I need to read and review them this month.  Fortunately, I finished one at the end of August, but that leaves three more books to read this month.

Eight is a manageable total for me for the month.  And that would have been fine, except...

I started Falling Kingdoms while I was in Alberta and I want to finish that one as well.

I saw a read along group thing on Instagram, and jumped on board that ship.  They're reading Lilac Girls this month, a book I'd never heard of, but I decided to borrow it on audio from the library.  I have a data entry project at work this week, so I can probably breeze through at least half of it while I'm working.

I read The Girl at Midnight a few months ago and put the next two books on hold at the library.  The third book just came in, but I'm still waiting on the second one.  If the second one comes in before the third book is due back, I may blast through both of those books.

I'm starting school on September 18th.

And, finally, I'm still thinking about This Savage Song, and really craving the sequel.  I put it on hold at the library, but I may cave and buy it.

Which is a grand total of 13 books.  Still kind of doable -- but seriously, what I am thinking?  Does anyone else's TBR pile doomed like mine?

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8/31/17

Reading Round-up - August

Last month, I shared my reading through mini-reviews, and I'm going to do the same this month.  We were on holidays for two weeks and I got a lot of reading done during that time.  Without further ado, here goes!

 

Opal, Origin and Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
This series was on my list of ten to finish this year, and I can honestly say that I'm glad it's over.  WAY too much eye rolling for my taste.  If I hadn't already bought all of the books, I wouldn't have continued reading the series, but now that I've finished it I've already put the books in a donation box.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
I haven't fallen victim to bookish hype in a long, long time, but I heard that the audiobook was amazing on this one, and I had unused Audible credits and a mindless project at work so I decided to give it a shot.  It was good, and definitely unlike anything else that I've read, but I wouldn't say it was amazing.  Tom Riddle from the Harry Potter movies narrates the audiobook, and his voice made it worthwhile.


The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
I decided on a whim to participate in August's round of Tome Topple, but then wasn't in a fantasy mood, so I decided to have my husband choose a book off my shelves and he picked this one for me.  Emery Lord never fails to disappoint, and this book was just as good as all of her previous books.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
September's book club book, and it was a quick easy read.  I'm not sure if it was a thrilling thriller, or if I couldn't put it down simply because I was racing against my dying ereader battery.


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I'd heard mixed reviews about this one, some loved it but Hannah @ So Obsessed With posted that she was disappointed with TJR's latest book.  I went into this book with low expectations and was blown away.  Evelyn is an incredibly unlikable character, but I found myself absolutely captivated by her story.  It kind of reminded me of Marissa Meyer's Fairest in a way, because you don't want to feel sympathy for this unlikeable character, but it's so interesting and different to read from the perspective of someone so awful.


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
I read and absolutely LOVED the Darker Shades of Magic trilogy earlier this year, and that series is easily one of my favourite series of all time.  I've seen around the blogosphere that people either love her YA books or her adult books, but it's rare to see people that love both.  There was something about the premise to this duology that kept calling my name, so I decided to give it a shot.  And I LOVED IT.  I'm already itching to pick up the second book and I will be obsessively stalking my library until it arrives.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This is one of the 17 books that I planned to read in 2017 and I'm SO GLAD that I finally read this.  Such a beautiful story, and I absolutely adored Ove's character (his idiosyncrasies reminded me a little of my own husband .... and I can totally see him turning into a funny old man like Ove!)

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis
I just finished this one last night, and I'm still trying to figure out what the heck I just read.  My full review will be forthcoming closer to the publication date.

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8/7/17

On Reading Multiple Books

I've had this post simmering in the back of my mind for a few weeks now, and seeing this post on Book Riot propelled me to actually write it.  I have multiple books on the go at the moment, and by multiple books, I actually mean five.  FIVE BOOKS.  The funny thing is that I actually wrote a post with an identical title back in 2014, where I explained my thoughts on the matter in a completely different way (click here if you want to see what 2014 me thought on the topic), or keep reading to see how 2017 me thinks differently.

In 2014, I'd just delved into e-reading, so I found myself with a physical book, an audiobook and an ebook on the go at the same time.  Bouncing between formats was fine, but I'd decided that this was too much and I was going to slow down and read only a physical book and an audiobook at the same time.  Flash forward three years, and I've upped that quotient, but strangely enough, I'm okay with this.  My feelings on the matter are very in line with the Book Riot article, where the writer talks about taking the time to savour a longer read, but knowing that she'll feel like a book slump is coming on if she reads the same book for too long.  THIS IS SO ME.

I read Shantaram last month and it took me exactly one month from start to finish.  I loved it, every moment of it, and I spread it out over the month on purpose, planning to read 30 pages per day.  In all honesty, part of me thought that it might end up being the only book that I read in July, but I found myself reading through my 30 pages on the train to and from work, and then reading another 30 pages in the evening, resulting in me being a day ahead of schedule.  So, at one point over the long weekend in July, I set aside Shantaram and read a thriller.  Then, there were a few scorching hot days where my brain was melting and I picked up a lighter read.  Every time I went back to Shantaram, it was because I was excited to pick it up, not because I was trying to get my pages read.  In the end, I ended up finishing the book ahead of schedule because I was enjoying it so much and tore through the last part of the book, but I absolutely loved both taking the time to savour it and allowing myself to read other things at the same time.

Yesterday, Tome Topple started and, although I haven't posted a formal sign-up post, I'm joining in.  I picked up Strange the Dreamer, which I hadn't planned to read this year, but it's been calling my name from the shelf.  It's just over 500 pages, so it satisfies the challenge, and I totally plan to savour it over the next couple of weeks because Laini Taylor's writing is utter perfection.  I also have a non-fiction book on the go from the library (the GTD method, which I heard about on Boho Berry's channel), plus I'm finishing up the Lux series and I have two audiobooks on the go.  And, you know what?  It's totally working for me.  Although it's a lot of books, I find myself gravitating towards what I'm in the mood to read, and I'm actually reading more this way than I have in previous years.  I've already read 52 books this year and, if I can stick to my reading plan, I may even finish all of the books that I had planned to read this year (for the first time EVER!)  I love that I'm still reading what I want, when I want, and haven't felt slumpy at all in recent months.

So, we'll see if there's another similarly titled post in three years' time about how reading multiple books isn't working for me, but for now it's working just fine.  If you read multiple books, or if you don't, please let me know why in the comments below!

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8/3/17

Leave Me - Gayle Forman


I read If I Stay back when I first started blogging, and didn't enjoy it much, but I really liked the movie when I was home sick one day and found it on TV.  I picked up Just One Day when the blogosphere went crazy over it and liked it, but I felt a little underwhelmed.  I chalked it up to the hype, and thought I'd give Gayle one more chance with Leave Me.  It's an adult novel about a mother, so I was ready to connect with the main character and feel all kinds of feelings.

Nope, nope, nope.  This book just did not work for me.  I stopped reading the physical copy and switched to the audio so that I could get through the story and see if the main character redeemed herself at all by the end, and was supremely disappointed.  First of all, the premise is that the main character has a woman who's so busy juggling her life (husband, twins and work) that she doesn't realize that she's had a heart attack.  While recuperating, she packs her bag and leaves.  Just up and leaves her family!  Although I understand her perspective of being the rock that holds the family together (I sometimes joke that my husband would be lost without me because he doesn't know the password to his own email account), there is absolutely no way that I would ever walk away from my family like that.  Granted, I've never suffered a major health crisis, and it's hard to predict with any certainty how I would react in that situation, but the whole point about fiction is to explore these imaginative situations and "experience" them in a safe way, like having a dream about doing something you'd never do in real life.  No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't connect with her actions, and the fact that she stayed away for a ridiculously long amount of time.  If the story had been spread out over a weekend, and she'd panicked and fled, and just needed a day to calm down and return home, I think I might have connected with her a bit better.  She was gone a LONG time, and it just didn't feel realistic to me.

If you're a fan of Gayle Forman's other books, you'll definitely like this one, as it has her signature writing style and character development.  It's no better or worse than her other books, but reading this has solidified my belief that I'm just not a Gayle Forman fan.  I wish I could say differently, because she's so loved by so many readers, but this is my unpopular opinion.

Note: I received an egalley of this book for review from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence my review of this book in any way.
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8/1/17

The Secret History of Us - Jessi Kirby

Jessi Kirby is one of those underrated writers that really deserves more credit.  My first of her books was Things We Know By Heart, which I read as a review book a couple of years ago.  I had Golden sitting on my shelves for a couple of years, and read that one shortly after.  I still have two of her books on my TBR and I'm grateful for that fact because each of her books have managed to wow me in a different way.  Some contemporary writers write a particular style of book that works for them (think Sarah Dessen and her perfect of growth and learning books), which is awesome and I love the predictable enjoyment factor.  With Jessi Kirby's books, however, I go into each one not really knowing what type of story to expect, which I LOVE.

The Secret History of Us is a thriller and opens with a girl being pulled out of the lake.  Everyone around her is certain that she's dead and her rescuer begins performing CPR.  The girl lives and its her story that we read, as she tries to piece together her memories of that fateful night.

The opening scene perfectly set the pace of the book; I was sucked into the story from page one and couldn't put it down.  Liv's character development is so real and genuine and I found myself really connecting with her as she tried to puzzle through her life.  It's a short, well-paced book and I flew through it in 24 hours, sneaking a page or two in whenever I could.  This book releases in the summer, and is perfect for a camping trip read, curled up by the campfire or stretched out in the sun on a warm dock, but will also be perfect to curl up with in front of a roaring fire when the weather turns chilly.

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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7/31/17

Reading Round-up - July

A little part of me misses writing reviews, but not the full length kind.  So I thought I'd try something new and recap a little of what I read this month!


Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
I've struggled with graphic novels over the past couple of years, and I think I've finally decided that the genre just isn't for me.  Although I have read a couple of exceptional graphic novels (Blankets and The Sculptor), on the whole I end up underwhelmed with most of the ones that I've picked up.

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby
This was an eARC, so watch for my review tomorrow!

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
I wanted to love this one.  I wanted to have more Morgan Matson to read while I wait (not so) patiently for her next book.  But I was disappointed with this one, and it was just okay.  Not worth continuing with the series.


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
I love, love, loved, LOVED this one.  Super sweet middle grade book, told through the eyes of a gorilla.  It reminded me a little of Ishmael, full of profound truths and fascinating observations.  A little gem of a book for sure.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
I decided earlier this year to re-read the Throne of Glass series in preparation for FINALLY reading Empire of Storms, and I'm glad I did.  I'm re-reading it all on audio, and I've been enjoying it.

The Gammage Cup
I haven't DNFed a book since January, but I just couldn't get into this one.  I even switched it up and tried in on audio, thinking I could quickly get through five hours on audio, but nope. 


Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
I FINALLY READ SHANTARAM YOU GUYS.  If you've been following my blog for a while, you know that I picked this book up when I was pregnant (circa November 2012), but ended up putting it down when I developed pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel and the book was too heavy to hold.  I've wanted to pick it up since then, but it's also hella intimidating.  Not to mention the fact that anyone who saw it on my shelves raved about it, so the hype was a real thing.  But I LOVED IT.  And I'm so, so, so glad that I finally read it.  I laughed, I cried and I devoured the book in less than a month.  So worth it, and I'll be recommending this to others for sure.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Another eARC (summer books are READ!) and I'll have a review up for this one on its release date in early September!
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7/27/17

The Best of Adam Sharp - Graeme Simsion

I read, and LOVED, The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect in early 2015, so when I saw that Graeme Simsion was writing a new book, I knew that I had to get my hands on a copy.  I saw the book pop up on Netgalley, and requested a copy on a whim, feeling pretty confident that my request would be declined, so imagine my surprise when it was approved!  I immediately downloaded it and started reading.

I loved the book from page one, and knew that, although I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy for review, I just had to savour this one in printed format.  For one, it was a PDF, which means I have to read it on my iPad, rather than on my Kobo and it's a little harder on my eyes.  So I pre-ordered a copy from Chapters and dove into it as soon as it arrived.

Although I'm incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity to read it in advance, I'm SO GLAD that I waited and read the hard copy because I would have missed out on something truly, truly incredible.  THIS BOOK HAS A PLAYLIST.  It might be included in the ARC (I didn't go back to check), but it's at the back of the physical book.  It lists off all of the songs referenced in the story, and THERE'S A SPOTIFY LIST THAT GOES WITH THE STORY.  It was mind-blowing you guys.  MIND BLOWING.  I love music (love, love, LOVE) and I'm always a sucker for stories that have music interwoven (like Amy & Roger's Epic Detour or Just Listen).  For me, it's a fine balance between making music an integral part of the story, and just name dropping music and artists (like Love is a Mix Tape, which felt like the writer was just showing off his musical prowess).  This book did the music and story blend so well; on a scale of one to ten it was utter perfection.

This book isn't long, but it took me close to a month to finish because I'd read a few paragraphs, listen to a song, read the lyrics to the song, go back and reread the paragraphs, listen to the song again and just feel all the feels.  I knew some of the songs referenced in the book because my dad raised me on a steady diet of oldies, but loved discovering new songs and learning to love the songs even more.  Patti Smith's "Because The Night" is a new all-time favourite because of this book.  I knew the song before, but I truly love the song now.

Music aside, The Best of Adam Sharp is an untraditional love story.  It's the story of Adam, who lives with a bit of regret over the great love of his life, Angelina, and how they ended their relationship.  Life gives them a very strange type of second chance, and it gives them a chance to consider what could have been as well as the paths that their lives took because they went their separate ways.  In some ways, this book felt like a Taylor Jenkins Reid novel because he portrays these messy relationships in a way that makes them feel completely real.  We, as human beings, aren't perfect and our relationships and lives are fraught with moments of "what if?"  This book captures all of those moments, and then some.

If you've read the Rosie books, please know that this book is very different.  It's heartfelt and raw and delicious and wonderful and utter perfection, especially if you opt to listen to the playlist as you read the book.

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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7/12/17

A Blogging Identity Crisis

On April 15th, I started writing this post.  And by "writing," I mean that I wrote in a title for the post and hit save.  That's basically how I lock down my ideas, with the intention of coming back later to flesh out the idea.  This post has been simmering on the backburner of my mind for a while now, and I've opened the draft post a few times, but the words didn't come.  Until tonight.  Tonight I feel ready to share.

This November, I'll be celebrating six years of blogging.  SIX YEARS in this little corner of the internet.  It's still quite little after all these years, mainly because I have never really had enough time and energy to devote to networking.  I admire those bloggers that can pour so many hours into their blogs, and their devotion shows in reader engagement and content development.  I wish I could be like those bloggers and, to be honest, sometimes those feelings are what gets in the way of blogging. It's not a numbers game for me, but it's more a frustration over the quality of my content.  I shared a post a while back, sometime after Marko was born, where I reflected on the thought and care that I used to put into book reviews when I had the time and energy to write them.  As time has gone by, I've stopped writing reviews (except for review copies and if I have a burning need to say something) and have toyed with a number of bookish content ideas.  In all honesty, after so many years of writing about books, I think I'm just running out of bookish ideas.

Which leads me to the topic of this post -- my blogging identity crisis.  I've been wrestling with the idea of making this blog about more than books (and I even tried doing this last year, but didn't follow through).  I have other interests, and spend a lot of time watching videos or looking on Pinterest to support these hobbies (searching for bullet journal ideas on either one is a BLACK HOLE).  I've also discovered non BookTube channels lately, like Cheyenne (Studyrose on YouTube) who I discovered through her Plan With Me videos, but then got caught up in all of her other creative content.  I was watching a video the other day where she mentioned listening to inspirational podcasts, and I thought to myself, "Yes, I should find some of these podcasts to listen to on my commute."  And then I had a huge realization: I have been spending more time lately passively engaged with my hobbies instead of actively engaged with them.  I look for lettering inspiration and bullet journal layout ideas instead of picking up my pen and journalling.  I scroll through Goodreads to see what my friends are reading and watching TBR videos on BookTube instead of reading a couple of chapters of my current read.  I spend more time adding to my TBR pile than subtracting from it, or more time planning and deciding what to read than actually reading.

I'm going to start actively engaging in my hobbies, instead of passively engaging with them.  I'm going to write more on here, write more in my bullet journal, reading more books and, most importantly, reconnecting with my yoga mat.  I've just done two days in a row and am feeling amazing.  I'd like to keep this up ... for once.  And I'm going to blog about whatever the heck I feel like blogging about.  I thought about making a plan for how to roll out new features and content but, you know what?  I barely have time to blog, so I'm just going to go with it and see where it leads me.  If you've stuck with me this long, please know that I am eternally grateful for you and the fact that you pop by every now and then to read these words.  Let's see where this leads, shall we?

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7/10/17

Marko Monday [23] -- Going to the Zoo!

Holy smokes -- it's been a long, long time since I posted one of these!  Now that I'm slowly putting a tentative toe back into the blogging pool, I want to focus on the posts that bring me joy, and this is definitely one of them.  So, you'll see a few more regular picture book reviews popping up here and there, as well as photos of my beautiful boy.

Most of Marko's books come from Value Village, or other used bookstores.  We scored this one from our local used bookstore (which also sells amazing organic loose tea) and it was an immediate hit.  It's written to the tune of "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," but features all of Marko's favourite jungle animals.  We read it again and again and again.  The brightly coloured pictures are paired perfectly with words that have the perfect read-aloud rhythm.

Tigers and snakes have been a household favourite since we watched the new Jungle Book a couple of months ago.  Although I struggle with the idea of supporting keeping animals in captivity, I finally decided that Marko would really gain a lot out of a trip to the zoo.  So we went, and he LOVED IT.  He got to touch a python, saw a real Shere Khan pacing back and forth waiting for meal time and saw a few of his other favourites up close.  My husband was absolutely blown away by seeing a real live giraffe (picture below).  On the way home, Marko said that his favourite part was the "cobra brastrictor" -- ha ha ha!



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6/30/17

June Wrap-up!

The year is already halfway gone.  I'm normally a glass full kind of gal, but with time I have to look at the year as halfway behind us already... SLOW DOWN TIME.

The Books

Books Read: 6 (Lord of Shadows, The Handmaid's Tale, The Best of Adam Sharp, Burn, Heir of Fire, The Girl at Midnight)
I really took my time with Lord of Shadows and loved every minute.  My review for Adam Sharp is forthcoming, and will explain why it also took me a long time to read, despite it being a short-ish book.  AND I FINALLY READ BURN. #lifegoal  Also, I read all five books on my spring TBR!!!!

Books Acquired: 5 (The Best of Adam Sharp, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Once and for All, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, The Life Intended)
No regrets.  No regrets at all.

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +16 (Lord of Shadows, Burn and Heir of Fire)
TBR Challenge: +2 (Burn and The Girl at Midnight)
Flights of Fantasy: +2 (Lord of Shadows and Heir of Fire)

The Blog

I'm sloooooowly getting back into the swing of blogging, and have my sights set on mid-July when my course is done and I'll have two glorious homework-free months!  I did a second round of the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag and shared my summer TBR.  This week, I looked back at my reading resolutions and reading challenges to see where I was at.

 The Other Stuff

Summer has definitely arrived in British Columbia, and we celebrated Father's Day by purchasing our first "grown-up" BBQ (i.e. the first time that we haven't bought the cheapest one that we could find, knowing that we'd buy another in a year or two).  We have a natural gas hook-up on our deck, so it's also nice to BBQ without worrying that we'll run out of propane.  My husband LOVED making a BBQ feast for us for Father's Day, and we've also had some friends over to enjoy some yummy BBQ. This weekend, one of my best friends is coming to stay for the weekend and I'm already looking forward to more yummy BBQ as well as finding some Canada Day celebrations to enjoy.

Otherwise, it was a fairly quiet month.  I'm finishing up my course in mid-July, and already looking forward to some blissful time off.  We're Alberta-bound in August for some family time as well, and I can already see myself lounging on my mother-in-law's deck with a good book and a cup of tea.

How about you?  Anything exciting happen to you in June?  Let me know if you've read something amazing so far this year and which books are on your summer TBR!  Thank you for stopping by =)

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6/28/17

Reading Resolutions - Halfway Point

I like looking back at my resolutions halfway through the year to see where I'm at ... I'm doing well, but still a ways to go.  Let's break it down...

1. Reduce my physical TBR to less than 100 books.
Although I didn't have a specific number at the beginning of the year, I guesstimated that I had approximately 130 unread books on my shelves.  Today, I have 122 books.  I have been reading most books from my shelves, but there were also a lot of new releases to buy this year (plus others that have wandered onto my shelves).  The remainder of the year doesn't have as many new releases, so this challenge still feels achievable.

2. Reduce my e-book TBR to less than 20 books.
I've been really good about not buying too many cheap e-books this year, and knocked off quite a few short reads in March, but I'm still sitting at 27 books.  I usually pack one book and my Kobo when we head to Alberta in the summer, so hopefully I'll gobble up a few e-books under the prairie skies.

3. Finish 10 series.
I've finished two of the 10 series that were on my original list, but I also binge read the entire Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, so I'm counting that one as well.  Still a ways to go on this challenge, but I'm hoping to focus on series over the summer.

4. Blog whenever hubby plays video games.
Well, hubby promptly stopped gaming after I posted my new year's resolutions!  There has been a LOT of hockey on this year, as my husband's beloved Oilers made the playoffs this year.  I've been popping in my earbuds and listening to Peaceful Piano on Spotify, and have been doing well at tuning out the hockey and getting some reading done.  I've also taken a couple of non-intentional breaks from blogging -- I think I was burning out a little with blogging.  I'm coming up on six years in November and, although I do still love my little corner of the internet, I've been having a blogging identity crisis.  Hopefully, I'll have a post soon detailing exactly what that is and what it entails, but I haven't quite decided just yet.

5. Participate in three online events.
This is a success already!  I participated in the Love-a-Thon, the All the Short Ones readathon and the third round of Tome Topple.  YAHOO!  In the remainder of the year, there will hopefully be a second round of Tome Topple and my favourite event of all, the Broke & Bookish Secret Santa.

Did you making reading resolutions and, if so, are you on track with your goals?  Let me know in the comments below, and thank you for stopping by =)

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6/26/17

Reading Challenges - Halfway Point

To start with, I set my Goodreads reading challenge at 50 books, despite the fact that I read 73 books last year.  So far, I've read 42 books.  I've enjoyed taking my time with a few chunky reads, and setting my target lower has really helped with that.  Plus, participating in the All the Short Ones Readathon in March helped to rack up the read books quickly, and then I slowed right down in April with Tome Topple.


My goal is 30 books, and I've read 15 books so far.  There have definitely been quite a few ARCs read this year, as well as some library books, but having my books out of storage has been great, and I've read a lot of books off my shelves so far too!

My goal for the Prequel & Sequel Challenge is Professional (76 to 100 points).  I thought I was super behind on this challenge, but I'm actually at 66 points already!  I've completed four series already, which I think is definitely helping.  If I manage to knock a couple more off my TBR pile, I'll complete this challenge with no issues.


My goal is 12 books and I've read 13 books so far!  I've been really, really enjoying the fantasy books that I've read this year, and am already looking forward to reading some more before the year is up.  CHALLENGE COMPLETED!

How about you?  How are you doing on your reading challenges so far this year?

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