Reading Round-up - January

One month into 2018 already, and what a whirlwind month it's been already!  The highlight of my month was getting promoted to Acting Supervisor, which reinforced my decision this time last year to make a career change.  The lowlight was coming down with the worst cold I've had in years, but I am grateful that I now have sick days that I can use to recuperate.

My year is off to a GREAT start, with all four and five star reads, with only one three star read and one DNF.

1. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
The PERFECT book to start the year with.  As soon as I received a copy in my Owlcrate, I couldn't wait to pick it up, especially because my friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings loved it last year.  I couldn't put it down, and it's definitely going to be one of my favourite contemporaries of the year.

2. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
I borrowed this one from the library last year, and couldn't get into it.  Later in the year, I found a brand new hardcover at a library sale for 25 cents, so I picked it up, thinking I'd give it another shot. But I saw that the library had it on audio, so I decided to listen again, and it was an EXCELLENT choice.  The audio was absolutely enthralling and I loved it.

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My book club selected this book for our February meeting and, although I've already read it, I wanted to reread it to have it fresh in my mind.  I decided to listen on audio, just to have a different experience, and WOW, the audio was INCREDIBLE.  Highly, highly recommend.

4. Someone in the Way by Rachel Del
I reviewed this book on the blog earlier this month, but it's my new favourite of Rachel Del's books.

5. The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
I saw that this book was selected as Book of the Month's Book of the Year for 2017, and it just called to me from the shelf.  It BLEW ME AWAY and I savoured every word of its 600-page beautifulness.  Such an incredible book, and one that I'll be thinking about for some time.

6. She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop
7. When My Heart Joins the Thousand by A.J. Steiger
8. Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
I am on FIRE with my ARC reading this year, and hope to keep it up.  All three of these books are releasing in February, so stay tuned for my reviews on release day!

-- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
The Badass Book Bitches selected a classic this month, and I tried to read it in physical form as well as audio, and I just couldn't get into it.  A little part of me is sad because my edition is so pretty, so it's possible I might give this another shot at a later time.  The fact that I had The Heart's Invisible Furies on the go at the same time may have been an influence on my thoughts.

9. The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
One month in and I've finished one of the books on my 18 books to read in 2018 list!  I read this one while battling a head cold, which definitely had an effect on my enjoyment of the book.  I ended up feeling like the first two thirds were quite slow, but the last third made up for it (or maybe I just started feeling better), and overall it was very enjoyable.  

10. Losing Lily by Rachel Del
I had forgotten that I downloaded this prequel after I read Rachel's other novel, How to Be Someone Else, back in 2016.  Now that I've read Someone in the Way, I liked having another small glimpse into their lives, although novellas aren't always my favourite because I like a longer novel that I can sink my teeth into.

11. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
I buddy read this with Jessica @ Novel Cravings -- the first of many buddy reads this year, I hope!  I'd read some of the stories before, immediately after finishing the Grisha trilogy, but it was nice to revisit them as well as some of the new ones.  This entire books is so gorgeous, from the beautiful cover to the intricate illustrations.

12. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
One of my 2018 resolutions is to read the entire Anne of Green Gables series.  As a child, I only read the first couple of books because Anne got boring as she got older.  Now that I'm old and boring, I figured it's time for me to fully experience this Canadian classic.  I adored the Emily of New Moon trilogy when I read them in high school, and I'm fairly certain that I'll love this series as well, especially if the heart-warming joy that is the first book is any indication.

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TBR Pile - Looking Back

In May and June 2015, I shared a series of posts examining my TBR pile and the books that I'd read, and then crunched the numbers to see how back my TBR pile actually was.  I thought it would be fun to look back at was, and then compare it to what is .... almost three years later!

I broke down my TBR pile into three parts: standalones, series to start and series to finish.

Standalones: 74
Middle Grade: Out of the 21 books on the list, I've read two of the books, unhauled nine books, and I still have ten of these books on my shelves (one of which is on my list of 18 books to read in 2018!)
YA: Out of the 12 books on the list, I've read 7 and unhauled on, leaving four of those books still on my shelves.
Adult: Out of the 41 books on this list, I've read 12, unhauled five and still have 24 unread.

Series to Finish: 34
Middle Grade: Out of the 12 books on the list, I've read all but two.
YA: Out of the 15 books on the list, I have four that are unread, but I unhauled five.
Adult: Out of the seven books on this list, I have four still unread (and I'm counting the last Game of Thrones book as one book).

Series to Start: 24
Middle Grade: Both of the two books are still unread.
YA: Out of the 19 books, I've read seven, unhauled four and still have eight on my shelves.
Adult: Out of the three books, I've read one and still have the other two on my shelves.

And now here's the tricky part ... let's look at how many MORE books I've added to my shelves, and are still unread, since that post in 2015!  When I posted my reading resolutions, I said that I had 111 books on my shelves, but that wasn't being fully honest.  I wasn't counting ARCs or classics, so this post is the brutal, honest truth ... I currently have 131 unread books on my shelves!

Standalones: 67 (ten middle grade, ten young adult and 48 adult)
Series to Start: 37 (three middle grade, 21 young adult and 13 adult)
Series to Finish: 27 (two middle grade, seven young adult and 11 adult)

Looking back now, I see that my unread series books are a little higher, but in all honesty that's likely from the three series starters that I've received in my Owlcrate boxes, and I'm not even sure if I'm interested in reading those series.  Plus there's three new Karin Slaughter series books on my shelves that were recently acquired.  For series to finish, I'm up a little higher than I was back then, but not astronomically so.  AND, most impressively, I actually own less standalones on my TBR than I did almost three years ago.  I'm also happy to see how many books from that TBR list I've unhauled, either because I'd tried them and DNFed, or just simply realized that I have no intention of ever reading them.  The unhauled YA books have made their way into my husband's classroom, so I don't feel too bad, and one of his students fell head over heels in love with the Lux series as a result, which made me feel good.

Although my goal this year is to end the year with less physical books on my TBR, I'm also hoping to be ruthless with unhauling.  I'm wrestling with some thoughts on this, and I'll share a post on my thinking process in the next couple of weeks.  Stay tuned!

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Book Haul [30] - End of 2017 and January 2018

I'm going to try to get better at hauling all of the books that I buy and acquire.  Last year, I only shared one haul for the whole year and it was a bit embarrassing to see all those books in one post, even if I had read about half of them.  This year I'll try to spread it out a bit, but I also like the honesty of laying it out in writing as to which new titles have made their way onto my shelves.

Books I Bought

1. The Revolution of Marina M by Janet Fitch
I bought this one on release day in November.  Janet Fitch is one of my all-time favourite writers, and this book is on my list of 18 books to read in 2018, so it'll happen this year.

2. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
This was a bargain grab at Coles because I got into thrillers during the Spookathon and I knew that Lauren @ Lose Time Reading had enjoyed it.  I've read it already ... but that might have spurred a couple more purchases...

3. The Power by Naomi Alderman
I participated in a buddy read with the Badass Book Bitches on Instagram, so I bought this, and read it right away.

4. The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
After reading Pretty Girls, I knew I needed more Karin Slaughter books on my shelves.  I haven't read this year, but plan to soon.

5. The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman
I went to exchange a book that I received two copies of for Christmas ... and then spotted this one for $15, so it had to come home with me.  I ADORED His Dark Materials, and I'm looking forward to reading more set in this world.

6. Triptych by Karin Slaughter
I found a couple of Karin's books at a used bookstore over the holidays (you'll see which ones later in this post), but when I went to add them onto Goodreads, I realized that they were books #7 and #8 in a series -- oops!  So, I had to pick up book 1, and hopefully I like it!

Christmas Gifts

7. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
I picked up a cheap ebook AND my husband bought me a copy for Christmas!  I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK.

8. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
I read, and LOVED, Little Fires Everywhere earlier this year, so I squealed with joy when I unwrapped this book under the tree.  I started it on Christmas Day, and savoured every word until New Year's Eve.  It was the perfect book to end the year.

9. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
10. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My dear friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings sent me a super sweet Christmas package and included these two books.  I have heard nothing but great things about both, and can't wait to try them out!

11. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
12. Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
I've already read TFioS, but after reading (and loving) Turtles All the Way Down last year, I wanted to add my favourite John Green books to my collection.  My TBTB Secret Santa DELIVERED on this wish, and I can't WAIT to dive into Let It Snow during the 2018 holiday season.

Ebook Sales

13. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
14. The Witches of New York by Ami McKay
15. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
16. The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill
17. First & Then by Emma Mills
18. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
19. The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

Used Bookstore Hopping

20. Unseen by Karin Slaughter
21. The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter
As noted above, these turned out to be books #7 and #8 in a series, so I'm hopeful that I like book 1!

22. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Badass Book Bitches picked this as their January selection; however, I've tried and I just can't get into it.  I tried the physical copy, and I tried the audiobook.  I even restarted the book from the beginning to give it a second shot, but I just can't do it.

23. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
This was the December Owlcrate book, and the first of my Owlcrate books that I read.  It was my first book of 2018, and what a STELLAR way to start off my reading year!

Twenty-three books since November?!?  Yikes!  Granted, seven of them were cheap ebooks, plus Christmas presents ... but still.  Definitely going to be curbing the spending over the next few months as I look to make a dent in my physical and digital TBR piles.

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Marko Monday [26] - My Snake Blake

Although my last Marko Monday post was two months ago, one thing hasn't changed since then: the kid still loves snakes.  Jessica @ Novel Cravings sent me the sweetest Christmas parcel (more on that in my haul post later this week), and then sent a separate one with a book for Marko.  He loved going to the post office to pick up his book, and wanted to read it right away in the car on the way home.

I loooooove to read books when I can ham up the voices a little bit and bring the story alive.  This book provides the perfect excuse for that, drawing out the words orally as I traced my finger along the word that the snake had spelled out with his body.  Marko was laughing so hard about the mom being scared of the snake, especially when the snake spells out "Relax" so that the mom will calm down.  This book is a treat with simple and sweet illustrations, and a story of a boy and his best friend.

As I mentioned in last month's post, Marko loves his plush snakes, so here's a semi-recent photo of him with Randy, Blue, Teet-see and Lavander.

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Top 10 Books I Meant to Read in 2017

A new year, and a new Top Ten Tuesday, now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl!  I totally meant to post last week, but forgot.  This week's topic is new year's resolutions, but I shared a post on that last week.  SO, I thought I write about last week's topic this week, because I like to break the rules.  So, here goes...ten books that I totally meant to read last year.

1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
2. The Revolution of Marina M by Janet Fitch
3. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
These three books are on my list of 18 books that I plan to read in 2018 because all three are books that I can't BELIEVE I didn't read in 2017.

4. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
5. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood
6. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
7. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
These four books are the last ones from my 17 books to read in 2017 list that I didn't quite get to.

8. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
9. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
10. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
These three books were purchased in 2017 and I'm dying to read all three.  Not sure why they didn't make it to my nightstand just yet, but they will be soon!

How about you?  Do you have trouble posting the right Top Ten Tuesday topic on the right week?  Which books are your top priorities for 2018 because you didn't get to them last year?  Let me know in the comments below, and leave me a link to your post and I'll stop by.

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Anticipated Releases of 2016 and 2017

Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat recently shared her anticipated releases of 2018 and, at the end of the post, she looked back at her anticipated releases from last year, to see if she had read them all.  It's funny how we're always so excited for upcoming new releases, but when they actually are released, they end up sitting on our shelves for months and months.

I actually only listed new releases in my bullet journal for 2017, so I thought I'd recap two years, and start with my list of anticipated 2016 releases...

1. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (February 2) -- read it in 2016
2. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (March 8) -- read it, but not 'til 2017
3. When We Collided by Emery Lord (April 5) -- read it in 2016
4. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (May 3) -- read it in 2016
5. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (May 3) -- read it in 2016
6. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (August 2) -- read it in 2016
7. Throne of Glass #5 by Sarah J. Maas (September 6) -- read it, but not 'til 2017
8. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (September 22) -- read it in 2016
9. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (September 27) -- haven't read it yet, but was actually published in 2017
10. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (November 8) -- read it in 2017, but since it was released right at the end of 2016, I read it almost right away

NOT BAD!  Only one of these books remains unread, and the publication date was pushed back, so it was published in 2016.  All but two books I read the year I purchased them, which is also awesome.

1. Wires and Nerve (January 31) -- read it in 2017
2. A Conjuring of Light (February 21) -- read it in 2017
3. Strange the Dreamer (March 28) -- haven't read it yet
4. Always and Forever, Lara Jean (May 2) -- read it in 2017
5. A Court of Wings and Ruin (May 2) -- read it in 2017
6. The Best of Adam Sharp (May 2) -- read it in 2017
7. The Names They Gave Us (May 16) -- read it in 2017
8. Lord of Shadows (May 23) -- read it in 2017
9. Once and For All (June 6) -- haven't read it yet
10. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (June 6) -- read it in 2017
11. Tower of Dawn (September 5) -- read it in 2017
12. Language of Thorns (September 26) -- haven't read it yet
13. Warcross (October 3) -- read it in 2017
14. Top Ten (October 3) -- read it in 2017
15. Ringer (October 3) -- DNFed in 2017
16. Without Merit (October 23) -- read it in 2017
17. The Glass Spare (October 24) -- DNFed in 2017, but also received a copy in my Owlcrate, so I may give this book a second chance
18. Renegades (November 7) -- haven't read it yet

ALSO NOT BAD!  Only four books that I haven't read, one of which I didn't even buy so it counts less.  All three will definitely be read in 2018, as I have a buddy read planned for one and the other two are on my list of 18 books to read it 2018.

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Someone In The Way - Rachel Del

I read and reviewed Rachel's other book, How To Be Someone Else, and really enjoyed it.  I went into this one expecting a similar, sweet contemporary, but instead found a book that had a lot more hard-hitting issues than HTBSE.

I was completely captivated by the story from the first page, and found myself inhaling almost half of the book in one day, scarcely able to put it down.  I loved the imperfect, battered characters who had each suffered greatly, and found myself rooting for them to rise above their pasts.  There was an element of mystery pervading that story influenced my need to keep flipping pages, anxious to find out what these deep dark secrets were, tormenting these characters.

My only complaint with this book is that I felt we could have dug deeper into the characters as, although some characters had a past, the story didn't dig deep into the characters as much as it could have.  The potential was there for truly exceptional and memorable characters, but the book didn't quite get there for me.

BUT, with that being said, at the end of the book, in the acknowledgments, Rachel alludes to the fact that one character's story isn't over yet -- and I hope this means that there's more coming for this character's story.  In that case, I may get my wish to delve deeper into what makes these characters tick!

If you're looking for a contemporary book that is completely unputdownable, with an excellent, captivating story, look no further than Someone in the Way.  With each book, Rachel surpasses her previous work, and I'm already looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

Note: An advanced copy of this book was provided by the author, but all thoughts in this review are my own.

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Reading Resolutions 2018

1. Have less physical books on my TBR on December 31 than I do now.
I made it to less than 100 physical books on my TBR by the end of the year, but I got some books for Christmas, and made a visit to my favourite used bookstore in Victoria, and my TBR currently sits at 111 books.  While I'd love to have 75 books on my TBR (or, honestly, only 50), I don't want to assign myself an actual goal.  This goal is still measurable, which is what I wanted last year when I set a specific number, but it feels less constraining than last year's goal.

2. Have less ebooks on my TBR on December 31 than I do now.
I was SO GOOD last year and didn't buy many ebooks at all.  Since Christmas, there have been some good sales, and I've added SEVEN books to my TBR!  Although I'm excited about all of them, I am going to make a conscious effort every now and then to pick up my ereader instead of a physical book.

3. End the year with no 2017 or earlier ARCs.
I've been really, really good at reading and catching up with my ARCs, and I currently only have one expired ARC.  I plan to read that one, and to stay current with ARCs this year, a very manageable task.

3. Finish 10 series.
Last year, I shared a post outlining the ten series that I plan to read.  This year, I'm not setting any goals with regard to the series I plan to conquer (although, if you read my 18 books to read in 2018 list, you'll see that reading all of those books will result in __ of the ten series).  I might read some old ones, or start and finish some new ones, we'll see!

4. Blog whenever I feel like it.
No pressure this year.  None at all.  I'm going to go where the wind blows me.

5. Participate in three online events.
Same goal as last year, which I totally exceeded, but I'm still going to keep it at the same for this year.  I have a few things from previous years that I'd like to participate in again, if they're happening, and I'm also equally open to participating in something brand new.  Again, let's see where the wind blows.

Do you make reading resolutions?  If so, what are your resolutions for the coming year?  If not, do you have a different method of setting your intentions for the coming year?  Let me know in the comments below, and a very happy new year to you!

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18 Books to Read in 2018

I originally came up with this idea after seeing several BookTubers post lists of 16 books that they wanted to read in 2016.  My first year, I read nine of 16 books, and last year I read 13 of the 17 books I'd planned to read.  This year's list is VERY ambitious, as quite a few of the books are lengthy ones, with a whopping grand page total of 10,093 when I combine all of the books on this list!  But hey, new year, fresh start -- LET'S DO THIS!

1. Lonesome Dove
My husband has been recommending this book to me since we first met 13 years ago.  I keep telling him that I will read it one day.  One day has come.  I feel like this will be a good summer read, and will give me the same sense of satisfaction that Shantaram did.

2. Alias Grace
If I read only one book off this list, it'll be this one.  I have the miniseries PVRed, and I've heard nothing but amazing things, but I want to read the book first.

3. The Way of Kings
I'll either read this one, or the rest of the Mistborn series, or both.  I'd like to finish the Mistborn trilogy before diving into another of Sanderson's series, so we'll see if I get to this one.

4. A Little Life
This book has been calling my name from the shelf since I bought it in late January 2017, so I know I will read it soon.

5. The Golem and the Jinni
This book was a gift from my secret sister last year, and when I posted it on Twitter, I had two or three people comment about how much they loved it!  I shared an Instagram picture of these 18 books, and the first comment on the picture was about this book.  I feel like it's one of those books that flew under the radar, but those who read it absolutely loved it.

6. Strange the Dreamer
This is one book that I wished I'd found the time to read in 2017, so I will make it a priority in 2018.

7. Bedtime Story
This book is one from my 2016 list, but I read Rob's latest book, Black Feathers, in 2017 and LOVED it.  This is the only book of his that I haven't yet read.

8. Wild Beauty
I've been wanting to read this since I received it in my Owlcrate, and it's gonna happen SOON.

9. Once and For All
This is the second one of my 2017 releases that I can't BELIEVE I didn't read in 2017.  Definitely at the top of my summer 2018 reading list!

10. A Dance of Dragons
Apparently, the last season of Game of Thrones isn't going to be out until 2019, so I think I can tide myself over with this book.  I read A Feast for Crows in 2016, and really didn't like it, so hopefully that experience will be a distant memory by the time I get to this one.

11. Vicious
I recently purchased this book, and I can't WAIT for more of Victoria's writing!!!

12. The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth
I've decided to include a non-fiction book on this year's list.  I'm not much of a non-fiction reader, but this one has intrigued me for years so it's time to give it a shot.

13. Velveteen
Lauren @ Lose Time Reading sent me this book when she was my secret santa YEARS ago, and yet it has sat unread on my shelves.  Definitely plan on picking this one up during the fall, since it looks ghostly and creepy.

14. The Sea of Tranquility
I originally thought it would be a fun goal to read or DNF all of the books on my "set-aside" shelf on Goodreads, but that seems a bit too ambitious.  So this is one of those books, and we'll see how many others I get to.

15. I Shall Be Near to You
I have quite a few books on my TBR that my husband bought me, but I still haven't read.  This is one of those books.  Ideally, I'd love to read all of the books that were gifted to me over the years, but we'll start small and see how that goes.

16. The Revolution of Marina M.
The third and final book of the "books I regret not reading in 2017" selections.  I will absotively, posolutely be reading this book in 2018 because I love Janet's reading SO SO SO MUCH.

17. The Prisoner of Heaven
The Shadow of the Wind is one of my all-time favourite books, and I finally picked up The Angel's Game in 2017.  While it wasn't quite as amazing as TSotW, I fell in love with his writing all over again, and I'm eager to complete the series.

18. Just Ella
There are so many long, dense books on this list, so I thought I'd round it out with a middle grade selection, and this one looks fairytale-eseque and perfect.

Have you read any of the books on my list?  Any that I should prioritize in 2018?  What are you planning to read in 2018?  Let me know in the comments below!

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