Reading Round-up - March

If February was a quieter reading month, I made up for it in March ... and then some!  I participated in two readathons in March, which definitely helped.  Middle Grade March, hosted by Life Between Words, went for the whole month, but I primarily participated during the first half of the month, since the last two weeks of the month were dedicated to the second round of ATSOReadathon, hosted by Jessica @ Novel Cravings.

1. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
My book club selected this one, and I was so pumped to read it.  It's gorgeous, and I've seen it pop up on so many Bookstagram feeds.  I enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it, but there was something that prevented it from being a perfect book.  I think it was mainly the fact that I didn't feel fully connected to any of the characters -- the storyline flips between siblings, and for some of them I lacked in feeling connected because I'd jumped into their lives after so much backstory had passed.  The story had the potential to be a massively epic novel (like 800 pages) but in reality it's just over 300 pages.  I needed MORE.

2. Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech
I joined Middle Grade March this month, and this was the first book I picked up.  I read Walk Two Moons when I was a student teacher, and loved it; however, this book has sat on my shelves unread for YEARS.  It's written journal-style (my FAVOURITE thing ever) and the storyline absolutely swept me up and captured my attention.

3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
I'd had this on hold at the library forever, and then it was my turns just as Middle Grade March started up!  I read this in a single day, and liked it well enough.  The narrator was definitely the best part =)

-- Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
I've had this book on my TBR forever and ever since my sister had enjoyed it during high school.  It's written in a dialect form, where I found myself sounding the words out loud to try to figure out how they were pronounced.  So I decided to give it a shot on audio, but it was completely not holding my attention, so I decided to put it down.

4. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
As a Newberry Honor book, I had high hopes for The Thief but, sadly, it did not deliver.

5. The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse
Pure magic.  I LOVED THIS BOOK.

6. A Handful of Time by Kit Pearson
A coworker randomly mentioned this book in conversation, and I came home from work and decided to pick it up.  I hadn't read this book since I was 10 or 11 and I thought it was just as wonderful today.  It's interesting seeing how many things really date the story (some of which are politically incorrect today), but also to realize that these changes have happened in my lifetime.

7. Wild is She by Wilder Poetry
This book is absolutely GORGEOUS, inside and out.

8. Wild Embers by Nikita Gill
Erica @ cozybooksandcoffee recommended Nikita Gill so I decided to start with this one.  Her poetry is stunning, and I hope I'll be able to pick up her other book SOON.

9. Love her Wild by Atticus
As I devoured the other two books of poetry, I decided to reread a favourite from last year.

10. Syren by Angie Sage
HOLY this book was a slog.  It took my almost all month to get through.  I flipped between print and audio, but then the audiobook was due back at the library and I still had four chapters to read.  It took me a FULL WEEK to pick up the hard copy because I just did not want to pick the book up and read it.  I only have two books left in the series, and I feel like I should just finish it, but another part of me is like "nnoooooooo!!!  don't dooooooo itttttt!"

11. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
I bought this book right after I finished The Heart's Invisible Furies because I just needed more of John Boyne's writing in my life.  It was the perfect book to read for the ATSO Readathon because it's super short, but I also though it was middle grade because of the narrator's age.  By the time I finished the book, I realized that it isn't middle grade

12. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
I love love loved Anne of Green Gables, and still really enjoyed this one, but not quite as much as the first book.  I feel like this was the turning point in the series for me as a child because Anne is trying to be spunky, but she's very grown-up at the same time.  I'm excited for the next book, as she heads off to college.

13. The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
14. 9 Days and 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno
I am on FIRE with my review books this year -- stay tuned for reviews closer to the release dates!

15. I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
I really enjoyed this one, but it fell a bit flat for me.  As a Canadian reader, I don't know that much about the specifics of the Civil War, and I felt some of the historical details weren't explained in enough detail for me.  For American readers who studied the Civil War in school, I'm sure that certain parts of the book were easier to understand.  On the whole though, it was still an excellent story with a solid cast of characters and I'm glad I picked it up.

I've also got a couple of other books on the go, but I'm not 100% sure that I'll finish anything else before the end of the month.  I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing 15 books -- I read 13 last year when the #ATSOReadathon was a month long, all of them under 300 pages, but this year some of the books are a bit longer!

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Book Haul [32] - Birthday Edition

Ummm, so it's almost Easter?!?  Wasn't it just New Years?  I feel like this is the theme every month, but it's the truth.  My birthday is in early March and I celebrated by treating myself to some new books.  I've also pre-ordered a few more that will be featured in future hauls, but I'm going to try to buy a few less in coming months because I really need to start focusing on reducing my physical TBR.  BUT, this post is about the books that I bought ... so let's start listing off those books...

1. Wild Embers by Nikita Gill
Erica @cozybooksandcoffee recommended some poetry books last year, but Nikita's other book doesn't seem to be available anymore?  Chapters and Amazon both had ebooks, and I couldn't even find a used copy on Abebooks?  I'm giving this one a short first, and then if I love it (which I think I will), I'll try to track down her other book.

2. Wild is She by Wilder Poetry
I follow @wilderpoetry on Instagram and words cannot describe how beautiful this feed is.  Seriously, click that link.  This book is bigger than I thought it would be (it's a large hardcover) but even more stunning than I expected.

3. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
I was totally on the fence about picking this up -- mainly because the cover didn't wow me when I first saw it.  I kind of felt the same about Marie Lu's Warcross, but then I ended up LOVING that book.  I saw Brittni @ Brittni's Book Find raving about this book when she read it during the Bi-Annaul Bibliothon, and I changed my mind about wanting to read it.  Plus, with all the superhero movies we've been watching lately (Marko is OBSESSED), I'm craving a bit of supernatural in my books as well.


4. Fractured by Karin Slaughter
5. Undone by Karin Slaughter
6. Broken by Karin Slaughter
7. Fallen by Karin Slaughter
8. Criminal by Karin Slaughter
I picked up a couple of Karin Slaughter books at the end of 2017, only to find out that they were books 7 and 8 in a series -- oops!  I picked up the first book earlier this year, and loved it, so my husband bought me books 2 to 6 so that I can read the whole series.  Karin writes such great thrillers!

9. Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi
I was totally on the fence about picking this one up too, but THOSE COVERS.  I just had to.  I love, love, love Tahereh's writing and I think my issue with the series was just the length of time between reading each book.  I'd like to reread the series and then pick up the fourth book.

10. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I technically bought this one for my hubby, so I don't think I really have to count it as a book purchase, do I?  I may read it, but thought I'd toss it in here as well.

11. The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel
I loved The Life Intended when I read it last year, and was going to preorder this one, but the price of the hardcover made me pause.  Only have read one of her prior books, I wasn't sure if she was quite an auto-buy-in-hardcover kind of author.  At a later date, the paperback release was available for purchase -- so I decided to buy it.  The premise sounds like it's totally my cup of tea, and I looooooove the cover.

12. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
This was a total impulse buy after I saw a few rave reviews popping up Instagram.  It's supposed to be a tear-your-heart-out intense kind of read, and I CAN'T WAIT.

13. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
Last year, I finally caught up with Lisa Genova's work, but it left me craving more of Lisa's writing in my life.  I'm excited to dive into this one and stay caught up with one of my favourite authors.

14. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
At last, one book in this haul that is not being added to my TBR pile!  I bought the first two books in this series in paperback last year, so I borrowed ACOL from the library, and waited for the paperback release date in order to add it to my shelves.  I've been craving a reread since I finished the series last year, and owning them all seems like a good excuse.  I can't wait until most of the books on my shelves are ones that I've read, and I can indulge in a good reread.

Have you read any of these books?  Any suggestions for which one I should pick up first?  Let me know in the comments below and thank you for stopping by!

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Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl!  There's nothing that I enjoy more than planning what I want to read ... almost as much as I enjoy actually reading said books!  So, without further ado, here are ten books that I hope to get to this spring.

1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
My friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings and I are going to buddy read this in April and I'm SO EXCITED.  

2. Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore
This is a second book on my buddy reading list with Jessica, and the cover is so spring-like, so I think we should make it happen.

3. Vicious by Victoria Schwab
I've resisted long enough, and I don't think I can put off reading this book any longer!!!

4. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
I picked this for my book club, and I hope it's good (honestly, choosing a book for book club is the MOST STRESSFUL THING).

5. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
I was on the fence about buying a copy of this book, but now that I own it, I just want to read it.

6. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
Continuing along with my 2018 project to read the whole series!

7. Fractured by Karin Slaughter
I'm craving another thriller, and I know that her books won't disappoint.

8. I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
This is one of the books that I really want to get to for the #ATSOReadathon, and if I don't pick it up during the readathon, I'll read it later this season.

9. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
I have a love-hate relationship with this series, and I think the reason why I didn't love them as much as everyone else is because so much time passed between reading each instalment.  So I'm going to re-read the series, and then jump into Restore Me.

10. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
I really wanted to get to one of her books during the first half of March, but kept picking up the shorter middle grade books instead.  I'd like to continue reading a middle grade book now and then, as I've really enjoyed all of the middle grade that I've read this month, and I almost forgot how much I enjoy a good middle grade.

How about you?  Which books are on your TBR pile this spring?  Have you read any of the books on my list?  Anything that I should prioritize?  Let me know in the comments below,and thank you so much for stopping by!

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Marko Monday [28]

Lately, I find myself getting more and more emotional with the arrival and passing of certain stages.  Marko turned five last month, and I think the arrival of this milestone birthday just jump started this feeling like my baby boy is really growing up.  From the time he was born, he's always been my little man, always seeming wiser than his age.  Now, I just love the things that come out of his mouth!  I love the personality that he's developing as he figures out the world and his place in it.  As I mentioned on here before, he's totally into superheroes right now.  Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman, doesn't matter -- he loves them all.  One night he says to me, all serious, "Mama, I'm not just a man, and I'm not just slippery.  I'm Slippery Man."

The next night, we opened his "Make Your Own Superhero Costume" kit that he received for his birthday.  It came with the basics of a superhero costume, but fun stick-on options to make a unique superhero costume.  Here's Slippery Man:

OK, now to tie superheroes into the cute bunny book that is the central focus of this book.  My hubby and Marko gifted this book to me a couple of years ago for Mother's Day.  It has a cute, quick storyline with all types of baby and mama animals, each one explaining "I love my mommy because..."  I've read this book to Marko dozens of times and it's still one that we gravitate towards when it's late and we need a quick story.  A couple of weeks ago, Marko picked this book off the shelf, and announced to me that he was going to read to me tonight.  As I mentioned above, there are certain moments lately that literally take my breath away and cause me to marvel at the actual little man that he is becoming.  I should qualify and say that he's not actually reading yet, but he has so many of his stories memorized, and even reads them with the same voices and intonations that I use while reading the story.  I love witnessing him soaking up all this literature and how much he loves books.  As we sit poised on the verge of his next big leap, learning to really read, I pray that he continues to love to read because I can't wait to watch him explore the worlds contained between the pages on his own.  

And I'm getting emotional again -- if one was incredible, and two was amazing, and three was the best yet, and four was out of this world ... there are no words to describe five.  

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The Flight Attendant - Chris Bohjalian

My first exposure to Chris Bohjalian's work was when my book club picked Trans-Sister Radio and I LOVED IT.  My review on Goodreads is short and sweet: Right up there with Middlesex for the WOW factor. This book follows the life of Dana as he transitions into a she. I love books that switch narrators because you can really get into each character's head. This book was just awesome and I can't wait to read more of Bohjalian's books!

Flash forward a few years, and I had the opportunity to read and review Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands -- which was good, but lacked a little in the WOW factor for me.  I requested an egalley of The Flight Attendant, knowing that I liked Chris' writing style, but really having no clue what to expect.

Flash forward again to one indecisive Saturday night when I couldn't decide what to pick up.  I was in the mood for a thriller, but none of the books on my TBR pile were thrillers.  And then I remembered that the publication date for The Flight Attendant was only a couple of weeks away, so I decided to give it a shot.

The Flight Attendant is a thriller, which was perfect because that's what I was craving.  I've read quite a few thrillers since Spookathon last year and while a traditional thriller is a compulsive page-turner, The Flight Attendant was even more than that.  It had heart, it had political intrigue and it had characters that were so flawed yet loveable.  I tore through the book, sneaking in a page or two whenever I had a free moment.  To say that I couldn't put it down would be an understatement, and to say that I loved it would be a second one.  I absolutely love that each of Chris' books have been a completely unique reading experience, and I'm already eyeing the other two books of his that are on my shelves!  If you love thrillers, and love thrillers with a little bit more than just a traditional whodunnit type of plot, then I highly recommend picking this one up.

Also, I posted a status update on Instagram about how much I was enjoying the first few pages of The Flight Attendant.  I don't tag authors all the time, but I did in this photo and was absolutely blown away by the fact that Chris commented, and so thoughtfully!  I admit that I sometimes feel like authors are celebrities and it amazes me when they are so genuine and real.  I was humbled and touched and I'm planning on picking up the rest of Chris' books in the not-too-distant future.

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

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March TBR - Middle Grade March and AllTheShortOnes Readathon 2.0

My reading game was strong in January, but slower in February.  I am SO PUMPED to read all of the things in March, mainly because there are two incredible readathons happening!

The first is Middle Grade March, hosted by Life Between Words (a new favourite BookTuber of mine).  This a month long event to read as much middle grade as you'd like.  There are also five challenges:

1. Read an award winner
2. Read a book to movie adaptation.
3. Read a childhood favourite.
4. Read a classic.
5. Read a diverse book.

So, my TBR is basically just all of the unread middle grade on my shelves!

From left to right: Just Ella, Stowaway, Dragon Rider, Searching for David's Heart, The Red Badge of Courage, The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles, The Thief Lord, Music of the Dolphins, The Thief, Inkspell, Syren, Darke, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Dealing with Dragons, and Anne of Avonlea.

Then, my dear friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings is hosting her second round of AllTheShortOnes, running from March 18th to March 31st.  As I'm planning to read as much middle grade as I can for the first half of the month, I've selected all of my short non-middle grade books as my TBR for this readathon, but there will probably be middle grade books read during the latter half of the month as well.  Jessica has selected seven challenges for this readathon:

1. Read a book by a new-to-you author
2. Read a graphic novel
3. Read a book with a one-word title
4. Read a book you’ve read before
5. Read a book that has been made into a movie
6. Read a non-fiction book
7. Read 7 books!

And, again, I've selected the rest of the short books off my shelves that aren't middle grade...

From top to bottom: Wild Embers, I Shall Be Near To You, The Passion, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Light Lifting, Little Sister, The Prisoner of Heaven, and Wild is She.

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