June Wrap-up

June has come and gone and I've read eleven more books!  I'm so amazed that I've read over 60 books so far this year -- at this rate I will smash my all-time record of 104 books.  I'm also planning to read some chunkier books later this year, so I may not keep reading at this rate, but I'm still amazed and impressed with myself.  Here's what I read this month...

1. A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
I went into this book with zero expectations and was pleasantly surprised!  The book felt like one big long epilogue which I really liked.  I decided earlier this year that I'm not a novella person, but I'm glad that I enjoyed this one.

2. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
I got approved for the next installment and wanted to pick it up, but felt like I needed a reread because I couldn't remember anything about this book other than the fact that I cried like a baby.  In public.  It wasn't as sad the second time through because my memories of the stories returned as I reread so I was prepared for the heartache.

3. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Book club pick for May and I decided to listen solely on audio.  I was SO CONFUSED and I can't figure out if it's just a confusing book, or I'm not a sci-fi kind of girl, or I just wasn't paying enough attention.  Not my favourite book club pick, that's for sure.

4. Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Reviewed this one last month -- although not completely perfect, still a solidly good contemporary.

5. The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Four days into June and I finished my fourth book!  After rereading Five People, I knew I had to jump into the sequel right away.  OH THIS BOOK.  Full review to come in October, but YOU GUYS, Mitch Albom knows emotions.  Holy moly.

6. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
I saw that this was the #bigbookbuddyread for June, a hashtag that I follow on Instagram.  It's a book that I've had my eye on, so I picked up a copy and joined in!  I didn't join any of the chats, but did comment on some other posts and enjoyed the camaraderie on Instagram.  A solid read and I liked it, but didn't love it.

7. Beartown by Fredrik Backman
I really liked A Man Called Ove when I read it last summer so I requested Us Against You on Netgalley on a whim.  I was very surprised when my request was approved but then realized that it's the second in a series!  Shortly after, I saw Beartown at Costco so I picked it up.  

8. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
Read both back to back -- watch for my review of this series soon!

9. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
I borrowed this from a coworker.  I brought her in a few Jodi Picoult books to read and she wanted to return the favour by recommending one of her favourite books!  Although I'm not the biggest fan of sci-fi (and time travel in general) I enjoyed this.  Not sure if I want to keep reading the series, but I did enjoy reading this book.

10. Blind Kiss by Renée Carlino
HOLY SMOKES THIS WAS GOOD.  My review will be posted on publication day (August 14th) but let me just say that this will be one of my favourite contemporaries of the year.  I cried THREE TIMES.

11. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
I didn't think I'd be able to fit one more book into this month's reading but this one was such a quick (although not easy) read -- I picked it up because someone I follow online said it got her out of a reading slump and I couldn't agree more -- I couldn't put it down and tore through the book in only a few days.
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Book Haul [35] - No Comment.

While not as many books as last month, I still acquired fair number last month -- I had a good look at my bookish resolutions earlier this week and I'm definitely going to be scaling back the book buying over the summer and focusing on reading the books that I own!


1. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
2. The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty
I read Big Little Lies earlier this year and had to have more of Liane's works in my life.

3. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This purchase is the fault of Chapters -- when they increase my plum points rewards for the weekend, I had to take advantage of a free $10 worth of books!  So this book only cost me $3 - Regan @ Peruse Project loved this one and we have similar reading tastes so I'm hopeful that I'll like it too.

4. Warcross by Marie Lu
I waited until the cover was released for Wildcard and then preordered a copy, but of course I also had to buy a copy of Warcross because I borrowed it from the library when I read it last year.  

5. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
I bought this on a whim so that I could participate in the #bigbookbuddyread on Instagram -- it's a book that I'd had my eye on for a while and I enjoyed it!


6. Educated by Tara Westover
7. Beartown by Frederik Backman
Costco buys!  I picked up Beartown because I was approved for an egalley of Us Against You without realizing that it was the second in a series.  I've heard nothing but incredible things about Educated and I need to read a memoir this year.

8. Nocturnal by Wilder Poetry
I read, and loved, Wild Is She in March and almost jumped out of my chair when I saw that she had a new release!  It's not a gorgeous hardcover like her debut collection but I'm sure it'll be beautiful nonetheless.

9. How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Another impulse buy based on the love that I've seen online -- one of my absolute favourite bookstagrammers/booktubers said it got her out of a reading slump!

10. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I've had my eye on this one for a long, long time but seeing that Hannah @ So Obsessed With loved it was the deciding factor that I needed to buy a copy...now.

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Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag - Round 3

I did this tag last year and the year before, and saw it popping up all over BookTube again, so thought I'd join in the fun with a 2018 version!  The tag was originally created by ReadLikeWildfire (see her video here) and Ely Jane (see her video here).

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2018. 
I've read SO MANY GOOD BOOKS this year.  It's so hard to choose just one so I won't try.  Top favourites include: The Heart's Invisible Furies, When My Heart Joins the Thousand, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, All Your Perfects, and The Great Alone.  Seriously, such an amazing reading year so far!

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2018.
I haven't read many series books this year (gotta focus on that for the rest of the year!) but I liked Gone Rogue WAY better than the first one and I was also pleasantly surprised by A Court of Frost and Starlight.

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.

Girls Burn Brighter, Restore Me, and The Room on Rue Amelie.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

OH GOSH.  Bizarrely enough, last year I was feeling meh about the upcoming release of Renegades and Warcross, but I've read both now and have pre-ordered the sequels.  And Queen of Air and Darkness, which I preordered in January.  My heart is STILL not fully healed from Lord of Shadows and I am READY to have it torn open again.

5. Biggest disappointment.

Last year my pick was The Bane Chronicles and this year I'm going with Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy -- I'm just not a novella kind of girl and I DNFed this one.

6. Biggest surprise.

The Great Alone. I've enjoyed some of Kristin Hannah's other books so I expected to like her newest book but I did NOT expect it to blow me away, which it did.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

John Boyne.  I read two of his books this year, have purchased one more, and have two on hold at the library.

8. Newest fictional crush.

I'm not much of a book boyfriend kind of girl, so can I just pick Rhysand for the third time?

9. Newest favourite character.

I'm only three books into the series, but Anne of Green Gables.

10. Book that made you cry.
My chest still feels tight when I think about All Your Perfects.  I'm counting down the days until my copy arrives in the mail because I need to read it again -- it'll be the first time I've read a book twice in one year since White Oleander when I was in Grade 12.

11. Book that made you happy.
I reread a childhood favourite, A Handful of Time, and I absolutely ADORED it.  Kit is a local writer and I loved the BC-infused storyline that hits close to home for all the right reasons.

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
Strange the Dreamer was my pick last year and this is a good reminder that I have to pick this one up SOON!  My pick for this round is one that I've already read: Wild is She by Wilder Poetry.  It's a gorgeous coffee table book full of the most beautiful poetry.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
My answer to this every year: OH MY GOSH.  So many.  

To finish all of the books on my 18 books to read in 2018 list, I need to read: Lonesome Dove, Alias Grace, Strange the Dreamer, Bedtime Story, Once and For All, Velveteen, The Revolution of Marina M., Vicious, A Dance of Dragons, A Way of Kings, A Little Life, Wild Beauty, and The Prisoner of Heaven.

I've only read three of the ten series that I'd planned to read this year.  I plan to read Wildcard and Archenemies as two of the series.  If I read all of the above books, I'll add three more completed series to the list.  I'd also like to reread the Shatter Me series so that I can pick up Restore Me.  I'd like to binge a series or two, maybe the Unwind dystology or the Lynburn Legacy.  I have to finish the Anne series

There's also SO MANY standalones that I want to devour: Girls Burn Brighter, The Law of Similars, Midwives, We Were the Mulvaneys, The Good Daughter, The Birth House and all of the Barbara Kingsolver, Liane Moriarty, Jodi Picoult, and YA standalones on my shelves.

Although the questions don't actually ask me to tag anyone, I'm gonna do it anyways, because I'm crazy like that.  I tag Jessica @ Novel Cravings and Lauren @ Lose Time Reading.

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Reading Resolutions - Halfway Point

Hard to believe that we're almost at halfway mark in 2018!  I've already read SO MANY great books this year and I've been approved for so many amazing ARCs.  I am so excited to see what the rest of the year has in store, but for now it's time to take a peek at my reading resolutions and see how I'm doing.

1. Have less physical books on my TBR on December 31 than I do now.
Ummm.... I have bought a LOT of books so far this year, but I'm also doing a really good job of reading what I own.  I've bought 46 books and read 43 books that I own.  I've also unhauled quite a few books so I think I'm doing okay on this challenge!  I've only read four library books this year which is a HUGE difference from previous years.

2. Have less ebooks on my TBR on December 31 than I do now.
I've only bought four ebooks this year, but I've only read two ebooks, so I'm still up two.  I do have two ebooks in progress -- both books that I picked up in March/April and just haven't finished yet.

3. End the year with no 2017 or earlier ARCs.
I think I actually intended this goal to read 2018 or earlier ARCs!  I still have the one expired ARC, which I hope to get to this year, but I've requested (and been approved for) a LOT of egalleys.  Some of my most anticipated reads of the year and I'm so honoured and excited to be reading these books ahead of time.  This goal is going to be one of my primary focuses between now and October, while I attempt to read the seven egalleys currently on my Kobo, plus the one long-expired book and finish this goal like a champ!

3. Finish 10 series.
Hmmm.... only at two series so far!  BUT there are a few series enders that I've ordered and will hopefully get to this year (ha ha, not helping much with my first goal though!)

4. Blog whenever I feel like it.
I've felt ZERO PRESSURE to blog and, as a result, have totally blogged more this year!  I've resurrected some old series that I had planned to write years ago, and it feels really, really good.

5. Participate in three online events.
I've participated in two so far: ATSOReadathon and Middle Grade March, both of which took place in March.  Both were a BLAST!  I tried a couple of instagram challenges this month, but wasn't quite in the mood.  Tome Topple is on next week so I'll probably attempt that, plus a fun Read-Eh-Thon which sounds so fun!  Stay tuned for my TBRs!

Do you set reading resolutions?  Are you keeping up with them?  Let me know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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Top 10 Books on My Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl!  This week's topic is the books on my summer reading list.  I'm not terribly adept at actually reading the books that I plan to read each season, so I thought I'd switch things up this season and give myself ten goals.

1. Finish one series.
2. Start a new series.
3. Read a book that has been on my shelves for over a year.
4. Read a backlist title written by a favourite author.
5. Read one book off my 18 books to read in 2018 list.
6. Read one ARC.
7. Read a book purchased in 2018.
8. Read an intimidating book.
9. Read a book that my husband chooses for me.
10. Read a book that my son chooses for me.

What are you summer reading goals?  Let me know in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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Reading Journey [2] - High School

The first part in this series chronicled my elementary school reading years.  Read on for the next instalment... 

Ahh high school...  While I was a voracious reader as a child, mainly as an escape from elementary school bullies, junior high school found me reading less since my main focus was on building friendships.  I still read a lot but found myself gravitating towards love stories and yearning for my own prince charming.  Whenever I found a book with a particularly beautiful description of falling in love or the perfect first kiss scene, I'd copy the passage into my journal and swoon over it again and again.  It would be a few years before a boy would notice me (first, I'd have to lose the braces, figure out how to tame my wild curls and switch to a pair of glasses that didn't take up half of my face!)  Until that day arrived, I dreamt of finding love and enjoyed experiencing it through the pages of my books.

In senior high school, a boy noticed me and I fell head over heels in love.  When he broke up with me six months later, I experienced my first heartbreak.  Coincidentally, this was around the same time that I outgrew the young adult romance stories and gravitated towards adult fiction for the first time.  Some of my earliest choices were White Oleander and The Poisonwood Bible, which are still two of my all-time favourite books.  Discovering Oprah's book club list helped me to choose from the daunting selection of adult books and I found many authors that remain favourites today.  (This was a much better option than my original idea to work through the adult fiction section, starting with A -- which meant I read about ten V.C. Andrews books in a row).

In high school, I also had a brief obsession with reading classics.  I wanted to be a writer and felt that reading the most inspirational writers would help me to become a better writer.  I read The Hobbit, Wuthering Heights, The Handmaid's Tale, and a few others that I can't remember (eclectic mix, I know).  In senior high school, I had quite a few classics as required reading and many, many more in university -- and I think that was what ended my desire to read the classics on my own time.

But my university reading is a story for another time...

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Marko Monday [31] - Plant a Seed, See What Grows

My co-worker lives in a co-op and has a basket in her lobby where people leave books.  Her neighbours always seem to be getting rid of books that fit perfectly with things that we are learning about or doing in our household!  This month she brought me a book about planting seeds and seeing what grows ... just as we were planting our own seeds!

What makes this book extra special is that it's locally published.  I tried to find an image on Goodreads, but it's not listed, but I found their webpage.  I hope that this organization is still around because they've given copies of this book to all of our local libraries and their motto is absolutely beautiful:

“One seed can grow a forest, one child can change the world, one idea can inspire a generation.”

Plant a Seed, See What Grows is a story of a little boy and his mom that plant a seed and watch it grow, learning along the way about worms and what happens below the soil, as well as the patience required to wait while nature works its magic.  The illustrations are full colour and gorgeous and Marko loves to have the story read to him as well as making up his own story to go along with the pictures (in his version the worms are bad and try to eat the seed).

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Save the Date - Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson can do no wrong.  Her books are the perfect summer reads and Save the Date is no exception. 

I struggled to get into the book at first but I think that had more to do with the fact that I had a lot going on in life at the end of May because once I settled into the book, the story FLEW by.  I read the last half of the book in two sittings, tearing through the pages to see how it would all unfold. 

Save the Date chronicles one of the wackiest, funnest families I've seen featured in fiction since the family next door in My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.  The Grant family's mom has penned a cartoon version of her family for many, many years and the comic strip is ending its publication the same weekend that the eldest daughter is getting married.  The story is filled with hijinks from wedding plans gone awry and features a host of colourful and genunine characters.  There are moments of laughter (lots of moments of laughter actually) and some emotional moments to balance out the story.

My only critcism of this book is that although our main character, Charlie, is at the end her senior year of high school, her character acts and behaves in a much more juvenile fashion.  Granted, she is the youngest in the family and maybe I just don't identify with that younger sibling mentality, but there were a few occasions where I felt like she should have acted in a more mature fashion.  There were also a couple of plot twists that I had figured out wayyyyy before the characters did, which left me just waiting for them to realize what was going on.  In some ways, Morgan's writing in this book reminded me a lot of Katie Finn's writing -- the story is mostly silly and angsty and doesn't have quite as much emotional heart as some of her other books.

Regardless of my minor qualms with Save the Date, I've still preordered a copy and will be adding this one to my Morgan Matson collection.  Although this one isn't at the top of my favourites list, Morgan is still a favourite author.

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

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June TBR - Shatter Me

Last month, I planned to read a book that I didn't pick up so I "unhauled" it over to my husband's bookshelves.  This month, I'm planning to pick up a book that I've already read -- another one that I won't have to unhaul if I don't get to it, but one that I still hope to read this month regardless.

I originally read Shatter Me back in May 2012 (the early days of this blog!) and had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the entire series.  I love love LOVE Tahereh's writing but the storyline was a bit over the top at times.  I really enjoyed Unravel Me, but by the time I picked up Ignite Me I'd forgotten most of what happened in the first two books so I didn't enjoy the final instalment very much.

BUT, despite all that, I still bought a copy of Restore Me (partly because it's so PRETTY) and I'm hopeful that I may enjoy the series more the second time through.  So wish me luck!

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