Reading Wrap-up | January & February

Wow! Is it just me, or did February fly by? It usually drags on for me, but this year I can’t believe it’s already over. I didn’t post a January wrap-up, so I’ll combine both months.

I had a surprisingly great reading month in February, because I’ve found the secret to keeping my reading motivation: curating a book subscription box! We’ve been a bit slow to find the perfect pick for our April box. We were struggling to find recent releases that intrigued us. At the end of January we came up with a list of a few to read and decide between. I ended up reading three contenders this month, and I loved all of them! I’ll include the runners-up, but will leave the featured novel outβ€”just in case any of our subscribers are reading and want to keep it a surprise.

Total Number of Books: 8
Total Number of Pages: 2,747
Average Pages per Book: 343
Average Rating: 4.4

I’ve linked the titles to Goodreads so you can read the synopsis, and I’ll just provide a few of my thoughts:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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I’ll start by saying that I think this is one of those “adore or despise” novels. I happen to love it. It has become a favourite that I’ll definitely read again. I don’t typically make notes while I read, but I found myself frequently scrambling for a paper or my phone to jot down a line… or an entire paragraph. I just adore Tartt’s elegant prose and the dark academia vibes of this novel. Dark, twisted, and almost satiricalβ€” it’s a story that begs to be savoured and read slowly by candlelight on a dark, stormy evening.

The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies

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I knew a little bit about the Montessori philosophy before reading this. I skimmed through some parts of it, but found it interesting overall. I like the practical suggestions for creating a toddler-friendly home as well as engaging activities using everyday items.

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

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“Using the extraordinary power of less to raise calmer, happier, and more secure kids.” I think I’ll eventually write a full review on this one, because I just have too much to say. I definitely connected with this book. It offered solid advice and suggestions for living a more simple and slow life, and the author discussed how that can benefit a child’s development.

The Other People by C.J. Tudor

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Perfectly creepy and un-put-downable! This was one of the contenders for our April book box. I breezed through this mystery/thriller, which had the perfect amount of suspense for me. I was drawn in from the first chapter and anxiously kept turning the pagesβ€”theorizing, desperate to “solve” the mystery. I thought I had it figured out, and I was right about one part. The gradual unraveling and final “reveal” was mostly satisfying, but there were a few aspects of the story that I didn’t feel were explained well enough in the ending, which bumped it down to 4 stars for me.

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

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This is a middle-grade series by one of my favourite authors. I’m typically drawn to anything “dark” with history, hauntings, and suspense. Having said that, I am also such a chicken when it comes to anything “scary.” I definitely could not have handled these without nightmares as a child or teenagerβ€”I was creeped out enough as an adult! I love that this story is set in Edinburgh, which is one of my FAVOURITE cities in the world. It was neat to revisit many of the places I’ve been in the city, and I love Schwab’s concept of “the Veil.” As a middle-grade novel, the characters and plot lack the complexity of her YA/adult novels, but I still loved it and didn’t feel like the language was overly simplistic. It was a quick, perfectly creepy read for me!

Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

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I found this one significantly scarier than City of Ghosts. There’s something about a “child” ghost that just CREEPS ME OUT! I legitimately could not read this past dusk or if I was home alone. While I didn’t love the setting of Paris as much as Edinburgh, I did find the plot more engaging, suspenseful and intense compared to City of Ghosts. I cannot wait for the next book in this seriesβ€”set in New Orleansβ€”coming in September 2020.

The Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne

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This was another contender for our April book box. I adore historical fiction, so I was bound to enjoy this novel set before and during WWII. It definitely covers a lesser-known part of this time period, and I love how it centers around two sisters who are essentially “split” between the two sides of war. It is rife with historic details and packed with emotion. The story and perspectives do shift frequentlyβ€”often when you really don’t want them toβ€”which was annoying at times, but also kept me reading because I needed to find out what happened! I feel a bit torn about this one because at some points it jumped around too much and it felt overly detailed… but then the history nerd in me loved the inclusion of those details, and the end did tie everything together nicely.


How many books did you read in February? If you had to recommend ONE book you’ve read so far this year, which would it be!?

Thanks for reading!

July Wrap-up

July has been a great reading month for me!  Who knew that being 9 months pregnant could be so enjoyable πŸ˜‰  I had THREE five-star reads this month, which is pretty good… although one is about childbirth and I can’t reveal one of the others.

Total Number of Books: 8
Total Number of Pages: 3,310
Average Pages per Book: 414
Average Rating: 4.06

Okay… so the best book I read this month, I actually can’t include or talk about!  It’s slowly killing me to keep my mouth shut about it, because it’s a contender for my top reads of 2019.  BUT we are likely including it in our debut book subscription box this October, so I don’t want to spoil the surprise for those of you who follow my bookstagram/blog and who will also be ordering the box.  So you’ll have to be patient and wait a few months for me to gush about how much I loved it!

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Storm: It’s a Curse to Remember by Gurpreet Kaur Sidhu    β˜…β˜…β˜…

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review!  I loved the premise of this book and the plot was captivating. I got hung up on some of the wording, and sometimes the shifts in time and perspective had me a bit confused and having to flip back and re-read through sections. Having said that, there were many suspenseful parts where I could not put this book down. Overall I enjoyed it, and I’m interested in seeing where the author takes things with the second book in this series.

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Home Front Girls by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Written as a series of letters between two women during WWII, this book sheds light on the everyday experiences of women on the American home front.It was a delightful read,  reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (although not quite as magical).I’ll disclose that I’m a history nerd, and I love most novels set during this era, so I am slightly biased.I adored witnessing the developing friendship between Rita and Glory. I love how the letters capture their inner and outer lives in such a personal and relatable way.I wouldn’t say it was an amazing novel, but it was definitely a quick, light, and enjoyable read.  I would definitely recommend this book to readers who love historical fiction.  Publication date September 3rd 2019.  Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for this ARC.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Blair Brown, and I really enjoyed it! I loved the colourful array of characters at the Lily Playhouse, and was drawn in by the witty dialogue. I was fully captivated by the era and atmosphere, and I had fun exploring 1940s New York through the experiences of Vivian. My attention waned a bit towards the end of the novel, but I think that was just because I missed the entertainment and debauchery…

Gilbert has said that, “My goal was to write a book that would go down like a champagne cocktail- light and bright, crisp and fun.” In my opinion, she succeeded in meeting her goal!

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I am going to have to keep this short, because I have so many thoughts and feelings about this book!  Eventually I’ll sit down and write a proper review of it.  There are such mixed reviews for this book, and I completely understand why.  Personally, I absolutely adored it!  Tartt’s prose is beautiful and evocative.  It is a deep, moody, and immersive book that needs to be read slowly and savored.  It is not a carefree or easy read, but if you love literature, detailed, rich prose, and gravitate towards art and philosophy, then I would recommend it.

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Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison    β˜…β˜…β˜….5

First of all, I loved the setting of this novel!  An old, prestigious girls boarding school in a small town created the perfect atmosphere for intrigue and murder.  I loved the gothic feels, secret societies, and overall creepiness.  It was full of secrets and had a good twist that I didn’t expect.  I did find some of the characters annoying, and feel like the story would have been more convincing set further in the past rather than the present.  The story kept my interest and was enjoyable, but wasn’t amazing.  Expected publication December 31, 2019.  Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for this ARC.

Pregnancy-related books

Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth About Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy    β˜…β˜…β˜…

A funny and entertaining look at all of the changes that you may experience during and after pregnancy.  It was good for a laugh!

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth By Ina May Gaskin    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Very informative and interesting.  I was terrified of childbirth, but this book along with the Positive Birth Company’s hypnobirthing course and of course our amazing doula have completely changed my mindset and made me realize that it is a completely natural process that our bodies are made for!  I’d definitely recommend this book to all pregnant women!


What was the best book you read this month!?  Any recommendations?  Thoughts about any of the books included here?

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Life & Reading Update | 6 months later…

Hi everyone!  Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve made an appearance here… so much for my monthly reading wrap-ups and frequent book reviews…

I think I’ve got a pretty good excuse though?  Coincidentally, my last blog post was around the time we found out that I’m growing a tiny human inside of me! (Well, to be honest, the human is not feeling so tiny these days…)

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We are SO excited to welcome a little bookworm into the world this August!  I won’t say I haven’t had time for blogging, but I certainly haven’t made time for blogging.  Between teaching full time, being ridiculously sick during the first trimester, buying and moving into our first house, and preparing for baby, I’ve been pretty exhausted.  I have still managed to stay on track with my reading goal for this year – miraculously!

So here’s a little update on reading and life.

Reading Update

My Goodreads reading challenge for this year is 50 books! I know my life is about to change a LOT, so I lowered it from last year’s goal.

Well, instead of a monthly wrap-up, let’s go for a 6-month wrap-up!  Here’s a summary of my reading from January-June.

Total Number of Books: 30
Total Number of Pages: 9,702 (that was way too much math for a Saturday morning)
Average Pages per Book: 323
Average Rating: 4.06

Here’s the list with my ratings (and a summary of my rating system below):

  • The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? by Jena Pincott β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Keeper’n Me by Richard Wagamese β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • By Chance Alone by Max Eisen β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • How to Stop Time by Matt Haig β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Brother by David Chariandy β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Fablehaven by Brandon Mull β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Circe by Madeline Miller β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • When We Found Home by Susan Mallery β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Rick Mercer Final Report by Rick Mercer β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
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Here are a few of my top reads so far this year:

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By Chance Alone by Max Eisen β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Max Eisen just turned 90 years old.  His memoir details his tragic, brutal, and heartbreaking experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust.  His story is incomprehensible, but so important.  I had to set the book down several times because it made me so emotional.  But that is what it is meant to do.  Some of the most important books are the hardest to read.  I am so happy that this book won Canada Reads 2019, because it truly is a story that needs to be told and shared – especially amidst the rise of divisions based on race, ethnicity, and nationality.

“I am inspired by the need to document my story so others may learn from the past. On a personal level, I have a highly developed sense of observation of the world around me, which constantly inspires and motivates me to take action.”

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Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah & Winnie Yeung β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Homes was another Canada Reads finalist, and I love this story and also how it ended up being written.  Abu Bakr’s family fled their home in Iraq and moved to Homs Syria, just before the civil war broke out.  The book details Abu Bakr’s experience growing up in a war zone and eventually finding safety in Canada.  Winnie Yeung, his high school English teacher here in Canada, has listened to his story and written it, as told by him and his family.  It’s eye-opening, and sheds light on the experiences of immigrants and refugees.  Another important and timely read.

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A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The last season of Game of Thrones on TV got me back into reading the book series (because it is just so much better!).  I just love the description, detail, and all the different plot lines. If you haven’t read the books, I definitely recommend them!

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I listened to this on audiobook and it was SO GOOD! An entire cast reads it, and it honestly felt like I was listening to interviews with real people who had experienced these things.  In fact, it was so convincing that I googled the band and was looking for some photos and their songs… when I realized that they don’t actually exist.  THAT is good fiction!  I can’t say whether it would be as engaging to read, but I would definitely recommend the audiobook.

Life Updates

As I mentioned above, it’s been a big year for us!  We are expecting our first baby in August, which we are so excited about!  We’ve decided to keep the sex a surprise, and are looking forward to meeting our little munchkin this summer.  I’m lucky that my pregnancy has gone well so far.  I had a lot of “morning” (hah – it’s actually 24/7) sickness in the first trimester, but since then I have just been tired, hungry, and sore.  I’ve always wanted children, but I always dreaded being pregnant.  Surprisingly, I’m enjoying it for the most part!  Sure, some days are frustrating and increasingly uncomfortable, but it is also amazing what my body is going through.  I love feeling baby move around and watching my belly wiggle and ripple, trying to figure out which body part is jutting out here or there.  Yup, now I’m being one of those cheesy people who declares that pregnancy is just “such a miracle!” Haha… who’d have thought.

We also bought and moved into our first house this spring!  We absolutely love it, and I’ve enjoyed collecting plant babies…

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Plus we have the perfect reading window ledge in our bedroom (pictured here).

I’ve now finished teaching for the year, and it’s going to feel so strange not going back in September!  I’m definitely going to miss all of my students and coworkers, but I’m also looking forward to new adventures in motherhood.

My little bookish shop, Bibliophile Belle’s Boutique, is still going strong, and I’m currently working on my last restock of book sleeves before baby arrives!

AND just because there aren’t already enough new and exciting things happening in life this year, my friend Kristen (@my.book.is.calling) and I have started a Canadian book subscription box – The Uniquely Bookish Box – which will debut in October.  Visit our Instagram or Facebook pages for more information.  Our website will be launching soon, with pre-orders happening in July!

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Well, that’s about it for now!  Hopefully I’ll be around more often now that I am off work and have a bit more time on my hands.  Let me know what is new in your life – reading or otherwise!

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November Wrap-up

Happy December!  Sorry for the delay in my November wrap-up, I’ve just been too busy relaxing in my cozy, Christmasey home πŸ˜‰

Total Number of Books: 7
Total Number of Pages: 2,469
Average Pages per Book: 353
Average Rating: 4.4

Here are the books I read in November:

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The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos     β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

First of all, a huge thank you to JKS Communications and the author for sending me a copy of this book. I always gravitate towards books set in the time period of the Second World War. I love learning about the lesser-known pieces of history. The Girl They Left Behind is a fascinating and deeply moving novel based on the lives of the author’s mother and grandparents. The story gives us insight into life in Romania – first ravaged by war, then faced with political upheaval, economic uncertainty, and loss of freedom under Stalin’s rule. This novel captured my heart immediately, and had me crying within the first 50 pages. It was an emotional ride, exploring war and family relationships. The characters are deep and multi-faceted, providing an endearing and riveting read.

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Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

“I have heard that we are the uninvited.  We are the unwelcome.  We should take our misfortune elsewhere.”

Hosseini wrote this as a response to the Syrian refugee crisis, and it is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and timely work.  Written as a prayer/letter from father to son, this book is a truly masterful piece of art.  It features stunning illustrations by Dan Williams, and both the images and words are breathtakingly beautiful.  It’s short, yet impactful.  It requires slow contemplation and leaves you heartbroken.  Yet another one that brought me to tears this month…

The Return of History: Conflict, Migration, and Geopolitics in the Twenty-First Century by Jennifer Welsh   β˜…β˜…β˜….5

This was my only non-fiction read of November.  It is the book version of Welsh’s CBC Radio Massey Lecture, in which she refutes Fukuyama’s idea of “progress,” and argues that many of our past struggles – the ones we presumed would disappear or be solved – have returned. She discusses the mass movement of refugees and displaced populations, the invasion and annexation of territories, and the continued attempts to annihilate ethnic and religious minorities.  This is clearly intended as more of a surface overview than a deep dive into the problems and potential solutions.  It is interesting, and provides a good entry point for those interested in the current state of our world.

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Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young.   β˜…β˜…β˜….5

I am still a bit torn about this one.  I was so excited to read this book – a stunning Viking-esque cover, a badass female protagonist, and an interesting premise.  The novel starts out strong by thrusting us straight into battle with Eelyn.  Right from the beginning I felt immersed in the story, and subsequently drawn in by Eelyn’s emotional turmoil as she discovers that her brother – who she thought she saw die previously in battle – is still alive and now fighting alongside the enemy tribe.  I was eager for the mystery to unravel, and as a history and mythology nerd, I delighted in the Viking-inspired setting.  Ultimately, I was not fully captivated throughout the whole novel.  There were a few points where I really had to push myself to keep reading.  I suppose it just wasn’t as impactful as I had anticipated.  I had trouble connecting with most of the characters, and I wasn’t thrilled about the romance that seemed to develop abruptly.  I did enjoy the book, but it didn’t “wow” me as I expected it would.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… (just all of the stars in existence…)

First of all, I can’t believe it took me this many years to read The Book Thief.  It graces many book nerds’ all-time favourites list, so I suppose my hesitation was due to the fact that I had high hopes and did not want to be let down.  Well, I can tell you that I was certainly NOT disappointed in any way.  The Book Thief is everything I want and need in a story.  It gave me the most horrendous book hangover I’ve ever experienced, and I know that I will re-read it over and over again, just to spend more time with the characters.  Zusak’s writing is so poetic, and the fact that this novel is narrated by Death makes it so unique and fascinating!  I could go on and on and on about this book, but I need to finish this post, so I’ll exercise restraint.

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli     β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

This was such a fun and endearing read!  I absolutely adore the characters, and was drawn into the story right away.  It was a quick and light-hearted read.  Now I NEED to see the movie…

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee     β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

This is another one that I had so much fun reading! From the outset, I loved and hated Monty.  He is one of the most entertaining protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and his wit and sarcasm had me giggling constantly.  I just adored his relationship with Percy.  This book is full of humour, adventure, and romance!  Plus it’s set in history, with English gentlemen being not-so-gentlemanly.  Just read it!

Looking back at my TBR for November, I read ONE of the five books I had planned to read.  In my defence, I did disclose that I am horrible at following a set TBR…

I’m currently reading:

  • Witch Born by Nicholas Bowling
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch (FINALLY!!!)

Two books that I am DETERMINED to read in December (because I need all the magical reads this month) are:

  • The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale
  • Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Let’s see if I can accomplish that at least! πŸ˜‰


How was your reading month? Any amazing recommendations?

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October Wrap-Up & November TBR

β€œOctober extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I can’t believe it is already November! The last stubborn leaves have given up and fallen to the ground, where they’ve been covered in heavy frosts and falling raindrops. We’ve been gravitating towards our comfort foods, and our home, yard and vehicle are now ready for the blanket of snow that will soon cover us…

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October Wrap-up:

October was a decent reading month for me. I didn’t finish as many books as I’d have liked to, but I have completed my 2018 reading challenge: I’ve read 60/60 books!  I also didn’t have any 5-star reads this month, which is unusual!  I didn’t write any reviews in October, and I am struggling to read any of my NetGalley picks, because I really just despise reading on my e-reader.  If I have the option of choosing a physical book, I will read that every time – regardless of how interesting the book on my e-reader is.  The good news is that I own approximately 60 unread books…. which should last me another year without buying any (HAH, as if that will happen… )

haunted
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This House is Haunted by John Boyne

where the crawdads
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need by Naomi Klein

haunting of
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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

word is murder
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The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

I also read an amazing graphic novel of Poe’s Stories & Poems! I didn’t count it towards my challenge, but for all of you Poe fans out there: it is BEAUTIFUL!

I am still currently reading:

  • A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin Dutton

November (maybe) TBR:
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I’m horrible at actually following a set TBR, because I am a mood reader. These are some I’m really hoping to get to though.

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
  • The Toy Makers by Robert Dinsdale
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

See any books that you’ve read or want to read!? Let me know in the comments below.

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September Wrap-up

Total Number of Books: 6
Total Number of Pages: 2,162
Average Pages per Book: 360
Average Rating: 4.7

I had an amazing reading month!  I will always choose quality over quantity, and this month I read quite a few wonderful books.  I must admit that I am quite liberal with my five-star ratings, compared to most people, but if I really enjoy every aspect of a book I think it deserves those five stars! I also just know what I love in a book, so I tend to abandon other less interesting books and finish the good ones…

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The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo     β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

This book definitely fit in well with September’s changing leaves and gloomier weather.  I love that the author told the legend of Sleepy Hollow from the female perspective.  There was a nice mix of romance, suspense, witchcraft and creepiness to make this a lovely autumn read. Thank you to NetGalley for this one – I’ll be posting a full review soon!

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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald      β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

I’d read this before (ages ago), but I decided to listen to the audiobook version, narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal.  I just adore the language in this book, and it has me seriously yearning for an evening spent at a Gatsby-style party.  This era is one of my very favourite settings!

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Us Against You by Fredrik Backman     β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The day I received this in the mail I started reading it. I’m pretty sure I finished it over a weekend, because I just couldn’t put it down! I am in love with Backman’s writing, and enjoyed spending more time with the residents of Beartown.

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Harry Potter: A History of Magic     β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

This book is EVERYTHING I LOVE combined into one stunning masterpiece.  My major was history, and whilst at university I did a lot of research about magical beliefs and practices throughout history.  This essentially looks at the magical creatures and subjects in Harry Potter, and their ties to various practices and people throughout history.  It is absolutely fascinating, and is one that I will keep picking up and reading again and again.  Plus, it is illustrated and presented in such a beautiful way.

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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton     β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I was sent this book as part of the HarperCollins Canada First Look program, and I am eternally grateful because it was one of those mind-blowing reads that you will keep thinking about long after you’ve finished it! Read my full review here.

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Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover     β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

This book is a fascinating glimpse into a very different life.  I was completely captivated by the heartbreaking and unimaginable story of Tara’s childhood.

I have a really hard time sticking to a TBR list, HOWEVER since it is October, there are a few books that I am hoping to read this month:

  • This House is Haunted by John Boyne (1/3 through and loving it!)
  • The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
  • The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas
  • The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

How many books did you read in September? What were some of your favourites?

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August Wrap-up

Total Number of Books: 3
Total Number of Pages: 739
Average Pages per Book: 246
Average Rating: 4

This was far from my best reading month, but I have legitimate excuses!  At the beginning of August, Ryan’s family and friends arrived in Vancouver from England. We spent some time touring around Vancouver, then WE GOT MARRIED at the gorgeous Lac Le Jeune Wilderness Resort. It was an absolutely PERFECT day, and an amazing time spent with family and friends celebrating!

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Here are the books I read in August:

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Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜† (3.5)

I was ecstatic to win this book in a giveaway by Raincoast books, as it had been on my radar! A Black Police Detective infiltrating the KKK!?!?!? The premise instantly intrigued me. While I found the book absolutely fascinating, the writing was not overly captivating. Interesting, but not “wow” for me. I feel like this COULD have been one of those amazing, mind-blowing books, but it just fell a little flat.

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

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A moody and atmospheric read, delving into family relationships and the dark secrets and memories that lay beneath the surface of the beautiful and iconic setting. I don’t want to say too much, as I’m in the process of writing a full review. I will say that it’s the perfect autumn read (expected to be published October 23), and I love love loved the main character Linden.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows    β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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I made myself read this (or rather listen to it via audiobook) before watching the movie. I ADORED it!!!! At first it was a bit difficult to keep track of all the characters, but I completely fell in love with each and every one of them – well, maybe not Mark. If epistolary novels are not your thing, then you probably won’t enjoy this; however, I found the letters incredibly entertaining, and they allowed the authentic voice of each character to shine through. While reading it, I kept wondering, “How on earth are they going to make this into a movie?” I think they did an excellent job! I’m definitely buying the book and reading it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book OR movie.

Now that summer holidays are over, I am hoping to get more reading done! I am currently reading A Storm of Swords, A Place for Us, and Educated. I also just received The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, and it sounds like such a good one that I am being swayed to start it, even though I already have enough books on the go. Ahhhh!!!!


Have you read any of these books? Thoughts?

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