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 out—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

★★★★★

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 satirical— 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

★★★★☆

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

★★★★☆

“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

★★★★☆

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 pages—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

★★★★☆

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 teenager—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

★★★★☆

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 series—set in New Orleans—coming in September 2020.

The Words I Never Wrote by Jane Thynne

★★★⭑☆ (3.5)

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 frequently—often when you really don’t want them to—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 😉  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    ★★★

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    ★★★★

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    ★★★★

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 ★★★★★

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    ★★★.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    ★★★

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    ★★★★★

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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