Week In Review

December 30 – January 5

Happy Sunday! This week was very relaxing, and I have to go back to work tomorrow after two weeks off for the holidays. I forget how to do anything job-related so tomorrow should be interesting!

I spent my New Year’s Eve watching old episodes of Coronation Street and of course watching BTS perform on the New Year’s Rocking Eve show. It was a great way to ring in the new year!

I also watched a bunch of stuff on my holidays:

Big Little Lies season two;

The Lighthouse (very strange but I think I liked it);

One Cut of the Dead (one of the most fun and clever movies I’ve seen in a while);

Ready or Not (better than I expected);

Stuber (not as good as I hoped for);

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (ventured out into the world to catch this in the theatre);

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (very fun);

The Downton Abbey movie;

The Hitman’s Bodyguard; and

The Raid: Redemption (fantastic!).

I’ve really enjoyed these last couple of weeks, but I might be about ready to get into the real world again this week.

New books:

I stocked up again on some new books for my ereader thanks to sales and Christmas gift cards:

An Anonymous Girl, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen;

The Dead Girls Club, Damien Angelica Walters;

The Remaking, Clay McLeod Chapman;

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, Christina Lauren;

Murder Lo Mein and Wonton Terror, Vivien Chien; and

Permanent Record, Mary H.K. Choi.

Books read:

As usual, I didn’t read as many books on my time off as I wanted to, but I still think I did well. This past week, I finished reading five books:

Vicious, V. E. Schwab (re-read);

The Widow of Rose House, Diana Biller;

Mind of Winter, Laura Kasischke;

Miracle Creek, Angie Kim; and

Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 1, Sui Ishida.

Current reads:

I’m reading one of my library ebooks, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia, and one from my ‘owned’ shelf, Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly (which I’m loving so far – very creepy).

Reviews and posts:

The blog was busy this week! I shared my November Quick Lit post, 2019 End of Year survey, New Year’s greeting, 2020 bookish goals, and my review of Chosen (Slayer #2) by Kiersten White.

It’s time to get cozy and make the most of my last day off before getting back to the real world tomorrow. Happy 2020 and happy Sunday!

Chosen

ChosenChosen

By Kiersten White

Series: Slayer #2
Source Received from the publisher

Published by Simon Pulse
on January 7, 2020

Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

three-half-stars

Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom.

And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right?

The darkness always finds you. And once again, it’s coming for the Slayer.

I loved Slayer when I read it in 2019, so I was very excited to read this sequel. While I enjoyed Chosen, I didn’t love it as much as I did Slayer.

I appreciate what the author was trying to do by separating Nina and Artemis, but that didn’t really work for me. View Spoiler »

But I loved the links to the Buffyverse and the appearance of certain characters, however briefly, into this story. I also thought the action scenes were well written and the setting – the Watcher’s castle – was fun. And the way different characters dealt with the events of Slayer were interesting to see.

Overall, while I don’t think this was as strong as Slayer, I enjoyed it and definitely want to see where Nina’s story goes next.

three-half-stars

2020 Bookish Goals

I don’t really make resolutions for the new year, but I did make a list in my bookish Trello for some goals I have for my 2020 reading life:

DNF Books I’m Not Enjoying

This is something I’ve gotten better at every year. And it’s only January 1 at the time I’m writing this and I’ve already DNFd a book I only read a couple chapters of but just wasn’t feeling, and by putting that down, I was able to finish another book that I ended up loving (Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke).

Last year I even went back to two books that I’d DNFd earlier and wound up finishing them, so walking away from a book doesn’t mean I’ll never pick it back up again, but I am definitely going to keep working on this for 2020.

Read One Physical Book From My Shelves Each Month

I’ve been better at reading books I own off my Kobo, but by focusing on that and my library books (I was very heavily using my library by the end of 2019), I’ve neglected the books on my own physical bookshelves. So I’m trying to make a short TBR for each month this year with a small number of books on it (which will hopefully allow for me to continue to be a mood reader, but with a bit more structure), including at least one that I own and have on my shelves already.

Read And Review My Netgalley Books

I don’t have a ton of Netgalley books (I use Edelweiss more), but I would like to read the ones I do have and review them this year to get my feedback ratio up!

Finish the Throne of Glass Series

I’ve read the first four books in the series, and I already own the rest, so I would like to see if I can finish this series in 2020. I have three left, so hopefully by the end of 2020 I’m listing this as an accomplishment!

Do you have any resolutions or goals for 2020 and/or your reading life? Let me know!

Happy New Year!

Welcome, 2020! I’m excited for a new year, more books to read, and the feeling of optimism and possibility that a new year brings me.

2019 End Of Year Survey

It’s time for the 2019 end of year survey!

This is an annual survey by Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner for books read in 2019. I love looking back at what I read over the course of the year, and getting excited for a new year of reading coming up!

(Note: I’ve left off the questions that I didn’t answer, but you can check out all of the survey questions on Jamie’s blog)

2019 Reading Stats

Number of books you read:

I read 130 books this year, which is way more than I thought I would read! I initially set my Goodreads goal at 100 books, then partway through the year, I lowered it to 85, since I didn’t think I’d hit 100. But near the end of the summer, I got my reading mojo back and I was flying through books!

Number of re-reads:

Just one! I reread Vicious by Victoria Schwab for the third or fourth time.

Genre you read from the most:

I think I read more mysteries/thrillers than anything else this year.

Best In Books

Best book you read in 2019:

Maybe Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. That was my favourite read of 2019.

Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t:

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky.

Most surprising book you read:

As Long As We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney. I loved the way it kept me guessing.

Best series started in 2019? Best sequel of 2019?

Started: The Locked Tomb by Tamsyn Muir (with Gideon the Ninth being the first in the series).

Sequel: Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab (Cassidy Blake #2).

Favourite new author you discovered:

Tamsyn Muir!

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone:

I hardly ever read non-fiction, but I read and enjoyed The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year:

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling was pretty much impossible to put down once I started reading!

Book you read in 2019 that you would be most likely to re-read next year:

I am really not a re-reader, but Come Closer by Sara Gran was such a quick, fun read that I could see myself reading it again around Halloween next year.

Favourite cover of a book read in 2019:

Gideon the Ninth and The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones.

Most memorable character of 2019:

Harrowhark Nonagesimus from Gideon the Ninth.

Most beautifully written book read in 2019:

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2019:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo! I read it at the beginning of the year and I have kept up with the ideas of the KonMari method for sorting and organizing, and only keeping the objects which spark joy.

Shortest and longest books read in 2019:

Shortest: The Grownup, Gillian Flynn (64 pages)

Longest: Wanderers, Chuck Wendig (782 pages)

Book that shocked you the most (eg. due to a plot twist, character death, etc.)

As Long As We Both Shall Live, and Gideon the Ninth!

OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!):

Alva and Sam from The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller.

Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year:

I loved the relationship between Claire and Hero in The Library of the Unwritten, by A.J. Hackwith (one of my favourite books of the year).

Favourite book read in 2019 by an author you’ve read previously:

The Bone Houses. I read Emily Lloyd-Jones’ previous book The Hearts We Sold a couple of years ago and didn’t love it, so it was a pleasant surprise that I loved The Bones Houses.

Also, The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware. I’ve read some of her other books and thought they were fine, but I thought The Turn of the Key was really good.

Best book read in 2019 that you read solely based on a recommendation from someone else/peer pressure/bookstagram, etc.:

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary.

Best 2019 debut you read:

The Library of the Unwritten and Gideon the Ninth.

Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting read in 2019:

The setting in The Luminous Dead was quite vivid. At times I could feel the walls of the caves closing in as I read.

Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read:

I know I keep answering Gideon the Ninth for a lot of these, but it really was so much fun to read!

Also, Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston!

Hidden gem of the year:

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett! It was a sweet, fun mystery-romance that I sort of checked out from the library at random and then really enjoyed.

Most unique book read in 2019:

There were lots of unique books this year! The Library of the Unwritten had a great concept. The Need by Helen Phillips was certainly unique. And The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa.

Your Blogging/Bookish Life

New favourite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2019:

Not a recent discovery, but I’ve really enjoyed Lindsey of BringMyBooks on Instagram for the things she posts about bookish organization!

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019:

Reaching and then exceeding my Goodreads goal this year, since I didn’t think I would get there.

Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.):

I’ve been waiting for the Bookly app (which I think used to be called BookIt or BookOut or something) to be available for Android, and towards the end of the year I discovered that it was! I’ve loved using it to track my reading time.

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

My Goodreads goal!

Looking Ahead

One book you didn’t get to in 2019 but which will be a priority in 2020:

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.

Book you are most anticipating for 2020 (non-debut):

I am really looking forward to Riley Sager’s upcoming book, Home Before Dark.

Most anticipated 2020 debut:

The Return by Rachel Harrison. I love a good thriller!

Sequel/series ender you are most anticipating in 2020:

Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #2) by Tamsyn Muir, of course!

Other sequels that I’m looking forward to are Deathless Divide (Dread Nation #2) by Justina Ireland; Twisted Fates (Dark Stars #2) by Danielle Rollins; and Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3) by Victoria Schwab.

One thing you hope to do/accomplish in your reading/blogging life in 2020:

I probably say this every year, but I’d like to do better at making and sticking with a loose monthly TBR, so that I can read from a variety of sources (library, ARCs, my owned books).

A 2020 release you’ve already read and recommend:

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen. This is out on January 7, I think, and I definitely recommend it!

I can’t believe another year has gone by already! I am super excited for a new year of reading and blogging. Bring on 2020 and new books!

Quick Lit

November 2019

I’ve been reading a lot lately, and not always feeling like I want to write a full review for each book read (or sometimes I just don’t have much to say about a book). So I was inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit posts, as well as Hannah at So Obsessed With‘s monthly Quick Lit posts, and decided to do something similar as a way to briefly discuss the books I read in a month but don’t write full reviews for.

I read 16 books in November, and I’ve reviewed (or have reviews coming up) for nine of them. So here are my thoughts on the other seven books.

Watcher in the Woods (Rockton #4), Kelley Armstrong (ARC) – 3/5 stars

I received this ARC a while back and read it without initially realizing that it was book number four in a series. But I think the book set out the necessary background information well enough. I didn’t love this one, so I don’t think I’ll be going back to read the series from the beginning, but I am looking forward to the next in the series, since it seems like it will feature my favourite character in this book more.

It Ends With Us, Colleen Hoover (owned) – 3/5 stars

I thought this was going to be a lighter story than it was, I’m not sure why. I liked aspects of this but at times it was too much for me. I was really wishy-washy on my enjoyment of this one.

If, Then, Kate Hope Day (library) – 3/5 stars

Great premise, but while reading it I didn’t really connect to the characters or feel anything beyond curiosity to see how it would turn out.

The Memory Police, Yoko Ogawa (library) – 4/5 stars

This was a strange and fascinating book, but I ended up not writing a full review because I wasn’t sure how to put into words the way it made me feel. But I quite liked it.

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), Sarah J. Maas

I started reading this book years ago and one day put it down around halfway through, and just never picked it back up. But eventually, I was bothered enough by not finishing this book that I decided I would read the rest. And it was fine, but I think I loved the first couple books in this series much more than I’ve liked the books as the series has gone on.

But I will carry on, and try to finish the series in 2020.

The Beautiful, Renee Ahdieh (library) – 3/5 stars

I enjoyed aspects of this book, but it took me a really long time to get into it, and it felt too long. But it had a very intriguing ending.

The Monster of Elendhaven, Jennifer Giesbrecht (library) – 2/5 stars

I really wanted to like this one, but I really didn’t.

That’s it for my November reading!

Week In Review

December 23 – 29

I am so happy that I have one more week of vacation! I had a lovely Christmas but the past week feels like it went by in a blur, so I’m looking forward to a few more days to curl up on the couch and read.

I haven’t actually managed to spend much time reading the past few days, but I’m hoping to read at least two more books before the end of the year.

I finished watching The Mandalorian and The Witcher, and I watched two movies from my list (Ready or Not and John Wick 3, both of which I loved). I also caught up on Coronation Street, which didn’t disappoint with its dramatic Christmas episodes!

New books:

I received two packages today (Sunday delivery!) from Raincoast Books and Penguin Random House Canada:

Thank you Raincoast!

The Shadows Between Us, Tricia Levenseller;

Rogue Princess, B.R. Myers;

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada!

The Vanishing Deep, Astrid Scholte; and

Girls Save the World in This One, Ash Parsons.

I wasn’t sure that I was going to read Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill, but I got it on Kobo’s deal of the day for a few bucks, so I’ll probably be reading this for my next non-fiction book.

And of course, I have more library books! Well, just one this week, but it’s an ebook that I have been waiting on for what feels like ages:

Miracle Creek, Angie Kim.

Books read:

I finished reading five books, which brings my total up to 128 for the year so far:

Into the Crooked Place, Alexandra Christo;

The Girl From the Other Side, Nagabe (a graphic novel that I totally loved);

Blood Countess, Lana Popovic;

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, Olga Tokarczuk; and

The Luminous Dead, Caitlin Starling.

Current reads:

I am nearly done my slow re-read of Victoria Schwab’s Vicious, and I’ve just started to read The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller.

Reviews and posts:

I posted my review of The Stranger In the Woods by Michael Finkel, as well as my post of my favourite reads of 2019.

It’s time to snuggle up and enjoy the rest of my vacation! Happy Sunday!

The Stranger In The Woods

The Stranger In The WoodsThe Stranger In The Woods

By Michael Finkel

Source Purchased

Published by Knopf Publishing Group
on March 7, 2017

four-stars

Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.

In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life–why did he leave? what did he learn?–as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.

I don’t read much nonfiction, but this synopsis grabbed my attention and I knew it was one I had to read. This was such a fascinating story! I admit, I think a lot about walking away from society and living as I wish. I’m a shy, anxious introvert and I often prefer my own company to anyone else’s.

But as this book showed me, I don’t think that’s something to actually do! Even a curmudgeon like me would miss out on some sort of human connection, conversation, community. And what about the new stories I would miss living in the middle of nowhere, cut off from the world??

Of course, as the book makes clear, Christopher wasn’t totally cut off from the world. He survived by stealing from nearby homes, including food, books, handheld video games – so the debate in the hermit community about whether or not he was a true hermit was fairly heated.

And part of what makes this story so fascinating and intriguing to me even after I’d finished reading was that the reader doesn’t really get any quick answers. While the author speaks with Christopher several times, Christopher is not necessarily willing to open up and share his innermost thoughts, which of course I understand.

This was a really quick read. I didn’t want to put it down once I started, and the chapters are fairly short. The author did a really great job laying out the story, giving as much background on Christopher as he could, but for me it felt like the author inserted himself into the narrative a bit too much.

Of the few nonfiction books I read in 2019, this was definitely my favourite!

four-stars

Favourite Reads of 2019

Today I’m talking about my favourite reads of 2019. I always love looking back over the books I read each year, and this year I surprised myself and read way more books than I have in recent years.

So I thought that would make it difficult to pick just ten favourites, but as I looked back over what I read, I realized that while I enjoyed many books this year, there didn’t seem to be a ton that I loved. So that makes these books extra special to me, because I read lots of good books but very few great books in 2019.

(Sidenote: I believe all of my picks this year were written by women!)

So here are my favourites, in no particular order (links will take you to my reviews):

Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir

My favourite read of the year! This was a fantastic science fiction story that kept me guessing as to what was going to happen, and it was full of magic and skeletons and necromancers and snark. And that ending! I cannot wait for the sequel, out next year.

Red, White & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston

This was a delightful romance! Fun, funny, sweet, and as soon as I finished I knew it would be one of my 2019 favourites.

As Long As We Both Shall Live, JoAnn Chaney

With this second book, JoAnn Chaney has cemented herself as one of my favourite, auto-buy authors. This was a dark and twisty story that grabbed me right away, and I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next!

Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo

This was a really interesting dark adult story from Leigh Bardugo (definitely not YA!).

The Library of the Unwritten, A.J. Hackwith

This was such an inventive story! I absolutely loved the world and the characters, and although there is no release date yet for book two, I’m so looking forward to reading it!

The Lost Man, Jane Harper

This was a fantastic mystery, and my favourite of Jane Harper’s books.

Tunnel of Bones, Victoria Schwab

I’ve been loving this middle grade series set in Europe, about a girl who can see ghosts. It’s really fun, only a little spooky, and this second book was even better than the first!

Fleishman Is In Trouble, Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This was one of my highly-anticipated 2019 books, and I was so pleased to love it as much as I’d hoped I would! It was so good.

Severance, Ling Ma

Thought-provoking and intriguing. I loved it.

Somewhere Only We Know, Maurene Goo

Maurene Goo has long been a favourite author, and this Roman Holiday-esque story about a K-pop star and a tabloid journalist was absolutely delightful.

There you have it, my favourite reads of 2019! What did you love this year? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know!

Week In Review

December 16 – 22

I’m on Christmas vacation! I am so excited to have time off to relax and read! I unpaused all of my library holds in anticipation of having a lot of reading time, so we’ll see how many books I get through.

I’m also going to try and catch up on my shows and BTS videos, start watching something new (Witcher on Netflix probably), go see the new Star Wars movie in the theatre, possibly see Parasite again, and watch a bunch of movies at home (especially Ready or Not, John Wick 3, and The Lighthouse).

I’ve got a post coming tomorrow about my favourite books that I’ve read this year, and I’ve started working on Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner‘s annual book survey.

I also treated myself to a book cart! I’d had my eye on this one for quite a while, and finally decided to go for it. I love it! It is helping me keep my library books and books borrowed from friends organized.

New books:

I used some Christmas money to get some more books on sale for my Kobo (along with one full price book that was a treat):

Theme Music, T. Marie Vandelly;

American Royals, Katharine McGee;

The Hole, Hye-Young Pyun;

The Luminous Dead, Catilin Starling;

The Test, Sylvain Neuvel; and

Zombie Abbey, Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

I also snagged several more library books, e-books, and manga , some of which you can see in the top shelf of my book cart:

Caster, Elsie Chapman;

Latchkey (Archivist Wasp Saga #2), Nicole Kornher-Stace;

The Safest Lies, Megan Miranda;

All the Bad Apples, Moira Fowley-Doyle;

Deadfall (Blackbird #2), Anna Carey;

Deathnote, Vol. 1, Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata (Illustrator);

Eight Will Fall, Sarah Harian;

Screen Queens, Lori Goldstein;

Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 1, Sui Ishida;

Wildcard (Warcross #2), Marie Lu;

All-American Muslim Girl, Nadine Jolie Courtney;

The Girl From the Other Side, Vol. 1, Nagabe;

The Widow of Rose House, Diana Biller; and

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, Kate Racculia.

I love my library!

I also received some e-ARCs via Edelweiss that I’m excited about:

Clown in a Cornfield, Adam Cesare;

Ghost Wood Song, Erica Waters; and

The Falling In Love Montage, Ciara Smyth.

Books read:

I only read one book this week! I’d better pick up the pace if I’m going to make a dent in my library stack.

I finished reading Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse.

Current reads:

I’m still reading Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo. I’m also reading Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk, and an e-ARC of Blood Countess by Lana Popovic.

I’m hoping to finish one of those today or tomorrow.

Reviews:

I posted my review of The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang, and Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I hope everyone gets some time to read and relax!

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