Friday, January 27, 2017

2017 First Quarter TBR: January- March

Last month as I began the not-so-fun task of packing to move, I realized just how many unread books I had on my physical shelves. Not to mention those I have on my Kobo and Kindle for PC. Many of these books I've had on my TBR for quite some time, years even! Now normally I try to read my books in the order I get them, but since I have started accepting ARCS and review books, many have been pushed back to the bottom of my pile.

For the past couple of months I have stopped accepting any new requests and have been trying to catch up on the books for review, that I fell behind on. This is also giving me the opportunity to read more from my TBR as well. And while I may have time to read more now, come April when my baby is due, I know that it will be harder to find the time to do so.

So in an effort to make a dent on my TBR this year I have been thinking about just focusing on those older books. And then I began to worry that I'd miss out on some great new releases.. Ah reader problems!

But what if I could have the best of both worlds? Make progress with my shelves, while being free to pick up newer books that catch my interest. Well Booktuber Amy from Amy C Books has come up with a solution that would work..

Check out her video for her 2017 Reads: January-March TBR:

In her video Amy shows how she has picked 6 books that she must read during the first quarter of the year. She hasn't set a particular order in which she intends to read them, giving her the freedom to read whichever she likes, as long as she does so between the months of January to March. This also gives her the freedom to read anything else during those months.

I think this is a wonderful idea! I love how it is a no-pressure challenge that helps tackle those seemingly never-ending stacks. So I have decided to give it a try! I am going to start with 4 books and perhaps increase my goal for the second quarter.

Here are the 4 books I intend to complete during the first quarter of 2017:

  1. A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware (Currently Reading)
  2. Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford 
  3. No Safe Harbor (Edge of Freedom, #1) by Elizabeth Ludwig
  4. Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18) by Janet Evanovich 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Highly Illogical Behavior
By: John Corey Whaley

Published: May 2016

Published By: Dial Books
Format Read: Hardcover 
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary 

Rating: 5/5

16 year-old Solomon Reed hasn’t left his house in the three years since his very public breakdown in his middle school’s water fountain. The secluded routine he created for himself allows him to keep his panic attacks at a minimum and he is content. That was until Lisa Praytor and Clark Robbins suddenly appeared in his life.  Unfortunately and unbeknownst to Solomon, Lisa’s intentions are more-so for her own benefit. The aspiring psychologist sees the “crazy fountain kid” as an opportunity to earn a full scholarship to one of the top colleges in the country. Lisa is determined to “fix” Solomon, no matter how immoral the approach may be.

Recently I have seen several Book Tuber’s mention John Corey Whaley’s Highly Illogical Behavior, but it wasn’t until I came across a copy at my local library that I paid much attention to it. I admit I picked it up on a whim, mostly due to the fact that it looked like a quick read. Little did I know that it would turn out to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

Knowing of the serious mental illness subject matter this book touches on, I expected the tone of the writing to be somber. However I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it is much more light hearted than that and oftentimes comical.

“Solomon lived in the only world that would have him. And even though it was quiet and mundane and sometimes lonely, it never got out of control.” Pg 1. 
As someone who has dealt with my fair share of mental illness myself, I found Solomon to be so relatable. Although his situation was far more severe than mine, I was still able to understand how he felt not being able to leave the house. The approach the author took with this character was interesting in that, Solomon was content with his situation. In his mind he had everything he needed, right there in his own home. It was his safe haven.

“This is how it always started. Everything would be fine and then a sudden sinking feeling would come over him like his chest was going to cave in. He could feel his heart bumping up against his rib cage, wanting out, quickening with every beat and then radiating down his arms and up to his temples..” Pg. 28
Another aspect of Solomon’s situation I was able to empathize with was the guilt he often felt. He felt guilty that there were many other people in this world who suffered more than he did. Personally I felt such a strong connection to this character. John Corey Whaley’s descriptions of panic attacks were spot on.

 Lisa on the other hand, was an interesting character, but her ulterior motives were most definitely immoral. Thank goodness for the inclusion of her boyfriend Clark, who was another wonderful character and I enjoyed watching his friendship with Solomon grow.

I don’t think that I have ever read another book where I have noted so many different passages, that I relate to. I found myself re-reading parts over and over again. It was a great reading experience and one that wasn’t triggering in the least. Instead I took Solomon’s story as a pick me-up, one that I intend to revisit whenever I am in need.

I would recommend John Corey Whaley’s Highly Illogical Behavior to fans of young adult fiction that are looking for a novel that is both comical and reflective. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Wrap-up: January 22, 2017

It's been a while since I last did a Sunday Wrap-up. I've been meaning to do one for the past couple of weeks, but we were having problems with our internet connection. I'm glad to be back online again.

What have I been up to? Doctors appointments and more doctors appointments. This past week has been especially busy, I was very thankful to be able to get some much needed sleep yesterday. We are all settled into our new apartment, but I'm not even half unpacked yet. Hopefully I can make a dent in the boxes this week. *Fingers crossed*.

I am now just over 27 weeks along in my pregnancy. Time is just flying by! I've been feeling great and looking forward to starting to set up my little guy's nursery.

My Reading Progress:

I am quite pleased with my reading progress lately. I've read more in the past several weeks than I have in months. It feels so good to be back on track.

I recently finished these two books:

  • Skeletons in the Attic by Judy Penz Sheluk is a mystery novel. (Click the link to read my review)
  • Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley is a young adult contemporary. My review for this book will be posted this week. 

Currently Reading

  • A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware is a historical fiction set after the great San Francisco earthquake in 1906. I've had this one on my shelf for a long time now. Glad to finally be reading it. 
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) by Rick Riordan. I'm listening to this on audio via my library's OverDrive app. 


 Hosted by: Book Date

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Skeletons in the Attic (A Marketville Mystery, #1) by Judy Penz Sheluk

Skeletons in the Attic
(A Marketville Mystery, #1)
By: Judy Penz Sheluk

Published: August 2016
Published By: Imajin Books
Format Read: Kindle for PC
Genre: Mystery

Rating: 3.5/5

I was sent a copy of Skeletons in the Attic (A Marketville Mystery Book 1) by Judy Penz Sheluk, from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Valentines Day, 1986 was the last day Calamity “Callie” Barnstable ever saw her mother. She never knew what had become of her, all those years being raised by a single father and time blurred the few memories she had of the woman. Did she just up and leave behind her husband and small child? Callie’s father suspected something far more sinister. However it wasn’t until his untimely death, 30 years later that Callie would begin to uncover the truth about what happened all those years ago. Her inheritance would take her back to the town of Marketville and the house they had lived in during the time of her mother’s disappearance. Skeletons in the Attic follows Callie as she works to fulfill her father’s last wish of solving the mystery, while renovating the family home.

Skeletons in the Attic is the second book I have read by local author Judy Penz Sheluk. Even though her first book The Hanged Man’s Noose is from a different series, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of its characters make a guest appearance in this book. Another similarity I appreciated was that the settings are loosely based on locations in Southern Ontario that I am familiar with. This made it so easy for me to imagine them in my mind.

If one were to judge a book by it’s over they may think that this first book in the Marketville Mystery series is a cozy mystery. However there is definitely more meat to Judy Penz Sheluk’s writing than that. I find that her stories have tended to be a bit darker than those in that genre and with a lot more backstory.

It was interesting to follow along as more and more skeletons came out of the attic, so to speak. And there were certainly plenty to uncover, from just about everyone relating to the mystery of Abby Barnstable’s disappearance.

Unfortunately I had trouble warming up to our main character Callie. I felt her to be quite detached on a personal level and lacked compassion. However I do understand that this was a product of how she was raised. I never quite understood why her father chose to have her investigate  the way he did. Surely a man who loved his daughter as much as the story claimed would have found a less cruel way to approach her mother’s disappearance.

All in all I found Skeletons in the Attic to be an interesting mystery that kept my attention throughout. I can’t help but wonder what direction the author will take the second book in this series, as there are plenty of shady characters from this book who could be expanded on. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wishing You Were Here by Catherine Chant

Wishing You Were Here
By: Catherine Chant

Published: December, 2012
Published By: Catherine Chant
Format Read: Kindle for PC
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance 

Rating: 4/5 

I was sent a copy of Wishing You Were Here by Catherine Chant from the author in exchange for an honest review.

17 year-old Callie is rummaging through her Grandmother’s attic one day when she comes across a record of a 1950’s Elvis Pressley style musician by the name of Joey Tempo. As a music lover, she is surprised to have never heard of him before and is eager to learn more about the handsome man on the record cover. While listening to his songs, Callie is saddened to learn that Joey was killed in a plane crash shortly after his career took off in 1957. There was something about his songs that draw her in and captivate her like nothing ever had before. Then all of a sudden, like she had been hypnotized Callie is sent back in time to right before Joey was to step onto the plane that would seal his fate. She feels she must save the star thus ensuring further success in his career.

My kind of time travel:
The concept of time travel is something that intrigues me, but I admit that I am quite picky with the books I read that focuses on this idea. I am not a big fan of science fiction or fantasy, so technical time travel having to do with time machines and the like don’t really appeal to me. However I do like it when it involves a more fate based storyline, like Wishing You Were Here has. As a music lover myself, the idea of an Elvis Pressley style character also really caught my attention.

50’s charm:
Set in a small American town of Shelby Falls, Chant paints a picture of a typical 1950’s era setting. Complete with the small-town support, drugstore diners and ice cream shops. Think Grease. While others may find these descriptions clichΓ©, I loved them all.

Make it or break it:
Although a cute romance, Wishing You Were Here examines the power the record industry holds over their artists. They can make or break a career with the snap of their fingers. This still rings true today, just as much as it did during the time period that this book was set in.

Oh Callie!
Callie was definitely a 2000’s girl with the ideals to match. This didn’t exactly bode well for a young woman trying to pass off as someone coming of age in the late 1950’s. There were times when I wanted to shake her for stepping outside the character she was trying to keep up. I found her attitude to boarder on disrespectful, like an angst-ridden teen. She was also quite meddlesome with Joey’s career, although I know she only wanted what was best for him.

How about that plot twist?
I admit that earlier on in this book, I found some passages to be repetitive making me roll my eyes. However I really enjoyed this story and was able to set aside the unrealistic more often than not. I enjoyed reading along as all was revealed and honestly didn’t see the plot twist coming near the end.

Further reading and recommendations:

I look forward to reading the follow-up novella, as well as the sequel to this series soon. Wishing You Were Here is a fun contemporary romance-style read with a time travel twist. I would recommend it to fans of that genre and think that it would make for an enjoyable beach read. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Challenge Wrap-up

Let's see how I did with my challenges throughout the year...

2016 Challenge Wrap-up

The Canadian Book Challenge #9

Duration: July 1. 2015 - July 1 2016
Objective: To read as many Canadian books throughout the year. 
Books Read: 8/13 

Comments: Even though I didn't get to 13 I am quite happy with the 8 Canadian books I read during this time frame. 

2016 New Release Challenge

Duration: January-December 2016
Objective: To read as many newly released books as possible.
Books Read: 14/15 (Level: New Release Newbie)

Comments: One book shy of my goal, but still pleased with the number of new releases I read in 2016. 

2016 Netgalley Reading Challenge

Duration: January-December 2016
Objective: To read as many Netgalley's throughout the year as possible. 
Books Read: 6/10

Comments: This challenge helped me use and get to know Netgalley more than I had before. 

Mount TBR Reading Challenge 

Duration: January-December 2016
Objective: To read books from my own collection.
Books Read: 12/12 (Level: Pike's Peak)

Comments: Yay, I completed this challenge! I really enjoyed this one. Its a great way to motivate yourself to read the books you own.

2016 E-book Reading Challenge 

Duration: January-December 2016
Objective: To read as many e-Books throughout the year as possible.
Books Read: 21/25

Comments: 21 books is a good number in my opinion. I'm not upset that I didn't complete this goal. 

How did you do with your challenges in 2016? Did you complete any? If you did a wrap-up like this, please leave me your links so I can check out your post. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

2016 Recap: In the Stars

Back again with another wrap-up for 2016. Today I will be sharing with you the books I read each month and how I rated them.

2016 Recap: In the Stars


Books read: 8

Top books of the month:

4 Stars

Books Read: 4
Top Book of the Month:

5 Stars

4 Stars 
3 Stars 


Books Read: 6
Top Book for the Month: 

5 Stars:


Books Read: 9
Top Books of the Month:

4 Stars:

3.5 Stars 
3 Stars: 


Books Read: 6 
Top Books of the Month:

4 Stars:

3.5 Stars 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 End of the Year Book Survey

Happy 2017 everyone! I hope that the last year was good to you and that you had a wonderful New Years Eve. 

Today I will be sharing my 2016 End of the Year Book Survey. This survey was created by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner. If you are interested in posting your own, click on the link to visit the original copy. Also if you have participated, please leave me your links in the comments so I can check out your surveys. 

2016 Reading Stats
Number of books read: 51
Number of re-reads: 3
Genre you read the most from:

Note: Many books are categorized under multiple genres. I originally compiled this post earlier in the week, but have since finished one more book. My total stats above reflect that completed book, but unfortunately these charts do not. 

Best in Books

1.    Best book you read in 2016?
Oh dear, this is a hard one.. So I will just say my top 4..

2.    Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t?

3.    Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book that you read?

I was surprised that I enjoyed The Lightning Thief (PercyJackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan, as much as I did. Also Wishing You Were Here by Catherine Chant was better than I expected. 

4.    Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did!)
I’ve been encouraging people to read The Munich Girl byPhyllis Edgerly Ring, a lot this year.

5.    Best series you started in 2016? Best sequel of 2016? Best series ender of 2016?

Best Series Started: Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Best Series Ender: I didn’t complete any book series in 2016

6.    Favourite new author you discovered in 2016?

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

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (I normally struggle with classics.)

8.    Most action packed/thrilling/un-put-downable book of the year?

9.    Book you read in 2016 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
I have so many books on my TBR that I haven’t read yet, that I will be reading in 2017. I probably won’t have time to re-read any I read in 2016.

10.                      Favourite cover of a book read in 2016?

11.                      Most memorable character of 2016?

Grover or Tyson from The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.

12.                      Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

13.                      Most thought provoking/ life changing book of 2016?

14.                      You can’t believe you waited until 2016 to finally read?

15.                      Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2016?

16.                      Shortest and longest book read in 2016?

17.                      Book that shocked you the most?
I wasn’t overly shocked by any of the books I read in 2016.

18.                      OTP pairing of 2016? (One true pairing.)

19.                      Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Percy and Grover from The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

20.                      Favourite book you read in 2016 from an author you’ve read previously?

21.                      Best book you read in 2016 that you read based solely on a recommendation from somebody else/peer pressure?
The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

22.                      Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

23.                      Best 2016 debut you read?

24.                      Best world building/ Most vivid setting you read in 2016?

The Girl in the Castle (Deverill Chronicles #1) by Santa Montefiore

25.                      Book that put a smile on your face/ Was the most fun to read?

26.                      Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2016?

27.                      Hidden gem of the year?

28.                      Book that crushed your soul?

29.                      Most unique book you read in 2016?

30.                      Book that made you the most mad? 

Blaming the Wind by Alessandra Harris (due to character decisions.)

Your Blogging/Bookish Life
1.    New favourite book blog you discovered in 2016?
Read all the Things!

3.    Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
When I was posting my regular Sunday Wrap-ups and linking up with The Sunday Post and It’s Monday! What are you reading?

4.    The best event that you participated in?
I really enjoyed participating in the Bout of Book Read-a-thons.

5.    Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?
Being sent some amazing books by authors and then continuing to keep in contact with them, even after I had reviewed their books.

6.    Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I have been dealing with a lot of personal things and health issues since earlier this summer, so unfortunately my blogging and reading have had to take a back seat.

7.    Most popular post this year on your blog?
Bout of Books 17 Master Post

8.    Post you wished got a little more love?
Maybe my Worth a Watch posts.

9.    Best bookish discovery of 2016?
Discovering my husband and I both enjoy listening to audio books and finding many via my library’s OverDrive app.

10.                      Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning on the year?

I completed my Goodreads goal of reading 50 books in the year 2016.