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Fave of the Month – March!

March was such an up and down month for me. I didn’t feel like I accomplished as much as I had hoped, but my bullet journal reminded me otherwise. I went on some adventures, I worked and worked out, I’m in the process of digitizing a lot of my old paper files because the clutter is getting to me (more in a different blog post). However, as always, with the end of a new month comes a favourite book. My favourite book of the month was All The Ways Home by Elsie Chapman, which doesn’t release until May. Let’s just say, it is one of the best middle grade books I’ve read this year outside of Ruby in the Sky. Both those are worth putting on your TBR if you love middle grade.

My favourite book of the month was an adult literary novel. The book itself was a pleasant surprise from an author I fell in love with last year. Let’s reveal it, shall we?

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Published July 9th 2013 by Washington Square Press)

This is the story of a woman who asks her husband to by her Fruity Pebbles and he ends up not coming home because he is killed by a truck driver. Elise has barely been married to her husband and he is sudden taken. This book is an amazing look at grief and how we cope. I found myself understanding Elise’s actions all too well, if I’m being honest. I also loved the bits that were set in the past where Elise and Ben met and how they fell for each other. I’m somewhat of a closeted romantic, but bits of this book did have some swoon, but mostly I cried my eyes out. This is my second Taylor Jenkins Reid book and I know I am smitten with he writing now after this one and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Let’s see what April brings me!

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The Scott Challenge – January and February Selections

My husband Scott is as much an avid reader as I am. He’s always encouraging me to try different kinds of books, while also picking buzzwords for items that he knows I will read and likely love. This year, I asked him to pick a book each month that he wants me to read, whether it’s a science or fantasy novel that he knows I’ve been meaning to get to, or something he’s recently loved and wants to share. Every two months, I’ll share with you my experience of reading books my husband selections for me.

January Pick:

Red Country
by Joe Abercrombie (Published: October 23rd 2012 by Orbit)

I LOVE Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series, though hilariously I managed to skip this book and accidentally read Sharp Ends first. Red Country is, in a lot of ways, a weird Western, which I am a complete sucker for in a fantasy setting. Shy South may be my new favourite protagonist in the series (and her short story was my favourite in Sharp Ends), as she is full of gumption and grit. All the elements of a good Western are present in the story, from lawless cowfolk to gold rush fever. This book did take me awhile to get into just due to setting and style, but overall I quite loved it. 4/5 Stars.

February Pick:

Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell
by David Yaffe (Published: June 13th 2017 by Sarah Crichton Books)

My husband knows I am a huge Joni Mitchell fan. I’ve read a few books regarding her bio information in the past, but Yaffe’s book seems to be the definitive text when it comes to creating a portrait of who Mitchell was over the years. Strong in personality, her songs are a reflection of her past and the world around her. She also comes across bratty, stubborn and even callous at times, which made this book all the more interesting to read. There was so much I didn’t know regarding her illness, her depression, and even reading about her marriages was fascinating stuff. I’m really glad my husband gifted this to me two years ago and only made me read it now! 4/5 Stars.

And that’s it for now! Next update will be in May when we find out what March and April’s reads are!

Fave of the Month – February!

It’s the beginning of March, which means it’s time to check in with what I read. I would say that hands down the best book I read in February was Ruby in the Sky, but given I did a full review on it, I thought I’d share a different read worth noting as well.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas (Published February 5th 2019 by Balzer + Bray)

I feel like this book isn’t getting the same level of hype that The Hate U Give did. This book is fantastic, focusing on family and rap music. Bri creates a song that ends up going viral for the wrong reasons, and she goes on an internal journey of understanding the reactions she receives. I love this book because it’s rare in a YA book for a female character to have the level of anger that Bri does and get away with it. She’s furious, raw, and when she screws up, she’s allowed to make the mistakes and worth on self-reflection and forgiveness. Her song is also hella catchy, and I cannot wait until the film is made to hear what Bri’s song is actually going to sound like. I also loved her family, her desire to want to help her family in any way that she can. Garden Heights continues to be such a memorable place, and I cannot wait to see who Angie Thomas introduces readers to next.

All Checked Out – February 18th, 2019

Welcome to “All Checked Out,” where I share books I’ve borrowed from my local library (aka where I work).

So for those who are not aware, I am a Library Services Associate with a local library system in Ontario. A lot of my work entails technology requests, reader’s advisory, research, committee work, baby wrangler, and performing programming duties at our branch. I LOVE my job. Words cannot describe how much I love what I do for a living and the job I feel when I help patrons with any kind of request. I also work with some amazing men and women who constantly inspire me to be better every day. Library is intense and rewarding.

I thought it would be fun to once in awhile when I have a stack of library materials to show off what I’ve got in my reading queue. Here’s the first one for the year. 🙂

Here’s what I have on the stack:

I am currently reading “On the Come Up” which I am enjoying very much. Not sure if I love it as much as The Hate U Give, but I am trying to remind myself this is a very different story. Bri is wonderful and I adore her.

Have you read any of these? Comment down below and let me know if any of these are not worth my time and which ones I should prioritize. 🙂

Three Contemporary Novels I Want to Read This Summer

Summer is here and it always puts me in the mood to read contemporary. There’s just something wonderful about a summer-focused novel, be it a beach read, a summer road trip, or just an adventure in dealing with feelings that feel so brand new, contemporary is just what I want to devour throughout July and August. I thought I’d share five contemporary novels I want to get to this summer.

Finding Yvonne
by Brandy Colbert (Expected Release Date: August 7th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

I am very fortunate at the moment to have an ARC for this novel. I loved Little & Lion, and I own Pointe, which I rescued from being put in the trash at my work (old weeded copy) that I still haven’t read yet. Regardless, I was beyond impressed by Little & Lion that now Colbert is an author I watch. I love her stories that focus on family, diversity, and how change affects young people. There’s a sharpness to her words that I instantly connect with and Finding Yvonne sounds like it may break me.

The Way You Make Me Feel
by Maurene Goo (Published: May 8th 2018 by Farrar Straus Giroux Books)

I loved the comedy of errors that was I Believe in a Thing Called Love. It was cute, quirky, and just so so funny. I’ve heard great things about The Way You Make Feel, and I feel like it’s going to be a book that is going to leave me so hungry given it has to do with a summer romance and food trucks. I am not the biggest romance reader, but I like how Maurene Goo writes them, so I am in it to see what all the fun is about.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson (Published: June 5th 2018 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers)

Whenever I think of summer reads, two authors usually spring to mind: Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson. Since I have read all the Sarah Dessen, it would seem I now need to catch up on the latter, I have only read Amy & Rodger’s Epic Detour and The Unexpected Everything, both which I thoroughly enjoyed. I ended up picking up Save the Date from my local book store on a whim, and I feel like it’s going to be a fun read.

What are some contemporary books you want to check out this summer? I’d love to know in the comments.

Four Feminist Reads You Should Check Out

I have had a new obsession lately: it’s reading books about prominent women and their accomplishments. There are so many great microhistory reads out there regarding women and how they have changed the world for the better, how they fought for their rights or created something to better the world. I find this books so thoughtful, educational, and I think they are great introductions to women that you may not have heard of. Here’s five that I recently enjoyed, and I encourage you to check out.

She Persisted
by Chelsea Clinton & Alexandra Boiger

This is such a beautifully written picture book that looks at the accomplishments and can-do attitude of thirteen American women and how they were told they couldn’t do something, and they persisted. The women portrayed in this book are ones who spoke out about injustice, prejudice, who believed in kindness and strength. The illustrations in this book are so beautiful, and there’s also sequel that just released looking at women worldwide. This book features such amazing women as Harriet Tubman,  Nellie Bly, and Sally Ride!

Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World
by Pénélope Bagieu

This fantastic graphic novel provides a wonderful short story for each of the thirty-ish women portrayed in the book. Bagieu’s art is absolutely delightful and expressive, and she chooses a lot of women who have either been neglected for their accomplishments, or ladies who just didn’t give a flying hoot about being recognized because for them it was about empowering others. These short biographical comics showcase the power and strength that women posses, and that’s pretty bad ass.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women by Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo

I discovered Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls from a friend of mine who had backed the Kickstarter for this series. I love the way this book is laid out, with over a hundred women, each with their own unique story. Each story is also written like a bedtime story, so if you’re a parent reading this book to a child, you could read a story a night with ease. There’s a heroine for every kind of reader in this book, and if you can’t find one to connect with, there’s even a sequel!

Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World
by Mackenzi Lee & Petra Eriksson

Bygone Badass Broads was a Twitter project started by author, Mackenzi Lee, who commented that there were far more amazing and forgotten women who in the world who made major contributions to society. One of my favourite ladies to learn about was Stagecoach Mary. She was such a badass and she was a favourite of the US Postal Service. Who knew, right? This book of fifty-two ladies offers women of all races, gender identities, and socio-economical backgrounds. It’s very informative and sports some gorgeous illustrations by Petra Eriksson!

If you want to learn more about female contributions and empowerment, I highly recommend reading all of the above. There’s so much diversity in each text, and it’s been so wonderful to learn about what women have accomplished over the years. Let’s continue to celebrate women more and what I hope is more books like the ones above, get into the hands of those who need them. Support women, believe women, we need more of these stories.

January Reading Roundup!

January was a very productive reading month. I read a combination of my own books and library books, and managed to complete quite a bit. One thing I have been doing is seeing if my library has an audiobook version of books I physically own and I have been finding it super helpful to tackle things I want to read, but haven’t necessarily tackled yet. Audiobooks have been a bit of a godsend right now as I work through cleaning and purging my house. I will share a Shelf of Shame photo update perhaps at the end of Feburary just so you can all see what the stats has been on that project.

Here’s the January reads I knocked out from my personal collection:

I am pretty pleased with this pile, even if it mostly came from the ARC shelf. Point is that I need to read what I own and I think that counts just fine. 🙂 Favourites from this stack were a toss up between The Closest I’ve Come by Fred Aceves and A List of Cages by Robin Roe, both which just emotionally affected me in great ways. I highly recommend those two for sure!

Here’s what I read from the library (no photo since the majority of these guys were already taken back).

  • The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
  • #Weratedogs: The Most Hilarious and Adorable Pups You’ve Ever Seen by Matt Nelson
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
  • Burning In This Midnight Dream by Louise Bernice Halfe
  • Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds
  • Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate by Zoe Quinn
  • Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
  • Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky  by Seanan McGuire

I am not going to focus too much about the books above, but needless to say, all of the ones I read above were fantastic and totally worth your time.

Then lastly, books I borrowed.

  • Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

I borrowed this one from a girlfriend of mine years ago and I FINALLY read it. I put it on my monthly goals list to complete just so the motivation was where. I liked it, though it is a very dense fantasy classic. Not sure if it’s one I’d ever read again, but I am happy I have knocked it out.

I am hoping February is as much a productive reading month as January was. I only acquired three books in the month, which I think is amazing given how my old book buying habits were. Two were books sent me (one was a gift from a friend, the other from a publisher) and I bought the one Jason Reynolds book my library didn’t own. I am hoping to keep up with everything I am sent this year, and again, I think it’s totally doable, but I will need to just keep at it.

Let me know if you’ve read any of the books above. I’d love to know your thoughts!