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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Stefanie's Thoughts: Ready Player One

In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

Hey everyone,

So I did something I normally don't: I watched the movie version before I read the book. This is a very rare occurrence for me (I even have a bag from Chapters that says the book was better..). But seeing the movie just worked out better for this one: plus my hold for the book at the library wasn't ready for pickup yet. 

This book took for me 18 days to read, which also never happens. With everything going on in my life right now, reading took a back seat (but I did end up reading the last section in a day so there's that at least) but that pesky reminder from the library about needing to return this in three days really got me to speed read the last portion of it.

I really enjoyed Ready Player One from the start. I found the prologue a bit wordy, but chapter one got the adventure going. I loved the crazy and random 80s pop culture references, personally, my two favorite references were the ones that referred to Quidditch and the other about Ewoks. A side note: I'm obsessed with Ewoks, even have one from Disneyland that I made sure I bought when I last went to Disneyland. The 80s music references were also great and honestly had me singing those songs in my head after they were mentioned. I've read some reviews that say they hated all the constant references and found it took away from the story, but I found them to be rather pleasant!

After around the search for the second clue is where my interest faded. I found the chapters to go from amazing and holding my attention, to me skipping through them hoping it would get better. I don't know why this sudden change happened; it almost felt like two different authors wrote this book from this point. The writing was inflated and this was when the constant references felt they brought the story down and slowed the pace.

I found our main character Wade grew super annoying as the book went on. he at first seemed like the guy next door you can side with and want to be friends with; he then slowly turned into this, I don't even know how to describe it, almost like that guy at school you want to avoid at all costs because he's some massive annoying jerk.

Artemis was my favorite character, both in the movie and book. She had this whole level I could relate to going for her. Being the only female character in a male driven story has that going for her. She wasn't some weak character, but was kick ass at everything.

What I did discover was the massive differences between the movie and the book. I actually had to check with my sister at times if what had happened in the book was portrayed in the movie (most times being nope. My sister has only seen the movie, keep in mind). I eventually got to the point of telling her all of the differences between the two, just to show her how different they are.

I felt that the movie was better; unpopular opinion I'm sure, but don't hate.The movie's first scene was epic in 3D and the plot had me completely engrossed, especially for a 2 hour and 20 minute movie. Even my sister liked it and she hates long movies (with the exception of Harry Potter).

So if I had to choose between the book or movie, this is the rare time the book wasn't better. A couple of the people I've spoken to since finishing both are pretty shocked at by opinion, but hey, can't impress everyone.

I'll find myself probably re-watching the movie and I was curious about reading Cline's second book, also sci-fi, but I'm not sure. I don't want it to start off so amazingly to end with disappointment.

I'll be off trying to figure out book to read next. I still can't believe that this took me so long to get through...

Until my next review,



Thursday, May 17, 2018

Sara's Recent Reads

Hello Friends,

A Mini Update: It has been another hot minute since I posted anything. I think the last time you've seen anything from me was back in March for my February/March wrap up. To be honest, I just didn't feel like blogging. I didn't want to sit down and write a review - no one seems to read them anyways, and I didn't have any other clever content ideas. I just didn't have anything, which was really discouraging. So, I took a break. Which was good. I kind of removed myself from all things bookish and blogging and just read! I haven't even been tracking my "stats" in my bookish bullet journal. I just read what I wanted, when I wanted. I didn't focus on my lists or goals or any of that stuff. It was glorifying and freeing. This made me SO excited to read, and boy did I: I read/listened to 25 books in the last six weeks. For me, that's a lot of books.

So here I am, all fired up again, and ready to slowly start blogging again. I wasn't sure what I would come back with, so I thought that instead of doing my monthly recap, I  would just share what I have been reading, and what's stood out to me. This is a start. I still have thoughts about blogging, and how much I have to give, but I am not gone yet.

Then She was Gone by Lisa Jewell

This one I have 4.5 stars on Goodreads. I had read Jewell's previous book some time last year and really enjoyed it. I had heard really good things about this one from a friend who read it in the UK. She adored it. I was pretty eager to get my hands on this newest thriller. So, I was pretty stoked to have won this one from Goodreads. I read it pretty quickly after receiving it, and boy did it live up to the hype. It's not a complicated story, and in all honesty, it's pretty predictable. But somehow, Jewell sucks you in and keeps you there. She writes characters that you care about it.

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

Last year, Zevin's book, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was one my top five books of the year. It absolutely blew me away. I was pretty excited to get my little hands on this.  While I enjoyed it. I was kind of surprised with how little actually happens in this story. Don't let that keep you from checking this one out though. The characters are delightful and the writing is sweet and easy to read. I flew through this, and was completely charmed by it. I gave it four stars.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This was our most recent book club read. It was a random choice for us, I absolutely loved it. This book says so much, and I really appreciated it. It sort of reminded me of The Little Prince- it gave me the same feels. I am sure a good number of you have already read this book, and are very familiar with it, so I don't need to go on and on about it. But I would recommend this to every one- particularly those who are in the process of making any kind of  decision. It really puts things into perspective.

 A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

This- I had been waiting for this. And I have to say, I was royally disappointed. I know this wasn't supposed to be an epic tale. I knew it was supposed to be a fun story that kind of filled space. What I did expect though, was a story. And that didn't really exist. ACOFAS was just kind of boring. However, I did enjoy spending time with characters I loved, and experiencing the light banter. But that was about it. To be honest, this certainly felt a little like a cash grab. But I am trash for this series and I'll probably read it forever.

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

This is my most recent read. and another one I rated highly: 4.5 Stars. The writing in this one was beautiful. The story itself was heavy and heart breaking. Leigh's mother has taken her life, and she now finds herself revisiting her mother's life. This story addresses grief, and it's painful and it was an incredible novel. 

I wasn't expecting to list five books, but it just happened that way. But those are the five books that have stuck out to me in the last number of weeks. I have some pretty exciting (to me) reading plans. But, I am not putting any pressure on myself. I don't want reading to feel like a chore (otherwise I won't do it).

I hope you enjoyed, share with me what you've been reading and enjoying. I would love to know.

~Happy Reading Everyone

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Stefanie's March Recap

Hey everyone,

It's April! Annie's got me good with April Fools, sending out an email about them changing their mascot and making it more Millennial friendly, choosing a llama as their new mascot. I almost flipped out, until they emailed the next day saying it was April Fool's...shows you how I haven't been paying attention to the months or days so far. 

March was a slower month for reading, even with Spring Break. I hit another reading slump and nothing I started was working out for me (this even happened with movies and a couple TV shows I tried to watch), but the one thing I did end up reading was Annihilation. After watching the movie I thought maybe reading the book would make me less confused about the universe. I think after reading the book I'm even more confused. I thought about trying to read book 2, but I've accepted defeat. Science and me really were never friends. 

What I Read in March:

Reaper by Kyra Leigh
Adultolescence by Gabbi Hanna
Love, Life and the List by Kasie West
Swearing Is Good For You by Emma Bryne
Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meghan Spooner
Staying Stylish by Candace Cameron Bure
Milk and Homey by Ravi Kaur
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky
New York by Megan Hess
Nothing But the Truth by Vicky Pattison
Simple Tips to Live Beautifully by Pippa O'Connor
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Total: 12

Books of the Month:


Favorite Movies of March:


without meaning to, these all seem to have pink covers. I watched one, The Loved Ones, that I think might have been the most bizarre movie I have ever seen...if you are a horror fan I would recommend you check it out. I saw Sherlock Gnomes in theatre, which was interesting to say the least. 

According to my day planner I seemed to have done a lot. We had Spring Spirit Week the week before Spring Break. My personal favorite day is Throwback Day, where I went all out glitter and side ponytail, with a pineapple t-shirt dress. 

I went to an Escape Room with a group of friends and we were able to make it out with just a minute to spare (talk about it being like a movie, leaving it to the last minute..!). It was super fun and it ended with birthday cupcakes. 

Then Spring Break ended and it was back to work I went. I hope everyone had a great March. I know for me April will be filled with Peter Pan rehearsals and then we go to performance in May. 

Until my next review, 


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Sara's February/March 2018 Wrap Up

Hello Friends,

I will probably say this every month, but I am amazed at how quickly the months are flying by! Before we know it, summer will be here. We've been hit with a wicked cold snap here in the Peg, and I am SO over it. I hate the cold. I am ready to stop wearing my winter coat and a scarf, I am ready for short pants and my Birks. Oh well, maybe in another month, I will sitting here telling you how amazing the weather has been (fingers crossed).

I missed February's wrap up as things got away from me at the end of the month.  My sister had a beautiful baby girl named Milah on the 20th of February, and I am OBSESSED with her. She's a lovely little thing. Around the same time I was having a few minor health concerns (nothing crazy and I am fine), so a wrap up kind wasn't a huge priority. 

SO, what happened in February/March: 

Oh, well, for Lent (Which went from Feb 14-Mar 31), I gave up watching TV. I did this last year for Lent, however I allowed myself to watch TV on the weekends, which didn't exactly give me the discipline I was looking for.  This year, I could watch it socially- as in if I was invited by someone to watch. This meant, I didn't watch a huge amount of TV during the week (well any really). It was kind of fun, however, really difficult at times (particularly after a hard day at work). Lent is now over, and I would like to continue restricting my TV watching, I maybe keeping it only to weekends. We'll see.

However, even with all that extra time, I still don't feel like I got a lot of reading done these last two months.  But let's get to it.

The Books:

Total Books
8/Feb & 7/Mar

4/Feb & 4/Mar

4/Feb & 3/Mar

Physical Books

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga (3 1/2 Stars)
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (4 Stars)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (5 Stars)
Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick Illustrated by Sophie Blackall (5 Stars) 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (1 1/2 Stars)
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (1 Star)
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (4 Stars)
Dearest Ivie by JR Ward (4 Stars) 


How did I not read this book before now? Completely worth the hype- 100% worth the hype. 


Audio Books

Falling into Bed with a Duke by Lorraine Heath (3 1/2 Stars)
Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan (4 Stars)
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (4 1/2 Stars)
The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz

Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones (4 Stars)
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Reread)
I've Got This Round by Mamrie Hart (4 Stars)

**So my audio book count for this month is a lie- I really should add on four more books. I listen to books 4-8 of the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones (one of which I counted above). This was completely by accident. I wanted to listen to Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet because it's my favourite in the series and I wanted to relive it, and I kind of fell down a hole after that.**


This one is SUPER surprising! A friend and I went down to Fargo (the second closest American city, about four hours away), specifically to listen to this book. And we did it.  This books is hilarious! And so insightful. I loved that it was narrated by Ansari himself. 

2018 Goal check in: To see a full list of my 2018 goals, go here

Both February and March were great. I was successful with all of them. I read two 2018 releases each month (barely), I've read at least one adult novel per month, as for non-fiction, I am at 3 for the year (I made up for January's miss by consuming two in February). I have also knocked off  TWO books from my list of seven: The Hate U Give and The Queen of Attolia.  I think sometime in April I'll do a quarterly check in or something, and share my thoughts on some of the books. I am still failing on my audio book/physical book goal. Audio books are still a thing for me. My goals is to work on that for April. 

Anywho, that was a long winded wrap up. If you're still here- Thank you! 

Until next time, 

~Happy Reading Everyone.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Stefanie's Thoughts: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings, Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list, she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being.

But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems... and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

Hey everyone,

Today I'm reviewing one of my favorite author's new book, Love, Life and the List by Kasie West. She has become an auto-buy author, and to me, she can honestly write nothing I don't like. If you are ever just looking for a fun, light-hearted book with substance then you pick up one of West's books. 

First, can we take a moment to admire that cover??

The story: this one hit right at home, because back in my teenage years (soo long ago ha) I had numerous unrequited crushes on friends (I mean, than again who didn't really during those awkward teenage years!) and it was tough. I mean I survived and all, but seriously, when are crushes ever easy...guess that's why they are called crushes.

Abby was a main character that I could totally relate too. She was full on sarcastic and I loved it; she felt so real and fleshed out. Her problems weren't just fluffy ones created to have drama in a plot, but actual issues I could see happening in real life. I think that's one of West's strengths; she always creates fleshed out, really vivid characters with actual problems you feel for, plus it's not even just the main character that is but all of them! (As I typed that, I'm not sure if I should have ended that with an exclamation point..)

I could also relate to Abby's mom with the anxiety piece. I don't have it as bad as her mom does, but I could totally see where at times her mom was coming from. I liked the inclusion of Abby's grandfather as a main character; typically I find when a grandparent is present they are either only there as a filler character, but Abby's grandfather was full of heart.

Love, Life and the List is filled with West's signature ability to write stories that end with a smile on your face, yet are filled with serious issues. Abby's father is away most of the time (I read somewhere that he was deployed, I must have missed that because I didn't pick up on that..) and they email as much as they can, but his absence is effecting (affecting, I seriously never know the answer to this...and I'm an ENGLISH MAJOR...after researching it, I'm pretty sure it's effect) Abby's home life.

Friendships are a big thing in West's books as well; Abby has her core group of Cooper, Justin and Rachel. Rachel and Justin go away for the summer and that's where the real fun with Abby and Cooper start, as the two are left alone with each other. Cooper becomes a major part of Abby's list and the two's friendship evolves, with a new friendship, and new relationships to come into play.

The concept of the list was my favorite part: I myself have a 30 to do before 30 list, which I'm going to basically fail at as I only have (shockingly) two years left to get it done. I have accomplished some of it, but Abby's list was perfect to push her out of her comfort zone and have an epic summer vacation. I think reading this when it was still snowy here made me enjoy the summer atmosphere much more.

Overall I just loved this book. I started off reading it a bit slower than I normally do, but by page 50 I was completely addicted and devoured it within a couple days. It didn't even feel like a 300+ page book to me either, and I loved that.

Solid 5 out of 5 stars!!

I can't wait for her next book, which I think comes out next month..or May, but soon!!

Until my next review,


Monday, March 19, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Sara's Spring TBR

Hello Friends,

I like to go in and out with my Top Ten Tuesday Participation, and it's been a good while since I've sat down to create this list, but I have been missing it. I am also a sucker for creating TBR lists, which is what's happening for this weeks prompt.

TTT is hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl

Books On My Spring TBR

This is especially great, because I love SPRING. I love READING in spring and I feel like I just have so many reading plans. SO, let's do this.

1) The Thief  by JR Ward - This is book Sixteen of The Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I am complete trash for it. It releases April 10th, and I buy it on release day, and I read it that first week. The series isn't as good, but I'm invested. 

2) The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondi - It's spring, and it's time to start getting rid of the junk- and I have a lot. I got this book a couple years ago for my birthday, but I haven't read it yet. I would like to and see if it prompts me to let go of some stuff. 

3) The Kind of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner - This is the third installment in The Queen's Thief series, which I am hoping to finish this year. 

4) A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas - Are you surprised? I am pretty stoked for this one. It's gonna happen. May 1st, can't wait. 

5) Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn- I am SO excited for this lady. Farrah is an old school blogger (she was like an original I feel). I am so excited for her book and I can't wait to get my hands on it. 


6) Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell - I have heard many great things about it. I really enjoyed the one other book by her that I read last year (I Found You), so should be good. 

7) The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend - You may or may not know this, but I work part time at Chapters (the bookstore), and at around Christmas time, everyone was reading Morrigan Crow and raving about it. I want it in my life. 

8) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - This is the ONLY book on this list that I am not sure I will get to.  Emily is a Canadian author, and I know of one Can-Lit read-at-thon taking place in July, that I was thinking of saving this for, but I don't know that I will. We'll see. 

9) Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - I have this book. I am committed to reading it ASAP. 

10) Wire and Nerve Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer - I flipped through this book at work a couple weeks ago and I actually really want it, and I want to read about Iko's adventures.  So it's gonna happen. 

That's my SPRING TBR for you, I hope you enjoy. Have you read any of the books on my list? Anything I absolutely need to read? which one should I start with first?

~Happy Reading Everyone

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Stefanie's Thoughts: Reaper by Kyra Leigh

Sixteen-year-old Rosie Wolf is sure when you die, you go straight to Paradise, until she wakes to discover she has died in an accident and that Paradise isn’t what she thought it would be.

Rosie Wolf was sure that when her dad died, he went to Paradise. After all, isn’t that where everyone went? But when Rosie wakes up in a strange hospital bed and finds out that she’s died in an accident, she learns things aren’t always what you think they will be.

Now her father feels further away than ever, and Rosie is left to deal with the Grim Reaper, who isn’t a man in a black cloak, but a beautiful woman with a bad attitude. The Grim Reaper tells Rosie that before she can move on to Paradise, she has to go back down to Earth and collect three souls. But Rosie quickly realizes it’s not so simple.

To complicate matters, Rosie meets Kyle, a boy who is different than anyone she’s ever known. He’s cute, smart, and funny. Rosie’s been warned to stay away from the living, but she doesn’t want to. What will happen if she doesn’t?

Hi everyone, 

Today I'm going to be reviewing a book I discovered while browsing the shelves at my local library: Reaper by Kyra Leigh. I love everything about the Grim Reaper mythology, and this book will add to the non-overly saturated market. I think there has been only one other Reaper themed YA book I've read, which was years ago. 

The concept reminded me a bit of the TV show Dead Like Me, but a toned down version. If you haven't watched it, please do! I highly recommend it and I love it! It's very dry, dark humor. Going into Reaper, I wasn't sure I would be able to connect with the main character because she's only sixteen, but I was able to. I'm finding that as I get older certain young adult books just annoy me as I just find the MC complains too much or the pages are filled with teen angst, which to be honest, I thought this book would have. But, it didn't.

The first couple chapters introducing the After Life were my favorite part. Meeting the Grim Reaper, herself (yes, she's a woman!) was excellent. She's portrayed as pretty much a bad-ass and I loved that. Her fellow staff were fun to read about as well, Brandy was my favorite of them. 

This is where Rosie is told she'll have to collect three souls to move on, or be stuck in the After World forever. Rosie chooses to reap the three souls and hopefully move on. Each newly deceased gets a personal makeover to change their appearance, I really enjoyed this part of the world, as I saw it as completely starting fresh.  

The chapters altered between present time and then flashbacks into Rosie's past. I generally don't like this and find it confusing to follow, but I found this added a layer into Rosie's characterization. Reading about her friendship with her friend Carrie added depth to Rosie. One thing I noticed was Rosie tended to drink a lot of apple cider or had that made for her and I enjoyed knowing those little details about her past. 

I loved the ending. I actually starting tearing up when I reached the final page. I'm also finding I'm getting emotional faster than I used to in regards to fictional characters. 

My only negatives are that I felt this didn't add anything new to the Reaper mythology. This is a not- regularly used trope in young adult and I was really excited to be entering into a world that made me see it differently. A couple questions were left unanswered as well, and that never sits well with me.

Overall this is a quick paced, short novel I read in two evenings. I'll keep an eye out for any future novels by this author. I think I enjoyed this one more too because I have been reading a ton of chick-lit back to back and picking up something paranormal was a good switch. I'll probably go back to a chick-lit, as I went on a huge library spree and checked out fifteen books at once. 

I'm giving this a 3.5 stars out of 5.

Until my next review,


Monday, March 5, 2018

My Thoughts: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

***Review Copy received from Simon and Schuster Canada for my honest review***

Hey Friends,

I was pretty excited to read  Shea Ernshaw's debut, The Wicked Deep, because my buddy, Stephanie (Ohana Reads) raved about his book. Like her obsession with this book is unreal, and I trust her taste, so I leapt at the chance to read it. I kind of went into the reading of this book blind, and to be honest, I was really expecting what I got from the story. I initially thought it was going to be a more historical fantasy novel, but it wasn't at all. It was more urban fantasy, and I really liked that. It's been a year and a day since I have read anything urban fantasy that I actually forgot what it was all about- anywho, that is neither here nor there.

The Wicked Deep starts off with the three Swan sisters and their death. It's pretty intense, these young women being killed. Pretty wicked. Jump ahead 200+ years and we get the legend/myth/truth, that the girls return every year to the town of Sparrow and possess three unassuming young women, and spend the next while exacting their revenge on the town. Heh. Within the modern day town of Sparrow, we have Penny. Penny has lived in Sparrow her whole life and is very aware of what the summer brings, she's kind of just accepted it, until Bo enters, and of course that changes everything.

I would have LOVED this book ten years ago. Like completely obsessed. Let me explain.

There is something about Ernshaw's way of story telling that is completely engrossing  I am not a fast reader, I am actually quite a slow reader. However, I read this book in two sittings (which is pretty extraordinary for me). This book made me feel completely nostalgic for the YA of my youth - to me, it was very reminiscent of The Stranger by Caroline B. Cooney (whoa, am I ever aging myself), which came out in the early nineties. The Stranger was this dark gothic story, that had an edge of romance, but was completely surrounded by mystery and a "what the heck is going on." That is exactly what The Wicked Deep is.  I really appreciated that.  A lot.

The characters are pretty interesting, Penny was kind of hard for me to like, I found her to be a bit rigid and stand-offish, I think this was probably because she was fairly practical, and she carried a lot of responsibility. Her mum was around but not present, and her father disappeared some years before. I liked Bo, he was an interesting addition to the story. I enjoyed his influence on Penny. Their relationship was fun to see blossom. The Wicked Deep isn't a complicated story (this is not a bad thing).  There were a few "plot twists," and "Whaaaaa?!?" moments, but, for the most part, I saw them coming. Which is why I probably didn't love this book as much as others. For me, it was a bit predictable. In saying that, I don't think everyone will feel this way, and I know a few people who will love this, and I am excited for them to read this.

Overall, I enjoyed this, and appreciated how it felt like old school YA. I feel like I will be recommending this to a lot of the youth who come into the bookstore looking for something fun to read. I actually can't wait for that. 

~Happy Reading Everyone

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Stefanie's January/ February Recap

Hello everyone, 

Now that the Olympics are over I feel like I can come out of my sports obsession and back into the real world. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Olympics and watching all the different snowboarding events was my favorite thing! Go Canada and their 29 medals. Tessa and Scott's gold medal was the best thing I have seen in a long time!

I feel like these two months have gone by with a blur; I always feel a little off when February ends with the month being so short. I also feel like I didn't read that much these past two months, and when I did get into a book it consumed me, but at times I was without a book and didn't read for a week. I'm not sure if that's due to the terrible weather giving me a terrible mood or what it was. 

Here's what I read in January:

The Regulars by Georgina Clark
50 Ways to Yay by Alexi Panos
Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah
We Could Be Beautiful by Swan Huntley
Judgement Detox by Gabby Bernstein
Abby in Wonderland by Sarah Mlywoski
Flower Moon by Gina Linko
Single State of Mind by Andi Dorfman
Nightmare Escape by Greg Grunberg
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Total: 10

January's Books of the Month:


February's Reads:

                                              Always a Bridesmaid For Hire by Jen Glantz
Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson
Wanderful by Andrea Lester Eaton
My Friend Fear by Meera Lee Patel
The Self Love Experiment by Shannon Kaiser
Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Losing It by Emma Rathbone
Single Girl Problems by Andrea Bain
Power of Attention by Sarah McLean

Total: 10

February's Book of the Month: 


I've gotten back into endlessly binge watching every movie that comes up on Movie Central and then a couple co-workers and I swapped movie recommendations with them and got a couple solid ones.


I can't wait to see Peter Rabbit and Game Night in theaters, hopefully I'll get around to seeing both. I feel like I haven't seen a movie in theaters for a while, but then a I remembered I saw Paddington 2 a couple weeks ago.

The only other thing that happened to me was that I got my Mental Health First Aid certificate. I was able to attend the program through work, and I'm so happy I took that course. I learned so much through it and it's something that I've been interested in for a while. Also it helps when your vice principal tells you what a great course it is and that you should do it. 

And that's it. Hope everyone else had a great couple months!

Until my next review,


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Stefanie's Thoughts: Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer.
1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

ARC provided by Raincoast Books for an honest review

Hi everyone,

Today I'll be reviewing Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. 

Let me start off by saying I LOVED THIS BOOK! It reminded me a lot of Geek Girl, a series I adored! I feel like if you have a nerdy side and LOVE pop culture, than this book is for you. I love all things nerdy, so I knew this would be a great read. 

I will say I didn't read Anderson's first book, but I do own it; I didn't realize that this was a sequel, I thought it was just her second stand-alone novel. I wasn't confused by not having read the first one and could easily follow along with the story and characters. 

I loved Ever, what Elliot calls herself when she re-invents herself. I loved the idea of re-inventing herself, because who hasn't wanted a fresh start and to be someone else? I know I have and while I haven't had the opportunity to re-invent myself, I still wish I could have when I as younger and away from my family and friends. 

Ever finds herself involved in some funny blackmail schemes involving family, and I loved this. It felt like something I would have found myself involved in. Plus Ever has the most sarcastic nature ever (see what I did there?) and I loved her for that. 

Oscar Wilde's book Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite books of all time, so I loved the addition of quotes from Importance of Being Ernest; it also added an additional geeky factor to it!

I know I will be going and reading the first book of this series ASAP! I can't wait to read what else Anderson throws our way, her next book is already on my tbr list! 

Make sure you read this books guys, it's awesome! 

4.5 stars!!

Until my next review,


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sara's January Recap

Hello Friends! Happy February!

It's my first monthly recap of the year. I really love reading monthly recaps, I really enjoy keeping track of what I've been reading and how well I am doing compared to my reading goals. I enjoy reading others monthly recaps, and being mind blown by the amount that some people are able to read (how does one read 20 books in one month, I'd like to know).

So I know this is late- so we're just gonna jump into the bookish recap- because I don't remember what happened in January, life wise, at all. Sorry.

The Books:

Total Books:

Physical Books

Physical Books

1) Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway (4 Stars)
2) A Different Pond by Bao Phi and Thi Bui (4 Stars)
3) Keep Her Safe by KA Tucker (3 Stars)
4) The Wicked Deep Shea Ernshaw (3 Stars) 
5) Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy (4 Stars)

Favourite Read

This book is different than the books I generally tend to read. This is kind of a graphic novel/story book/social commentary. It's a lovely story and SO special. I read it one evening while working at the bookstore. If you every have a moment to check this one out, do it. 


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (4 Stars)
The British Knight by Louise Bay (3 Stars)
Wicked Choice by Sawyer Bennett (2 Stars)
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (3 1/2 Stars)
Dirty by Kylie Scott (3 Stars) 

Favourite Read 

This was an odd little book. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. It's a retelling of a Russian fairy tale (I think), and I kind of loved it. The narrator was brilliant which really added to the whole experience. It was a very pleasant read. 

2018 Goals Check In:  Check out my 2018 goals here -
So it looks like audiobooks are still consuming my life. Oh well, I'll try and work on that. I am pleased that I got 10 books in last month. My goal for February is to physically read six books (although I'm not sure that will happen).  I was fairly successful with my goals for the year, although I did not get in a non-fiction read. I did try, but non-fiction is something I struggle with. I'm pretty certain I'll do fine this coming month though. I read two 2018 releases: Keep Her Safe and The Wicked Deep, I also got an adult novel read with The Bear and the Nightingale.  So overall, pretty good.  

That's it for my very late January recap, but I hope you enjoy anyways.  

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Stefanie's Thoughts: Flower Moon by Gina Linko

Tempest and Tally Jo Trimble are mirror twins—so alike they were almost born the same person—and they've been inseparable since birth. But it's the summer they turn thirteen, and it seems like everyone can tell something is changing between them.
Pa Charlie, whose traveling carnival is the best part of every summer, is watching them closer than ever. Digger, who sneaks poor kids onto the carnival rides for free and smiles faster than anyone, seems to be fixing for a fight. Even Mama is acting different, refusing to travel with the carnival this year even though her own twin, who she hasn't seen since childhood, will be there.

And Tally and Tempest are the most different of all. There's a strangeness between them, a thickness to the air, an unseen push and pull, and it's getting stronger. It starts as a feeling, but soon it's sputtering and sparking, hurling them backwards, threatening to explode.

When Tally learns that she and Tempest may not be the first twins in their family to be separated by whatever this force is, she realizes she'll have to find a way to stop it—or she might lose not only her sister, but everyone she loves.

**ARC provided by Thomas Allen & Son for my honest review**

Hi everyone,

Today I'll be reviewing Flower Moon; this book was one of a kind and was a style of book I haven't read in a long time. 

Magical realism is a genre I personally love to watch movies and TV wise, and while I tend to read very little of the genre, I'm wondering if that's in part to the genre not really being that popular with authors and what they chose to write.

Flower Moon introduces us to Tally and Tempest, two sisters - twins, who are inseparable. I will say right off from the first page, I LOVED how close the sisters were. I'm practically the same with my own sister and it's always nice reading a story that involves close sibling bonds (I feel like a lot of sibling relationships in YA/ middle grade tend to involve sibling rivalry, so it was a nice change), that show siblings in a positive light. Tally is the protector of the two, making sure Tempest is taken care of, as she is the more shy out of the two (which is basically my sister and I, with the exception that I was the more shy out of us two).

The story is told from Tally's perspective and I think this brought an interesting spin on the story: as Tally is the more adventurous one out of the sisters, we see the world through her eyes. I think if the story had been from Tempest's perspective things would have been much different. Tally was abrasive, more in-your-face, and I think the plot reflected that. It's almost as if it mirrored growing up. The story would have been more calm and passive from Tempest's point of view.

It was nice to see the two sisters work together when they begin to discover the mystery behind themselves and their connection (even if I found Tally a bit over the top at times). The writing was so fluid and the dialogue between the sisters was wonderful.

Who doesn't love a carnival?! This was basically the best setting of a book, at a magical carnival, full of fun and never-ending possibilities. This also sets up the perfect setting for a coming-of-age book; as growing up really is a never-ending adventure. I really had a full carnival playing in my head as I read this and the descriptions of the carnival were so well written I was definitely transported there.

One downside to the book is to me I felt the setting took place in the past; the dialogue and setting felt more like from the 1940s, however, there were times when it all felt like present day and it wouldn't match up for me, so it became a bit confusing. Maybe it's because I'm imagining all the traditional carnivals from say The Notebook, and I could imagine all the characters dressed in clothing from that period. Pa Charlie's name had me feeling a bit of a Little House on the Prairie vibe.

My other downside was the first half of the book felt a bit slow. I understand the idea behind mirror twins was being set up and we were introduced to this non-traditional magical world, but at times I felt as if I could skip whole chapters and not have missed any of the plot. I hate when promising books have what I call "filler" chapters.

I haven't read a book by Gina Linko before, but I'll be giving her future books a look. Flower Moon was so different from what I've normally read that that on it's own gives it a solid 3.5 stars. I recommend this one to anyone looking for a book out of their comfort zone; I can guarantee you haven't read something like this before!

Until my next review,


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

My Thoughts: Keep Her Safe by KA Tucker

Noah Marshall has known a privileged and comfortable life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that's been rattling in her closet for years, and succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family's life. Reeling with grief, Noah is forced to carry the burden of this shocking secret.

Gracie Richards wasn't born in a trailer park, but after fourteen years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it's all she knows anymore. At least here people don't care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop, murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Here, she and her mother are just another family struggling to survive...until a man who clearly doesn't belong shows up on her doorstep.

Despite their differences, Noah and Gracie are searching for answers to the same questions, and together, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department's dark and messy past. But the scandal that emerges is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

**Review copy received from Simon and Schuster Canada for my honest opinion**

Happy Book Birthday to KA Tucker and Keep Her Safe.

I have read quite a number of KA Tucker novels through the years- more than I thought actually. She was one of the first "New Adult" authors I really got into. What really drew me to her was the fact that she was Canadian. I don't often read many Canadian authors (none that I really liked) so I was excited to explore Tucker's work and to discover that for the most part, I enjoyed it. 

In saying all of that, Keep Her Safe is the first of Tucker's adult novels that I have read, all the rest have been New Adult. I know she has a more dark thriller-ish one out -He Will Be My Ruin- but I have yet to read that one. But I will, I want to. Either way, I was excited to dive into this story.

Keep Her Safe tell the story of Noah and Gracie, as they try and discover a the truth of what happened fourteen years ago, which severely changed their lives. What really happened to Gracie's father? How was Noah's mother involved? Is the police department actually hiding something? Alternating in past and present narrative Keep Her Safe really digs into the consequences of keeping secrets and what happens when the truth starts seeping out.

This review is going to be a little hard for me to get into. I enjoyed this book, but at the same time I didn't find it the most thrilling book ever. The first bit of the book took me ages to read. I would say the first chunk of this story is just setting the stage. It's giving you context- which is so very necessary. But I wonder if there was a different way to do this. I think as Tucker continues to write in this genre, she'll hone her skill and get better. She's really a fabulous writer, but the introduction part of the overall story took a bit too long, and it takes forever for Gracie and Noah to finally come together.  But once they do....

The second bit of the story is much better, I flew through that. I was completely engaged and I wanted to know what the heck was going on. As I was reading I tried to figure things out and I couldn't (not everything at least), this isn't the kind of book where you figure everything out in the very beginning, not at all. Aside from the long winded beginning, the pacing was good, I didn't really feel like things lagged, however there were a few situations that maybe I thought didn't really add to the story as a whole. But they were teeny tiny. I enjoyed the characters, Gracie was feisty cautious at the beginning, Noah was lovely, kind of too perfect, but meh. Together they made a pretty great duo.

Overall, Keep Her Safe is a solid 3-3.5 star read for me. I would recommend it to anyone new to thrillers and mystery novels and wanting to dip their toes in. It's a quick read that doesn't involve a lot of brain power. The writing is great, this is something I never question with KA Tucker, her writing is spot on. So if you are a looking for a mystery that isn't too intense but still mysterious I would suggest you give this one a try.

~Happy Reading Everyone

Friday, January 19, 2018

Stefanie's 2018 Reading Goals

Hi everyone,

Now that it's occurred to me we're in the second week of January I feel like I'm finally back into the swing of things, at work, for reading and generally in life. I've starting watching Sex and the City, became obsessed with two new shows: Married at First Site (which my sister jokes that I should be on), and Undercover High.

Now that I have my TV straight I figured it was now time for my reading challenge update, and other reading goals I have this year.

For the 2018 Goodreads Reading Challenge I have challenged myself to 300 books. According to their tracking system I'm already two books behind, but I laughed at that because just wait for the summer when all I do is read.

I'm focusing right now on adult fiction and non-fiction (I can't wait to read Andi Dorfman's Single State of Mind and Jen Glatz's Bridesmaid For Hire), but I will get back into young adult. I find that I go through genre blitzing (I'm just going to call it that), where all I want to read is one specific genre for a couple weeks, then grow tired if it and switch it up.

A couple of my new favorite authors have books coming out this year, ranging from Georgia Clark's new book The Bucket List, to the second book in Crystal Cestari's series, to Meg Cabot never disappointing in the Princess Diaries spin-off series.



For me the best part is going and finding the 2018 Goodreads list for new YA of the year, going through all nine pages or however long it is and adding all these new books to my tbr list (which was at 390 and is now at 430 or so). Even when I think I can tackle it, it always goes up. I read one reviewer that said there's no way she'd be able to ever tackle her tbr shelf, and I'm honestly with her. If only good books would stop being published, but I mean there's no way that would EVER happen!

I attempted last year to start listening to audio books and read books on my Kindle, but I just can't get past how much I love reading an actual physical book. I will rely on the library for all the audio books I use, especially when it comes to the library getting only the audio (and if it's not one I'm a hundred percent sure I'd read again).

I don't know if I can list anymore books I want to read this year, because every time I list these, I typically never actually read them or enjoy them. I think I almost curse it. The ones I have listed above, I either already have from the library in my possession or I know they won't disappoint (because Meg Cabot has only ever failed me once with her book Insatiable and I own all her books), but I guess every now and then the authors you love can let you down.

I hope 2018 will be a good year for reading and books and I hope you all have a great year as well.

See you next week for my first review of the year.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

2017 Recap & 2018 Bookish Resolutions

Happy New Year!!

I can hardly believe it's 2018. I know I say that every years, but goodness, time is going by SO quickly! I had a pretty good 2017 -  reading wise - and I am excited to see what 2018 has for me.
Today I bring you my 2018 Bookish Goals. However, first, I would like to do a quick over view of my 2017 goals and how I did.  If you want the full scope of my 2017 goals, check them out here.

2017 at a glance

First off, I wanted to read 100 books, which I accomplished, I believe I read a grand total of 102 books in 2017. I wanted to read more physical books, in 2016 I was SUPER dependent on audio books and I got super lazy with actual reading. I did a bit better in 2017, however of the 102 books I read, I listened to 55 audio books and I physically read 48. I also wanted to listen to more of the audio books I had back stocked in my audible library - my goal was to get my back stock down to five - that did not happen. In actuality, I ended up obtaining more and more audio books, right now I have ten that I have yet to listen to, and a couple that I probably won't. I am not going to beat myself up about it this year. I wanted to read one 2017 new release per month, this is where things get a little tricky, I am not sure I listened to a new release a month exactly, but the total 2017 releases I read in 2017 was 41. Which is pretty solid. And finally, I wanted to read seven particular books that had been sitting on my shelf for some time, those books where, Jane Eyre, The Thief, Percy Jackson books 3-5, Lolita and A Wrinkle in Time. I am happy to tell you I accomplished this goal and read all seven of these books in 2017. I am pretty pumped about this actually.

So, 2017 was pretty good, there are still some things I need to work on, but we'll get there.


2018 Reading Challenge 

Last year I completed 102 books. This is a good amount. I am completely happy with it. However, for 2018 I am aiming for 110. I felt like I had a a lot of dead time in 2017 where  I wasn't reading, I would like to change that, and I think upping my goal will help. If I don't make that goal, I am fine with that. But I would like to try.

**Within this goal, I would like for 60 of those books to have been physical books.

Read One Non-Fiction a Month 

I don't usually read non fiction. I don't tend to like it, however, there are a number of books out there that I would like to give a go. Trevor Noah's memoir, maybe a self-help book (a la Brene Brown). I feel like one a month is completely doable.

Read One Adult Novel a Month

As many of you know, I read a ton of young adult, and I always will. However, this year, I would like expand my horizons and read more adult fiction, specifically adult literary fiction. I believe I am probably missing out on some really great reads. I need to push out of my comfort zone a little.

Read Two 2018 Releases a Month 

I would like to have a better hand on what's  new this year and I would like to be able to talk about what's new. This is the goal I am going to be paying the MOST attention to I think. Make sure I am reading at least TWO 2018 releases.

Read the Following Books 

I really like lists (can you tell), and I really like scratching things off my list (is there anything more satisfying). SO I have another list of seven books I would like to get read this year.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Queen's Thief Series Books 2-5 by Megan Whalen Turner
The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas

I am confident I can get these books done within the next twelve months. 

Anywho, those are my goals for 2018. Keep a look out for my monthly wrap ups for updates, also I am using my bullet journal to help me keep everything organized, I may do a post on how that's working within the next few months. Do any of you have any goals you are working on this coming year? I'd like to hear about them.

Happy New Year, Friends and good luck this year.

~Happy Reading

"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl