The end of March already?? Crazy how time has just flown by!! I feel like so much has been happening this month.
So many changes and still some changes to come. I know that my work has been different since this virus has grown in severity! I am working from home for the first time ever and while the situation that brought it on is horrible – I am LOVING working from home. Life changing!! I envy you people that always get to work from home. Truly the best!
Personally, I feel like I have done nothing super noteworthy this month. It was my dad’s birthday this month, so that was great! I attended a cheerleading competition with the team I coach. I started to go to the gym again and have found *some* joy in running on the treadmill! Small victories 🎉
Now to some of my fav things this month 🙂
The Lanterns Ember by Colleen Houck – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
The House in the Cerulean Sea – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
Josh and Hazels Guide to Not Dating bu Christina Lauren – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
I had two 5 star reads this month!! So exciting! I didn’t get to read as much as I was hoping for but I am happy that the couple books I was able to get through were really enjoyable!
My whole reading list this month was:
The Lanterns Ember
The House in the Cerulean Sea
The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass
The Dark Continent
Josh and Hazels Guide to Not Dating
Favourite movies/ TV shows
I really haven’t been watching much TV or really any movies. However, I started to watched a couple new shows that seem interesting so far so I will include them!
Locke and Key (TV show on Netflix) – So far so good!! Living up the hype I was hearing about it
The Tiger King (Netflix) – PLEASE WATCH THIS! Literally the weirdest, funniest, more entertaining show. It is SO WEIRD at times, like this stuff can’t be made up. Give yourself some joy during this quarantine time and watch The Tiger King.
Favourite songs/ artists
The Man by Taylor Swift – Cannot get enough of this one!! I wasn’t sure of it at first but man did it grow on me
You Should Be Sad by Halsey – Again, I wasn’t sure about this one at first but it grew on me and I seriously love it. Love the song, the lyrics, her voice… all sooooooo good!
I Wish Grandpa’s Never Died by Riley Green – I just love this song and Riley Greens’ voice! I go through phases of reallllyy loving country music. This song is sparking my come back to country haha
What is the deal with middle grade books? Why are there posts all over the internet about these books and WHY are adults other than teachers reading them?? These are the questions I have been asking myself for the last little while. I haven’t thought about these types of books in a very long time and for the most part just labeled them as children’s books and just went right by without a second glance (oops). If you are like me you are probably also thinking – yes, why do adults care about these books? After all, they are for children. So, I did some reading (a lot of reading). I hunted for articles and blogs written about these books and searched for why they are some popular with seemingly all ages. This is what I found out:
The most popular middle grade books are ones we have ALL heard of and probably read! These include Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Narnia… some big name books! However, I have to admit… I didn’t think these were “middle grade” or maybe my problem is I was not understanding WHAT middle grade books really were!
This grouping of books is difficult to understand I think. First off, I found myself just assuming that “middle grade” meant “children’s” like for small children… I don’t know why?? Now I am seeing that really, while they are meant for kids (not little ones by actually 8-12 year olds) they are actually very much like YA books just written in a more simple way!
SO this is where my ultimate confusion comes in… I didn’t realize Harry Potter books were targeting 8-12 year olds? As I remember the books are massive and forgive me if I’m wrong because I did not read them…. BUT the books (based on watching the movies) seem like kind of violent, focus on some really difficult and serious topics, and seem overall kind of inappropriate for an 8 year old? Maybe I’m being crazy. Or maybe the books are not quite like the movies? But I’m sure you can see where I am coming from when I say – when I found out Harry Potter was “middle grade” it changed my whole perspective!
I have been reading so many posts about middle grade books and before I just didn’t bother with them because I thought ‘why would I, and adult, want to read a kids book?’ And now, I am so sad because I’m seeing that there are SO MANY interesting, amazing, and well written middle grade books. I feel like I have to make up for lost time to be honest. I did not really read many (if any?) middle grade books when I was younger. I think I just skipped right over that entire thing which is unfortunate!!
I am realizing something very important about middle grade books which is – they are really meant for everyone. They have some many important themes and topics. They focus on friendship, adventure, and growing up. They are very similar to YA books!!! They just take out the more inappropriate things and keep the fun, action packed, fast paced, exciting parts! They really sound like a lot of fun and based on what I’ve read and reviews I seen, they seem TOTALLY WORTH reading as an adult.
So, hear I am – listing some middle grade books that I have added to my list to read. I am hoping I can get to them sooner than later. I feel like I have just opened up a can on worms here with my forever growing TBR hahah I just entered a whole new world of possibility. Very exciting!!
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD Looking for special opportunities? When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear listener, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all? Welcome to the mysterious benedict society.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a perfectly normal boy. Well, he would be perfectly normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the world of the dead.
There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard: the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer; a gravestone entrance to a desert that leads to the city of ghouls; friendship with a witch, and so much more.
But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod’s family.
Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood
Chantel would much rather focus on her magic than on curtsying, which is why she often finds herself in trouble at Miss Ellicott’s School for Magical Maidens. But when Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, Chantel’s behavior becomes the least of her problems.
Without any magic protecting the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom. On a dangerous mission, Chantel will discover a crossbow-wielding boy, a dragon, and a new, fiery magic that burns inside her—but can she find the sorceresses and transform Lightning Pass into the city it was meant to be?
Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.
Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.
Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”
Ghost and Bone by Andrew Prentice
Oscar Grimstone is a normal kid–aside from his secret Curse. Whenever he touches something living, like a flower or his classroom goldfish, they always seem to die. But then Oscar discovers an even bigger secret: even though he is very much alive, he has the ability to transform into a ghost.
Just when he thinks things can’t get any stranger two ghosts show up at his home in a skeleton carriage and he winds up joining them on a journey beyond the real world to a place he never knew existed–the city of ghosts. There Oscar will discover a place where people go once they die, before they aboard a ship to the The Other Side. But will he find out who he really is?
As you can see I have a “type” for my middle grade book interests! I am leaning towards fantasy, mystery, horror type books… I think this is because they take you on a ride away from reality! These books seems really entertaining, I’m excited to read them!!
Have you read any of these? What are your thoughts on middle grade books?
I have been reading 2 books at a time! Usually 1 is an ebook that I read on my kobo and one is a physical book!
Recently though I have started reading a 3rd book on my phone when I am waiting somewhere or have random down time! So far, so good!
How do you decide when to switch between multiple reads?
I usually alternate between the books day to day. So, one day Ill focus on the ebook and the next Ill focus on the physical books. I will switch back and forth until they are done. Sometimes if I’m super into the book though Ill read that one and put the other to the side for a couple days!
Do you ever switch bookmarks partway through a book?
No hahahah I have never done this?? Do people do this??
Where do you keep the book(s) you’re currently reading?
Just all over the place 😂
On the couch, the windowsill, the computer desk, the kitchen table, the bed, in my nightstand, on the floor…. really they just get put down anywhere and left there until I pick them up again!!
What time of day do you read the most?
Mostly night time! Since I’m at work all day I don’t have time during the day to read very much. If I have the day off or on the weekend I will read during the day though!
How long do you typically read in one session?
Probably like an hour to 2 hours!
Do you read hardbacks with the dust jacket off?
Noooo, I like never ever take the dust jacket off!
What position do you mainly use to read?
I like to curl up on the couch in my comfy little corner spot with blankets and cozy pillows!
Do you take your current read with you everywhere you go?
Very rarely! Only recently have I started to read on my phone so, I guess I technically take my current read with me! But I never take the physical book with me. Too much to carry and normally I don’t have time on my outing to read!
How often do you update your Goodreads reading progress?
I try to update it everyday but sometimes I forget!
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I am currently erading 3 books:
Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating (on my phone)
The Dark Continent (on my Kobo)
Truly Devious (physical book)
I tag you!! Anyone can join in on this one 🙂 I’d love to see your answers!!
So today I wanted to share my thoughts on Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. It has been sitting on the Kobo shelves for months now! I got it for super duper cheap, like 0.99 cents or something crazy! I have been wanting to read it because I’m getting more and more into chick-lit style books and everyone says this is such a good one. So, finally, I have picked this one up and I AM HAPPY I DID!
First impressions: So, this book is actually hilarious. I am about 45 pages in and I am impressed. Like, I have actually laughed out loud a few times. It is super funny. I have never experienced this before with a book!! I think Hazels character is just perfect. She is funny, crazy, has no filter, and is so genuinely herself which is just so heartwarming. It is also so perfect that her character is teacher, I think that is really fitting. I think we all knew someone in high school/ college that became a teacher and we were like oh…….. that’s not good 😂. She also has the most hilarious, weird, different relationship with Josh!
Josh is an interesting character to me. So far, I enjoy him, but he hasn’t fully won me over yet. There’s something about him I’m not connecting with but I feel like that will blow over just based on how cute and funny this book is. I’m sure he will open up and become a better character with time.
I just cannot get over the writing and how comical it is. I am so pleasantly surprised by it and I do not want to put it down (but I have to because work and stuff 🙄).
What did you think of this one? If you haven’t read it, do you think you will?
Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. The meme is pretty easy to follow, to participate simply choose a random book from your TBR and explain why you want to read it!
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtueby Mackenzi Lee
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
Why I Want To Read This
This book just sounds like a really fun ride that I want to be on! I saw this book at Chapters one day when I was just browsing and I thought it looked interesting so I took a picture of it so I wouldn’t forget and looked it up once I was home. I immediately added it to my Goodreads list! I was looking for something that would be a light read at the time and this just seemed to hit all the marks for me, plus it was like something I have never read before so I was intrigued.
Fast forward like a year and guess what…. I haven’t read it haha. I have thought about it many times and even saw it at the book store last time I was there and thought hmm.. maybe I should pick it up but again, I didn’t. Silly me!!!
I really enjoy stories about characters who are supposed to be a certain way but just won’t conform and end up just doing their own thing! I find those stories to be so entertaining and full of craziness! I am also up to romance at all times so this seems like a cute book I’d really enjoy 🙂
Let me know what you thought of this one!! Should I pick it up ASAP?
Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme. – Goodreads
Title: The Lantern’s Ember
Author: Colleen Houck
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Paranormal
Format: Physical copy
Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.
Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.
This is a story about a lovely witch named Ember who goes on an unforgettable adventure into The Otherworld with the help of a handsome vampire, a lantern, and a mortal. The book has everything spooky! There are witches, ghosts, vampires, goblins, lanterns, even the Boogeyman! There is action and mystery throughout that doesn’t stop or slow down. I got some Halloweentown vibes from this one!! I honestly couldn’t get enough of this story.
Ember, the main character, is so wonderful. I found right away I was drawn to her rebellious and curious personality. She is so easily liked which is apparent throughout the story as many of the male characters are infatuated with her!! I had NO problems with Ember. She was smart and made good decisions. She wasn’t easily swayed by romance which was different! Normally female characters are so driven by romance. Not Ember. She was independent and while there is a romance in this story, it is not her that is leading it. I loved that aspect of the book!
Dev, the vampire that is involved in Embers adventure, was so handsome and interesting! He was everything a vampire should be (mysterious, dangerous, instinct driven) and everything a vampire shouldn’t be (caring, empathetic, and thoughtful). I LOVED Dev. He was fabulous. He saved the day several times and had such a deep and honest care for Ember that just made my heart melt into a puddle of love. He was probably my favourite character and I have to say I was a little bit disappointed that Dev didn’t get the ending I was hoping for!
Jack, the lantern, was a very intriguing character to me! First off, you are probably asking “what is a lantern?” So, Jack is basically immortal and essentially dead. He lives to protect the “crossroads” which are the spots that the mortal world and The Otherworld connect. He spends his days just watching and stopping humans from crossing and also stopping creatures from entering the mortal world. This is how he met Ember and that is where the real journey begins. Jack is a sweet character. It took me a little bit to warm up to him but once I did I was hooked. He is such a special character in this story and believe me, the ending will have you smiling ear to ear!
Overall story – LOVED IT!! The author took such a wildly fun idea and did an amazing job. There was not even one time that I couldn’t picture where the characters were. Everything was perfectly descriptive but not boring. There was a lot of background for the characters that helped bring them to life. The story is written in 3rd person point of view so everyone’s thoughts and feelings are quite out in the open throughout the story. I actually really enjoyed that because it gave me more information and everyone’s true intentions! Also, the ending had me a little shocked but also happy with some warm and fuzzy feelings!!
I saw a lot of mixed reviews about this book. There were some 1 star, some DNF reviews, but also some 4 and 5 stars. I had no idea what to expect so I just went into it with an open mind. I have to say I was so pleasantly surprised by this and really connected to the characters. I love spooky things so this fit so perfectly. By no means was this book scary or anything, just simply the idea of the story gave it those spooky vibes! I would recommend anyone who enjoys Halloween, witches, magic, or spooky creatures to read this book!
Do you like paranormal, spooky, fantasy reads? Have you read this one?
I am here with another super fun book tag that I just decided to do without being tagged!! Love everyone’s responses to this one and who doesn’t watch Netflix?!?! This is just the perfect tag I think! So here I go, check out my answers and let me know if you agree with any of them in the comments 🙂
2.Top Picks– A book/ books that have been recommended to you based on books you have previously read.
Goodreads recommended that I read Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson based on some books I read. So I ordered the first 2 of the series (since the 3rd was no out yet) and have just started reading it!! So far so good!!
3.Recently added-The Last book you bought.
Hmmmm…. I don’t remember the last book I bought. However, the last book I added to my shelf was from a giveaway! So that on was The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert!
4.Popular on Netflix-Books that everyone knows about ( 2 you’ve read and 2 you have no interest in reading)
2 popular books I have read:
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
I loved both of these books!! So worth the read in my opinion 🙂 I have written reviews on both of these ones, so check them out if you want!!
2 popular books I have not read and have no interest in reading:
The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
5.Comedies-A funny book.
I don’t tend to read funny books… Not sure why, but I really don’t. The funniest books I have read recently would be Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlene.
Although, I anticipate Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling will be super funny!
6.Dramas- A character who is a drama queen/ king
The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass by Adan Jerreat-Poole!! I recently read this one which is why this is sticking out to me! There is one character in this book who is able to complain about any and all situations! He is always scared and freaking out about something lol so, that would be my pick!
7. Animated-A book with cartoons on the cover
I am going to use a Netgalley book I recently was approved for! It isn’t really cartoon but I would say its animated maybe?? I’m not sure haha.
8.Watch it again-A book/ book series that you want to re-read
I never ever reread! I have literally no desire to reread books!! However, if I had to reread something I would pick the Charlotte Holmes Series by Brittany Cavallaro!! Love this series so much, it was a blast to read so I could probably reread these if needed 🙂
9.Documentaries- A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone.
I haven’t read it yet and its been on my shelf for MONTHS!! But I would have to say Becoming by Michelle Obama! Like I said, I haven’t read it but it has amazing reviews and lets be real, who does love Michelle Obama?!?! I am Canadian and I think she is one of the best women out there so, I feel like its a safe book to recommend to people!
10.Action and adventure-An action packed book
I am currently reading The Dark Continent by Scott Reardon. This book is full of action and violence! So far it is go-go-go and does not look like it will be slowing down!
Thanks for checking out my tag!! I tag anyone who wants to participate 🙂
I am not Irish (that I know of) but like many of you I enjoy celebrating this holiday! Such a fun time and who would turn down an excuse to wear all our bright green clothes and head to the bar and drink green drinks?!? Always a fab time!
I wanted to take some time to mention a few amazing Irish authors and give them the recognition they deserve 🙂 When I was looking for Irish authors I was super surprised to find some really popular authors are Irish! Who knew??
I think it is so cool that people stick with their heritage. My family is very much “Canadian” which means we have lost our heritage and history. All I know about my family history is that we are from England, Scotland, Germany, and possibly Sweden! Quite the range there haha! I love being Canadian and when I say that I am Canadian I say it with the same joy as people who say they are Italian or Irish or French or whatever background they may have! I just think that sometimes Canada doesn’t really have much of a “culture” per say and that being Canadian doesn’t come with many deep rooted traditions and practices. However, that is fine with me because I love where I come from and am proud just like everyone should be of their home 🙂 rant over!
Tana is a very talented author. She has won many awards for her mystery/thriller books! She lives in Dublin with her family 🙂 Here are a few of the books she has written:
Anne Griffin is an Irish author. She was educated at University College Dublin. Anne has won awards in Literature and Writing. Anne’s debut book was published in 2019.
Sinead is a very accomplished Irish author. Sinead started her career as a journalist and then switched gears to creative writing and ultimately as a published author.
Sally graduated from Trinity College. She has been quite successful as a author. Her books have been popular everywhere to the point there have been articles written about her called “The Cult of Sally Rooney” by Vox.
Cecelia was born and grew up in Dublin! She has published an array of successful books which have been published in as many of 50 countries! She has even had two of her book made into TV shows and movies!
Have you read any of these books or heard of these authors? What did you think about the books?
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret. – Goodreads
Title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
Author: T.J Klune
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQ, Romance
Format: eARC from Netgalley
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
This book left my heart feeling so full. This was such a fantastic story about magical children and the love that can grow when people have open minds and open hearts.
Linus, a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, is sent to a secret orphanage to check out the well being of the magic children there. He is tasked to write reports and decide if the orphanage should remain open. He quickly decides it’s something he has never seen before and with that he meets some of the most wonderful children and an even more wonderful caregiver who changes Linus’s life forever.
This was such an interesting take on regular day social work. Coming from the social services field, it really brought me joy when Linus went above and beyond the line of duty to truly understand the magic children he was sent to observe. It made my heart happy and also made me think of the amazing social workers I know who connect with and care for so many incredible children everyday.
This book reminded me a little bit of Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children. This story was full of mystery and magic. It was a really fun read which I could hardly put down! It touched on topics such as discrimination, segregation, abuse, social services system, LGTBQ+, and advocacy! These can be really tough topics but the way the author fit them in was in a light and fun way that really tied the whole story together!
I loved the magical children and getting to know all the really cool things about them. The relationships created throughout the story were so sweet and heartwarming. I enjoyed the overall writing style. It was so nice to see how Linus (and the rest of the characters) grew and evolved throughout the story. The ending had me smiling ear to ear, I was so happy!!
I would recommend this to anyone to enjoys stories about strange creatures, magical beings, or unusual things! Also, if you enjoyed Miss Peregrines Home for Peculair Children you may enjoy this one as it has similar vibes!
** thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this ARC for an honest review!
PUB DATE: March 17, 2020!!
Does this book interest you at all?? Will you be checking it out?