November 2018 Wrap-Up

Hi everybody, Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

In October I read a whopping eight books, but in November I only read one and half of two other books.

I was really busy this month with school and work, so I barely had anytime to read. I am also waiting for some ARCs and a huge Book Outlet package from Black Friday (haul should be up hopefully sometime in the next few weeks… if the package ever arrives…). Therefore, I wasn’t really motivated to read a ton in my free time. I know that December will be just as if not more busy than this month, but I have my winter break at the end of this month for two and a half weeks, so I plan on getting a ton of reading done then (more on that in a few weeks)!

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The only full book I read this month was “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan. I received this book from Hachette Book Group Canada, and posted my review of it a few weeks ago! You can read my review here. In short, I really enjoyed it and am very excited for the next book in the series!

(Sorry for the quick pic… I just took it now in school HAHA!)

I started “A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab a few days ago after I bought the complete box set from my new Chapters Indigo store, and I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far. The beginning was slow, but it is finally picking up. I am about half way thru the book as of 10:00AM on November 30th, so I will see how far I can get by the end of the day… maybe I’ll finish it!

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Like I mentioned last month, I am reading 1984 by George Orwell with a group for a school project. I am more than half way thru and I am really enjoying it so far! The world keeps getting more interesting, and I’m really loving all of the characters. By January I should be finished the whole thing, so I still have a while to process all of the details.


Sadly, that is all I read this month. I should have a lot more books on my wrap-up for December, not only because I have some extra much needed free time, but also because I will have a lot of new books and ARCs to immerse myself in!

How many books did you guys read this month? What was your favourite book of the month? Did you write a wrap-up and post it on your blog? Let me know in the comments, I love talking to all of you!

Good Night Book Owls!

OPENING OF HILLCREST MALL INDIGO BOOK STORE!

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

My current favourite mall called Hillcrest has been getting a huge “Glow-Up” over the past year. They have added a ton of new stores including Old Navy, Lindt, and Honey, just to name a few! However, my favourite and most anticipated addition was the new Indigo (the biggest book department store in Canada)! It opened up last Monday, and over this passed weekend I visited it for the first time! The actual “Grand Opening” is actually this coming Saturday, December 1. With every purchase you make at Indigo @ Hillcrest on Saturday, you will receive a free book tote. Also, for the first 100 people that enter the store, you will get a free $10 gift card upon entry!

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The outside of the store was nothing fancy, it was just the logo for Indigo and IndigoKids.

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The inside of the store was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. It was basically just different open rooms that have items from categories/themes (ie. YA books, Adult Books, Paper/Stationery, etc.).

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On the right side as soon as you walk in, Indigo features some Fiction and Non-Fiction bestsellers, which happened to be 40% off thanks to their Black Friday sale(s)!

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Like I said, there were a ton of great Black Friday sales that Indigo created, and many of them were featured on tables with beautiful center pieces for the holidays!

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Probably my most favourite part of the store were bookshelves with labels on them that featured some of the best books from the past few years. This one features “Heather’s Picks”. To read more about Heather and her book picks, click here!

Indigo also had a lot of 40% off items that were specifically for the holiday time. These include socks, hot chocolate, and mugs!

Indigo creates and purchases a lot of kinds of cards, including Birthday, Anniversary, New Child, and more! All of the boxed holiday cards were (are!) 40% off.

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Near the very front of the store, there is a section called “The Joy of the Table”. This section area features all things related to cooking/baking/food. All of the books and accessories featured were so pretty and nice to walk around!

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Indigo is home to some of the coziest home accessories, including candles and pillows! These were on full display at the new store.

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There was a huge section dedicated to picture frames and home goods (coffee table books, records, pictures, DIY shelves, etc.). This was one of my favourite sections to walk and peek through, plus it was my parents favourite too (yes, that’s them – hi Mom and Dad, I know you’re reading this!)!

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As in all bookstores, “The Paper Shop” was another one of my favourite areas! I am such a sucker for cute stationery and planners, so The Paper Shop always sucks me in no matter what time of year!

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A Room of Her Own” was a very cool new sections implemented in Indigo. It featured room decor that was more feminine, as well as some gender neutral items.

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The Wellness Shop” is a great place to look for Self-Help books, as well as items that will better your sense of self.

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As always, with snow and cold weather comes hockey season! While you should all know that I am a baseball kinda gal, I still enjoy the hockey season! Indigo had a lot of great hockey accessories to go along with some of their hockey themed books, and a few of them can be featured in the picture.

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Even though board games are not as nearly popular as they have been in the past, there are still a very fun way to have lots of entertainment without the use of technology! Indigo featured a great variety in their “Games and Puzzles” section.

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Both on the walls and on tables, Indigo featured a lot of bestselling and new Non-Fiction books.

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Near the back of the store close to “The Paper Shop” was a huge section of all kinds of Magazines, both national and international.

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And of course, my favourite section was the Young Adult section of the store! While I didn’t get too many pictures of this section, I was wandering in this area for several minutes, and I must say Indigo did a great job with it!

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Thrillers are an extremely popular genre in the book world, and are one of my personal favourites! A ton of popular Thrillers were featured on the $15 table, which is a fantastic deal for books that can retail over $25 CAD!img_8115

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Since this is a bookstore after all, there were millions upon millions of general fiction books, that fall into several different genres. Some were featured on specialty tables, while others were spread out onto the magnificently large shelves!

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Along with “Heather’s Picks”, there were also many “Staff Picks” featured all around the store. All of these books have an easy to remove customized sticker, put on by the employee that recommended the book!

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What I liked and appreciated most about this Indigo in comparison to other Chapters/Indigos as well as other book stores was the fact that there was a lot of open space, which made it easy to maneuver and walk around, even when there were a lot of people walking around at the same time.

Indigo is nationally known for its phenomenal section of Kids books, and this store had an entire section just for kids to pick books and sit around! They also had a large American Girl area, which was pretty neat.

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And that, my friends, was the Alyssa Cohen edition of a virtual tour of the BRAND NEW INDIGO IN HILLCREST MALL! I hope you all enjoyed this, it took quite a while to put together, but I LOVE the way it turned out! I am NOT getting paid to post this blog post, so if you feel like doing a good deed, feel free to share this with Indigo in whichever way you’d like!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter for exclusive blog post sneak peeks and to be updated on what I am currently reading!

Good Night Book Owls!

P.S. There is no way I could leave this new store empty handed! Indigo had 50% off select box sets, so I picked up the box set of “A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab! I have heard incredible things about this series, and the box set was an absolute bargain! I posted a picture of it on my Instagram, which you can see below!

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I hope that you all had a fantastic #Thanksgiving and #BlackFriday! I just made my first ever visit to the new @chaptersindigo in @shop_hillcrest! It was STUNNING. I will have a new blog post with a TON of pictures all about it sometime in the coming week! I recently made a huge @bookoutlet purchase from their #BlackFriday sale, and I didn’t want to buy any more books until literally 2019 because I bought so many… however, that didn’t exactly happen! #ChaptersIndigo has some PHENOMENAL sales going on this weekend, including 50% off (select?) box sets! I have been wanting to read the #TheShadesOfMagic series FOREVER, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Fortunately, the box set of all three books was 50% off, so it ended up costing me just over $30!!! I’m SO excited to start this series. Have you any of you read it yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts! #bookblogger #yabooks #bookstagram #bookworm #booklover #boxset #booksale #bookoutlet #chapters #indigo #canadianbookblogger

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Alyssa’s Reviews – The Leading Edge of Now by Marci Lyn Curtis (eARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

If you read my October Wrap-Up, you know that I read “The Leading Edge of Now” by Marci Lyn Curtis during the middle of October, thanks to NetGalley! It is out in bookstores everywhere, and I am so excited to share my review with you today!

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Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he’d spoken to her even once since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn’t mean returning to New Harbor. Grace once spent the best summers of her life in New Harbor. Now the place just reminds her of all she’s lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever. People say the truth will set you free, but Grace isn’t sure about that. Once she starts looking for it, the truth about that night is hard to find — and what happens when her healing hurts the people she cares about the most?

I found myself reading the acknowledgments when this book was done. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to continue reading a book that badly in my entire life. This story is tragic. A combination of new and old love, as well as new and old tragedy. Rape is not something I typically read about, and it is not something I ever gravitate towards to as a reader, especially when choosing books to request and review. However, something drew me to this book when I found it on NetGalley, and I don’t think I’ve read a better contemporary novel in my life.

All of the characters in this book seem so real. They were written exquisitely, and I connected with them in an instant. All of the characters went through a fantastic amount of development throughout this story, which made them that much better. Grace had already gone through so much in her short life. When we find out about the horrible truth regarding her rape, it sends her and her closest family members and friends in a state of shock. Even though she had already gone through so much, she showed a lot of strength in this novel, and I truly admired her for it. Owen and Janna were the closest people she had in her life, besides her uncle, Rusty. They played such a huge role in this novel, and I enjoyed their characters more than you can imagine. Owen and Grace’s relationship was very different than any other relationship I have read in YA. They never officially got back together in this story, but I think that made the story that much better. They didn’t need to be together, even though they still felt a very deep connection with one another. While I didn’t like Grace’s real family (Rusty, Faith, Eleanor) at the beginning, by the end of the book I grew to love them and what they had done for Grace. She was finally part of a family, and finally found her home. 

The plot in this book is very tough and can be triggering. While there was not a very graphic rape scene written in this book, it is mentioned very frequently, since it is the main point in this story. Marci talks about Grace’s story very clearly, and makes sure not to say anything than can be translated in the wrong way. Writing stories about rape and/or anything similar to it, must be very difficult for authors to do without much backlash, but since Marci shared that she based some of this book off of her own life, she knew how to execute it and what people would want to read. I cannot imagine going through a story even the slightest bit similar to this. To all of you that have gone through something similar, I am so sorry and if you ever need someone to talk to, I am here for you.

If you have gone through a tramatic experience, click here or call 1(800)-656-4673 today. You are NOT alone.

Thank you for reading my review of “The Leading Edge of Now”. This is such a great story about such a sad topic, and I encourage you all to read it. I rated it 5/5 stars.

Good Night Book Owls!

Third Sentence Thursday {11/15}

(Hi peeps! I know today is Friday… HAPPY FRIDAY!!! However, I really wanted to post this yesterday but I didn’t have time to edit and post it… so here it is today!)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

My life has seemed to become consumed with school work lately, so sadly my reading time has been far and few between. I have been reading the book “1984” by George Orwell for my English Lit class, and I have been really liking it so far! My English class readings have  been very interesting in the past, so I am not surprised that I am actually enjoying a mandatory read.

Third Sentence Thursday used to be a very regular blog post that I would publish every Thursday, but I haven’t made one since March 2015! TST used to be hosted by That’s What She Read, but her blog has since been deactivated. If any of you know who currently hosts “Third Sentence Thursday”, please let me know in the comments and I will add their Blog URL/link to this post!

Take any book you are reading and flick to a random page. Share the third full sentence from that page with the blogosphere as a “taster” of the book! You can also share your thoughts about the sentence (does it affect the novel? did you like the language used? was it so short that it adds suspense?) It’s a fun, fast way to offer your readers a ‘snapshot’ of a particular book.

“Winston’s heart was thumping so hard that he doubted whether he would be able to sleep.” – “1984” by George Orwell, pg. 175

This is actually from the page I am on now! For my class, we split the book up into four different sections, and have a conference after we have read and finished each section. While I haven’t started this section yet, I assume this has to do with something related to The Party or Julia. Like I previously said, I am really enjoying this book so far! The beginning was a bit slow and hard to get into because I found it quite confusing. However, as I read on I started to understand the world a lot better and appreciate Orwell’s distinct writing style. The plot is very very interesting, and I can’t wait to see how the book pans out!

To read my past “Third Sentence Thursdays” (and some other weekly blog posts) click here!

What are you guys currently reading? Let me know in the comments below, or you can tweet me @readingreadingr or send me a message on Instagram @readingreadingreading!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (ARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

I have been in a slight reading hiatus, as I have had a ton of midterms projects/tests that have all been due over the last week and a half. While I started “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan on November 1, I finished it just yesterday on November 11. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it (believe me… I DID!), but I was just too busy to find much time to sit down and read. Thankfully, I spent a few hours reading the majority of this book yesterday evening! If you haven’t head of “Girls of Paper and Fire” and are active on either BookTube, Bookstagram, or the Book Blogosphere, you must have been living under a rock! I have heard SO MUCH HYPE around this book, so I went into it with high expectations.

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Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel. But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.
In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest. Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.


Even though I haven’t read much fantasy in the past few years, I have been craving it lately, and this book surely satisfied that! While it didn’t live up to my highest expectations, I still ended up really enjoying it. In my opinion, there were two things that stood out to me. One, the characters, and two, the depth and complexity of the world building.

I absolutely loved all of the characters in this book. Lei, Wren, Chenna, Aoki, the twins, and even Blue, were some of the best characters I have read about in a fantasy novel in quite some time, and I loved reading about them/their conversations with Lei. At first I thought that the amount of characters would be confusing and hard to keep track of, but Natasha wrote them very well and made it easy for readers to understand which character was which based on their characteristics/attributes. I would have loved to have read more about Lei’s parents and her past with her Mother. I feel like that would have made the book a lot more interesting, but I understand why her family members weren’t as involved as I would have liked, since that would have undermined the storyline of keeping them safe by Lei being a “Paper Girl”. Lei was a really great character and narrator to read her perspective from. She was not hypnotized by the title of being a “Paper Girl” and did not conform to the “Paper Girl” norms. While I really loved the characters, I thought there was a slight lack of character development for all characters expect Lei, Wren, and Aoki. They all seemed to stick to the name line throughout the whole novel, and I would have loved for a few more of them to develop.

The world building and imagery related to the setting was written so beautifully. I was blown away by the writing in this book and the descriptions of the different settings. The visuals that were provided for the authentic and traditional clothing they wore were also written very well, and made it easy for readers to understand. I really enjoyed reading about events that took place inside the “Women’s Court”, since that acted like their home and safe space away from the king and the outside world. I would have enjoyed reading more about the palace/kingdom that the “Women’s Court” was in, since I think we would have learned more history about how the kingdom once was, versus how it is now.

The overall concept of this book was not like anything I have ever read before. The short synopsis barely gave anything away, which was crucial for the flow of the real story. Unfortunately, I watched a detailed non-spoiler book review right before I read this book, which spoiled me on some of the themes that were in this book that I was not expecting. However, that did not spoil my overall enjoyment while reading the book, and I was still surprised by some of the events that occurred near the ending.

The main thing I really didn’t enjoy in this book was the plot twists. I found a lot of them very predictable, and non of them shocked me as much as I was hoping. I think there was a lot of unnecessary foreshadowing in this book, that allowed me to predict things that should have come out in surprise. That being said, the final plot twist written in the epilogue of the book shocked the ___ out of me, and made me that much more excited for the sequel.

I typically like to rate books that are firsts in a series by whether I enjoyed them or not, and whether or not I would want to continue the series. After reading and completing “Girls of Paper and Fire”, I definitely want to continue reading this series and am anticipating the next book!

Overall, I really enjoyed “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan and gave it 4/5 stars.

Thanks to Hatchette Book Group for sending me an ARC!


Thank you for reading my review of “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan! To read my initial thoughts while reading the book, click here. Have you read this book yet? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to read your thoughts!

Good Night Book Owls!

November 2018 TBR

Hi everybody, Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

This month I am going to be reading more books for “pleasure” and less for review. While I still have a few ARCs to read this month, I am going to try to read some books I have on my shelf that I bought recently on BookOutlet.ca (see my hall here!), or another book that has been sitting on my shelf for a while.

Reading Progress Prior to this Month: 8/12 books completed (8 = read, 12 = 2018 yearly goal)

Readathon

I will be participating in “Lalathon” – which you can watch all about here – hosted by BooksandLala! Lala is one of my all time favourite BookTubers, so when I heard she was hosting her own Readathon, I knew I needed to join in on the fun! The whole point of Lalathon is to read some of her all-time favourite books that you have never read before! You can read the entire list here. It takes place from November 1st to November 9th. When I went through the list, I noticed some books that I have had on my shelf for a long time that Lala had rated 5 stars, so I thought this was the perfect time to read them. I owned 7/150+ books that were on her list, but I chose three that I wanted to read right now for Lalathon.

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The first book I plan on reading is “Girls of Paper and Fire” by Natasha Ngan. I have been reading some amazing reviews for this book over the past few days, and I can’t wait to start it! Lala also raved about it one of her recent videos, and I usually agree with a lot of her opinions on books we have both read. I received an ARC of this book from Hatchette Book Group Canada, which I was so incredibly excited to receive! I plan on posting my review for this one next week, so I will be starting this book as soon as this post goes up. I hope this one lives up to all of the hype!

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I have been wanting to read this book for AGES! I swear I have put it on several monthly TBRs over the past few years. I read one of Patrick Ness’ other books called “The Rest Of Us Just Live Here” and I posted a review for it a few years ago, which you can read here. I really hope I get a chance to read this during the readathon because I have always found the concept SO intriguing.

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This has been on my TBR for over 4 years. I remember first starting my book blog and trying to read this, but I don’t think I ever ended up getting more than half way through. This is something that I think I would really enjoy reading now, so I hope I read it and enjoy it!

Will you be participating in Lalathon? If so, let me know what you plan on reading for it in the comments! I will be updating you daily on my progress for this readahton on Instagram, so make sure you follow me!

Owned

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I recently unboxed a HUGE BookOutlet.ca order (which you can read about here), and this was one of the box I was SO excited to find on the website! I read the first couple of chapters last week, and it seems super good so far. I need to read the books I have on my Lalathon TBR before I continue this one, but I plan on finishing it sometime this month.

Physical ARCs

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The second and final physical ARC I need to read this month is “Five Feet Apart” by Rachael Lippincott. Even though this book is coming out during the middle of November, the movie has already been filmed and is scheduled to come out in March! I believe the main boy in the book is being played by Cole Sprouse, which is very exciting! Like “Girls of Paper and Fire”, I have heard nothing of amazing things about this book, so I hope it lives up to my high expectations! Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC!

NetGalley

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I read A TON of my NetGalley books last month, so I am in good shape with my NetGalley shelf. However, this book came out on October 1st and I still have yet to read it. I read a few chapters of it a few weeks ago and it seemed really good, but I wasn’t in the mood to read something like this. I plan on picking it up this month, as I plan on posting my review for it in the coming weeks.

Those are all of the books I hope to read this month! Do you plan on reading any of these books this month like me? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you guys plan on reading this month… you never know, I might end up reading it, too!

Good Night Book Owls!


NOTE: My email address “readingreadingreading@outlook.com” will not be looked at after December 31, 2018. If you need to contact me for all things related to my book blog, please use my “Contact” form, which you can find here. If it is urgent or you are looking to send me a book to read and review, please email “alyssacohen@readingreadingreading.com”. Thank you!