Bookish Year In Review

2018 Bookish Year Recap

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

I cannot believe that I am writing my last post of 2018 already! While I wrote before that I thought this year went by pretty slowly, this month went by extremely fast!

In 2018, my reading goal was twelve books. I knew that I would not have a lot of time to spare for reading this year, and that was very evident by my complete lack of blogging for the majority of the year. However, I came back in October and have been blogging (and reading) ever since! I ended up finishing fifteen books, and am still in the midst of reading two novels for schools which I plan on finishing in January. In this post, I will only be sharing the books that I fully finished this year during the months of October to December of 2018.

You can click on the name of the month to directly read my wrap-up post for that specific month. You can click on a specific book cover to read my review of the book (if you click on a cover and nothing happens, that is because I have not yet written a review for it yet).

October 2018

Books Finished: 8

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November 2018

Books Finished: 1


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December 2018

Books Finished: 6

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Those are all of the books I read in 2018! What was the BEST book you read this year? Let  me know in the comments or on Instagram!

Good Night Book Owls and see you all in 2019!

 

YEARLY FAVOURITE READS :)

Top Three Books of 2018!

Hi everybody, welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Since I only read fifteen books from October to December (the three months I started regularly book blogging again), I didn’t think it was fair to make a big list of all of my favourite books, since I didn’t read that many in the first place. That being said, I still wanted to join in on the fun, and share my top three favourite books that I read this year!

3. The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

As you can see in my December Wrap-Up, this was one of the last books I finished this year and WOW, it was good! I always try and read one holiday/seasonal book during December and I am so happy that I chose to pick this one up! I bought it off of Book Outlet for less than $10 and it was worth every penny! While I had heard some great things for this book, I didn’t want to set my expectations to high. However, I loved it from literally the first sentence. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the holiday season, especially if you like fairytale retellings. Obviously, I gave this book 5/5 stars and plan on re-reading it next holiday season!

2. Dare You To Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch

While I didn’t give this book 5/5 stars, I still absolutely loved it! I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster Canada back in the summer, but did not read it until September. Even though I had never really enjoyed mystery novels, this book totally changed my opinion on the genre, and ended up influencing me to pick up a lot of mystery/thriller books that would have otherwise been slightly “out of my comfort zone”. The characters and overall plot in this book were exceptional and made it a very fast-paced read. You can read my review review for “Dare You To Lie” here!

1. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

As you may have read in my December Wrap-Up post, I absolutely LOVED this book. I had heard fantastic things about it from one of my favourite BookTubers, Lala @ Books And Lala, so I decided to pick it up. This may be one of my favourite if not my FAVOURITE favourite book of ALL TIME. It was THAT good. I still think about it all the time on a regular basis, since the ending was shockingly good. If you are going to read one book that I have mentioned on my blog this year, I would pick this one.

Those were my top three reads of the year! Let me know what yours were in the comments, or send me a link to your post! You can also let me know on my Instagram, which I have been updating and “renovating” for 2019!

Good Night Book Owls!

 

My Monthly Reads

December 2018 Wrap-Up

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

It is my last wrap-up post of 2018, which is always bittersweet to write (read my TBR post for the final month of the year here). This year was pretty good to me, but I hope next year will be even better! Before I start this post off, I want to thank you all for re-welcoming me back into the book blogosphere over these past few months. I’ve had the most fun I have ever had book blogging over the past three months, and I only hope I continue to love doing this more and more! I also want to thank Simon and Schuster Canada, Penguin Random House Canada, Harper Collins Canada, Hachette Book Group Canada, and ECW Press, among others, for fueling my love of books and offering me fantastic ARCs to read and review for you. This opportunity is truly a once in a lifetime kind of thing, and I cannot express my gratitude to all of you enough.

The first book I finished this month was “A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab. I read about half of the book during the last few days of November, so I finished it within the first few days of November. I really wanted to love this book, as I have the entire box set. However, I ended up thinking it was just “OK”. I probably will continue on with the series, but definitely not anytime soon.

HELLO FRIENDS. This is Alyssa from the past (it’s December 4 when I’m writing this part, FYI). I JUST FINISHED “BEHIND HER EYES” AND OH MY GOD WHAT A BOOK, WHAT AN ENDNG, WHAT A CONCEPT. I THINK THIS IS ONE OF MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME. SOOOOOOO GOOD. SOOOOOOOOOOOO FANTASTIC. HIGHLY RECOMMEND FOR ALL PHYCOLOGICAL/DOMESTIC THRILLER LOVERS LIKE MYSELF. THIS BOOK HAS A HIGHLY UNEXPECTED THEME/CONCEPT IN IT, WHICH I LOVED (NO SPOILERS AS TO WHY OR HOW IT IMPACTS THE BOOK… BUT READ IT IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT)! SORRY I CAN’T STOP WRITING IN CAPS LOCK, THIS BOOK WAS JUST TOO GOOD. READ. IT. NOW.

I wanted to take a break from reading for a few days after I finished “Behind Her Eyes” in order to digest and process what had happened in the novel. For Hanukkah, my parents bought me this GORGEOUS book that features a ton of fantastic illustrations and interesting facts about my first love… BOOKS! I HIGHLY recommend this book for any bibliophile you have in your life, although, if you’re reading this post you’re probably a bibliophile yourself!

The fourth book I read this month was “Watching You” by Lisa Jewell. I received an eARC of this book on NetGalley, and posted my review for it just a few days ago. You can read it here. In short, I really liked it and gave it 4/5 stars!

I wanted to try and read at least one “holiday” themed book during December, and I’m SO happy I picked “The Afterlife of Holly Chase” up! This book really pleasantly surprised me, as I was not expecting it to be this good! The story was wonderful, I loved all of the characters, and the ending was phenomenal! Obviously, I ended up giving it 5/5 stars!!

The last book I finished this month was “Looker” by Laura Sims. I received an ARC of this book from Simon and Schuster Canada. This book does not come out until January, so I don’t really want to spoil my entire review. But, I will say it was… interesting.

Those are all of the books I read this month! Overall, it was quite a successful reading month, and a great ending to 2018! How was your reading month this year? Let me know in the comments and/or send me a link to your December 2018 Wrap-Up post!

My next few posts will be all about my reading this year as a whole, as well as my 2019 Bookish/Blog goals!

Good Night Book Owls!

(P.S. I just upgraded my phone to the iPhone 8 Plus and I am OBSESSED with the camera/picture quality!! The pictures included in this blog post were all taken on my new iPhone using portrait mode with natural lighting.)

book reviews

Alyssa’s Reviews – Watching You by Lisa Jewell (eARC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

As I have mentioned several times throughout this month, my current absolute favourite genre has been Mystery/Thrillers. I was approved for an eARC of “Watching You” by Lisa Jewell from Simon & Schuster Canada via NetGalley last month, and I thought this would be the perfect book to pick up as I was in the perfect mood for this interesting domestic/neighbourhood based mystery/thriller. For those of you who don’t know, Lisa Jewell is a highly acclaimed adult mystery/thriller author, and has put out fifteen other highly rated books before coming out with Watching You. Watching You by Lisa Jewell is being released in stores TODAY!

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Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.
As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.
One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

The synopsis may seem a little confusing and hard to follow, but I promise once you start reading it, it is very easy to follow. Lisa Jewell does a great job of writing very descriptive details about her characters and their back stories, so it is easy to differentiate between who is who and how they are connected to the main storyline. Therefore, the plot is very character driven and is based all of the opinions and assumptions surrounding Tom Fitzwilliam and who he really is. I love reading domestic thrillers or thrillers where all the people involved live on the same street or very close to one another, which was exactly what this book entailed. The ebb and flow of the book and all of the minor events going on in each individual characters lives was written exceptionally well, especially since they are also somehow connected to Mr. Fitzwilliam and his mysterious story.

One of my favourite parts of this book is the mystery aspect. The beginning of the book opens with a detective finding/recording a piece of evidence from a crime scene. We don’t know what the crime scene is about – other than the fact that it is an apparent murder, we only know that she has found some sort of a red tassle that appears to have fallen off of a shoe. Slowly, readers learn more and more about the incident and who/what may have been involved. We don’t really find out the main piece of information until the end, which is also when the characters are finding out about it . I really enjoyed that aspect of the book, rather than telling us what exactly happened at the very beginning, and then telling the entire background of the story after the first chapter when we basically already know how the book is going to end. The best part was that the assumed muderer and victim were always changing throughout the story, as different characters had different motives/incidents, which could have resulted in them murdering different characters they communicated with throughout the story.

The twists in this book were unexpected, but made a lot of sense when starting to put the puzzle pieces together. A lot of big clues/foreshadowing was revealed throughout the book, but it wasn’t until the end when it started to fit together and make sense. There was no stone left unturned, and Lisa figured out how to make every single aspect of the crime scene/story relevant until the very end.

As I said before, the setting was absolutely perfect for this story. The fact that everybody is always watching one another could only have been accomplished by making the characters live very close to one another. I love neighbourhood stories as everyone is familiar with one another, but there are still so many things the neighbours don’t know about each other. It’s kind of like they are familiar strangers.

The only reason I didn’t give this book 5/5 stars was because for me it was quite a slow read. I tend to read ebooks/eARCs within a day or two, but this one took me about five days to get through. I found a lot of the description and dialogue unnecessary, as not all of the events in this novel helped to advance the plot, but rather made it seem a bit slower and dragged.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and gave it 4/5 stars. I hope to pick up another Lisa Jewell book sometime in the near future!

Thanks again to Simon & Schuster Canada for the eARC!

Have you read a Lisa Jewell book or are interested in picking this one up? Let me know in the comments, I love chatting with all of you!

Good Night Book Owls!

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox #8: Winter 2019 Edition

Hi everybody, welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Winter/Spring ARCs are coming in HOT and I am so fortunate to have been sent quite a few for review! Most of these books were requested by me, and have a few of them were unsolicited ARCs (which I will still be reading and reviewing). I will be including both the link to the publishers website as well as the direct GoodReads link if you want to add any of them to your TBR shelves (which I highly recommend you do)!

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The first book I received within the first couple of days of December from Simon & Schuster Canada! It is called “Looker” and was written by Laura Sims. Like I may have said earlier this month, I have been absolutely in LOVE with Mystery/Thriller books (just wait until you see my short review of “Behind Her Eyes” in my wrap-up)! This one sounded great on their seasonal ARC newsletter, so I was so happy to have requested it and eventually been sent it.

 

As always, Simon & Schuster Canada is great with providing almost all of the ARCs I have requested by sending out eARCs via NetGalley. Probably my MOST anticipated book of 2019 is “Sky Without Stars” by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell. This is supposed to be a mix of The Lunar Chronicles and Les Miserables… two of my favourite stories EVER. I am SO excited to read this humongous book before it even comes out! I am also currently reading “Watching You” by Lisa Jewell, and I have yet to form an opinion thus far. I’m hoping that it will pick up anytime now so I can finally start to really really enjoy this story! (UPDATE: I have now finished it and really enjoyed it!!!) My review will be up for it on the official release date (December 26). As for “Crown of Feathers” by Nicki Pau Preto and “The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson” Quinn Sosna-Spear, I am really looking forward to reading both of them and am anticipating their release so I can post my review (once I read them!).

Harper Collins Canada is always one of my favourite companies to get packages from! A lot of their seasonal packages are sent with some goodies, which I always LOVE! I was sent four books from them which I requested around early November for the Winter 2019 season. (P.S. I got a huge kick out of being sent a Lindt chocolate with this package! My mom works for Lindt in their downtown Toronto head office, so I thought it was so coincidental that they sent me a Lindt product!)

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The first book in the package was a book I didn’t originally request, but I will definitely read it because it sounds great! It is called “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Philppe. I was actually also invited to the book release party for this book, which seems like such an awesome event! This book seems like an interesting coming of age book, which is one of my favourite types of books to read! It comes out at the beginning of January, so look out for my review around then.

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This next book comes out in February and is called “The Black Coats” by Colleen Oakes. The first things that attracted me to this book was the gorgeous title! The picture doesn’t even do it justice!! I have wanted to read a Colleen Oakes book forever, so I’m really happy that I finally have an ARC of her newest one!

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In April, “Love & Other Curses” by Michael Thomas Ford comes out. I have heard fantastic things about Michael Tomas Fords’ writing, so I am really looking forward to finally reading a book written by him! While I am not currently in a huge contemporary mood, I know that around the spring time I absolutely love to read love stories, and I’m sure this one will be at the top of my list!

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The last book I was sent by HCC is called “The Meaning of Birds” and was written by Jaye Robin Brown. Can we just take a moment to stare at this cover? I mean COME ON. How beautiful is it?! One of my reading goals for next year is to read my diverse books, including LGBTQ+. This one sounds super lovely, and I am really excited to read it in April.

Hachette Book Group Canada sent me four eARCs via Netgalley as well, which I am very excited for! “The Woman in the Dark” by Vanessa Savage sounds AMAZING, and is definitely filling my recent obsession for thrillers! “Izzy & Tristan” by Shannon Dunlap sounds like such a sweet book and I am really looking forward to reading and reviewing it. “Golden State” by Ben H. Winters was giving me a 1984 vibe when I read the synopsis, and I am currently reading 1984 and loving it, so I thought it would be fun to give this one a try! The last book I was invited to read is “Internment” by Samira Ahmed. This book is obviously very relevant in today’s world, therefore I thought this was an important one to read and review.

Penguin Random House Canada sends out monthly “Recommended Reads” newsletters, where they often send out HARDCOVER anticipated new releases to bloggers and bookish “influencers”. I don’t think I will ever get over publishers sending out brand new hardcovers, since they are finished copies that have a legitimate value to them! Anyways, I received “A Ladder to The Sky” by John Boyne and “Final Report” by Rick Mercer. ALTTS has been getting a load of great book reviews lately and I thought the synopsis sounded amazing, so I just had to request/read it! I am also a big non-fiction fan, and I thought Rick Mercer’s book would be a very fun one to read. Plus, my Dad likes Rick Mercer quite a bit, so I plan on giving it to him once I have finished reading it.

Thanks very much to Simon and Schuster Canada, Harper Collins Canada, Hachette Book Group Canada, and Penguin Random House for providing we with some exciting new releases coming out in Winter 2019! All the books you see in this post will have a full written review posted on my blog on their date of release.

To read all of my previous “In My Mailbox” posts, click here.

Good Night Book Owls!

Weekly Reading Plans!

Winter Break Vacation 2018 Reading Plans

Hi everybody and welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

In just a few days, I will be going on my winter vacation! Believe it or not, I’ve never gone on a winter vacation during my winter break, so I’m super excited that my family and I are going on one this year!

While I will not have a ton of down time during this trip, I will still have lots of time to read on the airplane and on various car/bus rides. Therefore I plan on reading a few books during this holiday.

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The first book I plan on reading is “Looker” by Laura Sims. I received an ARC from Simon and Schuster Canada and am really looking forward to reading it. This book is less than 200 pages, so it’s a perfect short plane read.

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The next book I plan on reading is “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Philippe. Ashley from Harper Collins Canada recommended this book to me and sent me an unsolicited ARC of it. I am super excited to read this book and seems like something I will really enjoy! My full review will be up during the beginning of January, right around the release date.

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The last book I plan on reading is “Golden State” by Ben H. Winters. I received this book on NetGalley via HBG Canada, and am really looking forward to reading this. I have read the first few pages, and it already seems SO interesting!

Those are all of the books I plan on reading during my winter vacation! I know this list is full of ARCs, but I’m trying to read all of my January ARCs now, so I can make a big reading dent in my TBR shelf throughout the entirety of January.

Are you guys going on a winter vacation this month? Let me know, I’d love to hear what you plan on reading and where you are going!

ALSO, I am giving away a $10 Book Outlet gift card!!!!! To enter, click here!

Good Night Book Owls!

Book TAGS!

The Jingle Bell Book Tag

Hi everybody and welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

I am sorry that I only had time to put up one post over the last week. I have had SO many tests and assignments due this week, but I only have one due next week and then I have two weeks off for winter break! Anyways, every year I try to complete one winter/holiday book tag and try to only pick books for the questions that I have read over the past year. Since I have only been reading frequently for the past three months, I don’t have that many books to chose from, but for the small time that I have read for, I have picked up some phenomenal books! I first saw this tag on “Adventures of a Bibliophile” and you can read her post here. I wasn’t tagged to do this post by anybody, but I really wanted to participate in it!


“All I Want For Christmas Is You…” – What book do you want to see under the Christmas Tree?

 

While I don’t celebrate Christmas (Hannukah FTW!), I asked my parents for two books this year (both of which I was fortunate to receive!). The first book I requested was “Bibliophile” illustrated by Jane Mount. I absolutely LOVED this book, and is a MUST for all book lovers a.k.a. BIBLIOPHILES! I also asked my parents for the “Darker Shades of Magic Series” box set written by V.E. Schwab. I finished the first book at the beginning of the month and unfortunately didn’t love it, but hopefully I will enjoy the rest of the series.

“Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time…” – What book that you have read this year have you enjoyed the most?

 

I don’t want to give away my favourite book of the year, but I have read quite a few books this year that I have loved! These include “Dare You To Lie” by Amber Lynne Nautsch and “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, both of which I gave five stars to!

Elf – What book unleashes your inner child?

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The number one book that always unleashes my inner child is always any book in “The Land of Stories” series written by Chris Colfer. TLOS is my all-time favourite middle grade fantasy/fairytale retelling series ever, and is one of my all-time favourite series in general.

“It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” – Which book has most festive look to it?

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While it may not have the most festive look, I absolutely love the cover of “The After Life of Holly Chase”. I am currently reading this book and it is so great! It’s a sort-of variation and sort-of retelling of “A Christmas Carole”.

The Holiday – Name your favourite TWO couples…

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Hmmmm… this one’s a tough one. As of right now, I’d say my favourite couples in one book were from the book “Watching You” by Lisa Jewell. Both couples had really interesting relationships, but no spoilers here! “Watching You” comes out on December 26, 2018, and my full review will be up on that exact day!

What book would you like to give as a present to your followers?

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A book I would love to give all of my readers as a present would be “The Leading Edge of Now” by Marci Lyn Curtis. I absolutely loved this book and think that it is such an important one to read.


I TAG:

Here are Melissa’s and Stephanie’s versions of this tag (click on their names)!


I hope you all enjoyed reading this tag! If you want to participate in the tag, feel free to say that I tagged you and send me the link so I can read your post!

Good Night Book Owls!