July 2019 Wrap-Up

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

July was a very interesting month for me, as I had the first two-weeks off from any usual responsibilities (school and work), and then these last two weeks I have worked from 9am-6pm practically everyday! I didn’t have as much reading time as I would have expected, but I still got to read six full books!


The first book I read this month was THE BEAUTY OF THE MOMENT by Tanaz Bhathena. I am currently lending this book out to a friend – that’s why this picture has a different background than the rest of them! I really, really enjoyed this sweet YA contemporary with a bit more meaning than your average contemporary/romance! You can read my full review of this book by clicking here. I would highly recommending this one if you liked LOVE FROM A TO Z, which I wrote an entire review on that you can read here! Overall, I gave this book 4/5 stars!


The second book I read this month was THE CHALK MAN by C.J. Tudor. I featured this book in my July Library Book Haul, which you can read here. I haven’t read a lot of thrillers lately, and I cannot remember the last mystery novel I read that wasn’t part of the “domestic thriller” sub-genre. Needless to say, I liked this different book. The story was really cool, and I loved all of the characters. The writing was also excellent, and it kept me on the edge of my seat! At times, I found the plot a bit slow and then much too fast. Overall, I gave this one 3.75/5 stars!


The third book I read this month was JOSH AND HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING by Christina Lauren. This one was also featured in my July Library Book Haul. I LOVED this fantastic adult romance! I enjoyed THE UNHONEYMOONERS (their 2019 release) more – read my full review here – but I still loved this one! The characters were great, and even though the ending was a bit predictable, I still really enjoyed this story. Overall, I gave it 4.75/5 stars!


I then read THE ONE by John Marrs (finally!). This book was one of the most interesting books I have ever read! I will say, I completed the first half of this novel in just one day, but the second half took me almost a week to complete. At times, I found the story very invigorating, but sometimes I found the stories and perspectives boring. However, I loved the writing and thought that all of the stories were written very “smart-ly”! Overall, I gave this novel 4/5 stars.


After receiving my Chapters Indigo order in the mail, I couldn’t resist the urge to pick up THE FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary. I wrote a mini-review of this book on my instagram account, so I encourage you to click here to read it! Overall, I loved the story and characters, and gave it 5/5 stars! Such a phenomenal adult contemporary!


The final book I completed this month was I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal. I was part of the blog tour for this one, so you can read my full review for this book here. Overall, I gave it 3/5 stars. Thanks to Raincoast Books for the ARC and inviting me to participate in the blog tour!


Those are all of the books I read this month! How many books did you read this month and which one was your favourite?!

Good Night Book Owls!

July 2019 Book Haul

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

I haven’t purchased many books in the past few months, but Chapters Indigo was having some fantastic sales online, so I decided to take advantage and purchase four new releases! As most of you know, I have been on a huge rom-com kick, but I decided to purchase a couple of eery books as well!


The first book I picked up was THE FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary. This book was 30% off online, and I couldn’t help but purchase it after hearing fantastic reviews about it! I actually already read this book just last week, and I loved it! I posted a mini review on my Instagram, which you can read by clicking here. You will obviously be hearing more about this book in my wrap-up tomorrow!


The second book I picked up was DEAR WIFE by Kimberly Belle. This was 40% off online, and I have been hearing some interesting things about this one on Instagram. I am always looking for a new domestic thriller, and I hope this one will blow me away!


The third book I picked up was THE SIMILARS by Rebecca Hanover. I requested an ARC of this book ages ago, and didn’t receive an early copy. That being said, I knew that I would eventually purchase this one when I could find it in paperback! I am SO excited to read this one, and can’t wait to see if it lives up to my expectations!


The last book I picked up was DON’T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME by Mhairi McFarlane. This one was 40% off, and after reading The Flatshare, I am SO excited to read another adult rom-com! This one hasn’t been super popular online, but it’s been getting rave reviews throughout Canada! I hope to read this one very soon!


Those are the books I picked up on Chapters Indigo online this month! Have you read any of these books or does one in particular interest you? Let me know in the comments!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal {BLOG TOUR}

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself reading books about very similar themes and/or characters. I have been on an adult rom-com kick lately, so I was happy to pick up I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal, in an effort to change up my reading. Thanks to Raincoast Books for the ARC and inviting me to participate in the blog tour!

Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Lena and Campbell aren’t friends.
Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.
When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.
They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.

Even though I was really excited for this book, it came up a little short.

The story was very plot driven and fast paced. I have been reading a lot of character driven stories lately, so I had to get used to the change of pace right from the gecko. The story takes place in under 24 hours, which obviously makes the story go by very quickly. I tend to enjoy books that take place over a short time frame, but I felt that due to the timeframe, we didn’t get to know the characters as much as I would have liked to.

For me, the characters were nothing special. I thought that they were very under-developed, and I would have loved to read more about their backstories. Lena was a great character to read from/about, but she always annoyed me whenever she was talking about her boyfriend, because she kept ignoring red-flags. This felt uncharacteristic, as she is supposed to be a strong, independent teenager, although she felt very weak when it came to her boyfriend.

My favourite aspect of this book was the writing. It was very descriptive, which made me feel as if I was with the characters at all parts of this story. I could always recognize the point of view I was reading from, which is crucial when reading a book written in dual perspectives.

Upon reading reviews for this novel on Goodreads, I noticed a lot of people did not enjoy the ending. I actually quite liked it, as I typically don’t mind open endings. This one in particular led to a lot of follow up questions, so even though I didn’t mind the ending, I would have loved to have read in epilogue at the conclusion of this story. I would recommend this book for YA and Adult book clubs, as there could be a lot of great discussions that come from it.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book and gave it 3/5 stars. Thanks again to Raincoast Books for the ARC and allowing me to participate in the blog tour! Make sure you head on over to everyone else’s blogs to see their thoughts on this book!

Good Night Book Owls!

The Reading Rush 2019 TBR

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

The biggest readathon on the internet, The Reading Rush (formally known as BookTubeaThon), is starting tomorrow and ending on July 28! I have been participating in this readathon since it began, and I look forward to participating in it this time around! This readathon includes several different reading challenges, and here are all of the books I plan to read to accomplish them! Click here to add me as a friend on The Reading Rush website!


CHALLENGE #1: Read a book with purple on the cover.

For this first challenge, I plan to read WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevado. Obviously, the background cover for this book is purple, and I am SO excited to read it! I will say, I feel like I was the only person that didn’t absolutely love The Poet X (her debut novel), so I am interested to see my thoughts on it.


CHALLENGE #2: Read a book in the same spot for the entire time.

For the second challenge, I plan on reading DUMPLIN by Julie Murphy! I have been wanting to read this book since I attended my first ever HCC Frenzy Presents event, and hope to get around to it during this readathon! Even though this book isn’t super short, I plan on reading it in my backyard this week.


CHALLENGE #3: Read a book you meant to read last year.

I have decided to read GIRL MADE OF STARS by Ashley Herring Blake for this challenge! Ever since hearing Kayla’s thoughts on this book, I have been dying to read it.


CHALLENGE #4: Read an authors debut novel.

Can you believe that THE SILENT PATIENT is Alex Michaelides’ debut novel?! I was shocked to find this out, since everybody has been raving over it for the past several months!


CHALLENGE #5: Read a book with a non-human main character.

This was by far the hardest challenge to chose a book for! I heard from a friend that THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab has a main character that is a monster, so I figured this would work perfectly for this challenge.


CHALLENGE #6: Read a book with 5 or more words in the title.

I am reading WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH for this challenge as well as the first one!


CHALLENGE #7: Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation.

I am reading DUMPLIN for the challenge as well as challenge #2! My mom has both read this book and watched the movie, and I hope to do so this weekend!

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Those are all of the books I plan to read for The Reading Rush this week! Are you participating? If so, tell me what you plan on reading in the comments! ALSO, add me as a friend on TheReadingRush.com by clicking this link!

Good Night Book Owls!

In My Mailbox #11: An Abundance of Fall ARCs!

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

In this edition of In My Mailbox, I will be sharing with you some new ARCs I have received from Raincoast Books and HCC Frenzy/HarperTeen Canada, as well as some finished copies from Penguin Random House Canada! As always, these posts are intended for me to share new books that I will be reading and reviewing, but never with the intent of bragging about books I am so fortunate to receive for free from publishers.


The first ARC I received was DON’T SAY A WORD by Amber Lynn Natusch. I requested this book after the TeensRead Feed event hosted by Raincoast, as I noticed that this is the second book to DARE YOU TO LIE, which was one of my favourite books that I read last year!


The next ARC I received from Raincoast is THE LIARS OF MARIPOSA ISLAND by Jennifer Mathieu. I read Jennifer’s book MOXIE earlier this year for Fierce Female February and loved it, and I cannot wait to read her new darker and mysterious novel! Thanks to Raincoast Books for sending me this ARC!


When Fernanda from Raincoast Books described this novel as “Jewish resistance middle-grade novel”, I knew I needed to read it! I was so fortunate to get an ARC of this new highly anticipating middle grade novel, and I plan on reading it very very soon (even though it comes out in September). Thanks to Raincoast Books for sending me this ARC!


While I was on my long book blog hiatus last year, I read Nicola Yoon’s book EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING and loved it, so when I found out that her husband was writing a YA contemporary, I was absolutely thrilled! I will admit that I know next to nothing about this book, but am still really looking forward to reading it! Thanks to Penguin Teen Canada for sending me this ARC!


If you are on bookstagram, I am sure you have seen this beautiful cover floating around your timeline! I was one of about 20 book bloggers that received this stunning ARC of THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY by Alix E. Harrow from HBG Canada earlier this Spring. I know that this is a light adult fantasy that has something to do with a girl walking through doors (?). I have heard this book compared to Seanan McGuire’s fantasy series, and hope to read them both very soon! Thanks to HBG Canada for sending me this ARC!


AFTER THE END by Clare Mackintosh seems like it will be a hard-hitting adult contemporary that I won’t be able to put down! Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a finished copy!


As you should all know by now, mystery/thriller is my favourite genre, and WHEREVER SHE GOES by K.L. Armstrong sounds like the perfect thriller for me! Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a finished copy!


DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite has been on my radar for a very long time, and I was so excited to see the ARC edition of it on my doorstep just a few weeks ago! It came in a very unique package, which you can see in my book mail highlight on my bookstagram! Thanks to HCC Frenzy for sending it to me!

The last two books, INTO THE CROOKED PLACE and CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT were both sent to me by Raincoast Books after hearing about them from the TeensRead Feed event! I am super intrigued by both of these stories, and am really looking forward to reading and reviewing them!


Those are all of the ARCs I have accumulated over the past couple of months! Are you anticipating any of them? Let me know in the comments!

Good Night Book Owls!

Library Book Haul #1

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

As I mentioned in an Instagram post earlier this week, I am going to start using my local public library a lot more frequently as I do not have enough space on my bookshelves to keep purchasing/acquiring so many books! I used to love going to the library, and plan on visiting it a lot in the near future. I recently placed quite a few books at hold on my libraries’ website, and went to pick them up a few days ago.


The first book I picked up was THE CHALK MAN by C.J. Tudor. As you should know, my favourite genre is adult mystery/thriller, and I have been recommended this book by quite a few of you recently! If you look in the top left corner of the book, you may see a bookmark sticking out, as I am currently reading this book (and am loving it)!


The second book I picked up was JOSH AND HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING by Christina Lauren. Earlier this year, I read THE UNHONEYMOONERS by them, and absolutely loved it (it is one of my new favourite rom-coms!), and I have heard wonderful things about this one! I plan to read it very soon!


The third book I picked up at the library was I KNOW YOU KNOW by Gilly MacMillan. I have yet to read a Gilly MacMillan book, so I am eager to see what all of the hype is around! I know literally nothing about this book, other than the fact that it is an adult mystery/thriller novel.


The fourth library book I picked up was WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevado. I read about half of her first novel last year, and feel like I was the only one who didn’t love it. This one sounds much more like my style, and I am really really excited to read this one ASAP!


The last library book I picked up was MIDDLEGAME by Seanan McGuire. After hearing Kayla @ Booksandlala’s review for this novel, I couldn’t help but take it out from my library! I will admit that this is not something I would usually read, but I am very intrigued by it and hope to be pleasantly surprised!


Those are the library books I picked up recently! I hope you enjoyed this library book haul, and enjoyed seeing pictures taken on my bed (haha!)! If you have read any of these, let me know your thoughts on them in the comments below!

Good Night Book Owls!

Behind the Bookstagram #2: How I Edit My Pictures

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

In the second instalment in my “Behind the Bookstagram” mini-series, I will be showing you how I edit my bookstagram pictures! I don’t do much to them, but what I do changes how they look quite a bit! If you missed the first instalment in this series (where I show you what types of pictures I take), click here.

The first thing I do after taking my pictures is change the angle of the picture via the photos app scale. My Instagram thrives off of clean lines and even pictures, therefore I try to keep the photo as straight as possible. This step usually takes me quite a bit of time, as I am only changing the angle of the picture slightly.


After I do that, I will upload the picture onto VSCO. VSCO is a photo editing app, in which you can change the dimensions of a photo and add filters, while also being able to adjust the brightness and other settings. Currently, every picture that I post uses the HB1 filter. After I apply the filter, I occasionally play around with the strongness of the filter, or brightness and shadows.

To see the finished Instagram picture, click here!

That is how I edit my bookstagram photos! Don’t forget to follow my Instagram (@ReadingReadingReading)!

Good Night Book Owls!

Alyssa’s Reviews – The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathena (FC)

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

Back in May, I had the pleasure of attending the Penguin Teen Social. At the event, we got to meet several different authors and have several different books signed. When I heard that Tanaz Bhathena, the author of THE BEAUTY OF THE MOMENT, was going to be at the event signing her book, I was SO excited to meet her and pick up a copy of it! I had been wanting to read it ever since I received it at PTS, and have finally read and finished it yesterday!


Synopsis (Goodreads.com):

Susan is the new girl—she’s sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents’ expectations of excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy—he started raising hell at age fifteen, after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since.
Susan’s parents are on the verge of divorce. Malcolm’s dad is a known adulterer.
Susan hasn’t told anyone, but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn’t know what he wants—until he meets her.
Love is messy and families are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.

This is easily one of the sweetest YA contemporary books I have ever read! It was very cute, but also featured a lot of really important themes.

I loved how the theme of family was a heavily weighted aspect of this book. Almost every other scene was with either Susan or Malcolm’s parents, and I really enjoyed the contrast between them. Both main characters came from rough childhoods, but were both trying constantly thinking about the relationship they had with their parents. Their parents were big influences in their lives, for both good and bad reasons.

Another one of my favourite parts of this book was the cultures that both Susan and Malcolm came from. They both came from similar, but very different places, which meant that some of their traditions and holidays differentiated from one another. I really enjoyed learning about their cultures, as well as the different ways they called their elders!

I also really liked how the book was written. It was written in first-person perspective, and dual-POV, which makes readers really get in the heads of the two main characters. However, I never felt myself fully connect or empathize with Susan and Malcolm. They were very basic YA teen characters, and while they did develop quite a bit throughout this story, I didn’t really care for or about them.

Asside from the characters, I thought that the story dragged on a bit. Some of the scenes seemed a bit receptive, and I found that the characters were doing the exact same five things throughout the entire story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this YA contemporary, and gave it 4/5 stars. Thanks to Penguin Teen Canada for the finished copy, and thanks to Tanaz Bhathena for signing it for me!

Good Night Book Owls!

#LetsReadTO: Book City

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

#LetsReadTO is a new series on my blog that will be showcasing independent bookstores around the city of Toronto! Indie bookstores are so important to bookish-culture, especially since we are seeing fewer of them than ever before. It is my hope that after reading these posts, whether you live in Toronto or not, you will venture out to your nearest (or farthest!) independent bookstore, and support them by purchasing a book that you want to read!


Book City is a popular independent bookstore throughout the city of Toronto. They have several locations spread around the city, but the one I went to was 1430 Yonge St.

This store was so neat, since they had books on table outside for sale, as well as some bargaining and mystery tables.


Upon first glance, this looks like an ordinary bookshop, but in reality, there are books placed in every single nook and cranny possible! I loved the wide variety of books, from classic english literature, to every single travel book you could possibly need!


One of the main featured tables displays several new books that have been recently released. A common indie bookstore misconception is that they don’t have fresh new releases, but obviously Book City has a lot of them!

Book City is also home to a wonderful YA and children section. The back left wall was specifically used to showcase some popular middle-grade and YA novels, as well as some great kids picture books.


As I said previously, Book City has a very wide variety of fiction titles. They have a lot of back-list titles, as well as several new releases. This is just one of the many large fiction bookshelves they have in their store.


The wall on the right side of the store holds all of their non-fiction titles. One of my favourite spots in this store was this little corner that housed a nice rocking chair… perfect for reading books in!


Overall, I loved visiting Book City and highly encourage people in the area to come down and see it for yourself!


Good Night Book Owls!

Behind The Bookstagram #1: How I Take My Pictures

Welcome back to Reading, Reading, Reading!

And welcome to the first instalment in my Behind The Bookstagram mini-series! For more details on it, click here. In this first post, I will be sharing with you my favourite types of pictures to take and post on my Bookstagram account. It is important to mention that ALL of my pictures are taken on my iPhone 8 Plus, and are usually taken in portrait mode.


Upon looking at my Bookstagram, you probably notice a few different patterns and types of posts that I frequently take. Right off the bat, you can see that I every other picture is some sort of a book stack or bookish thing, while the next picture is of an individual book. I never post two individual book pictures back-to-back, as I think this looks cleaner and more visually appealing. You can also see some of the different types of photos I like to take, including individual books, book-stacks, and random bookshelf pictures.

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PHOTO #1: Individual Book
Level of Difficulty: 1/5

The most basic (and in my opinion, the most important) picture that I frequently post on my Bookstagram, is a photo of an individual book. I love to angle the book on my bookshelves, and show the depth and size of my books. Sometime I will add decorations or props next to the books if it fits the theme of the post, or sometimes I will place the book next to other specific books, so that you can see a particular book-spine. These photos always get a great amount of interactions, and they are very straight forward and to the point. It is obvious to see exactly which book you are highlight and featuring on your account. I always use portrait mode when taking these pictures, and focus it on the book the best I can.

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PHOTO #2: Dual Covers
Level of Difficulty: 2/5

The dual covers picture style is semi-new to me. I hadn’t been taking many pictures in this way before until very recently, when I started to want to feature more than one book at a time, without using a traditional book-stack photo style. I always find this photo slightly harder to take than an individual book style, as I seem to have to play around with how much of one book I want to show, and how little of the second book I want to show. For this picture, I will typically place two books on one side of my bookshelf, place on in front of the other, and finally play around with how much of each book I want to show in the picture. I typically take these photos in portrait mode, however they can be harder for the camera to focus on since you are technically focusing on more than one object at once.

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PHOTO #3: Standard Vertical Book-Stack
Level of Difficulty: 1.25/5

The standard vertical book-stack picture is a very basic but beautiful bookstagram picture. This style allows you to showcase many books at one, so it’s perfect to use when sharing your monthly wrap-ups and/or TBRs. You can play around with this photo style by colour coordinating the book spines, choosing books that relate to each other by either theme or genre, or by placing the books from smallest to largest or vice versa. I typically always place the largest book on the bottom, and place smaller books up on top. I place my books in the exact middle of one individual shelf, and try to centre the stack in the photo to the best of my abilities. I always take these pictures in portrait mode, as the blur of the books in the background helps to define the book-stack.

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PHOTO #4: Horizontal Book-Stack
Level of Difficulty: 2/5

This is one of my favourite picture styles to post on instagram! I find horizontal book-stacks super visually appealing and classy. To take this picture, I will only use three or four books, since when you are using a lot of books for this picture, it looks quite messy. I normally try to take a picture of the stack slightly off centre, so I can showcase some other books or items in the background. Similarly to the vertical stack, you can play around with the books you are featuring, and try to colour coordinate them or pick books that all fall under the same genre. I always use portrait mode to take this picture.

PHOTO #5: Book Store Shelf Inception
Level of Difficulty 3.5/5

And lastly, we have my all-time favourite Bookstagram picture style! This one can feature your favourite bookstore shelves, centred perfectly in your photo. In my local bookstore, there are individual shelves that intercept with a giant bookshelf on the wall, so I love to take pictures of them in one photo (see image on the right). On occasion, I will feature I newly purchased book by holding up the book in the middle of the shelves (see image on the left). This photo style can get tricky when there are other people in the row that you are in, or when you cannot perfectly centre the book in between shelves.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the different styles of Bookstagram pictures I post regularly! If you are inspired by any of these pictures and take photos inspired by them and post them on your bookstagram account, please tag me and I will share them in my Insta story! If you are interested in learning about other styles of bookstagram photos, let me know in the comments and I may make a part two of this post!

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Good Night Book Owls!