Book Thoughts: Woman On The Edge by Samantha M. Bailey

Published: June 1, 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Finished: March 6, 2020

I’m fairly certain this was one of my last book purchases of this year, not including any preorders I had shipped to me. I remember seeing it all over Facebook as the thriller you just had to read and so when I saw it on sale at the bookstore, I picked it up.

I would definitely agree that this is a fast-paced thriller that is constantly throwing cliffhanger chapter endings which were all the worse because right when you need answers, the next chapter either dives back into the past or forward to the present day.

This story starts off just as it says on the book cover. A woman, Morgan, is waiting for her train to come when a woman approaches her, hands her a baby and tells Morgan to keep her safe, and then jumps. So you can say it had me hooked right away! I loved the alternating chapters between Morgan and Nicole and just like a few other books I’ve read (You, I See You), it had me questioning things like home security and habits.

Like a lot of thrillers I read, this one isn’t perfect, but it wasn’t as cheesy as some. While some reviewers said they knew who the “bad guy” was from the start, I had no idea and was surprised by the end. One relationship in the story seemed unnecessary, but otherwise I did like the characters and the mystery itself. There are characters you hate and ones you don’t hate, but I wouldn’t say there was any character I really loved, which was okay because it is a thriller and I don’t think I’m ever really looking for someone to love, I just want answers.

This is an intense and quick read and perfect for when you want to just gobble up something in an afternoon. And I’m definitely interested to see what Bailey writes next.

My Biggest Book Blogging Regrets

I’ve been thinking about this post a lot, especially these days as I get back to being the reader I use to be. It’s really weird starting a new blog, a new Twitter profile, etc. after being someone who was a part of the blogging scene for 10 years, starting just before it started to get really popular.

I remember before I started my first blog, Reading In Winter, now deleted, that I had maybe one or two blogs I would follow online for book reviews. And I thought it was just so cool that someone could just write about the books they read. One blog, I can’t remember the name of it now, had lists of books she had read in years past and I wanted to be just like that and document my reading.

And document I did! I loved writing book thoughts, participating in different book events, going to author signings, getting pretty involved in reading all things Canada, hosting different events on my blog, and just being a familiar face in the blogging community.

Then, at the beginning of last year, I decided to take a break from social media and Goodreads. I started to like the slow pace of reading I had begun to follow, and I thought to myself, “I don’t need a blog! Or Goodreads! Or social media! Delete them all!”

And I deleted it.

Years and years worth of posts, book stats, memories, and basically anything I could look back upon to see how I had grown as a reader. I think part of me felt like I was becoming a niche reader and that I was being judged for whatever reading choices I made. If I declared I was going to read a classic and didn’t, people would judge me. If I said I was going to read all CanLit and decided to not do it after a while, people would judge me. If I joined any kind of challenge or read-a-thon and didn’t reach my goals, people would judge me. So I think that’s why I felt like I should delete everything.

And now, I regret it so, so much. I missed documenting my books on Goodreads, sharing my book thoughts on Twitter, writing book posts, etc.

I missed being a part of a community.

And so now, after all my regrets and, I hate to say it, stupid actions, I’m starting afresh. I have this new blog, a new Goodreads account, a new Twitter account, and I’m trying to build it back up again. I constantly have to remind myself that it took a long time to build up an audience and following with Reading In Winter that I can do it again. It’ll take time, but during that time I’ll do what I love best. Read. Write. Connect.

Book Thoughts: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Published: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Finished: March 2, 2020

“There is always a way out of a situation. Might be ugly. Might leave you feeling like the earth had gone and shifted under your feet. But there is always a way around.”

I always look forward to a new Jojo Moyes book. Her writing is so cozy and compelling and I love her way with telling a story.

The Giver Of Stars is about Alice, who marries a man who turns out to be someone completely different once she settles with him in Baileyville, Kentucky. Looking for a way to do something for herself, she joins the Packhorse Librarians who delivered books via horseback in rural Kentucky. The story is about her friendship with the other librarians, her relationship with herself, and the social injustices and prejudices of the 1930s.

Alice was such a great character and it was so hard to read about her relationship with Bennet, her difficulties with her father in law, and just to see the struggles women faced at this time. It was such a shock for the women to hear that it would be them, women, delivering books on horses, like it was unthinkable. And the hostility Marge faced, being a women with strong opinions, having people believe she’s corrupting other women, was horrible. I loved how these women found their strengths and used that strength to fight for what was right.

I love a good historical read and this one especially was a favourite, what with its focus on books and reading. While the women and issues of this story are right at the forefront, I hope everyone who reads it remembers the importance of reading and sharing books.

Sunday Post #2 & It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? #7

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, to recap the past week on your blog, and to showcase books and things we have received.

Also sharing with It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by The Book Date. It’s a chance to share what we’ve read over the last week, what we’re reading currently, and what we plan on reading next.

It is a snowy Sunday here in Alberta, Canada! I’m not sure I like this weather – it gets warm, then it snows, you need shoes, light sweater, then boots, and a coat. I love winter, but I’m ready for more consistency in spring.

This weekend was a busy one; I spent pretty much all of Saturday moving my home library and office from our loft to the main floor, which meant moving a giant wood desk, 5 bookcases, and hundreds of books. What was nice was that my kids are finally at an age where they’re good helpers and my daughter hauled books the whole time. We then moved the kids’ playroom upstairs into the loft, which was more hauling. We’re getting a new puppy next weekend and since our older dogs like to chew on Lego pieces, we thought the best thing to do was just not have them on the main floor. At any rate, I am SORE today! Hopefully I’ll get some pictures while everything is still so clean and I’ll be sure to share them.

What I’ve Read:

I had a really, really good reading week and I feel like I am back! I have this new motivation to actually read my books and over the past few weeks I’ve gone through my unread books and got rid of over 100 (donated to a friend’s dad who loves to read). My TBR is still just under 300 but with my reading mojo back, I’m hoping I can knock off quite a few titles.

This week I finished SIX books, which is crazy seeing as I started the month with only having read 7 for the whole year thus far.

  • The Giver of Star by Jojo Moyes
  • Things You Save In a Fire by Katherine Center
  • Murder On The Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10) by Agatha Christie (reread)
  • Say You Still Love Me by K. A. Tucker
  • Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey
  • Three Act Tragedy (Hercule Poirot, #11) by Agatha Christie

As you might be able to see, I’m currently trying to work my way through the more current releases on my shelves and continuing with my Hercule Poirot reading – Three Act Tragedy was SO GOOD!

Currently I’m Reading:

This past week I tried to start a habit of starting two new books at once, usually reading one for an hour or so and then starting the other. I actually managed to work a LOT of reading time in and it helped to finish lots of books. On Friday, however, I just started one new book and thought I’d work on it throughout the weekend, along with my current reread:

  • Alone in the Woods (Rockton, #5) by Kelley Armstrong
  • The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5) by Diana Gabaldon

I’m really enjoying the latest Rockton book and if I hadn’t been so darn tired last night I might’ve gotten further, but I have less than 200 pages to go. Maybe I can work in some reading time today. And I did get more reading of The Fiery Cross in and am now at 23%. I’m remembering bits and pieces and I’m sure once I finally finish, the series will be done on TV and I can binge the whole thing.

Other Bookish Things

Aside from moving and rearranging my home library, I also pulled about 25 books from my shelves to read alongside the newer releases on my bedside table. I have a lot of backlist titles, classics, etc. that I’d like to get to so hopefully I can work in a few a week.

I also deleted ALL preorders which I probably wouldn’t have done but my credit card had a fraudulent purchase on it and I had to get a new one so rather than fix the payment for my preorders, I thought I would just delete them and add them to a wishlist for when I’ve read a considerable number of books and want to buy a few more. As it is, I’ve had loads of books that I’ve gotten on preorder and didn’t actually get to right away that I don’t think it’s necessary to get these books right when they’re released.

This week I’m going to participate in the Backlist Readathon because 1) I have a LOT of backlist books, and 2) I’m working really hard to get social again on Twitter and Instagram and want to build my community again! I haven’t decided yet what to read but they have a few prompts listed so I’ll have a look and hopefully have a list tonight.

Blogging & Such

I am quite happy with my desk being on the main floor now that I actually like coming to sit with my tea and blog! I’m hoping to share more book thoughts in the coming week and maybe a few other posts.

Have a great week!

Book Thoughts: Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

Published: August 13, 2019
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Finished: March 2, 2020

“That’s the thing I always love best about the human race: How we pick ourselves back up over and over and just keep on going.”

This is the fourth book by Katherine Center that I’ve read and can I just say that I am loving her writing? I have mentioned a few times on social media that I had lost my reading mojo over the past year and was trying to get it back. On the weekend I wanted to just pick up a book and sit down for an hour and read – shockingly, not something I’ve done a lot of since 2018 – and after reading the first paragraph of a couple books, I picked up Things You Save In A Fire and was immediately captured.

Katherine’s writing is just so cozy and inviting that it was hard to put the book down and I ended up reading 100 pages in one sitting. The themes of forgiveness and love were sometimes heartbreaking and I especially loved the relationship between Cassie and her mom, as well as her relationship with her fellow firefighters.

I think the best part of this story was Cassie’s relationship with herself. She was so closed off about certain areas of her life and we just get a glimpse of something that happened to her as a teenager at the beginning of the book and know that’s one of the reasons she was so cautious, and on top of that we have her mother who left Cassie and her father when she was 16 years old. Cassie had so many struggles to deal with in her personal life that it had me shaking my head at how hard she had to work to get respect as a female firefighter. Her growth throughout the story was inspiring.

This probably could have been a 5 star read for me, but unfortunately the ending was a little too rushed and unbelievable for me and I’m not certain we needed the epilogue (which was quite long) at the end. I also struggled with Cassie’s character sometimes; I mean, I loved her as a firefighter and she was strong and brave and willing to do anything to be respected and taken seriously, but at times I felt she was a little too much. It was like there was nothing she couldn’t do and it was kind of annoying to constantly see how she was the strongest and how she will show up the guys and prove herself and hear how she could do everything.

BUT I still loved the book. I had 100 pages left by the evening and didn’t think I would finish but I just couldn’t put it down. I will definitely continue to have Katherine on my must read author list and can’t wait for her next book!

Puzzle #11 of 2020 – Bizarre Bookshop

I had been doing a LOT of puzzles this year and keep wanting to share them somewhere so I thought I would share them here as I finish them!

This one is Bizarre Bookshop by Ravensburger, 1000 pieces.

It was surprisingly difficult, mainly because there wasn’t a whole lot of sorting that could be done. The puzzle previous to this one I was able to work my way up and look for groups of pieces based on colour but this one was all over the place! It meant that I was never getting bored and it was fun uncovering fun little books and images throughout the puzzle.

Ravensburger has a few ‘shelf’ puzzles and I have one on its way to me for my birthday and I can’t wait to do it!

Sunday Post #1 & It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? #6 & February Update

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, to recap the past week on your blog, and to showcase books and things we have received.

Also sharing with It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? hosted by The Book Date. It’s a chance to share what we’ve read over the last week, what we’re reading currently, and what we plan on reading next.

It is Sunday, March 1st and I thought I’d finally do an update! Usually it would be for a week but since I didn’t post for the entirety of February, it might as well update my month, too.

What I’ve Read:

I actually finished nothing in the past week, BUT I did read two books in February. Let’s just say February was a sloooow reading month for me and I’m working on rectifying that this month.

  • Second Best by Jessica Dettmann
  • Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #9) by Agatha Christie

Currently I’m Reading:

The last book update I did on the blog was on January 23rd and I’m sad to say I’m still reading a book I had on my currently reading pile now as I was then! And it’s not like it’s a bad book – I’m enjoying it quite a lot – but I have just been so slow with reading.

  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
  • The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
  • Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center

The Jojo Moyes one I have maybe 75 pages left to read and WILL FINISH THIS WEEK (if it’s all in caps, it’s got to happen, right?). I also finally watched the previous season of Outlander on Netflix this past week and LOVED it and thought before I dive into the next season, I might give the next book a reread. I actually picked up An Echo In the Bone which is the book I’m on in that series, but I couldn’t remember the previous books so I figured a reread was in order. I do have a giant floppy paperback of it, but I’m reading it on my kindle before bed and in the morning in bed and am maybe 15% into it. And I just started the Katherine Center one yesterday and am just over 100 pages – LOVING IT. I think I’ve read Katherine’s previous 3 books and really enjoyed them so it was no doubt I’d love this one, too.

Other Bookish Things

In an effort to get my reading mojo back as it’s been well over a year since I’ve really been into reading, I decided to go through my bookshelves and be brutally honest about what I’m going to read and what I can get rid of. I filled up two and a half boxes of books and yet I still have just under 300 on my reading list. However, I think at least 1/3 or more are classics and those aren’t immediate reads for me. I’d like to work on all my non-classic books and try to get that number down. I do feel better having cleaned my shelves and my current priority reads are all 2019 & 2020 releases I have on my nightstand.

Also, not entirely book related, but not not book related, I had a goal at the beginning of the year to stick to a healthy eating plan for the first two months of the year with NO cheating and while I had a few off days (the day I decided to stop Keto after two weeks I had maybe 2 servings of Goldfish crackers – carbs! – which wasn’t terrible, and on Valentine’s Day I went over my healthy eating range in WW but did stay within my weekly points, so not a fail) I pretty much stuck to plan for two months! As of today I’m down 19.2 lbs and going strong. I’m excited to work on the next two months now. ANYWAY, this is kind of book related because I told myself that if I reached this goal I would treat myself with the new bookshop Lego set and it’s on its way to me now. I’m so excited to have a cute bookshop to put on my shelves!

Blogging & Such

I would really, really like to get more consistent with blogging and hopefully I can try and do that this month. I decided to start participating in a Sunday post because it’s easy for me to sit down on a Sunday afternoon and write and maybe I’ll also start sharing my bookish thoughts again.

Have a great week!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (#5)

This weekly meme is hosted over on The Book Date. It’s a chance to share what we’ve read over the last week, what we’re reading currently, and what we plan on reading next.

It’s Monday again! And it’s been a Monday of a Monday so far. We had a pretty relaxing weekend and today it was so nice to wake up to some nice weather! I mean, it was -16 outside, but it felt so much nicer than -45. That’s right, you know you’re in Edmonton when it’s -16 and you feel like wearing a t-shirt.

On to the books!

This week wasn’t actually too great for reading. I did finish a book and started two others (while also reading two others, naturally).

This week I’ve finished:

  • The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

Currently I’m reading:

  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
  • Lord Edgware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #9) by Agatha Christie
  • Happiness at Home by Gretchen Rubin
  • Second Best by Jessica Dettmann

Two of these are going towards my Mount TBR challenge, one is for my non-fiction challenge, and the last is a new buy. I will admit, if I see the same book over and over on social media, chances are I’ll buy it. I’m weak.

Next, I want to read:

  • A Question of Upbringing (Dance to the Music of Time, #1) by Anthony Powell
  • ??

I just received the first collection in the Dance to the Music of Time quartet by Anthony Powell in the mail and I really want to start it! I have to keep reminding myself that I have four books on the go and that I shouldn’t start anything new! I also want to maybe start another non-fiction title, but I’m not sure what yet. Or maybe a romance? I DON’T KNOW. Regardless, I need to finish some darn books first!

Sign Up For: Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2020 #MountTBR2020

If you asked me last year to sign up for a reading challenge, I probably would have laughed since 2019 was NOT my reading year, with me reading only 38 books. This year I’m full of determination to read more, to get my reading mojo back, AND to read my shelves. Yes, I do have some books preordered for the year, but I don’t want to buy very many books outside of that. My goal is to read what is on my shelves!

So what better way than to sign up for a reading challenge! Mount TBR is a reading challenge that gets readers to read the books from their shelves that have been there prior to January 1st, 2020. There are SEVERAL levels to this challenge and just to keep this super challenging for myself, I’m going to sign up for the Mt. Kilimanjaro level, which is reading 60 books from my TBR. Personally, I think that is completely do-able!

This challenge is hosted by Bev over at My Readers Block. If you want to sign up for the challenge, just follow the link.

This challenge runs all year and I’ll list my books here as I get them read:

1. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
2. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (currently reading)
3. Lord Edware Dies (Hercule Poirot, #9) by Agatha Christie
4. The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
5. Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
6. Say You Still Love Me by K. A. Tucker
7. Three Act Tragedy (Hercule Poirot, #11) by Agatha Christie

Sign Up For: Year of International Literature 2020 #ReadIntl2020

A few years back, reading internationally was a big goal for me. I really wanted to pay more attention to who was writing my books and where they were from. I actually really loved that year of reading because it was fun to look back at my book stats for the year to see how many authors came not only from outside of my home country of Canada, but outside of North America in general.

So this year, when I saw that the bloggers over at Gathering Books were doing a year of international literature, I thought it would be fun to join!

My goal for this challenge is to read books that have been translated into English from the author’s original language. I think I will aim for 15, but if I get more that would be great!

I’ll keep my list here:

1. Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (Japanese)