The Flight Attendant - Chris Bohjalian

My first exposure to Chris Bohjalian's work was when my book club picked Trans-Sister Radio and I LOVED IT.  My review on Goodreads is short and sweet: Right up there with Middlesex for the WOW factor. This book follows the life of Dana as he transitions into a she. I love books that switch narrators because you can really get into each character's head. This book was just awesome and I can't wait to read more of Bohjalian's books!

Flash forward a few years, and I had the opportunity to read and review Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands -- which was good, but lacked a little in the WOW factor for me.  I requested an egalley of The Flight Attendant, knowing that I liked Chris' writing style, but really having no clue what to expect.

Flash forward again to one indecisive Saturday night when I couldn't decide what to pick up.  I was in the mood for a thriller, but none of the books on my TBR pile were thrillers.  And then I remembered that the publication date for The Flight Attendant was only a couple of weeks away, so I decided to give it a shot.

The Flight Attendant is a thriller, which was perfect because that's what I was craving.  I've read quite a few thrillers since Spookathon last year and while a traditional thriller is a compulsive page-turner, The Flight Attendant was even more than that.  It had heart, it had political intrigue and it had characters that were so flawed yet loveable.  I tore through the book, sneaking in a page or two whenever I had a free moment.  To say that I couldn't put it down would be an understatement, and to say that I loved it would be a second one.  I absolutely love that each of Chris' books have been a completely unique reading experience, and I'm already eyeing the other two books of his that are on my shelves!  If you love thrillers, and love thrillers with a little bit more than just a traditional whodunnit type of plot, then I highly recommend picking this one up.

Also, I posted a status update on Instagram about how much I was enjoying the first few pages of The Flight Attendant.  I don't tag authors all the time, but I did in this photo and was absolutely blown away by the fact that Chris commented, and so thoughtfully!  I admit that I sometimes feel like authors are celebrities and it amazes me when they are so genuine and real.  I was humbled and touched and I'm planning on picking up the rest of Chris' books in the not-too-distant future.

Note: An egalley was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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March TBR - Middle Grade March and AllTheShortOnes Readathon 2.0

My reading game was strong in January, but slower in February.  I am SO PUMPED to read all of the things in March, mainly because there are two incredible readathons happening!

The first is Middle Grade March, hosted by Life Between Words (a new favourite BookTuber of mine).  This a month long event to read as much middle grade as you'd like.  There are also five challenges:

1. Read an award winner
2. Read a book to movie adaptation.
3. Read a childhood favourite.
4. Read a classic.
5. Read a diverse book.

So, my TBR is basically just all of the unread middle grade on my shelves!

From left to right: Just Ella, Stowaway, Dragon Rider, Searching for David's Heart, The Red Badge of Courage, The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles, The Thief Lord, Music of the Dolphins, The Thief, Inkspell, Syren, Darke, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Dealing with Dragons, and Anne of Avonlea.

Then, my dear friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings is hosting her second round of AllTheShortOnes, running from March 18th to March 31st.  As I'm planning to read as much middle grade as I can for the first half of the month, I've selected all of my short non-middle grade books as my TBR for this readathon, but there will probably be middle grade books read during the latter half of the month as well.  Jessica has selected seven challenges for this readathon:

1. Read a book by a new-to-you author
2. Read a graphic novel
3. Read a book with a one-word title
4. Read a book you’ve read before
5. Read a book that has been made into a movie
6. Read a non-fiction book
7. Read 7 books!

And, again, I've selected the rest of the short books off my shelves that aren't middle grade...

From top to bottom: Wild Embers, I Shall Be Near To You, The Passion, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Light Lifting, Little Sister, The Prisoner of Heaven, and Wild is She.

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Reading Round-up - February

February was a bit of a quieter reading month for me, mainly because The Olympics was on, and the Winter Olympics are my FAVOURITE.  So I read a bit, but not as much as January.  I also DNFed a lot more this month.  I was having a hard time figuring out what I was in the mood to read ... not a full reading slump, but something approaching a slump.

1. Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult
I started off the month by browsing my library's audiobook collection, and looking for something that I could listen to/read.  I like bouncing back and forth between audio and print sometimes, and this book was a good one for that.  Not my favourite of Jodi's work, but a solid read nonetheless.

2. Triptych by Karin Slaughter
It's official: Karin Slaughter is a new favourite author!  I read, and loved, Pretty Girls last year and then picked up a few more of Karin's books.  I nabbed a couple at a used bookstore over the holidays, but didn't realize that they were the last two in the series.  I picked up the first one in the series last month and WOW -- loved it.  I can't wait to read more about Will Trent ... his character is so intriguing.

3. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
I picked this up on a cheap ebook sale, but sadly it didn't compare to The Hate U Give.  I think part of my problem with this book is that it's too short, so I didn't have the time to really connect with the characters.  With that being said, I think that this book will really connect with male readers, and its short length is probably perfect for reluctant readers.

4. Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer
I felt quite meh about the first instalment in this graphic novel series, mainly because I'm not a huge graphic novel reader.  Gone Rogue was SO MUCH better than the first one, and now I'm sad to see the end of this beautiful series!

-- Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
I wanted to switch my Audible account over from the US one to the Canadian one since it's a bit cheaper, but I had to use up some stored credits.  The audiobook had rave reviews, and I was intrigued by the fact that it's narrated by 166 different actors.  I listened to just under an hour of the audiobook, and I have absolutely NO IDEA what was happening.  Interesting concept, but it just didn't work for me.  Thankfully, Audible is fantastic at accepting returns, so I swapped it for something else!

5. The Magicians by Lev Grossman
I had the highest of hopes for this book, and should technically count it as a DNF, since I skimmed the last quarter, but ohhhhhh man this book was disappointing.  I couldn't even give it a rating on Goodreads.  There were parts where the writing was beautiful and I felt like the book would be epic, and then they all turned into geese and flew to the South Pole.  Seriously, that's what the book is like. One big WTF after the next.

-- Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, et al.
Another DNF sadly.  I wasn't a big fan of the Magnus Bane short stories, and felt the same about this collection.  The Shadowhunter novellas just aren't my cup of tea.

-- Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
SO MANY DNFs.  The premise of this book sounded so intriguing, but it just wasn't grabbing my attention.  I looked it up on Goodreads and saw that Jaime @ The Perpetual Page-Turner gave it three stars ... and I trust her taste in books, so I put it into the unhaul pile.

6. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
After Triptych, I was craving another thriller, so I thought I'd see what the fuss was about with The Woman in the Window.  It was solid but not amazing, very similar to The Girl on a Train in a way, but also had a couple of unique twists tossed in.

7. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
I'll have a review posted for this one on release day, so stay tuned

8. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
I was puzzling which book to purchase with my last Audible credit when a text from my friend Jessica @ Novel Cravings came in, suggesting that I listen to this book, but avoid listening to the end in public.  At the time of writing this post, I haven't quite finished this book, but I plan to do so on the evening of the 28th, with a cup of tea, in the comfort of my own home.  Sounds like I'll need tissues and I am SO READY.

I'm hopeful that next month will be a better reading month and I am so excited for the fun reading things that have yet to come -- bring it on March!

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Book Haul [31] - February 2018

Another month, another book haul!  I feel like I've already bought quite a few books this year, and I placed one big pre-order on Amazon the other day so I'll have more books to haul in coming months. I've also read some new authors this year, and immediately itched to pick up more of their books (which means more book shopping, of course!)  BUT, I've decided to cancel my Owlcrate subscription for now, as I've only read one of the books so far, and the others aren't ones that I'm dying to get to.  My ultimate goal is to have less unread books at the end of the year than I had at the beginning of the year, so I need to focus on keeping the number of unread books under control.

We're not here to talk about not buying books.  We're here to talk about the books that I did buy!


1. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
2. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Picked up a couple more cheap ebooks (I've bought more ebooks in the last two months than I bought all 2017!  BUT I've already one of these two books, so that counts for something, right?)

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3. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
4. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
I've decided I'm done with Owlcrate.  Although there have been some super cool goodies in the boxes (like my Expecto Patronum toque and my Forbidden Forest mug), I've been disappointed with most of the books.  I've subscribed for six months now, and I've only read one of the six books.  Although it was a five star read, I'm on interested in reading one of the other five unread books.  I DNFed one of them when I was reading it as an egalley (although I think I will give it a second shot), and the other three are books that I feel fairly indifferent about.  I think I'm going to focus on buying books that I know I will love, and then I can support artists on Society6 or Etsy whenever I'm craving bookish goodies.


5. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
I've had my eye on this one for a while and after I dove back into Karin Slaughter's work, I snagged a cheap copy of this book at Costco.

6. Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer
Of course I pre-ordered this, and of course I've already read it.  And loved it.

7. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
After I finished The Heart's Invisible Furies, I RAN to the bookstore to pick up this one, his most well-known book.  It's going to tear my heart out, à la Book Thief, I just know it.

8. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
Book club pick for March and I'm SO EXCITED.  The book is so pretty in person!

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Top 10 Books I'm No Longer Interested in Reading

Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl!  This week's topic is SO PERFECT because I just purged my bookshelves and finally rid myself of books that I've been hanging onto, even though I've completely lost interest in reading them.  So, here are ten of the books in the donate pile...

1. Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
I'm not a huge fan of mythology retellings, so this one had to go.

2. Amy & Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout
I'm fairly certain that I tried to read this, possibly more than once, but it didn't go well.

3. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
I started reading this and couldn't get into it.  I thought I might go back and give it a second chance, but nope.

4. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
If there was an award for Book Featured on the Most TBR Lists, this book would win hands down.  I have finally admitted to myself that I am not interested in reading this series.

5. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
I borrowed The Constant Princess from a friend many, many years ago and started reading it, but I couldn't get into it so I set it aside.  It's one of those books that I keep meaning to pick up, but know that I probably never will, so I decided to stop hanging onto the sequel.

6. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant
I liked the other book by her that I read, but honestly this just isn't my cup of tea right now.

7. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I feel REALLY bad about this one.  So a couple of years ago, I decided that I wouldn't give my husband my usual list of books that I wanted for Christmas, and told him that he needed to surprise me.  I said do some research, find out some books that you think I might like.  Ask a Chapters employee, compare it to the books that I have on my shelves, work for it a little bit.  And he bought me three books, including this one.  I'm interested in giving two of them a shot, but when I opened this one I knew I'd never pick it up.  I tried listening to it on audio a few years ago, and DNFed it.  So, two out of three isn't bad, and I know that someone out there will enjoy this one more than I will.

8. Love, Juliet by Nick Hornby
I listened to a little bit of the audiobook and wasn't loving it.  Then I saw that Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner only gave it three stars.  Not worth the time and effort if I probably won't like it!

9. Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
I bought this one YEARS ago at a used bookstore because the cover was pretty.  And I still haven't read it, nor do I have any desire to do so.  So adios!

10. The Forbidden Game by L.J. Smith
An old blogging friend of mine (the girl who did my first blog design, actually) recommended this to me when I first started blogging.  It's written by the author of the Vampire Diaries (a series that I didn't like reading or watching) and I highly doubt I'll enjoy this one, since my tastes have changed SO MUCH since I started blogging.

That's it for this week's list .... pleeeeeease don't tell me that I'm tossing out one of your favourite books!  It was super tough to part with these books, especially since I have a really hard time parting with books that I haven't read yet ... but I'm feeling good about my decisions.

If you posted a top ten Tuesday, leave me a link in the comments and I'll stop by!  Thanks for reading, and happy Tuesday!

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Marko Monday [27] - Five Minute Stories

To say that Marko is obsessed with superheroes would be an understatement.  When my little man loves something, he loves it with his whole heart and his whole being.  When he was one, he loved whales.  When he was two, he loved Mike and Sulley from Monsters Inc.  When he was three, he loved Paw Patrol.  When he was four, he loved dinosaurs.  Now that he's five, the love for Batman, Ironman and Spider-Man grows with each passing day.  He was Batman for Hallowe'en and had a Spider-Man birthday cake this year.

The 5-minute stories have been a fixture in our house for at least six months, and we've collected several volumes.  There is one Batman volume, two Spider-Man volumes, and one collection of Marvel stories.  These books are the perfect read-aloud length before bed and they hold Marko's interest for longer when he flips through the books on his own, because they're hefty books with about ten stories in each one.  Although Marko's isn't close to reading on his own, I feel like these books will bridge the gap between being read to and reading on his own.  The next stage of his reading life feels not that far away!  It's hard to believe that this feature will soon progress from picture books to chapter books!

As I shared last week, this little man is now FIVE YEARS OLD.  I registered him for kindergarten, and just received the email today that he was accepted into our school of choice.  Starting this September, he'll be attending school!  His school mascot is a dragon, which I think is pretty fitting, since he was born on the last day of the year of the dragon.  He's already talking about kindergarten and, although he doesn't fully understand the concept just yet, he's pretty excited for his "big boy school."  I love the boy he is and the boy he is becoming.

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Happy 5th Birthday Marko!

I thought I was pretty good at posting birthday posts, but it looks like I haven't done one since Marko turned three!

We'll follow the same process and look back at the last couple of years...

When you were four...
Dinosaurs were still the thing and we took you to Drumheller to see real dinosaur bones, although you reminded us quite frequently that all the dinosaurs DIED and these are not REAL, okay?  You are the man of a million questions, from "Why do I have a bum?" to "Where is my soul?"  Youtube has provided a constant support to this endless stream of questions, since it's sometimes easier to just watch a frog eat a fly in slow motion than to try to explain how a frog's tongue works.  I feel like I'll always remember the funny way you mispronounce certain words, only to have you learn how to say them properly and then I find myself struggling to remember the sweet way you mispronounced them only a few days ago.  Your smile can light up a room, and you're such a caring soul.

Now you're five...
And it's all about superheroes!  Batman was a favourite and it was your Hallowe'en costume, but Spider-Man and Ironman are close seconds.  You had a Spider-Man birthday cake, and have already pre-booked the next two birthday cakes: Ironman next year, and Batman the year after that.  You have the most amazing relationship with your dad, and I'm so grateful for that, even when I am occasionally told, "Mama, it's boy time, okay?  You can be a superhero next time."

Marko, my beautiful baby boy, my angel -- may you always shine as brightly as you do now.  Five is going to be your best year yet, full of exciting adventures, like kindergarten!  If the last five years are any indication of how wonderful you are, I can scarcely wait for the next fifty.

Mama loves you so so so much!

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