Thankful for Books, Book Friends, and Book Chats. Happy B-day to the SUYB link up!

Hi friends! It was Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend and we had a wonderful long weekend. The weather was 20 deg C all weekend and the leaves are out and ugh it was just such a happy and relaxing and lovely time. I also got a lot of reading in this past month and I can’t wait to share today!! Happy birthday to Show Us Your Books and thank you SO MUCH to Steph and Jana for all the years of fun link ups and all the book recommendations and chats. So lovely to be here with this amazing crew. Hop on over to their blogs for a giveaway to celebrate!!

I’ve read a few books this month that blew me away, and a few less so, but overall, not disappointed with my reading life lately πŸ™‚ My attention span is picking up speed a bit which helps a lot LOL.

Books I really loved:

Under the Whispering DoorUnder the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, I’m not sure why I requested this e-ARC when I knew deep down I’d want to listen to this book on audio. Secondly, I am pleased to report that this is the second excellent T.J. Klune book I’ve read.

This book is about a man named Wallace Price who dies, becomes a ghost, meets an incredible group of people including a grim reaper, a ferryman, and some other ghosts, and the plot evolves into all that conspires in his afterlife. Wallace was not a pleasant or well-loved man in his life, but he comes a long way in the afterlife. YES, this is fantasy, and no, it’s not a creepy ghost story. Wallace’s human-ness is quite obvious throughout, except for, you know, the fact that most people can’t see or hear him and he can’t do normal human things.

I was DYING to know how this story would wrap up as it unfolded and the ending was tear-jerking, heartwarming, and so perfect for the rest of the story. The setting of Charon’s Crossing tea shop was so cozy and inviting and unique and powerful. I just loved this story and all of its nuggets of wisdom and subtle reminders to enjoy this one precious life we’ve been given.

Thank you to Tor Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review – this book is out now! πŸ™‚

Defy the Night (Defy the Night, #1)Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved @brigidkemmer’s Cursebreaker series (A Curse So Dark And Lonely + the others) so I was delighted to have an e-copy of her new release, DEFY THE NIGHT, from @Bloomsbury and @this_is_edelweiss. This utterly compelling and difficult-to-put-down book was SO GOOD. At a certain point, I sat down with it and did not stop until I was done reading it – it was just that good.

Defy the Night is the first in a new series (I think! And hope!) and is a loose retelling of Robin Hood/Prince of Thieves. It is not high fantasy – I think it would be a great fantasy book for those who don’t love the genre but want to dip their toes in. In this amazing book, a fictional kingdom is being ravaged by a deadly disease and the cure (moonflower petals) is lacking in supply and not shared fairly – there’s not enough for everyone in all the sectors to have it in abundance. As the story unfolds, we meet both the King and his brother the prince, who is called the King’s Justice (aka, he basically does a lot of the king’s dirty work). We also meet strong-willed Tessa and her best friend Wes, who risk their lives each night stealing the moonflower, mixing it into the elixir, and administering it to the poor. The plot evolves quite quickly and there are a few moral dilemmas that arise as well as a few surprises and I won’t say much more about it but I will say I will not soon forget this book or the pleasant fictional escape it provided me with. Five stars from me πŸ™‚

HIGHLY recommend checking this out if you are at all a fan of YA fantasy and if you need someone to talk to while you’re reading it PLEASE PICK ME πŸ™‚

Eight Perfect HoursEight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ahhhh I need to give this book a big hug. It hooked me immediately and it will stay on my mind for quite some time. Lia Louis has a gift for taking readers on quite a ride of character struggles and development with a happy ending in sight but not guaranteed without some ups and downs.

Noelle and Sam meet in an unusual circumstance – both are stranded on a motorway during an unexpected March snowstorm. Noelle needs to charge her phone to get in touch with her mother, who is not used to being alone, and Sam offers the warmth of his newer (rental) car and charger. 8 hours pass in which they talk and get to know each other and they part ways. without any plans to keep in touch. Life goes on and they meet again in unlikely ways. Some of the kismet of this story feels a bit unrealistic but I was totally there for it – that’s what fiction is for!!!!

All of the characters were so heartwarming and they feel like friends of mine. Lia Louis’ writing is incredible – the way she describes certain situations and feelings feels unparalleled to me and I teared up several times reading this book. There are some tricky issues that happen in this story and a bit of a love triangle situation that I didn’t love but did understand the way it was portraryed. Overall, this wasbeautiful story of fate and finding oneself and learning to live life after loss and what that looks like. (Also, an important note that this is NOT a Christmas book despite what the cover portrays).

Here is just one snippet of the magnificent writing:

β€œMy life has started. I’m in it. It’s not something I’m waiting for anymore. I’m here. And whatever I wanted for my life, was it this?” Was it this? Was this what I wanted for myself? And what is it that I wanted? Am I still waiting?

I’m a sucker for a book with fate/romance/meet cutes/character grows up and changes and discovers what they want out of life similar to Mhairi McFarlane’s books (this one did remind me a LOT of Just Last Night in some ways including an Ed LOL). so if you enjoy that type of book as well, I definitely think you should read this one and tell me what you think of Sam and Noelle and Charlie and Theo and Frank and Dilly. πŸ™‚

The Reading ListThe Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adored this sweet story about an older Indian man living in the Wembley area of London UK who makes an unlikely friend in a college student working at the library for the summer. Mukesh lost his wife a couple of years prior to the book’s timeline and she was an avid reader who loved to talk about books, visit the library, and share books with her family and friends. Mukesh much preferred (and still does prefer) watching National Geographic and Planet Earth on TV. One day, he comes across The Time Traveller’s Wife in the bedroom and wanting to think of his wife and see what she saw in the book, he sits down and reads it. He is so immersed in the story that he decides to visit the library and find some other books.

The story is told in alternating points of view and though there are quite a few characters, I had no difficulty keeping everyone straight. The audiobook narration was excellent and though there were some very tearful and sad moments in this book I would say overall there were many more hilarious or adorable or heartwarming lovely tender moments of friendship and the power of books to connect us all.

A must read for fans of reading (Aka all of us).

Written in the StarsWritten in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was 100%, completely adorable from the very first page to the end of the last line. I loved Elle and Darcy and I LOVED that the whole book was a tiny nod to Pride & Prejudice (Yayyyy) and I really enjoyed all of the extra characters (who are in future books, which is great!). If you enjoy contemporary romance with a bit of an opposites-attract situation, this would one be a great choice πŸ™‚

The Love HypothesisThe Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I sat down to read this book, read the first 50% of it without even realizing it, went to sleep and then woke up and finished the rest. These characters were so fun to be with and the premise of this story (fake relationship in an academic setting) felt so original and different and nerdy and well done. I loved it. In some ways, it gave me a few similar vibes to The Hating Game and Christina Lauren books but it was very much its own book. Adam and Olive and their lovely friends were great to spend time with between these pages and if you are a fan of contemporary romance I believe you’ll find this among one of the best in the genre this year much like I did.

PS – if you’re wondering what my 10 year old daughter thinks of the cover as she saw it lying around, the answer to that would be “ick”. πŸ˜‰

The Charm OffensiveThe Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an awesome book. I’d heard great things about it but was skeptical if I’d love it as much as others since I’m not a big reality TV/Bachelor/Dating show fan as some are…however, I was quite pleasantly surprised. The Charm Offensive was uttlerly charming – there’s just no other word to describe it πŸ™‚ I absolutely loved the main characters, Dev and Charlie, and the entire plot of the book was fun to read (behind the scenes in Hollywood – there is glam and tension and everything). I enjoyed the representation of mental health and how that could/ should best be handled in an intense work environment. I adored the fact that Dev had ideal goals for his future romantic life but wasn’t quite sure how to get there. The love story here feels unexpected but so fresh and it was all just so delightful to read.

Apples Never FallApples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been a fan of Liane Moriarty’s past novels but I felt the last two she wrote were not favourites of mine. However, without a doubt, I would rank this one nearer to the top of my list of books of hers I enjoyed and I found this to be an excellent read. I will say that I think it could have been a bit shorter in a few areas, but I also found the writing to be witty and I was not expecting it to end the way that it did AT ALL. I also learned a thing or two about tennis in this book and overall just really appreciated the way that Liane tangled this web of a story together and laid it all out at the end.

I am definitely antsy to discuss this one and I appreciate those who have already helped me sort out my thoughts. πŸ™‚

The Vanderbeekers Make A Wish (The Vanderbeekers, #5)The Vanderbeekers Make A Wish by Karina Yan Glaser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series is SO WONDERFUL and it delights my children and I alike. I hope there are more Vanderbeeker stories for years and years into the future.

Fine and Dandy:

A Very Perry Wedding (The Perrys, #2)A Very Perry Wedding by Marie Landry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Readers were first introduced to the Perry family in a Christmas novella in 2020 and I really enjoyed revisiting these characters in the sequel. This was a cute fall romance with lots of characters learning things about themselves and who they want to be. There were TONS of fall activities and it just felt like a perfect cozy read for this time of year. I wouldn’t mind visiting Bellevue myself and hanging out with the Perrys and all their friends πŸ˜‰

The Book Woman of Troublesome CreekThe Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me QUITE a while to get into this book and I think some of it was the pace of it. I kept wanting just a little bit more of a something but I’m not sure exactly what. However, by the end of it, I was fully on board with these characters for the most part. I did really enjoy the author’s note at the end and I found it interesting to learn more about this time period and aspect of history. Goodness gracious, a few moments were desperately heartbreaking though.

Not a Happy FamilyNot a Happy Family by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my second book by this author and I was thoroughly captivated and trying to figure out the whole story the entire time. None of the characters in this rich and spoiled family were particularly likeable, and there were a number of people who could have been guilty. I enjoyed the way it all wrapped up because I did not see that coming. The very very last lines were especially excellent.

The Night She DisappearedThe Night She Disappeared by Lisa Jewell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was suspenseful and I enjoyed the pace and twists throughout. It was interesting to view the situation from multiple perspectives and I was puzzled trying to figure out exactly what happened with Tallulah and Zach. It is a thrilling suspense novel with a satisfying ending and I was grateful to read it for a readalong thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada and Tandem Global Collective.

The Holiday SwapThe Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was utterly delightful and I happily read it in less than a day and smiled the whole time. It is Christmassy and adorable but not over the top. There is a sweet small town, twins (one of my FAVOURITE THINGS), a swap, some manly men, some great friends, and a few “villainous” characters. What more could you want?!

As a 10-12 year old I was obsessed with twin swap movies a la Mary Kate and Ashley’s It Takes Two and Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap so I’ve always really enjoyed the entertainment factor of identical twins swapping lives even if it isn’t always ever going to happen in real life. (Hello friends, that is what fiction is for). This book pulled this off so well (until the swap got confusing, of course!) and I just loved these two sisters a lot. They had a lot in common, but some fun differences too.

If you enjoy holiday romances and want to feel really hungry because both of these twins work in the food industry, I highly recommend picking this one up to kickstart your Christmas reading soon πŸ™‚ It’s out today!!

And if you, like me, already enjoyed this one…please also be like me and commit to reading these two authors’ back lists! I still have a lot of their books left for me to enjoy ASAP.

The Perfect FamilyThe Perfect Family by Robyn Harding
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had a cast of unlikeable characters but a plot that moved quickly and was difficult to ignore/put down. I definitely had no idea how it was going to end throughout the book, so that made it fun!

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche (Enola Holmes #7)Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The day we got Avonlea in January, my husband and I sat down to watch a movie on Netflix with our new puppy and we landed on Enola Holmes. How had I not known about this movie as soon as it came out? I’m a bit out of the Netflix loop, to be honest, but I love all things Sherlock related and this movie was SO excellent and fun to watch. THEN I found out it was a book series!! I listened to the first one and received an ARC of the7th in the series so I skipped all the ones in between and listened to ENOLA HOLMES AND THE BLACK BAROUCHE last week. It came out August 31 and I highly recommend the audiobook – the accents were awesome.

This book would fall mostly into a middle-grade/YA category – I’ll be happy to encourage my 10 year old to read this series in the near future though some aspects of the mystery might be a bit over her head.

Enola Holmes is a force to be reckoned with and I can always get behind strong, fierce, female characters living in a “man’s world”, so this series is no exception and I cannot WAIT for the next Enola Holmes movie on Netflix.

Convenience Store WomanConvenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a short audiobook with a big message but it was also strange to listen to, in some ways! It was quite a study of one person’s very unique life and there were definitely some themes about societal norms and why certain things seem to be expected of so many of us but overall the story read as in a day-in-day-out day in the life story and it just felt a bit strange at times.

Currently reading

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (almost done but not quite!!!), The Brightest Star in Paris by Diana Biller, and will be starting another Christmas ARC later this week or maybe tonight, who knows. LOL. What about you!?! (OH, and also reading the 4th Bookwanderers book to my kiddos).

6 responses to “Thankful for Books, Book Friends, and Book Chats. Happy B-day to the SUYB link up!”

  1. I loved the bookwoman but it definitely took a little to get into it. Once the pace settled I flew through the rest.

    Ugh The Reading List, such a gift to readers. Lovely little book.

    I will have to put the Vanderbeekers on the list I keep for my niece. Thank you!

    Happy Thanksgiving! I’m glad it was a wonderful weekend.


  2. shootingstarsmag Avatar

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving! What a great reading month. I own Written in the Stars and want to read that soon. I’m curious about The Love Hypothesis, as everyone seems to adore it. LOL I also need to read Not a Happy Family – which I also own. hah



  3. I loved The House in the Cerulean Sea and have been putting off reading Under the Whispering Door because I’ve heard it’s not as good. I haven’t enjoyed Liane Moriarty’s newer books but after your review, I may give Apples Never Fall a try. I wasn’t a big fan of Not a Happy Family. I just added The Holiday Swap to my to read list.


  4. Eight Perfect Hours sounds so sweet – I added it to the TBR. I think I would cry the entire way through The Reading List.


  5. The Reading List sounds cute. I need to read another Vanderbeekers book soon.


  6. Convenience Store Woman was so freaking weird, but it also made some very good points.


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