And then life happened …

So I had FULL intentions of blogging a lot this December. I had a whole pile of Christmas books I was going to read, giveaways I had planned, and all sorts of fun stuff, but then life sort of happened and now it’s the 17th and I’m WAY too busy to think about blogging.

20141218_093424

This month started off okay with another vampire book (vampires just scream Christmas, right?) and, like I said, the anticipation of reading all of my Christmas books, but then we had a death in the family which led to about 10 days of appointments, funerals, prayer services, and lots and lots of family. Aside from the circumstances, it was wonderful to see family I haven’t seen in so long and to see them play with the boy. We had a week and a half of crying and laughter, with a good dose of family bonding, and I think the family member we lost wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Once it was just the boy and me during the week, the last thing on my mind was reading or blogging. I’m slowly working my way through Stephanie Perkins’s book My True Love Gave To Me (some really cute stories, some just okay) and crocheting up a storm! For the longest time I had been meaning to pick up my crochet hooks and make something, but never did. My sister in law came over and was making a scarf and I got that bug again. Working on a LOT of Christmas gifts now and am woefully behind!

Thankfully, Christmas has been on the TV in full swing, plus lots of my favourite movies and shows, so it’s not hard to get up early and stay up late to get things done. Not only that, but I’ve been spending lots of time playing with my little guy (who, at this stage in life, is finding EVERYTHING hilarious) and relaxing with the husband. AND I’ve gone to two Christmas parties that were full of friends, laughter, and merriment.

We finally put up our Christmas tree about 10 days before Christmas and while I usually go all out with other decorations, it’s really only the tree, a display on the piano, and just a couple other knickknacks that were put out. Simple won this year. And it’s kind of a good thing. Instead of focusing on decking out the house, we’ve been focused on family. And that’s okay.

So, this is me saying Merry Christmas from Reading In Winter! I hope to be back in some way in the New Year. Here’s wishing you all a merry and festive holiday season and all the best in the New Year. May your New Year be full of amazing books, delicious tea, and whatever suits your fancy.

And remember, while it’s always nice to give to family and friends this year, think about other people, too. Maybe donate items to the homeless, or buy the coffee for the guy behind you in the Starbucks lineup, or shovel someone’s driveway. A good deed can go a long way!

Until 2015 …

signature-01

{Book Talk} Cat! Bones! Vlad! Can you tell I’m excited?!?

Before I get into the more review-ish part of this post, I have to say that I totally wrote ‘sexcited’ in the title, but really when I’m talking about Cat and Bones and Jeaniene Frost’s awesome vampire world, it wouldn’t totally be off base …

I absolutely LOVE Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world. It’s one of those guilty pleasure series for me because I just know that when I can’t figure out what to read, or if I’ve overdone it on a certain kind of book or genre, I can always pick up the next book in this series and I will be happy.

Really, when Bones is in a book, you can’t NOT be happy. He’s just awesome.

devil to payThe next book I had to read was Devil To Pay, #3.5 in the series. This one doesn’t really include much of Cat and Bones, but is more about Blake and Elise. I liked the story, but I felt like the relationship between Blake and Elise moved really fast. I’ve loved seeing Cat and Bones’s relationship grow over the past 3 books in the series, so it’s kind of hard to really believe a relationship like this one in a story so short. But I guess with it being a novella, there’s not going to be as much development as I would have liked.

It was definitely a short story, and almost too short for me. I figured it would reach about 50% in my Kindle, but it stopped just as it was getting good! Ah well, though. I know the novellas are completely different from the main story, but I just expected more.

Anyway.

destined for an early graveThe next book in the series, Destined for an Early Grave, was pretty awesome. It was Cat and Bones in all their glory!

I looooooved this book! Gregor was the perfect villain and it was perfectly creepy to think about how he could steal someone in their sleep. Not only that, but he had connections with Cat that made my skin crawl … and not only mine, but Bones, too! I’ve loved Cat and Bones’s relationship right from the get-go, so it’s hard to imagine what he would’ve been going through in this book. Of course, part of me was like, “It’s BONES! Of course he has nothing to worry about …”

The whole story was crazy intense and I love that we got plenty of Bones and Cat time. They’re just so perfect for one another! I actually find it really hard to talk about this book without just going “Cat! Bones! I love them!” over and over again, so let me try and think about other awesome things …

So something happens to Cat in this book and she gets some new amazing abilities. It’s actually pretty cool. AND we get to see more of Vlad! I couldn’t remember Vlad in the last book, but when I mentioned I was going to start this one, someone (I think Felicia?) said, “Yay! You get to see Vlad!!” and I was like, “Who was that again?”

Well, call me silly because NOW I remember Vlad! Totally awesome — and gorgeous!! — character. Usually I try to have at least the next book in this series on hand, but once I met Vlad, I wanted to read his books in the series, but they’re not until the very end … call me crazy now, since I ended up buying the next 6 books in the series JUST so I could keep reading and eventually get more of yummy Vlad.

Yeah, when you hear the term “crazy book person” it’s probably referring to me.

Anyway, when I think about how much I love Cat and Bones, I have to also say how much I love Bones and Vlad. They’re relationship is just sooo masculine and funny. You wouldn’t think that someone like Bones would have anything to worry about, but maybe Vlad just rubs him the wrong way with his interactions with Cat … jealous are we, Bones?

So yeah, this book was pretty awesome and I knew I had to continue on with the series immediately after finishing! How fun is it to binge read a series? SO much fun!

magic gravesOne For the Money is book #4.5 in the series and is included in the book Magic Graves (also featuring a story by Iliona Andrews). I think I like the novellas best when they have Cat and Bones in them. While the first one I talked about in this post had just a glimpse of Cat and Bones, in this one they were front and center!

Well, kind of.

This story had them trying to protect a spoiled heiress, who was definitely trying to steal the spotlight! Not only that, but we’re also getting more of Justina, Cat’s mom, in the stories. I will admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of her character in the beginning (for lack of a better word, she was kind of a bitch), but she’s growing on me. Just as we see Cat’s character really developing throughout the series, Justina’s character is really growing, too.

Still, a little too short than I would’ve liked, but I guess that’s why these novellas are additions to the main story. I’m so glad that I still have so many novels to read since I’m not sure I’m ready to be totally caught up with the series yet! I love all of the characters and, like I said, they just make me happy whenever I start reading them.

Are you a fan of Cat and Bones? Have you read the novellas in this series? What did you think of them?

signature-01

{Book Talk} So, two musicians walk into a publishing house …

I find it slightly amusing that I never ever read memoir/autobiography-type books and then I go ahead and read TWO in one month. One was kind of a fluke and one was highly anticipated. BOTH were pretty awesome.

where i belongFirst off, we have Where I Belong by Alan Doyle. Alan is the lead singer from the Canadian band Great Big Sea, a band I remember listening to PLENTY of times growing up since my brother was a fan. I wouldn’t say that I ever went out of my way to listen to them as I grew older, but after reading Alan’s memoir I really want to go and find some of their music to listen to! I feel like their music is just rooted in Canada and old folk songs and since I’m older (and wiser) I thnk I would really enjoy it.

Anyway, right from the first pages, I was in love with this book. Alan has such a way with words and storytelling that it was hard to NOT get sucked into the stories. It was a lot of fun reading about growing up in Petty Harbour and while Alan’s stories weren’t always easy to stomach (really … there was one story that involved a hook and a hand and I just about got sick), he really conveyed the innocence of growing up in the small town. Not only that, but I could just see the beauty of the land as I read … when I finished reading, I really, really wanted to go visit Petty Harbour and see all the sites Alan talked about — and hopefully one day I’ll be able to!

I had originally started reading this book because Alan was coming to town for a book signing. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to the signing (though Brie from A Slice of Brie was nice enough to get a book signed for me!) but I’m so so glad that I read this book! It brought a whole new perspective of growing up in Canada to me and I hope to read more stories from that part of the country. And it just goes to show some of the great talent we have to offer!

And now for something completely different …

the art of askingI never actually started listening to Amanda Palmer’s music until early this summer, so I am a brand new fan! I completely fell in love with her music and just her as a person, since I was following her on Twitter and Facebook. When I heard she had a book coming out, I was very excited since that meant I could read something by her in conjunction with listening to her albums whenever I’m in the car (my husband can attest to this — I listen to them on repeat ALL the time).

Admittedly, I wasn’t one of those super fans while reading this. I didn’t fall over myself crying and the book didn’t change my life, but it really was an inspiring read. It wasn’t your typical autobiography because the book wasn’t intended to be like that. I personally would love to read more about Amanda growing up and how she got into music and all that, but this book was more about asking for help and how it’s okay to ask for help. Some of it was repetitive but it worked, it really helped the message hit home.

I felt like the whole book was a perfect blend of personal and business and I kind of loved the sections where Amanda talked about her and Neil the most. I will admit, I was one of those people who thought that Neil and Amanda’s relationship was a joke in the beginning, but after I’ve had months to see them interact together and to read about their relationship, I couldn’t see it any other way. I feel like they completely compliment one another and it’s just such a beautiful thing to see them support one another in everything they do.

While I may not have been a superfan before I began reading this book, the whole story made me love Amanda even more and I find myself listening to her music more than I did before (if that’s even possible). Not only that, but I feel like she helped me with not only my business, but also as a person in feeling that it’s okay to ask people for help — I don’t have to feel like everything should be done just by me.

Such a great read for Amanda fans and non-Amanda fans alike!

I’m kind of stoked that I have a signed copy of BOTH of these books. After I finished, I wanted to read more non-fiction books, too! And while Alan and Amanda are completely different in their music, I feel like they’d totally get along if they met in real life.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? What’s your favourite book by a musician? 

signature-01