Monday, 28 January 2019

Until The Last Star Fades by Jacquelyn Middleton - Book Review


Until The Last Star Fades is the newest release from Canadian author Jacquelyn Middleton. If you've read her previous two books, London Belongs to Me and London, Can You Wait?, her new novel takes place in the same world with a few of the same characters popping by; however, it can be read as a standalone. That's what I did!

In this book, we meet Riley and Ben. NYW student Riley is looking for a distraction from some heavy challenges in her life. Here on a temporary visa, British Ben is looking for maximum fun with minimum commitment. They seem like a perfect match. However, Until The Last Star Fades is so much more than a simple love story.

It's difficult to review this book without giving anything away, because there are a lot of layers to this novel, but I want you to know that if you are in the mood for a book that is fun but has substance, you will not be disappointed.

This book tackles both mental and physical health in an emotional and touching way. Life is messy, and it's nice to read a romance that feels real. Even though it's not easy, I like to believe that it's okay to feel hope and fear at the same time. I could tell that Riley and Ben were struggling with that too.

What made me tear up the most when reading this book; however, is that Until The Last Star Fades is, unexpectedly, also a love letter to mothers everywhere. Because moms really are the best.

I hope you pick up Ben and Riley's story, and I sincerely can't wait to read more Jacquelyn Middleton books in the future!

xo
Jenn

PS - One thing that Riley and Ben love to do is send each other songs. To bring Until The Last Star Fades to life, you can listen to the 4 Riles/ 4 Benjamin playlists from the book directly on Spotify. Check out the link here on Jacquelyn Middleton's webpage to listen.

Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of this book courtesy of the author. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Callisto Crate Review - Inaugural Box + promo code



Callisto Crate is a monthly Canadian book box that launched last year. Their mission is to create book boxes that feature strong women and their compelling stories. #shereadsfiercely The novels selected span a variety of genres. Some examples so far have been historical fiction, women's fiction, and fantasy. In addition to the book, the box includes items inspired by the novel and its characters.

I love that this company was started by two moms who met at the playground. I love their efforts to include local vendors, and I especially their commitment to donate 1% of all profits and products to the Kamloops Y Women's Emergency Shelter to support women and children seeking safety from violent situations.

Cost: $49.95 + shipping. There is a discount when you sign up for a 3-month subscription. You can also take 10% off your order with the promo code messy10.
*Also - be sure to check out their sale on past boxes. The shipping is currently free!

Let's peek inside!

 

To begin, there is an art print from one of the founders, Tara Pastro. This watercolour is connected to the story because the protagonist of the novel hates tulips. On the back of the print is a summary of the box theme and contents. This theme is The Elephant in the Room.


The debut Callisto Crate featured a debut author: Gail Honeyman and her novel Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I haven't read this book yet, and I've heard nothing but good things. Such a wonderful selection! Plus, this bookmark with a quote from the book is such a nice touch.


Next is an elephant tea strainer and Darjeeling tea (Eleanor's favourite!) from Teaberry's. I was pleasantly surprised with how much tea was included. It will last me a long while.



Eleanor always has a shopping bag with her and has frog pouf at home, so those two traits where represented together with this frog shopping bag.


Eleanor has pesto pasta every day, so this box includes pesto mix from Made With Love.


To celebrate their inaugural box, Callisto Crate also included a small candle with a quotation from the book.



Finally, a crossword puzzle about the novel because Eleanor loves crossword puzzles!

The products selected really bring the theme together nicely. Many of the items are custom-made, so it's not easy to give exact values for each item; however, I really love this box and the vision of this company.

To sign up for future Callisto Crates, or get your hands on a past box like this one, visit their website. And remember to use the code messy10 for 10% off!

xo
Jenn

Disclaimer - I was sent a complementary book box from Callisto Crate for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

2019 Reading Goals

I love lists, and I find writing down my goals very helpful. Even if I don't meet every single one; it gives me a direction, and I feel great when I can check some of them off!



Here's what I'm hoping to read in 2019:

1. The 12 challenges for #theunreadshelfproject2019 
My current unread shelf count is 252. I'd like this number to be closer to 200 by December.

▪️January - any unread book
▪️February - a book gifted to you
▪️March - the book that’s been on your shelf the longest
▪️April - the book you most recently acquired
▪️May - a book you bought because of the movie/TV/theater adaptation
▪️June - a book about travel or set in a country you’ve never been to
▪️July - a book from a series on your shelf
▪️August - a book voted for you to read by Bookstagram
▪️September - a book you can buddy read with someone
▪️October - a book that scares you, whether because of length, content, or actual horror level!
▪️November - a book from your favorite genre
▪️December - the shortest book on your shelf


2. Get caught up with the books I've been sent for review (about 25 books)
Sometimes I am sent book for promotional purposes on Instagram (which I don't stress about reading right away), and there are other times I am sent books for review purposes. The publishers and authors I work with are amazing and never pressure me about my reviews; however, this pile is starting to grow taller than I'd like, and I want to get caught up in a serious way. My dream is that every book I was sent for review in 2018 and every book I receive for review in 2019 is reviewed before the end of the year.

3. Read or donate the misc unread books I have by authors with the last name A-I (about 50 books)
I've been reading my unread shelves in alphabetical chunks, and as I work my way through new letters, I always end up acquiring new books from past groups! I've been working on H since August, but I got distracted by a million other books. I'm still working my way through this tower and then will move onto I.


Other soft goals for the year...
  • Read 6 books in French (one every other month or so)
  • Read 100 books for my Goodreads Challenge
  • Read more Canadian authors
  • Read more authors of colour

Here's to some excellent reading in 2019!
xo
Jenn

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

2018 Reading Reflections



Was #theunreadshelfproject2018 successful for me? I mean, I started out with 233 unread books in my house, read 100 books, and ended up with 247 unread books in my house sooo 🙈. On the surface it looks like a hard no, but I still think it was.



A few things happened in my reading life this year:

1. I completed every single challenge put out by @theunreadshelf.

2. I reread three different book series in anticipation of their 2018 new releases.

3. I joined a new in real life book club.

4. I developed both stronger and new relationships with publishers and authors. (Perhaps too strong given the increase in my unread shelf number.)

5. I purged my books hard. Dozens of unread books were either deleted from my Kobo or dropped into our local little free library.

6. I became much more thoughtful about the books I buy and add to our permanent home library.


Overall, I'm happy with how things went with my reading in 2018. I don't plan to reread nearly as much in 2019 (or even at all), so I expect to make a much larger dent into my unread shelf. I'll be sharing more about my 2019 reading goals soon!

Here are a few other book stats I tracked. In brackets are my 2017 numbers to compare.

29 were published in 2018 (31)
21 were ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐  reads for me (26)
12 were rereads (4)
12 were nonfiction (17)
3 were novellas (+ 1 book collection of novellas) (same last year!)
92 were by female authors (88)
7 were by authors of colour (I didn't track this last year)
10 were by Canadian authors (9)
1 Seb and I read together (2)
1 book in French (0)

xo
Jenn

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