The Broken Girls - Simone St. James

I've been on a serious thriller binge since I participated in Spookathon last October, so The Broken Girls caught my attention when it exploded in popularity all over Bookstagram due to the Book of the Month club.  I requested it on a whim from Netgalley, and was pleasantly surprised when my request was approved!  It was the perfect book to read during two days when I had a lot of commuting to and from a course and needed the time to unwind with a good book both before and after a day of intense learning.

In all honesty, this book might have fallen a bit short for me because of the hype.  After seeing nothing but shining reviews, I went into this book with very high expectations and the book didn't quite live up to those expectations.  The other reason why I was a bit disappointed is that the book isn't quite a traditional thriller (at least the kind that I've been reading lately), but is more of a historical fiction / ghost story.  In all honesty, I'm not super into ghost stories, and if I had known that prior to picking the book up, I may have decided to give this book a pass.

Even though it wasn't necessarily the book for me, The Broken Girls manages to pack a LOT into just over 300 pages.  There's a dual timeline, shifting between the present and the past.  Our main character, Fiona, had a sister who was murdered at Idlewild, a boarding school that was closed many years ago.  In the past, we follow four girls who are residing at Idlewild.  In both the past and present, there's the ghost of Mary Hand, who haunts the grounds of Idlewild.  There are other plot points in there as well, but I won't reveal those because they're spoilery.  My favourite part of the book is definitely the female friendships, and the feeling of grrrrl power in the book.  The love that Fiona has for her deceased sister is also beautiful and genuine.

If you enjoy a good ghost story, then The Broken Girls is the book for you.  If you're hesitant about picking up a thriller, The Broken Girls might be a good place to start because it's not gory.  It's a page-turner and is filled with so much content.  Although it won't be at the top of my favourites this year, hopefully it will be a book that works for you!

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

Read More


Marko Monday [29] - PJ Mouse

Although the love for superheroes is still going strong in our household, Marko also has a new love, and that love is PJ Mouse.  My mom bought this for Marko for his second birthday (I think?), as well as the accompanying plush hero of the story, and it was way above his storytime level so we put it on his bookshelf for a later date.  When Marko received a stuffed cobra for his birthday, the plush PJ Mouse came out to play as snake food.  Soon enough, the snake went back up to the bedroom, but PJ became a constant fixture in our day-to-day life, sitting at a spare chair at the dining table, riding in my purse and ready to join in the fun whenever we were out and about.  Then, I suggested to Marko that we read PJ's book.  I explained that this book doesn't have many pictures, but that he'll have to imagine what's happening while I'm reading it because it's a big kid book.  I couldn't believe the instant success of the story!  Part of it might have been the voices that I always use when I'm reading aloud (and PJ has an exceptionally high squeaky voice!) but Marko was in stitches when PJ fell into a cravasse while hiking on a glacier.  This is his first chapter book, but he's already intrigued about what other books we can read that don't have many pictures.  So, of course, I pulled out my illustrated Harry Potter books and we had a flip through, talking about the story that we'll explore together when he's a bit older.  You guys, I am SO EXCITED that this kid is poised on the edge of learning to read (he's got most of the alphabet down and we're working on the sounds that the letters make).  His whole world is about to open in a whole new way, and The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse is just the beginning.

Here's my little reader, sharing his spider book with his new little friend...

A post shared by Melissa (@writergrrlreads) on

Read More


Top 10 Books in 2018 Thus Far

Top Ten Tuesday is now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl!  This week's topic is a freebie, so I thought I'd list off the ten best books that I've read so far this year.  I've read some truly amazing books and it makes me excited for all the amazing books I have yet to read!

1. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
This book really set the stage for my reading this year, as it was the first book I read and I gave it five stars.  It was everything that I love in a good YA contemporary.

2. The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
I read this in January and I am STILL thinking about it.  A truly, truly incredible book -- perfection from beginning to end.

3. When My Heart Joins the Thousand by
It saddens me that this book isn't ALL OVER THE INTERNET.  It's amazing, heartfelt, and perfect and I wish it was one of those books that everyone in the world is talking about and has read.

4. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
One of my 2018 goals is to read the entire Anne series, and I loved the first book so, so, so much during my re-read!  I only read the first two (or maybe three) books when I was young and now I'm so excited to finish this classic Canadian series.

5. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
This book will probably win the best surprise of the year.  I thought I'd like it, but I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did.

6. The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
My review is coming in August, but I've come to understand that Jessi is now a favourite contemporary author of mine.

7. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
I only read this one this month and I'm still processing it.  To say I loved it doesn't feel like it would do it justice.  An incredible book from cover to cover and one that will be resonating with me for some time to come.

8. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
I'll have to refrain from reading any more of John's books this year, otherwise all of my favourites of 2018 will be his books.

9. Wild Is She by Wilder Poetry
This volume of poetry is just as incredible as her Instagram feed.

10. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
I've reviewed a few of Colleen's books on Netgalley and borrowed the rest from the library.  For me, her books aren't ones that I would reread, so I've never purchased one of her books.  I read an egalley of All Your Perfects and have pre-ordered a copy of this incredible book.  Truly Colleen's BEST book to date.

Read More


My Reading Journey [1] - Elementary School

I've had this post sitting in my drafts since March, but have finally decided to write it.  I've been doing a lot of thinking about how my reading tastes have changed since I started blogging, but also how they have changed since I was a child!  I haven't decided how many parts this series will be, but I'd like to take you all on a journey, my reading journey.

I have always been a reader.  Whether it was reading the coloured comics on the weekend (pictured above) or taking weekly trips at the library to borrow stacks of books, my nose was constantly buried in some type of reading material.

I loved unending series, from Sweet Valley to Babysitter's Club to the Thoroughbred series.  I loved the predictability of coming back to the same characters over and over again, as they faced new challenges and adversity.  Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield were my all-time favourites, as I identified so profoundly with Elizabeth, but secretly wished that I was a little bit more like Jessica.

Although my mother was happy that I was such a devoted bookworm, she definitely wasn't quite as happy about my reading choices.  She picked up a Sweet Valley High book one summer, and then made it her mission to have me read better quality books.  I appeased her by gobbling up Black Beauty, the Black Stallion series, Little Women and anything else that she recommended, while also covertly borrowing stacks of my favourites as well.  At the time, I wished that she would simply let me read what I wanted to read, but now I'm glad that I can say that I've read all of those classics.  Fortunately, we agreed on Nancy Drew and I had her blessing to read as many mysteries as I wanted.

In Grade 7, amidst being bullied by my former best friend, a girl in my Pathfinder group introduced me to Piers Anthony and I fell head over heels.  I'd always liked books featuring unicorns as a little girl, but this was adult fantasy and I devoured the entire Xanth series, as well as the Adept series.  At 13, this was my first foray into adult literature, and it wouldn't be my last.

Read More


April TBR - This Girl is Different

I've decided to do something a little different for my monthly TBR posts, inspired partly by Books and Lala's Closet Unhaul posts last year and partly by my commitment to #theunreadshelfproject2018.  Last year, Lala looked back at old hauls and committed to reading the unread books featured in that month's haul or unhauling them.  I thought it would be fun to go back to my earliest hauls (or IMMs as they were in that day!) and TBR posts and finish or unhaul the books featured there!

My very first TBR post was the list of books that I wanted to read in winter 2011-2012.  Amazingly enough, I've either read (or in one case DNFed) all of them!

Next up was my first first In My Mailbox post, where I shared a list of books (mostly ARCs) gifted by me Evie @ Bookish before she moved away.  I've also either read, DNFed or just plain unhauled all but one of these books (most of them ended up in my husband's classroom library).  The one remaining book is This Girl Is Different by J.J. Johnson.  So in addition to my incredibly ambitious spring TBR pile, I'm also promising to read This Girl Is Different by the end of April, or it'll hit the donate pile.

Read More


Reading Round-up - March

If February was a quieter reading month, I made up for it in March ... and then some!  I participated in two readathons in March, which definitely helped.  Middle Grade March, hosted by Life Between Words, went for the whole month, but I primarily participated during the first half of the month, since the last two weeks of the month were dedicated to the second round of ATSOReadathon, hosted by Jessica @ Novel Cravings.

1. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
My book club selected this one, and I was so pumped to read it.  It's gorgeous, and I've seen it pop up on so many Bookstagram feeds.  I enjoyed it, I really enjoyed it, but there was something that prevented it from being a perfect book.  I think it was mainly the fact that I didn't feel fully connected to any of the characters -- the storyline flips between siblings, and for some of them I lacked in feeling connected because I'd jumped into their lives after so much backstory had passed.  The story had the potential to be a massively epic novel (like 800 pages) but in reality it's just over 300 pages.  I needed MORE.

2. Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech
I joined Middle Grade March this month, and this was the first book I picked up.  I read Walk Two Moons when I was a student teacher, and loved it; however, this book has sat on my shelves unread for YEARS.  It's written journal-style (my FAVOURITE thing ever) and the storyline absolutely swept me up and captured my attention.

3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
I'd had this on hold at the library forever, and then it was my turns just as Middle Grade March started up!  I read this in a single day, and liked it well enough.  The narrator was definitely the best part =)

-- Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
I've had this book on my TBR forever and ever since my sister had enjoyed it during high school.  It's written in a dialect form, where I found myself sounding the words out loud to try to figure out how they were pronounced.  So I decided to give it a shot on audio, but it was completely not holding my attention, so I decided to put it down.

4. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
As a Newberry Honor book, I had high hopes for The Thief but, sadly, it did not deliver.

5. The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse
Pure magic.  I LOVED THIS BOOK.

6. A Handful of Time by Kit Pearson
A coworker randomly mentioned this book in conversation, and I came home from work and decided to pick it up.  I hadn't read this book since I was 10 or 11 and I thought it was just as wonderful today.  It's interesting seeing how many things really date the story (some of which are politically incorrect today), but also to realize that these changes have happened in my lifetime.

7. Wild is She by Wilder Poetry
This book is absolutely GORGEOUS, inside and out.

8. Wild Embers by Nikita Gill
Erica @ cozybooksandcoffee recommended Nikita Gill so I decided to start with this one.  Her poetry is stunning, and I hope I'll be able to pick up her other book SOON.

9. Love her Wild by Atticus
As I devoured the other two books of poetry, I decided to reread a favourite from last year.

10. Syren by Angie Sage
HOLY this book was a slog.  It took my almost all month to get through.  I flipped between print and audio, but then the audiobook was due back at the library and I still had four chapters to read.  It took me a FULL WEEK to pick up the hard copy because I just did not want to pick the book up and read it.  I only have two books left in the series, and I feel like I should just finish it, but another part of me is like "nnoooooooo!!!  don't dooooooo itttttt!"

11. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
I bought this book right after I finished The Heart's Invisible Furies because I just needed more of John Boyne's writing in my life.  It was the perfect book to read for the ATSO Readathon because it's super short, but I also though it was middle grade because of the narrator's age.  By the time I finished the book, I realized that it isn't middle grade

12. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
I love love loved Anne of Green Gables, and still really enjoyed this one, but not quite as much as the first book.  I feel like this was the turning point in the series for me as a child because Anne is trying to be spunky, but she's very grown-up at the same time.  I'm excited for the next book, as she heads off to college.

13. The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby
14. 9 Days and 9 Nights by Katie Cotugno
I am on FIRE with my review books this year -- stay tuned for reviews closer to the release dates!

15. I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
I really enjoyed this one, but it fell a bit flat for me.  As a Canadian reader, I don't know that much about the specifics of the Civil War, and I felt some of the historical details weren't explained in enough detail for me.  For American readers who studied the Civil War in school, I'm sure that certain parts of the book were easier to understand.  On the whole though, it was still an excellent story with a solid cast of characters and I'm glad I picked it up.

I've also got a couple of other books on the go, but I'm not 100% sure that I'll finish anything else before the end of the month.  I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing 15 books -- I read 13 last year when the #ATSOReadathon was a month long, all of them under 300 pages, but this year some of the books are a bit longer!

Read More


Book Haul [32] - Birthday Edition

Ummm, so it's almost Easter?!?  Wasn't it just New Years?  I feel like this is the theme every month, but it's the truth.  My birthday is in early March and I celebrated by treating myself to some new books.  I've also pre-ordered a few more that will be featured in future hauls, but I'm going to try to buy a few less in coming months because I really need to start focusing on reducing my physical TBR.  BUT, this post is about the books that I bought ... so let's start listing off those books...

1. Wild Embers by Nikita Gill
Erica @cozybooksandcoffee recommended some poetry books last year, but Nikita's other book doesn't seem to be available anymore?  Chapters and Amazon both had ebooks, and I couldn't even find a used copy on Abebooks?  I'm giving this one a short first, and then if I love it (which I think I will), I'll try to track down her other book.

2. Wild is She by Wilder Poetry
I follow @wilderpoetry on Instagram and words cannot describe how beautiful this feed is.  Seriously, click that link.  This book is bigger than I thought it would be (it's a large hardcover) but even more stunning than I expected.

3. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
I was totally on the fence about picking this up -- mainly because the cover didn't wow me when I first saw it.  I kind of felt the same about Marie Lu's Warcross, but then I ended up LOVING that book.  I saw Brittni @ Brittni's Book Find raving about this book when she read it during the Bi-Annaul Bibliothon, and I changed my mind about wanting to read it.  Plus, with all the superhero movies we've been watching lately (Marko is OBSESSED), I'm craving a bit of supernatural in my books as well.


4. Fractured by Karin Slaughter
5. Undone by Karin Slaughter
6. Broken by Karin Slaughter
7. Fallen by Karin Slaughter
8. Criminal by Karin Slaughter
I picked up a couple of Karin Slaughter books at the end of 2017, only to find out that they were books 7 and 8 in a series -- oops!  I picked up the first book earlier this year, and loved it, so my husband bought me books 2 to 6 so that I can read the whole series.  Karin writes such great thrillers!

9. Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi
I was totally on the fence about picking this one up too, but THOSE COVERS.  I just had to.  I love, love, love Tahereh's writing and I think my issue with the series was just the length of time between reading each book.  I'd like to reread the series and then pick up the fourth book.

10. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
I technically bought this one for my hubby, so I don't think I really have to count it as a book purchase, do I?  I may read it, but thought I'd toss it in here as well.

11. The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel
I loved The Life Intended when I read it last year, and was going to preorder this one, but the price of the hardcover made me pause.  Only have read one of her prior books, I wasn't sure if she was quite an auto-buy-in-hardcover kind of author.  At a later date, the paperback release was available for purchase -- so I decided to buy it.  The premise sounds like it's totally my cup of tea, and I looooooove the cover.

12. Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
This was a total impulse buy after I saw a few rave reviews popping up Instagram.  It's supposed to be a tear-your-heart-out intense kind of read, and I CAN'T WAIT.

13. Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
Last year, I finally caught up with Lisa Genova's work, but it left me craving more of Lisa's writing in my life.  I'm excited to dive into this one and stay caught up with one of my favourite authors.

14. A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
At last, one book in this haul that is not being added to my TBR pile!  I bought the first two books in this series in paperback last year, so I borrowed ACOL from the library, and waited for the paperback release date in order to add it to my shelves.  I've been craving a reread since I finished the series last year, and owning them all seems like a good excuse.  I can't wait until most of the books on my shelves are ones that I've read, and I can indulge in a good reread.

Have you read any of these books?  Any suggestions for which one I should pick up first?  Let me know in the comments below and thank you for stopping by!

Read More

Flexible Template by ScreenWritersArena

Custom Design by Lea Christine Designs