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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Giveaway (CAN): Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Mortal Heart is the third and final book in the His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers, and it's coming out THIS Tuesday, November 4 - Who's excited?!

I know I am. I was totally enamoured with the "assassin nuns" concept when I first read Grave Mercy, but I think the real strength of these novels lies in the portrayal of the strong heroines - Ismae, Sybella, and Annith - and the slow-burn romances. They also introduced me to the idea that historical fiction that is heavy on the details doesn't need to be scary - it can be super interesting! I absolutely cannot WAIT to read Annith's side of the story in Mortal Heart.

Here's a peak at Annith's story:
Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.
She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...

And thanks to Thomas Allen & Son, I have one finished copy of Mortal Heart to give away! The only restriction is you must be Canadian (I'm sorry, eh. I'll host an international giveaway soon for everyone!).

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October Recap: The Busy Business Continues

...And a month has flown by since I last posted. All the busyness surrounding school and work that I mentioned last month was still in place this month, and it's about to get even busier for me in a bit. But I can't complain too much because life has been pretty good to me on the whole. Here are some non-school-and-work-related things I did in October:

I saw Wicked for the third time!:
(I had really bad seats because the tickets were so expensive, but whatevs because this was my third time seeing it and I know all the words and actions to the songs by heart anyways. The show was entertaining as usual!)

I went to a Toronto FC match for the first time:
(A whole lot less entertaining than Wicked. But I'm always into trying everything at least once and I'd never seen a soccer match in person before [nor on TV for that matter...] so I thought why not. Once was enough though. But who knows, if I ever get the urge to watch grown men whine and fake injuries in a spectacularly bad way, then maybe I'll have to check out another soccer game sometime.)

And I finally - FINALLY - began watching Doctor Who after everyone and their grandmothers had recommended it to me:
First thoughts: not great, unfortunately. I had a tough time getting into it at first. I am just SO incredibly left brained that it took me a long time to get past the cheesiness and the insane plot holes and the crappy science explanations. Plus, I kind of hate Rose (Billie Piper).

BUT once I was able to force my brain to turn off (mostly anyways...) and once they finally got rid of Rose, it was mostly smooth sailing from there on out. Doctor Who reminds me a lot of Buffy (one of my all-time faves) in that there are some misses here and there (episode-wise), but when they get it right, it's GENIUS. Most of all, I admire the creativity that goes into each episode. It's simply incredible that the writers can come up with new episode concepts and creatures that are wholly original every single time. I am genuinely impressed by what I have seen thus far and I'm excited to see what's in store next!

Finally, some news that will mean I am not ready to get back into blogging any time soon: I will be leaving for Berlin in a few days to attend a palaeontology conference in which I will be giving a presentation on my thesis research in front of hundreds of expert palaeontologists who all know way more about my subject than I do! So... yay/eek!? Obviously, I'm excited because I've never been to Berlin before, but I do wish I was going there purely for leisure. Ah, oh well, hopefully I will make the most of it and have fun in spite of the nerve-wracking high-pressure presentation... Wish me luck!

Previously, September Recap: A Very Busy Start To Fall.

Best Book Read in October:

What's this? I finally managed to read the book I swore I would read ages ago, but have been putting off for years and years now? Thanks to Sara for forcing me to read it. Jellicoe Road was definitely worth it so I'm glad I finally bit the bullet even if it was difficult to get into at first. Definitely a powerful read, and I'm happy to have finally gotten a taste of what Melina Marchetta has to offer.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

September Recap: A Very Busy Start to Fall

Greetings! I haven't been around much in the blogosphere ever since my move and the start of the new semester simply because I've been quite busy. And sadly, if anything it's only going to get busier for me from here. There's just no time for blogging in between teaching undergrads about animal physiology, marking mounds of papers, doing homework for my own class, working on my research, preparing several presentations, finishing up my latest manuscript, getting audited by the government, dealing with some major health problems, and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life (Yikes, I get panicky just writing all that down! Deep breaths...).

But as sad as I am about not having a ton of time to blog lately, it doesn't compare to how majorly BUMMED I've been about not having time to read. I have not had the time to do "just for fun" reading in over a week now! And do I ever miss it. There are so many just-released highly-anticipated sequels that I have been DYING to read, as well as contemporaries that I've been STOKED to read ever since being challenged by Sara, and older fantasies that I have been meaning to read for a long LONG time and was hoping to buddy read with Micheline... Just SO MANY BOOKS and no time to read them! And no sign of this busy grad school life letting up until winter holidays. Bleh.

So I guess what I'm trying to get across here is that I'm feeling quite stressed and overwhelmed with school and work and I have not had - and will not have in the near future - very much time to blog and read. I will do my best to post and comment when I can, but at the moment I'm feeling doubtful that that will happen as regularly as I would like. It sucks, but I guess that's just how it's going to be for the next little bit. I hope to get back into my regular blogging routine soon because I miss it and I miss all of you!

And now that that's out of the way, here's a quick rundown of my busy September:

First, my parents flew to Toronto to help me move and to visit a bit and it was so nice having them around! After a few days of laborious moving, we took in a Jays game...
(They lost, but I still had a surprisingly fun time considering I could not care less about baseball normally)

And I took them on a private tour of my workplace behind-the-scenes at the Royal Ontario Museum...
(There are SO MANY cool things stored away in collections that the public never gets to see)

And I gave them another guided tour of Ripley's Aquarium...
(This was my second time visiting the aquarium, but I swear I will never tire of it. It's SO cool!)

And I took them to Toronto Island for a day...
(We had a very pleasant day! I definitely want to spend more time there)

And while on the island, I got to cozy up to some cute animals at the petting zoo...
(I also got to pretend I was a tiny person)

And then they went back home to Edmonton. It was a good visit while it lasted!

Then I got to meet one of my all-time faves, Lauren Oliver, with my author-event-buddy Zahida:
She was soooo lovely!! I got all my books signed and personalized and had an altogether great night. Delirium was the first book I ever received for review and I LOVED it. I never thought in my four years of blogging that I would ever get the chance to meet Lauren, so I'm feeling quite lucky that I did!

And finally, I also took in a musical this month:
This was my second time seeing The Book of Mormon and it was just as good as the first! You can read my original review from 3 years ago if you want to know my thoughts on the musical in more detail, but suffice it to say, it's the most outrageously funny show I've ever seen. You know you've had a good time when you've laughed so much that your face hurts afterwards!

Blog Posts in September:

The Bookish Seven Deadly Sins Tag
Waiting On Wednesday: Macmillan Fall 2014 Catalog
Waiting On Wednesday: Simon & Schuster Fall 2014 Catalog
Waiting On Wednesday: HarperCollins Winter 2015 Catalog
Review: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo - 4.5 Stars
Review: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper - 2.5 Stars
My Life in August: Medieval Times, Niagara Falls, and Moving Time

Best Book Read in September:

This should really read "ONLY Book Read in September" because as I mentioned, I have not had a lot of time to get my reading on lately. But there's a good chance Ruin and Rising would have been my favourite anyways because I thought it was a pretty great conclusion. Not AMAZING, but I was altogether satisfied with how the story ended and where the characters ended up.