When I sat down to write this blog post, I thought I hadn’t read much this year. I also thought I hadn’t published much, but I was wrong! I was BUSY this year. I didn’t read as much as I had hoped, but I did get a lot done. I also missed a few publishing goals, but that’s okay, too! I tend to set my goals high, so even falling short is a significant accomplishment.
I also dabbled in some new things this year. I did a podcast in February with XXX, and I’ve done several Trope Talk videos with Crystal Crawford. Then there’s my new e-zine Laundry List. Overall, I would say it’s been a big growth year.
Here is the recap of my favorite reads for the year:
SCIENCE FICTION TOP PICK: THE ILLUMINAE FILES BY AMIE KAUFFMAN AND JAY KRISTOFF
I'll be the first to admit science-fiction confuses the snot out of me. The high-tech worlds leave me scratching my head most times, but this trilogy was character driven which made reading much easier. I read each of these MASSIVE books over six nights. I lost a lot of sleep, but they were worth it. I was not a fan of the cussing (primarily, the use of the Lord's name) so if that is a no for you, then skip these.
This trilogy is creepy, powered by superhero-like kids who just want to be ordinary, and one scary AI out to kill everyone and everything... almost. The format is difficult to read on a small e-reader, so opt for a larger screen or the print volumes.
FANTASY TOP PICKS:
MACCHIATOS, FAERIE PRINCES, AND OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPEN AT MIDNIGHT BY CRYSTAL CRAWFORD
As usual, Crystal Crawford's fantasy worlds are so rich and immersive, I find myself getting lost in them--even when they take place on present-day earth! The title is long, but this Vella fantasy is full of intriguing characters (team Jordan--don't argue with me), mystery, and enough clean romance to give you a sweet tooth.
A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES SERIES BY SARAH J. MAAS
Right off the bat, I warn that this series has graphic sex. It was a huge turn off for me, but the storytelling was enough to keep me going... until book four. The initial trilogy was a wild ride full of twists and turns while we watched Feyra come into her own. But Maas lost me on book four. I was not a fan of everything Nesta had to give up just to be accepted, despite having her own wounds that were no less traumatic than anyone else's. That said, the books are a nice escape and I liked them.
A FOREST OF STOLEN MEMORIES BY CALLIE THOMAS
Another Vella book, this fantasy has enough intrigue to keep you scrolling to the next episode. I adore Ceadrick, and the magic system here is quite interesting. I also like the Biblical parallels throrughout (David vs. Saul is one). It is not quite complete, but the author updates weekly and it should be complete soon.
YA ROMANCE TOP PICKS:
THE BAH HUMBUG BAD BOY BY PIXIE PERKINS
This was such a great read from start to finish. The perfect sunny vs. grumpy story about a girl who loves Christmas and a bad boy who isn't so bad. I adored the characters and the sweet, simple romance.
CROSS COUNTY HEARTS BY SUZANNE AUGUST
Another great sweet romance. This one was an enemies to more story whose characters went a little off track during their cross country road trip. This one does have minimal cussing but nothing vulgar.
XOXO PIPER BY GINGER LI
I loved the cute sweetness of both main characters in this book, even when the boy was a brooding meanie head. A quick, hopeful read.
FINDING MADELINE BY EMILY FERTIC
I was blown away by this debut novel by Emily Fertic. It handles the trauma and hardships of being bullied in a real yet sensitive way. The true meaning of friendship through everything is found in this book.
MY PUBLISHED WORK THIS YEAR:
THE CUPCAKE CRIMINALS is a clean adult romantic comedy.
BLUR THE LINES is a clean adult romantic comedy.
JUST HER LUCK is a clean adult romantic comedy.
EVERNIGH is a clean young adult fantasy romance.
THE IMMORTAL GRIMM BROTHERS' GUIDE TO SOCIOPATHIC PRINCESSES BOXED SET is an illustrated collection of seven full-length young adult fairy tale adaptations.
THE SECRET AUTHOR SERIES BOXED SET is a collection of five full-length novels, five novella spin-off stories, and multiple bonus chapters and alternate points-of-view, clean young adult romance.
THE FALLEN is a clean young adult fantasy in rough draft form on my VIP portal.
If you are interersted in my podcast interview on Pencils and Lipstick, you can find it here.
If you are interested in Trope Talks with Crystal Crawford, you can find them here.
Whew. It really was a crazy year, but I am so happy for my loyal followers who give me the confidence every single day to write and publish my ideas. Thank you again for making my dream career a reality!