Welcome to 2020! Last year blogging was an epic fail for me. I was just too busy and had no idea what to write about. This year… well, I still don’t know what I’ll write about, but I am hoping it will come to me as the year progresses. I did a lot this past year, and 2020 will be just as productive if not more, but much of what I do might be behind the scenes. I’ll have a few new releases, maybe some short stories or flash fiction, and loads of learning to do!
To keep this first blog of the year short and sweet, I thought I would recap some of the books I read in 2019 that I loved, then help you get to know me a little better via a word cloud filled with 100 of my favorite things. I want to know about my readers, too! Send me your word clouds or lists or… Bat Signals? Any way you want, tell me what you love!
Jumping in, here are the top four books I read this year that I adored (and that are published.) I did some beta reading, too, but not all of those books have been released, so I won’t discuss them here. THERE MIGHT BE SPOILERS! So reader beware!
Overall, it was not a great year for me as a reader until the last few months of the year. I just couldn’t get into anything and felt more drawn to writing than reading. However, now that I’m back in the groove, there are a few series I plan to read ravenously this year, one book I will probably reread, and tons on my TBR list!
Without further ado…
The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)
C. J. Redwine
I really enjoyed this Snow White retelling. Since I write a lot of fairy tale and folklore retellings myself, I was interested in seeing yet another spin on a commonly rewritten tale. I was not disappointed. Anytime an author can add dragons to a story, I'm a happy reader. I loved the dynamic between Lorelai and Kol, especially the back and forth between them as they both fought for what they believed was right. It is a fast read and so intriguing, especially Redwine's use of the apple and the heart. If you are a fairy tale fan, this is a good one. I hope to jump into another of her books soon!
Clara's Soldier (A Nutcracker Retelling)
Like I said, I love my retellings! I picked this one up for Christmas and was not disappointed. It's more of a novella, but the concept was amazing and kept me turning the pages (okay, flipping the kindle screen) for a few nights in a row! The accurate portrayal of PTSD and the way society managed the return of their soldiers was beyond words. I just loved it, and I plan to read more by Fichter soon. Some parts of the book made me cringe, but only because they were so accurate. It is a shame shell-shock was not diagnosed and treated much earlier.
The Watchmaker's Daughter
C. J. Archer
I adored this book and devoured it in about two days. I am on the second in the Glass and Steele series and can't see any reason to slow down! The dynamic between India and Matt is phenomenal and keeps you turning the pages. They mystery and subtle hints of magic are just right. I also love Archer's writing style and the setting. If you want a little mystery, a little magic, and a "will they, won't they" story, then this series is for you!
This was my number one favorite book of the year, hands down. The story of the Romanov family is intriguing, devastating, and often misunderstood. I loved the threads of magic woven into this tale and could not put it down (except those few times I had to because I was crying.) Zash is such a realistic and dynamic character, and if I could adopt him, I would. Anastasia is portrayed as magical, and her escape is nothing short of phenomenal. I don't want to ruin the book for anyone so... JUST GO READ IT! I plan to read Fawkes by Brandes this year!
Well, those were my favorite fiction reads, but I did beta read two non-fiction books this year that warrant mention. If you are a young or novice writer, these books are amazing guides. Written by my friend Crystal Crawford, they are meant to guide the writer through the stages of writing. Below, I have included the blurbs for each. Don't let the names fool you! These are serious writing guides packed with information!
Slap Him With A Fish
Written by an indie author and writing instructor and made to address often-asked questions from the author’s students and fellow writers, this handbook covers an assortment of writing topics. Told in a conversational, easily digested format, this book provides an in-depth look at the craft of fiction with a practical-yet-encouraging perspective.
Put Some Pants on That Kid
Do your teenagers dread writing assignments? Do research papers make them want to scream? Does teaching essay-writing to your high schoolers feel like it's becoming a negative experience, for you and for them? Welcome to the Put Some Pants on That Kid writing curriculum!
Put Some Pants on That Kid takes a big-picture, practical approach to writing, addressing the why behind the typical expectations for essays and research papers, and providing students the tools they need to understand those larger concepts, master them, and extrapolate them to future writing assignments.
All of the above books can be found on Amazon, with many of them in Kindle Unlimited! And now for the moment you have all been waiting for (I kid, I kid...) my word cloud filled with the things I love! I'm sure there are another hundred things I could add but then you wouldn't be able to ready anything so... Here we go!
And for those who detest deciphering a word cloud...
It’s A Wonderful Life