Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Book Superlative

Everyone's doing it, why not me?

Want to know how many books I read this year? A whopping 100. I have no clue how it happened, but it has been a tremendous reading year. And I have to say I did some pretty great writing this year as well. Are the two related? Maybe. I definitely believe reading, and reading widely, can strengthen your own work. Anyway, without any further ado, here are my superlatives. I would definitely like to give a shout out to my local library for stacking so many amazing books, and to Kindle for having some great sales. Without them I would be nowhere.

Favorite Sophomore Release: This has got to be a tie between Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller and The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Both these books blew me away. This is the second book by both authors and I didn't notice a slump in the writing in any way, if anything I think they got stronger. Honorable mention to Days of Blood and Starlight and The Dream Thieves.

Favorite New Series: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. This book was creepy, haunted in a beautiful sort of way, with an original premise. I'm so excited to read the follow up and see where Violet and River are since the events that took place in the first book.

Favorite Debut: There were SO MANY tremendous debuts this year. Honestly, I still have dozens of books to make it through. But I have to say I had a lot of fun reading The Collector by Victoria Scott. Dante was funny, snarky, obnoxious at times, but the story kept me on the edge of my seat and I found myself rooting for him despite his faults.

Favorite Contemporary: Okay, wow. I've read a ton of contemporaries, this was the year of the contemporary.. Picking just one is SOOOO hard. But I have to say The Sea of Tranquility hit me right in the feels. I couldn't put it down. It made me laugh, smile, cry. I loved this book with so much of my heart.

Favorite Under The Radar Book: Letters To Nowhere by Julie Cross. This book had tragedy, romance, gymnastics, and was subtle about the issues it dealt with, and I highly recommend it.

Favorite Late To The Party Book: The Sky Is Everywhere, The Girl Who Chased The Moon, both had family drama and swoony romances, and are very different from each other, but the writing in both makes me envious.

Favorite Scifi Fantasy: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi and Crown of Midnight by Sara J. Maas. Perry and Choal are my favorites for many reasons. I CANNOT wait to read Into The Still Blue.

Favorite Closing To A Series: Quintana of Charyn. This book put every other end to a trilogy to shame. It raised the bar so high I'm not sure any book will ever be able to reach it. This series as a whole is so wonderful, raw, heartbreaking, beautiful, I can't say enough about it. Honorable mention to The Clockwork Princess and Beautiful Redemption.

There are so many more amazing books I want to write about, but I'm afraid of how long this post would get if I got into it. If any of you want recommendations, don't hesitate to ask. I love sharing my faves with other readers! Hope 2014 is as book filled as 2013 was. I'm so excited to see what the new year holds!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
I finished The Girl Who Chased the Moon, which was in a word: magical. The writing was elegant, engaging, and thoughtful. The story really stuck with me, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. And I can't quite put my finger on why, maybe it was cast of character from Emily and Win to Julia and Sawyer, or perhaps the mystery surrounding Emily's mom and Win's uncle, it could have been the changing wallpaper room Emily stayed in, or it might just be the town of Mullaby itself. I really fell in love with all, I think.

I also read Golden by Jessi Kirby and found it be a delightful, at times somber, sort of contemporary novel with a mystery twist. I guess I'm really enjoying the whole mystery aspect of the books I've read lately. It really captured that need teens have to experience more. I know I felt it when I was younger. And sometimes I still feel it. The plot was more complex than just a love story.

What I'm Writing:
I'm on a break, but I can't stop the horde of ideas pushing to make room in my head. I've started several projects, only a few hundred words each, only to abandon them. I have no idea what to work on next. There are so many choices! And they're all pulling me in different directions. Hopefully by January I'll know how to proceed.

What Inspires Me Right Now:
These two munchkins:
I've been thinking a lot about writing a book with a strong mother/daughter or sister/sister dynamic. I love my gals and they inspire me daily with their hilarious antics, love for me and each other as well as their big brothers, their general awesomeness. Someday I would like to write a story just for them.

What Else I've Been Up To:
I'm taking the oath and becoming an official citizen of the United States on January 9th! I can't wait! My husband and kids will be here, and maybe also my mother-in-law, but it also sounds like my older sister might also take the oath the exact same day! We put in our papers around the same time hoping it would work out that way. I can't wait!

What have you been up to?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What's Up Wednesday

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up, put on by Jamie Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join click on the links above!

What I'm Reading:
Lots of wonderfulness. First off: Rainbow Rowell. I read Fangirl and Attachments recently and they were both delightful, wonderfully written, supremely rich in humor and awesome.

What I'm Writing:
Since NaNo ended? Not much. I think I'm giving my brain a break and just relaxing a bit. And with Christmas just around the corner, I don't have much time to do much other than find gifts and prepare for the festivities. I love Christmas!

What Inspires Me Right Now:
PitchWars! Even though I didn't make it in :( I'm still so inspired by the other writers who were picked. And it gives me hope that my turn will come some day. This isn't the end by any means! No way am I throwing in the towel this early on! I love the idea of authors helping other authors. People like Brenda Drake that hold these amazing contests are so inspiring. WHEN I reach my goal I would love to give back as well.

What Else I've Been Up To:
Getting through a cold. My throat is so soar it feels like I'm trying to swallow shards of glass. Kind of sucks. But I'm taking the time to relax, recuperate, and catch up on some shows on Netflix.  I love me some White Collar!

Monday, December 9, 2013


I've been blogging and less and less. And it has nothing to do with not caring. I still like to sneak in and read your guys' posts, but lately I've been running a blank. That's why I like doing weekly bloghops like What's Up Wednesday because I can post statuses on various things going on in my life. But I didn't start blogging just to give you guys weekly updates. I started because I wanted to discuss my journey in this writing game. I wanted to share positive thoughts, constructive thoughts. I wanted to make connections, and I've done those things. However, I've become increasingly...how do I say... private (more like crazy scared) to share certain details of my life. More specifically, when it comes to my writing.

Querying my Urban Fantasy was hard. REALLY HARD. Rejection was harder. I took some comfort in knowing I wasn't the only one who's dealt with the bitter stab of another form R. It doesn't erase it completely, but it helped. I've put away Fire and Ice, even though I still heart it like crazy, and moved onto my contemporary Restoring Casey, which I also love.

I'm going to be honest with you, I had very little luck with F&I, and I sort of expected it, but it still sucked the big one. Trying to query anything paranormal at the moment is sort of asking for soul crushing heartbreak, but if your story is awesome enough it will rise to the top. Mine obviously wasn't that awesome. And as I recently reread my former love, I realized it still needs work. But I've moved on. Do I think RC is 'the one'? I don't know. What I do know is the writing is stronger, the emotions higher, the journey scarier. Because writing and preparing to query is always scary. Putting yourself out there is always scary.

I would love to land an agent with this manuscript. Every writer dreams of the moment when their work finally pays off, when someone else wants to champion their story. I'm not giving up on that dream. I'm still striving for it. RC isn't quite ready to query. I still need betas before heading into another round of revisions. As I've mentioned before, patience is not my strong suit, but guess what?!?! I'm much more patient when it comes to my journey than I used to be. I'm happier and more comfortable with my words. That's what matters, right? I've also decided to be more upfront with you guys when it comes to my story. I'll tell you how querying is going. I'll let you know if I get another rejection or request (while remaining professional).

So to kick this thing off I'm going to let you know I recently entered Pitchwars! Which is an awesome contest set up by the amazing Brenda Drake. I don't know if I'll make it in, but I'm not going to let the fear of rejection keep on the sidelines. I hope you guys put yourselves out there, too.