Keep an eye out here and on my Instagram & Twitter accounts for weekly additions to #MuseMondays. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite books, authors, music, movies, and more. Inspirations for both my writing and what I grab to read when I want to escape from the daily mundane.
Today, it’s Josephine Angelini’s “Starcrossed”, a young adult trilogy that I’ve read and re-read multiple times. Add it to your TBR list today; it’s a fun twist on traditional Greek mythology.
It’s been about a month since my last post and probably one of the longest periods I’ve been away from this blog. As a freelance writer, the tide of work ebbs and flows. When it’s ebbing, I find myself spending as much time chasing the work as I do completing the work. Clients come and go, that’s just the way it is and I much prefer this as a day job than other options.
Freelancing as a content creator allows me the flexibility to pursue the completion of my first book and prep for NaNo, which I’ll discuss in just a moment. After several drafts, professional editing, revisions, more editing, more revisions, rounds with beta readers and CPs, and more revisions, it’s reallllllllly close to query time. And while that’s slightly terrifying, I’m ready. Actually mentally ready. I’ve done my best and it’s time to see if I can convince an agent that they should take a chance on it and me. And really, they should because the book’s awesome and so am I, right? Right? Anyhoo . . .
So I’ve been writing during this time I’ve been away from sharing book reviews here on the blog. From many, many freelance words to additions/revisions on the book, and prep work for my NaNo project. Which is: drum roll please! YA Mystery!
I’m really looking forward to this project and can’t wait to dive in!
If you’re considering NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) head over to their site HERE. Be sure to click over to THIS PAGE to find out how it works. It’s super easy, free, and trust me, you’ll have a blast. It’s a great way to meet other writers, get in the habit of writing daily with no excuses, and crank out a first draft in 30 days.
Now about the time I’ve spent reading. Long before I was a writer, I was a reader. I can’t ever remember NOT being a reader. I only post a few of the books I read here, so even when I’m not posting book reviews, I am still reading several books. Since the beginning of the month I’ve been rereading Michael Grant’s GONE series in anticipation of his new book MONSTER that releases October 17. As this is one of my all-time favorite young adult series, I’m really looking forward to reading it! Keep your eyes out, I promise I will post a full review as soon as I can.
I’ve also been rereading “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie and YES, I do plan to go see the new movie in November. I own the 1974 version, and while I don’t favor it as much as “And Then There Were None” and “Death on the Nile” it does have its merits.
I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and share with me and other readers the new book releases you’re anxiously awaiting. I’m always looking to add to by TBR pile. If you’re an Agatha Christie fan like me, are you planning to see the new “Murder on the Orient Express” movie? Tell me in the comments.
Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie has been in by TBR pile for a while, one of the few books by my favorite author that I had not read. Unfortunately, I found this to be a tedious read and not much mystery at all. When I read a Christie, I want a good, juicy mystery that keeps me guessing or at least keeps me engaged. This did not do it for me.
This is one of Christie’s books that does not feature one of her famous detectives. Personally, my favorites star Hercule Poirot, although there are several Miss Marple mysteries I enjoy as well. However, Passenger to Frankfurt fell flat for my tastes. It was repetitive and while I liked the main character Stafford Nye, after a while, I just didn’t care if he actually discovered why he was entangled in an international issue.
The story started just fine, Nye meets a mysterious woman during an airport layover and allows himself to be convinced to give her his identity because she says her life is in danger. Upon returning home to England he reconnects with the mysterious passenger to Frankfurt — is she spy or what? And quickly, Nye is now involved with a global plot that includes Hitler-influenced youth, wealthy matriarchs, and even his great-aunt Matilda, who was one character I genuinely adored.
No regrets reading the Passenger to Frankfort, but definitely not a book I’ll pick up again. There are many really wonderful Agatha Christie mysteries out there to read. Back in November, I reviewed the Five Little Pigs and gave it 4 of 5 stars on Goodreads. You can check out my review here — definitely enjoyed it more than Passenger to Frankfort.
Other Christie favorites of mine include:
Death on the Nile (my number one favorite!)
And Then There Were None
A Caribbean Mystery
Evil Under the Sun
Dead Man’s Folly
Murder on the Orient Express
The Seven Dials Mystery
Death in the Clouds
I do recommend heading over to the official Agatha Christie website for everything about the author and her books. You can check out news about the latest adaptations of her work, including the anticipated new movie of Murder on the Orient Express. Plus I highly recommend printing out the complete list of her novels (by publication year) if you’re like me and trying to complete your collection.
This weekend I began “The Last of August” by Brittany Cavallaro, the sequel to “A Study in Charlotte” that features Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson, teen descendants of the famous Holmes and Watson duo. If you haven’t read “A Study in Charlotte” and YA mystery is your thing — go grab a copy now and read it. You can read my review here. As for the second book, I’m about 100 pages in and it has my attention. Keep an eye for my review sometime later this week.
I also finished “The Firstborn” by Quenby Olson recently. My review is up on Goodreads and I’ll be posting it here on the blog as soon as the book officially releases. I had the awesome fortune to receive an ARC and thrilled that I was able to read it early. It’s releasing May 9, so if Regency romance makes your heart swoon, definitely mark your calendars and get a copy of “The Firstborn”. Visit author Quenby Olson at her website to see what else she’s been up to.
What else is on my #TBR list?
Star Wars AFTERMATH, Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig (bought and waiting for me to dive into)
The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (the paperback has been on my shelf for too long!)
Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah (again, bought and need to read soon)
Imzadi (Star Trek: The Next Generation) by Pete David (okay, so I’ve actually read this book three times but I’ve never owned it until now, which is why it’s on my current to-read list)
Cloak of Shadows by C.K. Dawn (on my Kindle app)
Like many of you, I have a few dozen more on my e-reader, including a few books on the writing craft. I’m setting time aside daily to catch up and keep up with the books I want to read. How’s your TBR list for 2017 going? Doing the Goodreads challenge?
One of my all-time favorite YA series is GONE by Michael Grant. I can’t actually remember when I read the first book, but it was before the second one came out, so fairly early after its release. It was the first book by Grant that I had read and after the first chapter, I was hooked. I had been looking for something different and GONE delivered.
Since then, I’ve read and reread the full series about six or seven times because not only do I find the story interesting and yet disturbing — it’s all about the characters for me. Astrid, Sam, Edilio, Lana, Caine, Diana, little Pete, Orc, and the list goes on. While LIGHT concludes the series and ties up the story perfectly (if not bloodily) well, I was very excited to hear yesterday that MONSTER will release in October 2017, a book giving us GONE fans a bit more about what happens after LIGHT.
Below is the video of author Michael Grant reading from his soon-to-be-released book MONSTER. Please check it out and if you haven’t read the GONE series, now is the perfect time to start — you’ve plenty of time to get the series read before October.
So watch the video below and then go get GONE and read.
I’m about 50 or so pages from completing my personal 2016 Goodreads reading challenge of 25 books. Once upon a time, reading 25 books in a year would not have been a challenge — I typically read twice that and often more. However, times change. Life changes. I write full time and some days after writing for clients and then adding words to my own WIP, I simply prefer to lose myself in a movie instead of a book. Still, I completed my Goodreads challenge, or I will later this week when I finish Chuck Sambuchino’s craft book “Get a Literary Agent” and 25 books in 2016 isn’t half bad.
That brings us to December. Now. I decided instead of continuing to work my way through my TBR pile this month, I would treat myself and indulge in a reread of a favorite series. Last year during the Christmas holidays I reread the Gone series by Michael Grant. The previous Christmas, I reread Harry Potter, although I usually do that reread in the summer.
This year, December 2016 I’m rereading Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series.
If you enjoy reading YA with a supernatural/fantasy theme, then I highly recommend The Mortal Instruments Series.
You can take a look at the different books here. Since the first book “City of Bones” was released in 2007, five more books were added plus a companion series called the Infernal Devices and a new sequel trilogy to the Mortal Instruments called The Dark Artifices, which begins with “Lady Midnight”. The next book after “Lady Midnight” is set to release in May 2017 and will be titled “Lord of Shadows”.
Currently, I’m on Chapter 20 of “City of Bones” and I’m enjoying it this time around as much as I did the first time I read it. I love the dialogue, especially the banter between Jace and Clary, even Simon’s commentary brings a grin while reading. I’m dreading the end of this book just a bit, because I do know what’s coming next and this particular end made me a bit growl-ly. However, it was a good end and fun way to lead into book 2 “City of Ashes”.
Whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year, I hope you’re experiencing peace and joy. And do I hope you’re making time for a good book or two or three.
If you have a spare moment, let me know in the comments below what you’re reading. I’m always looking to add title to my TBR list. Or which book(s) do you want Santa to bring?
Like many of you, my TBR or to-be-read list keeps growing despite the fact that I continue to read and finish books. And how can it not grow when there’s a continual supply of new books from both veteran and first-time authors?
More than 300,000 print books are traditionally published each year, just in the U.S. You can check out the statistics here.
And what about ebooks? And self-published books? Bottom-line — there are a lot of books available and it’s no wonder our TBR lists keep growing. Personally, I think it’s a good thing to have a large reading list. Recently, I wrote out an actual list of my TBR book titles as part of an effort to get a bit more organized. I didn’t list the books in any particular order and I’m not reading them in a certain order either.
I thought I’d share some of that list with you today along with links to the book so if it strikes your fancy, you can add it to your TBR list as well.
Barb’s TBR Book List (in no particular order)
The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant (sequel to Messenger of Fear)
This is a mere snapshot of my TBR list — some pretty amazing books on there and I’m anxious to read each one. Go ahead and leave the title and author of the next book on your TBR list in the comments, I’d love to have more great books to add!