BW5: Sunday's Book Babble - February's fictional librarian is Aurora Teagarden


 

It's book week 5 in our 52 Books Quest and our fictional librarian is Aurora Teagarden created by  Charlaine Harris. 

We were up until 2 last night watching another spider man movie, this one animated - Spiderman into the Spider Verse which turned out to be pretty good. Then reading until really late.

It's amazing how much reading gets down when you go on a news diet and unplug from the internet. I decided at the beginning of the year to declare 2021 the year of Nora. After I organized and reorganized my shelves, bringing Nora and her alter ego J.D. Robb's books front and center, I began by rereading the Key trilogy, then dove into her Ireland Trilogies Gallaghers of Ardmore and Born in. What is it about Robert's books? Her writing, the unique characters,  the world building, and stories all work together to entertain and pull me in.  Every time I sit down to study her writing, to help improve my own, I get drawn in, and forget about the world at large. Every time I read one of her stories, I get something new out of it.  Which is what I hope to do with my story writing some day.  Make the reader forget about the world and dive into the story world.  Now I just need to remind myself to slow down and make note of the parts of the story that stand out and why. 

Amidst the rereads, I recently finished Amanda Quick's, (Aka Jayne Ann Krentz) Second Sight, #1 in her Arcane Society series which spans from the Victoria era to the future.  Second Sight is set in the Victoria Era and introduces us to Gabriel Jones and how the Arcane Society came about.  Venetia, a female photographer with arcane gifts of her own, is hired to take pictures of artifacts Gabriel and the society have collected over the years.  While at his home, enemies arrive and Gabriel sends Venetia away for her safety. Thinking he was killed in the attack, she passes herself off as Mrs. Jones to help her photography business, but little does she realize he's still alive and has now put herself in the cross hairs of his enemies.  Victorian era culture, psychic elements, and the two characters themselves create a delightful as well as suspenseful story of murder, mystery, and romance. 

I've set aside Sharon Kay Penman's When Christ and Her Saints Slept as well as Harry Potter to finish later in the year in order to concentrate on our 52 Books read of The Count of Monte Cristo.  I'm ready to jump in with both feet and get absorbed by the story.  I'm come to the conclusion that splitting my time on more than one physical and one ebook at a time is not altogether wise.  They deserve my undivided attention.  

I'm almost done with Real Murders with our fictional librarian of the month.  Something is lacking and I'm not enjoying it as much as I did Sookie.  I'm not connecting with any of the characters and there seems to be more telling, than showing.  

  

Bookish Notes: Sharon Kay Penman Passed Away

 I unplugged for a couple days and basically read, well reread Nora Robert's Born in trilogy.

Just now seeing the news that Sharon Kay Penman passed away last week at the age of 75.  I was just about to set aside When Christ and his Saints Slept to concentrate on the Count.  Now I feel like I need to finish. 

 Hubby bought me Volume III of ColorIt and I'm having fun with it.  I have multiple coloring books including Into the Garden, Country Charm, and an animals one that I can't remember the name of right this moment.  James loves to share youtube reviews with me of video games, comic books, etc and some of the video is so repetitive that I listen more than watch and need something to do with my hands so I don't fall asleep. 




BW4: Sunday's Book Babble - Count of Monte Cristo

 


It's book week 4 in our 52 Books quest and this week begins our 52 Books readalong of The Count of Monte Cristo.   I didn’t know what to expect about the Count of Monte Cristo. All I knew was that it was about a man in prison and it was a classic.  While putting together the 52 Books post, enjoyed learning about the story and now I’m even more eager to begin reading it. Plus watching and comparing the two different movies.

I finished Dragons of Dorcastle, the 1st book in the Pillars of Realty series by Jack Campbell.  There was a lot of talk about dragons but nary a one to be seen until the next to last chapter and its presence was short lived.  The focus was on the two young main characters:  A young man raised as a Mage and taught to ignore all emotion and think of the rest of the world as an illusion, and people are shadows, nonexistent to his reality.  And a young woman, the youngest Master Mechanic, also taught the Mechanics were better than everyone else, including the Mages, and the commons beneath their notice.   Both their lives are on the line and they must work together, in secret, behind their Guilds backs.  Great premise but I unfortunately don’t like the characters enough to continue the series.     (Dragons, steampunk,  A to Z read by Title)

Happy Happy Joy Joy.  Dirty Deeds: an Urban Fantasy Collection, written by Faith Hunter, Devon Monk, Diana Pharaoh Francis, and R.J. Blain was just released.  Hunter and Monk are two of my favorite authors and I enjoyed the continuation of two storylines.  Hunter’s Yellowrock series with Bound into Darkness showcasing Eli and Liz, and their budding romance while in the midst of a dangerous job, and The Ties that Bind, featuring Bedilia (Molly’s mother) and the Vampire Master of the City of Asheville, Lincoln Shaddock. Plus Monk’s Ordinary series with Sealed with a Tryst in which the every day chaos of policing the town is preventing Delaney from leaving for a vacation with Ryder.  Followed by At Death’s Door highlighting Than, the God of Death which is amusing.  The collection was also a lovely introduction to Francis and Blain whom I’ve never read before.  At 643 pages, the stories kept me entertained.  (Fantasy)

Taking another Nora Robert’s break with the Gallaghers of Ardmore trilogy set in Ireland: Jewels of the SunTears of the Moon, and Heart of the Sea.   (Fantasy Romance)

Still sipping from Harry Potter, and When Christ and his Saints Slept, and craft books and continuing to listen to Christopher Paolini’s To Sleep in a Sea of Stars on audio book while going to and fro in the car.


Inauguration Poem: Amanda Gorman - The Hill We Climb

 



A placeholder to remember this vibrant young woman and her encouraging poetry. 


“The Hill We Climb”

by

Amanda Gorman

When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast, we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace and the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice. And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it, somehow we do it, somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one. And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect, we are striving to forge a union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

So we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another, we seek harm to none and harmony for all.

Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true: that even as we grieved, we grew, even as we hurt, we hoped, that even as we tired, we tried, that we’ll forever be tied together victorious, not because we will never again know defeat but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one should make them afraid. If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in in all of the bridges we’ve made.

That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it because being American is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it. That would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy, and this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can periodically be delayed, but it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith, we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us, this is the era of just redemption we feared in its inception we did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour but within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves, so while once we asked how can we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us.

We will not march back to what was but move to what shall be, a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free, we will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, our blunders become their burden. But one thing is certain: if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left, with every breath from my bronze, pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one, we will rise from the golden hills of the West, we will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution, we will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states, we will rise from the sunbaked South, we will rebuild, reconcile, and recover in every known nook of our nation in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful, when the day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it, for there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.


Bookish Notes: Organizing Nora Shelves



I was industrious today. Did four loads of laundry. Cleaned out bookshelves in my bedroom, packed up two boxes of books from the shelves I know I probably won't read again, plus I finally got rid of two long plastic storage totes filled with books that have been taking up floor space all so I could replace with two boxes of Nora Roberts books. Oh, and alphabetized them as well. LOL! At least the shelves and my room looks neater. Defrosting hamburgers for dinner.


I finished Dragons in Dorcastle and don't think I'll be reading the rest of the series. The dragon finally showed up in the last chapter, but it was an evil dragon so didn't last long and I didn't particularly like the characters. Good premises but oh well. 

BW3: Sunday's Book Babble - Nine Muses Mini Challenge


 

It's book week 3 in our 52 Books quest and the beginning of exploring stories and books influenced by the Nine Muses of Greek mythology, the Goddesses of the arts and sciences, who loved to sing and dance.

I’m currently sipping on multiple books and making some progress in my main A to Z read, The Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell, in which there are about 100 pages left in the book and they finally mentioned dragons but have yet to see them. 

Slowly rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and picking up on details never noticed before.  I had forgotten about the extent Mr. Dursley went to keep Harry from receiving his Hogwarts letter and Hagrid’s anger.  

In When Christ and his Saints Slept, I really dislike Maude’s husband, Geoffrey but she’s feisty enough not to let him run all over her. 

I started listening to Christopher Paolini’s To Sleep in a Sea of Stars and the narrator makes the story come alive and I can’t wait until my buying ban is over to buy the Hard back and read it. 

Nonfiction wise, In Light the Dark, Billy Collins talks about he fell in love with W.B. Yeats poem, the Lake Isle of Innisfree.

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

 

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

 

I wasn’t familiar with Yeats’s poem and love the imagery.  What a great poem.

Collins talks about how there’s always one poem you should memorize that inspires and sooths and, in the process,

“going from deep familiarity to complete mastery – is a challenge and a deep pleasure. In repeating different lines, your reading becomes more focused than it’s ever been before. You become more sensitive to every consonant and vowel.”  

I have yet to find a poem I want to master, but I think I will set a goal of finding that one poem that speaks to me enough to do so.  And as Collins says

“Poetry becomes an oasis or sanctuary from the forces constantly drawing us into social and public life. Poetry exerts a different kind of pull on us.  It’s a pull toward meaning and subjectivity. It’s the sound of lake water lapping by the shore.”

Which is probably why I was blown away while listening to Paolini’s story. There is a poetry about his word choices, the descriptions, although aren’t poetic, are so vivid they draw you out of yourself and into the story. 

 I took the buzzfeed quiz and I am Terpsichore: The Muse of Dance
"When it comes to romance novels, you like them intricate and unexpected. Full of twists and turns as the lovers are blown about by the winds of fate, you look for passion and grace in every line and when the perfect plot twist occurs, you cannot help but gasp aloud."

Ha, right on.  Yes I do love books full of twists and and turns and unanticipated moments. 

Guest Post -James M's review of IDW Sonic Issue 36

 


Happy 2021 Sonic fans, the newest issue of IDW Sonic is out and the first storyline of Evan Stanley's run as main writer for the series has wrapped up and a lingering plot point from the Metal Virus saga has been resolved: Fixing Omega.

Evan did a great job with this storyline and she's pretty good with the characters, especially with Shadow. Yes, Shadow the Hedgehog's characterization has improved for the most part, its not entirely there yet but its still a long way to go until he fully changes. Evan did her best.

Starline being the bad guy was interesting and he sure was a force to be reckoned with, outside of Eggman's employ, the doc knows how to be a villain. Will we see Starline again? Of course we will, will we get more of Shadow in the future? Of course, and yes, Shadow may improve more.

And so Year 3 of IDW Sonic ends as Year 4 begins and just in time for Sonic's 30th anniversary, what's in store for the comic with the 30th anniversary of the blue blur around the corner? Who knows, we just have to wait and see. May SEGA and their collaborators continue to impress us.

I look forward to the future of IDW Sonic and I have my hopes for what's to come with the characters, especially with Shadow. I'm so happy SEGA and Sonic Team are realizing, "Hey, we're making mistakes with this character, fans don't like it."

My score for this issue is a 10/10, a solid finale to a fine four part story arc. We sure do need a nice breather after the madness of the Metal Virus saga. Lets hope we get more awesome breather episodes and not dive into any crazy story arcs for a good long while.

May 2021 be the best year for Sonic in comics and the whole franchise.

Peace!

-James M


Note: Sorry if the review was short, but I'm good.














Bookish Notes: Fathers of the Church: St Clement

 


Well this is timely and I'm a huge believer in synchronicity:   Currently reading Fathers of the Church by Mike Aquilina and the Apostolic father I'm reading about  this week is St Clement of Rome who wrote the Letter to the Corinthians.  I highlighted a few things but the entire text of the letter can be read on New Advent

In it he writes:

"Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us; and especially to that shameful and detestable sedition, utterly abhorrent to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-confident persons have kindled to such a pitch of frenzy, that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be universally loved, has suffered grievous injury.

We Should Obey God Rather Than the Authors of Sedition:  It is right and holy therefore, men and brethren, rather to obey God than to follow those who, through pride and sedition, have become the leaders of a detestable emulation. For we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclinations of men who aim at exciting strife and tumults, so as to draw us away from what is good.  Let us be kind one to another after the pattern of the tender mercy and benignity of our Creator.

Let us cleave, therefore, to those who cultivate peace with godliness, and not to those who hypocritically profess to desire it. 

For [the Scripture] says in a certain place, This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And again: They bless with their mouth, but curse with their heart. And again it says, They loved Him with their mouth, and lied to Him with their tongue; but their heart was not right with Him, neither were they faithful in His covenant. Let the deceitful lips become silent, [and let the Lord destroy all the lying lips, ] and the boastful tongue of those who have said, Let us magnify our tongue: our lips are our own; who is lord over us? For the oppression of the poor, and for the sighing of the needy, will I now arise, says the Lord: I will place him in safety; I will deal confidently with him."


And if you made it this far and are still with me, what this says to me is it time to put all the vitriol behind us, let go of the past, quit paying attention to the negative, seek the good, pray for the future, and have faith.  It's time to move on and see what the future brings with optimism and hope.  Of course I've always been the gal who like the story about the boy in a roomful of crap, grabs the shovel and starts digging, saying 'there's a pony in here somewhere.'  Credit goes to Ronald Reagan for that little gem. 

 Peace out!

A to Z Poetry: Experimenting with Homonyms - Knight of Night

 



Knight of Night

 
When the Knight of night,
 decided to reign, 
who would believe it'd
affect him so and change the effect 
of the rain?

He was awed even though she was odd,
and allowed him to speak aloud.
  
When the scent of the horse
made his voice hoarse,
the boy was rather coarse 
while he showed her the course.

He didn't like being told to 
fold his cards or fold his clothes.
He preferred to bail out the boat 
rather than to bail out his brother. 
  
Who was she to wave away the waves?
Who was she to meddle with the medal?

She preferred to ignore all common sense
and count out her cents
while in the inn, 
jammed in the door jamb. 
  
When he asked for cash and 
she handed him her cache 
of keys, he couldn’t decide 
if he was right to write 
the tail of the tale.

When the knight came in the night 
to pick up the lone male 
 to discover it was only mail.

It told him of the hymn of
the son who walked into the sun.
to find the gift to gift the one, 
the rock that would rock his world.


Bookish Notes: My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack

 



I was in the mood for a cozy romance and what I got instead was a poignant story about two characters, singers from different cultures, both affected by long term grief, brought together to create a Christmas song.  Cara, who was injured in the car accident where her mother and sister died years ago at Christmas time, struggles with anxiety and self consciousness about her scars and prosthetic foot.  Javi, who has a playboy reputation, a failed marriage, a daughter who doesn't like him, and is still holding on to the grief when his brother died around Christmas time. 

The two are brought together, the English Songwriter and the Latin playboy, when Cara's record label contract requires her to record a single written by another artist on the label.  Cara expects it to be quick.  She'll record the song, go back home and the song will die from obscurity and she can go back to ignoring Christmas and dealing with her life the best she knows how.  Little do the characters realize what the power of the song will accomplish and both their lives are changed forever. My Christmas Number One is a wonderful story of two characters working through grief and other issues without being overly sappy and I highly recommend it. 

(Ebook category: be still my heart  Setting: London/South America   New to me author)

BW2: Sunday's Book Babble - Antiheroes

 


It's book week 2 in our 52 Books quest and I have anti-heroes on my mind today and have been thinking about the differences between the antihero and the villain, or between the hero and the anti-hero.  My son and I have been watching you-tube videos by Harry Potter Theory about the Harry Potter series and they've posted several videos discussing Severus Snape. You never quite know whether to trust the man. What are his motives?  Is he good or bad, working for or against Harry?  

Joe Bunting from the Write Practice says:  "Snape, like all Anti-Heroes, represents what society detests: cruelty, cowardice, self-interest, and dishonesty. He is the opposite of the hero, a villain, and yet somehow he’s a villain on the good guys’ side."   

We love to hate them, but then again we have to trust that the good side will outweigh the bad side and they'll redeem themselves in the end. 


******************

I’m currently sipping from Sharon Kay Penman’s When Christ and Her Saints Slept and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I didn’t get too terribly far in either book when I was distracted by life events and turned to comfort reads.  Nora Robert is one of my favorite authors and her Key Trilogy drew my attention this week.  I think a Nora Roberts reread is in order for the year as she provides not only comfort, but creativity as her writing inspires me.   

Decided with ebooks I’m going to go alphabetical A to Z and I finished And Then There were Nuns as well as Baking Bad and even managed to write reviews for them. Started My Christmas Number One by Leona Mack.   

 Craft wise I’m sipping on Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic process edited by Joe Fassler as well as James Scott Bell’s Just Write.   In the middle of John Strelecky’s CafĂ© on the Edge of the World and for some reason this story strikes me as an advertisement for something else. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but something is missing in the narrative.  For some reason it reminds me of Amway. đŸ˜Š

I don’t have just one favorite anti hero. At this point in time, Roland from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and Severus Snape from Harry Potter are my two favorites. Lizbeth Salander from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo runs a close third.  She was an odd duck. 


Bookish Notes: Baking Bad by Kim M. Watt


A friend gifted me with Baking Bad by Kim M. Watt at Christmas; a different kind of mystery she said.  It certainly is.  It's a cozy mystery with a twist set in a little fictional town called Toot Hansell in England somewhere between Shipton and Leeds. The vicar is poisoned and the ladies of the women's guild, the Women's Institute take it upon themselves to investigate with the help of special friends, the High Lord of the Cloverly Dragons, Beaufort Scales, and his sidekick Mortimer.   Yep, dragons. 

The story is told from multiple points of view including the two dragons.  The foursome get themselves into all kinds of trouble when the Detective Inspector who arrives to investigate. She can't exactly see the dragons but keeps seeing something strange that makes her vision wonky and reminds her of a past experience she'd rather forget.  There's plenty of mayhem and misdirection before the mystery of the murder is finally solved.  Baking Bad is humorous and sweet as well as mysterious and well worth reading.  I'm looking forward to reading more in the Beaufort Scales Mystery series. 

(Ebook category: Dragons, mystery   Setting: England - Leeds/Shipton.  New to me author)

Bookish Notes: And Then There Were Nuns by Jane Christmas

 



Jane Christmas has a fiancĂ©e who knows her well and is full of patience.  Perhaps because he's known her so long, it's the reason he waits for her to decide what she wants to do with her life.  For she has had a life long desire to become a nun. A cloistered one at that.  She desires to spend her days in contemplation and prayer, listening to God.  Or so she thought. Was she seeking fulfillment and faith or something else. 

Little did she realize that falling into silence and routine would awaken the trauma of a past sexual assault, buried so deep, it'd become part of her soul and she needed to face it and work out the pain of the past.  As Jane battles her personal demons and tries to fit into the life of a cloistered community, she learns quite a bit about herself.  

While developing a closer relationship with God, she learns about the needs within a religious community, the differences between the Anglican and Catholic church and what religion and faith really mean.   The cloistered convents guest houses and cells (bedrooms) reflected the beauty or ugliness of each, a visual representation of each religion.   The Anglican nuns were open and nonjudgmental versus the Catholic who were strict, by the book, and not open to allowing a divorced woman become a nun.  

Jane learns she couldn't fit into anyone's box. Her story is one of faith, forgiveness, friendship, redemption, and trust.  Add in church politics, history, the needs and wants of the religious community which made for a very interesting story indeed  And Then There Were Nuns is full of inspiration, inspiration, humor, tears, and well worth reading. 

Favorite quotes: 

"That’s what faith is to me, a grand adventure of the soul, at times exhilarating, at times disappointing. Sort of what Chesterton was saying. Faith is not the surrender of the mind, as some have characterized it, but the expansion of it, and of the heart and spirit as well. It is head-scratching, yes, weird at times, nonsensical, but also brilliant and moving in its simplicity and in the good it succeeds in doing."

 “Pay attention to yourself. Life is about our willingness to change and take risks, and we get those cues from our hearts and our intuition. Likewise, and this is just as important, pay attention to your overreactions: when someone gets under your skin, ask yourself why that is. What have they stirred up?"

"God, not the church (any church) is the goal. Or to put it more crudely: if God is the destination, churches are the gas stations along the route. Then again, to some, God is the destination and churches are the bureaucratic city works department that erects roadblocks and sends you on frustrating detours that eventually force you to throw up your hands and say, “Oh, to hell with it; there’s got to be a better route.” As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once opined, people come to church in a spirit of hope and openness but leave as if they’ve staggered from a maze of mind-boggling bombast."

"Here’s the thing about prayer: It doesn’t require fancy words, or a theology degree. It doesn’t even require you to be articulate on any level. Sometimes my own prayers are so scrambled and banal that I wonder whether God thinks English is my second or third language. But therein lies the beauty of it. Vocal articulation is unnecessary. You can sit in silence and sputter out your thoughts telepathically."


10 x 10 categories:  nonfiction, nunnery, silence

2021 Writing Intentionally

 



Happy New Year!  It's that time of the year again in which I recommit to my writing life and set goals and intentions.  

"#25 Failing Better - There's no clear path, no road without potholes, toward a piece of writing that says exactly what you mean to say in language that's clear and fresh.  A couple of writers I know have a quote by Samuel Becket about failing better hanging over their desks. My personal favorite failure quote is by Thomas Edison. 'I didn't fail one thousand times. The light bulb was an invention with one thousand steps.' What we need to do is think of all our failed drafts as simple steps toward the final one, the one that works."  Year of Writing Dangerously


Last year I had the 'eyes are bigger than my stomach syndrome' and yes, failed better.  All the intentions I set went by the wayside except the big one.  I successfully revised about a third of my current WIP-RT and am happy with the direction the story is taking.  The revision has included adding new chapters as the story progresses, filing in plot holes, which has taken a lot more time than I expected. Hubby's been proofreading and providing feedback as I complete each chapter which has been an immense help.  I finally found my revision rhythm and  and I'm going to keep it simple and set a goal of one chapter a week.  I've estimated I have about 30 more chapters to redo so if all goes well, it will be done by July, maybe  mid august at the latest.  Fingers crossed. 

I've neglected my journal writing lately so want to get back in the habit of writing daily which is where my creativity also blooms and inspires snippets for short stories and poems and ideas.  I also want to do another round of A to Z poetry and keep better track of my thoughts and opinions for the books I read. 

Craft wise I have several books on my shelves I want to read which includes:

Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process edited by Joe Fossler
Architecture of Possibility: After innovative writing by Lance Olsen
Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Marie Rilke
Every Tool a Hammer: Life is what you make it by Adam Savage
Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova
Cafe on the Edge of the World - John Strelecky

Reading wise the plan is to only read the books on my nightstand so I have instituted a buying ban until at least April. The library and I parted ways many years ago since I like to reread my books and hate giving them up.  And I must resist all the Kindle Freebies as I've been reading way too many ebooks while I have an overabundance of physical books on the shelves, all calling my name.  Fortunately most of the books on my shelves work with my 52 Books annual challenges and my 10 x 10 challenge.  

I think my goal and word of the year will be simplicity and I'll keep it simple and not over complicate things. 

~Cheers to a wonderful new year! 


2020 Reading Round up

 


This year I read 111 books which included 10 Nonfiction and 101 fiction. My intent to read from my physical shelves went by the way side and I ended up reading  38 physical, while my Ipad and I were joined at the hip and read 70 Ebooks.  I did manage to listen to 3 audiobooks. I think my son and I also listened to 2 or 3 star wars books which I forgot to list. Statwise, 53 female, 15, and 25 were new to me authors.

I made progress this year with my Wheel of Time read by Robert Jordan and finished #11, 12, and 13.  Oh my gosh, # 13 Towers of Midnight brought so many answers and so many characters back together again and I’m looking forward to reading the last book soon.  It may have taken me a few years reading only one or two books a year, but it’s been worth it.  Great series.

I really enjoyed my 10 x 10 reads immersing myself in dragons, space operas, fantasy, and science fiction, delving into romance and mysteries as well as a few historical fiction reads.   

New to me authors and stories that blew me away this year with their unique worlds, interesting characters and intriguing story lines with themes of discrimination and classism, good versus evil,  mythology, and  cultural differences were:   

Alix Harrow: Ten Thousand Doors of January

Deborah Harkness: A Discovery of Witches

Kim Michelle Richardson:  Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek

Michelle Diener: Dark Horse - #1 - 4  Class 5

Samantha Shannon:  Priory of the Orange Tree

TJ Klune:   The House in the Cerulean Sea

All were entertaining as well as heartwarming

Which one made you giggle, weep, dance, or sing?  Book Woman of Troublesome Creek as well as The House in the Cerulean Sea made me weep.  A.J Jacob's It's All Relative made me laugh.  Two space opera series had all the feels:  Michelle Diener’s Class 5 space opera as well as Becky Chambers Wayfarers.

Made you want to dive in and live in their world?   The space operas definitely.   

Which book would you like to revisit?   Too many to list as I am a fast reader so sometimes I’ll speed through a story because I want to know what happened, then immediately reread at a much slower pace to take in all the details. Every Nora Roberts book written probably.  Also  Faith Hunter is one of my favorite authors and when Junkyard Cats came out in audio, I listened to it twice and was really pleased when the ebook was released which I also read twice. 

Which book would you recommend everyone read?  I fell in love with the characters in the  House in the Cerulean Sea.


Completed Books 


Nonfiction

  1. A.J. Jacobs:   It's All Relative - (352)
  2. Barbara Abercrombie:  Year  of Writing Dangerously  (410)
  3. Francine Prose:  Reading Like a Writer  (273)
  4. Hyeonseo Lee:  Girl with Seven Names  ( 322)
  5. Matthew McConaughey:  Greenlights  ( 304)
  6. Michael Card:    Luke  ( 272)
  7. Molly Manning:  When Books Went to War - ( 288)
  8. Ray Bradbury:   Zen and the Art of Writing - ( 176)
  9. Trevor Hudson:   Pauses for Lent - ( 64)
  10. Madeleine L'Engle:  Walking on Water - ( 224)

Fiction
  1. A Study of Silk - Emma Jane Holloway (#1 Baskerville Affair, Steampunk, e)
  2. Alix Harrow: Ten Thousand Doors of January - (Historical Fantasy, e)
  3. Amanda Lee:  Witchin USA - (#1 Moonstone Bay, Paranormal, e)
  4. Amanda Quick:  The Girl Who Knew Too Much - (#1 Burning Cove, Mystery, e)
  5. Amanda Stevens:  No Less Days - (Christian Fantasy, e)
  6. Amy Meyerson: The Bookshop of Yesterday (Mystery, 384)
  7. Anne Hackett:  Edge of Eon - (#1 Eon Warriors, space opera, e)
  8. Anne Hackett: Touch of Eon (#2, e)
  9. Anne Hackett:  Heart of Eon (#3, Sci fi Romance, e)
  10. Anne Hackett:  Kiss of Eon (#4, Sci Fi Romance, e)
  11. Anne Renwick:   The Silver Skull - (#2 EC, Steampunk, 492, e)
  12. Anne Renwick:  A Trace of Copper - (# Elemental Steampunk, e)
  13. Anne Renwick:  Golden Spider - (#1 Elemental Chronicle, Steampunk, e)
  14. Anne Renwick:  Iron Fin - (#3 EC, Steampunk, e)
  15. Banana Yoshimito:   Kitchen/Midnight Shadow - (LOF, Japan, e)
  16. Becky Chambers:  A Closed and Common Orbit - (#2 Wayfarer, SF, e)
  17. Becky Chambers:  The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet -  (#1 Wayfarers, SF, e)
  18. C.J. Archer:  Watchmaker's Daughter - (#1 Glass and Steel, Historical Fantasy, e)
  19. C.J. Darlington:  Thicker than Blood - (Mystery, 336)
  20. Cassandra Clare:  Clockwork Angel - (#1 Infernal Devices, Steampunk, e)
  21. Christine Feehan:  Judgement Road - (#1 Torpedo Ink, Thriller Romance, e)
  22. Cleo Coyle:  Brewed Awakening - (#18 Coffee House, Love and Mystery, e)
  23. David Baldacci:   Long Road to Mercy - (#1 Atlee Pine, Thriller, e)
  24. David Baldacci: The Innocent - (Thriller, e) 
  25. David Wingrove: Son of Heaven - (#1 Chung Kuo, Dystopian SF,  England/China, e) 
  26. Debbie Macomber: 12 Days of Christmas (Romance, e) 
  27. Deborah Crombie: A Share in Death - (#1 Kincaid/James, Mystery, LOF)
  28. Deborah Harkness:  Shadow of Night - (#2 All Souls, L and M, e)
  29. Deborah Harkness: A Discovery of Witches - (#1 All souls, L &M, e) 
  30. Deborah Harkness: The Book of Life - (#3 All souls, L & M, e)
  31. Diana Xarissa:  Aunt Bessie Assumes  (Mystery, e)
  32. Elizabeth Hunter:   Suddenly Psychic - (#1 Glimmer Lake, LOF  e)
  33. Faith Hunter:  Blood Cross - (Audiobook, fantasy)
  34. Faith Hunter:  Junkyard Cats - (Sci fi/Fantasy, e)
  35. Faith Hunter:  Spells for the Dead - (#5 Soulwood, Paranormal, 384)
  36. Faith Hunter: Cat O Nine Tales - (Jane Yellowrock, audiobook, fantasy)
  37. Fiona Quinn:  Survival Instinct - (#1 Cerebus Tactical, military romance, e)
  38. Fiona Quinn:  Weakest Lynx to Gulf Lynx  - (Lynx series, KU, e)
  39. Genevieve Cogman:  The Burning Page - (#3 Invisible Library, Dragons, 368)
  40. Greg Keyes:  Godzilla - (Audiobook, Sci Fi, dragons)
  41. Gwen Hunter:  Delayed Diagnosis - (#1 Rhea Lynch MD, Mystery, e)
  42. Ilona Andrews:  Iron and Magic - (#1 Iron Covenant, Fantasy, e)
  43. Ilona Andrews:  Silent Blade -  (World of Kinsman, Fantasy, e) 
  44. J.D. Robb:  Shadows in Death - (#51 In Death series, futuristic detective, 368) 
  45. J.D.Robb:  Golden in Death - (#50 In Death, futuristic suspense, 400)
  46. J.R. Ward:  The Jackal (BDBrotherhood Prison Camp #1, Paranormal Romance, e)
  47. J.R. Ward:  The Sinner - (#18 BDB, Fantasy, e)
  48. J.R. Ward: A Warm Heart in Winter (#18.5 BDB, Fantasy, e)
  49. J.R.R. Tolkien:  The Hobbit - (Dragons, 288) 
  50. James Rollins:  Last Odyssey - (#15 Sigma Force, mystery, 624)
  51. Jessie Mihalik: Polaris Rising  (#1 Consortium Rebellion, Space Opera, e)
  52. Jessie Mihalik: Aurora Blazing -  (#2 Space Opera,  e)
  53. Jessie Mihalik:  Chaos Reigning - (#3 space opera, e) 
  54. Julie Ann Walker - Ride the Tide (#3 Deep Six, Romance, e)
  55. Karen Robards:   The Fifth Doctrine - (#3 Guardians, thriller,  mood, 406) 
  56. Keri Arthur:  Unlit - (#1 Kingdoms of Earth and Air, Fantasy,  e) 
  57. Keri Arthur:  Cursed  - (#2 KoEaA, Fantasy, e)
  58. Keri Arthur: Burn - (#3 KoEaA, Fantasy, e)
  59. Kim Michelle Richardson: Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (Historical fiction 320) 
  60. Kylie Scott:  Stage Dive series (KU Romance, e)
  61. Lee Child:   Running Blind - (#4 Reacher, Thriller, 519, mood/dusty)
  62. Louise Penny:  All the Devils are Here  - (# 16 Armand Gamache Detective, 443)
  63. M.L. Buchman: At the Slightest Sound #1 Shadowforce psi, Military paranormal, e)
  64. M.L. Buchman:  At the Quietest Word (#2 Shadowforce, e)
  65. Mary Stewart:  The Crystal Cave - (# 1 Arthurian Saga, Historical Fantasy, 288)
  66. Menna Van Praag:  Patron of Lost Souls - (Romantic fantasy, 352)
  67. Mercedes Lackey: Arrows of the Queen (#1 Heralds of Valdemar, Fantasy, reread)
  68. Michelle Diener: Dark Horse - (#1 Class 5, SF, reread, e)
  69. Michelle Diener: Dark Deeds - (#2 Class 5, SF e) 
  70. Michelle Diener: Dark Minds  ( #3 Class 5, SF,  e)
  71. Michelle Diener: Dark Matters - (#4 Class 5, SF,  e)
  72. Miranda James:  Murder Past Due - (Mystery, e)
  73. Murphy Lawless:  Gladiator Cheetah - (KU, paranormal romance, e)
  74. Nalini Singh:  A Madness of Sunshine - (Thriller,  e)
  75. Nalini Singh: Alpha Night - (#4 Psychangeling/Trinity, Fantasy, e)
  76. Nalini Singh: Archangels Sun (#13 Guild Hunter, Paranormal Romance, e)
  77. Nora Roberts:   Northern Lights - (reread, Romance)
  78. Nora Roberts:  Hideaway - (Thriller, 464)
  79. Nora Roberts:  Night Shift to Night Shield - (Night tales romance series, e)
  80. Nora Roberts: The Awakening  (#1 Dragonheart legacy, 448) 
  81. Patricia Briggs:  Dead Heat (#4 Alpha and Omega, reread, fantasy,  e)
  82. Patricia Briggs:  Burn Bright - (#5 A and O reread, fantasy)
  83. Patricia Briggs:  Dragon Bones - (#1 Hurog Duology, Dragons, 304)
  84. Patricia Briggs:  Smoke Bitten - (#12 Mercy Thompson, Fantasy, 351)
  85. Rachel Hartman:  Seraphina - (#1 Dragons, e)
  86. Rachel Hartman:  Shadow Scale - (#2 Dragons, e)
  87. Rae Carson:  Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker - (SF, 272)
  88. Robert Jordan:   Knife of Dreams - (#11 WOT, Fantasy, 880)
  89. Robert Jordan / Brandon Sanderson:   Gathering Storm  (#12 WOT, 800) 
  90. Robert Jordan / Brandon Sanderson:  Towers of Midnight  (#13 WOT, 1264)
  91. Roxanne St. Claire:  Man's Best Friend - (Dogmother, Contemporary Romance, e)
  92. Samantha Shannon:  Priory of the Orange Tree (Fantasy, Dragons, e)
  93. Seanan McGuire:   A Killing Frost - (#14 October Daye, fantasy, e)
  94. Seanan McGuire: Rosemary and Rue (#1 October Daye, Reread, Urban Fantasy, e)
  95. Seanan McGuire:  The Unkindest Tide - (#13 October Daye, mood, e)
  96. Shona Husk:  Kiss of the Goblin Prince (Paranormal romance, e)
  97. Shona Husk: The Goblin King - (Paranormal romance, e)
  98. Steve Berry:  Venetian Betrayal - (#3 Cotton Malone, Thriller, 576) 
  99. T Hammond:   Blind Seduction (Team Red #1 - 6, e )
  100. Thea Harrison:  Dragon Bound - (#1 Elder Races, Dragons, e)
  101. TJ Klune:   The House in the Cerulean Sea -  (Fantasy, dragons, e) 

BW1: Happy New Year and cheers to another round of 52 Books


 

It's book week one in our 52 Books quest and I'm excited this year since our armchair travels are taking us around, over, and across the world again as we fly above the seven seas, through the infinite, clear blue sky on the good ship Pumdeg Dau o Lyfrau airship, for another round of read 52 books in 52 weeks.  We'll be taking advantage of Hermione Granger's Time Turner,  Well's Time machine as well as Doctor Who's Tardis, all without upsetting the space time continuum of course, in our travels to go hither, thither, and yon.  

I'm starting off the year in the 12th Century with the first book in Sharon Kay Penman's Plantagenet series - When Christ and His Saints Slept. 

Also the memoir - And Then There were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life by Jane Christmas which so far is humorous as well as enlightening. 

Plus Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process edited by Joe Fossler. A collection in which authors talk about the one book, book passage, one author, poet, etc who hit them the hardest or  affected their life.  Today's reading by Elizabeth Gilbert who writes in praise of stubborn gladness and introduced me to poet Jack Gilbert.

I like his quote:  "We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the stubborness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world."

Since it's become a BAW tradition to start off the year with Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore is also on my nightstand.

Also pulled out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to reread this month.