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It’s Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon Tomorrow! And I’m more than ready!

Guys! I am so worn out mentally as I know many of you guys are too. I’m more than ready to take a day to do nothing other than read and eat snacks and have a better reason than ever to ignore my phone.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dewey’s it’s basically a day that we all take off to read as much as we can in 24 hours. No, you don’t have to read the whole 24 hours. You’re human after all. I for one, will still be sleeping tomorrow night. Sleep is an important part of my self-care. I lost too much sleep in my 20s to continue that craziness into my 30s.

I won’t talk in depth about the books I’m planning to read, because I’ll post here with updates/thoughts throughout the day tomorrow. If you’re wondering this is the stack I’ll be grabbing from. Yep, 3 of them are from BOTM. They’re not a sponsor or anything, but if you love books give them a looksee. I’ve found some of my favorite books so far this year in their selection.

My Dewey’s TBR Stack

This year I flip flopped between if I wanted to dig into multiple books or just start a really long one like I’ve done the last few times. I don’t have any massive books I’m currently in a hurry to read, so I stuck with grabbing some I’ve been meaning to read or reread for a while. The only one that is a reread is the top one. I last read it in 3rd grade.

Are you participating in the readathon tomorrow? If so, what’s your list?

What I’m Writing: Nothing. Just finished up a book.

What’s in editing: Nothing. Just finished one up.

What I’m Reading: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

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What This Writer Read in January 2021

Welcome to my January 2021 Reading Wrap Up Blog! Don’t worry – I know this is a lot of books, but I’ve still managed to get a lot of writing done on my WIP Guardians of Glitter Bomb (Book 5 of the Love by Glitter Bomb Series.) I’m at 27/39 chapters written. Barring any super long chapters like a few which came up last week I normally manage 3 chapters throughout the day from writing sessions. So, sometime this week I should be wrapping up the first draft and moving into polishing it up a bit before I send the guys off to play with my editor.

Now – onto what you really came here for. Yes, I read 20 books this month. Well, I read 14 and listened to 6 books this month. Though, since I count them for my GR challenge I’ll talk about them here too. This blog is just a short list of the books I read this month and what they’re about. I’ll be doing another post soon about my favorite books of January.

Stay by Catherine Ryan Hyde: A young man’s life changes as his brother returns from the Vietnam war with a drug habit and he begins caring for a hermit’s dogs.

This Close to Okay Leesa Cross-Smith: Woman saves man’s life by lying to him about not being a therapist. He lies about who he is. A doomed romance ensues wrapped in beautiful life altering moments. I received an early release of this book through the Book of the Month Books Box.

Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton: (Book 7 in the series) Anita Blake once again works with the police and ‘monsters’ to save the city from a boogeyman between balancing her supernatural love and sex lives.

My Name is Anton by Catherine Ryan Hyde: After losing his brother to suicide a young man aids an older woman in escaping domestic violence. In the meantime, they fall in love, but she still leaves. Years later they run into each other again and have a second chance romance.

Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks: Two high school sweethearts are brought together by the death of a mutual mentor. Reconnecting isn’t easy because the things standing between them have only grown and since this is a Nicholas Spark book, we all know not everyone gets out of his stories alive.

Elanor Oliphant is Just Fine by Gail Honeyman: A woman with CPTSD, Alcoholism, and maybe DID loses control of her life and the past and present blend together for her – even though she can’t remember the past. With the introduction of a new friend life starts to look up.

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch: A young man rapes his friends and makes excuses as to why he can’t be a rapist. I’m not one to usually say bad things about books – but this one left a horrible taste in my mouth. I would not recommend it.

Have You Seen Luis Velez? By Catherine Ryan Hyde: A young man stumbles onto a mysterious disappearance after his best friend moves away and he begins to help an elderly blind neighbor.

Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman: First in the series of The Walking Dead novels. It’s basically what you’d expect from TWD. Gore and humans sucking more than zombies.

Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton: (Book 8 in the series) In this one, Anita’s on again/off again werewolf boyfriend Richard is caught up in a lying scheme and falsely charged with ‘accused rape.’ She and some others make their way to Tennessee to rescue him and manage to piss off the local Master Vampire and the human police in the process.

Heretic’s Anonymous by Katie Henry: A high school kid who has spent most of his life moving around because of his dad’s job starts Catholic School as an atheist and makes some unlikely friends as he falls in love and figures out who he really is.

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll: This one a slow burn mystery/thriller where in a woman finds herself wrapped up with a young girl’s disappearance and under threat because whoever killed her believes she knows a lot more than she does.

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.: This is a stunning historical fiction novel that explores the beautiful and forbidden love story between two young men in the south. As slaves on a plantation dubbed “The Empty’ all hell breaks loose as everyone turns on each other. The writer does a beautiful (if haunting and heartbreaking) job of spinning the web of intricacies. I don’t think I’d ever have the words to do this one justice. This book was another one from the Book of the Month Box.

Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies by Hayley Nolan: This is an Anne Boleyn biography written by a mental health specialist and it’s like no other Tudor bio I’ve ever read before.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: If you don’t know what this one is about; we can’t be friends.

Pyotra and the Wolf by Elna Holst: This is a queer retelling of Peter and the Wolf.

Coming Clean by Kimmie Rae Miller: This is a memoir of growing up with hoarders for parents. It was heartbreaking and insightful.

Quiet by Susan Cain: This is about how introverts both struggle and fit into the world. It’s well written and well researched. I’d recommend this one to any introvert looking for validation that they’re not crazy and extroverts really do go out of their way without realizing it to drive us crazy.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier: After Mary Ellen’s mother dies, she goes to live with her aunt and uncle. One of whom is part of a notorious smuggling scheme. Gothic and gritty at heart this book is adventurous, mysterious, and a tad bit romantic all at once.

Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunter Handler: A young girl is determined to prove her brother did not take his own life.

How’s your 2021 reading year treating you? Any good books you read this month you wanna recommend?

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2021 Reading Goals: The Year of Talking About More Books

For the last few years I’ve tracked me reading on GoodReads. It took me a while to come around to the idea of counting books. Not because I was afraid my numbers wouldn’t be as high as I thought. Reading is reading and as we all know life kicks up the dust from time to time. I worried that tracking would make me more focused on the number than the books. Which wasn’t the case.

As you can see COVID19 assisted my reading in 2020.

My original goal for last year was 100. I thought it was ambitious and I only bumped it up to 100, because towards the end of 2019 I discovered that audiobooks worked really well for me while I cleaned the house or crocheted or played HearthStone (later on I’d play Stardew Valley while listening too). But eh… 2020 the year I really don’t want to talk except for the books and well the places I talked about books. Because that’s something else 2020 changed for me.

book lover images 26 (1)

Let’s get one thing out of the way – between CPTSD and introversion I’m pretty much a solitary being. I have friends – none that live close by where I live now, but I stay in touch with them a lot. I have a cousin I enjoy hanging out with – COVID19 took that away. COVID19 took a lot of things a way from a lot of people so I’m not going say more. What I will say is something lacked in my adult life – friends and acquaintances to discuss books with. There was a definite lack before 2020. I’m a writer! How did that happen? I honestly have no idea! Sure, I talked about the books I wrote and I talked about other LGBT+ romances with my readers at various times. But as my reading will show this year I’m a true Gemini and I need some variety in my life – and since books probably make up 80% of my life between writing and reading. I need a lot of it. I love reading, but to confine myself to one genre (I know there’s a lot of LGBT+ fiction out there that has nothing to do with romance) but I can’t just read romance. I digress, back to the subject.

Even before COVID19 lockdowns began I decided I needed to fix the lack of bookish friends in my life. I needed more people to talk about books with. I needed to make new connections and after 2019 I needed a place where I felt normal. For those of you who don’t know in 2019 I was physically assaulted by a family remember who I never thought would betray my trust. That was August 2019 (It feels like 3 lifetimes ago after 2020) and by January 2020 I knew something had to change. I was becoming a literal hermit after moving again and that wasn’t me.

So, where did I turn? A place I already sorta hung out to find penpals- Reddit. I know a lot of folks have a love/hate relationship with Reddit. I always say Reddit is a place where you mostly curate your experience by choosing the communities you participate in. Yeah, you’ll still see trolls – it’s the damn internet! For me, I found my ‘internet reading home’ on r/52book and r/bookclub.

r/52book is a sub-Reddit for folks participating in the 52 books a year challenge BUT they welcome everyone with a reading goal over there. I’ve found some really good books through talking to other users and I’ve even made a few friends along the way. They have a weekly check-in thread which I adore, because it doesn’t only give me a place to talk about what I’m reading, but to discuss those books and books others are reading. It’s part of my Sunday morning routine that I always look forward to.

r/bookclub is a sub-Reddit book club just like the name says. As much as I love r/52book – r/bookclub would be my real reading home. Sure, discussions are more limited to books that have been or are currently being read by the sub, but I’ve met so many wonderful people on that sub and I’ve even hosted a few reads. It’s given me a real sense of belonging and I really care about the community. I’ve read at least one of their picks every month since April 2020 (except for September when I moved). I’ve discovered books I’d never have read on my own and met some great folks along the way.

So, in the spirit of keeping the book conversation alive I thought along with my normal blogs (I’m hoping to get them up regularly again) I’d talk more here about what I am reading. I’ve not done this as much as I wanted in the past, because I always feel like someone will point out I read outside of ‘my genre’ so much that I’m not supporting it. Which is BS, but you know, anxiety is real even in writers. Maybe more so in some of us.

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So my goal for 2021 is to read 104 books. 2 books a week. I kept it lowish (compared to last year) because if 2019 and 2020 taught me anything it’s that you never what’s just around the bin and in recent years it’s mostly crap. Lots and lots of crap. When I reach 104 I’ll adjust accordingly to how much of the year is left. I’ve already read 13 books. So, I know I’ll be adjusting it at some point.

So what do I count for my goal?

I could sum this up and say anything on GoodReads, but for the sake of clarity:

  • Novels
  • Novellas
  • Short stories – if they’re published on their own and I read them in that format.
  • Books I write – yep, I read them so many times in editing/rewriting that I count them. My writing to reading ratio is low enough that I don’t think it makes that much of a difference.
  • Books I’ve written that I need to reread for the current book I’m writing at the time.
  • Audiobooks
  • Graphic novels (I didn’t read a single one in 2020, but in 2019 I read a few.)

This year I want to spend more time talking about books – not just because I love them and think everyone should read in one way or another, but because with all the horrible things going on (and will continue to go on I think even with a real president) I believe we’ll all need something positive to focus on. For me – that’s my friends, my cat, and my books.

I look forward to 2021 being a year of bookish conversations and hope you’ll all join me here as I read my way through another year. Stay safe and healthy out there!

Oh – and because it’s habit. Stay with Us is up for pre-order on Amazon.

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A Day Off from Writing: Random Rambles

Filled Drinking Glass

I woke up this morning and booted up my computer after some coffee and scrolling around Reddit. Then I realized I wasn’t working on a book today. That’s always a strange feeling to me. I decided yesterday to take today off. Seriously, editing and polishing the Crow King’s Heir and getting everything ready for its launch was tedious this time around.

Editing in the background of covid19 sucks. Covid19 suck altogether, but it’s definitely affected my concentration. The news is always calling to me and I’m terrified sometimes. Not knowing how this will end is difficult for all of us. I need a day off, but today’s challenge is not to spend it with the news.

I’m relieved that it’s live now. Everyone can read it and find out Micah’s fate and stop asking me. I hate to say it, but when everyone first asked I had no clue whether or not I was going to kill off the Hemlock Universe’s favorite drummer. I had a loose plan for the war, but not his fate exactly. Either way, his fate is sealed and life is what it is. I’ve heard from some of the speedreaders of my page (you ladies amaze me with how quickly you ate my book lol) and no one’s threatened to lynch me yet so I guess it’s okay. lol

Today I’m hoping to get some reading done. I’m 1/3 of the way through Stephen King’s The Outsider and really want to know what the heck is going on. King’s good that way. I was listening to the Institute on audio book when I decided Micah’s fate. The books have zero in common except the bad guys are assholes like most bad guys are, but he KILLED MY FAVORITE CHARACTER! It’s a King book. I expect this to happen, but he killed him! I won’t say who, because it’s a fairly new book and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. That sealed Micah’s fate one way or the other.

This year I’ve read a lot more than I usually do in the beginning of the year. My yearly goal is 100 this time around. I read 81 last year and 58 the year before. So, here’s to topping both of those. I’m at 33/100 so far. 10 books ahead. In my teens I read so much and in my early 20s too. Then life happened and I didn’t get to read as much. Now, I protect that time as self care because I really do feel better on the days I read.

I’m off here to go to the kitchen for more coffee. I’d love Starbucks right now, but I’m isolating for social distancing. I haven’t been out (besides the yard) since the 14th. I’m finding new and creative ways to enjoy my free time at home.

Stay safe and help flatten the curve.