2018 is off to a roaring start, n’est pas, mes chers? I’ve not been subtle about how much 2017 stunk for me, so I’m absolutely thrilled with the way January has unwound so far. I hope everyone else has had a good start, too!
The Monthly Book Haul
I ended up with quite a good haul this month – after a slow December on NetGalley, I ended up being granted 5 books. I timed my requests so that there’s nothing immediate, so reading them shouldn’t be a challenge (The Phantom Tree releases in August!).
I believe there’s a lot of little ones in this set… Blood Will Out gets some pretty bad reviews… so we’ll see how this all goes!
Also I managed to end up with two copies of Reign of the Fallen and Everless.
Clearly this is already a year for too many books… I don’t think I’ve ever fallen into the trap of having multiple copies of preorder books? I was gifted Reign of the Fallen at the beginning of the month after long ago giving up on it on NetGalley. I was still pleased as punch to get my pre-ordered copy, though!
As for Everless, well, I think at some point I figured out that would be the book in the Shelflove Box… then forget and ordered it on Amazon as well. Fortunately for me, I was able to trade one of the copies away on Twitter’s #BooksForTrade and got both The Raven Boys and Rebel of the Sands, so I feel like that worked out alright for me!
Everything I’ve Been Reading
I feel like I was a little under-ambitious with my Goodreads reading goal because, erm, I’ve already read 15 books. A couple more reviews will drop in the next few days, and Tess of the Road (so much love) will drop in February. I’m at a little bit of a slow down at the moment – I’m slugging through all my solo reads. But it was a great start!
Hands down, no questions asked Tess of the Road was my best read this month BUT since that doesn’t drop on the blog until next month… Reign of the Fallen was incredible. I absolutely and completely recommend it to everyone. Wintersong and The Rosie Project were also winners.
All I’ve Been Writing
My loves, I was quite proud of myself. I was doing well. Then, I realized (as always) that I was going nowhere and I needed a darn outline.
I swear, I write books all the wrong way. Whyyyy.
So I got to a beautiful 16k words and found myself staring at the screen and asking, “What’s the point of this scene?” I also realized that I have a character whom conceptually I like, but doesn’t really matter. On top of that, the setting seemed stiff. I do this sort of self-editing a lot, and I’ve run into a writing block like this with every book I’ve tried to write since 2014. I’ve got half-finished manuscripts of Green, The Story Collector, So I Married a Demon Hunter, and The Land of Dark and Broken Things.
I’ve stalled on four in a row, and I’ve never stalled before. So I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve always been a pantser, and that’s always worked out for me. There’s not reason why that should change, especially as I read more now and have more life experiences.
The one thing that’s changed is my prep work. While I was in high school and college, I did a lot of character work. I drew them, wrote short stories in their past… Fate had incredible intensive character profiles, and those characters are still my strongest.
I haven’t written even a minor character profile since I wrote Sparky Jones: Life on Shuffle. And the finished manuscripts I’ve written since then have been so forgettable, I actually have to crack open a copy to remember a character name….
So I’m stopping and writing character profiles for these guys. I finished Charlotte’s last week, and Mina’s is next. From there – Finn, Hailey, and Collin. Then I’m going to take some time to think through their adventure before doing anything else.
So far, I have an opening line I’m resisting writing: “Lighting flashed, illuminating the white card in Charlotte’s hand.”
Current goal is to have all prep work solidly done by the middle of April, and to take advantage of the cruise to write on my iPad.
All The Blog Things
Not a lot of new and exciting changes – I don’t think I’ve even updated old reviews this month! 🙂 I just to do a lot of busy work during downtime and lunch at work, but they’ve updated the firewalls so while I can get to WordPress, I can’t upload images, access GIFs, and the saving is inconsistent. Plus Goodreads is blocked.
All of which I understand. I’m there to work, not blog. It’s perfectly fair.
I’m on the Ace of Shades Shadow Gang!
One thing you’ll be seeing through mid-April is a Saturday feature on Ace of Shades. I was chosen to be on Amanda Foody’s Shadow Gang back at the beginning on the month. I am genuinely looking forward to this book and thrilled to be promoting it on Twitter and the blog.
I’m trying to think of substantial posts rather than just advertising, so I may skip a week here and there as I try to brainstorm. At this point, I’ve only read the first two chapters, so I’m working with limited content. But I really hope you enjoy the features!
If you’re interested in Ace of Shades, I recommend following the hashtag #AceofShades on Twitter…. I’m team #Irons but all three teams are putting gout some great content for this book!
I’m generally not one for a reading challenge, but I was over on That Artsy Reader Girl and saw this one and couldn’t resist. The challenge is to read 12 books by debut authors this year (and in January, you can read a 2017 debut). I’m really excited for this challenge and I have a handful of debuts preordered already. I read Wintersong for my January book (since Love, Hate, and Other Filters doesn’t count, as an ARC I read in December).
If this is a challenge you think you’d like, please join in!
At the end of the year, I also joined the Harry Potter Alliance’s Apparating Library Book Club. I’ll be jumping in with Feburary’s book (since I didn’t get my welcome email until last week! Haha.) with Simon Verses the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I’ve been seeing things about Love, Simon all over the place and it looks adorable, so I’m really looking forward to this book.
Real Life Adventures
There hasn’t been a lot going on in my personal life lately. There’s been a lot of drama at work again, which will either wind down soon or is just beginning – so we’ll see how that goes!
Otherwise, I had that gross flu at the beginning of the month that’s been going around, and it’s been cold and snowy, so Mattie and I have more or less just hanging out at home with the cats. Sounds good to me!
The one big exciting thing for us this month is we paid off the remaining balance on out transatlantic cruise in April. The cruise excursions for out France port of call dropped, so we signed up for a day in Paris. We’ll be on tours all day, which I chose because my husband is convinced nobody speaks English (*siiiiiiiiiiiiiigh*) and I’m not comfortable in cities, so a guided tour seems safest for our first visit, since we only have a day.
The one thing I regret is that we won’t be able to see the Paris catacombs, which I think are fascinating. I’m hoping that our busy day of tours will show my husband that we should return to France and further explore. Or maybe I’ll hate it and find it disappointing, which is more or less how I feel about NYC. We’ll see!
What’s Coming Next Month
I feel like we’ve had a strong start on the blog this year and have so much enjoyed talking to y’all in the comments. I hope you continue to like my posts and reviews!
Next month, I’ve so far scheduled fun bits like:
- A discussion on the storytelling in The Last Jedi.
- The review of Tess of the Road!
- Two book tags and an award (madness!).
- A couple Ace of Shades character studies (Levi Glaysier will make you SWOON).
- Beautiful Books Under Dust Jackets (rescheduled from last month – the prompts got moved around! 🙂 )
I haven’t pre-written most of February’s posts yet. It’s weird to have so many blanks spots on my schedule… despite wanting to cut down, I still ended up posting daily in January. We’ll see how February goes!
Are you planning on reading Ace of Shades?
What books did you haul this month?
Are you planning to read any debut authors this year?