Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! I feel like every time I write one of these, I want to start with “it’s been a week” but that’s fully the truth. Good things from this week: getting a haircut, chocolate caramel oreo pie, Olympics figure skating, and nice weather for walks. Let’s get the weekend going with some book reviews in fifteen words or fewer!

I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro
Frank, funny, and touching discussion of sexuality, family history, and how we cope with illness.

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ishiguro’s perfect combination of a restrained narrator and emotional anguish, set against post-WWII Japan.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
A great sequel to Cinder; Scarlet’s voice captured me and I fully ship Scarlet/Wolf.

Writer Life Update – Agent News!

Exciting writer news to share! Over the last few months, I’ve been querying agents and looking for new representation. As I’m sure a lot of you know, querying is…a lot. It’s a lot of time trying to find agents who you think might like your stuff; a lot of time crafting your submissions and pitches; a lot of time waiting; a lot of rejection.

But. I have good news to share!

I’m now represented by the wonderful Laura Crockett at Triada US!!!

I’m so excited to be working with Laura. She’s super enthusiastic about my projects, has such a thoughtful approach to manuscripts and the market in general, and from our first conversation I got such a great vibe from her.

I need to put together a big post about my querying process soon, but I’m so happy that this news is now official. I’m psyched to be part of #TeamTriada and kick of 2018 with lots of new writing energy!

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! I’ve been having a very exciting week and am hoping to share some good writer news soon. In the meantime, let’s start the weekend off with a few book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Jane by April Lindner
A lot to like here, but never quite felt the Jane/Nico connection.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
It’s hard to image getting emotional over an advice column, but Strayed delivers the goods.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
Not convinced that running cures all, but a fascinating look at long-distance running.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! Even though it’s a short week, it’s felt really long, and I’m already kind of done with winter. (New England, I love you, but can we not with winter this year?) Fortunately, we’ve still got weekends, and we’ve still got book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Love the series overall, but this was the weakest link for me. Not enough tension?

The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper
Set at the edge of WWII, feels so important now. Make this a Masterpiece series!

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Kept nodding along with this. Now can we get rid of phone calls please?

2018 Bookish Resolutions

The other day I looked at how I did with my 2017 bookish resolutions,.Today, let’s look at bookish resolutions for 2018.

Reading Resolutions

  1. Finish more book series that I’ve already started: I KNOW, I always have this one on the list. I’ve got a couple of series that I definitely want to get through, or make progress on. I will couch this by saying that there are also some series I’m meh about that I don’t have to return to, so no guilt there.
  2. Read more diversely: another resolution from last year that I’d like to continue. Making conscious choices to fill my reading list with writers of different backgrounds was really valuable for me as a reader, and I hope to do even more of this in 2018.
  3. Set aside more time to read before bed: it’s way too easy to futz on my computer or phone and not have enough time to read in bed, which is the coziest. I need to start getting ready for bed earlier and make sure I have that good reading time.
  4. Read more nonfiction: I started this in 2017 by accident, and have enjoyed listening to nonfiction audiobooks more than I anticipated. I’d like to make this a specific goal in 2018, especially if it combines with “read more diversely.”
  5. Read more fiction for adults: outside of nonfiction 95% of my reading is YA/MG. I’d like to get a few more titles for grown-ups in there, because it’s probably good to know what the grown-ups are reading, too.

Writing Resolutions

  1. Revise my current WIP: I’m starting on some more revisions for a WIP I’ve been working on for a while and really like. I’m hoping to get it in a really good place for early 2018.
  2. Start a new WIP: it’s been a weird time for me writing-wise, and I’m not sure what I want to work on next. I want to get in a place where I’m confident and excited about a new project, and can throw myself into it.
  3. Find the fun: again, it’s been a weird time. I want to find the joy in writing and to remind myself that I like spending time with my characters.
  4. Get off social media more: as much as I love the internets and honestly do love the bookish people I’ve met through Twitter, I need to take more of a step back from social media. It’s not good for my writerly soul at this point. (Outside of that–I do want to blog more. I feel like 2017 left me thinking “how can I blog about books when the world is so messed up?” But the awfulness of the state of the world doesn’t mean we can’t also enjoy the things we love.)
  5. Separate writing from publishing: the real big one for me this year. when I first started this list, I thought of resolutions like “get an agent” or “get a book deal” before I realized that those were not writing goals, those were publishing goals. And ultimately, those are out of my control. I need to remember that the writing is not the publishing. The only thing I have control over is the writing, and that’s the thing I like. Who knows how the rest of this is going to go, but at least I can keep writing.

Sending you all good reading and writing vibes for 2018, too. Let’s make this a year of strength and creativity and care.

2017 Bookish Resolution Recap

I’m going to spend the entirety of January writing “2017” on things before remember it’s 2018, so it seems like a great time to look at my 2017 reading/writing resolutions and my progress (or lack thereof).

  1. Finish more book series I’ve started: I have this on the list every year and made some minor progress toward finishing some book series that I’d started. I completed the entirety of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, and the Tiffany Aching section of Discworld (a series that I’m already continuing into 2018).
  2. Read more diversely: I made a particular effort in 2017 to read authors of color and LGBTIQIA+ authors, which included some fantastic books.
  3. Listen to more audiobooks: I nailed this resolution! I ended up doing most of my reading via audiobook and am a major audiobook evangelical now.
  4. Explore more picture books: I didn’t do much on this end. Most of my reading comes from the library, and I feel a little weird scanning through the picture books without a particular purpose.
  5. Read more poetry: Yeah, didn’t do much on this end, either. I think I’ll be better off if I try to check out literary magazines for their poetry than devote myself to collections.
  6. Turn off the internet more: This ended up being more like ‘go to coffeeshops where you don’t know the wifi info’ than ‘turn off the internet more.’
  7. Write when I think I don’t have enough time: I did manage to sneak in some shorter writing time, and I think this is going to be especially helpful in 2018, when I have more non-writing job hours.
  8. Revise projects that aren’t finished: I revised a couple of projects and set another side for the time being. (I still like it, but it’s missing some major components and I just don’t know how to fix that yet.) I’m doing some additional revising on one of the projects now.
  9. Stretch my writing muscles: I didn’t end up being as stretchy as anticipated. For now I’m still solidly in the contemporary YA vein, which I like.
  10. Have fun: This one was probably the hardest goal, and one I’m still trying to manage. I’ve really questioned whether or not I can enjoy writing outside of publishing, and how I see myself as a writer without requiring other people externally validate that identity. But the writing itself–once I’m in it, it’s where I like to be. So it’s something I’ll need to keep addressing in 2018.

Did you make writerly/readerly resolutions in 2017? How did you do with them? Share in the comments, and be on the lookout for a future post about 2018 resolutions!

Friday Fifteen – Favorites from 2017

Happy Friday, guys! It’s also the last Friday of 2017, which feels like a great time to share fifteen of my favorite books from this year and why you should read them in fifteen words or fewer. I’ve done a lot of great reading, in large part thanks to audiobooks, and will spend 2018 recommending these books to pretty much everyone. (Most of these are not books published in 2017 because I’m way behind the times.) In no particular order:

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
A gut-punch of a book, and a necessary read about Soviet work camps in WWII.

George by Alex Gino
A sensitive, hopeful story about a transgender girl who proves she’s the perfect Charlotte.

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
A powerful and deep dive into the history of cancer, cancer research, and healing.

The Countdown Conspiracy by Katie Slivensky
I’m kinda biased but SO MANY FEELS! I love this STEM adventure. Also, RUBY LIVES!

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
I devoured this tale of family, courage, and how storytelling makes us who we are.

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
This stands in for all the Tiffany Aching books; funny, fierce and so friggin’ good.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
I. Loved. This. Book. Shetterly’s writing is fantastic, and these stories are so powerful.

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs
Sarah’s writing is so good, it made me tear up in a Panera. Beautiful, arresting.

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
My kind of middle grade–sensitive and sad and joyous and true.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
The whole series is great, but PS is my favorite. I’m still ship Lara Jean/John.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
The book I want to shove into people’s hands. Gorgeous writing, so many feels.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
My new fav contemporary YA romance–funny and sweet and sad and fun.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey
This Jane Eyre adaptation has stuck with me in ways I didn’t expect. Love Livesey.

The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper
Finally read and LOVED it. On the edge of WWII, feels very relevant right now.

Ana of California by Andi Teran
Stays true to the spirit of the original Anne of Green Gables, with contemporary spins.

What were your favorite books from 2017? (Bonus points if they’re available via library audibook borrowing services, just saying, it’s a great way to read.) Share them in the comments! And sending you all happy reading wishes for 2018.

Friday Fifteen

Happy Friday, guys! It’s been a while, but I’ve been working on site updates and I’m happy with how things are starting to shape up. I’m still tweaking (and trying to adjust things based on stuff I’ve been learning in my web design class), so let me know your thoughts on how things look so far.

Also, it seems like a great time to share some thoughts about what I’ve been reading, so let’s start the weekend with some book reviews in fifteen words or fewer.

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
Rhimes is a refreshing combination of confident and honest about her fears in this memoir.

Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake
Very A Summer Place. Love how Hadley and Sam respond to their respected flawed parents.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
Engaging take on why we’re haunted by ghost stories. More cultural study than horror.

Covers, Skates, and Dessert Pizza – Any Way You Slice It Cover Reveal!

When I was in middle school, I took skating lessons with my best friend and her brother. They were legit good skaters, whereas I was just happy to learn the basics, but I loved being at the rink with other skaters, trying out new skills and feeling a little magical as I swished over the ice.

So of course I’m super psyched to share the relaunched cover of Any Way You Slice It by Kristine Carlson Asselin, which not only features life at the rink, but also family struggles, a new crush, and yep, pizza. Plus the book has a gorgeous new cover, which I get to share with you:

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