Best Books of June 2017

Whew! I got a lot of reading done in June. (And it’s about time!) I did so much reading, that I can’t narrow this post down to just one book. But, because I’m mentioning two does not let you off the hook for helping make the word “Books”, referred to in the title, plural. So, with no further ado, here’s my best books read in June:

Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette Kowal and The Golden Cross by Angela Elwell Hunt. Both are historical fiction, as were almost all the other books I read, besides the Harry Potter. Hmm, do you sense a theme here? The difference is, among many things, Valour and Vanity is historical fantasy set in Georgian era Europe (think Regency England and the Napoleonic wars of early 19th century), while The Golden Cross is straightforward historical fiction set in the 17th Century, on the Dutch colony on Java, Indonesia

Valour and Vanity by Mary Robinette KowalValour and Vanity: I love this series, The Glamourist Histories. In this novel, Jane and Vincent, official glamourists of the Prince Regent, head to Venice. On the way, their ship is waylaid by pirates. Although they reach Venice safely, they arrive penniless and are taken under the wing of wealthy gentleman who had been on board ship with them. But not all is as it seems… I could hardly put this book down as the plots twists and turns swiftly carried the tale in one direction and then abruptly in another. The cast of characters is fun and intriguing, as Jane and Vincent are befriended by the nuns of a local convent, a street entertainer, and Lord Byron! I can’t hardly wait to read the next book in the series. Expect to find it on my reading log soon.

The Golden Cross by Angela Elwell HuntThis second book in “The Heirs of Cahira O’Connor” series is, I think, my favorite of the series so far (although the first book, The Silver Sword was pretty awesome as well). The main character, Aidan, is a young woman gifted with great artistic ability who, through misfortune, finds herself a barmaid in a notorious harbor tavern. Feeling terrible shame at what she and her mother have become, she longs for a more respectable life. Finally she is given the chance to remake herself when a great artist takes her on as his student. However, many people want nothing more than to see her restored to the gutters from which she has escaped. This is a story of discovering ones gifts and value as a child of God. The threats to Aidan’s dreams and life get very intense, and I was glad to have had the time to gobble this book up in two days!

What about you? What book or books did you enjoy in June? Please, please, please use the comments section below to share. I’m always on the lookout for an great read.

Favorite E-Reads of the Month: June 2017

With the advent of blogs, I have slowly shifted my magazine reading to what I call E-reading. A perfect morning starts with a poor-man’s-mocha, a chapter of the Bible, and E-reading–reading posts from the blogs I follow. Many I read and then pin on my Pinterest boards, and some I read and delete. But this month it occurred to me: shouldn’t I share some of my favorites with you?

Hence…

Favorite E-Reads for the Month of June 2017

Here are links to the posts that really stuck with me this month:

  1. Is Self-Compassion More Important than Self-Esteem? by Stephen C. Hayes, Ph.D., on Psychology Today
  2. How to Cultivate More Self Compassion: Learning to be Kind to Yourself by Allison Abrams, LCSW-R, also on Psychology Today
  3. 10 Ways to Switch Up Your Sentences by Chris Winkle, on Mythcreants: Fantasy and Science Fiction for Storytellers
  4. Four Functions of Amazing Opening Lines, also by Chris Winkle, on Mythcreants: Fantasy and Science Fiction for Storytellers
  5. How Writing can Assist Sufferers of Mental Illness  by Cassandra Hawkings, on C.S. Lakin’s Live Write Thrive
  6. Worldbuilding Demystified by Becca Puglisi, on Writers Helping Writers
  7. 5 Ways to Use Meyers-Briggs for Characters by K.M. Weiland, on Helping Writers Become Authors
  8. What Exactly Does Facebook “Friend” Mean? The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly by Kristen Lamb, on Kristen Lamb: Author, Blogger, Social Media Jedi
  9. Heartened by Wonder Woman–The Case for Sincere Storytelling by Vaughn Roycroft, on Writer Unboxed
  10. Plot vs. Heart by Donald Maass,  on  Writer Unboxed

As you can see, they cover a range of topics.

The Self-Compassion articles really grabbed me because I am coming out of a “Debby can’t do anything right” period of thinking. It is a comforting topic, but moreover, it is also complements the Growth Mindset training which has been sweeping our school district for the past two years.

Mythcreants is my favorite blog for building fantasy writing skills. I love almost everything I read there.

Writer Unboxed has been a favorite general writing site for many years, and this month I was privileged to be able to hear Donald Maass teach on the same topic–getting more emotion into our fiction. He is an amazing teacher!

All these writers are amazing and enrich my life.

Happy Reading!

P.S. What is your favorite blog, or a favorite post you’ve read recently? Please use the comments space below to respond.

Best Books of February

best-books-logo

Initial Choice for Best Book of February

All through February, the book I had in mind for “Best Book of February” was The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips, a double mystery set in contemporary Oxford and 17th century London. However, on February 28, I finished reading Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel.

breakout-novelBest Book of February

Writing the Breakout Novel is a book I have heard recommended at more writing conferences than I can even remember to count. Finally, I have read it, and I understand the raves. This book is about the characteristics that move a novel beyond the mid-list into best seller territory. Maass describes each quality, gives examples, and provides practical advice for working it into your novel. The book is both inspiring and practical at the same time. I would recommend “Breakout Novel” to any novelist, and I know I’ll be reading more of Maass’ books.

Your Turn to Recommend a Book

So, I shared my favorite February read. Tell me, please, what was yours? It could be fiction, nonfiction…any genre. What book did you or maybe your children really enjoy? What book made a major impact on you? Please use the comment space to share the title, author’s name, and just a snippet about your book to whet your fellow readers’ appetites.

 

Best Books of January

What was Your Favorite Read During the Month of January?

Here we go, it’s the end of another month. So, what is the best book you read in January (either for yourself or with your child)? It could be fiction, nonfiction…any genre. What book did you really enjoy? Or, which one made a major impact on you?

Please use the comment space to share the title and author and to tell just a snippet about your book to whet our readers’ appetites. Is your child old enough to write? Invite him or her to write a recommendation for the blog.

The Kiss of DeceptionMy Reading Recommendation 

The book I would recommend from my January reading is The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I would recommend this novel for several reasons. First, like my own The Swallow’s Spring, its protagonist is a princess who does not want to marry as her parents have arranged for her to. Second, two of the secondary characters start out identified simply as “the prince” or “the assassin.” When these terms are used, you don’t know which male lead it is referring to. When these terms are not used, all you know are the male leads’ names. Therefore Pearson kept me wondering and hypothesizing about who is who. Third, it is one of only two books I finished reading this month. (The other was Thornspell by Helen Lowe–also a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy.)

Your Turn

What was the best book you read this month?