Category: Let’s Discuss

Jul 19
Goodreads’ Mid-Year Book Lists. Let’s Discuss.

Goodreads’ Mid-Year Book Lists. Let’s Discuss.

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Annemieke over at A Dance with Books mentioned Goodreads’ mid-year book lists, and I thought it might be fun to do a quick post about them. The Best Books of the Year (So Far) Goodreads put together this list using a combination of popularity (on the most shelves) and rating. They listed a few books in each category: Fiction, Mystery & Thriller, Young Adult, Nonfiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. Not surprisingly, I haven’t read any books on any of the lists except Young Adult. BUT I was surprised to see that there are some other books on the list I’m actually interested in. Fiction: I’ll probably read Still Me at some point. I read and enjoyed Me Before You, but I never did get around to After You. I’d like to finish the series. Mystery & Thriller: I don’t read mysteries OR thrillers, so imagine my… Read more »


Jul 13
The WIFYR Workshop Experience

The WIFYR Workshop Experience

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Illustration Credit: Ginny Tilby I’ve had a couple of people ask about how the WIFYR workshop worked, so I thought I’d explain the process. This is the first workshop I’ve done, but from what I’ve heard from others, it’s pretty typical of the way writing workshops are run. (Though sometimes they might have a more specific genre or age range focus. And I’m sure there are some that are handled differently.) Preparation: There were 12 writers in my workshop. All of the novels submitted were either YA or MG. They could be any genre. (We had two MG blends of fantasy and contemporary—like mine, one MG fantasy, two YA historicals, two YA paranormals, two YA fantasies, a YA dystopian, a YA contemporary, and a YA retelling—which was actually a short story.) For this particular workshop, we exchanged the first 6000 words of our books (approximately 20 pages) for critique. (There were… Read more »


Jul 11
The Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag

The Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag

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I saw this tag first over at Read All the Things, but it’s been around for years and it’s making its way around the blogosphere! Best book you’ve read so far in 2018? Aru Shah and the End of Time is definitely my favorite MG I’ve read this year. This book has such gorgeous writing and the best MG voice I’ve ever read. It’s the kind of book that makes me wonderfully happy and weep in jealousy at the same time.  🙂 YA is harder, but I’m going with A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews. It’s really hard not to be biased here because it’s Cait, guys (and no matter how hard we try to check our biases at the door when we review, it can’t be done completely).  But I just loved this story. It broke my heart and featured Cait’s beautiful writing and it was just wonderful.   Best sequel you’ve… Read more »


Jun 29
Top 10 Writing Tips I Learned at WIFYR

Top 10 Writing Tips I Learned at WIFYR

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I took in a lot of fantastic writing advice at the WIFYR conference. I thought I’d share my some of the lessons I learned with all of you. All of these came from the breakout sessions or keynotes. I tried to keep these specific to writing advice rather than publishing/querying advice, but I’ll probably do another post with some great points that were made when it comes to querying! Top 10 Writing Tips I Learned at WIFYR Books are made in revision, and you can’t revise nothing. So write! This is a quote from Trent Reedy’s revision class and it’s pretty simple, but also really profound. So often we want to get things right the first time around, and we can be so focused on perfection that we don’t end up really accomplishing anything at all. You can’t revise what you don’t write! Trent also talked about the importance of having… Read more »


Jun 26
My Personal Connection to Pride Month, Some Recent LGBTQ+ Reads, and Integrating My Faith and LGBTQ+ Issues

My Personal Connection to Pride Month, Some Recent LGBTQ+ Reads, and Integrating My Faith and LGBTQ+ Issues

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Be forewarned, this post is going to be more personal than book-related (though I have some books at the end if you scroll down!). A lot of you have been around my blog since the beginning and you’ve gotten to know me a bit over these past five and a half years, so you know things have been going on in my personal life. Things I haven’t addressed directly, but I’ve alluded to over the past few years. Sometimes deciding how much to share of our personal lives on our blog can be a tricky issue. But I decided this week to dive in and just address things head-on since it was starting to feel a little disingenuous not to. Especially since I’ve talked about my kids on the blog for years, and those of you who are astute may have noticed that I’ve gone from talking about my son Jaden—to referring to my… Read more »


Jun 18
Some Changes Around Here: A Change to My Rating System

Some Changes Around Here: A Change to My Rating System

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Hey, everybody! I’m back from WIFYR, and it was an amazing experience. I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to be around other writers and soak in all that writing knowledge and experience. I’ll be writing a few posts down the line about what I learned, but first I just wanted to tell you all about some changes I’m making to the blog. Don’t worry, you’re not going to notice any HUGE differences. But this conference solidified something I’ve been thinking for quite a while: as an aspiring author, I need to shift my reviewing style slightly, and I will no longer be including negative reviews on my blog. I know some of my fellow bloggers will be instantly put off by this, and I get it. I do. Like I said, this is something I’ve been contemplating for quite some time, but I hadn’t pulled the trigger… Read more »


Jun 09
A Break in Our Regularly Scheduled Programming (& Reasons I’m Excited About WIFYR)

A Break in Our Regularly Scheduled Programming (& Reasons I’m Excited About WIFYR)

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I’m heading off to Utah very early tomorrow morning for the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers writing workshop! I’m not planning on updating the blog while I’m there (unless I’m feeling especially inspired) because I want to focus on the conference as much as I can. Things about WIFYR I’m looking forward to: Meeting Trent Reedy. Have you read Words in the Dust? If you haven’t you need to. Absolutely fabulous! I know I’m going to learn a lot from Trent! A week spent with other writers. These are my people! I can’t wait to talk writing with them. My critiques. I’m excited to get feedback from a whole group of people, and I’m hoping some of us will keep up the relationships after the conference. The conference sessions. In the mornings, our group will be critiquing, but in the afternoons, there are lots of break-out groups to choose… Read more »


May 17
Fun with SPAM! #4

Fun with SPAM! #4

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It’s time for a new installment of Fun with SPAM! Ah, the dreaded spam comments … we all know them well. Since that last SPAM post, I’ve been saving up all the good ones that make it through my filter. It doesn’t take long to collect quite a few, so I decided it was time to revisit one of my favorite goofy topics: SPAM. Once again, I decided to take a peek into the abyss of the Spam folder to find a few gems and imagine … what if I was really going to reply to these random crazy comments? Take a look at what I might say: Un manga est une bande dessinée japonaise. Yes. Thank you for that information. All my French readers should certainly be aware that “a manga is a Japanese comic.” I should have made this clearer for them. Good thing I have you around!  … Read more »


May 14
The Rain on Netflix: Danish or English? (Subbed or Dubbed?) Let’s Discuss.

The Rain on Netflix: Danish or English? (Subbed or Dubbed?) Let’s Discuss.

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I know this is off the topic of books, but I started to write about it in my Sunday Post, and it was really long, so I thought I’d just turn it into a non-bookish discussion. I’m allowed to have some of those, right? (Well, it’s my blog, so I’ve decided I am. 🙂 ) My Hulu wasn’t working for some reason, so I couldn’t watch Fear the Walking Dead while I worked out on Friday. Instead, I decided to try out a new show on Netflix: The Rain. I didn’t realize how foreign (to me) shows worked on Netflix, though. It took me a few minutes to realize that it was dubbed. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I watched the whole episode (and really enjoyed it—I think I’ll keep watching), and then I went and looked it up and found out that I could have switched it to subtitled… Read more »


May 11
My First Time Switching Between an Audiobook and a Print Book. Let’s Discuss!

My First Time Switching Between an Audiobook and a Print Book. Let’s Discuss!

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Have you ever tried switching back and forth between an audiobook and a “regular” book? I’ve noticed that Amazon offers the option to switch back and forth between a Kindle book and an audiobook (they often offer the audiobook at a discounted price), but I’ve never really considered trying it. Until recently. I put the audiobook of Alex, Approximately on my list of books to listen to from the library and then promptly forgot and purchased it from The Book Outlet. (Go figure.) I decided to give the book a listen a week or two ago and listened to it while I was in the car. I was enjoying the story and the narration was great. Wished I didn’t have to park the car and get on with my day. That night when I headed upstairs to bed, I caught sight of the book in my bookcase and thought, Why not? It… Read more »