What I’m Reading: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Young Adult Book Review: Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

I picked up Anna and the Swallow Man from my local library on audiobook when I was browsing for a new listen. The story is about Anna, a young girl orphaned during the second World War, and her subsequent journey through Poland. I loved this book. The audiobook was only five hours long, but excellently narrated. The touch of fantasy in the novel was just right, and all of the characters were well developed.

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Books about the great wars can be depressing, this is heavy stuff, but it’s something I think is important to know about so that it never happens again. My heart ached for Anna through most of this book, but the narrative gave me cause to hope. The prose was lyrical, and the language delightful, I found it very easy to fall into this book and to keep listening.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Young Adult Book Review: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

I’ve mentioned this book before. It was one of the books I listed in My 2017 Reading Roundup but it’s taken me a long time to get around to posting my review of it. And of course the gorgeous picture.

I actually own a hardcopy of this book, but it is on loan to a close friend of mine at the moment. I really liked this book, and as my friend also loves Star Wars, I knew she would enjoy reading reading. So, what’s it about?

Lost Stars is a loose, young adult romance, Science Fiction, of course, since it’s set in the Star Wars universe. The most interesting thing about this book was the timeline, it takes place over the timeline of the original trilogy. Of course, the basic premise is that one of the characters ends up on the rebels side, and the other on the side of the empire. This was a great idea for a romantic novel, and I loved the behind the scenes look at the Death Star.

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Claudia Gray is a great writer. So the book had an excellent pace and two strong lead characters. It kept me reading, which can be a challenge for a romance, since most of the time you know where the story is going.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

4.5/5 Stars

JEH

The Torc Paperback Edition Now Here!

I haven’t received by proof copies yet, but I’ve added the paperback edition of The Torc: Artifacts of Avalum Book 1 to Amazon.com, so now you can choose between Kindle Edition, or real, concrete paper. Here’s a preview of the full cover spread. I decided to keep it fairly simple, as I just love the art work, which was once again done by Leah Keeler.

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I’m currently working on rewrites of The Circlet: Artifacts of Avalum Book 2, for which I have the cover. I can’t wait to share it with you soon.

JEH

Weekly Writing Prompt

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a prompt. I’ve gone back and forth about continuing, but I’ve finally come to conclusion that I like sharing prompts. I like taking pictures and using them to spark imagination. So, that said, here’s the first prompt of 2018:

Write a page about two characters who meet at this place. Something is about to end. Why did they choose this place? How to they feel?

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A Writer’s Plans for 2018

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a great New Year, and maybe found a bit of time for reading, much like I did. I’m glad that 2018 is here. The end of 2017 found me distracted and blue, and I’m ready for a new start. After a busy 2017 releasing Under Jupiter and The Torc, and drafting The Circlet, it is time for a new plan for 2018.

In 2018, I do plan to finish the Artifacts of Avalum Series, with Books 2 and 3 releasing in Sprint and Winter (most likely). But mostly my writing life will be shifting focus because I got a writing grant!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This grant will allow me to take four months off from my day job to focus entirely on writing. For the grant, which I’ve received from the Saskatchewan Arts’ Board (thank you Arts’ Board!), I will be working on a very specific project, namely some literary short stories. This is very different writing that what I normally post about here, but I love it just as much. (If you want a sample of this work, you can find a free story here, at Broken Pencil Magazine, but again, it is very different than the genre fiction I write).

I’m very excited to have dedicated time that is all mine to explore some themes I’ve been pondering for a few years. I start my ‘writing job’ March 1st, and I plan on spending the first couple months of 2018 planning how I will structure my days. I imagine they will involve lots of tea, coffee, and pretty notebooks (and a lot of hard work).

In reading, I set my Goodreads goal yesterday for 53 books in 2018. This is less than the 62 I read in 2017, and for that there are two reasons: 1. I hope to be spending a lot of time writing and rewriting, and 2. I hope to read some longer books. I’ve found over the past year that when I have a goal for reading a lot of books, I tend to choose quicker reads. This means that a lot of books I’ve purchased in the past have been sitting on my shelves for years. (CONFESSION: last year I had 67 books I hadn’t read yet on my upstairs shelves, I now have over 100!!!!). It is definitely time to do some catching up, so I WILL NOT be purchasing new books (probably… well…. maybe… okay, maybe I should be reasonable and say I will not purchase more than 5 new books this year – I hope instead to do some book trading at my local used book store).

So, with piles and piles of books waiting to be read, and a day job to get back to (for the moment), I will once again say Happy New Year, and all the best in 2018. Do you have any big plans you would like to share?

JEH

My 2017 Reading Roundup

Today is the last day of the year! That means it’s time to take a look at how I’ve done over the past year, and to look at my plans for next year.

I set my Goodreads goal to 60 books for 2017, and reached that goal last week. I’m currently sitting sitting at 62 books finished, and may finish the gigantic Oathbringer before the end of the night (my New Year’s Eve plans consist of dinner with wonderful friends and their families, and coming home early to read), which would put me at 63 books!

My most favourite read of the year was The Girl Who Drank The Moon. I seriously love this book. One of my all time favourites.

My second favourite read was An Ember in The Ashes. I’m hoping to start A Torch Against The Night, and to finish this series when the final book is released in 2018.

My third favourite read was Lost Stars. This book, set in the Star Wars universe really surprised me. But it’s also stuck with me, and I’m actually kind of hoping Disney turns this one into a movie. And no, I never did get around to posting about this book, and this is the only picture I took of this read.

I am, of course, loving Oathbringer, but as I have 75 pages left, it wouldn’t quite be fair to place it in my list of favourites yet, though I’m sure it would be.

My favourite cover and book picture was of Jane Eyre. I also loved my day trip out to Crooked Bush, and just had to share this picture again.

What were your favorite reads of 2017?

Tomorrow I’ll update on my goals and plans for 2018. Happy New Year everyone!

JEH