February 2018 Reading Stack

Today is the first day of February, and I thought I would try something new: planning out my reading for the upcoming month. I still haven’t finished a couple books I began in January, Do Not Say We Have Nothing and A Torch Against The Night, both of which I hope to finish this weekend. IMG_5251

Then, since I’ve decided that 2018 is my year of “finishing/reading trilogies” I’m finally going to read Library of Souls. I need to read Deep Work by Cal Newport this month as well, as I prepare for my four months of full-time writing (I can’t wait!). Scarlet, the second book of the Lunar Chronicles is on my list for near the end of the month, and then, in the hopes that I still have time, I’m planning to read Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal as it has been on my shelf forever.

What are you planning on reading this month?

JEH

January Round-up: Reading, Writing, and Beyond

The first month of 2018 has been a bit up and down for me. I got five books marked off my Goodreads goal (albeit, one was read mostly in 2017). I’m a good 60% through another couple books which I hope to finish the weekend, including A Torch Against The Night, which I’m loving.

This month has been rather cold. There was one warm week, which I enjoyed immensely, but currently we’re back into the deep freeze-most definitely not my favorite part of the year and already I can’t wait for spring. I did take a quick vacation get-away at the end of the month, and spent a day at the enormous World Water Park pretending that I was in Mexico. Ah, if only I had actually been in Mexico just like last year. Well, there is always next year.

January was a terrible month for writing (I blame this on the cold, since all I want to do is sleep and read). I plan on picking that up next month, and finally get somewhere with The Circlet and The Chain (Artifacts of Avalum Books 2 and 3). Tomorrow, I’m going to post my planned February reading list, and I’ll have a few more quick reviews in the coming weeks too. What have you been reading lately?

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JEH

What I’m Reading: Breathe The Well-being Special

Today I thought I’d write about reading something different. Obviously I read a lot of Young Adult Fiction and fantasy, but I also read short stories, poetry, literary fiction, general fiction, science fiction, romance, mystery, horror, children’s books, you name it, and I will read it! Recently, I saw this issue of Breathe in the store and purchased it. I love it. The best part is that it’s a magazine with no advertisements (the drawback to that being that it was really expensive). BUT, I love it. It’s the kind of magazine that I’ll keep like a book.

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Sometimes it’s just nice to read something unexpected. To read something that is unlike all the other things you’ve read lately. That’s why I occasionally pick up a murder mystery, or an issue of National Geographic. I love reading, but to keep it fresh, I need to read outside of my box of favourites.

What have you read lately that’s been a different fit for you? Did you like it?

JEH

What I’m Reading: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Young Adult Book Review: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Sometimes the problem with borrow e-books (or audiobooks) from the library is that they expire and if I haven’t read them fast enough then I need to go on the wait list to borrow them again. This happened with Their Fractured Light.

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Their Fractured Light is the third and final Starbound novel. I was pleasantly surprised by the first book in the series, but was a bit disappointed to find that each book in this series has two different main characters. Their Fractured Light follows Sophia and The Knave on their fight to save the galaxy. While the story does intersect with the characters from the first two books, this story is mostly about Sophia and the Knave.

All in all, the book was solid. I liked the experience of seeing a new world, getting to know a different piece of this galaxy, but I didn’t like the characters quite as much as I did in the first two books, probably making Their Fractured Light my least favourite book in Starbound. Still a solid read and enjoyable book. I plan to one day read more books by Amie Kaufman and Meaghan Spooner, especially Unearthed, which was just released this month.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Young Adult Book Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy is the second book in the Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu. This book has a fairly high rating on Goodreads, and I have some friends that just love this series. I think the books are okay, but I don’t seem to find them as engaging as some people.

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Prodigy once again follows June and Day as they struggle against the government. I think my main reason for disengagement with this story is the lack of detail. I feel more confused about the world it is set in than knowledgeable. I like the story, I like June’s character (more so than Day’s), but I’m sad to say that I just don’t love it. This book is a bit along the lines of The Hunger Games and An Ember in The Ashes, both of which I love. So maybe Prodigy just has too much competition. Still, it is a good read, especially if you are a die-hard fan of dystopian young adult books.

3.5/5 Stars (rounded up to 4 on Goodreads)

JEH

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