October Reading Journal Set-up

Spooky season is here and my reading journal is ready!

I tried to add all the witchy small-town romance books that I could find to my TBR this month. Here’s what I ‘ve got so far:

  • Boss Witch by Ann Aguirre — I read the first book in this series last year. I don’t remember much about it, but this book was available at the library, so I decided to give it a try.
  • The Ex-Hex by Erin Sterling — I’ve had this on my Kindle for a while now, so I’m bumping it to the top of my spooky season TBR.
  • Witchful Thinking by Celestine Martin — This is a new release that I managed to get from the library!
  • The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna — Another new release, but this one is still on hold at the library. We’ll see if I get it in time to read this month, or if I have to wait…

I’ve also added one non-romance book with bone magic to my TBR (The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst). Plus one dark academia book (Babel by R. F. Kuang). I may also add The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik, but it depends on whether or not I get it from the library in time to read this month.

There are a few other (non-spooky) books I’m hoping to read this month as well. I mentioned the others in my reading journal set-up video, if you’re curious. But I have a feeling I won’t be able to get to them all.

If you have more witchy small town romance books that you think I should check out, definitely let me know in the comments. Those are my favorite fall reads.

September Reading Journal (#Bookoplathon) Set-Up

As you may have guessed from the title of this post, I found another readathon to participate in during the month of September! This one was created by Becca and the Books, and it’s based on the game Monopoly. Be sure to check out her video for the full description of the game board and rules and whatnot. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

It sounds like there are two ways to play the game. Either you can pre-roll your entire TBR to select however many books you think you will read in September. Or you can roll as you go.

I’m going with the roll as you go option. If you want to see my board set-up and find out what my first book is going to be, check out my reading journal set-up video.

I mostly chose the “roll as you go” option because I am not sure how much reading I’ll be able to get done this month. I have had two really excellent reading months in a row, so I feel like I may be overdue for a slump. I really hope that doesn’t happen, but it’s possible.

Also, I am trying to finish up edits on my new writing project so that I can send it to beta readers before the end of September. So I’m not going to have as much time for reading, and I’m probably going to focus on reading outside the genre I’m writing in while I finish edits. That means digging into the fast-paced contemporary, historical, and mystery options on my TBR.

Now that I’ve mentioned my writing project, I suppose I should also mention that, if you want to be a beta reader (aka someone who reads an early draft of the book and provides feedback on character, plot, and world-building), please sign up for my monthly newsletter, because that’s where I’m going to be giving folks all the info about beta reading and ARC opportunities for Heir of Gods (the first book in my new series).

Because I’m “rolling as I go” for this readathon, I am planning on doing more frequent reading updates this month. Kind of like back when I used to do the weekly “Inbox / Outbox” posts. Whenever I finish reading a book, I’m planning to do a quick video of my next roll and book selection. I’ll probably post them as reels on Instagram, but I’ll also post a quick “Just finished… / Now reading…” post here on the blog as well. So that should be fun!

Are you playing Bookopoly this month and participating in Bookoplathon? Let me know in the comments if you pre-picked your TBR or if you’re rolling as you go.

August Reading Journal Set-Up and Orilium Readathon TBR

It’s time! The Orilium Readathon is back in August for the Autumn Equinox session, which means my August reading journal set-up got done early this month!

If you want the full flip through and discussion of which books ended up on my TBR and why, check out the video linked below.

If you don’t want to watch the video, here’s a sample of what one of my TBR pages looks like:

Originally, I’d planned to finish the rest of the Hugo finalists for best novel and best novella in July and August. Last month, I mentioned that I was going to try to get through some of the novellas in July. However, once I remembered that the Autumn Equinox edition of the Orilium Readathon was coming, I thought it might be better to focus on the best novel finalists and save the novellas for the readathon. I just hoped that I could make them match up with the prompts I needed to complete in order to achieve my Story Weaver calling.

I have six levels across three courses that I need to complete in order to achieve Story Weaver, and I have five novellas and one novel I need to read to complete my Hugo finalist project. I managed to do a pretty good job getting the two aligned, but I did have to add a few non-finalist books to make it work. I think I’ll be able to fit the other two in under one of the readathon quests.

Here’s what I have planned:

  • Inscription
    • O Level: Read a childhood favorite –> An Acceptable Time by Madeline L’Engle — This was the first book that came to mind when I read this prompt. I debated using this one for the time travel prompt, but I don’t want to do two re-reads in a month when I have a lot of other new-to-me books I want to get through.
  • Lore
    • O Level: Book with colors similar to my country’s flag –> A Spindle Splintered by Alix Harrow — This is one of the books I need to read for my Hugo finalist project, and it happened to have red, white, and blue on the cover. So I’m using it for this prompt.
    • Q Level: Story featuring betrayal –> Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire — This is another Hugo finalist that I wanted to get onto my TBR this month. I am going off the synopsis for this one, which made it sound like there was a friend betrayal as part of the setup for this story. If I’m wrong, oh well, I need to read it anyway, and I’ll pick something else that better fits this prompt.
    • D Level: Book with a desert setting –> Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri — I have been meaning to read this book for a while. So, when none of the Hugo finalists looked like they’d work for this prompt, I decided to go with this option. I’m pretty confident that I will enjoy it. The only risk is that it will make me want to immediately read the second book, and I don’t have that one on my Kindle (yet).
  • Psionics & Divination
    • O Level: Story featuring time travel –> Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield — None of the Hugo finalists fit this prompt, and I really REALLY struggled to find something I wanted to read that did fit. I am really picky about time travel books. In general, I don’t like them. The ones I can think of that I like are all more multiverse than time travel (except for An Acceptable Time, oh the irony). I did some browsing and found a few books that I might like to read, but this was the only one that was both short and available at my library. It was not my top choice (that was Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel), but I’m putting my trust in the magic of the Tor.com novella. They haven’t failed me yet. Let’s hope that trend continues.
    • D Level: Book with the same word in title as your last read –> The Past is Red by Catherynne M. Valente — This one is going to be mostly about timing. In order for this book to work (which I need to read for my Hugo finalist project), I need to read it directly after Across the Green Grass Fields. Yes, I’m using “the” as my same word.

There are also quests that you can get points for in this readathon. I talk about my plans for those more in my set-up video. Based on the first set of open-to-everyone quest prompts, I think I should be able to get points for most, if not all, of the other Hugo finalist books I want to read this month, AND earn some extra points for the Mind Walker guild.

Let me know in the comments if you’re participating in the Orilium Readathon in August and what’s on your TBR.

July reading journal set-up

My July reading journal set up video is posted on YouTube! If you want the flip through, the video is linked below.

Because this is going up so late in the month, and I neglected to film the final July cover page and outbox spreads until today (!), I end up revealing the first two books I read this month at the end of the video. Just skip that part if you don’t want spoilers for my end of month wrap-up. But really, does anyone care about spoilers for a reading wrap up? I can’t imagine that’s an actual thing.

If you don’t want to watch the video or if you just want the non-spoiler version of my July cover page and don’t care about my Hugo nominee spread or the weird little TBR pockets I made, here’s a photo for you.

While I didn’t really mention any specific reading plans in the video, I did mention my plan to read the Hugo nominees for best novel and best novella. I also showed how I’m going to track and rank them. I just never said when I planned to read them.

I don’t plan to fill my entire TBR with Hugo nominees this month, but I do want to make a large dent in that reading list before August.

Roughly, these are my reading goals for July:

  • Don’t waste time on books that are bogging me down! If I feel like I *have* to finish them for some reason (like the Hugo nominees), then set a daily page count target and alternate with something fun and fast paced at the same time.
  • Finish reading Project Hail Mary and A Master of Djinn since I’ve already started reading both.
  • Read In An Absent Dream and Come Tumbling Down so I can get caught up on the Wayward Children novellas. (The one that comes after these is on my Hugo nominee for best novella reading list.)
  • Start working through the nominees for best novella, starting with the shortest one (Fireheart Tiger) and moving through them in order of shortest to longest (Across the Green Grass Fields).

It’s an ambitious reading plan, but I think I can work through the novellas pretty quickly, and I like quick wins.

If I can manage to check off all my goals this month, then I’ll only have two best novel nominees left to read in August. One of those is kind of intimidating, but it is the novel I think I will end up liking best of the bunch. The other is one I definitely expect is going to drag for me (given how I’ve felt about other books I’ve read by that author). So the more I can read this month, the better.

That said, the priority for the month is that first goal. I want to be immersed and enjoying what I’m reading as much as possible. The theme for the month is beach vibes after all!

What are your reading goals for July and/or the second half of this year?

Reading the 2022 Hugo Nominees

It’s that time of year again!

I missed my opportunity to read the Nebula nominees before the Nebula award ceremony because I was busy writing and editing, but I’m planning on taking a bit of a summer break before diving into writing and editing my next series. So, I’m setting myself a little summer reading project.

It’s time to read the 2022 Hugo Award nominees!

I’ve done this for the last couple of years because I was signed up to participate in the conference and vote. However, this year I’m just going to do it for fun. I’m also motivated by the fact that all the books look fantastic, and most were on my TBR anyway.

The Hugo Award nominees for best novel and best novella

The books nominated for best novel are:

The books nominated for best novella are:

I guess this means I’m going to have to make a Hugo TBR spread for my reading journal, huh? I’ll be sure to add that to my July reading journal set-up.

Predictions

Just for fun, I’m going to make a couple of predictions about which book in each category will be my favorite before I’ve read them all. Then I’m going to make an initial guess at which one will win each category. Once I’m done reading them all (or at the very least, before the ceremony on 4 September), I’ll post an update.

I’ve already read two of the nominees for best novel (Light From Uncommon Stars and A Desolation Called Peace). Both were really good, and I liked them a lot! I started Project Hail Mary and abandoned it because I just wasn’t in the mood for that particular narrative voice at the time. And I’m currently reading A Master of Djinn and enjoying it. So there are only two here that I don’t really have a sense for (She Who Became the Sun and The Galaxy and the Ground Within).

My prediction is that my favorite of the best novel nominees is going to be She Who Became the Sun. Even though it’s one of the two I haven’t read/started, I just have a feeling based on the synopsis and the little bit of buzz I’ve heard that this one has strong potential to be my favorite of the bunch. Plus the blurb reminded me a lot of The Tiger’s Daughter, which was a book I really liked.

The novella category is a bit more of an open field for me because I’ve only read A Psalm for the Wild-Built. The two I’m most excited about reading based on the blurbs are A Spindle Splintered and Fireheart Tiger. If I have to pick one, I’d guess that I’m going to like Fireheart Tiger the best of the bunch, but we shall see…

Regardless of what I like best, as of right now I think Project Hail Mary will win best novel and A Psalm for the Wild-Built will win best novella. I’m basing this mostly on their current Goodreads ratings (4.52 and 4.28 averages respectively). We’ll see if I change my mind on this after I’m done reading.

I’m curious, which of these do you think I’m going to like best? Which were your favorites and/or which ones do you think will win?

That’s what she said…

Since it’s “Teaser Tuesday” today, how about a snippet from chapter four of Ash of the Fae, book five in my Modern Fae series?

This is one of my favorite bits! Here’s the quote from the image:

I sighed. “That’s never going to work. Fun always gets complicated. You were right the first time. Best to lay down the ground rules now and then stick to them.”

“Okay, but I’m still voting for fun. It’s not like I am going to get to find out what it’s like to make out with a ripped Fae who can turn into a dragon. I need to live vicariously.” Angie tugged on the handle of my suitcase as she resumed walking.

I laughed. “You suck.”

“That’s what she said,” Angie called back to me in a low voice.

Ash of the Fae by E. Menozzi

If you’ve read book four (Hunter of the Fae), then you are already familiar with Angie and her love of “that’s what she said” jokes. And if you haven’t met Angie, yet, there’s still time to catch up before Ash of the Fae‘s release, later this month!

Angie is Eve’s best friend. She’s the main character in book four in the series, but she also appears briefly in book one, and again in Eve the Immortal, the Eve of the Fae epilogue novella. Hannah and Ved (aka, Ash) are the main characters in book five.

In this snippet, Angie is talking to Hannah about the Dragon Fae who has just been assigned as Hannah’s bodyguard. Hannah is determined not to hook up with him, regardless of how hot he is, and despite the fact that there’s only one bed at the weekend party he’s attending as her fake boyfriend. (Good luck with that, Hannah. Bwahahaha…)

This was seriously one of my favorite books to write. I can’t wait for you all to read it! And it will be on shelves in just TWO WEEKS! Eeeeek! I am so excited!

In the meantime, if you want to check out the first chapter, you can do that here.

Okay. Now I need to get back to editing Petals and Runes. While I’m working, let me know which June new releases your excited about picking up this month!

June reading journal set-up

My June reading journal set-up is live!

Below is the link to the full video on YouTube…

In the video I mention the four books that are on my TBR for June. They are:

  • Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon — my current in-progress read
  • Intuitive Editing by Tiffany Yates Martin — a writing craft book to help me with my current project (which I promise I’ll talk more about in a future post)
  • A Dance With the Fae Prince by Elise Kova — my pick for International Fairy Day on 24 June
  • How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole — a book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time that keeps getting put off

I also mentioned that there are a whole bunch more that are at the top of my TBR, I just didn’t have the covers printed out. So I didn’t add them to the pocket. One of those is the book that I’m planning to start this weekend: A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark.

The SFWA Nebula Conference was a couple weeks ago, and I was reminded again how much I’ve been looking forward to this book after reading the novella set in the same world (The Haunting of Tram Car 015). They’re basically mystery novels set in a sort of steampunk alternate Cairo. I really loved the novella and can’t wait to read the novel.

So that’s my plan. Now it’s your turn. What are you reading this weekend? What’s on your TBR for June?

May Reading Journal Set-Up

Is it nearly the middle of May already? Yes. Yes, it is.

Did I just finish editing and posting my May reading journal set-up video? Also, yes.

Better late than never, right?

Here’s the video if you want to check it out:

It’s short (less than four minutes)…

Since the video was late (and really short) this month, I’m adding an in-progress photo. This is the book stack list of books I’ve read this month, plus what’s currently in my TBR pocket.

So far, I’ve read three books: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake, and Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn. I really enjoyed them all. This month’s reading is off to an excellent start!

After those I started two different sci-fi books.

The first is the companion novel in a YA space academy duology (Supernova by Kass Morgan). I picked up the first book a while back because “space fleet academy” is one of my favorite tropes and Kass Morgan wrote The 100 (which I never read but did watch and enjoy as a television series…at least for the first few seasons).

The other sci-fi book I’m reading is book three in an adult space opera adventure (Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon). The first two books were really good, and so far, I’m really enjoying book three.

How about you? What are you reading this month?

April #MagicalReadathon and #TomeTopple TBR

April why do you have to be so full of events I want to participate in? The first few days of this month (and the last few of last month) have already been so jam packed with stuff that I’m late getting this post up. Somehow I don’t think that the pace is going to let up this month, on either the work or leisure side of the life equation.

Not only is April going to be the first Spring Equinox session of Book Roast’s Magical Readathon, but there is also going to be another round of Tome Topple, AND it’s Camp NaNoWriMo. I already had big (and I mean really big) writing plans for April, and now I have just added a boatload of reading as well.

Something is going to have to give in order for me to make that happen, but that will be a problem for me to figure out when I sit down to plan my month. Today we’re going to pretend like I have all the time in the world for ambitious reading TBRs. Ready? Let’s go.

When making my TBR for April, I started with the Magical Readathon prompts because I am super into the whole Orilium thing that Book Roast has created. In the process of picking books, I added a couple of chucky tomes (books over 500 pages) that will also allow me to participate in Tome Topple, which is happening in the second half of the month (15-28 April).

Part of me thought it might be too much to try to do both events. I considered skipping Tome Topple (again), but I have tomes that are piling up and desperately need toppling! I need the added incentive of this event to tackle those long reads. Plus, I kind of had to pick one long one for one of the Magical Readathon prompts, so there’s that, too. You’ll see what I mean when I get into the TBR, below.

Here’s what I picked out and why:

  • Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher — This is my buddy read book for the month, and it also fits the prompt of “book with a trope you like” to check off my “Art of Illusion” Orilium coursework. Judging from the description, I believe this book has at least three of my favorite tropes: a fake relationship, forced proximity, and competence porn! So excited.
  • Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa — This is my “intimidating read” for my “Inscription” coursework. As I hinted at above, basically the only books I tend to think of as “intimidating” reads are the ones that are over 500 pages (aka “tomes”). Books considered “classics” and anything non-fiction can also be intimidating for me, but I don’t have any “classics” on my TBR at the moment, and I like to stick with sci-fi and fantasy reads during the Magical Readathon events. I was debating between this book and Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton, but ended up going with this one because I have it in both hardcover and ebook. Sometimes I’m picky about format with longer books.
  • Legendborn by Tracey Deonn — This is another tome that has been hanging around at the top of my TBR for a while. I’ve tried to fit it into my reading schedule for the last couple months and never quite got to it. Now I’m kind of glad I didn’t read it yet because it works perfectly to fulfill my “Mythology Inspired” homework for the “Lore” course. I’m don’t really have another good option for this prompt, so I’m really hoping I can manage to read two tomes this month.
  • Goldilocks by Laura Lam — This book “set in the future” was my pick for the “Psionics and Divination” coursework. But, there was a last minute change of plans this morning. Now I am pretty sure that I’m going to be changing this to Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha. My buddy read friends wanted to read that next, and it just so happens to work for this prompt, so I think I’m going to switch.
That thing on the bottom of the left-hand page is my “TBR pocket” where I’m storing all those book covers. I don’t plan to stick them onto the page until after I read them.

For those of you who are interested, I did film my reading journal set-up, but editing that is taking forever, and has been keeping me from getting this post up. So, that will be posted soon. Keep an eye on my YouTube channel if you want to watch that.

That’s all for now. I will be back very soon with my March reading wrap-up post. Until then, happy reading!

What’s On My Mini #MagicalReadathon TBR

I am very excited to be returning to the Orilium Academy for a little cram session that will determine my magical conduit and legacy!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go check out this playlist of videos on Book Roast’s channel.

There are two categories of reading prompts for this week-long readathon. The first set of prompts determine your magical conduit. I’m pretty set on getting a dagger, since that’s the conduit that is only available to the Mind Walkers (which is the house I was sorted into after completing the Novice Path). I also like the options that are open to everyone, but I only have seven days, so I have to be reasonable and pick only one.

The prompt for earning the dagger is to read a stand alone book. I just got The Misfit Soldier by Michael Mammay, and it just so happens to be one of the few sci-fi / fantasy stand-alone books on my Kindle. Which works out perfectly, because this was one of my most anticipated new releases of 2022, and I am super excited to read it.

The second category of reading prompts determines your magical legacy, and each house has there own set, specific to them. There are five legacy options for Mind Walkers. I eliminated the two that didn’t appeal to me right away: Psychic Plane and Multiverse. Collective consciousness and time travel are not my jam, even though the prompts for those would be super easy for me.

That left three options: Shadow Realm, Astral Plane, and Faewild Plane.

You’d think I’d go for the Faewild one, but the Fae in this world sound super scary, and I’m not sure if I’m brave enough for that one. Plus the prompt is to read a horror novel or a book with horror elements, and nope. That’s unlikely.

The Shadow Realm sounds useful, and appeals mostly because I always lean towards creating rogue-like characters. The prompt is to read a book with a dark cover, which sounds super easy.

Then again, the Astral Plane sounds like teleportation, which is probably the super power I would pick if I got to choose one. The prompt for that one is to read a book set in a different world than ours, which is basically all sci-fi and fantasy.

This is good because I still haven’t read my buddy read book for this month, Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik, and I have to finish that before Sunday. Luckily, that book happens to have a reasonably dark cover, and it’s set in a world other than ours. I can’t use one book to satisfy two prompts, but I can read the book and decide after I’m done which prompt I want to use it for. So that’s my plan.

If I finish these two books quickly and I have time for a third, I want to read Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco which also works for either the Shadow Realm or the Astral Plane. If I finish it, I’ll use it to fill whichever prompt I didn’t pick for Hunt the Stars. Or maybe I’ll use it to get a second conduit. It would work for either the wand (book with branches on the cover) or the staff (book from a series).

If you’ve read any of these books, let me know what you think in the comments. And if you’re participating in the Mini-Magical Readathon, what’s on your TBR?