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?

Reading Fantasy Romance in February for #FaRoFeb

Happy Fantasy Romance February (aka FaRoFeb)!

To celebrate the genre that we love, there are 70 authors (myself included) participating in events and giveaways all month long! And there’s also a readathon! So if you also like fantasy romance (or romantic fantasy) stories, you should definitely check out the books and authors involved in this event. There are so many different sub-genres that fall under the fantasy romance umbrella, and a wide variety of creatures, types of magic, heat levels, and settings are represented in this group. I’ve already found several new-to-me authors to add to my TBR.

More on that TBR in a moment. First, let’s have a look at my very simple reading journal set-up for this month. I’ve selected one of the FaRoFeb readathon bingo cards for the cover page, along with a booklist to summarize what I’ve read, and that’s it.

One of these days, maybe I’ll actually attempt to measure and equally space out the lines for my booklist. That day is not today, though.

As for my TBR, similar to what I did back in December, to give myself some flexibility with my book selections, I made a sort-of reading buffet to choose from rather than creating a specific TBR stack. I already have a LOT of fantasy romance to choose from on my Kindle, and I’ll probably be adding some more this month. So, I started by going on Goodreads and scrolling through what’s on my shelves to see which ones might qualify as fantasy romance (or romantic fantasy). I ended up tagging a grouping of twenty-four books.

I’m sure all of these will fit at least one of those readathon prompts. But I’m definitely not going to have time to read all of them in February. So the first question is: where to start…

Last month, I read the first couple of chapters of Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher. I set it aside for later because I was supposed to be reading something else, but I really enjoyed the bit that I read and am eager to get back to it. So I will probably start there.

I also promised my brother-in-law that I’d read Midlife Bounty Hunter by Shannon Mayer, which he read and recommended to me. I thought I would get to it over the holidays, but I didn’t. So that will probably be the next one I read. After that, who knows what I’ll pick next.

The only other one in that batch that I’m sure I’ll read is the last book in the Aurora Cycle series, Aurora’s End, because that is our buddy read book for this month. And yeah, I included it in this batch of fantasy romance even though I’m not sure how much romance there’s going to be, and it’s technically categorized as sci-fi, not fantasy. But let’s be real. The line between sci-fi and fantasy is really fuzzy, and this series features space-Fae and sentient plants. It’s a far cry from The Martian or The Calculating Stars (both of which are “science-based” or “hard” sci-fi). So let’s just call Aurora’s End a fantasy in space, okay?

I also have several non-fiction books I have already started and want to finish reading: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals (the book that it seems like everyone is talking about right now), Black Love Matters: Real Talk on Romance, Being Seen, and Happy Ever Afters (which is a new release that I want to read this month because it combines both romance and black history), and Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America (which has been on my to-read list forever and is probably going to frustrate me, but hopefully in a very motivating way).

Definitely let me know in the comments if you’re participating in FaRoFeb this month and/or if any of these books are on your TBR! Until next time, happy reading!

December Reading Journal Set-Up

This post took me forever to write because I kept putting off drawing my cover page I had everything else done, but I just wasn’t in the mood to draw. Luckily, I found some time and inspiration yesterday, so I can share this with you today!

I scrolled through the Draw So Cute winter holiday art tutorials and decided on the snow globe. I think all this rain we’ve been having is kind of making me hope that it eventually turns to snow, at least for a little bit. The weather has recently turned a bit colder, and there’s been a little bit of snow up in our mountains, but nothing down where we live, yet.

I added some sparkle to the cover page, but it’s really hard to see in the photo. Also, now that I’m looking at it, I’m realizing that the right hand page doesn’t really coordinate well with the left hand page. Probably because I did one of them weeks ago and one of them yesterday. Oh well. I still like it.

So, did you notice those little book covers sticking out of the pocket on the right hand page of the spread? Well, I might have made a TBR for this month… But it’s not really a TBR. It’s more like a book buffet. I’m thinking of it like an extremely delicious selection of all the yummy books I might want to devour this month. None of these are “have to read” books.

I’ve divided them into different categories in the photo and in my summary below. Or, if you want to continue with the buffet metaphor, you could think of them like different food groups. No group is more important than any of the others, and you could nearly make a meal on any one of them.

I grouped them because I want to read according to what I’m in the mood for at any given time. So, if I just want to eat dessert, maybe I’ll just eat dessert. I’m a grown-up. I can do what I want.

This way, if I (for example) get really excited about holiday stories and just want to keep reading more of those, I’ve already picked out a bunch and don’t have to go looking for more. Or alternatively, if I read one holiday story and decide that’s plenty, I can move on to another group based on what I’m craving.

My first grouping is the new (sort-of) releases. Here’s why these, specifically, are at the top of my list:

  • Fated Blades by Ilona Andrews — I just finished The Kinsmen Universe anthology specifically so that I could read this new release which I’m very excited about because I’m into the “ballgowns in space” right now.
  • Graceling (graphic novel) by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds — Graceling was maybe my first favorite YA fantasy book. I love the whole series. So, of course I have to read the graphic novel version that just came out.
  • The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon — I knew this was set in Seattle, but I just found out from a friend that that there’s a section set on the island where I live (which is NW of Seattle), so this got bumped up to the top of my TBR.

Next are books by friends that I’m really excited to read:

  • Forrest for the Trees by Kilby Blades — It’s been a while since I’ve read one of Kilby’s books, and the premise for this one is really calling to me. The hero is a fire marshal and the heroine is a park ranger, and there’s a mystery! Plus, I think it’s a grumpy / sunshine pairing, which I love.
  • The Bounce Back by Addie Woolridge — This is Addie’s follow up to The Checklist which came out earlier this year. I really enjoyed it. I will be looking for any signs that my secret ship (the socially awkward tech exec and the best friend from The Checklist) might get together in an upcoming book. (Addie, if you’re reading this, I’ll settle for a novella.)
  • House of Scepters by Anne Zoelle — I’ve been trying to get to this one all year! Anne is one of the few in my writing group who also writes fantasy romance, and I can’t believe it is taking me so long to read her latest series. Especially when all our friends can’t stop saying how good it is!

Then we have our selection of holiday romances:

  • Under A Winter Sky by Kelley Armstrong, Jeffe Kennedy, Melissa Marr, L. Penelope, and Grace Draven — I’ve already started reading this one. The only author in this group that I’ve read anything by is Grace Draven, and I think her story is the shortest of the bunch. But I bought this last year because what better way to sample the writing of a group of fantasy romance authors I’ve been interested in checking out than to read an anthology of their winter holiday themed novellas? I’m only about half-way through, but I’m already loving it, and I know I will be adding more books by these authors to my TBR.
  • The Heart of Christmas by Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, Courtney Milan — I can’t remember where I heard about this anthology. I think it was a podcast, maybe? All I remember is that I added it to my TBR earlier this year with the plan that I would read it during the holiday season. I’ve heard great things about Mary Balogh and will read pretty much anything by Courtney Milan.
  • Christmas With Holly by Lisa Kleypas — I’m pretty sure this got made into a Hallmark movie, but that’s not why I picked it up. I picked it up because it’s set on one of the islands where I live! I borrowed it from my library last year, then never got around to reading it. So I’m trying again this year.

And the next up in my two current favorite cozy mystery romance series:

  • Miss Moriarty, I Presume? by Sherry Thomas — I don’t think this one needs any explanation. If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know how much I love Lady Sherlock and know how excited I am to read this new release.
  • An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn — I’ve been dragging my feet on this one because it’s the last before I have to wait for a new one to be released (in spring 2022, I think). But, I’m still on my cozy mystery kick, so I may finally get to it this month.

And finally, one last book off my 21 for 2021 list (which I am definitely not carrying over or recreating for 2022, but I’ll talk about that more when I do my 2022 reading goals):

  • Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake — This is the last book in this series, and I keep forgetting about it, then seeing it on my TBR and kicking myself for forgetting. I think maybe I got frustrated with the last book I read in this series (book three?), but I was really liking it for the first two books, and I do want to see how it ends, but the reviews have me thinking that I will be disappointed, so I don’t know. It may be now or never.

And that’s my set up for the last month of 2021! What are you reading this month? Have you read any of the books on my book buffet for this month? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, I hope you are having a happy holiday season and that you have lots of good reading to cozy up with!

November Reading Journal Set-Up

Tomorrow is a new month, and that means it’s time to make a new cover page and book list in my reading journal. This week, I was feeling the fall vibes, so I went with a cozy winter owl theme.

Once again, the drawing is from a Draw So Cute tutorial. Except she went with a brown owl and added some wind and leaves falling. I decided I preferred a grey owl and color scheme that reminds me of my dad since November was his birthday month, and I always miss him the most at this time of year.

As for my November reading plans, I just downloaded a bunch of books from the library. Possibly the one I’m most excited to read is Dial A For Aunties. I’m also crossing my fingers and hoping that I’ll get the new Lady Sherlock book that comes out on the 2nd of November. I have it on hold, but I’m not first in line.

What are you planning to read this month?

October Reading Journal Set-Up

I really leaned into the spooky season vibes with my reading journal set-up for October.

I love the way this turned out. I ended up using this video from Draw So Cute to make the haunted house and this video from Amanda Rach Lee to do the font for “October.” Then I added my usual book list summary to the facing page, and that’s it. Reading journal set-up done.

I’m not expecting this to be a big reading month for me. I know I say that almost every month, but it’s going to be hard to find time for reading this month and next month, because of NaNoWriMo. However, I’ve already committed to a buddy read of Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and there is going to be another round of Tome Topple at the end of the month. So, I’ve been thinking about maybe trying to squeeze in time to read one tome during the final two weeks of October.

If I do decide to participate in Tome Topple, I’ve picked out a few tomes that are calling to me. Then I split them into two options. I’ll pick one or the other (or neither) depending on how I’m feeling when the readathon starts.

The first option for this round will be to read one (or more) of these books:

  • The Phoenix Empress by K. Arsenault Rivera — This is the sequel to The Tiger’s Daughter, which I really liked. I put this book (and the third/final book in the trilogy) on my “21 for 2021” reading list at the start of this year. I haven’t made a ton of progress on that list, and there are only three months left in the year, so I think I better get moving on that.
  • The Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa — This is a much anticipated read for me. Also, I have it on ebook and in print, so if I’m craving a paper book, I can read this, and still be able to switch to Kindle if I’m reading before bed.
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn — This book has been at the top of my TBR for a while. I had hoped to get to read it for one of the prompts in the Magical Readathon last month, but I ran out of time. If I only have time for one book during this round of Tome Topple, this one is probably going to be it.

Option two for this round will be to read the remaining books in the Throne of Glass series, starting with Empire of Storms, which is where I left off when I abandoned this series back in 2015. Once upon a time, I really loved this series, but I kind of grew out of it and now I’m not sure if it’s even worth finishing. BUT I did put all three of these on my “21 for 2021” list. So, maybe? It’s been so long that I’m going to need to read several recaps in order to remind myself what happened leading up to book five.

What’s on your October TBR? Are you planning on participating in Tome Topple? Are you feeling the spooky fall vibes? Let me know in the comments. Happy reading!