diyMFA book club, For Writers

A Writer’s Reading List – diyMFA book club

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Today I’m doing my final post for the diyMFA book club. (If this is the first time you’ve heard about diyMFA, you can find out all about it here.) One of the prompts was to share your reading list.  I enjoyed the reading section of the book, and I loved the way Gabriela broke the writer’s reading list down into three categories. The great thing about it – you tailor it to your genre. The three categories are:

Craft Books: These are the books that deal with the craft of writing –  books that help you improve your writing.  Currently, these are the craft books I have on my TBR list (some of them I’ve read parts of, but I haven’t read any of them in their entirety):

    1.  diyMFA by Gabriela Pereira

    2.  Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin

    3.  Story Genius by Lisa Cron

    4.  Self-Editing For Writers by Renni Brown and Dave King

    5.  Social Media for Writers by Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine 

(You can add me as a friend on Goodreads, where I have a bookshelf full of these books 🙂 )

 

The Classics: These are the books that are classics in your genre. I write YA – which doesn’t have as many classics as some other genres. Widely considered the first YA book, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, was published in 1967. I’ve already read this classic and loved it! Here are some more YA classics on my TBR list:

1. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

2. A Wrinkle in Time by Ursula Le Guin

3. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

4. Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (Written in 1942, some people considered this to be the first YA book, as opposed to The Outsiders, so I’ll have to give it a look)

5. The Grey King by Susan Cooper

Comp. Titles: These are books that are comparable to the book you are writing. I write YA fantasy with a fairytale twist (some are retellings, some are just stylized like fairytales), so I read a lot of fantasy, especially retellings. I don’t have a specific list for this group, because I am always on the lookout for these books and am continually adding to my TBR list. This month I have selected several books to read for the #fantasticfeb reading challenge, and several of them fall into this category. You can see my #fantasticfeb list here.

Another diyMFA book club prompt was to share a picture of your writing space.

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I write a lot of different places, but I do have a desk where I do a fair amount of that writing. There’s a window on the left side which lets in lots of natural light. I find this energizing and motivating.  Also, I’ve hung a lot of inspirational pictures above it. 🙂

writing space

I love this desk! I’ve had since I graduated from college. One day, my grandpa (the same grandpa who helped inspire me to become a writer by telling me his stories) and my dad helped me comb through garage sales to find a sturdy desk. We found this one for a dollar.  It needed some cleaning, a little sanding, and a new coat of stain, and then it was ready to go. Pretty awesome, right?

 

So how about you -What’s on your reading list? Do you have a favorite craft book? Where do you write? Let me know in the comments.

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Reading Challenge

Fantastic February

The first smaller reading challenge I’m doing this year is a monthly (February) book challenge. If you missed my previous post about the yearly reading challenge I’m doing  you can check it out here.

The Fantastic February reading challenge is hosted by Kathy, author of the Books and Munches blog, and you can find all the details here.

Basically, this is a challenge that focuses on reading fantasy/paranormal books. Since I have a bunch of those on my unread bookcase, this is perfect!

Here is my TBR list for February:

fantastic february books

The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine- I started this series awhile back and only have four books left in this series, so I’ll be finishing the series this month – Black Dawn, Bitter Blood, Fall of Night (not pictured), and Daylighters. 

The Queen of Hearts series by Colleen Oakes – I loved the first book and can’t wait to read the last two in this trilogy – Blood of Wonderland, and War of the Cards.

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz – This books sounded so good I pre-ordered it, and just haven’t had a chance to read it yet.

Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo – I’ve heard so many good things about this book,  it had to be added to the list.

After Alice by Gregory Maguire – I’ve actually never read a book by Maguire before, but have heard many good things about him, I decided to give this book a try. Also, this is an audiobook. (Audiobooks are one way I up my book count for the year.)

If you couldn’t tell, I love fairytale retellings, and am psyched to be doing a fantasy-themed challenge. I realize this is an ambitious list, but I will be trying to fit them all in. Like I said in my previous post, challenges motivate me. 🙂

What’s on your TBR list for February? Are you participating in Fantastic February or any other reading challenge for the month? Let me know in the comments.

 

Book Reviews

Chivalry’s Children Review

Hi everyone! I took a bit of a break for the holidays, but I’m back and will be posting again every week. Hope everyone had a great holiday season!

One of the last books I read in 2017 was Chivalry’s Children by Alexis P. Johnson. Set in medieval times, it follows four girls and their friends.

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From the back of the book:

Meridian the blacksmith, Keira the minstrel, Aurielle the alchemist, and Ivy the librarian, are four spirited and very different young women of Orion’s Court in the European nation of Laudeland. Knights, inventors, and even a prince share in their daily adventures from woodland hunts to masquerade balls. 

But their peaceful existence is shattered when a ruthless villain from their past lays siege to their country in vengeance, transforming their lives forever. The ladies and their comrades are then thrown into an even greater conflict that will test the strength and endurance of each of them, yet the inner trials of their hearts may prove to be even more challenging. As iron sharpens iron, the nation of Laudeland will need to unite in honor and chivalry as they face the storms of change.

Because there were so many primary characters, it took me a few pages to get into the story, but once I did, I flew through the book. The world building was great. I felt like I could have stepped into Laudeland through the pages, and I loved how the women were able to have the jobs they wanted without the stigma of something being “a man’s job”.

I could tell Alexis has a background in screenwriting, because this book would make a great movie. I could totally envision it as one while I read. I also really loved the spirit of camaraderie among the characters. It reminded me of the relationships I have with my siblings and a couple of my closest friends.

Overall, this was a great read. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy, medieval reads, or adventure.

You can find out more about Chivalry’s Children and Alexis P. Johnson here.

Beauty and the Beast Series

Hunted

Hunted by Meagan Spooner is the fifth and final book in the Beauty and the Beast reading challenge. This book was excellent! Set in medieval Russia, it wove the story of the Firebird into the Beauty and the Beast tale.

Synopsis: Yeva is a skilled huntress. She’d rather live in her father’s hunting lodge than the fancy house in town. So when her family loses their fortune, and they have to move back to the lodge, she is not disappointed. Then her father disappears. Before disappearing, he claimed a beast was following him,  and Yeva is afraid the beast has caught her father. Determined to find him, she sets out on her own, traveling deep into the forest.  There she finds magical things, things from the stories her father had told her when she was little. But she can’t let these things distract her from goal – killing the beast.

I had a lot of emotions when reading this book  (a sign of good writing!). I kept reading, wanting to know what was coming next.  At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the end, but I did. It ended in a satisfying way, tying up all the little pieces of magic that floated throughout the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairytales, retellings, and fantasy – and to anyone who is looking to step out of their normal genre of reading. This just might be the book that hooks you on fantasy. 🙂

Questions: What did you think of the way the author portrayed want in the story? Did you like the way the author weaved in the Firebird tale? What was your favorite part? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Beauty and the Beast Series

Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea

The fourth book in the challenge is Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea. This is an indie book. Since my own book will be an indie book, I’ve been looking for some good ones to recommend. I’m really glad I discovered this one!

This book is a very unique take on the Beauty and the Beast tale. The beauty, whose name is Elle, is a spy. She falls through the roof of the Beast’s castle while on a mission. Her leg is injured in the fall, so she has to stay at the castle until she recovers enough to walk. There are several servants who take care of her. They wear masks as a part of the curse, and of course, they meddle trying to get Elle to fall in love with the Beast.

A lot of new things were woven into this tale, but there was also a lot of things from the classic story. It was entertaining and even amusing at times. I recommend it to all Beauty and the Beast fans, and to anyone who loves fantasy.

Also,  K.M. Shea has several other fairytale retellings, many of which I have on my TBR list. You can find out more about her books here.

Questions: Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it? Have you read any other books by K.M. Shea? Let me know you thoughts in the comments!

Note: Sorry it’s been awhile since I last posted. I haven’t been online much because of vacation and other crazy life things! My Hunted review will be posted later this week, so be on the lookout for that!