I have a lot of goals for 2021 but my first goal one related to my book goal for next year. I want to try to read one hundred books next year. It’s kind of ambitious That’s double of my goal this year but I hit my stretch goal of 75 this year so I think going in with intent at the beginning of the year I think I can read 100. Plus I had things come up in months where I only read one book. I think be able to better have a reading/life balance.
Second I want to improve the blog, I want to learn SEO and start trying to find more blog tours I qualify for. Plus I want to make my presence more know on Twitter. I’d also like to create more content for Instagram. I saw that I’d only made 64 this year so I’d like to try to do 3 posts a week next year.
Personally I’d like to learn to draw more, I recently bought Procreate, and I’d like to learn to program in the coming year. I haven’t drawn in years and I’m really happy to get back to it. I’m hoping I can also draw some things for the blog.
I’d like to work on my novels, they’ve been put on the back burner due to other things this year. But I’m going to try to make them my main focus along with the books and blogging.
Now next month is going to the month where I focus on the sequel to this series leading up to the final book in the this world reveal on January 26th. But that’s for Unwanteds Quests which I will be spending time with next month. For now we are fousing on the 6th book of the original series Island of Graves. Warning I cannot talk about talk about this book without some spoilers so SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Unwanteds: Islands of Graves
On the brink of war the fates of both Artimé and Quill are at stake and the Stowe brothers are at a crossroads.
Everything Aaron has worked so hard to build in Quill has crumbled. He’s fallen from the height of power and influence and left for dead in a foreign place. Aaron has lost everything. Now he must humbly beg for food from those who saved his life. And maybe just maybe finally learn some humility.
In Artimé Alex chose his people over his brother even though he knew Aaron was in danger and chose to abandon the search. He thinks he’s closed the door on that relationship forever. The Artimeans need his focus now more than ever if they face the an old foe who can control the elements and has now taken control of Quill-the notoriously evil Gondoleery Rattrappp.
Desperate to stop her, Alex embarks on a risky mission to enlist help from the most unlikely ally. Along the way he’s determined to rescue a lone sailor from mosterous beast with mysterious origins, a sailor who might just show Alex and the Artimeans a whole new way to look at the world.
As he prepares for an epic war with all of Quill and Artimé Alex must place his faith in reckless plan and hope all his friends make it through alive.
The battle is important and serious, but my favorite thing is Aaron’s redemption arc. Best storyline of the books bar none in my mind. I love the scientists, though I wonder how many bad meals they had to sit through before Aaron figured out how to cook. The meeting between Alex and Aaron is perfectly awkward as it should be.
It also the beginning of the shadow that will follow Aaron into future books. I love his interactions with Kaylee and Sky, both who didn’t meet him before he got kidnapped. I also love his magical abilities that no one expects ones he gets to Artimé. My favorite part of his redemption arc is in the next book though.
Another great outing by Indigenous author Christine Day!
Maisie Cannon has had a rough year ever since she hurt her leg. It’s taken away the thing she loves most, her ballet training and auditions.
While her blended family is loving and supportive Maisie knows they just don’t get how hopeless she feels. Her family’s midwinter roadtrip along the coast near the Makah community where her mother grew up doesn’t hold the same excitement as previous years.
How can she explain to her family when her anxieties and dark moods start to hurt as much as her knee. How can she continue to be strong when inside she feels like a cold and roiling sea.
A wonderful book about the Gullah people who I’ve never seen in a middle grade book before (please correct me if I’m wrong!)
Set during 1963 when things are changing for Jezbel Turner. Her beloved grandmother has just passed away. Her family is the target of harassment from the local police deputy. And with school integration beginning in South Carolina Jez and her twin brother are going to start school with a bunch of new kids.
But the biggest change comes from their Uncle Doc who tells them he’s going to train them in rootwork. Jez and her brother Jay have alway been intrested in the African American folk magic, that has been in their family for generations.
They are especially curious about the potions and powers Doc and Gran would make for the people on their island. But Jez soon finds out her family’s power is much bigger than she ever could have imagined, and not a moment too soon. Because her family will have to deal with both natural and supernatural evil as it comes to town and it’s going to take every bit of Jez’s magic to see this problem through.
Set in seventeenth-century Scotland at the height of the witch trials, when Art’s mother is accused of witchcraft she becomes determined to get her back.
Twelve-year old Art lives with her mother in a small village in Scotland, her mother has always helped the village by making potions to cure the sick, but now the townspeople claim she’s a with. One night she’s arrested and taken to England.
Art trust nature to get her mother back, she takes her horse, a sword, a tightrope, a herbal recipe book and begins a journey through the wild forests.\
But does she know enough about nature’s signs and symbols to not be led astray, will she reach her mother in time before it’s too late. In this lyrical adventure with folklore at its heart Art will have to trust herself and her connection with nature to find her mother.
Amazon: The Forest of the Moon and Sword.
4)The Nightmare Thief
Life was perfect for Maren Partridge before her sister’s accident. Now her sister is in a coma and her parent are talking about the hospital bills, and putting her sister Hallie in a long term care facility. Maren knows what this is code for, Hallie never getting better.
While Maren isn’t worried about Hallie she works in her family’s dream shop, with her Gran Gran Lishta where she can hand craft any dream imaginable. The shop only has one rule. Dreams cannot be given without the person consent.
Maren has never had a problem with this until Hallie got sick, if dream can help people with other problems then maybe they can help heal her sister. Maren’s certain she can cure Hallie with a few well-chosen dreams. And when no one is watching, she slips her a flying dream.
But someone is watching, a strange new customer, Ms. Malo to the shop has been watching Maren, and she knows what she’s been up to with trying to heal Hallie. Now she’s planning to blackmail Maren into creating custom nightmares’ for a dark and terrible purpose. Now she must make a choice protect her family or the town she loves?
I hope everyone who celebrates had a good time. I had a quiet day with my family. I didn’t get any hardback books. However I was gifted a year of Scribd, which is great because it’s like a gift of lots of books. I already have several books picked out but if you guys have any suggestions just comment and let me know.
My other big gift was a Kitchen Aid mixer, which I’m over the moon about, we already found cute decals to put on it, and I’m saving books on Scribd, for things to cook in it once it arrives.
CatLadyFibers also gave me a great gift of some knitting needles and a Bath and Body Works coupon which I used during the wonderful BBW semi-annual sale.
Not to mention the fact I got a lovely upgraded tree, some great jewelry, new leggings, several video games, including Skyrim and Sayonara Wild Hearts.
So one of my goals for New Years is to try and improve my health. Well I was out walking this afternoon, and took a tumble. I’m fine just a few scrapes and bruises but if I don’t make a comment on something or I’m not up to the Weekly Update post tomorrow, please bare with me. I’ve got posts planned through the beginning of the New Year by which I should be feeling better.
Better know for her middle grade work this is MarcyKaye Connolly’s first venture into YA.
Though the blurb on Amazon claims it’s a fantasy spin on Romeo and Juliet I can only see that loosely. The main protagonists is Aissa who life sits carefully on the edge of a web of lies, by day she and her sister Zandria play the role of normal Technocrat girls looking to make their way up in society via new apprenticeships. By night they are both Magi spies, they fight for revenge for their people who the Technocrats tried to destroy and have now conquered.
When Aissa is given her most important assignment ever, find and kidnap the heir to the Technocrat throne, who is rumored to be one of the Heartless, born without a heart, and fitted with a mechanical replacment to stay alive. The heir has been hidden since birth.
Aissa uses all her connections including one to a kind Technocrat researcher who shows her that the Heartless are more than just some abstract problem. He is determined to find a cure for the condition and wants Aissa to help him. But when Zandria is captured by the the Technocrats and faces a life of torture, Aissa will do anything, even if that means shifting her loyalties and trusting the enemy.
But when idenities are revealed and loyalties shift, will Aissa be able to do what she must for her people or will she listen to her heart?
Aissa and her sister were engaging protagnist along with some friends along the way. The Technocrat King and Queen make reasonably scary villians, when it’s revealed who who the real villian is the suprise factor is there. There is romance but not so much that it smothers you. My favorite characters are the researcher that helps Aissa, Aro. And Aissa cranky boss Leon. The worldbuilding is also very well done as you get a feel of the separation between Magi and Technocrats.
My only complaint is this feels like book one of a dueology, it may very well be but I couldn’t find evidence on Amazon as such, if it’s the only book the ending was VERY open ended.
Answer all 10 questions, choosing books for each theme
Tag five people to do this
An orange! Which book is refreshing and vibrant, both inside and out?
Summer and July, it’s a sweet little story about the importance of finding yourself and falling in love.
The next thing you see is a bag of chocolate coins. (Yum) Which book have you recently bought that was a little expensive, but totally worth the price?
I recently bought the Barnes and Noble Exclusive Edition with this lovely map and poster. I also got to go to an interview with the author due to buying the book so that was my splurge for the year.
You also pull out a bath bomb. Tell us about a book that had explosive action scenes.
Soulswift by Megan Bannen had some of the best, and most seemingly realistic (to me knowing noting about combat) action scenes.
Next is a pack of playing cards. Which series won you over?
Skyhunter, technically this is cheating since the only the first book is out but I’m so excited for the second I think it counts.
You also get a candle. Which character is a symbol of hope in their story?
Zoe Washington From The Desk of Zoe Washington. She has a had time with believing her father is innocent but once she does, she doesn’t give up on getting him out of prison
There are socks inside too. Is there a book that you think really encompasses all the distinctive tropes of its genre?
Midsummer’s Mayhem. I think it defines the cute middle grade baking and cooking sub-genre. Other examples would be, Summer of 1000 Pies, A Place at the Table and many more. It brings in all the cute examples of cute baking into the plot, working baking into the plot, and eventually solving problems through food.
There’s also a notebook. Which author’s writing process do you find most interesting/inspiring?
I’m very interested in the way both Shannon Messenger and Lisa McMann write.
To go with the notebook, there’s a fancy pen. Is there a book or a series that you’d change if you’d written it yourself?
Nothing that I’ve read this year I would have re-written, I liked everything so much that there was nothing that really needed changing. The only book I found to be lacking was This is Not a Ghost Story, but I wouldn’t rewrite it because I don’t like the premise.
There’s also a small bedside clock. Which book took you a long time to pick up but was worth it in the end?
It took me awhile to get into the Rick Riordan but now I’m reading the books and quite liking them, I’m working on the first Magnus Chase at the moment.
Your pile is getting really big. You reach in to pull out the last gift and it’s… a lump of coal? You’re a little disappointed. But you look closer and realise there’s a seam running through the coal. You crack it open and sitting inside is a tiny golden gem. Tell us about a book that surprised you in some way.
Even if We Break was super surprising it is now the standard by which all my horror/thriller novel will be judged. I knew there were disabled characters and trans and gay characters, but for them to be the ones to survive the murder and mayhem when they are usually the first to die in any horror film. It warms my black little heart.
Rain before rainbows, clouds before sun, night before daybreak—a new day’s begun.
This is a lovely picture book about courage, change and moving on from hard times. A girl and her companion fox travel through a colorful landscape meant to represent a sorrowful past. The pair go through challenging and stormy times toward color, light and life. They find friends along the way who guide and support them. When the pair see a dawn of a new day it’s full of hope and promise.
This beautiful book with hope at its heart marries texts and illustrations beautifully. It’s a beautiful text for anyone going through grief or just a tough situation.
Written by By Smriti Prasadam-Hall she is South Indian by birth, British by nationality and London-loving by heart, Smriti lives near Richmond Park with her husband and their three sons, reading, writing and eating iced buns.
David Litchfield is the illustrator. He has also exhibited his illustrations in both solo and group shows in the U.K, Europe and America. David lives with his family in Bedford, England.
Important novel about who is worth saving at the end of the world from the perspective of an autistic person. Love seeing autism in print plus this is an important question, hence why it’s on the list.
Now that we’ve covered the books that are serious and important for different reason we’ll cover the one’s I just really liked. Summer and July was a sweet story of two girls falling in love, one learning confidence and one letting go of some of her grief. So sweet. Totally one of my favorite of the summer.
Another cute cooking/baking sub-genre book that I loved.
10) Unwanted: Dragon Quests
Can I favorite a whole series of books I’m making this list so I’m going to say I can. I really enjoyed the whole series and can’t wait till it wraps up in February. I’ll probably spend January getting back to reviewing it. Anyway it, and the series previous to it are some of my faves so they have to get a shoutout. I’m linking to the first book in the series below.