Free short story collection!
If you love discovering new authors, you won’t want to miss the YA Scavenger Hunt.
In case you’ve never heard of it, the hunt showcases 140 new and upcoming YA releases. There are tons of prizes, including individual giveaways and seven Grand Prizes, plus each author will release special bonus material, only for hunt participants. Sound interesting?
This fall the hunt features seven teams of twenty. I’ll be participating on the Orange Team.
The blog hop begins Tuesday, Oct 3rd and runs through Sunday, Oct 8th. It’s easy to play. All you have to do is either check in here on October 3rd, or head directly over to the YASH website. There you’ll find a list of all the authors participating as well as an answer sheet you can print off to gather the info you’re hunting for and to keep track of any bonus contests you may have entered.
I’ll have all the details here next week, but for now, here are all the books featured this season, so you can start looking for your favorites:
Hard to believe it’s that time of year again, but here is my mid-year round-up of top books so far.
I’m sad to say, I don’t have much to gush about this year. I’ve read some excellent books, but few have sent me rushing to recommend them to friends. I’m not sure if I’ve just been pre-occupied with my own writing, or if I haven’t taken the time to really browse for something that speaks to me. Regardless, here are some I did love:
I picked this up on a desperate whim in a motorway service station and immediately fell in love. It’s the story of Odelle, a recent immigrant to 1960s London, who lands her dream job at an art gallery under the tutelage of the intriguing Marjorie Quick. When a young man walks in with a rare Isaac Robles painting, the mystery of how he gained possession of the painting, and the tragic disappearance of the talented young artist, slowly begin to unfurl.
Leaping back and forth between 1960s London and the Spanish Civil War, this story of identity, secrets, and creative inspiration was a definite “Read Again” book.
I listened to this as an audiobook and now wish I’d opted for the print version. It’s the story of a member of the Russian aristocracy sentenced to house arrest in a luxury hotel in Soviet Russia. It’s a beautiful meandering story about friendship, purpose, and family, sprinkled with humor, intrigue, and stunning details. It reads at first like a series of vignettes of “a day in the life”, but only once I reached the end did I realize I should have paid more attention to all those gorgeous details as they suddenly became critical in the last few chapters. It’s a really artful piece of writing and nothing in it is wasted. This is definitely a book I need to read again to pick up all those wonderful clues.
This story of zombie mayhem wouldn’t normally make it onto my reading list, but I’m glad it did. It was fast paced and surprisingly humorous, which it needed to be to make up for all the blood and gore that spilled from its pages.
When an evil terrorist mastermind unleashes a deadly virus that turns innocent people into undead weapons, Baltimore Detective, Joe Ledger, is assigned to head up a covert taskforce to investigate. The mission soon becomes a race to save mankind. With plenty of action, intrigue, double agents, and a bit of romance, this isn’t exactly deep, thought-provoking material, but it makes for a rollicking good read.
I was prodded into reading this book for a book club discussion and ended up re-reading several sections. It’s a fascinating look at how we humans yearn to belong and have a sense of communal purpose. It looks at how adverse situations, like war and disasters, pull us together, and how we long for those bonds after life returns to normal. As we become more isolated in our digital society, this book examines what it really means to be a connected human being.
When author Samantha Dunn is thrown from her horse and comes close to losing a leg, she is forced to evaluate whether her long string of accidents have been a run of bad luck or if she’s been living a reckless life. Going against all advice, she is determined to get back on the horse, both literally and figuratively. With her frank, self-deprecating humor, Dunn asks the question, of both horses and life, of whether the rides we take are worth the potential fall.
I got to know Becky through an online writers group and was already familiar with her story of personal loss and her upbeat attitude to life. Still, her memoir had me turning the pages and going to my desk late each morning, so I could read one more chapter with my coffee. Becky writes with incredible frankness and clarity about her paralysis, the deaths of her brother and son, and the family challenges that unraveled her marriage. There is no self-pity in her writing, nor is there the upbeat “every cloud has a silver lining” attitude. Even as the daughter of a beloved pastor, Becky debunks platitudes such as “everything happens for a reason” and “God only gives you what you can handle.” Instead, her resulting philosophy isn’t a saccharin “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” but more “life happens, so you’d better figure out how to make it work, even if it’s far from perfect.”
If you have books you’ve loved this year, please make recommendations in the comments. I’d love to get suggestions before I head off to the bookstore in search of inspiration. I’m hoping my end-of-year list will be as inspiring as my 2016 list. Many of those books became new all-time favorites.
What do you buy for the dad who has everything (and by everything I mean you)?
If your dad is a bookish dad, then lucky you. You can ditch the dull ties and give him a gift that speaks to his inner bibliophile and lets him know that, despite the fact that he’s, you know, a dad, he still retains a dash of cool.
What dad couldn’t use a vocabulary of family-friendly insults and curses? You can find an array of Shakespearean insults gifts, from magnetic kits and posters to coloring books and ties, but for maximum impact, go for a wallet that hurls bard-worthy barbs every time Dad reaches for a buck.
If Dad likes to lose himself in bloodthirsty fantasy or history, check out these bloody arrow bookends. Sneaky magnetic strips inside the book give the impression that the arrow has been shot right through the books, leaving a gruesome trickle of book blood.
If your father likes things a little more sophisticated, how about treating him to a whiskey tumbler engraved with a quote from Faulkner, Twain, or that great literary drinker, Hemingway.
If Dad’s idea of the perfect Father’s Day is lounging around with a good book, he’s going to need the right attire. What better than a pair of lounge pants splashed with Daily Prophet headlines? It’s okay to buy a pair for yourself, too.
Your dad might not ordinarily be one for scented candles, but if he can’t get enough of that used book smell, this could be just the thing. This Manor Library scented candle reportedly evokes the feel of vintage books, old leather, and furniture polish, so dad can imagine himself and his beloved books in a grand old library.
Socks are always a failsafe Dad gift, especially if you go for something he’ll be proud to wear. How about these classic black dress socks with a sneaky red Sherlock Holmes hidden up his trouser leg?
If your creativity dries up and you really must buy Dad another tie, at least go for one that will up his cool factor. I’m quite smitten with these H. G. Wells Time Machine ones.