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The Best of 2016 and what’s coming 2017…

2016

What a year. Carrie Fisher will be so missed. Our Princess/General Leia. (And might I recommend a viewing of The ‘Burbs?) All the music greats we had: George Michael, Prince, David Bowie. My grandmother’s passing…

Let’s skip all the bad, because we can’t be bringing in the new with all that baggage and bad karma.

The good of the year. Well, there was Captain America Civil War, aka The Avengers 3. Westworld was great. Stranger Things.

A lot of people out there fighting for what’s right and good in the world.

Personally, I wrote. A lot. Have writer’s block, for months. Completed a few stories, though most are in first draft form still. I had full requests and partials for Love, Darrows–Thankful for agents agreeing that Cupid can have a boyfriend. Rethinking the genre of that one, though. Completed NaNoWriMo with my series, Human Touch‘s book 4, Me & Johnny. Got a job working for a great company and working with some fun and diverse people.

Completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 100 books for this year, read and reviewed.

{the Year in Review on Goodreads: see it here.}

My favorites of 2016

Asking me to choose just one isn’t going to work. As I sit typing, I can think of the majority of books I read this year and find ones I loved so much. And most on my favorites list weren’t necessarily published in 2016. Which I am fine with since I believe all stories are timeless. Even the contemporaries.

Favorite YA

Has to go to the Cinder series by Marissa Meyer. Not only was it a great twist on the classic fairy tales, Carswell Thorn and Cress. They just won it for me. I still daydream about them, though I will not write a fanfic.

Favorite Graphic Novel

This goes to the Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee “Bread makes you fat?” O’Malley. (Because it seems in every book, Mr. O’Malley has this bread obsession. LoL) I still pull out one of the books and read a bit of it, go over the pictures. Laugh. Definitely a win for years to come.

Favorite Comic

This is sort of cheating since Marvel’s Agent Carter could also be a graphic novel. But it is one of my most favorites because of the included Cher Chez le Femme. My forever ship. Steggy. Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter together…something the MCU really never wanted to give us. No matter how much Steve loved his best girl.

Favorite LGBTQ

I don’t think I read enough of these this year. But of the ones I did, Gear Shark took it. It was one of those “coming to terms with the fact I, a guy, am in love with a guy stories,” but what this one had that most I’ve read never touched was the hatred and violence that can go along with being gay (or lesbian or trans, and more power to you all for having to deal with such an asinine hatred from people). That’s really where I had to keep reading. What were they going to do?

Favorite Book Award Winner

The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian. This story stuck in my head. Not just because I knew the area and places mentioned, but because it gave an inside peek into a culture that really most of literature just doesn’t touch. It was so good. So sweet. So heartfelt. Just pure honesty on a page. Even being fictional.

Favorite Literary Fiction

Jane Two is going to be one of those stories that sit in the heart for a very long time. It was a story about love. A first love. A love of your life. A love that stays with you and never dies, though it may very well remain an unrequited love. It was truly a beautiful tale and I am so glad I never gave up on finding it. One of my highest recommends of the year.

2017

Leaving 2016 behind like dust blowing in the wind as a car speeds down a country road…

It felt like 2017 would never get here, as rough and bullying as 2016 was. The low was hit, and we can only rise from here, right? Leaving out the politics of it all [here in the US] when I say that 2017 will be a great year. For entertainment, books, the good in life.

We have a new Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming. Avengers: Infinity War parts 1 & 2 will begin filming. Another Star Wars film coming…

My writing goals for 2017?

A lot of pages. I need to get final drafts done, manuscripts out to agents. I would love to take a class or two to help with my writing to see what I’m missing or what I can fix. I have stories yelling to be told right now. Three to be exact. All starring my muse in one way or another. I’ve got to get out on social media more with my writing. Still considering a self-pub if I can get the massive amount of money I need for an editor.

SO no word totals. Just putting words on a page, handwritten, digitally, make stories into something more than thoughts in my head.

Keep doing book reviews. Keep reading. And there are some promising books coming.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth has been on my TBR list for a while. (Only a few more weeks to that one!) Plus a new Four story from Divergent!!!! (I CAN’T WAIT!!!)

I had the fortune of reading two soon to be releases this past month or so. (Thanks to their publishers and Net Galley.) I highly recommend finding these in the new year:

This was a beautiful story. Refreshing. My first “Christian” read. Touching. Definitely makes me teary when I think about this wonderful book. Don’t let the Christian thing push you away. It was a part of the tale, but it wasn’t preachy nor did it consume the whole story.

On the opposite end of that, in a way…

I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at a romcom before. It was amusing and funny and well done. Perfect romcom to start off the year!!! I can’t wait for the other ones, too.

And then from Paula Hawkins, who wrote Girl on the Train…which was so good I couldn’t put it down!!!…Into The Water. A whole new twisty tale. This one is right up there with Divergent’s post epilogue on my TBR list.

Those are just a very few on my lists. The closer books. Who knows what favorites will emerge as we move throughout the year?

Reading themes start tomorrow. I’ve skipped the past two months as I’ve been too busy between writing/reading and working to do them. Resolution 35: Get back to the themes. (total fake resolution number.)

Have a great New Year!!!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

All gifs found on giphy.com

book covers found through google searches. those images belong to their owners.

The Captain America image was my own screenCap (pun totally intended) from The Avengers, my own paid copy of that film.

Goodreads COngrats image was a screencap from my phone.

NaNoWriMo gave me that banner when I completed the challenge.

Thank you for reading!

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Review: Cinder & Ella

Cinder & Ella
Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Oh, this book…” said with a happy sigh.

It’s like Beauty and the Beast had a baby with Cinderella and that baby lived in Los Angeles, CA. With hints of–and only two of the people reading this will totally get this reference–of Human Touch (my WIP). It was beautiful and so romantically sweet! It was every contemporary nerdy thing I love running smack dab into the romance and locations I love with my favorite fairy tale of all. (B&tB)

Cinder & Ella meet through an online message board. Ella runs a book and movie review blog (Hi, kiTT!) and she is decidedly Team Ellamara from The Druid Prince, a LOtR type of story. But Cinder, he is all about Prince Cinder from the series… What Ella doesn’t know is that her online BFF is Brian Oliver, hot Hollywood “It” boy. (Which is okay to say because it’s in the book’s description, no spoiling, promise.)

From their first online banter to the very end, they were adorable, funny, flirty…I couldn’t find a single thing to hate about this Cinderella YA retell. I couldn’t. There wasn’t one boring moment. There wasn’t one typical “Cindy” thing that made everything flat out obvious. There were surprises and parts that came out of the blue. Their first kiss…the bad, good, and ugly all just so brilliant.

“It was too good to put down,” says the person who stayed up until 1:47 am to finish the book. Me.

Definitely a romcom piece of gold. I loved it and totally recommend giving it a read.

*A POST DEAD ERA READ ~ OCTOBER 2016*

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Review: Jane Two

Jane Two
Jane Two by Sean Patrick Flanery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To Sean Patrick Flanery,

Most people know you from Boondock Saints. But not me. I’m the sort that watched Simply Irresistible a zillion times. You, along with Sarah Michelle Gellar, always brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face. I first saw you in Powder. I only saw that movie once and I cried so hard…It’s never left my mind or my soul.

The problem I’m having is how should I review this book. I’m not sure I can do justice to this book with a basic review. I feel like I should talk to you face to face about this character, Mickey. And his Grandaddy. That rotten sister of his….Kevin, her boyfriend. I could keep listing characters I want to talk about as they were all written very well, written as though they were true-to-life individuals. It was as if I knew them personally.

I just know my words aren’t going to be enough. It wasn’t just a story you were telling. It was as though you were sharing a piece of your soul. I laughed at places. I got teary, eventually crying towards the end of the book. Highly relatable and so heart-warming. I do wonder how much of this book is truly real.

The writing–and I never comment on someone’s writing as we are all different and unique in style as writers, reviewers, and authors…The writing was superb. The way it was presented…it reminded of The Body or Shawshank Redemption. Very Stephen King in they way the story was told without the macabre. So true to the character and the emotions. that’s the only comparison I can come up with. It outshines a typical famous person writing a story. (To me anyway.)

This book will go down as one that I will probably read once. But just because I say that doesn’t mean it’s horrible in any way. (I already added it to my absolute favorites shelves.) Much like your Powder, it’s a story that will stick in my head, my heart, my soul….for the rest of my life. I know I am going to go back and underline, highlight my favorite quotes. I know I am going to go back and read over parts I loved. I know I am going to hold onto my copy forever.

I’m so glad I never gave up my search for it. I’m so happy I asked the woman at the bookstore where it was since it wasn’t on the shelf. I’m so thrilled I waited as she searched for what felt like an hour.

This is going down as one of the best books I’ve read this year. And maybe one day, I’ll run into you and can have you sign it. Thank you for a wonderful story with a beautiful soul.

To everyone else,

Please go find a copy of this. I cannot recommend Jane Two highly enough. I’m left without adequate words to say anything other than…It’s worth a read.

*A POST DEAD ERA READ ~ OCTOBER 2016*

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Review: Map to the Stars

Map to the Stars
Map to the Stars by Jen Malone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of the sweetest stories I’ve read in quite a while.

I know, romance, the idea of it…it’s not popular today in YA reading. That being said, I love those stories. It doesn’t have to be about sex. The main couple doesn’t have to proclaim love in the first two pages. It’s just about finding that first love against all odds.

And what has more odds than a major acting career?

This story is about “Grannie”, the couple name for Graham & Annie. Graham is a big time child star trying to be a regular teen guy. Annie is a normal girl trying to make it in the crazy world of Los Angeles. They meet when Annie is brought along as an assistant for her makeup artist mom during the press tour for Graham’s new [potential] blockbuster movie, Triton.

They meet in not the best of ways. They flirt ever so cutely. They sneak around to hang out together…From New York to London to Paris to Spain…So much cute flirting and just the right amount of angsty drama. It was a great balance. I really enjoyed it.

Yes, it was formulaic. Ish. It wasn’t all one mega-girl vs. the normal girl–and actually the odds against them were highly unique–but it did follow a typical rom-com pattern. It’s not a bad thing for someone who really enjoys those types of tales.

Just a fun quick read.

*THIS IS A POST DEAD ERA READ ~ OCTOBER 2016* TWD is done for now, so I’m on a reading random kick.

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Review: The Giver

The Giver
The Giver by Lois Lowry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a weird, weird, weird dystopia.

Definitely a unique story about a potential future of humanity. On the upside, there is no war, no hostility, no elitism. The downside there are no differences, no colors, it’s all blah. Which way is better?

A lot of this reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan’s movie The Village. Life is controlled and simple. But is that really the best way for people to live. That’s what The Giver delves into. All the memories of war, death, pestilence are taken away. But then so are the better things of life.

Jonas is oblivious. He is becoming a twelve, which means adult training in a future job within the community. Until then life was sharing feelings after dinner and telling dreams with breakfast. Taking pills to prevent the stirrings and being a well behaved eleven. It’s when he becomes a twelve that it changes. He meets The Giver who bestows upon him the gift/burden of holding the histories of their kinds and the before thems, and the before thems… and so on…

For a while there, I had it figured out. Events were kept too secret and not spoken about…which in my mind led to one thing. And I was right (and am definitely not saying any spoilers). I knew it! And poor Jonas…the truth came at him like a speeding Mack Truck out of nowhere. Hard for anyone to take, especially a twelve year old.

The end is where this weird book came to life for me. It was exciting and held so much hope. If it hadn’t happened the way it did, I would have definitely given this book a to and a half or three…

I’m sort of wanting to read the nest book to find out what’s going to happen next…those dern cliffhangers.

*A BACK TO SCHOOL READ* ~ The last of the September books is complete.

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