Monthly Recap: March & April 2020

What a strange two months it’s been! I was just settling into my new apartment and new routine when, you guessed it, the coronavirus hit. I am sure you all know what I mean when I say it sort of uprooted my life. I am one of the lucky ones through – while being one of the more vulnerable groups, I work from home normally, and I was able to pack up my dog, my cat and whatever else I could fit into my car to come home to my parents’ house when things started to get a little scary.

But that didn’t mean life rolled to a stop – I made plenty of time to take care of myself, refill my creative well that had been drained by COVID-19 anxiety, and write which helped me take my mind off things. Here’s what I did in quarantine:

What I Read

GRAND TOTAL: 5

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) by Sarah J Maas ★★★★☆
I will read anything this woman writes, and the first novel in her newest series did not disappoint. The characters were phenomenal, and per usual, the romance had me swooning. I thought the worldbuilding was expertly done and captivating – very unlike anything I’d read before. And the main character’s female friendships made a huge impact. I deducted one star because the first half of the book did drag quite a bit. It could’ve been a couple hundred pages shorter. But once I hit the halfway point, I was hooked, and the ending both blew my mind and had me in tears. I can’t wait for the next installment!

The Bad Boy’s Girl by Blair Holden ★☆☆☆☆
Ooph I rarely give one-star ratings, but this one was a struggle to get through. Since it was previously posted on Wattpad then picked up by a published, I assumed they would have copy-edited it. They did not. The writing and formatting was all over the place. So was the story. Character actions and motivations didn’t make sense, the entire plot was rather cliche, the ending made zero sense, and I thought the love interest was rather problematic. Definitely a no from me.

Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli ★★★★★
As a former competitive gymnast, I have been waiting for a book like this for years! And it satisfied my desire for Olympic gymnastics since this summer’s games have been postponed. Iacopelli absolutely nailed the sport – all its routines, skills, pressure and pain – although at points I wondered if a non-gymnastics person would understand the routines she goes through. The love interest was just enough to hold me over without being distracting, and the very real issues of sexual assault in the sport was handled delicately and powerfully. If you are a gymnastics fan – or even if you aren’t – this is a must read.

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert ★★★★☆
I’ve been on a huge romance novel kick – probably because I am currently writing one – and this was the latest in a long line of great books. We have a female main character who suffers from fibromyalgia and all of the consequences that come with chronic illness, and as a fellow fibromyalgia patient, it really meant a lot to me to see it so perfectly and powerfully portrayed. The male main character had his own wounds which were also done wonderfully. The sex scenes were a little jarring (hence the missing star), but the banter was spot-on and I enjoyed every bit of the read.

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez ★★★★★
Officially on my list of all-time favorite romance novels, and I’ve already bought her other book too! It’s pretty rare that a book can make me laugh out loud, cry and be blissfully happy with the ending. The characters were extremely well-developed, the pacing was perfect, the romance was heart-achingly tender, and the meet-cute is indeed very very cute. Also I listened to this as an audiobook, and the narration was great! Having a male and female reader to switch POVs was awesome. An extremely fun read that will leave you swooning!

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What I Wrote

I’ve been working on my new contemporary romance WIP

March started off with a bang but ended with a fizzle – right around the time that the coronavirus panic set in. I ended with month with about 15,000 words written which isn’t bad but was lower than planned. But after getting back to my parents house and setting up my computer, I was determined to pick things back up and write like the wind.

I participated in Camp NaNo in April with a few writing friends. It was hugely successful for me when I participated two Julys ago, so I figured why not? I set a pretty high goal – 40,000 words in one month, which I thought would get me to the end of this first draft.

And I made it pretty close! I ended the month with 32,391 new words written. However, I still have seven chapters and an epilogue to write before the draft is finished. I am still really happy with my progress, and this book is coming along nicely! It’s still a hot mess, don’t get my wrong. But I can work with that.

Coming Up

Life is slowly getting back to normal here in Texas. Restaurants are opening up, anxiety is going down, and I am even going back to my own house next weekend. I am looking forward to getting my own life back to normal as well too, despite how grateful I am to have had a safe place to shelter these past six weeks.

I have one big goal in May: finish this draft. I am planning to enter Pitch Wars again in the Fall, which means I need to get a few rounds of revisions under my belt between now and September. If I can get this draft done in May and plan out my revisions, I can hopefully get those knocked out in June and in the hands of my beta readers by July 1. That’s the plan anyway.

My to-be-read pile is also getting unmanageably and dangerously high, so I’m hoping to get a little reading done. I also know I’ve been telling you guys for months that I would get back to blogging more regularly. I am hoping to make progress on those goals in May as well, but they both take a backseat to writing.

It sort of feels like May 1 is the new January 1 – for this year at least. So I am excited to get started!

How are you all holding up? Has the coronavirus impacted your creativity at all? What are your summer goals? Let me know in the comments!

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