So remember when I said life was getting back to normal? Well, that turned out to be an epic fail. Hence why this blog is a little late. We have so much anger and pain and chaos in our world right now that I got swept up in it, as I am sure you did. I’ve spent the last week or two educating myself and listening to others and formulating my own plan on how I am going to help the world. Nothing I can say here will do the situation justice, but I am praying and hoping and taking action so that our nation can come out the other end of this stronger and more united than ever before. Enough is enough. It’s time for some real change.
From a reading and writing perspective, it’s been a busy six weeks. But let’s dive into what I’ve accomplished and what’s next.
What I Read
GRAND TOTAL: 4
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer ★★★★★
I read the first book in this series last year, and while it’s rare, the sequel was SO much better. Probably because this one focused on my favorite character from the previous book. If you aren’t familiar with this series, this started as a fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast but has now evolved into a sweeping and lush fantasy of friends to enemies and war-torn kingdoms. I loved everything about this book. The pacing was on point, the characterization was fabulous with plenty of development, the romance was sweet, and there was just enough magic to hold my attention without overwhelming the story. I can’t wait for the next installment!
Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez ★★★★☆
Last month, I unintentionally read the second book in this series (The Happily Ever After Playlist) and fell in love with it. So I knew I had to go back and read this one as well. They are technically separate – each focuses on a different character – but there’s plenty of connection between the two. I love that style of series! Friend Zone focuses on just that – a man and a woman who start as slight enemies, become friends, transition to friends with benefits and then eventually catch feelings. But of course there’s one big thing standing in their way: the fact that Kristen can’t have children and Josh wants a big family more than anything (he is unaware of Kristen’s medical issues for a while). Similar to Jimenez’s other book, the characters felt like real people, and the chemistry was off the charts. She can really make you feel as you read – I laughed, I cried, I could not stop reading. There were a few things I took issue with – Kristen’s original boyfriend Tyler and the very end – but I’d still recommend this book to anyone looking for a swoonworthy, fun and emotional romance.
Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams ★★☆☆☆
This is another romance series where each individual book focuses on a different character, but while I loved the first this one fell flat for me. The main reason being that I could not stand the female protagonist Liv. Which was really a bummer because I adored her love interest Mack. These two team up to take down a famous restauranteur who is sexually harassing his way through several women. I felt like that plot – while interesting and worthwhile – overshadowed the romance, and the characters – including side characters who were the leads in the prior book – acted out of character, especially with the final romantic conflict which didn’t really feel like that big of a deal to me. The book definitely got better as it went on, but not a new favorite.
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare ★★★★★
This is technically a reread, but since it’s been at least a decade and I never reviewed it back then, we are counting it! I am not a huge fan of all of Clare’s series, but this one will forever rank as a favorite. We have her typical Shadowhunters and demons, but this story is set in London 1878 and has a steampunk vibe which I loved. The characters are incredibly compelling – each with their own well-developed wound and arc. And while love triangles aren’t typically my jam, this one is done perfectly. The stakes are high, the pacing is perfect, and there are several themes that really resonate. Oh and there’s a few good twists at the end that even I didn’t see coming! A great addition to a fantasy lover’s shelf.
What I Wrote
My Bachelorette-inspired work in progress is done!! Well, the first draft is anyway. I ended up at 84,046 words which gives me a little bit of wiggle room to go back and add some much-needed details – particularly when it comes to setting. It’s one of my cleaner first drafts (nothing like The Blood Between Us), so I am feeling confident about completing it in time for Pitch Wars! Although I still can’t quite wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve written four books!
Typically I like to take a little bit of time off writing after finishing a draft, and that’s exactly what I am doing now. It’s been two weeks of reading, relaxing, catching up with friends and getting the rest of my life back on track. I am hoping to have feedback from my critique partners soon, so that I can dive back into revisions in July.
I am also slowly starting to brainstorm my next novel – it’s still top secret so I can’t tell you much about it yet – but I am extremely excited about it.
I am also PROMISING to get back to blogging in June. I know, I know. I’ve said that before. But I’ve missed it, and now that I have a little more time, I have two exciting posts planned for you.
If you’re interested in reading along, here’s a few books I am planning – and pumped – to read this month:
- Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
- A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
- Beach Read by Emily Henry
- Fearless by Katie Golding
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
How is everyone else holding up? What books are you reading to escape reality and bring some joy? I’d love to hear in the comments!