New at DIY MFA: Additional Reading on the Theme of Family

In my previous DIY MFA post, we returned to the theme of family (which we first covered in this case study) and offered five reasons why this theme matters to readers. Today, we continue our deep dive with a wonderfully bookish post. Yes, it’s time for reading recommendations! I share five books that explore the theme of family and briefly explain how they do so (without giving away too many spoilers, of course!). As you read about each one, you might be surprised by not just the variety of genres and kinds of stories represented, but also the different paths each one takes to examine the same theme.

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What’s Making Me Happy: December 2018 and January 2019

Winter in Massachusetts means that, as a resident, you often get some… interesting weather. Two Sundays ago, we had a storm that started as snow, then changed to rain and later to sleet / freezing rain. Then our high temperatures for the next two days were in the single digits Fahrenheit, with wind chills below 0. (Plus, all the snow and rain that had fallen? It froze.) By that Thursday, it was precipitating like crazy again – except it was pouring rain, because the temps had warmed up to over 50 deg F (10 deg C). 😮

And then, on other days, it’s still cold but at least nice enough for moments like the banner image. 🙂 So where was I when I took this photo? And what joys from the past 2 months did I decide to share today? Let’s get right to it! Continue reading

My Favorite Fiction Reads of 2018

Another year has passed, which means another year’s worth of reading to celebrate! Yes, it’s time to share my favorite fiction reads of 2018. And let me tell you: Even though I had a pretty good idea which of the 53 fiction books I finished last year would end up on this list, I’m glad I didn’t share my list right away – because there was a last-minute shake-up!

Like with past best-of reading lists I’ve posted, this year’s showcases my 10 favorite brand new books of 2018 and 10 favorite previously published books. Unlike past years, though, I’ve made two notable changes. First, goodness, there were too many close calls when I tried ranking the books from #1 to #10! So I opted for alphabetical listing by title instead. Second, and sadly, no giveaway this year. As fun as giveaways can be, I can’t give one the attention it needs right now. So I hope you understand my need for keeping things simple, and you still enjoy reading this post regardless.

Ready to dive into the first list? 😉

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My Favorite Fiction Reads of Fall 2018

Is it really the last week of 2018?? How crazy is that? I could swear that not too long ago, I started reading my first book of the year. And now, 51 weeks and 53 fiction reads later, Christmas has come and gone and 2019 is around the corner. I hope you’ve enjoyed your December holidays so far, and any New Year’s plans you have are fun, warm, and safe. ❤

Out of the 11 books I finished reading over the fall, I’m highlighting my nine favorites in today’s post. The funny thing is, I’m also working on my Favorite Fiction Reads of 2018 post, which will go live in mid-January… and you’ll hear about some of these books again then. No spoilers, though – you’ll have to wait a few more weeks to find out which books made that list. Until then, enjoy these reviews! And feel free to visit each book’s Goodreads page by clicking on its title.  Continue reading

The Seven-Day Book Challenge

Recently, a Facebook friend tagged me on the Seven-Day Book Challenge. I finally got around to it a few weeks ago and “double-teamed” it through FB and Instagram. And then I thought, “Why not share it on the blog, too?”

The rules of the Seven-Day Book Challenge are simple: For seven days, you share a photo or image on Facebook of a different favorite book and nominate another friend to carry on the challenge. There’s no set theme to follow, and you don’t need to write a caption or explanation for why you choose each book. You simply share the photo, tag a friend, and reply to any comments. But for this blog post, I think I’ll “break” one of those rules. 😉

Here are the books I chose for the Seven-Day Book Challenge, and why I picked each one.

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What’s Making Me Happy: December 2017 & January 2018

I’m sort of glad now that I decreased my blogging schedule again. Because January was a blur, and not a fun kind of blur. I was buried with work at my day job for most of the month, which cramped my free time to a minimum and zapped my blogging time to… well, zero. :/ But some good things happened in January, too, and I can’t forget or discount any of that goodness.

That’s why I’m grateful for this series. What’s Making Me Happy reminds me of the highlights, fun events, and other recent joys – and after a month that drags you down in some ways, it’s a nourishing perspective to have. This month’s Happy post is twice as delightful, too: I’m covering both December and January, with three joys from each month. And with my slower blogging schedule, this bimonthly format might be the way to go from now on. What do you think?

Let’s start with…

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What’s Making Me Happy: September 2017

I love September. Firstly, it’s my birthday month. 🙂 But secondly, September is a gorgeous time of year in Massachusetts. Maybe that explains why this month was a balance of indoor activities (the new WIP, reorganization / decluttering projects) and outdoor fun. There were a couple lows (ongoing anxiety, plus a dishwasher leak), but in short September was joyful and productive, with much to be thankful for.

In fact, it was such a good month, I had such a hard time narrowing down my list of joys for this Happy post. But that’s not such a bad thing, right? In the end, I settled on five that best represent the sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences that made my heart sing. And as always, feel free to share your joys of the past month in your comments!

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Five Reasons Why The DIY MFA Book Is a Must-Read for Writers

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While I love a good book on the craft of writing, I wouldn’t normally say that such a book would be one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Gabriela Pereira’s DIY MFA, however, is a exception – and perhaps biasedly so. I’ve been a staff writer at DIY MFA’s website since November 2014. So, not only have I been eagerly awaiting the book’s release ever since Gabriela broke the news to us, but I also agree with her philosophy and the concepts she presents.

Last month, the DIY MFA Book was published last month by Writer’s Digest. I’ve had a chance to read it, and I’m thrilled to say it surpassed my expectations. Writing a review for a writing reference book, however, is different than writing one for fiction. I don’t want to spoil too many of the insights that Gabriela shares. Instead, I’ll give Five Reasons Why The DIY MFA Book Is a Must-Read for Writers. Then, if you like the sounds of it, you can fully immerse yourself in the DIY MFA learning experience. Ready?

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Five Benefits of Buddy-Reading

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When you’re a writer or book-blogger, what’s one thing you’re guaranteed to talk about with your online friends? Books, of course! That’s how we bond over beloved reads we share as well as books we’ve been meaning to read for ages. So, when I bought Patrick Rothfuss’s The Wise Man’s Fear after Christmas, fellow writer Rebekah Hendrian said this in her comments:

“I almost feel like we need to do a buddy read for Wise Man’s Fear. I just keep looking at those thousand pages and then putting it aside in dismay.”

At first I was hesitant, since I’d never done a buddy-read before and wasn’t sure how it was done. But once Rebekah and I figured things out, we were able to work The Wise Man’s Fear into the same point in our reading schedules. Now I’m so glad we did it – and today, I’d like to share what made that experience so enjoyable, in hopes that you might try buddy-reading with a friend in the future. So, here are Five Benefits of Buddy-Reading!

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