What’s Making Me Happy: March 2017 (Plus, I’m on Hiatus Until April 18th)

The best way to describe my March 2017 would be “a month of two parts.” (Did anyone catch the nod to the Kingkiller Chronicle prologues? *wink*) The first half was still stressful and discouraging like February had been, partly because I was still dealing with anxiety flare-ups. But after taking active steps to better manage my anxiety (including resuming my writing routine), and thanks to the knowledge that spring is here (YAY!), the second half of the month was more productive and meditative. Oh, and busy with final preparations for the Iceland Writers Retreat! I can’t believe it’s NEXT WEEK!! 😀

And now that I think about it, this month’s edition of What’s Making Me Happy reflects that mix of excitement, relaxation, and creativity. So let me share my March joys with you, and feel free to share yours in your comments.

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Recent Reads: May 2016

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Recent Reads is a monthly reading wrap-up, with mini-reviews of all the books I finished in the past month. I’ll also share what I’m currently reading and any other books that are in the pipeline. Want to share your bookish happenings, too? Feel free to do so in the Comments section at the end!

You know what I realized while finishing this post? Next month is July, when writers and bloggers celebrate the year’s halfway point by looking past on their 2016 reads and achievements so far. I’m not ready for that yet! :S

Mind-boggles aside, I managed to read five books during May. Out of those five, I’m reviewing four, including two brand-new YA fantasies, an eerie children’s classic about the Fey / Fair Folk, and a novella collection set in one of the most popular fantasy worlds at the moment. Which one was my Read of the Month? Let’s find out!

By the way, I’m still taking votes and suggestions for next month’s blogoversary! Click here to check out the poll and share your feedback before Thursday, June 16th.
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Recent Reads: April 2016

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Recent Reads is a monthly reading wrap-up, with mini-reviews of all the books I finished in the past month. I’ll also share what I’m currently reading and any other books that are in the pipeline. Want to share your bookish happenings, too? Feel free to do so in the Comments section at the end!

I’d never describe myself as a fast reader, since I know plenty of people who read more books per year than I do. But as of the end of April, I’ve already read 18 books so far in 2016. That means I’m on track to read at least 50 books this year, topping last year’s total of 43. Nice!

As for April itself, it was a pretty good month for reading. I wrote reviews for four of the five books I read – and I may have found a strong contender for Favorite New Book of 2016. 😉 Let’s jump to that one first!
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Interview with Emily Skrutskie, Author of “The Abyss Surrounds Us”

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Sometimes a book takes you out of your comfort zone and surprises you. That was the case with Emily Skrutskie’s debut novel The Abyss Surrounds Us. Sure, it had been on my radar thanks to the science fiction and fantasy book blogs I follow, but I read less YA science fiction than YA fantasy. Yet when I dove into Skrutskie’s futuristic world of pirates, genetically engineered sea monsters, and the people who train the beasts, I came away from each chapter thinking, “That. Was. SO. COOL!” (You can read my review of The Abyss Surrounds Us here.)

Today I’m excited to have Emily here to talk about The Abyss Surrounds Us. How did she come up with her awesome Reckoners? Why was her route to publication different than other authors who are traditionally published? And, would Emily want to be a Reckoner trainer like her protagonist Cas? Let’s find out!

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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 24: March 2016 Haul, Part 1

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

This is getting embarrassing – to the point where, apart from new releases, I might have to institute a temporary “book-buying” ban. (*blushes*) Not to mention this was going to be one installment of Stacking The Shelves. Next week I’ll explain why I split it in two.

For now, here’s Batch #1, a mix of 2016 books with the latest additions to my ongoing “market research” project on fairy novels. Let’s have a look:

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Recent Reads: February 2016

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Recent Reads is a monthly reading wrap-up, with mini-reviews of all the books I finished in the past month. I’ll also share what I’m currently reading and any other books that are in the pipeline. Want to share your bookish happenings, too? Feel free to do so in the Comments section at the end!

Well, February was an… interesting month of reading. It was super-productive (I finished six books – wow!); but out of those six, I enjoyed two, thought two more were OK, and was too disappointed by the other two to review them. :/ But when you do “market research” projects on certain kinds of novels, you’re bound to read stories that don’t appeal to you as much.

Thankfully the month ended on an upswing, because my Read of the Month was the most recent book I finished. You’ll find out which one it is shortly!

Also, a good chunk of the following books (minus the Read of the Month) focused on romance. Coincidence? Hmmmm….
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Time to Play TBR Book Tag!

Since Anya at On Starships And Dragonwings and Molly Mortensen openly tagged readers on their TBR Book Tags, I thought I’d continue the chain! So, I combed through my physical bookshelves, took some photos, and (finally!) finished updating my “To-Read” shelf on Goodreads to include my home collection. Now I’m ready to play!

For anyone who’s not familiar with the acronym, TBR stands for “to be read.” Therefore, a TBR pile or TBR list consists of the books in your personal collection that you haven’t read yet.

Ready to explore my bookshelves and reading wishlists with me? 🙂   Continue reading