The Creativity Corner: Summer 2017

Summer ends tomorrow, and what a busy season it’s been. Traveling, sightseeing, getting a head cold (OK, that wasn’t fun, but it did happen), and through it all I managed to get a lot of writing and reading done. So despite the busyness, it was a productive and satisfying summer. 🙂

Without further ado, let’s launch into the Creativity Corner for a recap of what I’ve been writing and reading, and other related happenings, since the end-of-spring edition in June.
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The 2017 Blogoversary, Part 1: Ten Unique Reads I Highly Recommend + Giveaway

This Sunday, July 9th marks my eighth blogoversary! And based on the results of this recent poll, this year’s celebration is going to be… giveaways! (Many thanks to everyone who voted, btw!) This is perfect, because blogoversaries aren’t just a time of virtual cake, confetti, and fireworks. They’re also a great opportunity to thank readers for their friendship and support, no matter how long they’ve been following you. So, consider this week’s and next week’s posts my gift to you guys. (*bows in gratitude*)

For this first giveaway, I wanted to do something bookish, but something different from the usual “favorite reads or authors of all time” theme. Then I read these recent Top 10 Tuesday posts by Sarah J. Higbee and The Bibliosanctum, and a lightbulb turned on. So, here are Ten Unique Reads I Highly Recommend, along with links to my reviews at Goodreads. At the end you’ll find a Rafflecopter link and instructions for how the giveaway will work. Sounds like a plan, yes? 😀
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Sara’s Favorite Reads of 2016, Plus Two Times the Giveaway Fun!

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Since it’s still the first week of 2017, it’s still a good time to look back on the year that was, right? 😉 On Tuesday I shared my annual reflection on writing, personal life, the blog, and goals for the new year. Today, it’s time to share my list of favorite reads of 2016!

Last year I split my year-end list into two posts: brand new books, and previously published books. But this year, I decided to “condense” and put it all in a single post. So, which books ended up as my favorite reads of 2016? You’ll find a few hints if you look closely at the banner image. Otherwise, let’s head on in and see the full list – and maybe a chance for you to win one of the honored books!

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My 10 Favorite Reads of Fall 2016 (+ Win Your Choice in a Giveaway!)

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When I announced in September that I was reducing my blogging schedule, I knew that change would mean ending the monthly Recent Reads series. But I didn’t want to walk away from the idea of discussing books we’ve recently read. Then I read Leanne Sowul’s summer reading round-up here, and inspiration sparked. Why not do a seasonal reading recap – and also make it fun for my readers?

So, today I’ll share my 10 favorite reads from Fall 2016 (September through November). What you’ll find after the jump aren’t reviews, but rather blurbs that mention why I enjoyed each book with links to my full reviews at Goodreads and Amazon. As for the fun part: The title says it all, so stay tuned for the Rafflecopter link and instructions at the end of this post! 😉
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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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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 25: March 2016 Haul, Part 2

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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.

In last week’s Stacking The Shelves, I’d mentioned that I’d expected to do only one STS entry this month. Then, after the fairy novels and new releases had arrived in the mail, I spent a Saturday on Cape Cod to see the house my parents are renovating and do some birthday shopping for a friend. And during said shopping, I bought more books, even though I’d told myself not to. (*face turns strawberry red*)

So, here’s Batch #2, the books I bought at the Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee, MA, along with a couple extras. Make sure you stop at MSB if you visit Mashpee Commons. Their selection is fantastic (especially in science fiction and fantasy, both adult and YA), and the staff is extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and well-read. 🙂

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

Stacking The Shelves banner

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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Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 22: An Embarrassingly Huge Haul from Barnes & Noble

Stacking The Shelves banner

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.

Today’s Stacking The Shelves post should be called “Overstuffing The Shelves.” Because when you have gift cards to Barnes & Noble and find books on your scribbled “immediate-must-have” wishlist and then spot other novels you’d learned about from the blogosphere, you realize how dangerous your love of reading can be. (*blushes*) But really, we must have ALL the pretty, shiny books, right?

Also, if you’re the kind who salivates over fantasy and science fiction, this post is for you. 😉

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Recent Reads: October 2015

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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!

Something electric must be in the air. Out of the five books I read in October, I enjoyed four of them enough to write reviews. So, those positive bookish vibes that made September a great month for reading haven’t gone away yet. 🙂

What also made October a fun month for reading was including two “Halloween-ish” novels. Not scary horror stories by any means, but stories with a creepiness factor that fit the time of year. You’ll see what I mean as you check out the reviews, starting with my Read of the Month, which is…
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Recent Reads: “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor

Daughter Smoke Bone cover

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, Book #1)
Laini Taylor
Fantasy / Young Adult
418 pages (paperback)

Synopsis:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grow dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? Continue reading