What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April, 2022)

Lately I feel like I’m always on a hunt for more light-hearted books.  I’m not sure when that became a hard thing to find?  I’ve had some interesting reads in the last few weeks, but it’s been…mixed in terms of the tone!

As Old as Time by Liz Braswell sounded brilliant, a Disney-sponsored novel with a twist on their Beauty and the Beast movie (they have a whole series, in fact).  The first twist was that Belle’s mother was the enchantress who cursed the Beast, and the second twist was that Belle accidentally destroys the enchanted rose, making the curse much worse.  There were good parts to this, but…!  Too much of it was almost word for word retelling the Disney movie, and then when it diverged we somehow plunged off into an insane asylum where some seriously creepy torture is going on, which sat…very weirdly in a Disney movie-inspired book!  You don’t expect lobotomies in a Disney story!  I also thought the romance got very little attention, so that when Belle’s father eventually remarks that Belle and the Beast are “obviously” in love…it was really, really not obvious. Continue reading “What I’ve Been Reading Lately (April, 2022)”

New Cover Reveal: The Guardian of the Opera Series

I mentioned earlier in the week that I was working on new cover designs for my Guardian of the Opera series, and today I’m excited to share the new covers with you!  The first book, Nocturne, came out almost two years ago now, and it’s fun to refresh the series a bit with a new look.  The paperback and hardback editions are keeping their original covers, but the ebook is getting a new style.

These are similar to the original covers, but they have a slightly different feel to them that I think is fun.  They still have the same key elements – Erik, Meg and the Opera Garnier – but put together a little differently.  I wanted to share the covers here first, but they’ll be live in the Kindle store shortly.

And now…here they are!

Writing Update (April)

It’s beginning to look spring-like near me, and as the weather gets warmer, obviously it’s time to…settle down at the laptop for more writing!  I was very happy to meet my March goals – I finished the latest revision pass of The Princess Behind Thorns, the first in my newest series, and sent it off to beta-readers last week.  I’m putting that one on pause until I get feedback, and then I’ll do final revisions and get the story out to all of you!

For April, I’m working on the second book in the Thorns series, The Princess Beyond the Thorns.  I wrote this one for NaNoWriMo a few years ago, when I thought it was only the second half of the first book.  But it got…long.  So I have a rough first draft of Book Two already, and am working on some initial revision this month. I really enjoy this installment in the series – Terrence and Rose fell in love in Book One, but they still have some things to work out in Book Two.  Plus the attention shifts to two new villains, and the stakes get higher. Continue reading “Writing Update (April)”

Video Review: Anne of the Island

I’ve been rereading the Anne of Green Gables series by my favorite author, L. M. Montgomery.  Today I have a video review of Book Three, Anne of the Island.

This volume follows Anne to college, with new romance and a new character I especially enjoy.  I think it’s an improvement on the second book of the series, and definitely well-worth reading.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately (March, 2022)

I’m not doing any formal reading challenges this year, but I have still been continuing to read.  I thought I’d share a few highlights from my recent reading – it’s been mixed!

If I Were You by Lynn Austin is one I encountered while doing research for my WWII novel.  It appeared to be about the aftermath of the war – Audrey, a British widow goes to her American in-laws for help, only to find her best friend already there, pretending to be her.  Sounded fascinating!  But as it turned out, most of the story was actually about the women’s lives before and during the war, with the identity-theft only a frame story.  Interesting, but not what I was hoping for – and since it was set in England, not France, only limited value as research for my novel.

One of my favorite books is Jane Eyre, so of course I was curious about The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins, a purported modern retelling.  It was well-written and had some clever takes on the story, which felt part Jane Eyre and also part Rebecca.  There was a very good twist most of the way through that made the final portion especially gripping.  I liked the read, except – virtually every character, Jane included, was made much darker and more morally ambiguous than the original.  Which is…fine, but I like characters who are likable!

After a couple dark books, it was nice to pick up Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend, which felt like a delightful breath of fresh air – even in its earliest chapters, when Morrigan is a cursed child in an unloving family.  She escapes to Nevermoor, magical and colorful and full of eccentric characters.  It’s a very fun magical child story with a great landscape and some good mysteries.

I’ve done other reading on the nonfiction side, mostly research for my World War II novel.  I enjoyed Einstein Never Used Flashcards by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Golinskoff.  It’s twenty years old, but felt incredibly relevant about the social pressures on parents to make everything educational for their children, starting in the womb.  Spoiler: it’s better for children to play than to use flashcards.  I’ve also been rereading The World’s Religions by Huston Smith, which is brilliant and insightful and really feels like the collection wisdom of the world.

What have you been reading lately?  Recommendations are welcome, especially ones that aren’t too far to the dark!