2021 Reading Round-Up

Though it sometimes feels like we never quite left 2020, it is somehow the beginning of 2022, making it time to look back at the best, the worst and the sometimes weird of my 2021 reading. I read 115 books this year, down from the high numbers I did a few years ago but comparable to recent years – and considering I also had a baby in March, we’ll call that good!

1) Best of…
I’ve been splitting my “Best of” books for the past several years, so that I can highlight the ones that were best in very specific ways.

1A) Best Premise: Invictus by Ryan Graudin – Do premises get better than time traveling thieves who are jumping through time to steal artifacts history records as lost? Amazing idea.

1B) Best World Building: Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers – I thoroughly enjoy this series, and this book in particular created a fascinating world – though literally not a world, as it’s set almost entirely on a fleet of spaceships.  It’s almost all world building, since it’s mostly people going about their lives, and it was so interesting to see how their lives work and society is structured in a culture aboard a space fleet.

1C) Best Romance: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Lovely, lyrical book with an excellent romance despite it moving fast (not usually my thing).  The second book in the duology trended very dark for my taste, but the first one, and its romance, were a delight.  And the second one was good – just dark!

1D) Best Characters: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune – If I was going to do a single Best of 2021 book, this would be the one.  Absolutely, amazingly good, a beautiful found-family story that’s touching and funny and says important things too.  And the characters really made the book.  I read this in October and I feel like every book I’ve read since I’ve had to forgive for not being The House in the Cerulean Sea.  So, so good. Continue reading “2021 Reading Round-Up”

Video Review: Little Blue Truck Series (Part Two)

A few months ago I reviewed the Little Blue Truck series – a very popular collection in our house!  We’re still reading the series with my baby pretty much daily, and have expanded our collection.  This video reviews four more books in the series, including Little Blue Truck’s Christmas – currently timely, fun all year round, and one of the best in the series.

Launch Day: Entr’acte & Guardian Collection

They’re here!  If you want to complete your bookshelf of Guardian of the Opera stories, today’s the day.  We’ve been counting down, and now it’s launch day.  You can buy your own Kindle copy of Entr’acte, or get a paperback or Kindle collection of Entr’acte, Overture and The Confessions of Christine Daae in one volume. 

If you haven’t yet started the series, I have good news for you too: Book 1, Nocturne, is free on Kindle right now!  The deal only lasts through the weekend, so don’t miss it.

I’ve always loved spending time in this world, and I hope you’ll enjoy these extra chances to visit with these characters.  I know they’re not the Book 4 people have asked for…but I think they make a fun addition to the trilogy!

In case you missed it earlier, here are descriptions for each of the new releases:

Entr’acte

Fans of the Guardian of the Opera trilogy will enjoy this assortment of bonus material. Featuring deleted scenes, essays and an extended author interview, it adds new layers to the trilogy, as well as providing the chance to spend a little more time with favorite characters. Spend Christmas at the Opera Garnier with Erik and Meg, gain new insight into Jammes with a bonus chapter from her point of view, and learn the stories behind the objects in the Phantom’s parlor. Enjoy these and more in this special companion to the series.

Collection

Bundled together for the first time, this collection offers in one place the companion stories and bonus materials related to The Guardian of the Opera trilogy. Overture gives glimpses into the earlier lives of the principal characters years before their most famous story began, with three short stories focused on Erik, building the Opera Garnier; Meg Giry, dreaming of dancing; and Christine Daae, a young girl on the beach with her scarf. The Confessions of Christine Daae retells the primary trilogy from her point of view, unmasking her true feelings throughout. Entr’acte offers bonus materials in deleted scenes, essays and an extended author interview. Fans of the trilogy will enjoy these extra opportunities to enter the world of the Phantom of the Opera.

Entr’acte Count-Down: 1 Day

I’ve been counting down this week to my newest book, which will be out tomorrow on December 1st! Entr’acte is a collection of bonus material connected to my Guardian of the Opera series. Plus, I’m putting out a paperback combining Entr’acte, The Confessions of Christine Daae, and Overture.

Today’s quote is from a very special item in the collection – until almost the end of the process, Accompaniment included a chapter about Christmas.  It got cut in the end, but I’ve included it for you in Entr’acte as a kind of Christmas short story. I think you’ll enjoy spending the holiday with Erik and Meg!

Look for Entr’acte and the combined collection tomorrow – and you can pre-order today!

Entr’acte Count-Down: 2 Days

I’ve been counting down this week to my newest book, which will be out on December 1st! Entr’acte is a collection of bonus material connected to my Guardian of the Opera series. Plus, I’m putting out a paperback combining Entr’acte, The Confessions of Christine Daae, and Overture.

Today’s quote is from an alternate version of a key romantic moment in the series.  In the published book, that scene is from Erik’s point of view, but Entr’acte offers the same scene from Meg’s point of view, providing some different insights.  And since I made readers wait almost three full books for that scene, why not give it twice?

Look for Entr’acte and the combined collection on December 1 – and you can pre-order today!