Jan 14, 2013

Be Still My Heart: Contemporary 2013 & 2014

It's no secret that contemporary fiction is my favorite genre. Becoming a writer, finding my voice, and all that jazz has definitely shaped the way I read. A day or three ago I finally decided to take advantage of that handy Want To Read feature on Goodreads. Within a day, I'd added over 20 books to that list. Here are a few.


Contemporary On My To-Read List

  • Sing to the Wind by Jaye Robin Brown - I think I might have been a southern girl in my past life. I have a soft spot for books with a southern voice especially when they're done well. 
  • This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith - Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, a book I've been meaning to get my hands on. What really made me want to read her latest book is the title. I'm a total sucker for a great title and the novel itself has been compared to You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. No, I haven't seen them. But I am aware of them. 
       "If fate sent you an email, would you answer?"
  • All This Could End by Steph Bowe - I've stalked Steph's blog for over a year now, so when I heard about her new book I had to check it out. Her main character, Nina, and her family rob banks for a living. How great does that sound?
  • When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney - There are a few reviews up on Goodreads for this one and they're all pretty convincing. I must admit, I haven't read many books with a male POV and this book does sound right up my alley. It's described as being filled with humor, raw emotion, and a strong voice.
  • If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch - Emily's a writer whose writing I fell in like with after reading her blog. Her debut novel If You Find Me tells the story of Carey, a fifteen-year-old girl who lives hidden in a broken down camper in the national forest with her mentally ill mother and younger sister.
  • The Whole Stupid Way We Are by N. Griffin - There's a boy named Skint who won't wear a coat. It really sounds like a poignant and sweet read. 
  • Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - I truly believe these books are for the romantics. They feature realistic and achingly sympathetic characters. The covers for both are two of the best this year and Rainbow recently posted her playlists for Eleanor & Park on her blog. Here, here, and here. Have a listen.
  • Fault Line by Christa Desir - I haven't read many books that deal with rape and how it affects the victim and those who care. I'm looking forward to this book.
  • Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith - The cover is bright orange and splattered with purple. What's even better is the description of the book, which I'll say nails it. It's a novel that's described as capturing the messy glory of being alive.
  • Red by Alison Cherry - In ScarletVille red heads hold the power. That is an awesome premise.
  • Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins - It's about an ordinary girl who falls in love with an Amish boy, another book for a hopeless romantic.
  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway - I think a lot of us find the possibility of falling in love with a childhood friend attractive. That's why this book caught my eye.

Of course there are a lot more contemporaries on my list and non-contemporaries as well. I'll blog about them one day. I'd love to know, what contemporary reads are you looking forward to?

Jan 11, 2013

The Best Is Yet To Come

There's a few days left before The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest begins and I'm still revising. Actually, it's going pretty well. I've had help from two awesome beta readers who've pointed out things that I didn't notice or didn't think were much of a problem. The good news is, since I've revised this novel before there isn't a lot that needs fixing. The bad news is, I sometimes fall into the trap of striving for perfection.

So I remembered this quote I read on an astrological site. One of those sites where you put in your name, month, place, and time of birth and it gives you a free report--everything you need to know about you distilled into a few paragraphs. Here's what it said in reference to my career and vocation:

"You need not only to accept the gap between vision and reality, but also to let go of your work when it is good enough - for "good enough" may be the thing you need most to learn to recognize about your work."

- Liz Greene, Astrodienst

It isn't the most perfect quote, but there is a lot of truth to it. Though, at the same time, if there's anything I've learned from watching you guys get agents, book deals, and win contests it's PATIENCE--my word of choice for this year. I just have to find the right balance.

There were indeed some gems I discovered last year. They didn't all come out in 2012, but still. I'll be sharing them now in a very simple list of favorites.

On Writing


From Ordinary to Extraordinary Part 1Part 2

Reading

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Music 

Best Song: The Stable Song by Gregory Alan Isakove

We should write more songs like this.

Best Video: Featherstone by The Paper Kites

Best Newly Discovered Artist: Lisa Hannigan


Favorite Movies


Spirited Away

My Neighbor Totoro

TV (What I Watched)

Supernatural
True Blood
The Vampire Diaries
American Horror Story
The Walking Dead
Pretty Little Liars
The Lying Game

Favorite Non-Writing Blog


Maybe I'm cheating because she does write some really wonderful shorts. Here, here, and here.


That's all for now. Happy reading and writing!