Tag Archives: Books

2018 Books Archive

Yes, I know it is already well into 2019. As with most things in my life, I’m behind a bit. Maybe I could count the first quarter of 2019 as a trial period and we just pick up as if nothing left off from here? I like it. Pretend it is early January if that doesn’t work for you.

At any rate, here’s my recap of last year’s reading. It is a very long list (in the order read because OCD planning last year prevailed). It’s also more for my own look back for future reference. But if you see something you like here and pick it up because of my brief recommendation then I’ve done something good to pay things forward for the authors.

I’m proud of myself for reading as much for leisure as assigned and textbooks in 2018. A win if any I’ve heard for last year! Here’s to keeping that trend up in 2019.

  • It Came From the Great Salt Lake: A Collection of Utah Horror, K. Scott Forman (editor) – I have a story in this one so it was very cool to read. Many of the authors are friends and it was a pleasure reading such great stories. Not sure you love horror or want short bedtime stories, pick this one up!
  • Monster Hunter Alpha (Monster Hunter International #3), Larry Correia – I wanted to like this more but maybe if you’ve read one you’ve read them all?
  • Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty – this was a book club pick and what a great little gem it was! Great characters and great story.
  • Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, Kim Malone Scott – this was an amazing read for anyone in management or leadership especially. It is good for anyone in the business world – more so if you work in a culture full of passive-aggressive folk. Highly recommended!
  • Artemis, Andy Weir – almost as good as his first one and very entertaining.
  • Personality: Theory and Research, Cervone – textbook!
  • Henry V, William Shakespeare
  • Sonnets, William Shakespeare
  • Macbeth, William Shakespeare
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini – book club pick
  • The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare
  • Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare – can you tell I took a Shakespeare class? Sigh… at least it is behind me now!
  • Flipped, Wendelin Van Draanen – book club pick
  • What Immortal Hand, Johnny Worthen – this one started out a little slow but SO worth the build up. By the end I couldn’t put it down.
  • Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov – a classic but I’m not sure how I feel about it after having read it.
  • Hamlet, William Shakespear
  • Team of Teams, General Stanley McChrystal – the latest buzz book at work. It was just meh for me.
  • Rot & Ruin, Jonathon Maberry – I heard lots of great things about this one and I had to pick it up after I met the author in person. No disappointment here! There are lots more in the series which I will likely return to when I have more time.
  • Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1), Leigh Bardugo – another one with super hype. It didn’t suck but it is clearly written for a young-adult audience and I didn’t love it enough to read more in the trilogy.
  • Red Clocks, Leni Zumas – amazing book that an agent who I pitched my own novel to said it sounded like. Sure enough, this is very similar to the world my own novel is set in. Both awesome and a let down at the same time. To make myself feel better, I made my book club read it, too. They loved it, which was very cool.
  • Wonder, R.J. Palacio – book club pick
  • Feed, Mira Grant – pretty interesting new take on zombies.
  • Love on Location, September Roberts – written by a friend and such a fun read (romance erotica genre)
  • American War, Omar El Akkad – read more because it is a comparable title to the novel I wrote last year. It was interesting but took a while to really get good.
  • Introduction to Mass Communication: Media Literacy and Culture, Stanley J. Baran – you guessed it, text book!
  • Criminal Behavior: A Psychological Approach, Curt R. Bartol, Anne M Barton – love me some psychology textbook (seriously, though. Don’t judge me!)
  • The Code Red Revolution: How Thousands of People are Losing Weight and Keeping it off Without Pills, Shakes, Diet Foods, or Exercise, Cristy Code Red Nikel – my new lifestyle starting point. If you want easy to follow Keto-based life, this is very easy to follow with clear and simple “rules” to live by. If you want just the details and don’t need all the inspirational stories, I recommend the actual book (or Kindle version) because the audible you can’t skip around as easily.
  • The Red Tent, Anita Diamant – book club pick
  • Human Evolution and Culture: Highlights of Anthropology, Carol R. Ember, Melvin Ember, Peter N. Peregrine – turns out I really love anthropology!
  • Linguistics for Everyone: An Introduction, Kristin Denham, Ann Lobeck – textbook!
  • The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas – one seriously amazing book that everyone in America should read. No, really. Go read this book. (The movie was not as good!)
  • The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah – book club pick. Kristin Hannah never disappoints and this one was great.
  • Playing Big: The Unsexy Truth About How to Succeed in Business, Kim Flynn – very fluffy entrepreneur book for people who may have never worked in the business world. Maybe I’m just far more well-rounded than most but I found not much new or noteworthy in this one.
  • Annihilation, Jeff Vandermeer
  • Authority, Jeff Vandermeer
  • Acceptance, Jeff Vandermeer – I read this entire trilogy back to back as if it were one big book. Because of that, I had a complete story and was not disappointed. Had I waited in between (or read them at the rate they were being published) I would have been pissed. Overall a cool story. The movie sucked in comparison.
  • The Raven Boys – Maggie Stievater – book club pick. Another interesting YA that I probably won’t continue. If I didn’t have to read so many textbooks, I might have read more.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – finally got around to reading this one. I think I liked it more than I would have because I watched the first season of the Hulu series based on the book. Overall, pretty disturbing and fantastic all at the same time.
  • Design Solutions – Robin Landa – textbook (I kind of hate graphic design, for the record)
  • The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stievater – okay, I lied. I found time for the second one of this series after my oldest read it.
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson – I thought I would like this one more than I did. It was fascinating but not always the easiest to follow.
  • The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gillman – school assigned
  • The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker – fabulous read of the Trojan War from the women taken as slaves in the Greek camp. I made the book club read this one, too.
  • Tear Me Apart, J.T.Ellison – a quick and satisfying mystery.
  • The Calculating Stars (Lady Astronaut #1), Mary Robinette Kowal – I love this author and follow her podcast but this was the first book that struck me as something I would like to read. Alas, I was pretty disappointed. It was interesting but not compelling.
  • Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi – one of the best reads of the year. Interesting and full of diverse characters and cool magic.
  • The Devil’s Only Friend (John Cleaver #4), Dan Wells – I keep coming back to this series but I’m not sure where it is headed. I had limited time between classes and wanted something I could read quickly.
  • Literary Theory: The Basics, Hans Bertens – one of the most dreaded classes that ended up being one of my favorites. Who knew!
  • A Cold and Lonely Place, Sara J. Henry – probably shouldn’t start with book two in a series even if it is a stand-alone story. I just couldn’t get into the character who I assume readers knew more to keep them reading from the first book.
  • Midnight Riot, Ben Aaronovitch – just meh for me – British police who also hunts ghosts story.
  • New Family Values, Andrew Solomon – one of Audible’s free reads that was very compelling and made me think about how we define family in our current culture.

Coming Soon: My next horror publication

Remember a few months ago when I’d just submitted a story and was struggling with the fear of rejection? You win some and you lose some in this business and this time resulted in an acceptance. It isn’t the first horror story I’ve had accepted but my first publisher has yet to publish my creepy bug story. Apparently that happens? I’m learning patience with this whole publishing endeavor. But I digress…

My story “Baby of the Lake” will appear in the upcoming “It Came From the Great Salt Lake” anthology from Griffin Publishers. Release date is scheduled for early February. This will be an eclectic collection of short stories from many talented authors that I’m honored to be included with.

If you’re like me, you’re dying for a sneak peek… And because I don’t like to wait I will do my best not to let any of my fans wait too long either. Here’s a little snippet to whet your whistle:

 

An invisible force weighed down her hands. She struggled again, but every muscle refused to respond as if she were an insect stuck in amber.

Not this, please. This was worse than a nightmare.

She screamed, as hard as she could. She heard it in her head, but her lips refused to part. It was like someone had forced her jaw open and shoved handfuls of cotton halfway down her throat then sealed her lips. She screamed again, harder this time. The scream echoed inside her head, but nothing escaped her lips.

 

May this little teaser satisfy your curiosity enough for a couple of months.

I know how hard it is to wait. I’m currently waiting to see what the cover is going to look like and the suspense is killing me!


Review: Pretty Things by Christine Haggerty

Pretty Things Cover

When Maddie’s father catches her with a boy, he hauls her into town in a pig wagon and finds her a husband. But Peter’s cabin in the woods promises something very different than Maddie’s happily ever after.

Pretty Things, a retelling of “The Robber Bridegroom,” is the first novella in the Grimm Chronicles series. Warning: not your granny’s fairytales!

 

 

 

 

I’ve never been one for fairy tales – because I always thought of them in the flavor of the Disney franchise or Mother Goose. But this is not your typical children’s fairy tale and it grabbed me from the first line. Christine Haggerty weaves a tale with adult themes of seduction and betrayal with a splash of daddy issues to the classic tale of the Robber Bridegroom.

I’ve rarely been tempted outside my preferred genres, especially when it comes to retelling an already famous tale. However, this one made me wonder how true to the classic it was and I found myself researching the original. While those with a love of The Brothers Grimm and their ancient tales will surely recognize key elements, this is a fresh new take on the old. It is a short novella, easily dispatched over a large coffee, yet the characters are full of depth. At times I found myself rooting for Maddie and other times loathing her and siding with others. This is a gem of a find everyone should treat themselves to.

For a peek at the book trailer, check it out HERE.

Purchase the novella HERE – currently priced at 99 cents.

 

Pretty Thing Banner

Christine Nielson Haggerty grew up in rural Utah with three brothers, a sister, several chickens, a goat, and an outhouse. She always loved the escape of fantasy and the art of writing, and her passion for life is to craft stories of strength and survival.

As a former high school language arts teacher and a black belt in karate, Christine has found a niche in combining those skills to help authors write effective fight scenes.

An award-winning young adult author, she is now launching her dark fantasy fairytale novella series The Grimm Chronicles.chaggertypic

 

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Interview: Adrienne Monson

Today I have the pleasure of talking with fellow author, Adrienne Monson, about her new book Defiance releasing later this month.

 

Defiance HighRes

Leisha and Samantha barely survived. Now, an explosive battle between the vampires and immortals seems imminent. It’s more important than ever before that the prophecy child is found, but there’s a problem—Leisha has lost her powers. She seems like nothing more than a human. Her newfound humanity is further complicated when Tafari, her old lover, appears with a desire for reconciliation. Can Leisha lock up the past to save those she loves, or will fate tear everything from her once again?

 

 

 

 

Where did your idea for Defiance come from?

I’ve had a fascination with vampires since I was 11. It was inevitable that the first story I write included these mythical creatures, with my own personal twist to them.

Many argue the trend in vampire novels have come and gone. What makes yours different from the rest?

Like everything else, the market for vampires does a roller coaster. But even on the downward slope, there’s fans that will always pick it up. My vampires are unique in many ways, one of which is the story talks about how they came into existence in the first place using Voodoo magic.

What is your secret to balancing romance without cliche?

If you have a strong plot and three-dimensional characters, the romance will just work. It’s when an author forces a romance that a reader doesn’t really feel that it becomes cliche.

What’s the key to writing a second book in a series?

Have the end in mind. Even if you plan on writing a 12 book series, always know exactly where everyone is going to end up at the end. Hopefully, if you do that, all the previous books will flow together.

How long did it take you to write Defiance?

One year. Someday I’ll get as good as some other authors I know and pop out a new book every couple months. Someday…

Adrienne Author - 3650What is your writing process? Where and when do you write?

I have young kids at home, so it’s dicey to have that time. I generally wait until the kids are in bed, which gives me a solid two hours a night. I also have an amazing critique group, and we go on writers retreats twice a year. It’s amazing how much I write during those trips!

What is your favorite part of being an author?

Interacting with the readers! I’ve gotten some amazing messages online from fans and it’s always a blast to meet more readers at book signings. They keep me going on the days I feel like throwing in the towel.

Least favorite?

Actually sitting my butt in the chair to write. Maybe I chose the wrong career… 😉

How did you go from aspiring writer to published author?

It’s really about keeping your eyes open for opportunities and taking it when they come along. I kept going to writers conferences, joined writing groups and critique groups. I immersed myself in the industry as much as possible and worked on improving my craft while seeking opportunities. One day, it paid off!

Any advice for other aspiring writers?

Join an awesome critique group with other writers that will tell you what’s what. Keep an open mind and don’t get defensive about your work. If people are putting in the time to give you feedback, recognize it. It doesn’t mean that they’re right – that’s up to you to decide. But make sure you listen with an open mind before you disagree.

Keep writing. Keep seeking opportunities and don’t give up!

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned so far on your journey?

That people actually like my books. I know it sounds silly, but I’m critical and insecure when it comes to my craft. I handle criticism from others better than compliments. So I was actually surprised that people really like what I write! (And I have to remind myself of that sometimes.)

Where can readers find and connect with you?

If you’re in the Salt Lake area, don’t miss the launch party for Defiance! Come get your book signed by the author, win door prizes (signed books, gift cards to restaurants and Amazon) and have a great time.

When: February 28, 2015 from 2:00 – 5:00 PM

Where: Barnes & Noble – Sugarhouse

1104 East 2100 South, Salt Lake City UT

http://www.adriennemonson.com/

https://twitter.com/#!/adriennemonson

https://www.amazon.com/author/adriennemonson

https://www.facebook.com/adriennemonson

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6584385.Adrienne_Monson

 


Book List Archive 2014

It’s New Year’s Day – time for reflection and putting away Christmas decorations. It has become tradition to capture my yearly list of books I’ve read from the site and archive them as a blog post with a little insight about each one. Long gone are the days I had time (or energy) to review every one as separate posts. However, if you’re on Goodreads, friend me up since I give at least a little blurb and a rating there when I finish reading. Here’s my efforts this year to become remain a well-read author.

  • The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor (work book club) – Self-help is not my favorite genre but this one was fabulous and just what I needed at the time. It even influenced my January blogging.
  • These Is My Words, Nancy E. Turner (book club)
  • Lone Survivor, Marcus Luttrell – the movie was better. Rarely is this true, but this time it is.
  • The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson – rocked my epic fantasy world like nothing else since Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time.
  • Wild, Cheryl Strayed – a great read and another surprise since I rarely like memoirs
  • A Prisoner of Birth, Jeffrey Archer (book club)
  • Beatrysel, Johnny Worthen – one of the best books I read this year. Mostly because it was dark and unique and spoke to  me deep down in my core like nothing before it. (Caution: Not for the faint of heart!)
  • Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson – more than hooked on this author and this series especially. I devoured it!
  • In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer, Irene Gut Opdyke (book club)
  • The Colony: Genesis, Michaelbrent Collings (not my favorite this year!)
  • Eleanor, Johnny Worthen (ARC*) – seriously, if you haven’t read this book go get a copy right now. Kids and adults and everyone in between will love this one. Johnny won Utah’s Writer of the Year for this book and it was deserving.
  • NOS4A2, Joe Hill – fabulous horror book like Stephen King used to write.
  • The Circle, Dave Eggers – (work book club)
  • The Tipping Point, Malcome Gladwell (work book club)
  • Monster Hunter International, Larry Correia – great military fiction with a supernatural twist
  • Heft, Liz Moore (book club) – one of the best we read this year.
  • Copper Descent (ARC*), Angela Hartley – one of my first blog tour posts
  • The Shining, Stephen King – I read this as a kid and wanted a re-read before the sequel. Not as frightening the second time around.
  • Doctor Sleep, Stephen King – changed the way I look at a mundane piece of the world. Still the master!
  • Second Firsts, Christina Rasmussen – (book club) – great read about dealing with loss. It was amazing to help deal with the loss of my health at the time. Little did I know I’d need it on such a deeper level later.
  • ITIL Service Operation – technical manual for a certification. Not a light or very enjoyable read, but necessary. I lament all the great fiction I could have read instead!
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman (my pick for book club) Amazing, amazing. I love Gaiman!
  • Monster Hunter Vendetta, Larry Correia – guilty pleasure via Audible
  • Plot and Structure, James Scott Bell – great read if you’re a writer
  • Call the Midwife, Jennifer Worth (book club)
  • Divergent, Veronica Roth (book club) – I wanted to hate it after seeing the movie but it was better and I didn’t.
  • The Colony: Renegades, Michaelbrent Collings – got a free copy on Audible and hoped the sequel was better. It wasn’t.
  • The End of Dieting, Joel Fuhrman – the book my doctor told me to read when embarking on veganism
  • Suspect, Robert Crais – recommended author to study on writing action which did not disappoint
  • Mitosis, Brandon Sanderson – more like a short story but I had to buy it so it counts!
  • Heart of Annihilation, C.R. Asay – (book club) another blog tour visitor (written by my writing group buddy)
  • The Giver, Lois Lowry – my oldest had to read it and kept talking about it and the movie was coming out so…
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie (book club)
  • ITIL Continual Service Improvement – another technical manual and certification that took far too much time away from “real” reading. But I passed!
  • The Martian, Andy Weir – best science fiction of the year that I happened to just stumble upon on Audible.
  • The Fault In Our Stars, John Green – did not live up to the hype!
  • Revival, Stephen King
  • Insurgent, Veronica Roth
  • Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler – great stories and a great behind-the-scenes look on the writing process of successful authors.

I have a rule that life is too short to waste time on books I don’t like after a few chapters. This list does not include two books I put down only partially read this year. One of them being Outlander, yes the same one everyone raves about and that they made a television series about. The other was some drivel that I don’t even remember the title of. Given all the time outside of work it took me to obtain two new professional certifications this year, I got a ton of great reading in. Can’t wait to do it all again in 2015! Happy reading to all my fellow readers out there.

*ARC = Advanced Reader Copy in the publishing world. Which means I got to read it before it was available to the public. Always a fabulous thing for an impatient woman like me!