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14 Exciting YA and MG Releases in 2017

One definite perk of being the web master for WriteOnCon has been reading all about the upcoming releases in 2017 and 2018. So this year, my TBR list already has some books that have yet to be released! I thought I’d share my list with you guys, in case any of them perk your interest, too.

The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser

Amy Lennox doesn’t know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother’s childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay.

Amy’s grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy…Continue Reading

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In Standard

Best Book Discoveries of 2016

Best Book Discoveries of 2016

After an enormous flop in my reading habits throughout 2015, I’m finally starting to get on top of things again! In 2016, I read 62 books (out of a 50-book goal). Disclaimer: A lot of these were children’s fiction (even picture books), but I’ll take what I can get.

Below I’ve listed some of my favorite discoveries from 2014, along with publishers’ descriptions. Enjoy!

Best Picture Books

The Journey by Francesca Sanna (Illustrations)

With haunting echoes of the current refugee crisis this beautifully illustrated book explores the unimaginable decisions made as a family leave their home and everything they know to escape the turmoil and tragedy brought by…Continue Reading

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17 Autumn Books to Read Before Halloween

17 Autumn Books to Read Before Halloween

Fall has filled the air (finally!) here in Virginia. It’s the season for warm drinks, scarves, and boots. It’s also the season for catching the last warmth of the sun by reading on the porch, or staying dry with good books during the October rains.

Below are seventeen books I love to read around this time of year, with their publisher’s description included. They mostly fall under the umbrella of YA, MG, and fantasy, because that’s what I love. It’s ordered roughly by age range. Enjoy!

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

serafina-and-the-black-cloakSerafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture…Continue Reading

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Let’s Talk Research: Illuminated Manuscripts

Let’s Talk Research: Illuminated Manuscripts

When I first began writing my YA fantasy novel, Illuminate, all I knew about the story was that it needed to include illuminated manuscripts. The problem: I only had a scattering of knowledge about illumination.

In this entry, the first of a series about my research adventures, I’m going to talk about the places I went, the books I read, and some of the weird things I learned. Hopefully this will be entertaining and educational–and perhaps help another young writer on their way!

iceland ms

Research Trips: The Places I Went

Living in England during my master’s opened a lot of opportunities…Continue Reading

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25 Book Recommendations for Teen Fantasy/History Lovers

A friend recently contacted me with this query:

I need some book recommendations for my daughter. She is 15, an avid reader and enjoys historical fiction or fantasy books. She also loves classics like Pride and Prejudice and light humorous stories like Anne of Green Gables. Preferably long and in a series.

Little did she know what she was getting into! By the end of the evening, I had scoured my shelves and my Goodreads lists to come up with 25 books for her daughter.

Then I thought, “Hey, there are other teens out there who like fantasy and history and might appreciate this list. I should put it on the internet!”

And so I have.

25 Books for Young Fantasy/History Lovers, from One Nerd to…Continue Reading

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Best Book Discoveries of 2014

Best Book Discoveries of 2014

I’ve completed my reading goal for the year! I set my goal on Goodreads back on January 1, 2014. This year I shot for 70 books, which I wrapped up in a mad rush during the last two weeks of the year.

One interesting thing I’ve discovered since finishing my undergraduate (with all the general education and other random classes attached) is that I willingly read a lot more non-fiction than I used to. Case in point: In 2012 out of my 75 books, 4 were “for fun” non-fiction. This year, I’m split even at 35/35. I think it’s a craving to keep collecting information that could be used in stories–but now I don’t have information served to…Continue Reading

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Creative Writing: Influence Maps

I’ve just published a post over on The Great Novelling Adventure about creating influence maps for your creative writing. I thought I’d take the maps I made for myself and expound on them here, in case anyone is curious.

No story (or writer) is created in a vacuum. Everyone has threads connecting their creation to the wider world. Having other forces influence you doesn’t make you unoriginal–in fact, I think the way we interpret the things that influence us is what makes us unique.

influence map

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