October was my first month without my main WIP. Because I’ve been in such an intense state of revision, I took October off to tap into things I’ve wanted to watch and read for a while, and honestly, it’s been quite restorative. 10/10 highly recommend. I might have a new project in the works, but it’s all joy and no stress. Book-shaped, but without all the other intensity.
Which, speaking of, it’s November. Am I doing NaNoWriMo? Who knows.
Genre: Middle Grade Horror Year Release: 2022 Source: Library Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: missing children, reference to a dead parent Gentle spoilers for previous entries in the Small Spaces series
Empty Smiles picks up precisely where Dark Waters leaves off: with Ollie missing in an alternate dimension where no one else can see her either. It’s just her, the Smiling Man and a bunch of mannequins, some of which are clowns, some of which are others kidnapped like her. Brian, Coco, and Ollie have to work together across dimensions to keep their families in tact while the Smiling Man himself finds an enemy he can’t contend with.
A perfect conclusion that tugged at my tear ducts and heart strings, where family born and found is the central hero of an otherwise terrifying story.
I read 198 books this year in a split of: 39 ARCs, 59 audiobooks, 85 manga volumes, 9 physical copies, 2 light novels, and 6 eBooks. As my boyfriend said, “That’s a lot of things, Jo.” It is that time of year where I want to share my favorites, so please enjoy my top 20 2021 books, top 20 books from before 2021, and, a new feature, 5 manga.
I realize that I make lists for books I’m excited for and book I want to read, and failed on both those lists. So, my lists for 2022 books is mostly about boosting others works regardless of if I personally get around to reading them. That’s just how it is when you’re employed and vastly mis-measure what kind of focus you’ll have as the year goes on. Moving also robbed me of a bunch of my focus, which should not have been as surprising as it is. On top of working full time. On top of being in a relationship and trying to participate in the communities I’m a part of.
August and September were two months I can only describe as liminal spaces. Long story short, we moved into one apartment, and then transferred to another apartment. I didn’t feel like doing an August recap without having settled in. So here we are. I’ve also been busy otherwise.
I did several author interviews (and there are so many more to come):
To get in the mood for spooky season, I’ve decided to dip back into some horror reads. Katherine Arden’s shift to Middle Grade has been on my radar for a bit. What a delightful series it is. We follow the scary adventures of Ollie Adler, Coco Zintner, and Brian Battersby, three middle schoolers with different experiences of the supernatural. These books are scary but heartwarming, with tense situations and fantastic character development. The cliffhanger Dark Waters ends on makes me impatient for the next book, but they are a delight and highly recommended for fans of things like Over the Garden Wall, Crimson Peak, and urban legends coming to life.
Instead of doing NaNoWriMo this year, I decided to plot out a book instead. It didn’t mean I didn’t have time for some excellent reads. This month featured such an assortment of genres and formats, I feel like my understanding of craft expanded in ways I didn’t expect. Continue reading →
Happy solstice, friends. While the weather is less than wintry in New York, where 60 degrees is tee shirt weather, there are some books out there which make you want to cozy up with a mug of tea in front of a fire (or Fireplace for Your Home). Here are five of my favorites.
This December recap is the last one for 2017, mostly because of the 12 Days of Reading that closes out the year and kicks of my 2018 in books. I am already hype for the things to come next year, as a reader, a writer, and a professional.