Tag Archives: good reads

My Reading Highlights for March

Hello Reading Compadres! Read any good books in March? Do tell! As for me, while February was characterized as a ‘meh’ month reading-wise, March more than made up for it. A long-awaited pre-order came out, and it most definitely did not disappoint. And best of all, what every reader lives for — I discovered a new author who totally rocked my month to the tune of an awesome, and quickly devoured, trilogy.


If you’ve been following my monthly reading blogs, then you will know that V.E. Schwab has recently become one of my very favorite writes. While her Darker Shade of Magic trilogy had been on my radar for a while, it was her runaway best seller, The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue that completely converted me to Schwab and had me binge reading all Schwab, all the time J That being the case, it should come as no surprise that I had pre-ordered her latest YA standalone, Gallant several months before its release. While written for a slightly younger audience that the YA I usually read, I would wholeheartedly recommend  Gallant to any age reader. Gallant is the story of what makes family and home told from the point of fourteen-year-old orphan, Olivia. Olivia is mute, and yet her character is one of the most eloquent and well drawn I have recently read. This novel is not to be missed, no matter how old you are. It has convinced me once again that Schwab is a goddess in her realm.



The other highlight of my reading month was the discovery of dark fantasy author, Jen Williams. OMG! Where has this author been all of my life. While at loose ends looking for my next read, I downloaded a sample of Williams’ The Ninth Rain, the first novel of The Winnowing Flame series. I didn’t stop reading until I had hungrily devoured the whole trilogy and ended up with big book- bereavement. Jen Williams has definitely not gotten the press she so well deserves. The Winnowing Flame series ticked every box and some I didn’t realize needed to be ticked. A middle-aged woman who is the head of a family of vintners, teams up with a drunken Eborian (think Fae who isn’t really Fae) running away from his dying land and a fire witch escaped from a notorious institution that exploits her kind team up to save their world from another wave of off-world invaders that are a nightmare mix of Borg and Heinlin’s Bugs. The characters a vibrant, well drawn and beautifully flawed. The chemistry between them is effervescent. Forced to work together, their mistrust is replaced with true friendship. The plot is nail biting and electric, with that delicious blend of fantasy, scifi and horror. If Williams didn’t already have me with this smorgasbord of reading delights, she brings in the dragon!



If you’ve not read anything by Jen Williams, do so without further delay, but don’t expect to sleep until the last book is finished. This month’s best read has to be The Winnowing flame trilogy.


In other news, I’ve just returned from another fabulous writing retreat at Northmoor House near Exmoor. I spent most of my time preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo coming up in April, so the reading will probably be sharply curtailed next month, but I’m all set to tackle another thirty day write-athon.


Next week there’ll be another episode of Dragon Ascending, so do check in. In the meantime, happy reading! If you have a book you think I absolutely must read, drop me a message.


My Reading Highlights of February

The highlight of my reading month in February was easily the release of Sarah J. Mass’s second Crescent City novel, House of Sky and Breath. Of course that meant a re-read of book one, House of Earth and Bloodin preparation. Rereading a novel is like visiting an old friend, and all of Maas’s books have become dear friends to me. I timed my reading to coincide with the February 15 release, finishing one book just in time to start the next. I was not disappointed. I lost sleep and left household chores undone while reading HoS&B, but with a SJM novel, that’s no surprise. HoS&B is continuation of Hunt and Bryce’s story as they struggle to create a normal happy life together. But happy lives in a Maas series are hard earned. The book fleshes out some of the characters from HoE&B that I was aching to know better and introduces a few intriguing new ones. I loved the growing camaraderie between unexpected characters as their abrasive edges take a back seat to a common cause. HoS&B seriously raises stakes that were already astoundingly high forging dangerous alliances and forcing desperate actions. Because Crescent City is an adult series, the sex sizzles, and there’s plenty of it. Before I started  HoS&B  I had another book lined up from the TBR pile to plunge into. Book bereavement is always worse when you binged a new novel the first few days after release and then have to wait a whole year for the next one. Always be prepared. Just saying.




While I was expecting the cliffhanger ending, what I wasn’t expecting was the jaw dropping twists and turns at the end, which have made me even more impatient for the next book in the series. Sarah J. Maas’s House of Sky and Breath is easily my choice for February’s read of the month.


Sadly the rest of my February reading selections were lackluster and disappointing. It pains me to say that February was a reading month characterized by the phrase, “this book had so much potential.” Because reading is a very subjective pleasure, I won’t give the names of any of the other books I read in February. If you know, check me out on Goodreads. But don’t expect scathing or snarky reviews. Not my style.


The best books allow me to forget that I’m a writer and immerse myself in the experience of reading for pure pleasure. But if the book is disappointing I can’t help donning my writer’s cap and mentally noting everything that could have made the book better. I understand that one person’s BRAVO read may be another reader’s MEH. But if I am giving a rating on Goodreads or Amazon, a novel has to be truly atrocious for me to give it three stars, in fact usually I just won’t rate the book at all if I find it that bad. I won’t even finish it. But from a writer’s point of view I reckon anyone who sticks with the writing process long enough to complete a novel deserves something for the effort. But it pays to take the time to perfect the writing craft, and that process never ends. How many books have we read by bestselling authors that could have benefitted from a good edit? That being said, while I will tell you the books I love, I will never tell you the books that I found disappointing. That means you’ll never know if I gave a book four stars because it wasn’t bad or because it just wasn’t quite worthy of five. Sorry about that. I’m just way too much of a softie.


In other book news, most of you know I read almost exclusively from my Kindle reader now. I do love my instant gratification and my portable library. But it hit me a few weeks ago that there were some books I wanted tangible copies of … just in case. That honor is reserved only for my very, very favorite, best ever reads. With that in mind, this week I treated myself to the whole nine novels of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series. Yes, they are my favorite books ever written by my favorite author ever to write, and yes I’ve read them multiple times, and yes, yes, yes! I will read them again… and again. I just wanted those special books to be something I could actually stroke and touch and admire because Naomi Novik is a goddess, and I proudly worship at the altar of Good Books. That is all.



Happy reading, everyone. Do share any your favorite that you think I might enjoy. See you next Friday with the next instalment of Dragon Ascending.