- Reading 150 books of various genres and age categories, to be explained more fully in the following goals:
- I will read at least 12 books of poetry. (2/12)
- I will read at least 24 books of MG fiction. (3/24)
- I will read at least 24 books of YA/Teen fiction. (12/24)
- I will read at least 24 titles of scif-fi/fantasy, speculative fiction, or paranormal. (16/24)
- I will read at least 12 diverse books, either from cultural groups not my own, or translated works (also cultures not my own). (1/12)
- I will read 24 graphic novels. (2/24)
- I will read at least 24 non-fiction books, and at least 5 of these will not be about writing or writing craft. (8/24)
- I will read genres outside of my usual favorites, like romance, mystery, suspense, thriller, contemporary, and classic. (8)
- I will listen to 12 audio books. (2/12)
- I will read at least 12 professional essays (in addition to student essays I read) and 50 professional short stories. 1/12.
- I will read 24 Indie or Small Press published books. (4/24)
- I will read four devotionals/Bible study guides.
- I will read the New Testament again, and probably read pieces of the OT to go with it.
- In reading the various types of books above, some of these will fill more than one category at a time. For example: Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson is a graphic novel, a contemporary novel, and a MG novel.
- I will also reread books.
- 25 Impossible Tales of Survivors, Flawed Heroes, and Annoyed Villains. It’s my book and I’m proud of the stories in it, proud of finishing it. I’m glad for it and celebrating it. Finished January 1.
- Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson: This wonderful, heartwarming graphic novel caught my attention from the start with sympathetic characters, a great storyline which builds on the tension between two friends whose interests are beginning to separate them and includes some rocking roller derby scenes. This is a great coming of age, young teen graphic novel. And good for those of us who are young at heart, too. 🙂 I plan to read it again. Finished January 2.
- Blade Breaker by Victoria Aveyard picks up where the first book ended, ramps up the tension, and takes the characters on a wild ride deeper into danger, intrigue, and action-packed, heartbreaking moments. Finished January 3.
- Homebound by John David Anderson. Brilliant, swashbuckling, action-packed adventure in space with excellent characters and some of the best pop culture references I’ve ever read in a MG book. I don’t want to give anything away, for either the first or the second in this series, but I will say I think the aliens are interesting, the alien worlds even more so, and the characters have depth in the first book, and it gets even better in the second. Highly recommended. Finished January 5.
- Felicity by Mary Oliver. I love this little book of poems. I will reread them again and again.
- Upstream: Selected Essays by Mary Oliver. This was a library read, and while I loved some essays, I disliked others, so it was enjoyable, but maybe not all for me as a reader.
- Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This was a re-read for me, since I was preparing to read the rest of the trilogy which I had checked out of the library. Aurora Rising is a wild ride of future sci-fi adventure with aliens, romance, and an unexpected antagonist. YA Scifi Fun.
- Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. So good. I think I may have liked this one better than the first. Can’t say much because I might reveal spoilers. Again, YA Scifi Fun. Unfortunately, it ended with a tough cliff-hanger, which made me glad I had book 3 ready to read. YA Scifi.
- Aurora’s End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Krisoff. I liked it. I laughed at some parts and cried at others. But there was one section that kind of slogged for me as a reader, so it saddened me that this was the last book. I just wanted it to be as good as the second one. Still, I am glad I read this trilogy. YA Scifi.
- All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson. I really liked this graphic novel. It had a fun premise and a painfully good coming-of-age character arc. While set in contemporary times, the main character’s family works at a Renaissance Faire year-round, and the main character has been immersed in Ren-Faire traditions as a homeschool student. In this story, she goes to public school and middle school for the first time. Middle Grade, Contemporary Graphic Novel. I didn’t like this as much as I liked Jamieson’s Roller Girl, but it was a fun read from my library.
- Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandemeer is an interesting, wild, and not-like-any-other book I’ve ever read kind of book. It’s a mixture of graphic non-fiction and prose by the author/artist, and article additions by notable authors and artists. Non-fiction, Writing Craft.
- So Far So Good: Final Poems: 2014-2018 by Ursala K. Le Guin. Finished and sent to her publisher mere weeks before her passing, this is Ursala K. Le Guin’s final contribution to the written word, and it is worthwhile reading. While I loved the first twenty pages best in this one-hundred-page volume, the book is a beautifully written, poignant read about the final days of life. Poetry.
- Pride, Prejudice, and Pizza by Shauna Jared. A fun, warm romance I discovered on Kindle Vella. It’s short, probably around 12,000 words, so it’s more like a lengthy short story or a short novelette, but it was a fun read with good humor and great HEA. Contemporary Romance.
- Song of Ebony (A Snow White Retelling) by Deborah Grace White. This is the first of a new series and the world-building within the book is excellently paced as the characters live in and discover new aspects of their world, which is full of wild magic, dangerous to humans on an island they live with the elves, who they believe tricked them into dying on the ground in their past. The main character, Bianca, is a young woman but her hair has turned all white due to contact with magic unexpectedly. She loves to make her words “dance,” and this becomes an important aspect to the story, so I can’t quite give away what this means, but I loved the idea. Clean Fantasy Adventure Romance by a Christian Indie Author.
15. Beauty and Beast, one of the three novellas in Timeless Fairy Tales: Books 1-3 by K.M. Shea. This is a fractured fairy tale retelling, and I enjoyed the way Ella is not the typical Belle, but a highly skilled spy for the crown, and the “beast” prince is hiding away in his castle to protect his servants from being bullied by those who fear the curse. Clean Fairy Tale Fantasy Romance.
16. Wild Swans by K.M. Shea is a fractured fairy tale, the second of three in Shea’s compilation Timeless Fairy Tales: Books 1-3. I enjoyed this story, partly because I love this fairy tale, and partly because in this version, the main character had more agency. However, I wasn’t sure I liked how much she put up with the bossiness of her stepbrothers. Indie Fantasy Romance for YA.
17. Cinderella and the Colonel by K.M. Shea is a fractured fairy tale, the third of three in Shea’s compilation of Timeless Fairy Tales: Books 1-3. I enjoyed this more than I expected to, and I had a lot of fun reading this story. Again, Cinderella had more agency in this version of the story. All of the characters received a better treatment and I plan on reading this version of the classic a few more times, because there were some really interesting additions to this version. Indie Fantasy Romance for YA.
18. Shield of Shadow by C.F.E. Black is a YA romantic fantasy, and also a coming-of-age story about a young woman who discovers that the power she’s been trying to suppress and use sparingly is actually a sign that she’s one of the most powerful sorcerers of her land, but she’s heard her power could be evil most of her life and so she fears using it. The romantic interest in this particular book didn’t work for me too well, but I did like the main character enough to purchase the next book in the series: Blade of Ash, which haven’t finished as I write this post. Indie Fantasy Romance for YA.
19. Your Writing Matters: How to Banish Self-Doubt, Trust Yourself, and Go the Distance by Colleen M. Story. I loved this book and I wrote a review of it on Monday. https://tyreanstales.com/2023/02/06/writing-book-review-your-writing-matters-by-colleen-m-story/ Non-Fiction for writers.
20. Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers by Jessica Roux is a beatiful and informational guide specific to Victorian flowers and bouquets. Non-fiction.
21. Oracle of Life; The Lord’s Gambit Series, Volume One, A Dark Mythological Fantasy Epic by Katherine D. Graham. This story takes readers on a dark twisting adventure with Nariah, an oracle who hopes to save her people from doom, but who discovers not all is at it seems. This story went through some darker turns than I expected, but Nariah had resilience to see her hope fulfilled in one way or another. Fantasy Romance.
22. In Darkness, the Vampire, a paranormal fantasy clean romance novella by L. Diane Wolfe is a sweet surprise of unexpected adventure that reminds more of quest fantasy novels from the past, while adding in a fresh perspective, an intrepid human woman, and a vampire leader. While “sweet” and “vampire” don’t often go together, that’s what makes this book refreshing and fun to read because of the sweet, clean romance in the midst of a quest with vampires. Paranormal Fantasy Romance.
23. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi is a thrilling adventure set in a gorgeous new world of fantasy by a Nigerian-American author, so it’s shiny new in its own, unique way with some of the standard build of friendships and romance you might expect in a YA fantasy adventure with some romance. The characters are awesome, and Adeyemi is a brilliant author – so much so that I want to study exactly how she brought me into the world so seamlessly. YA Fantasy. Diverse read.
24. Blade of Ash: Scepter and Crown Book One by C.F.E. Black is a romantic fantasy with Christian thematic elements and clean romance. The characters are fun to read, and I loved this “enemies” to “lovers” story in which each character has a growth arc, and there are plenty of action and intrigue scenes within this fantasy world. YA Fantasy Romance. Indie Read.
25. Emma’s Three Christmas Wishes by Elena Shelest is a sweet, young teen fantasy read with clean romance, silly moments, and character growth. I have loved some of Elena Shelest’s books in the past, but this one felt younger than the others, and I felt like I wasn’t quite the right audience for it. However, if you are looking for a clean, young teen romantic urban fantasy with Christian themes and Disney Channel vibes, this is the book for you. Indie Read.
26. The Posy Book: Garden-Inspired Bouquets That Tell a Story by Teresa H. Sabankaya is a beautiful, non-fiction book about creating posy bouquets with meaning through the language of flowers. I felt inspired by this beginner level book of posy creation and I loved the descriptions, the photos, and the easy-to-follow directions. Non-Fiction.
27. Defy the Stars by Cathrina Constantine is a YA fantasy romance with plenty of twists, turns, and action-packed intrigue. This thrilling Adventure takes readers to a new world of magic and dangerous intrigue, and takes a stand against trafficking, slavery, and darkness in a fictional realm that can inspire us to take a stand in our own. Older YA Fantasy Romance (behind the door scenes). Indie Read.
28. A Sense of Danger by Jennifer Estep is an adult paranormal spy romance with great world-building, excellent character development, and a fun plot. It’s a fast read, but if you are looking for clean romance, skip chapters 35 and 36. You won’t miss any of the plot, but I skipped those chapters because they seemed to be all steamy sex scenes with more detail than I needed/wanted. I listened to this on audible, so it was easy to skip ahead until the plot returned (chapter 37, although you can listen to the last minute or two of chapter 36 without getting too many details). If this were a clean romance or a warm romance (behind closed doors), I would shout this book from the rooftops, because otherwise, it’s awesome.
29. The Posy Book: Garden-Inspired Bouquets That Tell a Story by Teresa H. Sabankaya is a beautiful book on posy creation and the language of flowers with how-to tips, sample bouquets, and gorgeous photography. Non-fiction. Special interest.
30. The Ghost Cat, Totem #5 by Christine Rains is a paranormal, shifter urban fantasy set in Alaska and is the fifth book in a series about three polar bear shapeshifting sisters. These books are warm to slightly heated romance, but with closed doors, and the suspense and paranormal elements, along with the character and plot development create enjoyable satisfying reads. Urban Paranormal Fantasy Romance.
31. Write Your Own Cake: A Worldbuilding Essay by Jennifer Estep is a short eBook read for authors utilizing the cake layering method for world-building. Non-fiction. Writing.
32. Your Writing Matters: How to Banish Self-Doubt, Trust Yourself, and Go the Distance by Colleen M. Story is a great non-fiction read for authors at the beginning or middle of their journey. Non-fiction. Writing.
33. Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson is a YA Romance read with strong ties to Pride and Prejudice, but even if you aren’t into the original Bennet sisters, read this book. It’s good. While this book doesn’t hide from heartbreak or tough circumstances, it does show great character growth in Marne, the main character who realizes suddenly that she is the Mary Bennet family. Determined to break her habits, she goes on a transformational journey with plenty of bumps and turns along the way. This book is sweet and heartwarming, but also thought-provoking and sometimes hard to read. I laughed and cried. YA Contemporary Coming of Age with some Romance
34. Miracles by C.S. Lewis. I read this non-fiction, Christian apologist book with some students in a homeschool cooperative class. We mined it for gems and quotes and enjoyed some of Lewis’ humor and sassy opinions as well as his thoughtful, logical argument for miracles and for faith.
35. Princess of Secrets (Fairy Tale Adventures, #2) by A.G. Marshall was a fun, adventurous, light-hearted YA romantic fantasy novel I had tucked away on my Kindle for a rainy day, and since it rained, I had reason to read it. 🙂 The romance is clean romance, and this adventurous retelling of The Frog Prince story had some wonderful, funny scenes.
36. Remade by Danielle Novotny was another book I had tucked away on my Kindle from a Christmas giveaway with a bunch of clean romance and Christian authors. This action-packed sci-fi adventure followed the main character through a fatal car accident into a new life after she’s been remade by an alien scientist who wants her to fight for the galaxy’s king. Seen as a freak by other soldiers, the main character hides her abilities and struggles with PTSD from her accident, finally finding a place in a special unit of soldiers led by a Captain who is kind of swoony… but this remains a clean, slowburn romance with all the action coming from the battle scenes. I really enjoyed the book and plan to read the sequel eventually.
37. REREAD: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling has been a fun and enjoyable re-read. I’m honestly not sure how many times I’ve read this book. I’ve read it on my own at least four times now, read it out loud to my family, later listened to it on audiobook, and read it again. This time around, I read some chapters in my old, hardback copy that I’ve had for ages, and listened to some on audiobook. Jen Chandler invited readers to join her with reading this book and we’ll be starting the next soon. It’s a gentle sort of challenge, and Jen knows loads of Harry Potter lore, so check it out. We’re starting book 2 soon.