Fandom Fridays: Reading 2023, Watching, Listening

This is a post to update anyone interested in my 2023 Reading Challenge, as well as some extra bits about fandom and creatives.

2023 Reading Challenge Update

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.

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.

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.

27. Defy the Stars by Cathrina Constantine is an older YA fantasy romance (with some behind the door moments) with plenty of twists, turns, and action-packed intrigue as the characters work to discover their past and how it may inform their future. Fantasy Romance. YA. Indie Read.


I am taking a partial break from movies and shows for Lent. While it may be traditional to fast from food from Lent, the most meaningful type of fasting I’ve ever practiced has been around my reading, viewing, or entertainment practices. HOWEVER, it’s also traditional to take a break from fasting every Sunday (as we celebrate freedom on those days), so I may still watch a few movies and shows on Sunday afternoons/evenings. BTW, I am not Catholic; I grew up in a “new to faith” family and have slowly discovered the faith practices which have the most meaning for me. Lent is not about “tradition” for me, as much as it is about taking a purposeful time to reflect on how my faith actually works out and through my life.

If all of the above paragraph was hard for you to read, I hope you can bear with me. I know faith is a loaded word for many, but it the most healthy and beautiful foundation of my life.


Podcasts I’ve been listening to include: The Happy Writer hosted by YA author Marissa Meyer and Therapy and Theology hosted by Lysa Terkheurst. Are these very different podcasts? Yes, but I like them both. I’m also listening to and participating in The One Hope Church Lenten Bible Study Podcast – and by participating, I mean I am creating some of the episodes.

In audiobooks, I’m listening to A Sense of Danger (A Section 47 Book) by Jennifer Estep – spies, romance, and magic all rolled into one with a sarcastic heroine. This is my evening treat when I’m not watching something and if my family isn’t doing game night. Is this in any way a Christian title? No, not really. But it is fun, and I feel that listening to audiobooks is a way to work on my writing skills (voice and pacing), and work on my listening skills at the same time. (And we all need to work on our listening in this world, am I right?) (I finished the story today, and I have to say that if you are looking for clean romance, skip chapters 35 and 36).

Storytelling in all forms fills me with joy and thanksgiving and gives me rest and renewal. As a writer, I feel listening, watching, and reading to stories in various forms, I am gaining some skills slowly while I’m enjoying the stories.

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