What I Read This Spring

Where I share the books I read (or continued to read) this Spring (March-May 2022) Spoiler! The Fantasy track get’s derailed about halfway through this season’s reading!

08/30 // Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth #1) by Terry Goodkind

This is one of Ant’s favorite books. It is also the first book in an eleven-book series. You guys, I’m not a fan of series. (I know, I know.) But Ant assured me that it has a good conclusion and I wouldn’t have to read the entire series if I didn’t want to. I really enjoyed it! And it was fun to read a book my husband has read and enjoyed; it’s cool to have more novels read in common. And I think he enjoyed hearing my reactions to different parts of the book. Richard and Kahlan experience growth in this first book and if you’re thinking of dipping your toe into The Sword of Truth series, it’s definitely a solid first book.

Website | Buy the Book

09/30 // Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha #1) by Tomi Adeyemi*

I picked this book up after attending ProWritingAid’s virtual Fantasy Writer’s Week at the end of February/beginning of March. Tomi Adeyemi’s session on Magical World-building Grounded in Real Life Inspiration was refreshing. It’s always so cool to see authors talk about their love for writing—and Tomi’s love is pure. I was aware of the series before this event, but hearing an author’s journey and their writing process and their inspiration for their stories always makes me want to read a book I maybe had no interest in before.

Children of Blood and Bone was a quick read—like most Fantasy and YA novels. The action was packed. It’s told from three main characters’ points of view (POV); I liked each POV and they all felt different. The struggles each POV character goes through are explored. This book felt colorful to me. There is pain, but once Zelie experiences magic and the way she talks about magic and seeing the magic through Amari’s eyes was really cool. So yes, there was pain and hurt and misunderstandings, but experiencing the magic with the main characters made this book seem really colorful.

Book 2, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, is ready to be picked up at the Library**. Also, Children of Blood and Bone is being made into a movie; Tomi herself has been working on the script. And I believe that the third book in the Legacacy of Orïsha series will release next year.

**At the time of writing this part, so way back in March.

10/30 // Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha #2) by Tomi Adeyemi*

This book is heavy and sad and the the colorful magical feeling I remember Book One having is lessened in this book, but it makes sense. This book is exploring what happens when the magic has exploded and people who have never had magic before now wield it. I was frustrated that no one seemed to talk to each other and everyone kept being so rooted in their perspectives and points of view. It so frustratingly accurately portrayed how people with differing views of political matters or rights or freedoms refuse to listen to the people around them. We talk and post and share hoping it reaches someone, but what if we yelled less on social media and in the comments on something and just talked to people in our communities, just to talk and listen and hear each other? And I think that’s what’s so cool about fiction—it can take a situation set in a city similar to ours, back in the past, in a galaxy far far away, or the magical jungles of a country and play with it in a way that we learn things about real life.

I really loved Amari’s parallels to what her father taught her all the way through childhood. They were a great way to show his influence and what she struggled with in this book.

I also love that the first two books so far have included the gods and how they play a part in the world and in the lives of the characters; as a Christian, that’s important to me. I’m really looking forward to how this series ends.

Website | Blood and Bone | Virtue and Vengeance

11/30 // The Left-Handed Booksellers of London (#1) by Garth Nix

This was my first Garth Nix novel! I Picked it up way back at the beginning of April when I hung out at the library for part of the day. I enjoyed it! He’s a refreshing and funny writer. I’m curious to see how the series continues.

12/30 // Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

Also, picked up in April’s Library book haul. Regencey-era with magic. Light-hearted and funny. Loved it. Easy read.

Website | Left-handed Booksellers | Newt’s Emerald

13/30 // Being Mary Bennet by J.C. Peterson

This is where my Fantasy reads took a turn back toward Contemporary YA and I was reminded why I love this genre. Being Mary Bennet was published this year in March and I pre-ordered it! It’s always fun to support an author this way. This is J.C. Peterson’s first novel (so added bonus of supporting a debut author!) and it was delightful! I love the comparisons to Mary Bennet and Pride and Prejudice in general, Marnie’s love for Anne Shirley, and that there were so many dogs involved haha. It was great! I’m looking forward to J.C.’s next novel!

Website | Buy the Book

14/30 // Do Over by Jon Acuff

I have been a fan of Jon Acuff since Ant and I first attended a Financial Peace University class way back in the summer of 2013. I subscribe to his newsletter, participate in his weeklong Facebook Live events, and yet this is the first book of his I’ve read. (Does this make me a bad fan? lol) This book is great! It’s all about what Jon calls a Career Savings Account—how we already have the necessary relationships, skills, character, and hustle needed to have “an amazing career.” Jon writes about four generalized career changes—Career Bumps, Career Ceilings, Career Jumps, and Career Opportunities and which of the four things listed previously are needed in each transition. I felt it was an expanded version of his April’s Live Event Overcoming Overthinking; he just merged the Career Savings Account with new ways of thinking (what Jon calls soundtracks).

One of my favorite things about this book is that Jon redefines “hustle”. A few years ago, the world was all about hustling and now we’re swinging to the other extreme where “hustle” is a bad word that comes with a reputation of being overworked, tired, and stressed out consistently. Hustle is the fuel used to work on relationships, skills, and character, and he likens it to creating a Med School season in your time of hustle. It’s in Chapter 22 “Hustle Has Seasons”. Go read about it =D

It’s a book that hit just right as I experienced a career transition six months ago and was still figuring out what my primary writing focus would be.

A favorite line: “As kids we believed we had the power to declare ‘Do over!’ when something didn’t turn out the right way…We were not afraid to try again. Somewhere along the way to adulthood we forgot we still have permission to do that” (18).

Website | Buy the Book

Aaaaaannnnd then another trip to the library:

15/30 // Frankly in Love by David Yoon

I didn’t love this one like I loved Crazy Stupid Love Song. It was a bit more serious and it focused more on the cocooning of the main character Frank’s parents’ Korean culture in a small California town. Frank’s voice is strong and I loved his take on the things happening around him. I think the title is brilliant.

Website | Buy the Book

16/30 // Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

This was my first Nicola Yoon book and I enjoyed it! This is why I love Contemporary YA you guys. Because in a book that seems like another fluffy teen love story, this one wasn’t. When we’re in high school, our emotions and feelings are compounded by confusion and studying, peers, wanting to be liked and accepted, and some days just surviving. There were very few fluffy days in high school that I remember. All my feelings were big and felt real. This is what books like Instructions for Dancing and others can do, tell the beautiful, angsty love of young adults and take it seriously.

Website | Buy the Book

17/30 // All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

Oh wow this book. I put this book on hold at the library way back in March when it was first released, and I was finally able to pick it up and read it in May.

This book was sad and intense, but I loved it. I love how the title plays into the story, Salahudin and Noor’s working their way through a strained friendship, the alternating perspectives. Books like this, Frankly in Love, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and small great things show me what the world can be like for other people. And again, I think there’s some things we can be shown in fiction that can be the beginning point of learning about other people and cultures and learning in general.

This is a book I want to own.

Website | Buy the Book

18/30 // All It Takes by Sadie Munroe

I’m going through old fiction writing lesson plans I took from working with the wonderful writing teacher Callie Feyen and we read this book together. I don’t love it, but the assignments are geared around this book and I want to sharpen my Read Like A Writer skills, so I re-read it. There are moments I love, scenes I love, but the overabundance of cussing feels lazy. I know people talk like this in real life, but characters don’t need to.

Website | Buy the Book | Callie Feyen | Exhale Courses

*Note: When I ended up at the library to pick up All My Rage and Gallant, Children of Blood and Bone and Virtue and Vengeance were available on the shelf. You better believe I checked them back out so they could be in the bookstack photo =D

These Children Books with my niece and nephew:

Tails and The Alphabet of Peculiar Creatures were fun books to read with Azzie a few days before going to the Sacramento Zoo. Lifesize is an cool book because it portrays how big an animal’s eye or toe or tongue are. Sometimes they’re the only object you’ll see on the page. Super cool book!

And I’m still making my way (♪ makin’ my way ♪) through these:

??/30 // 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs

Days read 6-64. I started out strong on this devotional, but fell off in April somewhere. I decided to “apply grace like sunscreen” (thanks @hb) and just read through the ones I’d missed without taking notes or journaling to catch up for May. I read through Days 43-53 to catch up and then it petered out again. I really wanted to finish strong, but I think I’m going to call the attempt solid and move on. I love Annie F. Downs—her social media, her podcast, the books I’ve read, but I think it’s time for less of a devotional and a good ol’ fashioned daily Bible reading. I’ve been really wanting to return to my Chronological Bible and pick-up where I left off way back in February.

Annie F. Downs | Buy the Book | CSB Chronological Bible

??/30 // Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount by Matthew Mercer

I made it through Chapters 1 and 2 in March, but have been reading novels pretty consistently since then, so I haven’t started Chapter 3 yet.

It is the sourcebook for the D&D world Wildemount created by Matthew Mercer, where Campiagn 2 about The Mighty Nein is set. It includes brief histories of each region and all the pantheons of prime deities, lesser idols, and betrayer gods. Chapter 2 is the factions and societies up close, important people in the main groups—Kryn Dynasty, Dwendalian Empire, Cerberus Assembly to name a few. The Library of the Cobalt Soul sounds amazing as well as setting a campaign or a story on the Menagerie Coast.

I haven’t started The Mighty Nein campaign yet, but this sourcebook is rich for Dungeon Masters to set a campaign here. It’s so cool to see how in-depth Matthew Mercer went into this world he originally created for eight players. It makes me think about all the details novelists must know about their worlds and characters that don’t make it into the pages of the finished books.

Matthew Mercer | Buy the Book | Critical Role

??/30 // Havok Publishing Season 5 anthology Prismatic

This is my first Havok Anthology and I am loving it! I want to savor the stories, so I only read one or two every couple days. Some of my favorites so far:

  • “Magpie Boy” by Beka Gremikova
  • “Once Upon A Pumpkin” by Beka Gremikova
  • “The Man With the Golden Voice” by Teddi Deppner
  • “Steampunk Starfighter” by J. L. Ender
  • “Chitterbitter” by Rachel Ann Michael Harris

This volume is based on Season 5’s theme Prismatic, stories bursting with color that fit into the genres of Science Faction, Fantasy, Thriller, Mystery, and Humor. Havok breaks the calendar year up into two seasons. Prismatic took place back in November 2020-April 2021. They assigned one color for each month in that time frame—yellow, red, green, blue, purple, and orange. The paperback edition was available at the end of 2021. Season 6 anthology, Casting Call, is available on Kindle and in print. They’re currently accepting submissions for Season 8 Vice & Virtue.

I encourage you to read their daily free story featured right on the home page of their website or for $4.99 a year you can have access to all the flash fiction. This is on my to-do list for the summer for sure!

Havok’s Daily Story | Buy the Anthologies | Write for Havok


Bible Reading

Wednesday Night Bible Study // We finished our study of Joshua in April and continued our study of the Old Testament by jumping straight into Judges. I love the Old Testament. I remember studying through the Israelites’ history way back in my high school Sunday School class; some of these stories I’ve remembered since then, but it’s really cool to study them through the cultural context of when it was written.

Sunday Morning Class // We made it through the first two chapters of Philippians, Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. This letter has a reputation for being joyful, but from what we’ve studied so far I would define it as steadfast—Paul’s faith in God and the truth of the gospel and the love and care he has for the Christians in Philippi.

Not pictured:

  • Star Wars articles
  • Newsletters and essays from Coffee+Crumbs, Ashlee Gadd, Callie Feye, Hannah Brencher, Mari Andrew, The Maven Game, and Loud Coffee Press
  • This Is Us articles

Books I’m looking forward to reading:

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Gallant by V.E. Schwab – I started it a couple days ago. Her writing is magic.
  • Along for the Ride – a reread of Sarah Dessen’s 2009 novel that was made into a Netflix movie and released in May
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – I picked this up at a local Little Free Library (LFL). I’ve seen this book mentioned So Many Times lately and I’m intrigued.
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling – I also picked this up at a local Little Free Library.
  • The third (and hopefully final) book in Feist’s Firemane Saga releases in July but in hardcover. We own the first two (in paperback) and I’m trying to hold out until the third book is released in paperback before starting the trilogy.
  • I also picked up two biographies from a couple local LFL’s about Michael J. Fox and Steve Martin.

I’m officially more than halfway to my goal. This could slow way down once August hits because we’ll be on a road trip and last year we didn’t read much while driving, but depending on how far ahead I am at the end of the June, I may increase my book goal.

See anything here that piques your interest? Have you read any of them or see any titles that are on your TBR?


Writing Process Notes:

3/29/22 // 1:22pm-1:50pm (28 mins). Writing Desk. Hobbit Hole noises. Current total word count: 362

5/31/22 // 10:07am-11:45am. Adding the rest of my Spring Reads titles/some thoughts, taking the book stack photo. Current total word count: 1,373.

6/7/22 // 3:21pm-4:07pm. Writing desk. Hobbit Hole noises. Added an intro and pictures, and post searchy phrases. Current total word count: 1,455

6/8/22 // 9:06am-10:50am. Writing desk. “Write” playlist. 15-min break to water plants (10:08am-10:31am). Took a 1-hour break so that our landlord could turn off the power; I played Antia. Changed my lunch alarm to go off at 1:10pm for lunch. Current total word count so far: 2,130

6/8/22 // 12:02pm-1:15pm. Writing desk. “Write” playlist. current word total: 2,690. Stopped for lunch/for the day.

6/9/22 // =10:30am-12:15am. Writing Desk. Rogue One Soundtrack. FINAL WORD COUNT: 2,874

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