2021 Bookworm Tag!

Hello! 2022 is just around the corner- plenty of new and exciting books to should be coming in 2022, but before we move forward lets take a moment and reflect on the books we read in 2021! (I’m going to just go ahead and make a note here- if I write the incorrect date please just ignore it and move on. XD)

I did this last year and I thought it would be cool to do it again and see how my answers were different. You can read my post for 2020 here! Let’s go ahead and jump into the 2021 bookworm tag!

  • First off- how many books did you read this year?

According to Goodreads I read 47 books! Plus, I think, 2 unpublished books (perks of being friends with writers 😉 ) and that doesn’t count the books I started reading and didn’t finish (except I think I did mark one of them as read on Goodreads…) So. 47ish.

  • What is an author you tried for the first time this year?

So a lot of books I read in 2021 were actually rereads. I reread the whole Harry Potter series, Percy Jackson series, and the whole Chronicles of Narnia series, just to name a few. And honestly a lot of the books I read for the first time I didn’t really like all that much, a few, but not that many considering how much I read. A few authors I tried for the first time I liked pretty well was S. J. Kincaid in The Diabolic, Here’s to the Underdogs by Shannon Aardsma, and Ashley Poston’s Geekerella, and the first Mistborn book by Brandon Sanderson (Now that I’m thinking about it I should go back and review them.

  • What is an author you returned to this year?

Ooh, well, I did mention I reread Harry Potter and Narnia- but I also reread Fawkes by Nadine Brandes (you can read my original review here) and I reread A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, to name a few.

  • Did you read a classic this year?

Oops, I already said I read A Christmas Carol. And Narnia. Those are pretty classic.

  • Did you start a new series?

I read Dust which is book one in Kara Swanson’s Heir to Neverland series. The second book is out now, but I haven’t read it yet. I also read Tiger’s Curse by Colleen Houck which is the first book in a series. I don’t plan to continue to the series though because I wasn’t really impressed with it.

  • Did you finish a series?

I actually read the entire Princess Academy series by Shannon Hale! Those were fun, different reads.

  • Did you buddy read a book this year?

Oh! I did! I don’t think I had the last time I did this tag, but this year I did! Harry Potter, Narnia, and Percy Jackson were all buddy reads.

  • What author did you read the most of this year?

I think that would be J. K. Rowling since I reread Harry Potter.

  • What was the oldest book you read?

A Christmas Carol. Some of these are repeats, I need to expand my reading list!

  • Did you buy a book that was published this year?

I did! The most exciting being What Is And Could Be which is by my friend Katelyn Buxton! It is on it’s way now and I am very excited to read it. (You can look at her website here!)

I also bought a few Roadside Assistance by Amy Clipston, The Host by Stephanie Meyer, and a few others when I happened to find them at Goodwill but I haven’t read them yet.

  • What is a book you got this year and haven’t read? (You could have gotten the book any time between January 2021-December 2021)

Oh, well awhile ago I went to Goodwill and they had Roadside Assistance by Amy Clipston, and The Host by Stephanie Meyer that I haven’t read yet. (There was also this time that I got 21 new to me books, and you can watch a video I did about them here!)

  • A book you weren’t sure about but ended up loving?

‘Loving’ may be a strong term, but I was surprised how much I liked the book In 27 Days by Allison Gervais

  • Your favorite read/s of 2020?

One of the aforementioned unpublished books I read was by a friend of mine and it was really good! Another book that I really, really enjoyed was a nonfiction book Suffering Is Never For Nothing by Elisebeth Elliott.

And that is my 2021 book wrap up tag! If you want to do this tags (whether in the comments or on your blog!) feel free to let me know, I’d love to see the answers!

  1. First off- how many books did you read this year?
  2. What is an author you tried for the first time this year?
  3. What is an author you returned to this year?
  4. Did you read a classic this year?
  5. Did you start a new series?
  6. Did you finish a series?
  7. Did you buddy read a book this year?
  8. What author did you read the most of this year?
  9. What was the oldest book you read?
  10. Did you buy a book that was published this year?
  11. What is a book you go this year and haven’t read? (You could have gotten the book any time between January 2020-December 2020)
  12. A book you weren’t sure about but ended up loving?
  13. Your favorite read/s of 2020?

I am tagging Mikayla over at Truthful Storytelling, Katelyn over on Katelyn Buxton Books, and Julianna over on her blog!

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How to Conquer “Second-Book Syndrome” and Write the Sequel Your Novel Deserves

Have you ever heard of “second book syndrome?” Neither had I … until I tried to write one.

When you publish a debut novel, everything is fresh, new, and exciting. Everyone who knows you can’t wait to get their hands on your first-ever book. Your social media followers curiously track your every book-related post. Sales numbers, starred reviews, and even the financial side of things feel foreign at best, if you even think of them in the euphoric rush of publishing your first book!

Contracting a sequel (or, if you’re self-publishing, deciding to go for it) is similarly exciting. You’ve done it again! You’re going to write another book! Could life get any sweeter? You get your outline together, sit down at the computer, and … suddenly, you’re overwhelmed by an unfamiliar feeling: doubt.

Most likely, you wrote your debut novel at your own pace, on your own timeline, largely for yourself or a very specific other person. It was hard work, yes, but it was also probably very fun. Low stakes. Suddenly, things feel different. This isn’t low stakes anymore. Now you have an audience—readers—some of whom didn’t like your first book. Suddenly, you’re aware that there are people out there who don’t like your books. And that’s scary. But even more than that, there are people who did like your books. And they expect you to do it again—write something that they will love! 

What if you can’t deliver? What if you don’t make your deadline? What if the numbers come back, and your second book didn’t sell as well as the first? Is your career over? Should you have even tried to write more than one book?? Is this the end???

If you’ve stuck with me this far, I’d like to take a moment and welcome you to what we call second-book syndrome. It’s the fear that comes with writing a sequel, the pressure of wanting to do it right and create another story that people will love, do all of their favourite characters justice, and invite them back into the world that they fell in love with in your debut. 

Writing a sequel is not for the faint of heart. But it’s not impossible, either! Here are a few ways I planned, wrote, edited, and eventually published my sequel (even though I was overcome with second-book syndrome). 

Read your debut again.

You may think you remember your first book, but sitting down to write a sequel often feels kind of alien, like putting on an old shirt that doesn’t fit right anymore, or eating a food that you used to love and realizing it’s not your favourite anymore. You don’t have to spend hours deep-diving into each page, but a quick read of the book is helpful. You’ll notice plot points you had forgotten, character quirks that were too inconsequential to remember, and scenes and settings that you might have otherwise missed. And when you sit down to write again … things will feel that much fresher and more natural.

Run your first few chapters by a beta reader.

When you’ve got your first few chapters down (I like to aim for around 3), send them to someone who knows and loves your first book, inside and out. Ask them if the tone sounds the same. If the characters feel familiar. If they are excited to keep reading, or disappointed with the direction the book is going in. Don’t ask too many people. You don’t need a host of conflicting opinions warring inside your brain! Just ask one or two people who you know will help you stay on track.

Remember what your readers forget.

Starting a sequel is different than writing a stand-alone. You have to expect that readers already know who your characters are; they don’t need to be introduced from step one. But it probably has been some time since readers last encountered your world, so they will need to be reminded of some things. But what? Where to begin?

I recommend staying away from plot summary. Readers will remember the basics and will be bored by a blatant recap. However, little one-sentence reminders, like, “Oh, that’s just like last summer!” or “Didn’t you say you got an eighty on that test last week?” can help orient readers in your new story (what time of year is it? Are the characters in school?) while reminding them subtly of the past.

Reminding them of characters by either having them on the page or verbally mentioning them can be a great way to trigger readers’ memories, but again, stay away from anything too outright. We don’t need sections of dialogue that look like this: “I was talking to Anastasia, the head librarian that we both worked with last summer. Remember how we called her sister, and it caused all of those problems?” In real life, the characters would definitely remember a huge event like that. And readers probably do, too.

Bonus round: look for those tiny details from your first book (favourite outfits or foods, fears or loves, tiny setting details) and find ways to include them in the sequel. If readers notice, it will make them feel special to have found something they remember. It brings legitimacy to your world and characters to maintain consistency across both books, and even if readers aren’t consciously aware that you have put in the extra work to make sure the details match, I think subconsciously, it makes the entire story more vivid.

Ask yourself, “What would my characters do?” not “What will my readers think?”

Even though I have asked you to consider your readers at least a little bit in the last two steps, for the most part, it is more helpful to try to forget them as you’re writing. Worrying too much about what people will think of your book will only stunt your creativity and give fear a comfortable resting place in your heart. Stay rooted in your vision for your story, and focus on the questions, “What would my characters do?” “What is the best ending for this story?” “What needs to happen next?” instead of worrying about how your book will be received when it’s published. (You can ask the reader-related questions later, during editing … but that’s a post for another day.)

Writer friends, I hope you have enjoyed my take on sequel-writing advice. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them!

Author Bio:

Olivia Smit loves baking, visiting small towns, and writing stories that face hard truth with hope and encouragement. Olivia has an Honours Specialization in Creative Writing, English Language, and Literature. She lives in Canada with her husband and their dog, Cassiopeia. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Book Blurb:

They’re all fighting different battles … and no one wants to tell Skylar the truth.

After navigating her final year of high school, Skylar Brady can’t wait to go back to Golden Sound. But when she gets there, nothing is quite like she expected. Anastasia is gone, the library is in danger of closing, and there’s something Cam isn’t telling her. Skylar is sure she can rescue the library. But can she save Cam?

Mike never expected to return to Golden Sound, but after he fails out of his university program and his summer internship falls through, he can’t wait to put some distance between himself and his parents. He thinks telling Skylar the truth will be a breeze, but instead, he finds himself buried in secrets. The summer job that went wrong. The woman who paid the price. And the fact that Eric knows the truth … and plans to hold it over his head in more ways than one.

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The Inner Voices of a Writer

Inner voices are a thing for everyone to a degree. For those of us who write, two inner voices stand out as especially predominant in the ways they wreak havoc: doubt and inspiration.

The Voice of Doubt and How to Silence It

Doubt is a powerful, persuasive voice. It takes whatever is in front of us and makes us question. To a degree, looking at one thing from every angle can be helpful. But true doubt makes us question even what we know to be unwavering. 

When writing, doubt most often applies to ability. Most writers call this “imposter syndrome,” where they feel insufficient for the task before them, as if others who’ve gone before (including themselves sometimes!) were more capable or better equipped.

Doubt smothers our ability to be able to stay focused and on task. As a result, derailing more and more frequently seems like it’s evidence for doubt’s case: we can’t do it.

The truth is, if you feel called to do it, you can do it. Sometimes the timing isn’t right or your craft could use work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It’s entirely possible as long as you don’t give in to doubt.

This means that doubt must be silenced. In order to silence it, we have to remind ourselves of what’s true. This is what the biblical pattern is for spiritual warfare, and the same is true with any truth versus doubt pattern in our lives.

Find whatever keeps you motivated and focused on the truth that you can do this. Remember what initially inspired you, why you feel called to do this, who is waiting for this to be finished, etc. If we can look ahead instead of getting bogged down in the present, doubt loses its suffocating hold and you’ll begin to see the evidence that you can do it.

The Voice of Inspiration and How to Discern Direction

The other voice that can get tricky for writers is the inner voice of inspiration. Unlike doubt, inspiration is a wonderful feeling, and so it’s often considered a positive one.

Inspiration is positive in the way that it often kickstarts a flow of ideas that lead to taking opportunities, exploring new things, and starting projects. We have it to thank as the initial spark of motivation that transforms us into writers. 

The trouble with inspiration comes when it’s a fire hydrant of overwhelming and conflicting possibilities. Suddenly, the thrilling rush of options becomes a jumbled mess as we’re plunged into mental tug-of-war and end up stalling out as a result. 

When inspiration reaches this point, we have to cut out the clutter in order to discern what direction should actually be taken. You know you want to write, but which project? Do you want it to be an ebook, paperback, hardcover, or audiobook? You could start a podcast or a Youtube channel, a blog or a newsletter. The options are endless.

The first thing to keep in mind is this: just because something grabs your eye doesn’t mean it’s for you. Having a somewhat narrow focus—usually referred to as your niche or brand—is a good thing in the writing world. You can’t do everything at once, nor should you try to be someone else.

So in order to use inspiration to your advantage to be both productive and more you, you need to determine what your priorities are. Choose what matters most to you, what fits with your skillset, and what you think is sustainable. Then you’ll find that the initial spark of inspiration that roared into an overwhelming blaze will simmer back down into a cozy fire to keep your vision alive.

Does anyone else struggle with the mental cycles of doubt, inspiration, and the paralysis they can produce?

Author Bio:

Abigayle has picture proof of being enchanted by books since before her first birthday. Jotting down her story ideas in spare journals and computer files came later, leading her to self-publish her first novel at eighteen. Now she’s dedicated to not only creative writing but to helping fellow storytellers refine their own words … when period drama films and wild mushrooms haven’t sidetracked her. None of her successes—from completing drafts to winning awards—would be possible without the support of her large family, online community, and Savior.

Website: www.abigayleclaire.com

Blog: www.theleft-handedtypist.blogspot.com

Social Media: @abitheauthor

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Self-Publishing: For Newbies

If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re either a) intending to self-publish or b) are weirdly nerdy (like me) and want to know how it works and what goes into it, even if you’ll never do it. If so, you’ve come to the right place! (Or should I say post?) 

Anyway, if you are self-publishing, I’m assuming you don’t intend on traditional querying and publishing, or maybe you tried it out and it didn’t work for you. In any case, here’s a brief list of pros and cons about self-publishing before we get into the nitty-gritty parts. 

Self-publishing Pros: 

  • You get to keep all the rights and all the royalties your book makes (your distributor will automatically take off what they get and you get the rest, usually 70% of selling costs)
  • You get to control the whole process: your editors, your cover designer, your formatter, etc. unless you do some of those things yourself
  • You get to call the shots in terms of marketing, book signings, and your distributors (example, if you only want your book on Amazon and nowhere else, you can do that!) 
  • Since most distributors (if not all) are print-on-demand, you don’t need to worry about lack of print runs or your book getting cancelled in case it doesn’t sell enough 

Self-publishing Cons: 

  • You’re in charge of everything yourself. Finding an editor, cover designer, formatter, reviewers, etc. is all on your shoulders. It’s easy to royally screw things up. 
  • You’re also in charge of all the publishing costs (and it can get really pricey)
  • The quality of your book’s physical form is dependent on you and the people you hire
  • You have to do all your own marketing (unless you hire someone to do it)
  • Being self-published has a negative connotation in the general publishing world due to lack of good books or good-looking books, so be prepared to face opposition from the start 
  • Being self-published, because of the above point, makes it harder to be seen and to sell 

If you’ve read through all that and are still interested in learning more about self-publishing, you’re courageous. Most people avoid self-publishing because of all the work involved (and because of its bad name), and yet I know so many people who have beautiful books that are self-published and have even won prestigious awards for their work. Self-publishing doesn’t have to equal sloppy work. It’s all about what you put into it. But I digress. 

So, you’ve written a novel. What’s next? 

If this is the first draft, I personally encourage you to read through it, mark changes to be fixed, and edit everything you can. If you aren’t sure what to fix, you can go ahead and hire reliable beta-readers. If you have friends who enjoy reading, you can call on them. But I personally would recommend those that have experience with reading, writing, editing, etc., because you will get the maximum feedback. If they’re too busy, that’s alright. People have lives too. 

Some who are new to the whole writing process also hire what’s called a DE or developmental editor. Developmental editors help find the biggest issues with your story, like major plot holes, character arcs, inconsistencies, etc. and help you fix those big-picture problems. DE’s are generally more expensive than any other editor, and if you’re looking into that, be prepared to spend $1-2k on them. Yes, editing is not cheap. 

Another substitute for DE’s is to submit to events like PitchWars, Author Mentor Match, because those are professionals in the field who are doing this for free. They’ll polish your book in preparation for querying and enable you at least to know how to look at your work from a critical standpoint. It’s an option, but not a requirement. 

Once you’ve gotten to this stage, you need a line editor. A line editor is similar to a DE but it’s focused on the small details. Phrasing, condensing, fixing grammatical errors that have survived until now, things like that. While I personally don’t use a DE for publishing, I am hesitant to ever throw out a line editor because of how crucial it is to your story’s polishing. They also can be pricey, however. 

Also at this stage, you can look at cover designers. Unless you have the skill to make your own amazing cover, I would recommend hiring one. I know many who do amazing work for a cheap cost (just a few hundred dollars), but many are expensive. 

Another thing you’ll need are ISBNs. ISBN numbers are assigned to your book to help identify it in the publishing market. They are essential and you can’t publish without one. I personally recommend buying a pack of them because you’ll need a different one per edition of your book. Say you’re publishing an ebook + paperback, you’ll need two ISBNs. Buying in packs is cheaper in the long run as you can get discounts for buying 10 at once, etc. Some places provide ISBNs for free (such as Amazon) but other places require you to buy your own. Depends on who your distributors are. 

Lastly, you need a copy-editor or proofreader. These are on the cheaper side, but still can get pricey depending on who you hire. These will look through your book and catch all those last few typos and grammatical errors. You may skip line-editing, but I do not recommend skipping this last thing. Not if you want people to take you seriously. 

Now your book is all prepared for publishing, you need a formatter. Unless you have the skills or time to learn how to format your own book, I recommend hiring one. One of the biggest problems with self-publishing are the lack of properly formatted books. (It’s a huge distraction while reading). This will prepare your book for ebook and paperback format. 

Last point: marketing. Social media is a huge market for books with the rise of the writing community on Twitter, bookstagram on Instagram, and booktok on TikTok. Social media is a great way to be seen and to sell your book (majority of my sales come from social media), but it can be overwhelming. Much of your spread on social media comes from your readers. Hiring friends who will leave an honest review on Goodreads (huge review site, definitely put your book on there) or even Amazon definitely helps your book come up on internet searches. You can also ask for endorsements from authors who publish similar to your work, but don’t depend on it. It’s a favor, not a service. What is typical to spread the word and get potential readers hyped for your book’s release is to do title cover reveals on social media. Having pre-order options on Amazon also boosts your book’s publicity on publishing day. Social media isn’t the only option. Blog posts and newsletters are also a great way to go.

One final word on self-publishing tips. Community. Before you ever start preparing for publishing, it’s good to find your community. Whether in person or online, this already tells you your target readers and helps you find people who will be excited for your writing journey and buy your book once it’s published. It’s also very encouraging to have people who believe in you even on days when you don’t. It’ll be slow going at first, but it’ll be worth the work you put into it. 

In closing, I hope you don’t feel overwhelmed by this truckload of information. I know it’s a lot. Much of it I had to learn the hard way and it definitely wasn’t easy. However, it is worth all the sweat and tears in the end. And don’t be discouraged if things don’t go perfectly the way you envisioned! Your first book will not be 100% perfect, and that’s okay. Everyone starts somewhere. By the time you publish again, you will have the experience to do even better. And it will get easier. 

Best wishes! 

Cheyenne van Langevelde is a young author and musician whose greatest passion is weaving tales through story and song. When not struggling to attempt the most metaphorical prose, she enjoys composing and recording soundtrack pieces for books, practicing calligraphy and Irish dance, and studying the Welsh language. She occasionally emerges into the real world to restock her chocolate supply, of which she hoards like a dragon would his gold. Between Two Worlds is her debut novel. 

You can buy her book using the link and follow her on her website or any of her social sites listed below:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Between-Two-Worlds-Cheyenne-Langevelde/dp/1736758713

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57352098-between-two-worlds

Website: https://www.thedancingbardess.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thedancingbardess/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/dancing_bardess

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Dear Writer, Don’t Quit

Dear writer,

I don’t know who you are or where you’ve come from. I don’t know what you look like, what drives you, or even what your favorite color is. But I do know that one day you sat down at a computer—maybe even scribbled something on a napkin—and said, “This! This is a story. I’m going to write it. I’m going to make it exist.” You remember that golden moment of bliss when worlds lay at your feet and you were the ruler of it all, and nothing seemed impossible.

What happened?

“I have a job now,” you say. A family, maybe. Commitments. Life. It’s easy to put writing on the backburner sometimes; necessary, even. But maybe, just maybe, those people in your head—you know, the ones your mom warned you about—maybe you need them as much as they need you.

The passion of writing can be a hard one to keep and maintain. After all, we live in a world where anyone with a monetized hobby is given Nine Steps to This or Seven Steps to That. “Write because you like it”—they’ll ask if you’re crazy. You have to hit all the right plot movements, and make your reader want more. We’ve intellectualized writing to the point where overthinking is a point of admiration and people who enjoy themselves while writing must not have suffered enough for their art.

And dear writer, I am here to tell you that this just isn’t true.

Writing will be painful sometimes, yes. Writing will make you question everything you ever thought you knew. Writing will even make you wonder what fresh madness started you on this journey—but writer, your gift is a miracle.

God is the author of all the greatest plot twists in history, so is it really any wonder that human beings—created in His likeness—are storytellers too? God never gives bad gifts.

“But—” you say. Maybe in the crush of rejection slips or disappointing reviews or the intimidating mountain of writer’s block doubt slipped in. “Maybe I can’t write after all,” you thought. “Maybe I’ve been wasting my time.”

Dear writer, don’t believe those lies.

God didn’t give you the gift of writing for you to waste it on grocery lists. He gave you the gift of writing to open portals to new dimensions. He gave you the gift of writing to comfort those who are in pain. He gave you the gift of writing to spread truth, and light, and power into the lies, and darkness, and defeat. Hitler wouldn’t have burned books if they weren’t worth something.

It can be lonely, I know. It can be exhausting—I’ve been there. Sometimes it can take every ounce of willpower you have just to sit down and write one sentence—but you know what? A single sentence can change the course of history.

And you don’t have to be a bestseller. Your worth as a writer was never about how many copies you sold or whether your income from book sales ever broke even. Your worth as a writer was never meant to be measured by the size of your audience or the sophistication of your message. If you’ve touched even one person with your writing, it’s been worth it.

So write because you enjoy it. Write because it’s your gift. Go out and change someone’s world—even if it’s just your own.

Author Bio:

If you’ve chanced across this paragraph, odds are you’re wanting to know a little more about this “Katelyn” person. Well, the truth is, I’m just like any other author. I spend my days dreaming about stories and falling hopelessly, head-over-heels in love with my characters. I’m the author of the Warriors of Aralan series, as well as a sci-fi standalone called Tè Nan Lezar, and a couple of nineteenth-century-inspired serializations titled What Is and Could Be and To Live and To Breathe. (What Is and Could Be will be out this November, so keep your eyes peeled!)
When not pursuing a literary career, I can be found with my nose buried inside a book I didn’t write, baking cookies, taking photos, learning French, watching movies, and spending time with my friends and family. My passion is to always give God the glory through my writing in hopes that these stories will touch some lives.

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Inkling to Write 2021

Well it’s that time of year again! Beautiful fall weather and National Novel Writing Month and time for the yearly Inkling to Writer online writer’s conference!

What is Inkling to Write? Well every fall I host writers from different walks of the author life and ask them to write guest posts sharing their wisdom and experience. This weekend is Inkling to Write 2021! I’m excited to share the fun and informative posts I have coming for you all this weekend!

Any topics you are hoping to see covered or maybe topics you are hoping to see covered in the future?

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Don’t Quit

You can hear it anywhere. On a Dove chocolate wrapper, or in a fortune cookie.

Don’t give up.

Don’t quit.

But it’s one of those things that is way easier said then done, right? Quitting would be so easy, but to keep pushing forward? That’s hard work. And after that hard work? Probably more hard work.

When you feel like quitting, it’s a good idea to go back to why you started in the beginning, or, an even better reason, is why you think this was God’s plan for you in the beginning. God doesn’t change His mind. So if you think, “Maybe I shouldn’t *insert whatever it is here*. Maybe I shouldn’t continue college. Maybe I shouldn’t write my book. Maybe I shouldn’t go for that new job.”

If you thought there was a reason from God to do that in the beginning, chances are it’s still there. Certainly God can use anything and things may not go how you thought they would. Maybe you thought for sure you were supposed to try for that new job, but just because you didn’t get doesn’t mean you failed– and it doesn’t mean God changed His mind.

I guess it goes back to how you define success. Following God should be the first thing we look for to decide whether or not we have been successful (I’m not saying I always do this, just ideally this is what we should look for).

So when things get tough ask yourself:

Am I still following God? (Or maybe, was I following God when I decided to pursue this?)

Are the reasons that make me want to quit petty or illogical? (Maybe you are tired, but getting a new job won’t necessarily change that. First of all, are you getting enough sleep?)

What has changed to make following God important when I started out but not important now?

There will be times ahead when we all get scared or nervous, we panic, or we’ll want to quit. Different things will make different people want to quit. When the urge to quit overwhelms you, though, turn back to the reason for doing what you started in the first place. Turn to God, pray about it, think on it, and ask trusted people their opinion. It might be true that you are supposed to change something– but sometimes we are supposed to just keep pushing through.

Don’t quit.

At least, not yet.

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2020 Bookworm Tag

The last couple of years I’ve kept track of how many and what books I read in that year. I thought it would be fun to share some of the books I read (though some of them I’ve already mentioned/reviewed so that isn’t going to be a surprise) but I thought it might be a little boring if I was like “In January I read this book, this book, and this book. In February I read-” and so on. SO. I thought to switch it up a little I would create my own book tag! I will ask questions and answer them only using books I read (or maybe got) in 2020. Ready?

First off- how many books did you read this year?

I ended up reading 35 books this year! I think that is about 10 more than last year.

  • What is an author you tried for the first time this year? How many first time (for you) authors did you read? We all know second chances are important… but second chances are even more important. XD

I actually tried a few authors for the first time. Of the 35 books, 15 were by new (to me) authors!

  • What is an author you returned to this year?

Several books I read ended up being authors I’ve read before- actually at least two of them were rereading a series. Since I graduated college in the spring I reread 2 of the 3 Christy Miller College Years books by Robin Jones Gunn. I think I will forever love the Christy Miller series. ❤

  • Did you read a classic this year? Which one?

I did! I don’t usually, in my mind I always imagine them boring and long… but I read A Christmas Carol for the first time this year and it was really good! I would be interested in reading more books by Charles Dickens.

  • Did you start a new series? How many? What was one of them?

Wow. I started 9 different series. That seems like a lot. One of them was The Stolen Kingdom series by Bethany Atazadeh. The last book in that series comes out in March and I am excited! I want to go in depth about each series I started… maybe I will do a whole blog post on that.

  • Did you finish a series?

So for the Christy Miller college books, I only read 2 of the 3, but I did reread the Twilight series this year. Think what you want, but the series really isn’t as bad as people act like. (in my opinion.)

  • Did you buddy read a book this year?

I didn’t! But I think it would be fun. I was actually just reading a book and I thought “I think I would enjoy it more if I could buddy read it.”

  • What author did you read the most of this year?

I think that might be Robin Jones Gunn. And no one is surprised XD

  • What was the oldest book you read?

It was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

  • Did you buy a book that was published this year?

Six of the books I read this year were published in 2020! That doesn’t seem like that much considering how many books I actually read, but several of them were published in 2019- so they were still new (in my opinion.)

  • What is a book you go this year and haven’t read? (You could have gotten the book any time between January 2020-December 2020)

Okay, I may have a problem buying books and then not reading them right away. One book I am looking forward to reading is Dust by Kara Swanson.

  • A book you weren’t sure about but ended up loving?

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. It sounded really weird when my brother in law told me about it. “It’s about this demon who is in training…”

Um. Okay. That’s weird…

But I read it and I ended up loving it. I high recommend it. I don’t agree with everything that C. S. Lewis believes in, but I still think he is a great teacher, and the way he teaches truthes in fiction is so cool. I loved it. I should probably review it…

Top read/s of 2020?

Okay, it isn’t easy to pick out one favorite, so I’m going to list the top reads on 2020 and try to order them in ‘least favorite of my favorites to favorite of my favorites’. If that makes sense.

Coming in at no. 5 least favorite of my favorites….

5. Ashlords by Scott Reintgen

4. It’s hard to pick which one is next, probably 3 and 4 are actually tied… but I’m going to say The Stolen Kingdom by Bethany Atazadeh.

3. This book sucked me in and I did not expect it. I loved this book, and was so glad I read it just as the sequel was coming out so I didn’t have to wait! A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer.

2. This book also sucked me in, and I loved it! I loved arranged marriages and Beauty and the Beast kind of feel. Captive and Crowned by Elizabeth Newsom. I am definitely looking forward to reading the sequel, and I hope it is just as good or almost as good as this one!

1 Seeing Voices by Olivia Smit.

Again, I’m talking about my favorite books I read this year so it will come as a big surprise when I, once again, say “I LOVED IT!” But I did. It dealt with hard family things, and it had some deaf representation, and a sweet friendships, and a nice small town, and a library. ❤ ❤ I am looking forward to reading the sequel- and anything else Olivia Smit writes. This book was like a hug.

Okay! So that’s the end of my 2020 Bookworm Tag. I am going to tag Mikayla on her blog Truthful Storytelling, and Eliza Noel on her blog Eliza Noel Author, and Abigayle Claire over on The Left-Handed Typist, and anyone else who wants to do this! If you do it please make sure to let me know, I would love to read your post!

If you want to do the post, here the are questions for you to copy an paste onto your own blog. 🙂

  1. First off- how many books did you read this year?
  2. What is an author you tried for the first time this year?
  3. What is an author you returned to this year?
  4. Did you read a classic this year?
  5. Did you start a new series?
  6. Did you finish a series?
  7. Did you buddy read a book this year?
  8. What author did you read the most of this year?
  9. What was the oldest book you read?
  10. Did you buy a book that was published this year?
  11. What is a book you go this year and haven’t read? (You could have gotten the book any time between January 2020-December 2020)
  12. A book you weren’t sure about but ended up loving?
  13. Your favorite read/s of 2020?

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Seeing Voices~ Book Review

About the book:

Skylar Brady has a plan for her life…until a car accident changes everything.

Skylar knows exactly what she wants, and getting in a car accident the summer before twelfth grade isn’t supposed to be part of the plan. Although she escapes mostly unharmed, the accident has stolen more than just her hearing from her: she’s also lost the close bond she used to have with her brother.

When her parents decide to take a house-sitting job halfway across the province, it’s just one more thing that isn’t going according to plan. As the summer progresses, Skylar begins to gain confidence in herself, but as she tries to mend her relationship with her brother, she stumbles upon another hidden trauma. Suddenly, she’s keeping as many secrets as she’s struggling to uncover and creating more problems than she could ever hope to solve.

My review:

I don’t even know where to start withy my review- but I think one good place to start is: This is one of my favorite reads of 2020.

I took sign language in school, so I am interested in sign language, and deaf characters in books and movies and tv shows. So when I got this book I was looking forward to seeing what it would be like.

And it was so good! I loved the characters and how well she made each character a whole person and not just there to serve the main character, and it was obvious she did a lot of research to make sure she captured everything correctly. And there wasn’t any romance! Which, I do like a good romantic subplot, but sometimes it can seem a little weird in YA. But it seems like most YA books have romance in them, or at least the ones that I read, and it was kind of nice to have a friendship instead. (Though they should totally start dating one day. I’m just saying. XD)

This book was sweet, and captivating. It kept me interested in the whole book from start to finish and I am so looking forward to the sequel- and any other books Olivia will publish in the future.

I would give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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We Were Liars ~ Book Review

About the book:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

My review:

I had heard a lot about We Were Liars and I think all of it was positive so I was pretty excited about reading it. I had completely different expectations for what the book was going to be like (besides just plot, I had a different setting and genre in mind too) but that isn’t necessarily bad just kind of funny.

Anyway, We Were Liars was a fast read, but it was… different. It is told in first person, but it seemed very passive, like the main character wasn’t describing things that had happened to her in her life, but as if she was talking about something very distant from her personally. That could have been a conscious decision from the author, but it just seemed to distance me from the actual storyline.

The characters were… unique. The main character called her mom “Mummy”, and some other things they said and the way they spoke kind of through me off. I still understood what they were saying but it seemed like it was more British than US. (Which is great and all, but… it isn’t. The main character, her parents, her grandparents, etc., were born and raised in the US. I think she even said her ancestors came over on the Mayflower.) I even went so far to try to see if the author was British- but from what I saw she also lives in the US. It just seemed a like something that was there for no reason.

Characters. Well, not to be mean, but it was basically a story about a lot of self centered people. (which I think was supposed to happen) The characters just seemed extra annoying.

And lastly, when it’s all said and done the book was very dark. After I finished I kept thinking about the book, but not in a good way. It was like the more I thought about it the more it disturbed me.

That being said, if you like books that are a little twisted and disturbed you might really like this one! I can see why someone would if they like this type of book- it was an easy and quick read, but it was definitely for an older audience, and if you don’t like dark or disturbing things I wouldn’t recommend it for you.

Mostly this book just wasn’t for me. I would give it 2 out of 5 stars.

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