Thursday, December 31, 2015

Joanna's Non-Scientifically-Assigned 2015 Book Awards!

I read a lot of awesome books this year! Here are some of my favorites I feel deserve awards!!

The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer
I binge-read the first three this spring, read Fairest in October and Winter when it released in November. I can't say enough wonderful things about this series! Inter-connected fairy-tales that are equal parts romantic, adventure, and Star Wars-esque.

The Winner's Crime, by Marie Rutkoski
This book DESTROYED me. But in a good way. But still: THE EMOTIONAL PAIN. Epic, epic series. SO READY for The Winner's Kiss to find out if there's any possibility for a happy ending (Ackkk I hope so!!) ………


The Orphan Queen, by Jodi Meadows
I had so much fun with this one (except for the cruel cliffhanger ending, mind you!). It felt like a cross between two of my childhood favorites (Jackaroo and Crown Duel). Who doesn't love a masked vigilante and a queen in disguise and an EXTREMELY interesting magic system? Can't wait for The Mirror King!


Uprooted, by Naomi Novak
Powerful and hypnotic. I literally couldn't put it down. Pretty sure actual magic is woven into the pages…

BEST ADULT FANTASY NOVEL (I'm totally allowed to pick two, all right?? This is my awards show post!!):

A Darker Shade of Magic, by Victoria Schwab
I loved this book so much!!! I read Vicious this year too (and it blew my mind!!), but Darker Shade edges it out (barely). Multiple Londons! World-hopping! Magic! Blood! Gorgeous, GORGEOUS book.


An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir

The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renee Ahdieh 
Both gorgeous and gripping in their own way. Beautifully, beautifully written. 


Cruel Beauty, by Rosamund Hodge
(I realize this wasn't published in 2015, but I read it this year so it still counts!!)

Monday, December 28, 2015

At the Close of the Year…

It's time yet again to see how I did on my to-do list for 2015:
Revise/rewrite/edit/polish the novel I finished drafting in December. Infuse with more heart, and MAKE THE MIDDLE BETTER!! 
Write a brand new book—because all revising and no first-drafting makes Joanna a dull girl! 
Read outside of my normal genre preferences—like a thriller or a mystery or something nonfiction. 
Bake more stuff—I've realized I really like baking!! 
Get an electric hand-mixer—Related to above. Whipping butter by hand is SO HARD YOU GUYS. 
Some kind of bookcase project—I have some outdated bookcases that I think would be really fun to update/paint/shabby-chicify or something. 
Never, ever, EVER give up! I don't post a lot about querying, as giving too much detail on that front can be unprofessional, but suffice it to say, this is my motto! 
 And here's how I did:
First up, I got halfway through a rewrite of last year's novel, and I do intend to finish it when I have the time! 
I starrrrted a brand new book for NaNoWriMo but it wasn't to be. Ah, well! 
Does reading four adult fantasy novels count as reading outside my normal genre preference? Haha maybe not, but it's been a loooooooong while since I adventured into the adult section, so I'm gonna give myself half-credit for that. 
I learned how to make homemade honey wheat dinner rolls! Does that count as baking more? 
I still don't have a hand-mixer… whoops!!
No bookcase project done either, unless you count clearing off the top of the office bookshelf to serve as my overflow shelf… I think I deserve 25% credit for that one. 
But BY FAR the most wonderful amazing accomplishment this year………… I didn't give up on querying and SIGNED WITH MY AGENT IN APRIL!!! I'm still so delighted/amazed/thankful/ecstatic about that!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015: The Year In Review!

2015 was pretty awesome. Let's review!!

In March, I took a trip to California, got to meet my baby niece and see San Francisco!

Golden Gate Bridge!
I have the cutest niece ever!

In April, I signed with Sarah Davies of Greenhouse!! (There are not enough exclamation points in the world to properly punctuate this sentence.)

At the end of April, Aaron and I took a trip back east for his niece's wedding, and whilst there visited four states, met my critique partner Jen Fulmer, and hung out with my aunt in Washington D.C.

Me and Jen & a future writer!

Rainstorm in front of the White House!

In July, I flew to Iowa and road-tripped with my sister to Michigan to celebrate my amazing grandmother's 90th birthday!

In October we celebrated mine and Aaron's 3rd wedding anniversary!

Waited in line for 16 hours to see STAR WARS on December 17th!!! (OH THE FEELS)

Can't wait to see what's ahead in 2016!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Once Upon a December…

Wellllll I kind of fell off the blogosphere for a while there. Sorry about that!!

My November disappeared somehow and I'm sorry to report I didn't finish NaNoWriMo this year. I made it to 30K and decided the story wasn't ready to be told… then wrote 7K on a pet project, then got distracted with Thanksgiving and a visit from my BEYOND ADORABLE 10-month-old niece. It just wasn't to be this year, but that's all right! Sometimes books need to percolate a little more, and I think that's definitely the case with this one.

Other than that I've been keeping busy eating (anyone else have THREE Thanksgiving dinners?), sewing (making some cute handmade things for Christmas), reading, and pondering an upcoming revision. Oh and watching Doctor Who. Last week's episode BLEW MY MIND. Just ask my husband. Sooooooooo excited for the finale tomorrow!!!

Anyhoo, hope you all are having a lovely start to your December!!

What I've Been Reading Lately:

WINTER, Marissa Meyer's exceptional conclusion to the Lunar Chronicles. I laughed, I cried, I squeed, I melted into a puddle of feels—the ending was everything it needed to be and more! 

A CURIOUS TALE OF THE IN-BETWEEN, by Lauren DeStefano. A bittersweet, lyrical, haunting, absolutely exquisite story about a girl who can see ghosts. Piercing and so beautiful!

MAGONIA, by Maria Dahvana Headley, which starts out like a John Green novel and turns into this lovely strange hypnotic fantasy about sky ships and bird people. I loved it immensely.