March 2017 Monthly Wrap-Up

This month’s big to-do was ApollyCon, which I had the pleasure of attending for the first time as a volunteer. If you’re unfamiliar with the event, ApollyCon is sponsored by Jennifer Armentrout and 1001 Dark Nights and is a huge, two day book-signing extravaganza.

Out of the over 70 authors, there were really only a handful that I’ve read before, since many write new adult, which I don’t get much chance to read. (I’ve got my hands full with young adult and middle grade as it is!) This might sound like I had fewer reasons to attend ApollyCon, but actually, I have to say two things. First, it was about an hour from my house, so not much expense there! And second, y’all, I got to spend a lot of time chatting with YA authors, who are some of my favorite people. You just about can’t beat that! I even won an ARC for a Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill (who unfortunately wasn’t able to make it to the event). Here’s a pic of the book and my nifty ApollyCon Tote:

The final night featured an after-party with optional costumes, so I was able to show off the gorgeous Steampunk Book Fairy costume my mom made me for my birthday last year, with updated author cameos to match the authors I connected with during the weekend. You can see them in the image below.

Top: Beth Revis (who told me a great story about her dad, who is a lumberjack, sitting down at work reading a copy of her debut novel with a girly cover of pink silhouettes about to kiss. She was so fun!)

Upper Middle: Jessica Khoury (whose doodles are fantastic. Also her Twitter is hilarious. If you’re not following her, you’re missing some very funny stuff.)

Lower Left: Kami Garcia (who made it so easy to talk to her and recommended a bunch of other authors. She talked about book bloggers and told some funny stories. I also got to share with her how much it meant to me to be at YallFest, where I’d first seen her on a panel that really encouraged me at a difficult time. So that was great!)

Lower Middle: Mary Lindsey/Marissa Clarke (Even though I hadn’t read any of her books– yet– she was happy to chat and asked me a lot about what I’m writing and how that process was going. She had a lot of really encouraging things to say to me, which meant a lot.)

Lower Right: Trish Doller (I probably spent the most time talking with her. I’m sure I was ridiculously chatty from being nervous and kind of overwhelmed by the size of the event, but she was really great and shared some things about the project she’s working on and her upcoming release, In a Perfect World, which sounds right up my alley. She also listened to and encouraged me with my own writing, which means so much to me. She’s a fellow Floridian, so I hope to catch her at another signing or bookish event or something again.)

In terms of reviews, here’s what you missed.

March 2017 Reviews

The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I’d been especially excited about this book because I LOVE Stephanie Morrill’s writing. And this one is no exception! I loved the story, the characters totally hooked me, and the setting (1920s Chicago) was a blast. A must-read for historical fiction and mystery fans.

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I love seeing kids interested in science portrayed in books, so I was eager to check this book out. The story took a whole different turn than I expected. It’s more about the possibility of alien life rather than engineering or rockets, but the characters, their relationships and the unusual format of the story made this one a great read for me. Definitely one for middle grade lovers.

The Giant Smugglers by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon

The Giant Smugglers by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I don’t read a lot of adventure stories in middle grade, but this book proved it’s not because I don’t enjoy them. This reminded me a little bit of the 90s movie Iron Giant. Great read for middle grade-lovers looking for straight-up adventure.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Oh. My. Goodness. I know I didn’t forget how much I loved Chokshi’s debut but I MUST have forgotten how much I loved her debut. I’m always nervous to read a second book by an author whose first book I loved, but this one was truly amazing. I loved the characters. The story world was totally engrossing, and the quest kept me biting my nails all the way through! If you love fantasy with a classic fairytale feel, you absolutely need to read this book.

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This was a lucky find for me. I loved the gentle, sweet girl at the heart of this story. I rooted for her every step of her journey as she tries to figure out her place in her family, her spiritual community, and her school community. Fantastic. Shy kids need this book. (Okay, not *just* shy kids, but I definitely found that element especially resonated with me.)

Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse

Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I loved this book. It’s probably one of the most unique stories I’ve ever read. It’s really five stories that connect to form one larger whole. Every time I switched to a new story, I was sure I wasn’t going to like the characters, and every time, the author proved me wrong and made me fall in love all over again. I am a huge fan and I want Parker Peevyhouse on my auto-buy list. If you love books that explore a moral question, get yourself a copy of this one.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I was worried that this would be a tough read for me. I’ve been in kind of a raw place, and I’d seen so many reviewers talk about how they wept through this whole book. It was definitely an emotional read, but I loved the relationships the characters had with one another. I loved the honor paid to the grief process. So important and so often not acknowledged. Keep the tissues handy when you start this one.

A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This was a fun read. Sort of Groundhog Day meets Mean Girls? I’m not sure that’s exactly right, but it hit a lot of great notes for me. If you’re in need of a more lighthearted contemporary read with some romance, this is the book for you.

Dawn on the Road by Lea Waterhouse

Dawn on the Road by Lea Waterhouse

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

My favorite thing about this book was the way the author described the trip on the motorcycle so you actually felt like you were riding along with the characters. I liked Dawn’s interest in photography and the way the author used that to drive the story forward. It’s also got a strong Christian message, which makes it a bit of a rarity these days. A good pick for readers interested in a story about a road trip with a strong spiritual component.

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I cheated and reviewed this one because I wanted to. It’s not YA, but it’s a really fun read. I’m a huge sucker for anything to do with World War II. If you’re familiar with the story and you know me, you probably could have predicted that I’d love Roger Greene, a war prisoner who sticks to what he believes is right no matter what. If you’re a fan of Bodie and Brock Thoene’s The Zion Covenant, you definitely want to check this book out.

Save

Coming next month, I’ll be participating in the ARC Reading Challenge with Bookshelves and Paperbacks! It’s kinda self-explanatory. You make an effort to get through some of the ARCs (Advance Release Copies) you have stacked in low-traffic areas of your house. Not that I do this. Nope.

I’m hoping this challenge will help me get back on track so I’m not scrambling to get reviews done the day or two before I’ve got them in my schedule. I used to be weeks ahead, back in the glorious past, and I want to be there again. So bring it, ARC Reading Challenge!

Here is my list for the challenge…


What about you?

Read anything interesting during the month of March that you want to recommend? Looking forward to anything special from your reading this this month? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it!

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About Kasey Giard

Kasey is a mother, reader and aspiring author. When she’s not reading or writing, you might find her out on the water fly fishing, pretending she can keep houseplants alive, or talking with the family rescue cat.

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One Response to March 2017 Monthly Wrap-Up

  1. Colleen says:

    Wowza! It was a busy month here at Story Sanctuary. So glad you could make the ApollyCon. They were blessed and privileged to have you in their midst. Looking forward to April. Let the reviews begin!

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