November 2016 Monthly Wrap-Up

November 2016I’m not going to lie. November 2016 has been a tough month, and I’m not sorry that it’s over. On the upside, I was able to attend YALLFest in Charleston for the first time (also my first visit to the area– must go back!) AND I wore my amazing bookish costume. Sadly, all the other stuff has kind of crowded my time this month, so I haven’t really been as attentive to the blog and as quick about reading as I hoped to be. I still managed to review eight books, which is fewer than usual, but feels like a lot considering all the other hoopla that’s happened.

Thoughts on YALLFest

If you’re thinking about going next year, DO IT. I loved it, though there are, of course, things I’d do differently in the future. I keep meaning to be sneaky and write a YALLFest Tips post while it’s still relatively fresh in my mind and queue it up for a few weeks ahead of the festival next year.

The best part of the whole event, to me, was the way everyone seemed to pull together. For a lot of people, election week was pretty rough. Many people feel afraid about the future. Instead of dwelling on those things, YALLFest became a time when people rallied together and reminded each other about what freedom means and how powerful our voices can be. Who better to remind us of those things besides the writers whose stories change our lives? Just too cool.

Initially, I planned to go nuts and try to get a ton of books signed. I dragged a bunch to the festival but quickly abandoned that scheme. I loved the author panels. After the opening keynote, I was hooked. I felt like, I could stand in line for an hour (or more!) waiting for an autograph or I could go listen to what the authors had to say about a host of topics. I don’t regret that choice one bit.

Three kind of cool moments for me: When Sabaa Tahir talked about one of her favorite childhood books: Seven Daughters and Seven Sons, also one of my favorite childhood books. Yay! And when Jenny Han described her writing process and how she’s never talked to another writer who crafts a manuscript the way she does. From what she said, it sounds like she writes each scene as it comes to her, not in chronological order. Then at the end she stitches things all together how they go. Which sounds like a LOT of work and definitely sort of stressful. It’s like designing a puzzle one piece at a time and then assembling it afterward, right?

Funny story… that’s exactly how I’ve been writing my current manuscript. So that was a huge encouragement to me, because I’ve been thinking, like, is this even a reasonable way to attack this thing? But knowing someone else has done it successfully is a huge relief. I feel like it gave me permission to use the process and consider it a legit way of writing, which I didn’t realize I needed, but apparently I did.

Also, this happened– yay!

instagram-snapshot

Moving on to review recaps…

Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz (A Descendants novel)

Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz (A Descendants novel)

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I liked the diversity in this cast of characters. It’s something you don’t always see in fairytale retellings. The story was cute– probably much like you’d expect. Overall, I enjoyed it.

The Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers

The Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This reminded me of The Muse by Fred Warren. I liked the blend of real and story worlds.

The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

I was super excited to read this book because it followed a minor character in Ramey’s previous novel, The Sister Pact. If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge sucker for a gritty guy trying to find the right path, and stories about family always get me, too. So this one was a win for me, even though it had some strong content.

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

Kottaras has to be one of my newer favorite authors. I love that she writes about smart girls, but they’re not those girls who have it all, you know? They have issues, but their issues aren’t always the focus of the story. Loved this story.

The Secret of Goldenrod by Jane O'Reilly

The Secret of Goldenrod by Jane O’Reilly

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This one was an unexpected gem. Looking at the cover and description, I wasn’t expecting to be wowed. But Goldenrod charmed me pretty quickly. I loved the small town and its quirky characters and the mysterious house trying to communicate with its occupants.

Infectious by Elizabeth Forkey

Infectious by Elizabeth Forkey

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

The premise of this story totally intrigued me. I’m still fascinated by the idea that in a post-apocalyptic world, zombie-ism is a physical disease that reflects the state of one’s soul. I thought that was a really cool concept that kind of blended two genres, Christian fiction and thriller.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Review | Amazon | Goodreads

This one had been on my reading list for a long time, and one stressful night, I rewarded myself by finally cracking it open. I think I read it in one sitting. It’s an unusual read– I think magical realism is kind of hard to swallow sometimes, but again, winning characters and some surprising plot twists made me fall in love.

What about you?

Did you read anything this month that totally knocked your socks off? Any books at the top of your holiday wish list?

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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 November 2016 Monthly Wrap-Up

  1. Colleen says:

    Way to top off the month, Girlfriend! Kudos to you for all your efforts. This is a rockin’ blog. Thank you!

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