Monthly Archives: January 2014

2013 Books

Here is the list of new books I read in 2013 (by “new”, I mean books I’ve never read before, I do tend to re-read my favorite books a lot, but I’m not counting those):

  1. The 13th Reality:  The Void of Mist and Thunder by James Dashner
  2. Mistborn:  The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
  3. Matched by Allie Condie
  4. Crossed by Allie Condie
  5. Mistborn:  The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
  6. Origin by Jessica Khoury
  7. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
  8. Mistborn:  The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
  9. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
  10. Reached by Allie Condie
  11. Inferno by Dan Brown
  12. The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane
  13. May Bird and the Ever After by Jodie Lynn Anderson
  14. Underworld by Meg Cabot
  15. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
  16. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
  17. The Golem’s Eye by Jonathan Stroud
  18. Ptolemy’s Gate by Jonathan Stroud
  19. Kindar’s Cure by Michelle Hauck
  20. Awaken by Meg Cabot
  21. Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot
  22. The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
  23. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  24. Damselfly by Jennie Bates Bozic
  25. Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owens
  26. House of Hades by Rick Riordin
  27. The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot
  28. Michale Vey:  Battle of the Ampere by Richard Paul Evans
  29. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  30. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  31. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  32. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  33. Beauty by Robin McKinley
  34. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
  35. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
  36. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
  37. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

For me, 37 is a good number of new books read in one year.  Anything more than 25 is a good year.

My favorites:  The Rithmatist I really loved, it was different and fun to read.  I expected to hate The Fault in Our Stars, knowing it was bound to be depressing, but it was superb.  However, I’m skeptical of the movie coming out later this year.  The Girl Who Threw Butterflies was a quick read and sweet story about a girl who can pitch knuckle-balls and joins her school’s baseball team.  Bridge to Terabithia is a classic that I swear I read before, however it seemed totally unfamiliar reading it this time around so I can only conclude it’s new for me.  It was another sweet story, that was sad, but ended with great optimism.  Finally, Size 12 and Ready to Rock and The Bride Who Wore Size 12 were just super fun.  I adore Meg Cabot’s style and humor.

The Stinkers:  Here, There Be Dragons I do not recommend.  I can’t even begin to explain how many ways this book rubbed me the wrong way.  Warm Bodies just wasn’t my style, which is funny because the movie is one of my favorites (the movie had such a different tone though, which probably explains that).  The 13th Reality Series, the last of which I forced myself to read early in 2013, is too convoluted and didn’t make sense to me.  The author used multiple POVs, which was super confusing to follow, and I still don’t understand the climax.

These, of course, are only my opinions.  You are free to disagree.  My reading for 2014 hasn’t started off with a bang…I still haven’t read anything yet.  Oops!

I will add all of these books to my Book List, along with my ratings, as soon as I can.

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Writing Reflections 2013, Goals 2014

I looked back at the goals I made for 2013 and I’m proud to say that I accomplished them all!

  • Two new manuscripts written:  check
  • Started querying for my first:  check
  • Regular exercise routine:  check

My highs and lows for 2013 are closely connected.  I was thrilled to begin querying, so when I finally finished my query letter and sent it out, it was exciting.  The disappointment came when I didn’t get any bites on that letter.  Not even a nibble.  To put it in perspective, I only sent out the letter to 27 agents, so it’s not a huge amount and there are plenty more agents I can attempt to contact.  However, late in 2013, I stopped querying because I felt like my letter wasn’t working.  I mean, my expectation was that I’d at least get a single partial request from that round of letters, but I didn’t even get that.  Any number of things could be wrong, but revising the letter (and possibly the novel as well) will need doing before I continue.

Enter my goals for 2014…specifically my writing goals:

  • Continue querying my first manuscript after making changes to the letter and looking through my manuscript again for ways to improve it.
  • Revise my other two manuscripts (I’ve already started that) and get them ready for querying.  If the first one flops, I can shelve it temporarily and try with one of the other two.  I’d like to have at least one of them ready to query in the spring and the other ready by the end of the year, or sooner  if I work hard.
  • Complete at least one new manuscript.  This actually isn’t high on my list of priorities, but if I can fit it in that would be nice.  I completed two last year, which was great, but I need to spend my time this year focusing on revising and editing because I’d like to improve my skills in this area.

I also kept a writing journal during all of 2013.  This worked great for me, helping me keep track of my progress and stay focused on what I needed to get done.  I completely filled a Moleskine notebook, so I asked for some new ones for Christmas, which I got, so I can keep up this habit.

Exercise is on my  list of goals as well.  A regular routine indirectly helps my writing efforts.  I did well last year keeping up a regular schedule and I’d like to continue doing so for 2014.