Books I Read in 2015

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year!

happy new year

As was tradition back when this blog was active, I’m here to share the books I read in 2015. In total, I read 56 books. That’s the record, at least ever since I started recording my yearly book list. And here they are. Asterisks (*) indicate a reread (and yes, I reread some within the same year).

  1. A self-help book that I didn’t record the name of
  2. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  3. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
  4. The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
  5. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  6. Just One Year by Gayle Forman
  7. Just One Night by Gayle Forman
  8. Don’t Touch by Rachael Wilson
  9. Show Your Work by Austin Kloen
  10. Jackaby by William Ritter
  11. Kissing Ted Callahan by Amy Spalding
  12. Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson
  13. Maximize Your Potential Edited by Jocelyn Glei
  14. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
  15. *A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  16. Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn
  17. We Slept Here by Sierra De Mulder
  18. Marbles by Ellen Foley
  19. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
  20. The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond
  21. Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
  22. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
  23. Neanderthal Meets Human by Penny Reid
  24. Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
  25. Way More Than Luck Edited by Janet Crowther
  26. Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  27. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
  28. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  29. Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly
  30. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
  31. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  32. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  33. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
  34. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
  35. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  36. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  37. *Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  38. *Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  39. *Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  40. *Just One Year by Gayle Forman
  41. *Just One Night by Gayle Forman
  42. *Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  43. *Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  44. *Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn
  45. *Honeybee by Trista Mateer
  46. First and Then by Emma Mills
  47. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
  48. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
  49. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  50. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  51. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
  52. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
  53. Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda by Becky Alberalli
  54. The Dogs I have Kissed by Trista Mateer
  55. A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
  56. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

A couple things I noticed:

  • This was the year of YA. I read young adult books almost exclusively. This probably contributed to my high book count.
  • For someone who doesn’t like Sarah Dessen, I read a lot of her books this year. Maybe I was just giving her a chance.
  • I didn’t reread all my usual books. I usually have at least one Jane Austen book on my list. I’ll have to rectify this in 2016.
  • All the Bright Places broke me. Seriously, do not read this book during a sensitive time in your life like I did. I had to cleanse my palate with books I knew I loved and ended happily because I could not get over that book. I’m still not over that book. (It’s sad, but very good.)

My favourite new books were probably the Just One Day series by Gayle Forman (I want a Willem!), Rainbow Rowell’s books, All the Bright Places, I’ll Give You the Sun (though I didn’t like it at first), and Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda. Stephanie Perkins’ books are always good for a pick me up and I love them.

I’m not going to bother talking about the books I didn’t like, though there were a few of them.

So, that’s it! My 2015 book list! How was your year in reading?



Beta Readers

So, I’ve moved on to the next phase of my process of getting this book out into the world: Beta readers.

gaston reading

I have a lot. Seven, actually. Too many, probably, but I’m excited to hear everyone’s opinions. Excited and terrified. So far, I haven’t heard back from anyone other than general “so far, so good” comments. These are nice but leaves a lot up in the air. I’m hoping to have Draft Four, a.k.a. The Querying Draft, ready by the end of this year, so I’ve asked for feedback by the end of November. This is going to be a long month.


In return, I’m Beta reading for a few of them. Everyone is so talented. This is what I have to go up against in the pile of submissions for agents. Again, terrifying.

Anyway, that’s where I am. Sitting and waiting. In the meantime, I’m working on novels two and three. I’m about two-thirds of the way through novel two, so it’s really my focus. Novel three is more of a pet project that I’m working on in my spare spare time, which is sparse (like the novel itself).

Hope you update you soon when I get back all my amazing comments! Thanks for reading.


It Gives a Lovely Light, Draft Three: Day Five

Day five is over. What can I say about day five?

ugly cry dawson


kill me 2It did not go well is what I’m saying.

I started my read through. I tried reading word by word. I tried reading out loud. I tried reading it like a reader. None of it worked well.

I am officially so sick of this book.

gahhWhat am I supposed to do with that? I’m still determined to finish the read through tonight. I’m only about four chapters from the end, so I should be able to do it. But at this moment I feel like this book is terrible and I’m a failure because of it. My writing buddy assures me this is not the case and I’m just going to have to get by on her faith in my project for now.

everything will be okayTo calm myself, I’ve decided I’m just going to send my manuscript off to her for beta reading first before I subject anyone else to it. I’ve convinced myself there will be many changes for draft four as there are a tonne of new things in draft three. I have lost confidence. But, hopefully, having someone read it and the distance it will give me while I wait will restore it, or the little I had to begin with.

Okay, I’m off to finish reading. This will be my last blog on this draft. Thanks to the folks that have read the whole week, or even just one day. The blogging has helped in my accountability. Overall, I had a really good week. I wish I could do this forever, but alas. I return to the life of an aviation analyst on Monday.


It Gives a Lovely Light, Draft Three: Day Four

Day four is over.


I feel like I shouldn’t be doing happy gifs. Though I’m happy the day is over and with what I have accomplished, I don’t want this week to end. I’m living the true writer’s life right now. I have no responsibilities except those to myself. I’m my own boss. I make my own hours. I work from home. It’s been a bit of a struggle getting used to doing work without so much structure, but I’m really pleased with my progress so far. I think I’m doing really well and that’s making me really happy.


I’ve increased my word count pretty significantly today. About 900 words! So, now I can say it’s a 66K word novel. That’s closer to 70K, right? I did a lot of BIG changes today. I moved some scenes around, extended some, wrote completely new ones and deleted any that didn’t seem right. The List, as far as plotting and characterization is concerned, is complete. I still have some editing stuff to do, change some names, strengthen my verbs, realign the chapters to flow better, but all significant plot and character changes to the book are done.


I’m pretty excited. So, tomorrow, that leaves the final read through. The final with-a-fine-tooth-comb read through. This is where I’ll look at every single word and sentence and paragraph and chapter within the context of the whole book and determine if it stays or goes. I can see a lot of making sure my characters don’t do so much “looking” (they’re constantly looking around, it’s a terrible habit) and that I’m not over doing my speech tags. Trying to get into active voice and not using weak verbs. That kind of stuff. It’s going to be a long day.


But after that, I expect to be done! Then it’s to the beta reads. I don’t want to think of the beta reads right now or that paper bag will not be enough.

Thanks for reading. I’m off for a swim and a hang with my writing buddy. ‘Till tomorrow!


It Gives a Lovely Light, Draft Three: Day Three

Day three is nearly over. I’m in a coffee shop downtown waiting for my bestie to get off work so we can go celebrate her birthday.


So, I’m writing this early. I’m going to continue writing for about another hour so, this isn’t final final.

Reading the whole book took longer than I would have liked and I’m not sure I got what I needed out of it. I fixed some things on the way such as superfluous speak tags, incorrect commas and dialogue/thoughts punctuation and things like that so the first half of the book matches the style I went with for the second half. Apparently, those little asterisks I used as scene breaks for a while counted as a word in my word count. As you might expect, taking those out decreased my word count quite a bit. Devastating.

new girl cry

I made up for it today, though, by increasing my overall word count by about 300 hundred words! I’m officially over 65K now. I’ll never get to 70K and I’ve accepted it. I made significant progress on The List. Most of it was little stuff. I’m saving the big stuff for tomorrow and Friday when I have time to really settle into it. One that I’m not looking forward to is completely changing how one character finds out about something. It’s a big, big change, but one that I think makes more sense. I forgot to use that technique that I always have to Google to spell. Most of my time, until about one o’clock, was spent reading. But I think I’ll continue with the technique tomorrow and Friday. So, I’m pretty pleased with the progress I’ve made since lunch time but disappointed it took so long for the read through, especially since I’ll definitely have to do it again.

baffledAnyway, that’s the update for today. Lots done, lots to do. But, good news, I’m pretty confident that it’ll be ready by Friday. Then I have to go through the excruciating process of letting people read it. Beta reading is rough. I’m so thankful to those who have stepped up to help me with it. If any of you are reading, you’re amazing.

Thanks for reading!


It Gives a Lovely Light, Draft Three: Day Two

All right. Day two is done.

excitement3I am equal parts distressed and bemused that my overall word count has decreased today. Decrease of 62 words. I have exactly three more words than I did when I started the week. Now, we’ve already established that word count is a poor judge of productivity but I had in my mind this was going to be a 70K novel. Why? Dunno. It just seemed like a good number, right in the middle of the expected 60-80K for YA. Instead, it’s hovering just under 65K. Nothing to sneeze at, I guess. The first draft I completed was about 61K and I was sure I had so much more to add. I still have a lot of work to do but nothing that will inflate the word count much more than it is. I guess I will have to settle for 65K.

I’ve started my first read of the full novel. I’ve decided to read the whole thing through once and make notes. I have a list of things I need to work on – which will be here on called The List, because it’s late and all my creative juices has gone into my novel – and I’m planning on adding and editing it as I go through the book. There’s several things I have added piecemeal over the last several months I haven’t had a chance to read through in the context of the rest of the novel. Between being a very fast reader and the fact I wrote the damn thing, I’m hoping the read through won’t take me long.

fingers crossed2Tomorrow, I’m going to be very dedicated to writing through pure necessity. I’ve scheduled a write-in with my writer’s group during the day. Starting at 10 o’clock (IN THE MORNING), I’ll be in a coffee shop working away until about 3. So far, only one person has committed to coming out to join me, but that’s enough.

I used the Pomodoro Technique today and it was quite successful once I got the hang of it. I kept forgetting to set my timer. I found I could pretty comfortably edit one chapter in one-ish Pomodoros. However, now I have completed all the chapters where I have critiques, so that measure is just about useless to me now. But I think I will continue to use it tomorrow.

So I think that’s it, my lovelies.

happinessI’m not quite done for tonight. I’m going to continue to read. But I will see you tomorrow, hopefully with some great, earth-shattering, life-altering news but something tells me you’re just going to hear me complain about word count some more.

Thanks for reading!


It Gives a Lovely Light, Draft Three: Day One

Well. Day one is on the books.

bored2I’m not sure how to gauge my success. I think I got a lot done. First chapter (that dreaded first chapter) is done and I’ve gotten through about half of my critique papers. I’ve made a list of everything that needs changing/fixing/adding/deleting. There’s a lot. There’s still four days, but there’s a lot.


I’ve also eaten a lot of chocolate raisins.

I kept track of my word count and have determined that to be, unsurprisingly, a poor indicator of progress. I have increased my word count by a whole 65 words! For those keeping track at home, that’s like, a third of this post. That means some additions, but also some subtractions. I got a late start this morning, totally my own fault, then spent more time than I should have on various social media sites (*cough TUMBLR cough*).

tumblerI think tomorrow requires more of a plan and more structure. The first thing I’m going to do is sit down and schedule out the day. I’m not going to go too nuts with it and schedule to the 15-minute chunk or something, but I think general goals will be helpful. If you have any suggestions for productivity apps, I’d be happy to hear them! One thing I might try that’s been floating around my job-type blogs is the Pomodoro Technique. I’ve heard good things. What techniques do you use to keep yourself on track and not distracted? Just turn the damn internet off, right?

All right, dudes and dudettes. I’m off to melt my brain with television until it’s time to go to bed. Then, all this all over again! Thanks for sticking around.