It’s been a hot minute since I posted anything.
And currently, I’m en route to run in a relay from Sioux City, Iowa, to Dubuque, Iowa, but I wanted to make a quick post to prove that I’m here and I’m still alive!
Not to make excuses, but my life has been crazy this past month!
Presenting: A quick recap of May
- Bought a house
- Moved into house
- Decided I’m Joanna Gains and started remodeling house
- Freelance work (editing, writing, reviewing)
- Beta reading a novel
- Working on my novel
- Working on short stories
- Starting my full-time summer job
It’s been pretty crazy! There’s a lot of things happening and a lot of changes. But it’ll be good (. . . I keep reassuring myself . . .). Really – I don’t do well with change, but all of this is exciting regardless!
Hopefully, I’ll be able to jump back in the groove next week, and the regularly scheduled posting will continue.
For today, though, I’ll give you a glimpse of my summer TBR pile, which was inspired by Top Ten Tuesday.
Even though it’s Thursday.
My Top Ten TBRs for Summer
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though sh
e now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.
I’m currently reading this one. So far, I absolutely love it!
Reading like a Writer
Long before there were creative-writing workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says Francine Prose.
In Reading Like a Writer, Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the work of the very best writers—Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov—and discovers why their work has endured. She takes pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; she is deeply moved by the brilliant characterization in George Eliot’s Middlemarch. She looks to John Le Carré for a lesson in how to advance plot through dialogue, to Flannery O’Connor for the cunning use of the telling detail, and to James Joyce and Katherine Mansfield for clever examples of how to employ gesture to create character. She cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted.
Written with passion, humor, and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart.
Writing the Intimate Character
The key to excellent fiction lies in its characters: the unforgettable protagonists, antagonists, and secondary characters who populate the world of your story. Understanding and effectively using point of view allows you to write a powerful narrative that draws readers in and engages them with characters in a meaningful way. Through a blend of practical instruction, useful examples, and helpful exercises, Writing the Intimate Character shows you how to create the experience of living through a character rather than just reading about one.
Inside, you’ll learn:
- The functions and benefits of first-person, third-person intimate, omniscient, and second-person points of view.
- How to apply character cues—specific behaviors, sensory perceptions, dialogue, and visual imagery—to develop a realistic protagonist and secondary cast.
- The surface and subset feelings that get to the root of your character’s emotions.
- How different viewpoints affect the story you want to tell.
Writing the Intimate Character helps you craft a novel in which readers can experience your characters’ senses, dive inside their minds, and truly feel their emotions.
A Court of Wings and Ruin
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, she’s sworn to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.
In these action-packed prequel novellas to Throne of Glass, Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and avenge tyranny. But by acting on her own terms, will Celaena truly free herself from her master, or will she suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery?
This bind-up features all four of the previously published e-novellas along with a story now available in the US for the first time, The Assassin and the Healer.
Present over Perfect
Live a life of meaning and connection.
Instead of pushing for perfection.
A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.
I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, writer, and I know all too well that settling feeling. But over the course of the last few years, I’ve learned a way to live, marked by grace, love, rest, and play. And it’s changing everything.
Present Over Perfect is an invitation to this journey that changed my life. I’ll walk this path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth.
Written in Shauna’s warm and vulnerable style, this collection of essays focuses on the most important transformation in her life, and maybe yours too: leaving behind busyness and frantic living and rediscovering the person you were made to be. Present Over Perfect is a hand reaching out, pulling you free from the constant pressure to perform faster, push harder, and produce more, all while maintaining an exhausting image of perfection.
Shauna offers an honest account of what led her to begin this journey, and a compelling vision for an entirely new way to live: soaked in grace, rest, silence, simplicity, prayer, and connection with the people that matter most to us.
In these pages, you’ll be invited to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.
I’ve already read this once, but it’s one of my favorite books of all time. I highly recommend it!!
Reading in the Wild
In Reading in the Wild, reading expert Donalyn Miller continues the conversation that began in her bestselling book, The Book Whisperer. While The Book Whisperer revealed the secrets of getting students to love reading, Reading in the Wild, written with reading teacher Susan Kelley, describes how to truly instill lifelong “wild” reading habits in our students.
Based, in part, on survey responses from adult readers as well as students, Reading in the Wild offers solid advice and strategies on how to develop, encourage, and assess five key reading habits that cultivate a lifelong love of reading. Also included are strategies, lesson plans, management tools, and comprehensive lists of recommended books. Copublished with Editorial Projects in Education, publisher of Education Week and Teacher magazine, Reading in the Wild is packed with ideas for helping students build capacity for a lifetime of “wild” reading.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.
Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely
The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love.
In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection—from the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father to the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over.
With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers:
- Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt.
- Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence.
- Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging.
- Stop feeling left out and start believing that “set apart” does not mean “set aside.”
- End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full-blown issue.
Growing up as a girl in today’s world is no easy task. Juggling family, friends, romantic relationships, social interests and school…sometimes it feels like you might need to be a superhero to get through it all! But really, all you need is little information.
Want to know why your stomach does a flip-flop when you run into your crush in the hallway? Or how the food you put in your body now will affect you in the future? What about the best ways to stop freaking out about your next math test?
Using scientific facts, personal anecdotes, and wisdom gained from the world around us, Mayim Bialik, the star of The Big Bang Theory, shares what she has learned from her life and her many years studying neuroscience to tell you how you grow from a girl to a woman biologically, psychologically and sociologically.
So, yep! There’s my TBR pile!
What about you?! What do you have on your list for this summer?!?! Let’s talk about it!!