January Reads

            First month of reading down and I’m out of the gates at a sprint. Hopefully, I can keep up this momentum. I read five books and one was on my reading list for the year. I physically read two of them, and the other three were on audio. But I’m getting better at finding time to actually sit and read, so that should increase more over the next few months. Besides, I bought a bunch of the books on my reading list as physical books, so I’ll have no choice, haha.

The Stand by Stephen King

This might be stupid, but I did not know what this book was about before I started it. Stephen King is just one of those authors that I won’t worry about the description before I dive in. And I know it’s one of the older books, so it is a little ridiculous, but I’m all over the place with his books. The important thing is that I have now read it, and I picked a great time for a book about a fast-spreading virus.

We’ll get it out of the way first that yes, it was very long winded. That’s how he works. Everything I’ve ever read of his (novels, anyway) has always been very detailed and packed full of descriptions and maybe someone else doesn’t like that, but I think it’s just fine.

As for the story–Wow. There was a lot to take in. It went bad for the world so fast, and there was no stopping it. And it kept building momentum with every page until it ended with a literal explosion.

Every character had an important role–even though there were tons of them. And they each had their resolutions, one way or another. Franny was the only one I really took issue with as a person. I feel like if she had just been straight with Harold from the beginning, they could have saved some grief. But Harold could have also not been such a bucket of snot about everything. But alas, that’s how people are sometimes.

Even though this book was long, I could have kept right on reading about these people. I grew very attached to them.

Balanced on the Blade’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

I “met” this author on a podcast, so when her books popped up on my recommended reading, I took the plunge and got the first three books in one of her series. And I’m glad I did.

The entire premise of the world and the magic and all of that I loved. She painted a beautiful picture of what this place is like and nothing felt like an info dump. On this basis alone, I look forward to reading more of her books.

The characters were also a treat. Sardelle and her soul blade were amusing to no end. If only she and Ridge could have been just as compatible. They were fine on their own, but I disliked how quickly they became serious. Hint: this dynamic usually turns me off of romance novels. I don’t like the idea of love at first sight. But it still worked out in the end.

The story arc was amazing overall, and the final fight was entertaining. I’ve already started the next in the series and it’s getting pretty exciting. I just feel like there could be more meat to it.

Stone of Fire by J.F. Penn

So, I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy Joanna Penn’s podcasts and I’ve read a few of her nonfiction books, so it was about time I read her fiction. And I was not disappointed.

I really enjoyed the story. She did her research, for sure, and everything fit together nicely. Reminded me a little of Tomb Raider. Morgan and Jake were prominent characters and played off each other well and had enough differences to give their relationship tension and depth. The subtle attraction was also a nice touch and not overdone to make it feel corny. I’m sure it expands over the series and I’m looking forward to reading it.

My only nitpicks are about how easily they seemed to get away with everything. They had very little trouble throughout the quest and when there was trouble; they solved it too fast. But it worked out in the end. That’s why it’s only me being picky. I’m looking forward to starting the next book.

Deathmaker by Lindsay Buroker

I found I liked Cas way more than I liked Sardelle. She was feisty and determined to be tough, even when she faced certain death. Tolemek though was a little meh. With a title like “Deathmaker” I guess I figured he’d be meaner. And their relationship was a little odd. It didn’t really seem like they were compatible.

But the book was great. There was way more adventure and conflict to get excited about than in the first book. I loved the idea of pirates in the sky and all of Tolemek’s gadgets were pretty nifty.

Plus, when Sardelle reappeared in this one, she seemed to be more like the powerful sorceress she was supposed to be in the first one. I liked her development, and her soul blade is always going to entertain me. I’ve already started the third book, so I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Mastering Amazon Descriptions by Brian D. Meeks

I found this book to be pretty insightful, and I’m going to employ his tactics in the future. I’ve been busy on a new project, but when I have time I’m going to go back and rewrite the description for my short story collection. My favorite part of the book was the fact that he gave a lot of examples of before and after showing how to make any type of description better. Even when the original wasn’t bad in the first place, he demonstrated that there’s always room for improvement.

I’m currently reading The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin and I’m employing DIY MFA’s read harder tactics to dive deeper into it and examine the book from a fresh perspective. I’m hoping to improve my writing by doing this and I’m going to do this with at least one book a month from now on, so look forward to my more in-depth thoughts on at least one book a month going forward. What have you been reading in the new year? What are your reading goals for 2021?