How I Decide What to Read Next

wednesday blogging challenge

When there are so many great books out there waiting to be read, how do I decide what to read next? Of course, I have a long list of books in my to-read pile on Goodreads. But even then, I don’t usually go down the list in order and read what’s on there.

The books I read, I often run into them randomly. For example, in a Newsletter I joined on a whim from Booksweeps, on a thread I found on Twitter, or it even coincides with whatever mood strikes at the moment. People even reach out and request for me to read their book in exchange for a review, and I often put those requests near the top of my pile.

Recently, my brain just ran into a wall, not wanting to read at all. But I’m hoping to come out of it as soon as I’m done with my current writing project. Here are the next two books on my to-read list, unless some random mood strikes before I get to them. I’m super excited to read them!

What if finding a husband meant losing her freedom?

Maydeline Shadow dreamed of adventures on the Five Seas, certainly not settling in the Northern Kingdom with any of her mother’s choice of suitors. But when her family’s secret is exposed, Maylie is forced by old rules to find a husband.

Taking matters into her own hands, she flees her colony and is thrust into an unknown world of magic, mermaids, and marauders with new and foreign rules. She must not only discover her own mystical abilities, but a wicked ploy to destroy her family.

If she chooses the wrong man, she could lose it all.
Can a human heart withstand the flames of a dragon’s soul?

For centuries, the dragons of Kalleen have ruled the skies. Blessed by the goddess of fire, those born of her power are destined to exist within two worlds, while fully belonging to neither.

As the youngest daughter of the dragon queen, Amelia has always been torn between her humanity and winged form. In meeting Stephen, she found a blossoming love that gave her hope of finding balance.

A dream destroyed when her sister, and future queen, sets her sights upon the same man.

Forced from her lover’s side, Amelia embraces a self-imposed exile, taking refuge in the northern mountains. In this new life of solitude, she banishes painful memories by retreating to her dragon form, sheltering the wounded girl within.

Yet it is an isolation that cannot last, as the new dragon queen’s cruelty bears down upon the kingdom, allowing an ancient enemy to rise. Drawn from her banishment by the pleas of friends, Amelia must choose. Will she embrace the destructive beast within? Or draw upon the frail humanity that lingers dimly in her soul, in a desperate attempt to help her people, and mend a broken heart?

My Favorite Things to Do in Autumn

Autumn is the best time of year. The weather turns colder. The leaves turn beautiful shades of red and yellow. And… HALLOWEEN. Need I say more? Here are a few things I love to do in the fall.

Crunch Leaves

Does anyone else go out of their way to crunch leaves as they’re walking down the sidewalk? There’s just something so satisfying about the sound.

Drive Up the Canyon

The Utah mountains are breathtakingly beautiful during the fall. The leaves change color. The air turns cooler. If I don’t take the time to drive up the canyon at least once, I will miss the leaves in literally a blink of an eye.

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Topics I Never Get Tired of Talking About

Books

Books galore. I could talk about books all day. What I’m writing. What you’re writing. What I recently read. What’s on my to-read list. The plot for my next novel. I am booksessed. Back in the day before I had kids and before these crazy times, I could spend hours in a bookstore just looking at all the books and finding myself in conversations with random strangers. Now I just annoy my husband with all the book talk. (He doesn’t actually mind.) He knows about every book I’ve read AND he remembers them all. Crazy, right?

The Body

Not in any gross way, but I love anatomy. The body is incredible! Just think about all of its everyday functions and times that by the rest of your life! The brain and its intricate workings. The heart and its unyielding dedication to keep your body functioning. Did you know people blink approximately ten times a minute? I didn’t know until I became a CNA.

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Book Review of The Spectra Unearthed by Christie Valentine Powell

My Review

This book was…confusing. First, Jasper is the good guy, then the bad guy, then the good guy again, as if the writer couldn’t make up her mind. The beginning starts out strong with a compelling narrative and a promising storyline, but then the confusion has me looking in all sorts of directions as I try to figure out what is what and where the story is headed. People’s motivations don’t make sense, at least until the very end of the book. Within this complex world the author created, I was left not entirely sure who could do what and where the magic limitations started and ended.

For a children’s book, this is pretty dark. People die. Small children are murdered and get maimed.

The writing style is very good, with characters that could definitely be really interesting if expanding upon a little more. However, this book was just not for me. The mistreatment of children is not something I like to read about.

My rating: 2.5 stars

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Topics That Make Me Stop Reading a Book

This is a little difficult to answer, as I usually finish books, even if I’m not a big fan. But here are several things that make me dislike a book, when I may have enjoyed it otherwise.

A Hero Who Thinks the World Owes Him Everything

I mainly read this type of thing in medieval fiction, and I’ve read it farrrrr too many times that it gets annoying. Basically, the hero wants land. He coerces or tricks a titled woman to marry him to get said land, forcing/tricking the consummation to make it official.

This type of character just isn’t likeable for me, even after I gave them a chance to learn from their greed and mistakes.

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What I Wanted to Do When I Grew Up vs. What I Do

What I wanted to do

For most of my life, I was passionate about dinosaurs! I always wanted to be a paleontologist, go on adventures, and make new discoveries. In college, I even took a dinosaur class from a real paleontologist. I ate the information up. I LOVED dinosaurs! I loved learning about them, I loved memorizing bone structures and fancy names. But of course, life always has different plans for you.

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The Last Place I Traveled to and Why

Okay, I’m going to cheat here a little bit. I rarely travel, so I’d say my FAVORITE place I’ve traveled to in the past 5 years has been Ketchikan, Alaska. This place struck a chord in my heart, creating a love for the ocean. I worked in Ketchikan in the summer on the docks, cleaning fish for people who stayed at the lodge.

Cruise ships came in all the time, and they were astoundingly HUGE! The entire one-road city was beautiful. Green, cloudy, with freezing water that just might kill you if you stay in it too long lol! Here are a few pictures from the summer.

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Favorite Poems, Short Stories, or Novellas

As far as poems go, I pretty much love anything by Lord Byron. They speak to me on a personal level. I also really like some rhyming kids books like the Pout Pout Fish or Giraffes Can’t Dance haha! I don’t ever read short stories, but I have read plenty of novellas. Here are just a few I have enjoyed recently!

Fenady Clark’s dream of owning an ice cream parlor has inspired her through some of life’s hardest challenges. Just when the grand opening’s within reach, that wicked rogue, Sebastian Bane, opens shop and starts serving Fenady’s designer flavors, all renamed. She suspects he’s using black magic to poach her recipes, and if she weren’t a good witch instead of a bad witch, she’d whip up a spell and retaliate.
Amazon
From the USA Today Bestselling author of the Longing for Home series, MY DEAREST LOVE is set in the beloved world of Hope Springs.

Ian O’Connor spends his days in the purgatory of a New York textile factory, enduring the dangerous conditions to keep his family afloat. Somewhere in the vast, dark corridors of his daily prison is an angel. He has seen her only once but is determined to find her again.

Biddy Dillon has lost her home and her family. Loneliness chips away at her fragile hopes until she meets Ian, whose soft-spoken kindness touches her heart. For the first time in years, she begins to believe in the possibility of good things to come.

When tragedy conspires to pull the couple apart, they must decide if theirs is a future meant to be built together, or if fate has other plans.
Amazon
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Things I Wish I Were Better At

Cooking Chicken

My chicken always comes out dry. Always. I am so awful at cooking it, it’s not even funny. I can even botch up “juicy, not dry” chicken recipes. Well, I guess I’ll just stick to baking. I’m better at it and it’s a lot more delicious.

Remembering Where I Put Things

Is it just me? Or does having kids erase about half your memory? I can’t remember things for the life of me after kids, and that includes where I put things. One of my biggest pet peeves is losing something, and I will tear the house apart until I find it. If only my toddler could remember where he last put things too!

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How I’d Fare in a Zombie Apocalypse

Fight or flight? Doesn’t exist for me. In fact, I am very familiar with the third “F” that someone conveniently left out of the saying: Freeze.

I startle easy. Waaaay easy. All you have to do is walk into the same room as me and I, kid you not, jump a foot off the ground and then freeze. Would I be thinking about a weapon during an apocalypse? Probably not. I’d just stare at the hoard of zombies coming toward me and my body wouldn’t obey me to run away.

How would I fare, you ask? I would quickly become a zombie and I would be the one trying to eat YOUR brains.