There is something marvelous about fall. Spice pumpkin coffee with cream, glittering frost covering the ground, and books! Lots of books! This is my reading season and I love it. Give me a cozy blanket, a fireplace (ok, a fake one for the TV), and a stack of novels as high as my coffee table, and I’m content. Over the next few months, I’d love to share with you some of my current reads obtaining coffee rings. I like to think those rings are badges of honor.
What’s new on my coffee table this month? A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan, Common by Laura Lucking, Melanie Dickerson’s Magnolia Summer, Mary Weber’s The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, and Eloise Jarvis McGraw’s classic, Mara, Daughter of the Nile. It’s quite the assortment of YA including; fairytale myths, southern Zorro dramas, and a futuristic gamer/mystery. Meanwhile, I’ve been dipping into Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. In addition to YA lit, I adore a good historical and have found another favorite author. Connilyn Cossette’s Cities of Refuge series has drama, romance, plenty of adventure, and a message of faith that always resonates with me.
I know. I’m terrible. I rarely stick with one novel and like to pick at them as if at a smorgasbord. So far, one of my most anticipated reads has been A Touch of Gold (Blink publishers). I was not disappointed. That cover is gorgeous! It has creepy pirates and a golden girl attempting to save her father, the infamous King Midas. I especially enjoyed the idea of overcoming addiction (the gold). This is not a faith-based YA read, but it is clean. I read it in a day.
Mary Weber’s The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (Thomas Nelson publishers) left me a little hesitant over some aspects. I loved the futuristic gaming aspect and the rugged leads, particularly Sofi, who has been abandoned by her CEO mother. When Sofi’s brother is kidnapped after an attempted assassination (he’s a famous gamer not unlike The Hunger Games), she resolves to save him. The love between a young brother and sister was deeply touching and I appreciated Mary delving into tough topics such as human trafficking. It’s a topic that needs to be discussed.
A little caution for those more sensitive — I wasn’t keen on the language peppered throughout the novel. The swearing was too much for me and distracted from a compelling story. This is a clean read but surprisingly low on faith. I do believe the book would have benefited from it. I’ll be reading the sequel to see if the characters evolve. Regardless, this is a series readers will find a great deal to discuss and chew on. Mary is such a strong writer and it’s difficult to put her books down.
Melanie Dickerson’s Magnolia Summer (GraceFaith Press) is a sweet Southern with undertones of Zorro. It’s a gutsy novel and her first self-published book after a successful fairytale retelling run. It deals with tough topics such as racism in the old South. I enjoyed the character of Truett, who attempts to find justice as a vigilante within a sleepy old town hiding terrible secrets. Celia, on the other hand, is a prickly character and it’s difficult to relate to her. That said, Melanie Dickerson is one of those authors who rarely disappoints and my bookshelves are loaded with her books. This is a clean romance with a strong faith message of trust, honesty, and doing the right thing. I’ll certainly be purchasing the next books in this Southern series. Plus . . . that cover!
I’ll keep you posted on the status of the other novels in my stack. It’s going to be a stellar month of reading!
What am I looking for in YA?
What am I looking for in my reading lists? Diversity. A diversity of characters, gender, beliefs, personality, and yes, culture. I want authentic people even if the situations are a bit over the top. Give me romance, but keep it clean. Keep it healthy and real.
More importantly, give me a character who wrestles with the big questions. As a Christian YA reader and writer, I’m ready for characters to dive into the deeper issues and come up gasping for air. If we claim that faith is important to us — the most important thing — then let’s see it resonate with our leads and watch them grow in believable ways.
Editing Raven’s Heir
As for edits on Raven’s Heir (Rooglewood Press), I received the author galley a few days ago and have been scouring for the little details that make such a difference in the final book. Thankfully, I discovered Star Buck’s Cold Brew to get me through those edits! And (me whispering), I read the other novellas in the Five Poisoned Apples collection. Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t wait for you all to read them! Plenty of romance and thrills galore.
I couldn’t resist including a little picture of the Raven’s Heir galley. Isn’t it pretty? It’s coming this December! Just in time for the winter snow. Here’s a little snippet in case you were curious. I’m excited for you to meet Kara and Damien in this Snow White retelling. You can sneak a better look on my Pinterest Raven’s Heir board.
Raven’s Heir is a historical fantasy with romance and a few chills. A young queen flees for her life with a band of rebels including one man she thought she would never see again. Throw in a wicked regent and a huntsman who can track anyone or anything . . . and well, you’ll just have to check it out for yourself!
That’s all for my reading updates. Join with me every month for more coffee table talk on books, characters, and writing. I’d love to know what you are reading this fall! Share your favorite books in the comments below.