A Belated 2018 Reads Post

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I really thought I’d read more, but there’s a chance working on completing When Fire Rains Down took up a couple months of reading time. (That works as an excuse, right?)

I started 2018 reading The Lunar Chronicles series. I devoured these books. I LOVED them. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy young adult fairytale retellings that take place in a futuristic/dystopian/sci fi/cyberpunk world. Super fascinating and unputdownable.

Then I wanted to read some books written by indie authors like myself, so I read Huntress by Julie Hall and Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn.

Huntress. I was — What’s the word? — relieved to read Hall’s novel. Maybe relieved is not the right word. Erm… I felt a solidarity with this author I’d never met because not only was her book Christian fantasy/spiritual warfare like mine, but it had similar themes and… she took religious liberties, shall I say. I could sense that she’d taken what she holds true about her faith in God, Heaven, and life after death and put it into her novels in the same way I had. I greatly enjoyed the training for battles scenes and the relationship she created between her main character and her love interest. Definitely give her series a read. It’s complete so you can binge read it!

A reader on my street team recommended Chanda Hahn to me. Unenchanted is free (as an e-book) and I’d been into fairytale retellings after loving The Lunar Chronicle books, so Hahn’s was my next pick. She definitely had a different take on how to retell fairytales and added a new spin to them — which I loved. She needed to live out and complete each of Grimm’s fairytales, first deciding which she was becoming and then solving the challenge that went along with it. I liked the twists and the characters. Worth reading!

Last July I went to a Realm Makers’ writing conference in St. Louis and came home with Storm Siren by Mary Weber, The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson, and Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne.

Storm Siren hooked me right away. There was a depth to the setting and story and descriptions that sucked me in. I couldn’t read it without coming up for air several times, though, due it being a little darker. You should read it if you like magic, hints of romantic tension, loyal friendships, and evil characters you want to go down. The Girl Who Could See was a quick read written by a young author with a great imagination. It’s the story of a girl with an imaginary friend who winds up being not-so-imaginary from a world that’s coming to destroy hers. Intrigued? You should be! Breakwater was another imaginative tale that takes place in the ocean. Think: mermaids, murder and mystery, romance, loyal (and not-so-loyal) friendships, and family drama. This series is complete (or nearly so) so it’s the perfect time to start reading it.

Once When Fire Rains Down was completed and published, I took a break from writing to read A Court of Thorn and Roses. This one had been on my TBR for a while and, again, I was hooked immediately, faster than I normally am. I really liked the main character. Her family situation made her sympathetic, and I really liked the side characters. This one had a little more explicit romance scenes than I’ve read in a while since I’ve been reading clean YA, and some violence, so be prepared. I also read The Iron King. It started out a little slow for me, very contemporary YA that took a fantastical turn. I think my favorite part of this book was the main character’s love interest.

When Fire Rains Down is my favorite in my series, in addition to Mila’s story, After the Ashes. I know many readers find my series has a slower beginning in When Ash Rains Down, a very contemporary realistic story that takes a while to dive into the fantastical battles that accompany angel vs demon stories, and Julia’s character takes a bit to like, but it’s all worth it when everything plays out in the finale, I promise! There’s a secret legend and all the characters really need to come together to defeat evil. Julia has had a lot to learn and she uses every lesson to become a powerful female hero. You’ll love her even if you didn’t at first.

My reward for finishing (and releasing) Cole’s novella, After the Smoke, was to read Rachel Morgan’s new urban fantasy series, Elemental Thief and Elemental Power (The third book will be out later this year, I believe.). I love loved Elemental Thief. I was so excited to find that Morgan continues to amaze me no matter what genre or series she writes.  Elemental Thief is about a girl with illegal magic that she needs to keep hidden for the safety of her friends and family. She steals to survive and help others. She discovers an underground world with others like her… What are you waiting for? Go and start reading it now!

Morgan’s a go-to author for me, and she’s another talented and successful indie author! In addition to reading her latest books, you should definitely read her first series. (A series you can binge read for a long, long time since it has many books it!) The Faerie Guardian has fairies with magic and flying carpets and romance and mystery and danger).

Welp, that wraps up my 2018 reads. Hope you found several new-to-you titles/authors you can read in 2019! (Search for them on Goodreads or Amazon or any online retailer! Most are also available in paperback and some as an audiobook.)

I’m working on a new series this year, too. Clues about it: royalty, academy, dystopian, murder, mystery, secrets, romance, friendships. More about all that in another post!

For now, happy reading! (And stay safe and warm. We are being blasted by snow and cold and ice in Wisconsin. What a winter!)

Much love,

Cecelia XO


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