Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top Ten (Late) 2016 Releases


This week's topic at The Broke and the Bookish is your "most anticipated releases for the second half of the year." I actually have several books that I'm looking forward to, so here are my top ten:

1. The Spinner and the Slipper by Camryn Lockhart

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I've been looking forward to this book ever since I first heard of it through Rooglewood Press's newsletter. A Rumpelstiltskin/Cinderella mashup? Count me in!

2. Five Magic Spindles by various authors

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Speaking of Rooglewood press....the Sleeping Beauty Collection is coming soon! I really can't wait for this one!

3. The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

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I've not yet read any of Joanne Bischof's novels, but she's been on my to-read list for a very long time, and the circus-y theme of this book is very appealing to me.

4. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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A new book by Lunar Chronicles author Marissa Meyer, I'm not quite as excited about this one on the list as the others because I've never been a big Alice-in-Wonderland person. However, I'm still interested and will probably check this one out from the library.

5. Ghostly Echos by William Ritter

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This series was a surprise hit for me! They're actually secular YA paranormal books, which are NOT my usual reading material. However, the previous two books were funny, clever, and largely clean, so I'm really excited for this one.

6. A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

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I've enjoyed Katherine Reay's other books, so I'm hoping this one will be just as good as Dear Mr. Knightley.

7. The Shattered Vigil by Patrick W. Carr

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I got the first book in this series for Christmas, and while it was little overlong, it was fascinating and intricate. 

8. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

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I'm a longtime reader of Julie Klassen, and I'm really excited for this one, since this author has never done a series before. I'm curious if it will feel "different" than her other books.

9. The Star Bell by Stephanie Ricker

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This book came out last month (so I suppose it's technically from the first half of this year) but I still haven't read it yet. A Cinder's Tale was one of my favorite stories in the Five Glass Slippers anthology, and I'm so glad that Stephanie Ricker is still writing about the characters!

And...I could only think of nine. probably because most of the books on my to-read list right now aren't "new".... or they aren't coming out until 2017. Still, I would say this is a pretty good list :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Weirdly Specific Knowledge

     As any writer of fiction—especially perhaps of historical fiction—can tell you, research is a key element in the writing process. I wasn’t always as stringent in my research standards as I am now (a failing that does haunt me a bit) but one thing I’ve always loved about the research stage is how odd and unusual history can be.

vintage calling card, via Days of  Elegance

     In fact, it’s given me what I call “weirdly specific knowledge” because I might not be able to give you a run-down of every major world event in the 1800s, but I sure can describe to you in great detail the multiple layers of a woman’s attire or the perils of the childhood death rate in Victorian London. My current novel involves a main character who owns a stationery company in the early 1900s: therefore, my computer screen is packed with internet tabs on calling cards, mechanical pencils, and chromolithography. A couple weeks ago I finally had cause to research that clich├ęd staple of the mystery writer’s repertoire: poisons, more specifically arsenic. I also now know enough about the early years of the American Mafia to annihilate an entire Jeopardy category on the subject.

     Still, I think the strangest thing I’ve ever googled in the name of research was “history of eyebrow plucking.”

     So…as this is one of my favorite topics, what’s some of the strangest or most surprising things you’ve ever found yourself researching? Or, what is a fascinating tidbit you’ve found unintentionally during your research?
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