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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Results of “Reading Over the Holidays”

I had 10 whole days free to tackle the to-do list I brainstormed which included six books. So the question is, did I meet my goal? You decide how I did.

I read Nicole North’s KILTED LOVER first since I told her I would. After that book I emailed her and asked if I could have a Scott too. I think every reader should be able to have a Scott (the hero). He’s hunky, a construction worker who is also a caber tosser. I’m talking muscular, but oh so sweet and very honorable. What more could you want? Wait, there was more, a whole lot more of him because this was an erotic romance.

Next, I read Jennifer Ashley’s THE LONGEST NIGHT in the anthology A CHRISTMAS BALL and I timed it perfectly. I started it on Christmas Eve and finished it on Christmas night. It was wonderful! I loved Mary, the heroine, because she was responsible and helpful and used a sword when she had to. And Valentin was hot as usual and honorable, and between them they saved the day. By the way, Valentin is a Logosh so he can turn into a wolf or this demon type thing with claws. Talk about feeling protected! I have to admit I was surprised by who the villain ended up being. Then again, Jennifer also writes mysteries so it’s no wonder I didn’t have a clue till the end.

After Christmas I read Kathryne Kennedy’s MY UNFAIR LADY. Okay, I have to gush here. I totally loved this book. In addition to a great hero, Byron, who comes to know Summer better than she knows herself, and a heart warming heroine, Summer, who carries a knife, is sweet and, well “Tarnation,” you just gotta love her, Kathryne pulls out all the stops. She adds to Summer a penchant for saving helpless animals and a worshipful young boy plus a number of funny happenings that make you smile. This book was a delight. I was cheering by the end. Truly a lovely read.

So I thought, three down, now what? I jumped into HEART OF GLASS by Kayla Janz. This book was well written, hot, and a “dreams come true” story about a man making it to the big time in the music business and a woman coming out of her shell. This one was true erotic romance and not for those uncomfortable with this subgenre. After reading this book I’m even more excited about having joined Kayla’s critique group.

Okay, so I had two more to go. I knew I couldn’t possibly read a nonfiction book on writing as fast as a romance (I really wanted to take it all in), so I decided to start reading a chapter a day of THE FIRE IN FICTION by Donald Maass. He gives a writer permission to go beyond what we’ve been taught to do and I think it will definitely improve my work. However, I have to admit that as of today, I still have two chapters left to read.

Lastly, I was to read Denise Domning’s LADY IN WHITE. I have started it, but have not finished it, so I’ll be posting about that book hopefully next week. So what do you think? How’d I do on my reading list?

It was incredibly motivating to post what I planned to read on this blog where anyone could see it and hold my feet to the fire. So since this is a New Year and goal setting is hot right now, please write and let me know what you would like to achieve this month, this year, by April 1st, whatever. Do you want to get a certain book read, re-read a keeper, complete a trilogy, clean your house (yuck)? Let me know. If you tell me your goals, I tell you you mine :-)

Happy New Year! Alexis


  1. Good job, Alexis! You're a shining example to all of us who struggle to find time to write.

    My goals? I have a library copy of Michael Connelly's 9 Dragons, and it's due Friday! But this week is crazy busy, so I might have to pay a late fee and return it on Monday.

    I'd love to hear more about the Donald Maass book, if you get a chance to critique it for us!

  2. Hi Laura,

    Okay, so your plan is to read 9 Dragons by Monday. We have it in writing and we'll want to know how you did.

    I'm still reading Maass and Domning, but I'll definitely let you know what I thought :-)

  3. I'd be interested in what you think of the Donald Maass book. His previous titles have helped me enormously, and I completely agree with him about pushing your own boundaries (doing more than what's "allowed.")

    And thanks for the compliment on the Christmas novella!

  4. I reached my tiny writing goal! I finished Michael Connelly's 9 Dragons Sunday evening. It's a great book, and if you haven't discovered Connelly's work, I highly recommend him. His charactarization of LAPD Detective Harry Bosch, beginning with his very first novel, Blach Echo, published in 1992, is amazing, touching, and unforgettable.

    There's even some romance drizzled in the books, and I'm always hoping that the final book will bring Harry his Happy Ever After ending.

  5. Alexis, I just found your post today. Thank you for the awesome review of my book, Kilted Lover!! A big cyber hug for you!! You achieved a lot in a short time with your reading. I don't read very fast myself so one of my goals this year is to learn a bit of speed reading so I can enjoy one of my favorite pasttimes more. And in general I have already become more productive and have more self discipline for the past 13 days. It takes 21 days to create a habit, right? That's what I intend to do. :)
    Thanks again!!

  6. Nicole - isn't the joke "21 days for a bad habit, 21 years for a good one?"

  7. Hi Jennifer, Laura,

    I did finish THE FIRE IN FICTION and found it very helpful. The book is organized perfectly, and I plan to type up all the key points and hang them on my wall so they are in front of me whenever I write (at my desk anyway). For each point, Maass gave a few examples from fictional works. In many cases I really didn't need the examples because he explained his points so well, but there were a few places where the examples helped. Overall, I was glad I read it. I think having his permission to go beyond the typical in front of me every day will definitely improve my work!

  8. Hi Nichole,

    I think learning to read fast is a great goal for the year. I'm not a speed reader, but I'm not slow either :-) Good for you for being so productive! Ignore Laura. Who waits 21 years for anything these days?

    Hey Laura,

    Good job on meeting your goals. I like to have small ones and big ones too. Getting the short little ones done gives me a feeling of accomplishment that fuels my drive to accomplish the larger ones. Looks like I'm going to have share goals on my next post. Hmmm, now which ones to share :-)