Welcome to the February 2021 roundup!
Is it just me, or did February fly by really fast? I know it was a short 28-day month, but it still felt quicker than that. There are a few people I follow on social media who had planned to use the 28 days to achieve goals, such as complete a draft or give something up. I thought that was a cool concept, and although I didn’t have the foresight to plan such a thing at the start of the month, I did accidentally achieve a goal or two.
We had a snap 5-day lockdown here in Victoria, so not being able to leave the house for anything other than an hour-a-day exercise or to buy essentials gave me the time to finish a draft and get started on the next one. To find out all about it and see what else I got up to in February, read on…
What I’ve Been…
Blackbirch Book 3 – I’m happy to say after 4 months of working on it, I finally completed my edits for draft 6, and I almost completed draft 7! Draft 7 is my beta reader draft so I’ve been through the grammar/spelling checks with ProWritingAid, my own scribbled notes of “check if every character grins too much” and I’m currently wading through my Weak Word and Delete writing checklists. My current goal of having the draft ready by March 1st won’t happen, but it will be ready not long after the start of the new month, so I am happy with the progress.
If you’re interested in my Writing Checklists, I’ve listed them together for the first time on my blog so they’re easy to find. They can be viewed here! I hope you find them as helpful as I do.
Billy Lemonade by Sarah J. Maxwell – I’ve been waiting for the release of Sarah J. Maxwell’s debut, and Billy Lemonade was worth the wait! On the surface, it’s a heartbreaking tale of two teens finding solace in a shared neglectful upbringing. Both ignored by alcoholic parents and invisible at school, they form a friendship where they feel seen again. But Billy is harboring a secret that will turn Jane’s world upside down and force her to face a devastating truth that will change things forever. Beautifully written, with a twist that will stun you, Billy Lemonade is a YA book to add to your TBR list and read as soon as possible.
Mime (Weird News #1) by Chrissey Harrison – This supernatural thriller has it all. Action, intrigue, mystery, curses, priests, serial killers, and even a little romance. In author Chrissey Harrison’s capable hands, it all threads together to create a story with characters you will care about and a villain who is chilling even though it can’t speak. Elliot Cross is a reporter for Weird News and when he and his photographer, Samantha, come across a case of human combustion, it leads them to a series of killings more sinister than the next. By the time they realize the killer is not only otherwordly but also hunting them, they’re on a path that will not only change their lives forever but reveal mysteries and truths about their own pasts that they’ll have to face to survive. Highly recommended if you love books with supernatural elements, demons, family secrets, and thrilling climaxes.
Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda – This epic story is split into two parts—both as interesting as each other. The first introduces us to a modern-day Avalon Hall, which is owned by a vampire witch who hides in the shadows and allows his home and expansive grounds to be run as a school for preternatural young adults who come into their powers in their twenties. New to Avalon Hall is Yseult Urquhart. She’s a witch who has been hiding her magic all of her life—and for good reason. She can hear and speak to echoes of the past. At Avalon Hall, the rumored lands of the fabled King Arthur, such power can be used to travel into the past. Part two sees that very thing happen and we’re taken to Ruth Miranda’s version of the Arthurian tale and how those characters relate to the vampire witch who now owns Avalon Hall. It’s a creative tale written in a beautiful style, and I can’t wait to read the next book to see how this time-traveling, supernatural series plays out.
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If you’d like to add the Blackbirch books to your “Want to Read” shelf and/or check out the reviews, click the following images!
The Dry (In Cinemas Now) – Based on the novel by Jane Harper, The Dry kicks off with Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) returning to the drought-stricken town he grew up in for the funeral of his best friend from high school. The friend killed himself after murdering his wife and son, but his parents don’t believe he would have done such an act and beg Aaron, now a federal agent, to look into the case. What he uncovers will send shockwaves through the town. In the course of the investigation, Aaron also has the chance to solve the murder of a girl from his past, the death of which was blamed on him. Both mysteries of this excellent movie will leave you guessing, and also wanting more.
The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things (Amazon Prime Video) – There seems to be a trend happening of time loop movies, but I’m here for it! The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things stars Kathryn Newton and Kyle Allen as Margaret and Mark, two teens living the same day over again. When they discover each other, they try to map the tiny perfect things that happen in their ground-hog day to see if they’re the key to breaking the loop. Being a YA movie, there’s fun and romance, but also a twist as to why Margaret might not want the day to end.
Firefly Lane (Netflix) – My sister told me for two weeks straight to watch this show after she stayed up until 4:30 a.m. binge-watching it. Once I started it, I understood why. Starring Katherine Heigel and Sarah Chalke, it tells the story of two friends who meet as teens and the ups-and-downs they go through over 20 years. It navigates life as one finds fame as a reporter/talk show host, and the other puts her ambitions on hold to have a family. The season ended with some big loose ends, so I hope season 2 isn’t far off.
Taking Photos Of
Morning Walks! I’m proud to say one goal I achieved this month was to walk almost every day. I talk to my twin sister on the phone while she walks her dog in Sydney (don’t you just love modern technology), and I’ve been taking photos of sunrises, birds, and pretty trees as I go.
On The Blog…
In case you missed any of my posts, or want to read them again, here are the latest blogs.
Writing Tip Of The Month…
#WritingTipWednesday posts are added to my social media feeds every week and here is the most popular tip for this month. It’s taken from my blog post, 4 Reasons Why You Can’t Write And What To Do About It.
For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.
Blackbirch Teaser Of The Month…
This was the most popular Blackbirch: The Dark Half teaser I posted to social media this month.
This teaser takes place between Josh and Kallie at the end of a battle with a dark force. Josh realizes all that Kallie has been through, but if you want to know what that is, you’ll have to read the book to find out! For more teasers, visit my Blackbirch Pinterest Board.
If you’d like to read the books released so far or find out more about each novel, here are the links:
Quote Of The Month…
I’ve hoped you’ve enjoyed my February Roundup. Let me know what you’ve been up to this month in the comments!
— K.M. Allan