Welcome to the August 2021 roundup!
Who else blinked and suddenly it was the end of August?
I’m surprised it went so fast considering every day felt like Groundhog Day. Once again, it was spent in lockdown (#6 for those counting), which is still ongoing.
I was also in hospital for some of the month, having my 2nd laparoscopy procedure in 6 weeks. Thank you to everyone for the well-wishes, both here on my blog, and on my other social media accounts. I was hoping it would be my last procedure for a long time, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Because of the pandemic and two separate lockdowns delaying my surgery by two years, my endometriosis had significantly worsened. Trying to fix anything via laparoscopy was out of the question, and the surgeon had to close me back up and send me home. Now, I’m scheduled for a specialist appointment in September to discuss the next step, which will be an open hysterectomy.
After spending a week recovering (and feeling frustrated), I threw myself into draft 9 of Blackbirch 3, and I’ve been making good progress, as you can read more about below…
What I’ve Been…
Blackbirch 3 – I’ve had three wonderful betas get back to me with their thoughts on book 3, and thankfully, the issues have all been the same. It will take some tweaks to get it right, but I’m pretty confident the changes I plan to make will result in a stronger book. I’ve already done one round of fixing typos, dropped words, and rewriting sentences for clarity, and plan to do two more rounds based on the feedback sent from my last two betas. After that, I’ll have my list of story changes to work through, and then the MS will be off to more betas to see how close I am to a publishable version.
Hacks (Stan) – I loved this series, which follows two comedians. One is aging Las Vegas legend, Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), who has been told her show is being scaled back, and the second is a young comedy writer named Ava (Hannah Einbinder). She sent out an insensitive tweet and has now been canceled and can’t get a job. They share a talent agent, and he convinces Deborah to hire Ava to help her revitalize her show. The two women do not see eye-to-eye on most things, which creates lots of drama and some very witty sniping. As the series progresses, and we get to know what makes each of them tick, they form an unlikely friendship, which I’m hoping will be explored more in season 2.
Jungle Cruise (Disney+) – While it’s no Pirates of the Caribbean (the first two good ones, not the awful last three), Jungle Cruise was much better than I expected. Dr. Lily Houghton (Emily Blunt) and her brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall) are searching for the Tears of the Moon, an ancient tree that is said to cure all illnesses. This leads them to team up with Frank Wolff (Dwayne Johnson), a boat captain in brazil who is also looking for the same tree. His reasons for wanting to find it are a surprise twist in the movie, which I think elevated it above the usual bad-guy-chases and over-the-top action. Those elements are there, but they’re easier to swallow when the story catches you by surprise.
Dr. Death (Stan) – Not sure I should have watched this just before having surgery, but it was a compelling series. Joshua Jackson plays Dr. Christopher Duntsch, a spinal surgeon accused of killing and maiming patients. This was unfortunately based on a true story, which makes what he did even worse. The series follows his rise and fall as a surgeon, the court case which saw him deservedly sent to jail, and the impact his actions had on his victims.
The Fire On Memory Lane by Felix I.D Dimaro – In The Fire On Memory Lane, we meet Connor, a former footballer who caused the death of his son and lost the rest of his family as a result. Wallowing in grief, he gives in to an infomercial that promises an eye drop concoction that will allow him to relive his glory days through his memories. We get to learn about Connor and the man he was and is when he flashes back to his past. Like everyone, he’s flawed, and it’s easy to feel bad about how his life turned out. When the final pages of the book reveal Connor’s part in his son’s death, and the shocking truth behind the eye drops, it’s easy to feel worse. This isn’t a tale of redemption. It’s a sad tale about a sad life and it honestly left me a little flat after reading it. Although the ending was fitting, it left me wanting something more for Connor because I really was rooting for a better outcome after all he’d been through.
Mermaid Kisses by Melanie Pickering, Jacqueline Hayley, H.M. Hodgson, and Jennifer Westgarth – I love a good anthology, and when it’s all about Mermaids, it’s even better. For Mermaid Kisses we get four different stories. Siren Call is a YA tale about star-crossed lovers. One is a mermaid and one is a pirate, and both want to prove to their families that young love works. A Curse Of Moon and Sea is part The Little Mermaid, part Beauty and The Beast when a mermaid prince needs to break a curse and uses the sea witch’s daughter to do it. Adrift, which was my favorite, explores mermaids as creatures with a darker side who can drown humans and claim their bodies so they can live on land. When this happens for Wyatt, he needs to choose between being happy as a human with a potential new love or honoring a promise to a mermaid friend. The Crossing, which mixes warnings about destroying the ocean with a love story between a mermaid trying to save her people and a farmhand living a life for others. All of the stories are set in modern times and the mermaids live on land and in the sea, which I really enjoyed. Each story also has just the right amount of romance, secrets, and relatable characters. Definitely recommended for fans of romance with a twist.
The Dating Game by Sandy Barker – When reality series recap writer Abby Jones is offered the chance to go on The Stag (a fictional version of The Bachelor) as a contestant, she jumps at the chance to write her recaps from behind the scenes. But pretending to be a “doe,” isn’t as fun as she thinks it’ll be, after having to backstab girls she considers friends and putting up with The Stag, who is nothing like the person he portrays on TV. Abby is also drawn to the producer, Jack, and her feelings for him might just blow her cover. Including snarky show recaps, and situations you just know happen on reality TV, Sandy Barker has written a funny book that is sure to put you in a good mood from the first page to the last.
If you’ve got any good recommendations, let me know in the comments, or be my friend on Goodreads and share your books/recommendations with me!
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!
Taking Photos Of
Almost Spring! Walking has once again kept me sane in lockdown and aided in my surgery recovery. Winter is starting to ease off and we’re heading into spring, which means plenty of beautiful flowers around.
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, Book Scenes: Four Key Things To Establish.
For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.
Blackbirch Teaser Of The Month…
This teaser is from book 1 in the series, Blackbirch: The Beginning. If you’d like to read the books released so far or find out more about each novel, here are the links:
If you’ve read either of my books—and haven’t done so already—please consider leaving a review or a star rating. It could help another reader find their next fave book.
Quote Of The Month…
I’ve hoped you’ve enjoyed my August Roundup. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments!
— K.M. Allan