Welcome to the November 2022 roundup!
Can you believe we’ve just finished the second last month of 2022? While the end of the year always goes by super quick, it feels like the whole year has been like that and I’ve been trying to make progress on as many goals as I can so I can take some time off at Christmas and enjoy it.
That has meant lots of writing/working, while at the same time, feeling like I’ve made no progress 🤣. The joys of being a writer, hey? I’ve also done the majority of my Christmas present buying and wrapping, and I think I’ve remembered to do, or put in motion, everything else that needs to be done when the pointy end of the year hits.
How about you? Are you putting everything in place to finish up 2022, or realizing there’s so much to do and only a few weeks now to do it?
As for the rest of November, this is what I got up to…
What I’ve Been…
Blackbirch 4 – This month, I’ve managed to work from chapter 1 to chapter 20 of what is currently 47 chapters. The draft is very far from being ready, and I still haven’t rewritten the final chapters, which need changes, but each sweep of a chapter/scene, has added new layers of backstory and character development, so I’m pretty happy with the progress.
Inside Man – This four-episode series starring David Tennant and Stanley Tucci is a great example of telling a solid story without dragging things out. When the Vicar of a small town agrees to hide a flash drive for a parishioner, he doesn’t realize it will lead to accusations against his own teenage son and the accidental kidnapping of Janice, a tutor in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fortunately, Janice has a journalist friend that she manages to send a blurry picture to before her phone is broken, and her friend starts an investigation with the help of a death-row inmate who spends the time he has left solving crimes. That doesn’t mean he’s a good guy, in fact, he’s pretty despicable, but played so greatly by Tucci, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. You also can’t help but feel for Tennant as the Vicar who is pushed into the unthinkable trying to keep his family safe. Told tightly in the 4 episodes, this quick series is worth checking out if you like good, old-fashion British crime dramas. Don’t forget to stick around for a post-credit scene in the last episode.
One Of Us Is Lying (Season 2) – Simon Says is back, texting and torturing the unluckiest detention group who have now infamously evolved into Murder Club at Bayview High and aren’t hiding the fact they’re all friends now. They do, after all, have two murders between them: one they were framed for, and one a member committed in self-defense that the rest are covering up. Somehow, Simon knows what happened, and the hunt is on to find out who they are. Thankfully, by the close of the season, we do, but there are still dangling threads left, a new murder where the suspect needs to be found, and a flash-forward that shows graduation for the Murder Club members ends in a bloody scene.
Dead To Me (Final Season) – Dead To Me started with the bonding of two grief victims, Judy, who accidentally hit a man with her car, and Jenn, who was married to the man Judy hit. While Jenn didn’t know who Judy was when they met, by the start of the final season, they’d both (spoilers) accidentally killed each other’s husbands and have been trying to keep each other from being jailed for the crimes. Anyone who hasn’t watched the show might ask why, but if you’ve seen the performances from Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, you’ll understand. They play these messed-up characters perfectly, and the final season is all about their friendship and what they’ll do for each other. It has a bittersweet ending, but one that is perfect for the characters, what they’ve been through, and what they deserve for the choices they made.
Spirited – This musical re-telling of A Christmas Carol was my first Christmas movie watch of the 2022 season, and it didn’t disappoint. Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell sing and dance their way through Christmas night as Roberto (Ferrell), the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Clint (Ryan) a media consultant whose dirty tactics will have some severe consequences if he stays on his current path. Clint isn’t ready to change his ways, and Roberto needs a change, and how these problems are dealt with and resolved is actually quite refreshing. While the ending is predictable, it’s the good kind that you want to see happen. Spirited also has some very catchy tunes, especially one song that will forever change the way you view the phrase “Good Afternoon.”
The Christmas Trip by Sandy Barker – It was so fun revisiting the characters from The Christmas Swap for this sequel. Once again, Sandy Barker knows how to lay on the Christmas nostalgia and you’re sure to find something relatable, whether it’s the longing of missing loved ones during the festive season, to fun holiday traditions shared with friends that come to mean more than family. The May Ladies are back and all loved up a year on from their Christmas Swap where they found themselves paired up. Chloe’s world-famous actor boyfriend, Archer, has organized for everyone to spend Christmas together in Hawaii, but beautiful location aside, not everything goes to plan. Archer’s ex continues to cause problems for them, Lucy is sick of feeling like she’s the only one doing the work in her long-distance relationship with Will, and Jules is afraid of moving in with Matt. Add to the mix some unexpected house guests, and their perfect Christmas is looking anything but. By the closing pages, however, you’ll be glad you joined the May Ladies, their beaus, and the new characters introduced because their drama and humor-filled adventure is a great way to get into the fun of the festive season.
The Crow’s Heart (The Stones Of Power #3) by Laurie Bell – This was such an action-packed read and a worthy third book in the Stones Of Power series. After the events of book 2, Tracey and her friends, both normal and Mage-kind, are off to London to look for the next stone. Cue vintage English mansions, life-like visions, prophetic dreams, hidden chambers, double-crosses, and everything that’s awesome about power-filled YA stories. Author, Laurie Bell, continues to create a unique magical world and layer it with history and mysteries that are expertly revealed and hinted at as the saga goes on. The friendships and blooming romances between characters are also a highlight of the book. It’s good, clean fun with characters that you care about and The Crow’s Heart leaves enough of the mystery solved and unsolved to satisfactorily lead to the next book, which I can’t wait to read!
Welcome To Denver Falls by Sim Alec Sansford – A quick read with a lot crammed in, Welcome To Denver Falls kicks off when 17-year-old Harper takes a road trip to a town she’s been researching. It was once the place of multiple murders, with the suspect seemingly disappearing into the surrounding woods. Harper believes she can help bring fresh leads to the investigation, but the Sheriff isn’t keen on her help. Neither are some of the townsfolk, who begin to follow her. Harper finds friends, too, and becomes close to fellow-teen Kendra, who works at the local bookstore, and Gideon, a boy their age who seems to only appear at night. With Gideon hiding a huge secret, and Harper discovering some truths about the horrific history of Denver Falls, this first book in the series plays all the right notes. There are enough answers and unresolved questions to complete this story but still keep you interested in what’s next for Harper. There are also some great reveals about Harper’s own dark past, family secrets, and what really ties her to Denver Falls. Highly recommended for fans of supernatural YA series.
Not Dead Yet by Hayley Walsh – This was the first book I’ve read by Hayley Walsh, but it won’t be the last. When Mary loses her husband to a heart attack and then has a fall that lands her in the hospital, she realizes it’s time to move into a retirement community. Her best friend lives in Queensland in an assisted living facility, so Mary decides to head to the sunshine state, moving from her two grown children and young grandchildren, and away from her nosy neighbor, Gertrude, a woman who Mary has wanted to tell off for many years. Through flashbacks, we learn of Mary’s life as a child who moved to the city from a country town, and of her teenage years when she had two loves. The first was Neil, the boy who moved away in their senior year of high school, and his best friend, Bob, who Mary eventually married. We also dip into the life of Mary’s best friend, Barbra, once a talented ballet dancer who had to give up the love of her life due to a secret she’d kept from everyone, including Mary. The story flows easily, and I honestly wish some chapters had been longer so we could learn more about the events and the characters. Each character is filled with such humor and heart, especially Mary, who deals with loss, big secrets, rediscovered love, and a cat who loves butter in a fun and feisty way. Recommended for readers who are fans of feel-good stories.
If you’ve got any good book recommendations, let me know in the comments, or be my friend on Goodreads and share your books/recommendations with me! You can also find and follow my reviews and book recommendations on Amazon and BookBub.
If you’d like to add the Blackbirch books to your Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf and/or check out the reviews, click the following links:
Taking Photos Of
Writing lunches and a rainy spring. For the first time since March, I met up with my writing friend, Belinda Grant, for lunch and a writing session. We talked all about our current WIPs and then added words to them after some delicious food.
I’ve also been taking photos of the very rainy spring weather we’ve been having. It’s officially summer here tomorrow, yet we’ve hardly had any warm days yet, so here’s hoping for a more heated turn come December.
On The Blog…
In case you missed any of my posts, or want to read them again, here are the latest blogs.
- October 2022 Roundup
- How To Add Unpredictability To Your Story
- 3 Tips To Kick-Start Your Blog Post Ideas
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, Underwriting: 6 Problems And Fixes.
For more tips, visit my Writing Tips Pinterest Board.
Blackbirch Teaser Of The Month…
This teaser is from Blackbirch: The Ritual, and was the most popular posted this month on my social media feeds.
If you’d like to read the books released so far or find out more about each novel, here are the links:
- Blackbirch: The Beginning (Book 1)
- Blackbirch: The Dark Half (Book 2)
- Blackbirch: The Ritual (Book 3)
If you’ve read any of my books—and haven’t done so already—please consider leaving a review or even just a star rating. It really helps indie authors get their books noticed, and also helps fellow readers find books they’ll like.
Quote Of The Month…
I hope you’ve enjoyed my November Roundup. What did you get up to this month?
— K.M. Allan