Favorite Reads of 2019

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Hi folks and Happy New Year. I hope you all had an awesome holiday season.

It’s time for my annual run down of my favorite titles I read in 2019. According to Goodreads I read a total of 32 books this year — that’s six more than my challenge number of 24.

Here in no particular order are my favorite reads of 2019. And this year I’m proud to say that every one of them was written by an indie author.

EverUpward

First up — I was excited to pick up a signed copy of part two of George Sirois’s Excelsior Journey – EVER UPWARD. This book took a while in coming, but was definitely worth the wait. If you enjoy YA sci-fi give it a whirl, but start first with book one EXCELSIOR.

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I completed several awesome fantasy series this year that I had begun the year before. One of them is Ben S. Reeder’s Demon’s Apprentice series. This upper YA urban fantasy keeps getting better and is highly recommended. (One again start from the beginning!)

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And another awesome series I completed this year. PROVIDENCE PARANORMAL COLLEGE by D.R. Perry. This is a series of interconnected stories each focusing on different pairs of students. The story arc between all the characters is rich and complex with a lot of aha moments towards the end when different parts of the puzzle that is created over all ten books come into place. Although in theory you could read each book separately I suggest you take them order. I actually read them all over a two-year period and was sad when I came to the end of the last book.

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And now for something completely different. CHASE THE RABBIT by Steven M. Thomas along with its three sequels is an action adventure series like you’ve never read before. Thomas intersperses old Hollywood with mystery in a delightful way that keeps you glued to the story. A huge heap of nostalgia here along with some excellent writing.

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*Sigh* – another final book in a series and one that made me sad as I adore Jen Ponce’s fantastic Devany Miller series. SOUL HOOK was a satisfying conclusion to the quintet which I cannot recommend more strongly.

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In FLIGHT, part three of Camille Faye’s Voodoo Butterfly series we depart from New Orleans and venture into faraway Malaysia. The book is captivating and I await anxiously for book 4 that should be released in 2020.

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As you probably know from my previous years’ best of posts I’m a huge fan of R.R.Virdi’s Grave Report. DANGEROUS WAYS is set in the same world where Vincent dwells but while Graves is like popcorn and addictive to consume, Dangerous Ways has the richness of a good meal. I enjoyed digesting the book slowly and reveling in the world. (And I really hope a second Book of Winter is coming soon.

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And finally — another favorite author that I’ve been waiting for a new book from for a long time. BAD DREAMS & BROKEN HEARTS is a collection of case studies from a detective that lives and works an a world like ours except magic is commonplace and sometimes problematic. The stories are perfect and well worth the wait. Highly recommended along with Misha’s dark urban fantasy series, The Book of Doors.

So there we go, my favorite reads from 2019. What were your favorite reads? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Also just a little reminder that my P.A.W.S. Saga is still on sale for 99 cents/99p a piece until Jan 1st.

Catch up on the P.A.W.S. Saga

 

 

 

Meet Rich Linville

Today on Paws 4 Thought we welcome, children’s author, Rich Linville.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, Rich.

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Born in 1946. Graduated and Married in 1968.
Wife: Sulastri Two sons: Jon and Kris
Two grandchildren: Mia and Kai
For 48 years, I enjoyed teaching elementary, middle school, high school, and college. I retired in 2016. Since 2016, I have published on Amazon over 70 ebooks and paperbacks. Plus, I have published over 50 audiobooks.

That’s an awesome and inspiring list, Rich. Tell us when did you first start writing? 

When I retired from teaching in 2016, my wife suggested that I start writing children’s books. I asked my grandchildren what kinds of books they liked.

Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors are Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) and Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel). Both reread many times.

(Two of my favorites – in fact I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland over and over again when I was a kid and made it the favorite book of my main character in my series. DMK)

You have a LOT of books out. How do you come up with your ideas? What inspires you to write?

I might start with a question like “Why Are There Bullies and What Can You Do About Them.” Also, when I taught a fable or a folk tale, I would ask the students to think about its meaning. We would discuss it at the next class meeting. At that time, each student would give what she/he thought was the meaning. I explained that the meaning of a fable or a folk tale has changed over centuries. It means what you think it means.

Which is your favorite book or books you have written?

The one that I’m writing at the time is my favorite. (Is that a writer’s cliché?) If I had to choose, they would be “Growth Mindset for Kids” and “Why Are There Bullies and What Can You Do About Them.”

How are your books illustrated? Do you illustrate them yourself, hire an illustrator or something else? 

As a teacher, I used PowerPoint with clipart when it first came out because I could teach using the Socratic Method. On the first slide with pictures, I asked the students a question, let them discuss and guess the answer. On the next slide I would show possible answers with pictures. For my ebooks and paperbacks, I set up PowerPoint slides set at 6.138 inches width and 9.250 inches height. I purchase clipart and use Photoshop Elements to modify the clipart if needed.

What are you currently working on?

“Murphy’s Laws for Kids”

If you had a superpower what would it be?

The ability to stop all wars.

(Yep, that definitely would be a good one. DMK)

Do you have any pets? (Feel free to include pics if you do. My readers love pet pictures.) And if you do have any of them ever appeared in your stories?My wife and I have five rescued cats and one dog. Choco is short for Chocolatte. He’s half hairless chihuahua and half toy poodle. We think he’s a gremlin because of his ears and fur. We don’t give him baths or feed him after midnight (LOL)

How can readers connect with you?

My email is teachersask@yahoo.com .
I manage two Facebook groups:
Books for Children
https://www.facebook.com/groups/549460848889850/edit/
Free Audiobook Codes for Honest Reviews
https://www.facebook.com/groups/FreeAudiobookCodesForHonestReviews/

You can check out Rich’s books on Amazon. He truly has something for everyone.

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Why the Distinction? – A guest post by Kristine Raymond

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Why the distinction?

A photographer takes pictures, builds a portfolio, and opens a studio.

An artist paints day and night, assembles a collection, and hosts a showing at a local gallery.

A musician rehearses for months in his band mate’s garage, records an album, and releases it under his own label.

An author writes for hours, agonizing over every word, edits and polishes the manuscript, then self-publishes and… wait. What? They self-publish?? Shock and horror abound.

When I tell people I’m an author, the first question I’m almost always asked is “Who’s your publisher?” Why does that matter? I’m asking; in the general scheme of things, why does the name of the publisher I list on my creation matter anymore than the name you put on yours? Why is what I create deemed inferior because it lacks the stamp of approval from a recognizable publishing house?

Your picture is slightly out of focus. There’s a smear on the right hand corner of your canvas. That last chord was off-key. You adjust, you fix your mistakes, and your next project is better than the last. Humans learn by doing; by pushing themselves to evolve, to master new techniques, to perfect their masterpiece.

Authors are no different; self-published or not. We make mistakes, and we fix them. We hone our skill and write a better story. Being self-published does not make us less than. Rather, it takes an immense amount of courage to release our creations to the world, to have them studied and critiqued and, oftentimes, ridiculed. We’re no different than any other artist out there, yet self-published authors are looked down upon, even by those in the same circles.

So, I ask again; why the distinction?

Yes, the process for publishing a book has become, for lack of a better word, easy. Anyone can do it; and it doesn’t necessarily have to cost money, depending on the product the author is comfortable selling. But artists sell their paintings on Etsy and musicians sell their music on CD Baby. What’s the difference? Outlets for creative work are available for a reason; because real talent was going unrecognized by those guarding the gates.

Are my books all that? I leave it to my readers to decide. Will I, one day, be able to add the title of best-selling author to my books? Time will tell. It would be nice, don’t get me wrong, but that’s not the reason I self-publish. I discovered a hidden well of creativity inside me, a true enjoyment for writing, and, truth be told, I like just letting the words flow. More importantly, I like writing them my way, without someone standing over me critiquing this or deleting that. I had enough of that during my school years.

I believe creativity is subjective. Different is good. Writing a story shouldn’t be like fixing a carburetor. It’s not the formulaic process many believe. It’s an art form; words are the medium rather than film or paint or notes.

So, do me a favor. Please stop equating self-publishing with less than. Please stop undervaluing the time and effort I put into my art. Will what I release ten years from now be better than what I released last month? I sure as hell hope so. I have no desire to churn out the same thing over and over. I want to learn new techniques, apply them to my work, craft something beautiful and worthy of awe. What artist doesn’t?

Good or bad, I’m shaping my own future, and the responsibility as such lies squarely on my shoulders. You know what? I can live with that.

Now, go create something beautiful …
~ Kristine Raymond

Connect with Kristine on her blog www.kristineraymond.com

There you’ll find out about her books and can sign up for her newsletter.