A hearty congratulations to my Graythorn Publishing sibling K.A. Silva! Have you always loved the land of Oz, but you’ve grown up? Do you love magic and mystery and queer representation? Then this is the series for you!
Sue is getting her bysuelondon.com website ready for the 10th anniversary of her first book, Trials of Artemis, which officially happens on May 13th! She is posting some lovely reviews of her books from over the years as part of the update. You can see them cycling at the bottom of her front page, or check them all out on her reviews page.
If you’ve read her books and not reviewed them, it’s never too late! She’d love to see some fresh reviews on the platform of your choice. And don’t forget that she loves a funny critical review just as much as a complimentary one, although it is less likely to be featured here!
Ok, writing about myself in the third person feels weird.
Thanks to everyone who has written a review over the years! I’ve read them all and appreciate them more than you can know.
If you’d like to make sure your review gets added to the site just post a comment below with a link to where I can find it on the internet.
Meanwhile, WordPress calls the page Testimonials and when I need someone to testify I start singing “CAN I GET A WITNESS?” Thus the title to this post and, well, here’s the video. Enjoy!
You might recall that one year I got fed up with something (I don’t remember what) and decided to start my own awards. This is just my favorite stuff I read last year. There is no nomination process, no vetting, and no pretending this is in any way objective. However, it is also not bought, schmoozed, or otherwise manipulated. Is there a high correlation between people I know and the books I read? Yes, because if I know you and you write, I will eventually read at least one of your books. If I like it then I will talk about that. If I read one of your books and like it, I will probably reach out and try to connect with you. It’s how I roll. Talking to authors is (almost) always fun. And the ones who write the stuff I like? Categorically always fun (for me). YYMV.
This year I realized I could USE MY AFFILIATE LINKS to earn more money to buy more books and, well, that just feels like a virtuous cycle. So if you buy anything on these links I might get a little percentage back.
The first time around I didn’t get all of the awards out, or even come up with my final category. I am solving that problem this year by doing it all in one post (so I don’t have to worry about my tired little ADHD brain keeping up with it).
Although my picks are pretty romance-heavy these days, I am not exclusively a romance reader. In fact I’ve probably still read more SFF and 19th century classics by volume, but romance has spent the last thirty years catching up.
First, the announcement of the categories!
I LAUGHED – my favorite comedy
I CRIED – my favorite tear jerker
I CHEERED – my favorite hero/ine
I SIGHED – my favorite swoony romance (ok, this one is almost exclusively romance)
I ATE THE WHOLE THING – a series I devoured
Let’s face it, comedy is kind of my thing, and although this series isn’t comedy per se, Liz has killer rom-com instincts and gets a pretty good laugh/page rate out of me. I was lucky enough to see an early draft of the first few chapters well before the book came out, and was probably one of the first people to buy it!
Please note I used the original cover here because I prefer it. I’m sorry if you love the new one Liz, this is my favorite.
So here is a weird thing about me: I hate poetry unless I love it. And when I love it? I really, really, really love it. I discovered Nikki Giovanni years ago and was delighted to find out she was faculty in my very own home state of Virginia (at that OTHER school, Virginia Tech). She retired in September 2022, so I decided it was time to put my hands on a whole book of her poems. (You can read an article about her career and retirement here. I love that her 1990 office picture has an Opus in it, because most of my pictures in 1990 were in close proximity to a stuffed Opus.)
I love her words.
Even when she tells me hard truths, I love her words.
Sometimes when she tells me hard truths, I cry. But it’s a good cry. A cleansing cry.
And hey, Giovanni knows romance, too. One of the poems I sent to my husband (who loves most poetry).
Charish Reid dropped an innocent enough looking little book in March 2022 called “I’ll Come Back for You.” I mean, innocent enough looking if your taste runs to cool witchy stuff, which mine often does. So I grabbed a copy and oops, fell for Whitney and her sister Helen and that guy Whitney had a crush on in high school, Deon, while they were all trying to deal with a ghost in the house.
I especially love Whitney. I love Whitney so much. She is vulnerable but tough, smart, and determined. It is very rare for me to return to a book and read it over and over, but I can already feel that this one is going to make that list. You can grab a copy on Amazon. Tell me if you start it so we can ‘read it together.’
Okay, probably a lot of the swooning feelings came from all of the descriptions of coffee and pastries, I’m not gonna lie, but Travis Baldree really achieved something here. Legends & Lattes sort of feels like the Cheers of the 2020s. You feel comfortable. You want everyone to know your name. Ok, and now I want a chocolate pastry… In case you didn’t know, you call already order the sequel. Both books are available on Amazon.
I ATE THE WHOLE THING
Last but not least, I ATE THE WHOLE THING. As a semi-voracious series reader I always enjoy finding something new to sink my teeth into. In 2022 it was finding Red L. Jameson’s Wild Love series. Check out the series page on Amazon here.