6 More Books for Gifting from My Own Wish List

Yesterday I shared some of the books I’ve read this past year and loved. Today, I’ll give you a peek at some of the books on my personal wish list, along with suggestions for who they might be the perfect gift for!

Mom Heart Moments is a devotional book by Sally Clarkson. I’ve always found Sally’s books to be encouraging, and just a pleasure to read. If you have a mom on your list, this would be a lovely book to gift! Include some good tea or coffee and a pretty bookmark and you have everything you need for a gift basket.

Fight Write by Carla Hoch is a must-have for any writer whose stories include some sort of fight. Carla has a blog that’s a fantastic reference for writers, and she’s given plenty of workshops on how to effectively and realistically write a good fight. Published and aspiring novelists alike will appreciate this reference book.

Psalms of Sherlock by Gail Ann Swales is a novel based off the character of Sherlock Holmes. Since Holmes is one of my favorite fictional detectives, the concept of the book intrigues me, and I want to see how the author weaves faith into the story! Classic mystery fans who enjoy Christian fiction will be interested in this one.

Get to the Margins is a collection of devotionals written by authors for authors. I’m familiar with the work of some of the contributors, and this is one book that I’ve had in my wish list since it released! This is another great option for published or aspiring writers. In fact, maybe bundle this with Fight Write and your writer friends favorite caffeinated beverage for a writer gift basket!

52 Lists for Calm by Moorea Seal is a journal with weekly lists intended to promote calm. Given the fact that I’m constantly being told to reduce stress or chill out, this is definitely on my wish list. I’ve used a couple of Moorea’s previous 52 list journals, and quite enjoyed the practice of sitting down and making a weekly list for the given prompt. This is a great idea for the journaler, or list-maker on your list. (Maybe throw in some nice calming tea if they’re like me and could do with a little chilling out!)

Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making by Andrew Peterson is a book that’s come highly recommended by a number of writers and publishers who I respect. Being a Christian and an artist can seem like a tricky path to walk at times, and a book that’s part memoir and part handbook appeals to me. This is a wonderful gift idea for the Christian artist on your list!

I also promised a couple of non-book gift ideas for the bookish person on your list! First up would be one of the fantastic t-shirts by Lorehaven. I’m actually wearing the one pictured right now, but they have four options to choose from, and they’re all great. I quite liked the one with the Narnia quote too, but I couldn’t pass up a t-shirt with an astronaut!

If you have a short fiction fan on your list, you might consider a gift membership to Havok. Havok publishes a daily dose of flash fiction. While you can read the flash fiction for the day for free, a membership gives you access to the complete collection of flash fiction that’s been published on Havok’s website. You could pick up their anthology if you want something to wrap with the gift membership.

If you have a Christian speculative fiction author on your list, consider a Realm Makers membership! Membership gives them access to monthly content for writers, discounts on conference tickets, and much more! Bundle it with a t-shirt or mug from the Realm Makers store if you’d like something to wrap up with the membership.

14 Fantastic Books for Gifting

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C.S. Lewis

Books and tea make wonderful gifts in my opinion! I’ve put together a list of my top suggestions for books to gift this year in case you’re looking for ideas. None of the authors have asked me to include their books, and while I may have received ARC copies of a few of the titles, they were so good, that I went out and purchased a copy of their book once it released. I’m not recommending anything that I haven’t spent my own money on!

Encircled is a fun anthology with speculative fiction retellings of fairy tales. The genres represented in the anthology represented a good variety, though my favorite story was one of the science fiction retellings! I enjoyed every story in the collection, and this would be a nice gift idea for the fairy tale fan on your list.

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes is a speculative spin on the story of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. I knew a bit of the history behind that, and I found Nadine’s magical spin on the story delightful! Fawkes was one of the rare YA books that I thoroughly enjoyed. I was pleased that the author included information in the back of the book about what was fact and what was fiction. History buffs and YA fiction fans will love reading this one.

Space Murder by NL Haverstock is a mix up of space opera and cozy mystery. I loved it! I love a good space opera, and the cozy mystery element was an interesting twist. It was a fun read that I couldn’t put down once I started reading. The mix of mystery, humor, and spaceships was just right. This one is a must read for fans of sci fi and mysteries.

Nameless by Tamara Leigh is one of the not-speculative books on the list, but Tamara’s books are always on my must-read list! A medieval tale set in the aftermath of the Norman conquest of the Saxons, Nameless is a romance with plenty of action and history. It’s also the third book in a series, so you could gift all three books! It’s an excellent choice for fans of historical romance with a fair amount of sword-fighting thrown in.

Oath of the Outcast by C.M. Banschbach is a Celtic fantasy novel that starts out with an interesting protagonist who has a backstory that’s hinted at. I wanted to keep reading not only to find out how the story turned out, but what his story was! I’ve an interest in the history of Scotland and Ireland, and so the Celtic flavor of this book appealed to me. This is a great idea for fans of historic fiction, fantasy, and books with no romantic subplot!

Heroes of the Realm is an anthology published by Realm Makers Media. This entry is a bit self-serving, since my own short story is one of those featured. However, I plunked down my own money for the Kickstarter campaign before I even submitted a story because the other authors featured are among my favorites! You’ll find all sorts of speculative genres from sci fi to fantasy included in this collection of stories about heroes. (There’s a prequel to the Space Drifters books included by Paul Regnier that you won’t want to miss if you’re a fan!) This is an ideal gift for a fan of many speculative genres who enjoys short stories.

Iggy & Oz and the Plastic Dinos of Doom by J.J. Johnson is technically a MG book, but all four of the kids and I adored it! How could I resist a story about plastic dinos in the attic coming to life to wreak havoc throughout the neighborhood? Normally, I don’t enjoy books written for this age group this much, but this was one book that I didn’t mind reading aloud to the kids. This is the perfect gift for a kid who’s reading chapter books, or for the grownup who’s still a kid at heart.

Chasing Eden by Cherilyn Clough is actually a memoir. Cherilyn may have grown up in an abusive home, but she writes about it with surprising compassion. Her memoir never comes across as an angry rant. Her story intrigued me, and I was alternately saddened by things that happened, and happy to see Cherilyn’s persistence pay off by the end of the book. Fans of memoirs would appreciate this book.

Shattered Honor by Anne Wheeler is the third book in the Shadows of War series. I’ve said more than once that space opera is my first love when it comes to sci fi genres, and this series is one of my favorite space operas! I have them all in e-book format, but I love the books so much, that print copies are on my wish list! The fourth book in the series is coming in January, so if you gift the first three books to the space opera fan on your list, they might have time to read them all before the fourth book releases!

Paranormia by Paul Regnier is a genre that I wasn’t interested in, but since I loved Space Drifters so much, I gave it a try anyway. His take on urban paranormal did not disappoint! The healthy dose of humor mixed in kept me laughing, while the gripping spiritual warfare part of the book kept me turning pages. Readers who like fiction that includes spiritual warfare, urban fantasy, or comedy would all enjoy this one. (And did I mention the sports cars?)

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl by Laura A. Grace was just the burst of encouragement that I needed as a writer. As a reader, I was nodding my head with all of the letters from the fangirl! It’s a short book, but a lovely little addition to the bookshelf of a book fangirl or a writer who could use a little extra encouragement!

A Storm Grows is a poetry anthology by Janeen Ippolito. It’s not rhyming poetry, but rather poems exploring what it’s like to have been through the storm. While some of the poems are understandably heavy, there’s an element of hope too. I read through it in one sitting! It’s a short anthology, but wonderful for the poetry-lover on your list.

Airfoil: Origins by Steve Rzasa is a book that I haven’t finished reading yet, but I had to include! When the protagonist is a librarian who ends up with superpowers, it’s the kind of book that needed to be included in my reading list. So far, I’m enjoying the story, and I think it would be an excellent pick for the superhero/comic book fan on your list.

I hope you found a book that’s perfect for one of the recipients on your gift list, or even a few to add to your own TBR pile! If you need a few more ideas, be sure to come back tomorrow for my post about the books that are on my own wish list, as well as a couple of other “bookish” gift ideas!

Book Review: Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl

I’m so happy to be part of the Dear Author blog tour, celebrating the release of Laura A. Grace’s fabulous new book! I did get a sneak peek at an ARC as part of the blog tour, but I’d already pre-ordered my copy by then, because this is a book I didn’t want to miss!

As a reader, I may have a tendancy to fangirl just a bit over my very favorite authors and their books. (OK, so I fangirl a lot, but who can blame me when there are such great books out there!)

As a writer, I’ve got my own share of angst about my writing and it’s hard some days to not feel discouraged when I look at my work and see only the flaws.

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl by Laura A. Grace appeals to both the reader and the writer in me. The book is a series of letters written from a fangirl to her favorite author. I can completely identify with the fangirl writing the letters, so it was fun to find out that I’m not the only fangirl out there! As a writer, I found the letters heartwarming, and they encouraged me to keep writing.

Dear Author is a fairly short book, but it’s the perfect gift for a reader or a writer. The black and white illustrations in the book are delightful, and make reading it all the more fun! If you’re gifting the book, definitely spring for the paperback. Get a second copy for yourself while you’re at it!

While Dear Author released earlier this week, the Facebook Release Party is tonight! Be sure to join in tonight at 8:30 EST! In addition to Laura A. Grace, special guests will include Janeen Ippolito and Katie Phillips. You won’t want to miss the fun and the giveaways, so grab a cup of tea and log on tonight!

Twelve Days of Christmas Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Sale (And Givaways!)

My Christmas tree is up, there’s snow on the ground, and it’s the perfect time of year to curl up with a book and tea in the evenings. What’s even better than books and tea? Book sales and giveaways of course! Twelve science fiction and fantasy authors have teamed up to offer a new sale and giveaway each day for the first twelve days of December. Each sale and giveaway is a one day only event, so be sure to visit the next stop on the blog tour every day so that you don’t miss one.

I haven’t read books by all of the authors participating in the promo… yet. The authors whose work I have read though are all ones I’d recommend. (Incidentally, if you’re a fan of space opera, do not miss the December 6th stop. Anne Wheeler’s space opera series is one of my favorites, and I’ll be mentioning it in my top books for gifting post later this month!)

Here’s the complete list of authors and their websites so you can make sure you don’t miss a single sale or giveaway!

12/01/19
Yaasha Moriah – www.yaashamoriah.com

12/02/19
Verity A. Buchanan – www.verityabuchanan.com

12/03/19
Melissa Little – mllittleauthor.blogspot.com

12/04/19
J.D. Rempel – www.jdrempel.com

12/05/19
Claire Banschbach – www.clairembanschbach.com

12/06/19
Anne Wheeler – www.anne-wheeler.com

12/07/19
J.M. Hackman – https://jmhackman.com/

12/08/19
Janeen Ippolito – https://www.janeenippolito.com/

12/09/19
H. L. Burke – www.hlburkeauthor.com/blog

12/10/19
Laura VanArendonk Baugh – www.LauraVanArendonkBaugh.com

12/11/19
Hans Erdman – www.gewellynchronicles.com

12/12/19
M. J. Padgett – www.mjpadgettbooks.com

Tea and Books Tuesday – October 1st

Note: The Plum Deluxe links in the post are affiliate links. I was a contributor to the book anthology featured today.

So, I may have mentioned my short story, “The Librarian Who Would be King”. I may also have mentioned that it ended up in an anthology titled Heroes of the Realm with some of my very favorite speculative fiction writers, and published by Realm Makers Media. I may be just a little bit excited about that… OK, more like completely freaking out, but trying to be professional and play it cool.

I signed on with the Kickstarter campaign for this anthology well before I ever considered submitting. I was familiar with the writers who had already been brought on board and I knew that I wanted to read their stories. (Their stories did not disappoint, by the way!) When I found out that being a supporter of the campaign meant that I could submit a story for consideration, it took two people to convince me to submit something. My IT staff reminded me that doing the things that challenge us is what makes us grow and get better at our work. And my sister told me what Mom would have, that I was trying to talk myself out of submitting something, but if I wanted to I should just do it. I needed that push!

The first draft of my story was so awful that I don’t think you could even call it a first draft. (Don’t laugh! It really was terrible and I think I broke every rule of writing and grammar, and went a few thousand words over the max word count.) A sea of red ink later, I sent it to a couple of writer friends for advice. I got some great suggestions back and went back to the keyboard for a couple more drafts before sending it off. The night before Mother’s Day, I got an e-mail that it had been accepted for publication in Heroes of the Realm. Then it was on to more edits, including a fantastic suggestion from editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail that resulted in one of my favorite lines in the story!

The day I held a print copy of Heroes of the Realm in my hands was the most amazing feeling. I admit that I did flip to “The Librarian Who Would be King” and took a peek at that first, but who could blame me? After that, I started at the beginning and read through the stories in order. I love the variety of genres and writing styles featured in the anthology, and there’s a reason why I admire the other authors–they write great stories! You can order the anthology in either digital or paperback, and I think it would make a great Christmas gift for someone who enjoys speculative fiction and short stories. The theme for the anthology is heroes, so each story features some kind of hero. It was fun reading everyone’s interpretation on that theme!

The mug that’s made an appearance for the last three weeks is one of the Kickstarter perks, but you can order one for yourself at the Realm Makers website. The tea in the cup in my tea of the month from my Plum Deluxe subscription. It’s a wonderfully fall-ish tea, but the tea of the month is a subscriber exclusive. If you’re interested in learning more about their tea subscription you can check out the details here. At $10/month, it’s the most affordable tea subscription I’ve found, and their tea blends are delicious!

So, what have you been reading, or writing, or drinking this week? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Tea and Books Tuesday – September 24th

Note: The Plum Deluxe links in this post are affiliate links.

I started Nadine Brandes’ book Fawkes on, ironically, November 5th of last year while the power was out. I barely got through one chapter when the power came back on, and the book sort ended up getting shifted further down on my Kindle book list. (I can’t be the only one who has so many e-books that I forget to finish them sometimes, right?) I re-downloaded it to my tablet recently and wow, I wish I’d gotten back to it sooner!

I love learning about history, and was somewhat familiar with the history surrounding Guy Fawkes and the 5th of November. I absolutely love the speculative twist that Nadine put on the story though! At the end of Fawkes she includes info about what parts of the story are true, and what isn’t. I definitely appreciate it when a historical fiction writer includes that information.

Fawkes is technically a YA book, and while it’s appropriate for teens, I enjoyed reading it tremendously. I liked how Nadine re-framed the religious strife of the time period as opposing schools of thought on White Light, the source of color magic, and whether or not anyone should have direct interaction with White Light. The fact that she presented a balanced view of “both sides” showing that people on both sides of the ideology did terrible things is another thing I appreciated about Fawkes. A study of the actual religious conflict in that time period shows that to be very true. Some of the questions of prejudice that were raised were appropriate to the story and the time period. It was thought-provoking without being preachy.

If you aren’t familiar with the history of the time that Fawkes was set in, I hope this story will pique your interest enough to make you do some more reading on the real life history, because it is fascinating!

The tea in my mug this week is another Plum Deluxe blend–Chocolate Hazelnut Dessert Tea. Seriously, it’s the next best thing to a spoonful of Nutella! And since it’s an herbal tea, I can drink it before bed and not worry about caffeine keeping me awake. It’s the perfect blend to go with a good book after a long day.

What books have you been reading, and what tea have you been drinking this week? Let me know what you recommend in the comments or on social media!

Tea and Books Tuesday – September 17, 2019

Note: The Plum Deluxe links in this post are affiliate links.

When Audible suggested the book Becoming Superman by J. Michael Straczynski, it caught my eye because I recognized him as the creator of the TV show Babylon 5. Being a fan of the show, and wanting to hear how Joe Straczynski became a writer in the first place made this an audiobook that I couldn’t pass up.

Becoming Superman started out with Joe’s childhood, and some of the truly horrible abuse he grew up with. It was not exactly what I’d expected, but I had to find out how he got from there, to being a successful sci fi writer. It was hard listening at times, so I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live through. Every time something positive happened with Joe’s writing, I couldn’t help but smile because no matter what, he just didn’t give up.

That was one of my biggest takeaways from Becoming Superman, the importance of just not giving up. I know it sounds trite, but in practice, it’s harder than it sounds. I have to admire Joe’s willingness to stick to his principles, even if it appears to be a bad move career-wise. Whether or not I completely agree with every stand he took, it sure took a lot of courage to stand by something that you think is important, knowing that it can cost you dearly.

I also appreciated the part in the book near the end where he encouraged people dealing with mental health issues, addictions, or abusive situations to get help. There’s still an awful lot of stigma around those things, and parts of Becoming Superman highlight the cost of not seeking help because of that.

Becoming Superman gave me a lot to think about, and some of it was even related to writing! One big aha moment was when Joe talked about when he finally understood what a writer’s voice is. I’m still rolling that idea around in my head, but something really clicked and I had to re-listen to that part a couple of times. The advice he received from Rod Serling about not letting anyone stop you from writing the stories you want to is going to stick with me for a long time too. That, and of course, the not giving up part!

Sci fi writers, and fans of J. Michael Straczynski’s work would likely enjoy his memoir. There is some amount of profanity, and there are some things that are hard to listen to, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to listen to (or read) it for yourself.

The tea in my mug is a Plum Deluxe blend that is a particular favorite of mine. I love black teas with a butterscotch flavor and Sweet Spot Butterscotch Black tea is one of the best I’ve tried. It reminds me of the buttered rum Lifesavers that my great-aunt used to favor!

So, what’s on your reading list or in your mug this week? Let me know what books and teas are topping your favorites list in the comments or on social media!

Summer Reading Challenge Update – August 21st

We’re doing a reading challenge here at Teish Knits this summer, and it’s not too late to join in! You can download the challenge prompt list and bookmarks here. This is a strictly fun, no pressure challenge, so you can interpret the prompts as broadly as you like, and choose to do fewer of them if reading 13 books this summer seems too overwhelming. Every Tuesday, I’ll be sharing my own progress here on the blog, and I hope you’ll stop by and comment either on the blog or social media and let me know what you’re reading!

An e-book.

I finished reading The Powers of the Earth by Travis J I Corcoran last night, but I couldn’t write up my review last night because I was still internally screaming over the massive cliffhanger! The second book is already out, so there’s no wait to start the second book in the Aristillus series.

The Powers of the Earth is not for everyone. I was intrigued when I heard it compared to Atlas Shrugged and the concept of a moon colony further piqued my interest. There’s a lot of discussion among characters and even internal debate on topics like economics, politics, ethics, and even a bit of religion. While that sort of thing isn’t to everyone’s taste, I’m fascinated by the topics myself. I tend to lean rather libertarian myself, so I didn’t mind the inclusion of that in the book, and I appreciated that there were some of the tougher points, and some of the potential problems with that ideolgy explored in the context of the story. No system is perfect, and that’s true even in the Aristillus moon colony!

I’m a sci-fi geek at heart, and that was part of the appeal of The Powers of the Earth. I found the setting of a moon colony to be interesting reading, and I honestly wouldn’t have minded delving a little deeper into it. Admittedly, when I first came across the talking dogs, I was beginning to wonder what I had picked up. The dogs were the results of genetic engineering who have an interesting history of their own. I quickly grew to like the characters, and the interesting point of view they brought to the story. The inclusion of an AI is another good twist and I’m still not sure what to make of this particular AI. I guess I’ll have to read book 2 to figure it out!

There are interesting characters in The Powers of the Earth, and while the idea of a Moon or Mars colony clashing with Earth isn’t exactly new, I enjoy the premise and this is a slightly different take on it. It’s a long book, but that’s not necessarily a problem! The cliffhanger means that you will want to have the second book, Causes of Separation, on hand. (There’s no book 3 out at this point, so if the second one ends on a cliffhanger, then I’m really sunk!) There is some strong language in the book, so I would not recommend it for kids and younger teens. In a book dealing with an invasion, there will be some violence, but it’s not particularly graphic. If you’d like a nice long read, and you don’t mind sci-fi books that like to dive into the philosophical, then The Powers of the Earth is worth a look.

Summer Reading Challenge – June 18th Update

We’re doing a reading challenge here at Teish Knits this summer, and it’s not too late to join in! You can download the challenge prompt list and bookmarks here. This is a strictly fun, no pressure challenge, so you can interpret the prompts as broadly as you like, and choose to do fewer of them if reading 13 books this summer seems too overwhelming. Every Tuesday, I’ll be sharing my own progress here on the blog, and I hope you’ll stop by and comment either on the blog or social media and let me know what you’re reading!

A book related to your career or goals.

How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson is one of those books that I read a number of years ago, but never really tried out the advice. (I’m not the only one who does that, right?) I found myself needing to outline the novella that I’m writing for Camp NaNo next month, and I decided to read through the book again and give it a try. I’ve read the Oxygen series that Randy co-authored and enjoyed the writing style, so I decided to give his Snowflake Method a try.

Two great things about this book is that it’s short and it’s not boring! Sometimes practical books are long, and hard to stick with. How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method isn’t a regular how-to book, it’s a how-to book written as a story. The story itself was creative and interesting enough to keep me engaged. Since the story is set at a writing conference where the main character is learning the method herself, it almost felt like I was sitting in on a class. The format didn’t just give me the principles, it also demonstrated a new writer, like myself, applying them to her own writing. The end of the book has a nice summary of the method so that you don’t have to go back through the book to remember the instructions for each step of the process.

I’ve been working through the method for the story I’m writing next month, and I can already see how this method has helped me get a stronger plot and stronger characters in place, even before I start writing. I’m excited to see what writing the story using this instead of my usual index card or traditional outline will be like! While there’s no method that’s just right for everyone, the Snowflake Method is worth checking out.

I’m also nearly finished reading Paul Reigner’s Paranormia, and I’ll be sharing about that in my Tuesday update once it releases!

Shattered Honor Blog Tour!

I discovered Anne Wheeler’s books through a speculative fiction writer’s group that I’m part of, and I’m so excited that I get to be part of the blog tour for the release of her third book, Shattered Honor!

Anne was kind enough to offer a little sneak peek at an excerpt for my readers:

It was strange how many people thought the desert was always hot. Windhaven, closer to the Haederan equator than even his thin blood would prefer, was cold in the winter, especially at night. Especially after . . . Well, wasn’t that why he was home? To forget what had happened? Forgetting apparently wasn’t as easy as it used to be, since he’d been watching the sun rise above the faraway mountains for more than an hour now, unable to sleep. The only thing he’d forgotten over the past years was who he really was.

If the glass running from the floor all the way to the flat roof had been thinner, he might have heard the goldcrests perched in the cacti on the other side. Four more alighted on the arm of one giant cactus to peck at it as he leaned his forehead against the window to watch. They would kill the plant sooner or later, but they meant no harm. They just didn’t know any better. How could they? Maybe if he reached a hand out, he could touch their feathers through the glass . . . take some of their innocence for himself.

“Hello there,” he said to the fat one sitting closest to him. The gold-feathered wren chirped silently, accusingly, then flew off in its never-ending search for water. Like it knew what kind of man was speaking to it. Like it saw all the things he’d done. Things he couldn’t think about now. His misplaced loyalties. The blood on his hands. He couldn’t blame the bird for staying away, just like he couldn’t blame the Holy One for deserting him.

Shattered Honor

Space opera will always be my first love when it comes to science fiction, and Anne has done a wonderful job with this series. I was interested as soon as I found out there was a princess who is also a pilot in the books. Asrian Skies did not disappoint, and neither did the sequel, Unbroken Fire. I can’t wait to dive into Shattered Honor, and I’ve already pre-ordered it so I can start reading on release day, which is June 18th. This is the book I’m reading for the “newly released” prompt in the Teish Knits Summer Reading Challenge, and I actually included that prompt with Shattered Honor in mind!

Do you know what’s even better than a summer book release from one of your favorite authors? A giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks Anne for sharing an excerpt and the giveaway with the Teish Knits readers! Anyone that hasn’t read the first two books yet still has time to binge read them this weekend so you can dive right into Shattered Honor with me on June 18th!