2020 Word of the Year: Intentional

Are you a habitual scroller? I can lose hours on social media. HOURS. I scroll and scroll and I don’t even think I’m actually paying attention. But I love it.

It’s a problem.

My word of the year for 2020 is Intentional.

I want to be intentional with my time and energy. To have a clear purpose. To be goal-oriented and focused. To ensure that everything I do is driving those goals and purposes forward. And, lastly, to be present in every moment I can.

This means implementing discipline around my social media usage. So, I’m sitting down now to make a plan and shift through those goals and intentions.

Edge of Darkness, Maria Ann Green

I’ve now read all three of The Darkness Series book. The first book was my favorite. Or, so I thought. This one, from Tuesday’s (Aidan and Bee’s daughter), is my new favorite.

The unique format of weaving in the podcast and emails really drew me in. That and I just loved Tuesday. She’s relatable in that “my parents are serial killers” way. Seriously. 

Tuesday was the perfect ending to this amazing and suspenseful trilogy.

If you’re a fan of thrillers/suspense novels, this series is a MUST read. Like, stop what you’re doing and go get them all. I’m serious.

Love Lettering, Kate Clayborn

Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy.

Love Lettering was perfect. I adored Meg and Reid and every other character that graced the pages. They were all flawed and real. I could relate to each of them.

The way Meg saw letters in everything and Reid saw numbers really made this book unique. Plus, I have this newfound love for books that make me root for a couple no matter what. From the instant they met again, I couldn’t wait for them to have their happily ever after.

Holly Banks Full of Angst, Julie Valerie

Oof. Holly Banks Full of Angst hit me right in all the feels. From her relationship with her mother to her fears as a mother to her daughter starting kindergarten. I connected to all of it.

While I’ve never been in the PTA, I felt the anxiety that Mary-Margret St. James created.

I really loved the unique way this was written. It truly reflected the main character and made her more real and unique.

An Unexpected Confidence Boost

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a nail biter and a nail picker. It’s a terrible habit that is made worse by stress and anxiety. Earlier this year I shared a post about this. At the time, I was stressed at work and at home. I was also knee-deep in my first round of querying. I’d written 3 books and was planning to start another.

My hands were awful. Like, I hated having them visible. They also hurt. It was bad—possibly the worst they’d ever been.

I kept seeing these gorgeous imPRESS press-on nails on BooksAndMargs Instagram and loved them. They looked amazing. They didn’t look anything like my hands.

On a whim, I picked up a set at Target and decided I’d use them as a reward. I needed some form of incentive to stop biting and picking.

In a moment very on-brand for me, I didn’t wait until my fingers were better. I think they sat on my desk for two whole days before I caved. I was shocked at how easy they were to apply. Even more shocking? They looked good!

Within a week of applying the first set, my fingers were already healing. They were starting to look really good. Five weeks and four sets later and they are completely healed. I can’t believe my hands are the hands in these photos. I’m definitely not embarrassed by these fingers anymore and I’ve kicked a bad habit in the process. And, I’m officially obsessed with imPRESS Manicures. I’ve started collecting sets and my son’s favorite thing to do is pick out my next set. Me too, kid, me too.

Big Lies in a Small Town, Diane Chamberlain

**Review** Thank you to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.Big Lies in a Small Town (1.14.20)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Despite a slow start, Big Lies in a Small Town picked up the speed BIG time around the halfway mark. I was able to successfully guess each of the twists. But the story was written in an interesting way that kept me engaged.The dual timeline and perspective added depth. Anna and Morgan were interesting and flawed characters. It’s one of those books that makes you think about how far we’ve come and how important certain social movements are to not just society, but also to individuals.

The Glittering Hour, Iona Grey

**Review**

This year I’ve discovered a love for multigenerational family sagas. I’ve always loved historical fiction, but I had no idea how much I loved stories about mothers and daughters that span generations.

The vivid prose and moving story in The Glittering Hour did not disappoint. I cannot recommend this book enough. Seriously, go buy it or request it at your local library.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the Gift Copy! Be sure to check out my Instagram for a giveaway!

About the Author: IONA GREY is the author of the award-winning Letters to the Lost. She has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in rural Cheshire with her husband and three daughters.

About the Book: An unforgettable historical about true love found and lost and the secrets we keep from one another from an award-winning author

Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing. Her life is a whirl of parties and drinking, pursued by the press and staying on just the right side of scandal, all while running from the life her parents would choose for her.

Lawrence Weston is a penniless painter who stumbles into Selina’s orbit one night and can never let her go even while knowing someone of her stature could never end up with someone of his. Except Selina falls hard for Lawrence, envisioning a life of true happiness. But when tragedy strikes, Selina finds herself choosing what’s safe over what’s right.

Spanning two decades and a seismic shift in British history as World War II approaches, Iona Grey’s The Glittering Hour is an epic novel of passion, heartache and loss.

Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Indie Bound
Powell’s

The Forgotten Girl, India Hill Brown

Y’all, I haven’t read a ghost story in years. Fear Street or another R.L. Stein book might have been the last one I read. So, I was very excited for The Forgotten Girl (plus @booksandbighair is one of my favorite bookish, planner-loving humans). And it did NOT disappoint.

I could not put this book down and devoured it in a day. Not only was it beautifully written with compelling and real characters that I fell in love with, The Forgotten Girl also taught me about segregation and forgotten cemeteries.

The Forgotten Girl is the exact book I wished I’d had growing up, and I can’t wait to tuck it away for my kids to read in a few years.

That’s What Frenemies Are For, Sophie Littlefield & Lauren Gershell

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book. The first bit of the book felt too familiar, but it also left me curious to know more.

Julia, though wealthy and privileged, was relatable in her desire to be seen and appreciated. I felt for her as her “friends” and Tatum started turning on her. Her husband James was definitely my favorite character.

That’s What Frenemies Are For was a solid, engaging and interesting book. 

My Writing Process

I present to you a decade of writing, give or take a manuscript or two. Not to mention the mountain of unfinished or not started manuscripts buried deep within my Google Drive.

Here’s a fun insight into my writing chaos: I’m a fast writer. Once I get an idea fleshed, I’m gone. I could spend weeks on character developments and outlines but once I sit down to write, I will knock out the first draft in about 45 days.

Every writer has their own method of what works for them. There are pantsers and plotters. Speed writers and slow writers, and everything in between. No approach is better than another, we’re all just different. Plotting doesn’t ruin creativity or take away the spontaneity (my outlines are living documents and change as my characters and stories reveal paths forward). Pantsing doesn’t mean a story isn’t fully developed. It’s just a different way of doing things.

I loved writing every one of these books. The characters are still nagging at me to come back and revise their stories. One day, I will. For now, I’m in a different headspace and am full throttle. I have so many stories I want to tell.