We usually take a month or so to reflect on the past year. Our time is up! What resonated with us in 2019? The following are some of our favorite installments in ongoing series:
Our 2019 Favs
If you don’t count the Magisterium series she co-wrote with Cassandra Clare, this is the first Holly Black series I’ve read. She did not disappoint! It’s fun and full of little twists. It’s evident through Black’s plotting and prose that she’s a seasoned writer, and she knows exactly what YA readers want in a series finale.
Legrand gives us political woes and foes, angels, magic manifesting in a variety of ways, time travel, family issues, and love triangles. Oh yes, and then there are those twists at the end: two to be exact, one in each timeframe. Both broke my heart, and one of the two is absolutely crazy. The rug was pulled out from under me as I read it.
Thank you for this masterpiece of a series, Pierce Brown. He describes it as high tech Rome meets space Vikings in the acknowledgments, and this explanation makes me smile. It’s the easiest way to sum up the series for those who haven’t read it. Age explores these themes over and over as well as family, true friendship, and loyalty to self versus loyalty to a cause.
Some of our favorite books of 2019 actually weren’t new releases…
Interview with author Scott Reintgen
Book Series Recaps: What was your inspiration for Ashlords?
Scott Reintgen: My favorite stories are our world with a twist. Horse racing is pretty familiar to us. Even if we haven’t ridden horses a lot, we’d know that concept from movies and art and all of that. So I looked at that familiar concept, and thought about how to take it a step beyond the norm. Phoenix horses did the trick.
BSR: What’s your writing routine like?
SR: I wake up and spin gold from my fingertips. Right. No, typically I start the day by light revision of what I wrote the day before. And then by the time I hit open page, I’m good to go. Most of my writing also happens in coffee shops, because I’m a walking cliche of a writer.
BSR: What advice would you give to aspiring YA science fiction / fantasy authors? (click to read the full interview)
Recaps you don’t want to miss!
Check out our recaps to refresh your memory on the predecessors to four recent or upcoming releases:
Clean Books for Teens, Tweens, or Anyone
We’ve continued to have a big response to the newest segment of our website, a spotlight on clean YA books for teen readers. We’ve been hard at work adding new books to our clean teen list, particularly on our new user-recommended page to include all of the amazing suggestions we’ve received. We’ve also sent out a couple of Clean Teen Newsletters to date. If you’re interested in finding clean reads, click here to sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss our latest clean teen news and additions.
Latest Book Reviews
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We are writing
After structural edits, re-writes, and going over our fourth drafts with a fine-tooth comb, both of us are finally querying agents. This is brand new territory for both of us as we’re new writers. And we never dreamed how hard this would be! Here are some of the challenges we’ve faced:
- Finding agents we want to query! Each agent has a specific wish list, and it has been more difficult than we ever dreamed to find agents looking for the types of books we’ve written.
- Sending queries is so time-consuming! Each agent wants something slightly different, so our queries are not one-size-fits-all. Every submission guideline requires careful review, and we have to follow them to the letter to ensure the agent will consider it.
- Related to the prior point—We’re ready to start new projects! The most fun part of the writing process is the creative portion when we’re brainstorming, planning, and getting our first thoughts of a new project down on paper. It’s hard to find time to write when much of our time is taken up by getting query letters out.
- Silence is the hardest part! Most agent’s submission guidelines are clear, giving us a specific timeframe of when we should expect to hear from them. Some agents will respond even if it’s a ‘no.’ But most agents don’t have time to do this, understandably so because they receive hundreds if not thousands of queries each year. But we’ve found that hearing nothing is harder than hearing ‘no.’
How many of our readers are also writers? We’d love to hear from you in the comments, whether it’s to offer us some tips on querying agents or to commiserate about how tough this part of the process is. 😉
What books are you excited about in 2020? A few of our most anticipated books for the rest of the year include Chain of Gold, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and Lightbringer. Did we miss any you’re anxiously awaiting? Sound off in the comments if we did. We’d love to hear from you and don’t want to miss any of the great books coming out in the second half of the year!
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