Best of 2019

Wowsa, where did the year go!? Talk about time flying! With 2020 now upon us, I thought I might share some of my fave movies, TV shows, and books of 2019. Some were only released this year, some are older and I only experienced them for the first time within the last 12 months. All of the following I highly recommend! (NOTE: for any younger readers (and/or the parents of), please check the ratings/blurbs of the following before watching/reading!)

BOOKS:

I had a busy, busy, busy year editing and releasing two books (VARDAESIA and WEAPON), both of which ended their respective series and therefore required extra care and attention. Not to mention, I basically lived out of a suitcase since I travelled so much for the billion events I did… and on top of that, I also wrote my next book (THE PRISON HEALER) and did a lot of exciting but time-consuming stuff with that (more news coming soon!)… SO I didn’t have a heap of spare hours for reading. That said, I was surprised by how much I did manage (I tried to R&R as often I was able, given the craziness of everything else). Sadly, only a few books really wowed me this year, and those are the ones I’m going to list here, in no particular order:

  • Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas (*releasing March 2020)
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend
  • This Love by Dani Atkins
  • The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
  • The Black Witch (and the sequel The Iron Flower) by Laurie Forest
  • A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

AUDIOBOOKS:

I’ve started to get into audiobooks this year, which previously I haven’t been a massive fan of (since I prefer to be able to imagine the ‘voice’ of the characters in my head), but I’ve now come to love this medium of reading! My faves include:

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (obvs I’ve read and re-read HP too many times to count, but I listened to the entire series via audiobook this year — narrated by Stephen Fry — and OH, MY, it was magical!)
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris and narrated by Richard Armitage (the actor!)
  • Red Rising (the original trilogy) by Pierce Brown and narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds (interestingly, I tried a few times to read the physical books, but I struggled to get into the first one. However, I fell in love with the audiobooks — 5 stars for all three of them! Such an epic experience! I’m now afraid to continue on to the next ones set in the future since I don’t want to risk losing any love for the original trilogy!)
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver (narrated by Eleanor Tomlinson and Charlie Anson)

MOVIES:

It was a mediocre-ish year of movies for me (in comparison to the amount of TV shows I became obsessed with), but there were a few that I enjoyed. Only a handful elicited a “THAT WAS AMAZING!” response from me, but the following were all enjoyable. (I should note here that I’ve been told I have poor taste in movies/TV shows, haha. I like to find shows to escape into, which means I watch for entertainment purposes, and I’m not looking from a critical perspective. Many of these were ripped to shreds by reviewers, but I still liked them):

  • Avengers: Engame
  • Aladdin
  • Robin Hood (the new 2018 version)
  • Red Sea Diving Resort
  • Aquaman
  • Skyscraper
  • Small Foot
  • Mortal Engines
  • Frozen 2
  • Last Christmas
  • The Hustle
  • Forever My Girl
  • Wonder Park
  • Chalet Girl

TV SHOWS:

2019 was definitely a year of TV shows for me. I already mentioned that I travelled a lot, so I had a heap of time in hotel rooms to sneak episodes while I was getting ready for events, and also watching on planes, etc., or just when I needed to relax in between edits/writing. The following are the shows that I devoured, some of which were only released this year, many of which are older and I only just discovered (and sadly lots haven’t been renewed for more seasons):

  • Chernobyl (I cannot recommend this highly enough!!)
  • The Witcher (my newest obsession!!!)
  • Umbrella Academy (loved!)
  • Roswell, New Mexico (the new 2019 remake – amazing!)
  • Deception (devastated there’s no season 2)
  • Emerald City (again, devastated there’s no season 2)
  • A Discovery of Witches
  • The Order
  • V-Wars (lots of supernatural gore but I really loved this!)
  • Krypton
  • Once Upon a Time (the final season where everything is different)
  • Dynasty (the newer remake)
  • The Bold Type (similar vibes to Younger — so good!)
  • Another Life
  • Switched at Birth (wholesome and lovely!)
  • Manifest (so mysterious!)
  • Timeless (sad that there’s only two seasons, but it ended well!)
  • Alcatraz
  • The Crossing
  • Turn Up Charlie (not my usual kind of show, but Idris Elba is fantastic!)
  • Merry Happy Whatever (dysfunctional Christmassy fun)
  • The I-Land
  • Game of Thrones (I only started it this year since everyone was in such a tizzy about the final season, so I watched it all in about month)

… and of course there are new seasons of old favourites, like Younger, The 100, Suits, Arrow, Salvation, The Good Place, Lucifer, The Good Witch, Lost in Space, and probably a heap of others I’ve totally forgotten.

Looking at this list of shows, it’s clear that I lean towards the fantasy/sci-fi/magic/supernatural shows, with a smattering of drama and family shows thrown in to shake things up. It’s so weird to see it all laid out like this! How interesting! The same could be said of my books and movies. Of course, I read and watch a lot more widely than any of these lists show, but these are the ones that have left the greatest impression on me from an enjoyment perspective.

Your turn now! Comment below any of your favourites — books, movies, TV shows — that you’ve loved from 2019! I’m always looking for new recommendations and would love to hear what has inspired you this year!

September Debrief

I’ve decided that I’m going to attempt a monthly “This is what’s been happening in my world” update (mostly sticking to writing stuff, but also anything else exciting, too). So to kick this off, here are some of the things I got up to in the month of September:

First off, and VERY exciting, was that I got to announce that I have not one, not two, but THREE books coming out next year. Graevale (the fourth book in The Medoran Chronicles) will be coming out in February, Whisper (the first book in my new YA series) will be coming out in May, and We Three Heroes will be coming out in September — kind of a #4.5 book for The Medoran Chronicles (three novellas told from the perspectives of the main character’s best friends, D.C., Jordan and Bear). If you missed it, you can watch the trailer here:

Soon after being able to share about We Three Heroes, I had another exciting announcement — the US cover reveal for Whisper (which you can find on Goodreads here)! I’ve been working with the incomparable Kate Egan on this one (the editor of The Hunger Games) and I’m SO EXCITED for May 1st when it will be releasing simultaneously in US/CAN (through KCP Loft) and AUS/NZ (through Pantera Press). The AUS/NZ cover reveal is coming soon, but for all my US/CAN readers, here’s what you can expect to see in bookstores: 

Other than sharing exciting news, this month has been crazy-busy when it comes to actual writing work. Not only did I go through the first round of typeset proofreading on Graevale, but I also completed the structural edits for We Three Heroes. On top of that, I’m pretty sure it was early September when I did my final read-through of Whisper, too. So I’ve been juggling multiple projects and it’s been INSANE (but in the BEST way).

Also! Another seriously cool thing that happened this month (and admittedly, other times besides) is all the INCREDIBLE fan art that was sent my way. If you follow my social media (especially my Instagram account), you’ll see that I often re-post fan art in bundles once it’s started to build up a bit. But here are just a few that I want to show from an artist named Jodie in Western Australia who has been having some fun with my characters. *Please note that only some of these scenes have happened in the books, while others are more wishful thinking and at the artist’s discretion:

This is a scene from Raelia where Kaiden and Alex are dancing at D.C.’s birthday:

This is also a scene from Raelia (after Sir Oswald’s disastrous dinner party):

This is a wishful thinking scene between Jordan and D.C. (AU version of when Alex is hiding in the bathroom in Raelia):

This is another wishful thinking scene of a (hypothetical) first date between Kaiden and Alex after Medora has (theoretically) been saved:

This is a cute “Ronnigan Family Photo” (with Alex, Jordan and D.C. added, of course!):

This is a “selfie” with Alex, Jordan, D.C. and Bear:

HOW AMAZING ARE THOSE PICS!!!!! If you want to see more from Jodie, then be sure to follow her Instagram account (@jmaz_art). She also has a Red Bubble page where you can purchase some of her pics (or request others) and/or have them put on mugs or pillows or phone cases or stickers, etc.

Truly, I’m so honoured and humbled whenever ANY artist takes the time to bring my characters to life (whether in wishful or actual scenes), so THANK YOUUUUUU to all the amazing people out there who do so!! (FYI, I can barely manage a stick figure, so my envy knows no bounds!!)

I think that’s about it when it comes to writerly updates. As for any actual reading, as you can see, I’ve been a tad busy with multi-book editing, so there hasn’t been that much time to enjoy any other books. BUT I also had my birthday earlier this month and took a few days off, which meant of COURSE I had to read a book (or three). My favourite would absolutely have to be Sarah J. Maas’s Tower of Dawn, for a lot of reasons, but partly because I’m a critique reader for Sarah so I actually read ToD about 6ish months before it was released, so it was just an absolute pleasure to re-read it and see how the final version came together. This book — I have no words. I loved the early draft (which is saying a lot since, going into it, I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character that ToD focuses on) and I can honestly say the published novel is beyond 11/10. If you haven’t tried any of Sarah’s books yet, I can’t recommend them highly enough!!

Other than reading, if I had the chance for any downtime, I found myself watching the last few episodes from season 5 of Chicago Fire (THAT ENDING = GASP!!), the second season of Killjoys, the oddly addictive (and oh-so-fascinating on a human behavioural perspective) Lucifer, and the seriously awesome second season of Shooter.

As for movies, I watched The Shack (omigosh the tearrrrrrsssss — Sam Worthington and Octavia Spencer are BRILLIANT in it!!) as well as The Mummy (erm, no comment other than to say I MUCH prefer the original), Snatched (which was actually super entertaining, and I’m not usually a huge Amy Schumer fan), and Hidden Figures (which was just perfect). OH! I also watched A Dog’s Purpose, from which I’m still traumatised, and Baywatch, which also left me traumatised (but for different reasons).

Jeez, it looks like I did a LOT of watching this month — but, again, I took a few days off for my birthday, so most of all that was earlier in September. The latter weeks were basically spent in front of my laptop, buried in words, or walking up hills, mountains, and staircases in preparation for doing fun things like hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on my upcoming epic NZ holiday in 4 weeks! (EEEEE, so excited!!)

That’s it for this month — for more regular (mostly daily) updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook.

Until next time!

Lynette xoxo

 

“I Can Handle It”

I’ve had a bit of a week, as they say.

Normally I try to keep this blog about book- and/or publishing-related things. But every so often I have a moment where I remember that I’m human, and that you are too. And just maybe you need to be reminded that you’re not alone, and me sharing parts of my non-author life with you may offer some encouragement.

So this is one of ‘those’ posts—the kinds that are impossibly difficult to write, but therefore all the more important to share.

As I said at the beginning, I’ve had a bit of a week. At the end of last year I wrote a post that revealed how I don’t deal well when it comes to anything medical. What I don’t think I said is that I actually have PTSD-inspired health anxiety. It’s not fun, especially since I can’t take meds lest I risk them messing with my creativity (or so I’m told). But unless something triggers my fear into panic-mode, I can generally get by dealing with just a low level of awareness 24/7.

But last week—well, there was a trigger.

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