2021 / A Writing Year in Review


Celebrating 2021…

For the past three years, I’ve been taking part in Julie Hedlund’s 12 Days of Christmas for Writers. As part of the end-of-the-year process, she challenges writers to post their SUCCESSES (rather than New Year’s resolutions) for the year. I think it’s always a good idea to focus on the positive. There’s so much we can be thankful for going into a new year.

So, here’s a list of my “good news stories” from 2021…

  1. I had two stories published in magazines this year! Yay!
  2. Five of my stories were accepted for publication in magazines. Four of them will be published in 2022. (Two of them in January!)
  3. I submitted 22 stories for various magazines over the course of the year. (Hmm. 22 going into 2022.)
  4. I completed or worked on several manuscripts: 6 new magazine stories / 6 reworked magazine stories / 7 PBs / 2 MGs (with lots of revisions included).
  5. In 2021, I offered free PB/MG critiques called #3WordsCritiqueGiveaway. I did four giveaways in January, April, August, and November. In total, I critiqued manuscripts for 17 people!
  6. I logged 100+ books read in Goodreads this year.
  7. Another calendar of my photos was completed.
  8. Speaking of photography, I just finished another year of 52 Photos posted for my #2021picoftheweek Photography Challenge!

Here’s to 2022…

My Top Reads… from 2021

My Top Ten of 2021

It’s so hard to pick, but these are the books that I’ve choosen as my Top Ten Reads for 2021… in no particular order:

1) Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park // For those who love the Little House books!

2) We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly // A sister and two brothers … at the time of the Challenger disaster.

3) Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman // Two unlikely friends escape the disaster at Chernobyl.

4) Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim // The story about an aspiring stand up comedian.

5) Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson // Delightful story about a spunky girl.

6) From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks // A girl corresponds with her dad who is in prison.

7) The Genius Under the Table by Eugene Yelchin // A boy grows up in the 1970s Soviet Union.

8) Three Keys by Kelly Yang // A girl and her family run a hotel in California in the 1990s.

9) Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson // A girl hides in a dream world of drawings.

10) Kid Spy by Mac Barnett // The kid’s a spy for Her Majesty the Queen!


My Top Reads… from 2020

I’ve decided to do two lists this year. My top ten favourite reads from this past year, plus the top ten book reviews I posted. You can click on the blue links to read my review from the year. (Please note: there are three books on this list that didn’t actually get reviews. But I had to include them since they deserve to be on the list.)

Which brings us to 20 Books for 2020!

My Favourite Books of 2020…

1) Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green // I think this is the book that surprised me the most. It’s gets the Number 1 position on my list!

2) Hope in the Mail by Wendelin Van Draanen // I don’t think I did a book review on this one, but I loved it! Number 2! I really need to do a book review. This one’s for writers.

3) The Well by Mildred D. Taylor // Very powerful book.

4) Treasures from the Attic by Mirjam Pressler // Another book that I need to write a review for. This is the story that surrounds Anne Frank’s story. Not necessarily for kids. I found this book fascinating.

5) I Love You, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted // Historical fiction set during the time of the Apollo 11 Moonlanding.

6) Fly Girls by Keith O’Brien // This one was written for adults. It’s a non-fiction book about the first women pilots, including, but not limited to Amelia Earhart. (I think Louise Thaden is my favourite!)

7) On the Horizon by Lois Lowry // Written in verse and set among the backdrop of World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor.

8) Until Niagara Falls by Jennifer Maruno // Historical fiction set in Niagara Falls!

9) Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom by Louis Sachar // I was glad to return to the classroom with Mrs. Jewls.

10) Ebb and Flow by Heather Smith // Another book that caught me by surprise. I really enjoyed this one. 

Top Book Reviews of 2020…

1) Notorious by Gordon Korman // A story about two kids who are trying to solve a mystery surrounding a dog with a “notorious” reputation.

2) Sunny Rolls the Dice by Jennifer and Matthew Holm // Book Three in the graphic novel series about Sunny!

3) All of Me by Chris Baron // Very good book about body image; but also doing something about achieving a healthier weight.

4) The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages by Trenton Lee Stewart // I wasn’t sure this would be any good, but it’s a credit to the series!

5) The Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary // These books are still that good!

6) The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman // Wonderful book with a prince and pauper vibe to it.

7) It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas // Historical fiction set during the Iran Hostage Crisis.

8) Chloe in India by Kate Darnton // American transplant learns about living in India.

9) Mananaland by Pam Munoz Ryan // Fairy tale like quality with a Spanish flair.

10) Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green // This book snuck onto this list, making it the only book that gets a double listing!

I made my Goodreads Reading Challenge!

good-reads2020I always set my Goodreads Goal for 100 books, and it was no different for 2020. However, there was a time when I didn’t think I’d make it due to the library being closed for the pandemic in the spring. But I did it. 101 books for 2020. (Note: I don’t count picture books.)

What was your favourite book from 2020? Your favourite blogpost? Feel free to share links from your own blog, or somebody else’s… Let me know in the comments!

My Top Ten Reads… from 2019

So many good books read in 2019! It was hard to pick only ten. But I did it. Click on any of the titles below to read my reviews…

The Strangers* | The Best Christmas Pageant Ever | Brave | Birdie | Planet Earth is Blue | El Deafo | Pay Attention, Carter Jones | Front DeskFinding Langston | Arcady’s Goal


I made my Goodreads Reading Challenge! 100 books for 2019. Once again, I actually read over my goal with 108… Not bad, eh?

This year, I didn’t do as many discussion posts… but I did manage to squeak in a few. As always, I loved hearing what other people bring to a topic. Here are the top three posts that you (my blog readers) liked 🙂

What was your favourite post from 2019? Your favourite book? Feel free to share links from your own blog, or somebody else’s… Let me know in the comments!

A Few of My Favourite Reads… from 2018

My Favourite Reads of 2018! Click on any of the titles below to read my reviews…

84, Charing Cross Road | A Tale of Two Cities | Winnie’s Great War |

Louisiana’s Way Home | Code Name VerityCaroline |

The Duchess of Bloomsbury StreetThe Snow ChildOkay For NowSquint

goodreads2018Also, I made my Goodreads Reading Challenge. 100 books for 2018. Actually it’s 102 books, but I’m still reading one book so ???. Maybe I’ll squeak another read in before the new year!

In addition to writing reviews, I also wrote some discussion posts… I always find it interesting what other people bring to a topic. So, what were the most popular discussion posts from my own blog? Here are the top five posts that you (my blog readers) liked 🙂

What was your favourite post from 2018? From your own blog, or somebody else’s… Let me know in the comments!