The Lily Cafe Digest #20

And we made it through another year! I can’t tell you just how ready I am for the next two weeks off. For me and for my kids. For two weeks, I get to just be mom instead of mom and teacher. Not that it’ll actually take much of a load off my shoulders, but at least my mornings won’t look so much like I’m a chicken with my head cut off as both kids trying to complete school at the same time (they’re awfully competitive), and my husband has their first week back at school off so I’ll be looking forward to the help.

The first thing I want to mention is: did you happen to check out my favorite reads of the year and the one book that fulfilled my bookish wish? If so, did you notice my favorite mystery/thriller read AND favorite SFF read AND bookish wish fulfilling book were all indie reads?! My favorite women’s fiction/romance read was Battle Royal by Lucy Parker, published by Avon. My favorite mystery/thriller turned out to be 3 books in the Mallory Beck Cozy Culinary Caper series by Denise Jaden, which are self-published. My favorite SFF read was Quaking Soul by Jennifer M. Zeiger, which was self-published. The book that fulfilled my bookish wish was Merry Arlan: Breaking The Curse by Will Soulsby-McCreath, which was published through Nopoodles Everything Books (Nopoodles is the name of Will’s fiction blog). Considering I’ve been doing my own personal Indie Books Challenge for most of this year, the fact that almost all of my favorite reads are indie thrills the living daylights out of me.

Outside of books, I don’t think I actually did much more than that outside of taking care of my kids and teaching them. The older one has been doing really well in his online program and loves the coding class he gets to do. The younger one…is mastering preschool material way too fast. In 4 months, she’s managed to almost finish 4 workbooks, and shows no sign of wanting to slow down on them. Outside of school, they saw their first two movies in a theater (crazily enough, the exact same theater in the exact same seats for two different movies), and clearly cannot sit for an hour and a half. But it’s nice to finally get out and be a little more normal. My oldest just got his second COVID shot and my youngest, well, we’re working really hard to keep her from touching things and then putting her fingers in her mouth.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for all of you. Thank you so much for sticking with me through the year(s) and for choosing to jump in and join me in this journey. Every day, the Cafe seems a little fuller (thanks to WordPress now loudly celebrating every single new follower – Hi, Everyone! It’s so nice to meet you!) and my heart feels a little warmer and brighter. Thank you so much for making my day by reading, liking, and commenting. I know I’ve been terrible about commenting and responding, so thank you so much for sticking with me despite that! I can’t express just how grateful I am and how much I appreciate all you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Happy holidays! I’ll be back on January 3, 2022. Hoping I’ll write 2022 instead of 2021, but I think we all know how that usually goes.

Guest Posts

Editorial Notes: How to Swallow These Tough Pills by Lucia (of the blog Lucia’s Fiction) | Author Interview: Heath Daniels, author of Justice! | Author Interview: Kerry Chaput, author of Daughter of the King

The Bookshelf

Book Reviews:

Fantasy and Sci-Fi

An African-inspired sci-fi story with what feels like a cautionary tale about technology My review

A fantasy novel that flirted between MG and YA with no real tension, but a fun mystery My review

rise of the shadow michael webb

The sequel to The Last Shadow Knight that has everything I love about the books, and then some My review

a swift and savage tide chloe neill

The second book in a fun historical fantasy weaving together Jane Austen, regency romance, and Napoleonic era literature My review

the bone shard emperor andrea stewart

It’s all about Mephi. But also some questions answered and more mysteries left to be solved My review

Women’s Fiction/Romance

The sequel to Spoiler Alert, it had cute pieces, but was more annoying to me than sweet My review


lucky king bruce griffin henderson

An ensemble cast novel about fortunes in fortune cookies and the impending war one year after 9/11 My review

Life Between the Pages:

First, Middle, and Last Impressions – November 17, 2021 | Indie Books Challenge: November 2021 | First, Middle, and Last Impressions – December 1, 2021 | My Favorite Women’s Fiction and Romance Read of 2021 | My Favorite Mystery and Thriller Read of 2021 | My Favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy Read of 2021 | My Bookish Wish for 2021 Revisited

Catch up on Sisters of String and Glass

Part 94 | Part 95 | Part 96 | Part 97 | Part 98 | Part 99 | Part 100 | Part 101 | Part 102 | Part 103 | Part 104 | Part 105 | Part 106

Friday Fun

If I’d Had a Blog in High School…

Blog Posts I’ve Enjoyed from the Blogging Community

This is embarrassingly short because, as both my kids are doing school from home (one homeschooled and one doing online school), I have been insanely short on time. I tried to read as many blogs as I could, but have definitely had a hard time keeping up. I’m so sorry I’m not sharing more because there are so many incredible posts out there that I loved!

Blogging Truths Be Told: Doing the Blogging Work and Being Consistent Will Save Your Blogging Career (Part 2) from Degrees of Maternity: I agree with this so much! Consistency is a huge key to blogging, as hard as it is to do. Of course, it also depends on why you blog, but, personally, being consistent keeps me blogging.

are bookstagram and booktok accessible??? // let’s talk about privilege and poc creators for a sec from A Fictional Bookworm: I love this discussion so much. Partly because I’m not a fan of social media and partly because it makes me sad and angry that there’s still so much bias in the world, even when books have made big strides in terms of diversity. Always more work to do!

Believing in Your Craft from Lucia’s Fiction: I have to say Lucia’s blog is one of my new favorite blogs, and an absolute must read. She offers so many thoughts and advice on writing, especially when it comes to querying, and this is just a small sample of everything she has to offer. After reading just one of her posts, I became hooked on her blog.

You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo Review from Luminosity Library: A short review from Bertie, but still a fun one. This book sounds so quirky, though it also sounds like it isn’t without some downfalls.

Scarlet Odyssey/Requiem Moon – Once In A Red Moon from The Quill to Live: I really love this trilogy! It’s a fun African-inspired fantasy series and so enjoyable for all the reasons Andrew mentioned and more.

I Taught An AI To Write My Book Reviews | RNN Text Generation with Tensorflow from Frappes and Fiction: This post from Emily is so much fun and so funny! Being not tech-savvy, I didn’t understand the tech part of it, but I really, really enjoyed reading her process.

Holiday Gift Giving For Moms – A Rant from The Glorious Train Wreck Mom: I’m more on the practical side and wouldn’t actually mind a shiny new toaster for Christmas, but, my goodness, I sure could use someone really noticing what I would actually like.

I’m Not Interested in Reading Novels Set During the Covid-19 Pandemic from Pages Unbound: Honestly, neither am I. It’s been hard enough living in it. Why would I want to read about it while still living in it? I appreciate those novels and they will probably be useful long down the road when readers want to learn more about this period in time, but right now is just way too early to be reading about it.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Most Sincerely, kat

You can find a list of all the Digests plus some bloggers I adore over here

16 thoughts on “The Lily Cafe Digest #20

    1. I really loved everything about your post, and all of your posts, really. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with all of us! They definitely make me think a little harder.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, and I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones! I really love your reviews and always look forward to them, so I can’t wait to see what your thoughts are throughout 2022. Happy new year!


  1. Kat – thanks so much for taking the time to check out my posts. And the fact that you’ve mentioned some in your blog is so very much appreciated. Your support of the writing/blogging community will always be commended from my end. I see all of the hard work you put in to help support writers and bloggers. And recognition from you is so incredibly special, because you know your stuff (being a wonderfully talented author and blogger yourself). With all of the reading, reviewing, writing, and blogging (not to mention teaching those smart children of yours) that you’ve been doing, you deserve all of the rest and relaxation you can manage to receive during your two weeks off. Enjoy every moment of it, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Jana! Your words always warm my heart, and I do really love all the warmth and encouragement that comes through in every post you write. I don’t always get a chance to comment on your posts, but I always come away from them with something more to think on. Thank you for all your hard work on putting everything you do out there for all of us, both on and off your blog!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you; I absolutely got a ton of time to just be mom! And I see I have some posts from you I need to catch up on. Looking forward to reading more of you in the coming year!

      Liked by 1 person

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