Monthly Archives: December 2014

in which I look back at 2014

I’m not much for end-of-the-year nostalgia, and honestly a bit of a Scrooge about the entire New Years Eve thing, but 20141 has been a Year. Capital-y Year. An extraordinary year that deserves a moment of being remembered.

Not January. Or November. They were far from extraordinary, and were, rather, some of the hardest months I’ve ever had ever. But I worked through them. I worked hard on a lot of things this year. Hard. Passed classes I didn’t think I would. Taught classes I didn’t think I knew how to teach. Got two new scars2, went to Switzerland and New York and Southern Utah and a private island in Maine. Got a big award and a book deal and an MFA. Read 186 books. Wrote a book. Revised another two. Learned to do aerials silks and shoot antique firearms and blow glass. Worked jobs I really loved and jobs I liked significantly less. Met friends and lost friends. Saw some good theater and some terrible movies. Also some good movies.

2014 was a learning year for me. A year with a lot of big changes, like not being in school for the first time ever, and working grown-up jobs where you have to talk to your HR rep about 401K, and revising a book under a deadline and writing another because I was contracted to do it. But I’m starting to think every year is a learning year. It always amazes me when I look back over such a short period of time as a year to see how completely different I am now than I was at the start.

It’s a good life, Hazel Grace.

  1. My publishing brain is so backwards that I definitely typed “2015” instead of “2014.” JK Nope, 2015 has not happened yet.
  2. One from aerial silks, the other from rock scrambling in Maine.
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in which I recommend holiday books

December is always a quiet month in blogland for me. This December has been no exception.

Things have been busy here at Chateau Lee. Good, but busy, between starting new jobs, finishing old ones, and working other random side ones I sometimes have. Plus revising a novel I shouldn’t be working on and not working on a novel I should be working on. Plus social life, because there are so many great things happening in Boston this month, plus reading, because I gotta plow through the 45 library books I currently have checked out from the library1. Then the MT is coming to visit me next week, rendering this week the longest week of the year because WAITING, and after some adventuring in Boston and beyond, we will head home together for a few weeks and ring in 2015 with the family.

So don’t expect to see me much around here this month2 but I will be back in January, likely with exciting news about THIS MONSTROUS THING as we ride boldly ride into its debut year3!

Now, with that said, let’s talk about books4!

This past week, I was reminded that there is nothing better than being a bookseller during the holidays. Yes, the crowds are crazy, and the giftwrap gives you paper cuts, and you will go hoarse counting out change and asking people if they want a bag. But being a holiday bookseller is great because you get to spend all day recommending books to people and generally during the holidays, people will take those recommendations without question. So these past few weeks have mostly been me shoving Code Name Verity into the gloved hands of Boston shoppers, no matter who they tell me they’re shopping for.

As I’ve been thinking about my reading year and the books I want to handsell this holiday season, I decided to put together a list of my favorite books I read in 20145 and who they might be good for. So you can enter your local independent bookstore armed with recommendations!

Mackenzi Lee’s Guide to Holiday Book Buying

For Fault in our Stars fangirls…

Chance you won't return

The Chance you Won’t Return by Annie Cardi

For Dauntless initiates and District 12 Tributes…

not a drop to drink

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

For fans of Firefly…

retribution falls

Retribution Falls by by Chris Wooding

For Westeros transplants…

plantagenets

The Plantagenets by Dan Jones

For “what to read after Harry Potter”…

last dragonslayer

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

For adventurers…

Airborn

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel 

For readers who like their words with pictures…

sparky

Sparky by Jenny Offill and Chris Appelhans

For Sherlockians and Whovians…

jackaby

Jackaby by William Ritter

For Marvel fanatics…

Vicious

Vicious by V. E. Schwab

For Serial addicts…

Devil in the White City

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

For readers of the classics…

Rooftoppers

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

For Frankenstein fans6

lady and her monsters

The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo 

And looking ahead, here are some books that aren’t out until next year, but I’ve been lucky enough to read advanced copies of. Look out for them in 2015!

Bones and All

Bones and All by Camille DeAngelis 

Zeroboxer

Zerboxer by Fonda Lee

22548098

An Exaggerated Murder by Josh Cook

COnviction

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

2015 is going to be a good year for books. Get excited.

  1. Finally swallowed my pride and paid my $15 in library fines so I am now allowed in the building without sirens going off. I showed my displeasure at being forced to pay by putting EVERY BOOK on hold. They all came in. Simultaneously.
  2. I know between posts you all just sit and hit refresh over and over and over hoping I will have posted again. I know.
  3. If you can’t wait until then for more details about it, the lovely blogger Kathy Coe picked THIS MONSTROUS THING as one of her 15 most anticipated books for 2015 and interviewed me in conjunction. You can read it here. I talk about tea and time travel and, of course, Frankenstein.
  4. Smooth transition is smooth.
  5. Note: Not all these books were published in 2014. That’s just when I read them. However, they are all outstanding.
  6. I CAN’T NOT.
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