My Favourite Things: 2021

For all the time I spent reading, watching, and playing, I have fewer favourites this year than any other. I was actively trying to read less, and I spent more time rereading than I have ever before. Similarly, I saw fewer new movies but rewatched many, many favourites. I’d have played more games but for the fact the indie hit Valheim all but consumed me. I did still watch a lot of TV, though.

So, here it is, my annual list favourites, starting as always with books.

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Choose Your Holiday Disaster

Kelly Jensen. Blowing up the holidays, one date at a time.

The first time I tried to write a Christmas story, I trapped two coworkers in a rental car on the side of the road in upstate New York during a blizzard. Not exactly the happy, fluffy holiday feel readers are looking for. I did give the guys a happy little epilogue, but then I decided to torture them again by locking them in a basement on New Year’s Eve.

I’ve also written a rather lonely Christmas Eve that includes a slap to the face, a turned-down invitation, and a broken kitchen window.

I did give one set of characters an awesome New Year’s Eve, up until one of them was temporarily blinded and later kidnapped.

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That’s their story and they’re sticking to it

This post is less a review and more just my thoughts on The Last of Us Part II and will include spoilers for the first game, the second, and for the Mass Effect games.

The first time I played Mass Effect 2, I did not have a good time. I remember feeling angry about Shepard’s circumstances at the beginning of the game and carrying that anger through perhaps my most renegade playthrough to date. I disliked the missions, I disliked the new companions, and I disliked Shepard’s role in all of it. It was, however, an intensely emotional experience—which is how I felt most of the way through The Last of Us Part II.

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By the Tropes: Second Chances

Why are second chance love stories so compelling? Is it because so many of us remember the one who got away? Maybe it’s the redemption arc—putting things right once and for all. Or, perhaps it’s that sometimes we know, even when they don’t, when two people really should be together. Watching that realization dawn, whether there is a shared history of hurt and heartache to overcome, or each character has their own past to contend with, can lead us to some of the most hard-won and best-earned HEAs ever.

I wasn’t so much a fan of second chance romances before I started writing them. I’d consider the stories and think, well, if it didn’t work out the first time, what hope does it have the second? I’ve always considered writing something of a puzzle, though, a task where I connect the dots between two people. So, the answer to that question varies. What really drives second chance romances are the circumstances.

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