For December’s Writer’s Book Club, I include my favorite books, board game, and organizational tool of 2023. I’ve also thrown in some fun upcoming events.

Three completely different books – all well-crafted!

Cloud Cuckoo Land

The cover of Cloud Cuckoo LandCloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr weaves together five stories across many centuries. The stories are connected by the parable of Aethon and his search for the mythical Cloud Cuckoo Land.

The writing is beautiful, the characters are well-drawn, and their stories are intriguing. I liked learning about the Fall of Constantinople through the eyes of Anna and Omeir and the spacecraft Argus’ creative technology. I also enjoyed discovering how these five stories were connected.

Click here for my full review.


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Cover of The Brief Wondrous LIfe of Oscar Wao audiobookWhen I discovered that Lin-Manuel Miranda read the audiobook version of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (along with Karen Olivo), I couldn’t resist buying it and I’m so glad I did.

The novel is an epic family tale that starts with a fuku curse. Yunior (played by Miranda) recounts the story of Oscar de Leon -– an overweight Dominican boy living in New Jersey with his mother, Hypatia Belicia Cabral (Beli), and his sister, Lola. Yunior also tells Beli’s story as a young girl and Abelard’s, Oscar’s grandfather, as a young man. Interwoven throughout the book is the history of the Dominican Republic.

Diaz’s writing is descriptive and beautiful (he also uses the f-word and racial slurs). One of my favorite lines: “Sucks to be left out of adolescence, sort of like getting locked in the closet on Venus when the sun appears for the first time in a hundred years.”

Click here for my full review.


Fairy Tale

The cover of King's Fairy Tale audiobookThe audiobook of Stephen King’s Fairy Tale is read by Seth Numrich who does a terrific job. In Fairy Tale, Charlie Reade is seven when a drunk driver kills his mother. His father, George, already a heavy drinker, drowns his sorrow in alcohol.

Ten years later, Charlie promises the universe he’ll do anything to save George from destruction. The next day, George’s colleague takes him to AA and puts him on the road to recovery. Soon after, Charlie comes to believe he must help care for an elderly neighbor to repay the universe for saving his father.

Charlie and the secondary characters are well-developed, and I quickly became attached to them. I also liked how this began as a tale of friendship and developed into a magical quest. I thoroughly enjoyed how King wove aspects of well-known fairy tales throughout this book. It’s incredibly clever and is now one of my favorite King novels.

My review


A board game so fun it’s keeping me away from my writing!


The Lords of Waterdeep with the Scoundrels of Skullport Expansion

Scoundrels of Skullport BoxLords of Waterdeep boxMy niece turned me on to the Lords of Waterdeep which is a game of strategy, intrigue, and quests. My daughters and I are hooked!

Players gather resources necessary to complete quests, build buildings, and play intrigue cards. Everything’s written out on the cards and the board, so it’s easy to focus on strategy.

I got the Scoundrels of Skullport expansion to go along with it which adds a layer of cunning. Now we never play without it.


Organizing tool (and stress reliever) I wish I’d discovered sooner!


Weekly to-do List padWeekly To-Do List

Now that I’m heavy into marketing, I found that my regular calendar was becoming crowded and overwhelming. It was difficult to sort out what I had to do and when. In the past, I bought business planners, but after a day or two, I stopped using them.

Then I came across this Weekly To-Do List with its 52 tear-off sheets. All my marketing tasks and writing goals go on this. It’s so satisfying to cross things off when completed. And when I’m feeling overwhelmed by one job, I simply do another one on the list. I can’t believe how productive I’ve become!


Fun upcoming events

Oakley Morrison at Martha Merrell's Bookstore flyer


Tomorrow, December 2nd, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Martha Merrell’s Bookstore in Waukesha, WI – join award-winning young adult fantasy author Abigail Morrison and me. We’ll be on hand to sign books and talk about all things writing.


The Vessel book cover 3D



Goodreads Giveaway starting Monday, December 4th – I’m giving away copies of The Vessel to 100 lucky winners of my Goodreads Giveaway which runs from December 4th until the 25th. Be sure to check it out on Monday!



Books and Beer Announcement


Books & Beer – Thursday, December 7th, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Cercis Brewing Company in Columbus, WI – I’m the featured author! We’ll have a lively discussion about devil particles and whacky elevators while enjoying some local beers.


And don’t forget to get your copies of

The Devil Particle and The Vessel today!


The Vessel Book Two of the Devil Particle Series

They make terrific

Christmas presents.


brown paper packages with red ornaments









Kristin Oakley's headshot


Hello! I'm award-winning thriller writer, Kristin A. Oakley. Sign up for my newsletter and I will send you the prequel to The Devil Particle Series.

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