Friday, 24 November 2017

[NOV UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals







It's been another month of quite a few reads, but this month I did not have any 5-star reads to choose from. I had quite a few 4-star reads, and the top two were the one I chose, and the final book in the Jessica Darling series. It was a tough choice, because I am so in love with that series, but I decided that I would choose Cassie Mae's Switched as my book of the month this month. Here's my modified GoodReads review:

Recently I went on a little Cassie Mae book buying binge, and this was one of the books I picked up for my Kindle. I wasn't sure what I would think because I didn't love the premise of a girl trying to break up her bestie's relationship - part of me thought I might detest Kayla all the way through. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed, because there was character growth and, after all, human beings aren't perfect, and I don't want to read about perfect Mary Sues anyway!

Having read many of Cassie Mae's books by now, this is probably amongst my faves. It helped that there were times when I literally burst out laughing and couldn't stop, and there was even gigglesnorting involved. So, humour? Big tick! (and they say laughter is the best medicine, sooooo...this book is healthy to read!) I loved the hero, Wesley, and as mentioned above (and as I saw mentioned in some other reviews too), I wasn't sure if I was going to think much of Kayla, but thankfully across the span of the book she learned and grew as a person. I will say that I think she was a very lucky girl to have such an understanding bestie!

All in all, this was a nice and swoonworthy story with imperfect characters who grew as people. Oh, and there were a couple of total hottie guys to drool over. What more could a (romance-loving) girl want?

This is the GoodReads blurb:
"Ever since high school, Kayla has been crazy for gorgeous football player Talon. But before she could muster the courage to tell him, he became a hot item with her beautiful BFF, Reagan. The only person who knows Kayla’s secret is Wesley, Talon’s best bud—and he’s got it bad for Reagan. Now they’re all in college together, hanging out 24/7. For Kayla, seeing the two lovebirds together is absolutely unbearable. So Kayla and Wesley hatch a plot to drive them apart before Talon has a chance to give Reagan the Christmas gift she’s been waiting for.
Soon enough, the once happy couple is fighting. Reagan suddenly can’t get enough of Wesley’s goofy sense of humor, and Talon seems to be paying more attention to Kayla than a guy who’s “only a friend” ever should. But just when everything seems to be falling into place, Kayla and Wesley accidentally spend a night together and discover a hitch in their plan they never considered: that switching partners may not lead to a perfect ending after all."


Currently Reading: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas







Each month, a group of bloggers report on what goals they have been working to achieve in the last month. A while ago now we set longish-term goals (and they were meant to be big goals, so we could feel bold and daring!) and each month we're tracking our progress towards achieving those goals. Check out the Do You Have Goals? blog for a list of participants, and feel free to join our hop if you want to have some extra motivation for achieving your goals. :)

This month's updates on my own creative goals:
  • EDITS IN GENERAL - No editing is being done this month, due to NaNo. Of course, they are always lurking there in the back of my mind, and I have not forgotten what awaits me after November is done! I got my last critiques back from my CP for Sundown but I am too scared to look at those yet. I'm saving it for later. ;)
  • NaNoWriMo '17- I was very relieved to get my last assignment done for my studies early in November, but I was doing surprisingly well with NaNo even before that. This is one of those years where the words are flowing easily. For the most part I've been writing THE FULL CIRCLE, but at one point I started jumping around to different scenes I wanted to write, so I am now working on filling various gaps. It's still flowing well and I'm at just over 70k for that novel. I've also written about 2,600 on my other project, HOTEL LOBBY, but that one isn't my main focus.
  • Music - This one is really hanging over my head and putting me under pressure all the time. I want to get it done but never seem to have the motivation on weekends, etc. I need to be in the right frame of mind to do music. That said, I hope to get recordings for two final songs done this weekend...
That's a wrap for November. How are you doing with your goals/projects/etc?

Friday, 27 October 2017

[OCT UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals







It's been another month of quite a few reads, and it's another difficult choice between two top books this month. The honourable mention goes to The Mortal Instruments #6, because oh my gosh, I looooooved this. What a perfect ending. But shock of all horrors, this month another book wins the day, and that book is Second Helpings (Jessica Darling, #2). Yep, I know - I'm way late to this party! I'd never heard of these books until one of my critique partners put me onto them this month.

You can always tell when I adore a book because I will read it in a day or less. And in this case it was even more impressive because I was also doing homework during that time span, and watching stuff on Netflix. This is definitely a "lie on the couch and read" kind of book.

So, book #2 in the Jessica Darling series follows on from book #1's big cliffhanger, and the tension continues to build to near-unbearable levels this time around. The book's ending was so very worth the wait ... although of course the very ending leaves things open for the next book in the series (which I've heard mixed reviews about).

So what did I love about this book? Well, Jessica is hilarious - she makes me snort with laughter. The teenaged voice was so well done, but it was extra good because this is an intelligent teenager. I love the supporting cast too, with their various quirks. Each of Jessica's Clueless Crew have their own unique features that made reading all the dialogue between them a real treat. Then, of course, there's Marcus ...

He was great in book #1, but I much preferred him in book #2 where he was just too adorable - and of course, super sexy. Let's sum it up like this: *SWOOOOOOOOOOOOON* Okay, done. :) Sometimes I felt so sorry for him what with all those hoops he had to jump through. But it wasn't only Jessica's fault, since it takes two to tango (or not tango, as the case may be). And one of my very favourite aspects of this was book was "Tuttie Flutie"'s interaction with Gladdie. Gladdie, man, what a legend. The scenes at the nursing home were so wonderful.

To summarise, I'm so glad to have had this book recommended!

This is the GoodReads blurb:
"Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household.

With keen intelligence, sardonic wit, and ingenious comedic timing, Megan McCafferty again re-creates the tumultuous world of today’s fast-moving and sophisticated teens. Fans of Sloppy Firsts will be reunited with their favorite characters and also introduced to the fresh new faces that have entered Jess’s life, including the hot creative writing teacher at her summer college prep program and her feisty, tell-it-like-it-is grandmother Gladdie. But most of all, readers will finally have the answers to all of their burgeoning questions, and then some: Will Jessica crack under the pressure of senioritis? Will her unresolved feelings for Marcus wreak havoc on her love life? Will Hope ever come back to Pineville? Fall in love with saucy, irreverent Jessica all over again in this wonderful sequel to a book that critics and readers alike hailed as the best high school novel in years."


Currently Reading: Lola and the Boy Next Door,
Book #2 in the Anna and the French Kiss series








For those who don't know, there is now a blog for this blog hop, rather than us going straight to Misha's blog. Check out the new Do You Have Goals? blog, and join our hop if you want to have some extra motivation for achieving your goals. :)

Now, some updates on my own creative goals:
  • EDITS IN GENERAL - I've been doing edits here and there, including just adding notes to things for editing later. Homework has got a bit in the way of me doing much of anything for the last week or so.
  • Critique Group! & NaNoWriMo '17- We are all gearing up to do NaNo this year, and all have some pretty solid plans in place. We are all pretty excited about our projects, and we're ready to cheer each other on! I just have to get my last bits of homework out of the way before I can really settle into a NaNo rhythm once November kicks off.
  • Music - I have no updates. I still have not finished the last song because I forgot to do certain necessary harmonies for it, and until I do those it isn't finished. I also have to send Billy some other music files that he wants to work on, but I haven't had much of a chance to sit down and focus on getting that stuff done. Hopefully this weekend I'm going to have some spare time!
That's a wrap for October. How are you doing with your goals/projects/etc?

Monday, 16 October 2017

NaNoWriMo 2017



So, I had my plan all figured out for NaNoWriMo this year, with my 'beat sheet' written up and discussed with my critique group (though not in any great depth at this point). Then, boom, bam, lightning strikes and I get another idea ... which has sort of taken over my first idea.

I'll probably still start off writing my first idea during November, just because that was my original plan. BUT the second idea is really consuming me and I'm dying to start writing it. Currently I'm writing up scene summaries for what I'll be writing, and filling in any gaps that show themselves. And no matter how many notes I wrote, my excitement doesn't diminish. Ohhh, I love this inspired feeling!

Of course, before I can really get stuck into NaNo, I have my last two assignments to complete for my studies - and they're big ones hanging over my head. I also technically have to complete my research project which is a rather mammoth undertaking. So while I'm excited about NaNo, I'm super stressed about my studies.

It's a weird sort of situation to be in.

Friday, 29 September 2017

[SEPT UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals







Okay, I have read a few books this month and the one I have to choose is City of Lost Souls, Book #5 in The Mortal Instruments. My GoodReads review is one big gushy ramble of mostly "Clace"-related blabbering, but I did edit the review later to talk about "the rest of those characters" who are in fact quite significant. So I'll try to make this review some semblance of useful for anyone unfamiliar with and curious about the book and/or series.

** If you don't want to know ANY LITTLE HINT OF A THING about Book #5, maybe skip the review. Okay **


This entire series has been a combination of "eewwww", "OMG" and "aaaaahhhh must read on ASAP" for me. I struggled with Books #2 & #3, and if any of you have read the series you may be able to relate. After Book #3 was done, I foolishly thought there might be some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of character happiness. What was I thinking, huh? These books are definitely full of teen angst and drama, but I think the kids have good reason to be angsty, quite frankly, so I don't hold it against them.

Something to note about this book is that my respect for Clary grew so much. Sure, she frustrated me at times, but I thought she was so brave most of the way through, and the epitome of her bravery was in that epic scene near the end when she made the hardest decision she'd ever had to make before - you know the one, right?! I was really, seriously impressed with her at that point.


On a sort of related note, I actually do feel sorry for "the bad guy" of the story, because despite the fact that he is truly a heinous bad guy, Clary was right when she said he's incredibly lonely. Yeah, he's a creep, there's no denying that, but still, it's not his fault he was born the way he was, is it? He had no control over how he turned out, and a great wrong was done to him very early in his life.

This book was quite a slow and torturous read (even though it was good at the same time, and sort of psychologically harrowing), and I was very tempted to skip ahead just so I knew that something good would happen in the end, but I hung in there and kept reading the pages in the proper order, as is usual for me. It felt like it took forever to read this book, but in fact it only took me a few days.

Regarding other characters, Alec continued to annoy me, and I was totally on Magnus's side with that whole thing. I'm a fan of Maia and "Kyle". As for "Sizzy", I'm torn, but mostly because I don't really find vampires hot in general, because they're actually dead people and I don't think dead people are hot. Like, why would anyone want to be with a corpse? That said, I do love my Buffy and Angel hotties. Sigh. Anyway, yeah, I'm torn on this one. Isabelle is so full of life and warm and all that, and I just don't know if she's suited to dating a dead guy. But I'll reserve judgment till I conclude the series I guess. Also, I was happy to see Maryse Lightwood kicking arse, as well as Jocelyn. But when Jocelyn was telling Clary to get off Jace, I was like, "Step off, woman! Get ye gone! Leave your daughter be!"

All in all, I loved this book, and I'm now reading Book #6 and hoping the light will be VERY bright at the end of this long, hard-slog tunnel

This is the GoodReads blurb:
"The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.
"


Currently Reading: City of Heavenly Fire,
Book #6 in The Mortal Instruments series








Just a repeat of last month's news! There is a new blog for this blog hop, rather than us going straight to Misha's blog. Check out the new Do You Have Goals? blog, and join our hop if you want to have some extra motivation for achieving your goals. :)

Now, some updates on my own creative goals:
  • DAPHNE - I'm a little stalled on this one, but I've had a break from it so maybe it's time to return and try to tackle that third chapter again. I was happy with it until I realised the second half of it had a lot of dialogue. I want to rework the lead-in to that dialogue and think about what parts of the long chat I really want to keep.
  • Critique Partner Group! - Last time I mentioned I had found a new critique partner. Well, we have sucked another lady from AbsoluteWrite into our circle and now we are a little critique trio, and have our own PBWorks site to share our stories in and put feedback comments up, etc. It's really motivating and we are talking about NaNo plans and so on. So all is good there!
  • ON THE OUTSIDE - Last time I mentioned I had been revising Chapter #1 of this novel, and I finished that and shared it on my critique group. I got some good feedback and overall I feel like the revised chapter is better than what I had before, but it still needs some work. I think I'm going to leave it where it is for now, though, as I'm a little burned out on OtO at present.
  • NaNoWriMo 2017 - So yeah, speaking of NaNo 2017, I do have a sort of rough plan for what to write this time, but I only have plans for the beginning, and a hint of the end, and a very vague middle. I feel like I should at least have a skeleton plot worked out before November starts, despite my notorious pantsing ways. ;)
That's a wrap for September. How are you doing with your goals/projects/etc?