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?

Friday, 25 August 2017

[AUGUST UPDATE] Cephalopod Book Club & Goals







This month it was difficult to choose between the two novels I read. In the end I've gone with Katie McGarry's Dare You To, Book #2 in the Pushing the Limits series and actually my favourite to date. The honourable mention was Nyrae Dawn's Façade (Games, #2). Click HERE for my full GoodReads review of Dare You To, which contains spoilers.

I wasn't really sure what I would think of this book, since I'd recently re-read Book #1 and remembered why I loved it...and why I didn't. I can't remember Book #3 very well, but I think I'm safe in saying Dare You To is my favourite.

A problem I had with Book #1 was the patheticness of the heroine, Echo. Beth is a totally different kettle of fish; she's no shrinking violet, and doesn't faint against walls or black out. Wow, what a meanie I am! Poor Echo. ;) But seriously, I like that Beth didn't need to be constantly caught (literally, caught before she fell over) by the sexy hero. Ryan also gets major stars for not calling Beth "baby". He didn't, right?! I only remember Noah doing that with Echo... Disclaimer: I love Noah.

Dare You To cracked me up on many occasions - Beth's language is just as foul as mine (well, okay, I'm worse), and she was so fiery. Her early exchanges with Ryan were hilarious - she was a real force for him to reckon with. I also found it refreshing that Ryan was the 'innocent' one in this story, as opposed to the usual 'good' girl / bad boy dynamic in this series. Ryan was still sexy, so there was no letdown there. But Beth taught him a thing or two about life. That said, of course I adore bad boy characters - as long as they're not total assholes.

I remember reading Pushing the Limits and always wishing that Echo would become more of a rock for Noah. The school counsellor did that instead, while Noah was always having to be Echo's rock. Not that he was complaining. I was the one complaining. And I'm not really sure that Beth went much further in this regard than Echo did, but she had her moments. It was such a relief when she finally realised Ryan was right about her fear of having a new life...and possible happiness.


One downside to this read was seeing Isaiah so forlorn, but since I knew this gets addressed in Book #3, it wasn't really a problem.

I gave this book five stars!

This is the GoodReads blurb:

"If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs-until the day her uncle swoops in, and Beth finds herself starting over at a school where no one understands her. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does. 
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him. 
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image is risking everything for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...."


Currently Reading: City of Glass,
Book #3 in The Mortal Insruments series
(a re-read so I can finally read the last three books).








First up, some 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:

  • Music - Somehow I believed I had recorded a song for our new album that I had never even downloaded the instrumental track for. Apparently I hallucinated an entire thing where this song was totally done already. So I still have one more song to do... Thankfully, Billy is happy with the other two, so no more work required on those!
  • DAPHNE - I'm continuing to post stuff at Absolute Write. I've had a lot of help from people with my opening few scenes for DAPHNE. It's been a hard slog (and isn't over yet), but I feel like I'm finally getting to the right place with the opening scenes.
  • Critique Partner! - In other exciting news, I appear to have found myself a new critique partner, one of the ladies who's been helping me on AW. So that's great! I'm excited at the chance to start getting some more in-depth and focused help on my work again, and to give said help in return.
  • ON THE OUTSIDE - I've been revising the first chapter of OTO, which has been driving me nuts. As usual with my stories, there's a lot of bloating that needs culling, and the first scene possibly needs to be merged with a bit of the next scene. I've whittled it a lot so far, but have a way to go. I wanted to post it on AW for critique, but my perfectionist self won't allow that till I've got it into better shape.

So, that's about it for August. How are you all going with your various creative / other goals? And yes, I have some catching up to do with your blogs too.