Friday, 27 April 2018

[APRIL UPDATE] The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Book Club & GOALS




I missed last month's update, and this wasn't intentional but it happened and I decided to just let it go. I guess you could say I've been busy with my rescue group, with work, and with life in general, so that has sort of taken over. But I'm here this month, and I've got a book to talk about! I must say that it's not a particularly amazing book, but it's certainly the one that entertained me the most this month. That book is ... 


R.L. Stine's Point books were a staple of my childhood/tween years, and I still enjoy re-reading them today. As an adult woman it's interesting to read back and realise how un-pc certain aspects of these books are through the viewpoint of today's lens. This book, for e.g., features a teen girl getting both scared and a little excited when she's surrounded by menacing dudes in heavy metal t-shirts.

Still, despite the awkward moments like the one described above, I found a lot to love about this re-read. One of the things I loved most was the description of the garishly 90s clothing the characters wore. Examples:

• The dudes in Def Leppard shirts paying to get their white "high tops" polished
• Jerry's tie-dyed jean cut-offs and a black-and-white striped crew-neck pullover (wuhhh?)
• Karen's short pink skirt over black bicycle tights and a white midriff top, and of course her rollerskates (date with Jerry!)
• Jerry's white tennis shorts and a shiny blue, sleeveless t-shirt
• Vince's faded cutoffs and no shirt (hey, Vince? You had me at your metal shirt from earlier in the book!)
• Ann-Marie's Day-Glo green bikini

There was a lot else to like, too, such as these favourite moments of mine:

• The jellyfish. Oh man, that amused me!
• The part where we get the imagery in the narrative that matches the book's front cover. Noice!
• The fact that certain expectations of characters' natures get turned on their head in the end
• This quote which is a thought from Karen after she finds a note from Ann-Marie on the fridge, held by a magnet: "How did people ever communicate before refrigerator magnets? she thought." Keep in mind this was before mobile phones were a general fact of life.
• The phrase: "... bombed off to the hospital."

And my personal favourite quote from the entire book, which made me burst out laughing:

"She could hear the wet suit ripping, a frightening sound,
like a lobster being torn apart."

So this re-read was quite a bizarre experience for me. For one, I didn't really remember much about the book at all - I'm not 100% convinced I ever read it in the old days, but then I think I must have. For another, it was extremely dated, but in a delightfully amusing way.

This is the GoodReads blurb:
"It's the ultimate beach party in California. And Karen, who's just broken up with her boyfriend, is going to enjoy every minute of it--especially having two new guys who like her. But the party takes a nasty turn when Karen realizes someone is out to spoil the fun by getting rid of her."

Currently (re-)Reading:
Currently Reading:







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/WRITING - Things have really slowed down for me lately, as mentioned above - rescue chaos is getting in the way of my story plotting/editing/etc. But I've still got thoughts churning away in my head, and I'm eager to get stuck in as soon as I can. My little critique group is my main lifeline to this at the moment.
  • Music - It's all completed from my end, in terms of vocals and final thoughts, but apparently my bandmate's computer just died, so not sure if that affects our project's outcome or not. ;) 
And that's about it for now. How are you doing with your goals/projects/etc?

Friday, 23 February 2018

[FEB UPDATE] The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Book Club & GOALS




Wow, here it is! My first post for 2018. I've done a lot of reading so far this year, largely because while I was overseas I was sick practically the entire time, so on those days when I did a lot of lazing around I took to reading. And reading. And reading. Anyway, for February this is the book I enjoyed the most, keeping in mind that I didn't rate any of my reads 5 stars during January or February.

I've had this book on my Kindle for aaaages but only just read it now. Even though it was a light-hearted kind of simple little story, I really loved it - it had me cracking up on a regular basis, and the romance was pretty steamy even with two virgins as the main characters. ;)

Emma annoyed and (totally) exasperated me sometimes, but I couldn't hold it against her when she pretty quickly realised what an idiot she was after every idiotic thing she did. Guy had a lot of patience considering he's 70k years old and definitely knew better in some instances than the 22-year-old (yep, quite the age difference, and Emma comments on this at one point too!) with far less life experience.

I'd recommend this for anyone who wants a fun, light read that includes some parts that may or may not make one gigglesnort.

Some of my fave quotes:
  • It was like being trapped in a huge spinach salad.
  • This coming from someone who'd seen it all over the course of tens of thousands of years: the rise and fall of dozens of empires, entire civilisations disappearing, some into the ocean--countless genocides and wars, the birth of gangster rap and reality television.
    Yes. Terrible, awful things.

  • “Holy crap, woman! What was that?' Guy stared down at the twitching right half of the body. He was morbidly shocked and incredibly proud.

    She shrugged casually. 'Payback. Hell hath no fury like a Payal scorned. Can we go now?”
  • "You're an awesome god of death and war."

This is the GoodReads blurb:
"Twenty-two-year-old Emma Keane has a secret friend. He’s powerful, mysterious, and devastatingly handsome. In her dreams, anyway.

In real life, he’s an enigma. Maybe just a teensie jealous. Definitely overbearing. He’s also a voice only she can hear.

So who or what is he? He won’t say. But if she wants to be free, to be normal, Emma will have to trek to the jungles once ruled by the Mayans and find the forgotten ruin holding the answers.
However, the ruthless deity she’s about to unknowingly unleash on the modern world, might not be so easily extracted from her life. Bottom line, he’s got enemies, and now, so does she."

Currently (re-)Reading:







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/WRITING - I keep getting assaulted by new story ideas! They are more enticing than trying to untangle the messes that are the existing stories. But I have my little critique group to keep encouraging me to do the "hard" stuff as well as nurture my shiny new ideas. Currently I'm trying to figure out how my novel SUNDOWN fits into a template of accepted romance story 'beats', to help me identify what needs working on.
  • NaNoWriMo '18- I know, I know, it's REALLY early to be thinking about this, but with the numerous ideas that have sprung themselves on me in recent months, I will have a big decision to make come November. Still, I'm pretty sure I know which idea I'll be running with ... at least until the next "better" idea leaps at me, anyway.
  • Music - My task at the moment is to have a good listen to the final mixes my bandmate has sent me and send him back any notes. From what I've heard so far, there's one song I'm not sure I'm happy with in terms of the vocals, but I hope I'll get over that and realise it's great as is, so I don't have to do anymore recording. :P I'm hoping to have my notes back to my bandmate by this coming weekend.
And that's about it for now. How are you doing with your goals/projects/etc?

Sunday, 31 December 2017

A 2017 GOALS review





As I mentioned on Friday, I'm not sure if this month's update is going ahead, since I had to schedule this one ahead of time as I'm currently travelling (happy New Year's Eve!). But even if others aren't posting, this is my end-of-year update on my goals for the year.

This is my 2017 Goals page.

Edits / Revisions / etc.
I guess my primary aim this year was to do more work on my revisions, and I did do quite a bit this year. I got back into posting on the AbsoluteWrite forums, and through those forums I found two new critique partners with whom I formed a little off-site group. On that group we're doing a lot of work on novel structure in general, as well as running story ideas by each other and keeping each other inspired.
New writing
I did a little bit of new writing outside of November, but the main bulk of new stuff was created during NaNoWriMo when I wrote most of THE FULL CIRCLE, as well as a small number of words on JARED & JENNA and another new story called HOTEL LOBBY. In December I managed to finish off THE FULL CIRCLE and now I'm starting a not-too-in-depth read-through/edit of it. I have bigger changes I want to implement, but I think I'll give the novel a breather before hacking at it too much. It's good to get distance sometimes! Meanwhile, I'll have to pick another project to revise.
Music
I really have finished all songs for the new WAG album, and my bandmate has approved them! We're looking at a Jan/Feb release, so we'll see how that goes. I'm pretty excited about this album, and now that I'm recovering from my studies, I'm excited about my creative stuff in general! Bring on 2018!
ReadingThis year's reading goals went well, especially after I decided towards the end of this year that I was going to count re-reads in my total reads for each year. I didn't realise that you can count multiple reads on GoodReads, but now that I do, everything with my reading goals each year will change! So far I've read 50 out of the desired 40 reads, including a handful of re-reads.
So... What's the plan for 2018?
  • Release new Woody's A Girl album (titled OBLIVION)
  • Revise THE FULL CIRCLE
  • Revise at least one other pre-existing novel (maybe SUNDOWN? I have my CP's notes to work off, and she's given me a LOT to work on)
  • Compete in (and win!) NaNoWriMo 2018 (I have so many new ideas to choose from...somebody stop me!)
  • Possibly participate in the A-to-Z challenge in 2018, assuming it's still running
  • Re-read at least 20 books that are on my "to-re-read-and-review" GoodReads bookshelf
  • Read at least 40 books in total as part of my annual GR challenge

And I guess that's a wrap for 2017! 
How did you all go with your goals this year? 
Do you have any plans in place for 2018?

Friday, 29 December 2017

[DEC UPDATE] The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Book Club



Firstly, I've decided to post my Goals post separately this month. I'm not even sure if that blog hop is still going ahead, but even if it's not, I'm going to talk about my goals and what I've achieved (or not achieved) this year. Secondly, I'm not actually here! I'm currently travelling so I've pre-written and scheduled this post.

Now, onto the book review part of the post! I've decided that this month I'm going to cheat and choose two books. In reality I'd probably like to choose four, but I'll stick to just book #1 of the trilogy I finished, as well as the other book that was its greatest competitor. My choices for December's books read are:


Melina Marchetta - On the Jellicoe Road

I can't believe it took me this long to read this book. Wow! I absolutely loved it. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, I found myself a bit confused about who was who in the flashback scenes. I got used to those scenes, of course, once I knew what they were, but I think it'll be a lot easier when I re-read the book (and oh yes, I will be re-reading it!).

I read Marchetta's Looking For Alibrandi back in high school days, since it was a prescribed text, and I really enjoyed it, but this one went that extra step into 'special' territory for me. Obviously Taylor is a great character, but Jonah is amazing and I love how things unfolded between the two of them. The turf wars were fun to read about, especially as the story progressed. I wonder what Taylor's forebears would have thought about how things ended up!

Pretty early on I suspected the true identify of the Hermit. What a sad story those five friends had - as if it hadn't started out badly enough for them. But their friendship was so strong and amazing to read about, and I felt like Taylor and her friends were forming their own similar posse.

Okay, enough rambling - let's summarise: I loved it, I'm so glad I finally read it, I will definitely re-read it someday, and savour every moment all over again!


This is the GoodReads blurb:
"Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs - the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother - who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road."


Jenny Han - To All The Boys I've Loved Before

First up: IT'S GONNA BE A MOVIE ERMAGERD! Now, onward!

This book made me go 'nawwwww', so I gave it 5 stars. I guess we'll see how I feel later once the fervour has died down (ETA: now it's "later" and I still feel that way).

There's a bit of a love triangle (well, really, there are sort of two), but I may have made assumptions about what would happen and I may have been proven wrong in the long run.  The supporting characters were fantastic - I think Kitty might be amongst my faves, even though she was a total brat sometimes almost all the time. She was so matter-of-factly bitchy that you kind of had to admire it! She's definitely the most strong-minded of the sisters, and she was constantly cracking me up.

I also love Lara Jean's conversations with Peter, where she brings him down a peg or two without even intending to, e.g. talking about how Gen has him "whipped" as if it's a basic fact, and one that everybody accepts. He's desperate to argue the point, of course.

In some reviews I've noticed a comparison of this book to Little Women, but as I haven't read that one (gasp!) I can't comment on that angle. But I can say I bloody love this book, and the two that follow as well, and cannot wait to see the movie.

P.S. Team Peter!

This is the GoodReads blurb:
"What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? 
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control."
Currently (re-)Reading: