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.
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 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: