Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bookish Goodness: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My sister and I are cat sitting and my laptop had run out of battery so I couldn't do schoolwork or work on my NaNoWriMo project. Which means that I marathoned Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I didn't mean to; it just kind of happened. It's pink cover was glaring up at me, begging to be read.

I've actually read, or at least attempted to read, every other Rainbow Rowell book (except Carry On). My problem isn't that I don't like her books, its that I like them a whole lot and then the ending ruins everything for me. I had an inkling that Fangirl would be different, but I couldn't be sure, so I put it off. It's actually kind of funny that I finally got around to reading this book right now though. In junior high/high school, I was a huge fanfiction reader. It was my top source of entertainment. As I got older, I still read fanfiction, but not as much as I used to. My life has been kind of difficult for the last couple of years though and I have been increasingly falling back into fanfiction (I fully realize that this may be a less-than-healthy coping mechanism, but it is helping me cope). Then, I saw a tweet about NaNoWriMo. In my fanfiction heyday, I did try my hand at writing fanfiction (one stand alone that was half decent and another multi-chapter fic that I abandoned [and was not very good to begin with]) but I didn't stick with it for long. For years afterward, I would write down ideas as they came to me for other fics, but I never actually tried to take them anywhere. So, I decided to dive right in and try to actually write a fanfiction based on one of my ideas. Basically, over the last couple of days, my life has been reading fanfiction, writing fanfiction, and now reading about a girl writing fanfiction.

There are a lot of things, besides the fanfiction, that I liked about this book. I liked that Cath was kind of lost and weird when she first got to college. I like that she made mistakes and misunderstood things and just generally kept to herself. I like that her sister was a total bitch. I like that Levi messed up. I like that Reagan stuck by Cath. I like that some things worked out in the end and that some didn't.

There wasn't a lot that I didn't like about the book. I didn't like how Cath and Wren's Dad seemed kind of thrown into the story sometimes. I didn't like Courtney. At all. Period. I didn't like that we didn't get to see more of Professor Piper's class or more of the ultimate final project.

So, this is, by far, my favorite book by Rainbow Rowell. I really couldn't give it anything other than 5 out of 5 stars. Now, I absolutely cannot wait to dive into Carry On; I really hope it lives up to the standard Fangirl set.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bookish Goodness: Chasing Merlin by Sarah White

Between NaNoWriMo (my word count is at 800, but I'm happy with that because it's more than the 0 I started out with), schoolwork, and the craziness going on on campus (I go to the University of Missouri), I haven't had a lot of time for reading. But I decided to take a little break from everything and dive into a book I have been wanting to read that has been sitting on my shelf for a long time: Chasing Merlin by Sarah White.

Merlin is one of those characters who, in one form or another, has been written about more times than a person can count. In my experience, there is no in-between portrayal of Merlin, it is either good or bad. This story is one of the really good ones. I liked that the story addressed both Merlin as myth and Merlin as man and that both aspects were worked into the story. I liked that there was magic present in the story but that it wasn't the main focus and didn't drive everything that happened. One problem I did have was how Emrys treated Dyllan, which was completely rude, and how she just accepted it without any anger. I also had a problem with how the relationship and conflict between Emrys and Ryan just suddenly cut off, almost as if it didn't matter, when it was actually a driving plot point behind the last part of the book. My biggest complaint though is the ending. The entire book was filled with clues and foreshadowing of where the story was going, who the characters were, and what their motivations were. Then the ending came, with no warning, and it wasn't what had been hinted at from the beginning. The other did make mention of a foretelling that made the ending make sense, but it felt contrived. Nevertheless, I loved this book! I gave it 4 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Outside My Norm: NaNoWriMo News and a Daria Song Book Review

Hi All! It's November, and you know what that means: NaNoWriMo! I've actually been signed up on the NaNoWriMo website since 2012, quietly lurking in the shadows, watching other people's progress, but I've never actually tried to write anything of my own before. Sure, I've had ideas for stories, both fanfiction and original, but I've never had the (drive, time, patience) to actually attempt to flesh it all out in writing. This year, and last fall, has been very changing for me though. I went through, and am still going through, some things that made me realize that I have to go for what I want. In light of that, I decided to try writing some of my ideas out. Most recently, I have had several ideas for novels but, if I'm being perfectly honest, I don't think I have the experience/technical ability to do them justice. So, I decided to start by working on a Harry Potter fanfiction idea I came up with almost eight years ago.  School of course comes first, so my writing has been pretty sporadic, but I'm having fun anyway. If you're participating in NaNoWriMo (or want to, there is still time to sign up!), I'd love to be buddies! Here is my NaNoWriMo page. Good luck to everyone participating!

Because I'm juggling school and NaNoWriMo, my reading has slowed down some. But reading is my stress outlet (writing could be if I wasn't so type A about it). Luckily for me, Blogging For Books sent me a copy of The Time Chamber by Daria Song to review.

If you couldn't tell from the cover, this is an "adult" coloring book! I have been wanting to try one for a very long time, so I was doubly happy to receive this copy. The first thing about this book that caught my eye, and made me super happy, is that the cover (besides the copper leaf) is fully colorable on the outside and on the inside! The second thing that I noticed is that the book isn't just a coloring book! It has an actual story, with words, on the inside. There aren't so many words that it bogs you down reading, but just enough to drive your imagination forward! I also really liked the Visual Index in the back. Sometimes, when the pictures are big with lots of tiny details, I get overwhelmed. It's helpful that I can get an idea of the overall picture and what I want to do with the picture without being caught up in the minutia!

As for tools, I specifically bought Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils for this book. However, those are more blunt tipped and the pictures have many fine details that I think classic pencils that can be sharpened would be better to use. All in all, I am super happy with this coloring book! I give it 5 out of 5 stars. The pictures are gorgeous and I cannot tell you how much I enjoy adding color to them.