Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- May 2017

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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This was yet another pretty single-minded month. And guess what? I still didn’t finish anything!

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Let’s break down my failure. Because that sounds like fun! 😀

  • Good Intentions (Age of Ultron fanfic)- 32,547 words written

This is probably the most words I’ve managed to write after a NaNo… pretty much ever. AND I’M STILL NOT FREAKING DONE. How is that possible? I did not plan for this fic to be soooooooo looooooonnnnngggg. Seriously, all of my other Avengers fics are short!

…you know, -ish.

Relatively speaking.

Anyway, the current plan is for the total word count to be 95k, which means I’m almost done! Finally! Really this time, I swear to Odin…

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Oh… right. I swear to Loki then. Which is way more fun anyway ;P

Well, I managed to post my chapters, and I regret that now. Because I’m feeling a little lost here. I can’t explain it, but the thread of my story is just… gone. I know how I want to end it, I just don’t know how to get there. And I don’t want to give up, because I know that if I can just push through this story is going to be AMAZING! I have a plan, but it might not be a plan that fans of this story will be incredibly happy with, considering how much of a let-down I have been when it comes to posting on this fic. But we’ll talk about that more in the What’s Coming Up section. For now, let’s just say that I’m incredibly happy with the chapters I posted this month and I’m impressed that I managed to write any words at all, to be honest.

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  • Doubt The Stars- Beta-edit

The results are in! And have been in for weeks now. I really was going to work on this more, I swear, but… well… I didn’t.

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I know, Ron. I know.

I managed to get through the first Scene, but that’s honestly only because everyone pretty much agreed that it needed almost no work (other than some grammar and punctuation fixes). The second Scene is going to be… a little more complex, and I’ll be honest, I’ve been putting it off. Because I’m scared. It’s getting scarier and scarier the closer to being done I am and… I’ve never done anything like this. I don’t feel prepared. But I’m going to do my best to jump in with both feet this month and really dig in.

So without further ado!

What’s Coming Up in June

  • Doubt The Stars- Evaluate feedback from beta-readers and edit accordingly. Send samples to editors and pick one.

This is… exactly the same goal I had for last month that didn’t happen. There’s going to be a lot of that in June. I’m playing the most terrible game of catch-up ever and just trying to win before Camp NaNoWriMo in July! On that note…

  • Good Intentions- Finish first draft

Really this time. Really, really. I’m in the final stretch, I should honestly be done with this in the next week or so if I play my cards right. Then I can set it aside and relax for a little while, because I’ve already decided to postpone the edits until the months of August/September. And yes, I’m allowing myself two entire months for edits, because despite mounting evidence to the contrary, I am not completely crazy.

I’m keeping my original goals for now, but this is purely in the spirit of optimism. I have one chapter that I can post on the 15th, but I’m not certain another chapter will be ready by the end of the month. I have already decided that I will be writing my 50k words for Camp NaNoWriMo in July on this fic and its sequel (which will follow hard on the heels of the first: it will become apparent why when the ending of DBTT is revealed ;P), so I’m thinking I might just take a rest on writing for this fic this month and let my creative well refill. It’s not like I don’t have other stories I could outline…

So there you go! We’ll see what happens! And now, the real reason you all read this blog:

Fog’s Cute Animal of the Month

This month’s animal is thanks to a very weird and completely random dream I had:

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The porcupine puffer fish!

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Look at that face! I’ve been reading up on them, and for a fish that could kill me in multiple ways (in addition to the ability to inflate and the spines, their internal organs contain a deadly toxin 1200 times more potent that cyanide. Neat!) they are also the most adorable and personable fish I have ever beheld! In this article, they are described as “almost as cute as cartoon animals” and they can apparently even be taught to do tricks for treats! Like puppies! Adorable fish-puppies of the sea!

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Imaginary boyfriend says I can’t have one, but he’s just a Debbie Downer. I NEED AN ADORABLE FISH-PUPPY! I mean, I had a dream about them! My sub-conscious even says I need a fish-puppy!

Plus, they’ve been compared to one of my favorite Avengers, so… win-win! 😀

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Case closed! All I need now is a 100 gallon fish tank and some snails…

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See you guys next time!

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- April 2017

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What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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So… yeah. I was kind of single-minded this month ;P I wrote 50,022 words, and not much else. Which I’m completely fine with. Those of you who are waiting (im)patiently for a new chapter of Double the Baggins, Twice the Took are probably not as okay with it as I am, but I’m going to try to make it up to you this month! Starting tomorrow! Really!

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What’s Coming Up in May

  • Doubt The Stars- Evaluate feedback from beta-readers and edit accordingly. Send samples to editors and pick one.

The first comments are starting to come in from my beta-readers and I’m really pleased! So far the feedback has been mostly positive, and the criticisms (when viewed through the eyes of trusted peers) are nothing that I feel I can’t handle. It’s such a relief, because honestly? I’m channeling my inner Rapunzel right now.

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  • Good Intentions- Finish first draft

Despite the 50k, I’m still not done. Not even close. Honestly, I’m hoping this will only be 80k, but I’ve set my WordKeeperAlpha goal at 100k, just in case… because there is still a whole lot of story left to write… But it’s so good! Seriously, I’m enjoying the hell out of writing this! It’s going to be such a fun thing to post too, I can’t wait to see everyone’s reactions! 😀

Honestly, I’m putting that writing goal there, but I’m not really sure it’s going to happen. I’m going to do everything in my power to make the chapter postings happen (starting tomorrow, I SWEAR TO MAHAL…), but as far as writing goes, finishing “Good Intentions” is taking priority this month. It has to. Or, honestly? My whole plan for the year is going to fall to pieces. So there you go!

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And now, the real reason you all read this blog:

Fog’s Cute Animal of the Month

This month’s surprisingly cute animal:

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The poor, nearly extinct axolotl. Well, extinct in the wild. In ten years (from ’98 to ’08) they went from 6,000 per sq km to 100. Now, you can hardly find any. But they are thriving in captivity, so at least we have that 🙂

Look at it! Look at it’s happy little face! How can you not love that face???

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“Oh, stop it you!” *axolotl blush*

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I do not know how to get my hands on one of these sculptures, but if someone finds out, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING LET ME KNOW!!!

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Also, because puns:

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*runs away cackling*

 

The Quarterly Writing Round Up!- Q1, 2017

Reminder:  For the second year in a row (go me!) I have made a set of yearly goals I would like to accomplish, and I’m breaking them down by quarter for you guys, so you can see where I am. And also so can see where I am, because sometimes I forget? And I get distracted? So I need this reminder every few months, it’s hella important to me. I appreciate your time and attention as I reorient myself in my life 🙂

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Here’s a recap of my goals for the year, in case you don’t want to go back and read the original post:

Overall goals for the year: Edit and (Finished, Q1) Publish “The Stars Are Fire” (now titled “Doubt The Stars”); Write, Edit, and Post “Good Intentions”; Finish Writing “Double The Baggins, Twice The Took”; Finish Writing “Wonderland Reclaimed”; Write first draft of Tempest in Space novel (tentatively titled “Such Stuff As Dreams”)

Okay, so I finished, like half of a goal this quarter. But, hey! Progress! And I did make some progress toward most of the others too, so it wasn’t a total waste 🙂

Here’s my WordKeeper Alpha graph for the year so far!

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As you can see, I’ve spent the majority of my time and energy on the self-edit of my novel from November, “Doubt The Stars”, which I’m feeling pretty good about. DBTT is also coming along nicely, so that’s two of my goals I’ve made significant progress on. I wish I’d spent more time on my “Good Intentions” outline, but I am only human, after all.

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Here’s the month by month breakdown!

Quarter One, 2017- Review

JanuaryFirst month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?” months, focusing on revising and editing. TSAF- make character sketches, flesh out settings, build up the system of planets, research the tech, and figure out my themes. Dictate my brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT.

  • Um… Some of this happened. The posting of the chapters happened! The dictating experiment was a giant pile of fail.

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Apparently, I can’t words through my face, only through my fingers. I did a lot of wording with my fingers this month, so that was good. It was also the month that I admitted to myself that writing of the words was more important than the posting of the words and lowered my chapter goal from four to two. I also wasted a lot of time on a little story that no one cared about and I will probably never finish, but it was fun while it lasted 🙂

FebruarySecond month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?”. Self-edit TSAF. Continue to dictate brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT (possibly start dictating new words?).

  • Ugh. The self-edit. The self-edit that I thought was going to take a month and instead took over my life for the better part of two months.

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I still managed to write the words I needed and post the chapters I needed, so that was good, but I went through a pretty terrible episode in which I was almost convinced I was never going to be finished with this book. I got out of it, but it was tough.

MarchGive TSAF to a select number of readers for feedback. Translate my dictation brainstorming to a workable outline for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT and write 25,000 new words (possibly through dictation).

  • So, since I obviously wasn’t finished with edits by March, the giving to readers thing didn’t happen. I did manage to finish the edits, so I’m only a month behind where I wanted to be. The outline of “Good Intentions” happened in the most basic sense, and if you add it up, I actually wrote more than the 25,000 words I had planned to write in March. I just stretched it out over a three month period, which I am completely fine with!

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I wish that I was able to post chapters faster, but I’m trying not to beat myself up over it. I just need to focus and readjust my goals for the rest of the year. Yeah, things are… fine. They’re fine. o.O

Quarter Two, 2017- Goals

So, my plan for the year has (of course) been derailed already and we’re only three months in. But that’s okay! Trying to stay positive! I can do this!

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So, Quarter Two goals! Here we go:

April: Give “Doubt The Stars” to beta-readers. Write 50,000 words on “Good Intentions” for Camp NaNoWriMo. Post two chapters of “Double the Baggins, Twice the Took”.

May: Read the feedback from beta-readers, revise “Doubt The Stars”, send to editors for sample edits and decide on professional editor. Finish the first draft of “Good Intentions”, let rest for the rest of the month. Post two chapters of DBTT, write 10,000 new words.

June: Send “Doubt The Stars” to professional editor, begin search for cover designer, start working on back matter, dedications, acknowledgements, and links to include. “Good Intentions” pre-edit prep. Post two chapters of DBTT, write 10,000 new words.

Wow. That’s a lot of stuff. But actually, it all seems… very doable. Is that crazy? I feel like that’s crazy.

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Thanks, John Green 🙂 Alright, you guys, I’m gonna try to do better with keeping up with the blog from now on, so stay tuned! See ya!

 

 

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- January 2017

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New Year, New Book Challenge! And I’m already behind, of course ;P As I said in my Conclusion to 2016, I’ve raised my goal to 55 books this year instead of my customary 50… Can I really call it ‘customary’ if I’ve only done it two years in row? Oh well, I’m using it! 😀

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header 🙂

  • What I’m currently reading:
    1. Miles in Love (Vorkosigan Omnibus #6) by Lois McMaster Bujold– I haven’t finished anymore of this yet. I will. I just… haven’t. I have no excuse.
    2. Audrey Hepburn: An Elegant Spirit by Sean Hepburn Ferrer– If I haven’t made any progress on this by next month, I’m taking it off the list, because it’s depressing me. Audrey Hepburn is a lot of things, but ‘depressing’ should not be one of them.
    3. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1) by Jim Butcher– I finally started the series! Yay! I’m a little disappointed by the narration, but I think that might have more to do with the production than with James Marsden (if that makes any sense?) and the story is pretty good. I think it’s about to get really good, and I’m told things really pick up around Book Three. I think I can stick it out until then. Also, Bob is the best. That is all.
  • Books I’ve Finished- None this month, mostly because I’m just failing at life a little bit. This also means that there’s no Book of the Month this month. Sorry, we’ll try again in February 🙂

However, I would like to go ahead and introduce a new segment this month:

The Destructive Creativity Corner

Basically, a lovely coworker got me a really neat book for Christmas this year, a book by the same author that created Wreck This Journal: F*nish Th*s B**k, by Keri Smith. The basic premise is that you have found a folder full of half-formed ideas, and now you have to complete the book using your creative intuition. I’ve been thinking about trying out a book like this for over a year now, so it just seems like fate that one has now fallen into my hands. I’m very excited!

Now, the instructions in the book say specifically that I shouldn’t share the results of this endeavor until specifically instructed to do so… but, I couldn’t resist leaking a picture of my gathered materials at least:

I’m really enjoying what I’ve done so far, I’ll post whatever pictures are “leaked” as they become available ;P If you’d like to follow my progress in real time, you can follow my Instagram, @fogisbeautiful.

That’s all! See you guys in February!

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The Yearly Writing Round-up!- 2016/2017

It’s that time of year again! Time to take a look back, see what I’ve accomplished this year, and lay out my tentative plan for 2017. This is going to basically be an elongated Quarterly Round-up post, so let’s start with a recap of the goals I had going into 2016.

Overall goals for the year: Finish Changing History rewrites DONE! (Q1, February), Finish first draft of Changing History: Entwives DONE! (Q3, July), Write the Worth Living For short that I’ve been planning for ages, DONE! (Q3, July) Edit and begin posting Clarity DONE! (Q2, June), Finish the first draft of all three parts of Wonderland Reclaimed.
Reward Project: If I finish Wonderland Reclaimed, I can write my Avengers: Age of Ultron fic for NaNoWriMo in November.

As I mentioned in my Q3 round up, I’m pretty happy with having completed 4 out of 5 of my goals for the year. Wonderland Reclaimed… well, it’s going to have to take a back burner for a while. I feel like I maybe could work through its issues eventually, but I’m going to be a little busy with The Stars Are Fire in the next year, and I already have plans for another book in that loosely connected universe, so… we’ll see how it goes 🙂

Other notable highlights from the year include:

  • March- Began posting Double The Baggins, Twice The Took (15 chapters posted, 2016)

This was an unexpected addition to my workload this year, but not entirely unwelcome. I’ve enjoyed working on this fic and it has taken the place of Changing History in my life quite nicely. Though I do hope it won’t take me 15 years to finish! ;P

  • July- Finished posting Clarity

I honestly did not expect to finish this story this year. I expected to still be posting it well into January. But it was so… easy. Really, this whole process flowed so smoothly (even if sometimes it didn’t feel like it was) that once it got down to posting, it was simple. It was a real encouragement, especially as I had so much trouble finishing Changing History this year.

  • October- Finished the Changing History saga

This was a bittersweet moment for me. One of those moments I thought would never come, and certainly never expected to come this year. 15 years of imagination and now, it’s over. I legit cried.

  • October/November- The Stars Are Fire original novel

This one truly came out of left field and I once again have to thank my writing group for making this possible. I’m hoping for this to be the book that I (finally) publish in 2017, and honestly, even as a rough draft that I know needs work, I’m really proud of it.

And a few stats, just for fun!

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  • New words written– 112,610 (across five stories)
  • Fanfiction chapters posted– 75 (across five stories)
  • Stories Completed– 4

What’s Coming Up in 2017

Overall goals for the year: Edit and Publish “The Stars Are Fire”; Write, Edit, and Post “Good Intentions”; Finish Writing “Double The Baggins, Twice The Took”; Finish Writing “Wonderland Reclaimed”; Write first draft of Tempest in Space novel (tentatively titled “Such Stuff As Dreams”)

So another five goals for 2017! These are a bit more ambitious, but based on what I was able to do in 2016, I think they are doable. I also have a non-quantitative goal of trying out dictation for my brainstorming and possibly even my first drafts. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things regarding dictation and writing productivity, so I thought I would give it a try and see if I can’t incorporate some more walking into my life. Healthier and more productive? Sign me up!

I loved doing the Quarterly Round-Ups last year, so I plan to continue the tradition into 2017! Here are my goals for the first quarter!

  • January– First month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?” months, focusing on revising and editing. TSAF- make character sketches, flesh out settings, build up the system of planets, research the tech, and figure out my themes. Dictate my brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT.
  • February– Second month of NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?”. Self-edit TSAF. Continue to dictate brainstorming for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT (possibly start dictating new words?).
  • March– Give TSAF to a select number of readers for feedback. Translate my dictation brainstorming to a workable outline for “Good Intentions”. Post four chapters of DBTT and write 25,000 new words (possibly through dictation).

I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous about this. A lot of it rides on my dictation experiment being a success. If not, I might have some trouble getting all of these things accomplished. But I’m going to try it, and if it doesn’t work, well, I’ll modify my goals for Q2! 😀

And our adorable animal to start out the new year!

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The capybara! The world’s largest rodent (and arguably the cutest as well):

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Babies!!!

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Look at him, he’s so chill! 😀

Happy New Year, everyone! See you guys in a month!

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- The Conclusion of 2016

I know this is incredibly late, but we’re going to take this opportunity to make a two-parter out of it! So you’ll definitely get your money’s worth today, folks!

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First things first, let’s catch you up on what I’ve been doing since last we spoke!

Here’s the link to my star rating breakdown if anyone needs a refresher. It’s also up in the header 🙂

  • Books I’ve Finished 
    1. The Winter Soldier, Vol 1: The Man on the Wall by Ales Kot- Four Stars
    2. Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm by Al Ewing- Four Stars
    3. Author 2.0 Blueprint by Joanna Penn- Four Stars
    4. Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal- Four Stars
    5. Dictate Your Book by Monica Leonelle- Five Stars
    6. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi- Five Stars
    7. Odd Interlude (Odd Thomas #4) by Dean Koontz- Four Stars
    8. The Clockwork Scarab (Stoker and Holmes #1) by Colleen Gleeson- Four Stars

Fog’s Book Of The Month

The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower, #7)The Dark Tower by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. Okay, I have a lot of feelings about this book, not all of them were good (as you can tell, if you kept up with my comments as I was reading), but overall, the ending of this book made up for any flaws in the storytelling. The ending… I had to stop reading and drive in silence for a long time, just to digest it. ‘Ka is a wheel’ was an overarching theme throughout the series, but I never really understood the significance until I read the end. The true end, not the feel-good, make-you-cry, first ending. And Mr. King was correct, I could have just left the book with that first ending and been perfectly content. I considered it, actually. But I’m ultimately glad I didn’t though. Quite frankly, most of the Stephen King endings I’ve read have left a lot to be desired (I’m looking at YOU “Under The Dome”), but I think I know what happened now. He used up all his good ending mojo on this book. That’s what it has to be 🙂

Anyway, it was a great end to a pretty good series, and I’m glad I got them all read this year! 🙂

View all my reviews

Okay, now that we have all that out of the way, it’s the end of the year! That means, it’s time to take a look back at what I’ve accomplished this year and outline what I plan to accomplish in the new year! Here we go!

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Thanks, Goodreads, for your confidence. I didn’t read any sarcasm in that AT ALL… ;P

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Despite Goodreads’ passive-aggressive irony, I feel really good about this year! I finished  The Dark Tower series, and managed to  surpass my goal of reading 50 books in 2016! All in all, it’s been a good year, and I look forward to great things in 2017.

My goals for the upcoming year include:

  • Read 55 books– I’ve stuck to 50 books for the past two years, and pretty easily surpassed that goal. Time to edge it up a little I think, especially with my new access to audiobooks, thanks to Audible. 55 books is a reasonable stretch. Right?
  • Read the first eight books of the Dresden Files series– This is my new series to read in 2017! According to my research, there’s fifteen books currently published (not including all the little in-between books, which I’m currently planning to ignore) and one due for release in 2017, but I’m only going to try to finish the first eight. As my series goals have generally been seven books to a series, I think this fits nicely with my goal to stretch myself a bit. The premise of these books (a modern wizard PI solves paranormal crimes) appeals to me greatly and I’ve heard wonderful things about James Marsters as a narrator. I’m really looking forward to what’s coming up!

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And that’s my year! I’ll have a new Challenge up on Goodreads in the new year, and you can check out my to-read list to get an idea of what I might read in the year ahead (fair warning: the list needs to be reorganized, badly. I plan to get on that soon, but it will still give you a pretty good idea of what I have coming up).

See you guys in 2017! 😀

Have You Hugged A Book Today?- October 2016

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Eep! I’m down to only a single book lead! Well, I guess that’s what happens when NaNoWriMo takes over your life 🙂 I’ll catch up in December, I’m sure.

Also, this is going to be a pretty unusual Reading post because I literally finished only one book this month. As a result, that book is going to be the highlight of the post, as is well deserved because it was AH-MAZ-ING. I gushed about it all over Goodreads, so here you go!

Fog’s Book Of The Month
FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I already feel like I need to reread this book, just so I can better appreciate the ending. Or rather, the non-ending. Because it wasn’t what I expected at all. Without spoiling anything, things are not resolved. At least, not in the traditional sense that you would expect things to be resolved in a book like this. What I love most about Cath’s story, is that she doesn’t “overcome”. She triumphs, I’m not saying that. But she doesn’t magically become “better” or “get over” her issues. Instead she manages to find and surround herself with people who care about her exactly as she is, who lift her up and give her the support she needs, without changing who she is as a person.
God, this was such a great story. I was so angry at Wren (I still am, honestly, she was a grade A bitch), but in the end, I think I even got her. I got that she was going through the same things as Cath, she just handled them so much differently, in a way that maybe I can’t relate to, but that I can sympathize with. But Cath was, without a doubt, the character I related to the most strongly. It was literally like Rainbow Rowell crawled up into my headspace and just wrote down everything she found there. I don’t understand how it has taken so long for someone to write a book like this.
I can’t even begin to talk about the rest of the supporting cast, because they were too good for words. I don’t want to spoil anything, but they are all just so, so good. I cannot recommend this book enough.

View all my reviews

There you go! My wonderful gushing about Fangirl! Thanks to Cat Mealer for allowing me to borrow her copy for so long, you’re the best! 😀 See you guys in December!