#mirthmusicmon – Still got it – #mondayblogs

Once again, welcome to Mirth and Music Monday. I had a good Monday. I got most of the things on my To Do list ticked off. I hope yours was also good.

I was planning on a really cultured post this week featuring some Verdi opera and the like, except then this video popped up on my Facebook feed, and it needed to be this week’s. I hope I am this type of old person in forty years.


You can join in on Mirth and Music Monday over here, and I strongly recommend that you do! :D

#ROW80 Check-in – November 29, 2015

Click the picture to go the ROW80 blog

Click the picture to go the ROW80 blog

It’s Sunday once again, and once again, I’m leaving writing my check-in until after 8:30pm. I’ve had a busy day, though, so I feel I’m actually justified this time. Here’s my goals break-down for this week:

  • Write at least two pages in notebook or 200 words on the laptop every week day. Consolidate this on the weekends.

I did this every day except Tuesday. Actually, on Monday and Wednesday, I spent 20 minutes editing the first draft of Operation: Sugarplum. Then on Thursday I went back to more plotting on Worlds Apart. For the first time ever, I’m actually managing a detailed outline before I start writing. And every now a and then I get a little niggle to start writing, but I am resisting until I finish the full outline. I did do a little bit yesterday, so I sort of caught up for not writing Tuesday.

Do we want some end-of-month stats? Yes, we do. At the end of October, I had written 4003 words. Most of that was on Operation: Sugarplum. At time of writing, I have written 6967 words, plus whatever I wrote yesterday (it’s not typed up yet), so let’s say 7050-ish, because I didn’t write a huge amount yesterday.

  • Write one book review a week and queue them up on the blog.

I wrote a review for The Knife of Never Letting Go. It’ll go up in week or two. I don’t remember exactly when I scheduled it for.

  • Send three Postcrossing cards per week/maintain maximum total cards traveling.

I have once again let a week go by without writing any. Maybe this week…

  • Ride bike to work or walk into the city after work at least three times a week.

What do you know, I actually managed this! For about the first time in two ROW80 rounds, I think! I even did it four times.

I’ll leave this here, with a quick link to the ROW80 website for those unfamiliar. A Round of Words in 80 Days is a writing challenge wherein you set your own goals, and check in each week with other bloggers to keep yourself accountable. Check it out!

~ Emily

Book Review: Chasing Nonconformity by Michelle Proulx

Title: Chasing Nonconformity
Author: Michelle Proulx
Genre: YA/sci-fi
Date Read: 03/11/2015 – 08/11/2015
Rating: ★★★★


nonconformitycoverThis is the sequel to Imminent Danger (and How to Fly Straight Into It), which I reviewed back in February. It picks up pretty much exactly where book 1 finished up and was exactly the sort of sequel I had been hoping for.

First up, we are treated to some delightful new characters, in the form of Prince Trystan, Varrin’s younger brother, and his bodyguard, Sebara. Trystan needs a lot of hugs, and someone to appreciate his poetry. Sebara does not appreciate poetry exactly, but she does earn the Prince’s trust and they develop a really adorable bond. We also meet the Emperor, Varrin and Trystan’s father, and my, isn’t he a piece of work? Trystan and Sebara are given the task of tracking Varrin down and forcing him to come back to claim his birthright.

Meanwhile, Varrin, Eris and Miguri are still searching for Varrin’s ship, the Nonconformity. Eris has basically thought that Varrin is just being a typical guy in love with his vehicle, but it turns out there’s a much bigger reason he needs to get his ship back. Along with the help of an old flame, Kalla, they form a plan to sneak into a Tetrarchy facility and steal it back. Their paths with Sebara and Trystan’s in an exciting climax.

Much of what I had to say about the first book can be echoed here. There’s still plenty of snappy dialogue, fun characters, and the world-building expands even more. Varrin still needs a punch; it got to the point where I couldn’t really reconcile his supposed feelings for Eris with the fact that he kept so. many. secrets from her. Eris kept excusing this, which did get a bit annoying after a while, as did her jealousy at the thought of anyone else with Varrin.

The final 25% was great. There was both action and character development, with all the characters involved. I’m not sure whether this series is meant as a duology or a longer series. The story actually felt quite complete at the end, though I would certainly enjoy more stories set within this universe.

Book Review: Mothers Grimm by Danielle Wood #aww2015

Title: Mothers Grimm
Author: Danielle Wood
Genre: contemporary/fairy tale retellings
Date Read: 08/11/2015
Rating: ★★


mothersgrimmcoverIn Mothers Grimm, Danielle Woods presents four shorter stories that break down the “Good Mother” trope/stereotype often found in fairy tales (the Good Mother is often so good that she is dead). Each story is linked to a fairy tale but turns it on its head to depict the realities of motherhood.

Well, this was disappointing.

A disclaimer: I am not a mother and I don’t have any intentions to become one. It is possible the stories in this book may have resonated with me more if I had children.

The four stories all depicted pretty bleak outlooks on motherhood. The women felt trapped in failing relationships, or resentful of the children who were taking up their lives, or just plain unhappy. To read these stories, you would think that there wasn’t a single rewarding aspect of being a parent. You would think that being a mother completely ruins lives.

The four characters were all well-written and individual, but none was especially likable. One of them was a bitchy gossip. Another lied to her husband about being on the Pill, then seemed to try to make out it was his fault when she fell pregnant a second time. The third was an eighteen-year-old who had made some bad choices; I didn’t mind her too much. The fourth was a mother in the 1950s who felt she was disappointing her own mother. The problem was that I wasn’t invested in any of them. I think perhaps part of the author’s aim was to make these women unlikeable, to ensure there was not one ounce of Good Mother in them. But what’s wrong with a woman succeeding in at least some areas?

The other issue was that I came in expecting some kind of fantasy or fairy tale element. This was absent. Even the links to the fairy tales were tenuous at best. Perhaps that’s my own fault for coming in with expectations of something that wasn’t, but I still felt a little bit ripped off at the end of it.

#WWW Wednesday and #WIPpet Wednesday – 25 November, 2015

I’ve been writing today’s date all day and yet it was only when I typed it up there in the title that I had a moment of “Wait… how is it the 25th already?!”

At least it’s Wednesday, which means fun things like WWW and WIPpet Wednesdays. WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words. You can join in over there by leaving a link to your own WWW Wednesday on today’s post. All you need to do is answer the three questions.


  • What are you currently reading?

I’m still working my way through The Beast’s Garden by Kate Forsyth. I haven’t had a huge amount of time for reading this week, though I’m now within 100 pages of the end, so I should finish it tomorrow or the next day. I would finish it tonight, but I need to prepare a vegetarian shepherd’s pie so we can have it for dinner tomorrow.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I finished listening to The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Ness is quickly becoming a new favourite. Though I’m rather glad that I listened to it, because I got a narrator using an adorable working class English accent which suited Todd and the other Prentisstown characters perfectly. I read the first few pages of the preview on Amazon and I’m not entirely sure I would have stuck with it with the odd spellings of words and all of that.

Also, at the end of the book: “Bolinda Audio is popular with travelers, families and people on the run.” I LOL’d.

Two reviews also went up this week: Winter by Marissa Meyer, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I have The Ask and the Answer, the sequel to Knife of Never Letting Go, ready to go. I also have The Wild Girl by Kate Forsyth from the library, so that will be my next physical book.

Also! Speaking of Patrick Ness, there is now a teaser trailer for the movie of A Monster Calls. I am… cautiously optimistic? I thought Liam Neeson’s voice would be all wrong, but it’s not, and Patrick Ness has written the screenplay himself, so… maybe it’ll be okay?

After two weeks of barely making it around to WIPpet Wednesday participants, I nearly skipped it this week, but with actually having both days at home this weekend, I am hopeful that I will actually be able to make the rounds this week. So here I am. To join in on WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date, then click here to link up and see what others are sharing. I am taking the five from 25 and sharing 5 lines.

This time, no one met her at the door. She stepped over the threshold and paused, taking in the scene before her and waiting to be noticed. One of the Creelans was cowering before the King, and the King’s arm was raised, as though about to strike. He let it dropped when he noticed Clara in the doorway, and his expression changed instantly. The anger disappeared from his eyes and that smug smile reappeared.

I’m going to leave it there and go chop vegetables. I’ll see you all soon!

~ Emily

#ROW80 Check-in – November 22, 2015

This is very much a drive-by check-in. I’ve just been to a Thermomix demonstration, and it went a lot later than I was expecting. However, there was a lot of delicious food, so I’m not complaining. I kind of want a Thermomix now. Too bad they are $2000 or so each. Anyway. Enough about Thermomixes. Goals this week:

  • Write at least two pages in notebook or 200 words on the laptop every week day. Consolidate this on the weekends.

After struggling to write a decent ending for draft 1 of Operation: Sugarplum, I decided to call Draft 1 completed on Monday. Since then, I’ve been using my own slight variation on the Snowflake Method to plan my next WIP. I definitely reached 200 words every day; on Wednesday I was up around the 700 mark and on Tuesday it was over 1000 words of planning. I also had quite a lot of traveling yesterday, so I did some editing on Operation: Sugarplum.

  • Write one book review a week and queue them up on the blog.

I wrote review of Winter that went up yesterday. I wanted it to go up while the book is still in shiny new-release mode. I rejigged my scheduled posts a bit to allow it. My review of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl also got posted on Friday.

  • Send three Postcrossing cards per week/maintain maximum total cards traveling.

I didn’t get a chance to do that this week. Which is to say, I had plenty of chances and ignored them. Heh. Next week.

All right. That’s it from me. I’m off to bed.

~ Emily

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Title: Winter (Lunar Chonicles #4)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA/sci-fi/fairytale retelling
Date Read: 10/11/2015 – 14/11/2015
Rating: ★★★★


wintercoverWhen I first read Cinder, the first of the Lunar Chronicles, I wrote on my LiveJournal that it was pretty enjoyable but I wasn’t 100% sure that I was actually interested in continuing. Except then Scarlet, the second book, arrived for me at the library before I had time to cancel the hold, so I figured I might as well read it. And then I read a couple of things that I didn’t enjoy at all, and I figured the Lunar Chronicles were fun if nothing else, so I bought the e-book of Cress, and fell in love with Cress and Thorne. Kai and Cinder also grew on me a lot in that one, so I was actually very keen to see where their revolution led them in book four. While my GoodReads review is littered with snarky updates, I actually did really enjoy Winter and it was a great conclusion to the series.

While this book is long (it comes in at over 800 pages), there are nine or ten point-of-view characters, so it is hardly surprising. I had to slog through some of it, but I would be hard pressed to actually name any parts I would cut. While I was obviously interested in some characters more than others, all the storylines are woven together so well that you really need all that length for the story to conclude properly.

The characters undergo a huge amount of growth in this book, as they gear towards a revolution to depose the evil Queen Levana. They are all put a long way out of their comfort zones, and seeing them deal with this was exciting and at times, even shocking. We really saw how evil the Lunar regime was. The series wraps up really well, and I actually got a bit teary at the end, seeing how everything worked out for the characters. Apparently I got more attached to them than I ever intended to. While Marissa Meyer has other fairytale-inspired books in the works, it is always a bittersweet feeling saying goodbye to an enjoyable series. Highly recommended!

Read my reviews for Cinder, Scarlet and Cress.