As I’ve already stated in a previous December blog post, I absolutely love reading cheesy Christmas themed novels with people falling in love amidst snow and Christmas decorations. And it’s not just published holiday themed novels that I enjoy. I also take the time to read a lot of Christmassy fanfiction with my favorite characters getting stuck under the mistletoe or snowed in together even when it doesn’t make logical sense. (Are you telling me that the witches and wizards of the Harry Potter world can’t somehow magic themselves out of a snowed in house? Well if it makes for a cute story I will totally accept that!)
This year is the first year that I have that bug. The one that has me wanting to write said holiday themed fanfiction. In fact, I already have two that I’ve started. But here is the pitfall.
I think I’ve informed all of my blog readers (if I even have any anymore…HELLO there if you are there!) that I typically like to complete an entire fanfiction before I start posting it online, even if it’s going to end up being fifteen “chapters/posts” long. That means that if I want to be timely in regards to holiday themed fanfiction I either have to write and post fast or I have to keep it short and simple. And let’s just say that keeping my writing short has never been my strong suit.
Pretty much every time I’ve planned a simple one-shot short story it’s always evolved into something epic. So let’s hope I can curb that enthusiasm or else you won’t be seeing any Christmas fanfiction from me until I pull out a dusty notebook in 2018 full of words I mostly finished this year.
I’d like to start off this book review by briefly talking about a Netflix show.
Last year my fiance and I binge watched this Netflix show called Stranger Things. I really, really liked it. And then season two came out this October and I became even more obsessed. The actors and actresses are just brilliant (finally great acting and kids that look like kids instead of air brushed models!) and the story line is just fun. After watching the second season I also watched the commentary series and looked at fun Buzzfeed articles and I also may have bough an “ugly Christmas sweater” and a scarf with the alphabet and Christmas lights on it from season one. I’m not crazy I promise. (Actually, I might be. Who knows.)
Anyways, this all brings me to now. After watching all that I could and even considering rewatching season one I decided to look up lists of books that Stranger Things fans should read because in this day and age there are always lists like that. That’s where I stumbled upon Paper Girls, a graphic novel I had actually already heard about before.
And yes it does kind of have that Stranger Things vibe to anyone else who is a crazy obsessed fan of that show. This too stars a group of teens in the late 80s with their poofy hair and their fun denim. They are also often seen with their bicycles and walkie talkies. And then science fictiony things starts to happen.
The bad thing is that graphic novels are short and kind of have to have a different focus than TV so instead of getting some more insight into the characters and really getting to know them we are almost immediately throw into weird thing after weird thing. There are so many confusing things that start happening and with really no sign of an explanation by the end of volume one which was a little jarring. I will definitely be continuing on with Paper Girls, Volume 2 but I’m hoping to get to know the girls more (there are four of them and I honestly can’t remember the names of them all or who is who) and I’d like some answers. Please?
I feel very out of step with all of my friends and the reviewers that I follow on Goodreads because the vast majority of them gave The Book Thief 5 stars and yet I struggled to get through it. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have finished it if it weren’t the book I chose for my book club.
Normally I love historical fiction, especially in regards to Nazi Gemany and yet I couldn’t get into this even though the description talking about the time period and how much it centers around words sounded fantastic and right up my alley.
The narrator being Death and the format of the actual book pages didn’t work for me. The constant newspaper style page breaks were annoying and jarring and a lot of the information found in the center aligned, bold faced type either didn’t need to be there at all or should have been incorporated into the actual text on the page instead of jumping out and bringing me out of the story with it.
At first I liked Death as a narrator but then I started feeling as though his voice was just too impartial. It was like reading about humans from the perspective of someone who doesn’t understand humans, which is more or less how Death described himself, but that made me feel like I was too far removed from the characters. It was like someone looking on the scene from afar and then reporting on it. That made me feel like I didn’t get to know them and so I didn’t really care that much. And since there were so many things I didn’t like about the book it felt as though it dragged on forever and it made my brain hurt.
I do feel as though, if the formatting would have been a bit different and that if the story would have been told from another point of view I would have liked it much more.
Now clearly other people really loves it so obviously this is a case of it’s not the book, it’s me.
It’s December again. The weather is getting cooler (my least favorite part of winter) and the Christmas decorations in my house and the lights along the streets of the towns I drive through to and from work are all twinkly and beautiful (my favorite part of winter). That means that, just as in October where I attempt to spend time reading creepy books, I will primarily be reading holiday related books. That means Christmas and winter themed books that are usually cheesy and romantic, just like the Christmas Hallmark movies. Normally I’d hate things like that but in December I just love it.
The winter season is also sparking my mind in regards to my writing. I’m talking dreams of kisses under the mistletoe tucked into my books and fanfiction. Actually I have an entire fanfiction idea dedicated to mistletoe and hope to have that written and posted here soon. (Honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t already written said fanfic before. The idea seems so logical and I’m sure it’s been done a thousand times before but holiday themed stories are okay in regards to that as long as my idea is well written. I mean, I think so, right? Doesn’t everyone love to read a million Hermione/Draco caught kissing under the mistletoe stories in December? Or is that just me?)
So, put on your mittens and your winter hats and get ready for some cheesy holiday romance book reviews and maybe some virtual hot chocolate!
As November 2017 and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) 2017 ends I look at my entry for the year and sigh. Once again I started off relatively strong and with a nice outline (even though I literally changed my idea half a dozen times, the last coming to me just days before the start of the month) and then *boom*. The words stopped trickling, at least in regards to the novel I had planned. I did, however, come up with a handful more fanfiction ideas and even started a couple though my notebooks of half finished stories are pretty full right now.
I should have known. Between work and a needy dog who loves to cuddle and doesn’t like it when my laptop is actually on my lap my writing was kind of doomed from the start. Plus, as I’ve lamented again and again, I like to hand write everything first. And boy is it hard to hand write 50,000 words in one month, especially since I’d either have to count through every word myself or do an estimation to make sure I was on track. It makes it very difficult for me.
Also, November in itself is difficult. It’s the start of the major holiday season with shopping, family time, and time spent decorating. Why not March where, if anything, you only have one day spent drinking green beer and then it’s back to normal? Or January where you’re supposed to be on top of your resolutions and I’m sure plenty of writers have good intentions of putting words to paper or screen?
(I know…I know. I’m one of those writers who always has the best intentions at the beginning of the year or the beginning of the month and I start out strong and then just flop. And even if we did NaNo in March I’d probably still not finish but that’s neither here nor there.)
So I look at my measly 4,775 word count for the month of November and I think about the fact that I’ll likely be signing up for a Camp NaNo in the spring/summer and another full NaNo next November and I’ll probably fail. But oh well, at least I’m still writing!
My thoughts on finishing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for the fifth or sixth(?) time. Reviewing pages 446-652.
- Harry finally realizes that Draco is disappearing into the Room of Requirement. I know he’s kind of dimwitted sometimes but shouldn’t he have thought of the Room of the Requirement earlier considering the fact that he basically lived in it the previous year? I’m sure Hermione would have thought of it if she’d cared enough to think on it.
- The scene where Harry takes the Lucky Potion so he can retrieve Slughorn’s memory always makes me giggle and think of the movie. Daniel Radcliffe did a good job in that scene in the movie.
- We finally see Slughorn’s real memory of his Horcrux conversation with Riddle. I’m not sure why Dumbledore seemed to think they needed this memory? It honestly didn’t tell Dumbledore anything new. He already suspected that Riddle had made Horcruxes and the whole diary and ring thing already told him he’d made more than one…
- The chapter where Harry nearly kills Draco and then starts dating Ginny. It’s kind of a whirlwind chapter and honestly, this is where Rowling sets up Draco for a redemption arc that never really happens and I’m so disappointed. Harry has been obsessed with the kid from the beginning and he pops up pretty dramatically in every book and he ends up being a somewhat important part of book seven but I just wish Rowling had expanded more on it. It would have been perfect and would have kind of paralleled Snape’s arc.
- I reread the Dumbledore and Harry going after Slytherin’s locket with such trepidation. I just find it so sad and heartfelt when Dumbledore goes all “I am not worried, Harry…I am with you.” And I may have cried. (I definitely cried.)
- And then the ending which I read more quickly than the whole rest of the book since it’s just hit after hit. Dumbledore and Draco, Snape killing Dumbledore, Bill’s attack, the funeral. So many emotions.
- The promise that Ron and Hermione will stay with him throughout it all is also kind of emotional given that I know how that will go.
My thoughts while rereading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, pages 217-446.
- I still don’t get the whole Hermione cheating to ensure that Ron gets a place on the Quidditch team. Sure she has a crush on him and all but using a charm on another seems so wrong.
- Once again something from a previous book comes back to haunt the characters. This time it’s that Muggle killing opal necklace from way back in book two. So clever.
- The start of Harry’s crush on Ginny. I kind of wish it would have started because he noticed her doing something awesome during Quidditch practice instead of it all being centered around jealousy at seeing her kissing someone else.
- I know Rowling has Hermione and Ron behaving badly and jealously around one another because their “in love” and all that but I don’t like it all. I think it just goes to show that their relationship would never actually work out. It’s not actually cute for the boy to always be pulling the girls pigtails and vice versa.
- Hermione wants to get back at Ron for going out with Lavender so she goes out with Cormac who has already proven himself to be a jerk. Of course this is a bad idea but what I don’t like is that she approaches Harry to tell him she’s only just got away from Cormac. She makes it sound like he was accosting her under the mistletoe and Harry insinuates that she deserves it because she asked Cormac out. Um, victim blaming much Harry?
- We finally hear the word Horcrux, a word which will haunt us until the very end. (See what I did there?)
- I do like how we end up learning a reason as to why Harry always has a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher every year. Though I think it’s super petty of Voldemort to have cursed the position just because Dumbledore wouldn’t give it to him. That seems out of character. Or maybe not. He does have a Hogwarts obsession.