Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | An ECD Review

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

*deep breath* It's here (yes two months bad).  A hopefully comprehensive look at my thoughts on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (since I know you are all just dying to hear what I thought).  This is VERY lengthy and I'm so sorry but I couldn't get it down any shorter.

The reason I chose this as my first book by this author is because I have been...involved with multiple fandoms in my life.  I also was very, very anxious about starting college back in the day - meeting people, having a roommate, the possibility of having no friends, etc.  I figured, at the very least, I'd be able to related with the MC, Cath, even if the story was less than stellar.  I needn't have worried, because I loved the book.

It's pretty much a coming-of-age novel that chronicles Cath's journey through her freshman year of college.  New classes, a roommate, the daunting cafeteria, classmates who try to screw you over, professors who help you grow, people making bad decisions, struggling to make your own decisions, etc.  An all encompassing college freshman experience with a hearty dose of fandom thrown in for good measure.

I will mention that, in between some chapters, are sections and excerpts from the Simon Snow books AND Simon Snow fanfiction.  I LOVED this part.  I think it gave a bit of legitimacy to Cath's interests (rather than this...illusive realm of life that Cath inhabits) for readers who are not necessarily familiar with it, some are even just unwilling to give it a chance. However, if, as you're reading it, you are just so heavily invested in Cath's friendship and potential relationship with Levi, you may find these pieces a bit distracting and unnecessary.

I don't think there was a character I disliked.  Take Nick, the jerk; I LOVED that at first I really thought he was going to be Cath's romantic interest. I loved that he was a part of the story.  Not everyone you meet is trying to build you up or help you out.  Some people DO have ulterior motives and Cath sort of standing up to him at the end really showed some great growth for her.  She wouldn't have had the backbone in the beginning of the story to do that.

And I loved reading about Cath's developing friendship with her roommate. It came full circle for me when Reagan refused to let Nick into the room when Cath wasn't there:

The door to her room opened abruptly, and Reagan looked out.  "Is this yours?" she asked Cath, nodding at Nick. "No," Cath said. "I didn't think so. I told him he had to wait outside." 

It was just an amazingly perfect description of the evolution of their rommateship - Reagan is now protective of Cath.  A few lines later in the same scene:

Reagan was looking at Nick like she was already tying him to the railroad tracks.

Yay for personal growth!

Last thing: I will just mention that (this may be a spoiler so skip to the bottom!) Cath shares her fanfic writing with Levi.  Perhaps it's just me but the fact that 1) Levi is genuinely interested in exploring and hearing about this part of Cath and 2) Cath even shared it really, for me, was a testament to the strength of their friendship/potential relationship.  I think that Cath really should have considered that aspect of their friendship when she was insecure/self-conscious about her feelings for Levi and in turn his feelings for her.

Eeep - I just loved everything about it.  I won't gush any longer...if you're into YA (and, really, even if you're not) please grab it from your local library and give it a try.  And if you end up not liking it I'm interested in hearing why - I sort of feel like I am incredibly biased with the whole fandom thing. I just wanna talk to everyone about this.

Top Ten Tuesday | Fave Books I've Read So Far This Year

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I am finally back for Top Ten Tuesday!  Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week: Top Ten Book I've Read So Far This Year. I've only read 26 books this year, and I didn't feel comfortable rating these books against each other, so I just rated them against all books and actually only 5 books made the cut for any kind of shortlist I might write.  This means that I clearly need some recommendations for better books.  Note that the list is in reverse order.

5. This Time Next Door (Oakland Hills #2) by Gretchen Galway
4. Wallbanger (Cocktail #1) by Alice Clayton
3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
2. Cress (Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
1. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I am SO surprised by how this turned out, actually. I anticipate (and hope) that this will drastically change by the end of the year, though I'm pretty excited to see that. What made your TTT this week?

Finally Friday | I'M BACK and Other Things

Friday, June 6, 2014

Hellooooo!  I know, it's been a while - I was on vacation for a bit and before that I had to, well, prepare for vacation.  And then my motivation just went WAY downhill and my roles at work just like skyrocketed for a while.
I haven't made any significant reading progress - aside from a bunch of smutty short stories I found while perusing the free books on Kindle. I did also read Shameless (Nashville Nights #1) by Cheryl Douglas (on the plane to Nashville because this takes place in Nashville), This Time Next Door (Oakland Hills #2) by Gretchen Galway, and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - all of which received 4 stars.

I would just like to note that the cover to Shameless received negative 80 stars because it is simply hideous.  (And now that I think back, I think I was high on actually being IN Nashville and that led me to the 4 star rating because...I don't remember the book being all that great).

After this, I basically just read the first 75% of 3 different books.  They are as follows:

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

And I'm so close to finishing ALL of these but...I've found myself sort of...hesitant to move forward because I am at the point in the book where the next few chapters will basically make or break the story line. And ALL of these stories, I feel, have the potential to be very disappointing if they go a certain way and I just...feel like if I don't even finish them, then they are DEFINITELY great books because I don't have the chance to be disappointed, you know?  (Except Tampa. it's not exactly great but I am enjoying it so far - which I sense will change once I get through the next few chapters).

If I finish them and they suck well...then I just spent that time reading a book that sucks. 

It's a crazy psychological weird thing I do and I wish I could stop and just...enjoy reading like a normal person.  Honestly, I think this is why I tend to move more towards cheesy romancey boy-meets-girl books because it's basically a guarantee that I'll like the ending (because it ends just like every other boy-meets-girl book which I LOVE).
Okay, now that I've prattled on about basically nothing, let's set some intentions. I INTEND to read at least 150 pages this weekend.  I also INTEND for some of those page to be in these unfinished books I've mentioned.  HOWEVER, I went to BookCon last weekend and got some might accidentally pick one of those up instead.

Moving along!  What are your weekend reading plans?  Do you ever get a lil anxious about the impending conclusion of a book?

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | Wrap-Up

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Well.  7 hours later, I can do my wrap-up post.  Oops.  Fell asleep around hour 18 and woke at hour 24 for the last hour of reading. BIG thank you to #TeamWordsworth for their cheering!! Managed to finish 3 books (1 was more of a short story...).  Had to run some Sunday errands but here I am!  

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Well, I suppose hour 18 when I just couldn't keep my eyes open any more.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Honestly, I felt like Fangirl was a good first read for me because 1) I loved the shit out of it and 2) I absolutely had to keep reading it.  I think it depends on your fave kind of book.  Sometimes sleep wins - as much as I was enjoying Conquest by John Connolly and Jennifer Ridyard I just could not stay awake.  I would read a paragraph, fall asleep for a few minutes, and then have to read the same paragraph again.  I should have napped at hour 12.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I really don't.  I thought it was amazing - and so FUN!

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The cheerleader organization!  I mean, that was AMAZING.  I was a cheerer and everything was laid out for me.  All I had to do was cheer - Heather did an awesome job with all those spreadsheets.  Also, I didn't know there would be co-hosts on the readathon blog - that was pretty cool.

5. How many books did you read?
Ending up finishing 3 books total, 876 pages, totaling about 12 reading hours (and, as a first-timer, I'm letting go of the fact that my goal was 16 hours of reading time).

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
His Need, Her Desire by Malia Mallory

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Definitely Fangirl which I was happy about cause you guys hyped the crap out of it!  Got 5 stars from me - review coming soon (I took notes, guys).

8. Which did you enjoy least?
Ha - His Need, Her Desire  it's a short, adequately written erotica novella.  Barely any plot, but the MCs met on a vacation which is one of my fave tropes, man.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
If you're cheering on Twitter, definitely use TweetDeck.  I just discovered it and it was amazing,

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Uh, I will absolutely be participating as a reader AND cheerer again in October.

I'm off to check everyone else's wrap-up posts!  Great Readathon! 

Stacking the Shelves #4 | Guess Who Got Their Library Card?

Stacking the Shelves is host by Tynga's Reviews.

Earlier this year, I moved to a new county and it's taken me this long to work out the library situation.  Apparently I moved to a town where there is a lot of tension between my local and country libraries.  Very weird.  Anyway!  Here's what I borrowed on my first trip!

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Conquest by John Connolly & Jennifer Ridyard
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Did you stack your shelves with some nice finds this week?  Link your post in the comments!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | Hour 16

Man, I am TIRED.  I know if I try and sleep, I'll sleep til morning and then the Readathon will be over.
 Gonna read on my Kindle in bed as late as I can.

Currently reading
: Gonna try a few more chapters of Conquest by John Connolly and then move on to Summer Unplugged by Amy Sparling.  And then I will promptly fall asleep.

Books finished: 2 - Just finished This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
Running total pages read: 787
Running total amount of time spent reading: 11 hours - though I'm not sure how I missed 5 hours...maybe my spreadsheet is messed up. 
Snacks: Had a frappuccino and some chocolate pudding - deish.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon | Hour 12

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Aw, yeah, halfway there!!!  I am very sleepy - even thought it's only 7pm here.  

Currently reading: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers.  The writing style on this is very...weird and I'm thinking I might switch books.  It's 1st person and very choppy sentences. 

Books finished: Same as before - just the one.
Running total pages read: 563
Total amount of time spent reading: 7.5 hours
Snacks: Had some Goldfish!