NaNoWriMo Results & My Monthly Book Club Recap!

I’m back, and it feels so good!

Time flies when you’re writing a novel, so let me share my results from this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month to those of you who haven’t been paying attention!)

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It’s the attempt that counts! 🙂

As the chart above proves, I started off strong during the first two weeks of November, falling behind on weekdays but catching up on the weekends. However, I completely burnt out the last half of the month, writing only a little over 3,000 words during that time.

I may have completed NaNoWriMo with only half of the writing goal, but I’m still so proud of those 25,000 words. That equates to about 80 double-spaced pages, so it’s nothing to scoff at! And since I continued my novel from last year, if you add in my progress from 2014, I have 45,000 words / 140 pages finished in total!

It’s crazy to think that I’m practically halfway to completing the first draft of my manuscript, and even though I did not technically “win” NaNo, I still consider the experience a success, because I’m more motivated than ever to see this book to its end! I’m currently taking a breather from writing, since I don’t want to risk burning out again, but my goal is to complete my first draft and start the editing process next year. Who knows, I may be on my way to publication by December 2016! Wish me luck!

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Yep, you’re looking at five empty wine bottles!

In other news, the real-life Book Club Babes met this week to discuss Something About You, a romance novel by Julie James. Because I was busy with NaNo, we selected a book that I had already read, so I was curious to hear whether they liked my recommendation.

The ladies thought this was a fun, light-hearted read, giving it a solid 4 out of 5 stars. One of my friends in the group is an associate attorney, so it was reassuring to hear that James portrayed the world of law and order with accuracy (not surprising, given that the author was a former lawyer herself). Many loved the book so much that they’re now interested in reading more of James’ U.S. Attorney series, so another win for the original Book Club Babe!

However, I shouldn’t jinx myself, because it’s quite possible the whole club will quit after reading our selection for December. After a long period of indecision, the group voted to try out Chuck Palahniuk’s Beautiful You. Many of us were Fight Club fans, but I fear that this book’s sexually graphic subject matter will be too offensive.

Beautiful You isn’t rated very highly on Goodreads and Amazon, but as an out-and-proud feminist, I’m still intrigued by how Palahniuk will fare writing about a society in which men are obsolete and women are addicted to their sex toys. Whether we love the book or hate it, it will be sure to incite some heated discussion next month! And if you’ve already read this novel, let me know what you thought about it in the comments!

Book Review: About That Night

Image via JulieJames.com

Rating: 4 out of 5

If you have ever watched “Law and Order” and thought to yourself, “You know what this needs? Sexiness to spice things up!” then this book is for you.

Author Julie James practiced law for several years before writing full-time, and each of her seven current novels revolves around the legal profession. Because she writes what she knows, her stories are credible–as well as fun.

It’s her strong characters, suspenseful plots, and sexy scenes that keep me coming back for more. I’ve almost read her entire work, including Just the Sexiest Man Alive, Practice Makes Perfect, and Something About You.

About that Night is the third book in James’ FBI / U.S. Attorney series (which started with Something About You). Due to an organizational mishap, I accidentally misplaced the second book A Lot Like Love, which didn’t make my  2012 to-read list and clearly went into hiding for all of 2013! I didn’t re-discover it until I finished its “sequel.”

And while each book can stand alone, they contain recurring characters who are in some way connected to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago. Something About You starred Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde, who has since been promoted. In About that Night, Rylann Pierce is the assistant reporting to Cameron.

The story follows Rylann and her love interest Kyle Rhodes, who met while Rylann was in law school. Due to unforeseen circumstances, they are not reunited until nine years later–on opposite sides of the courtroom.

Kyle is a computer security expert and heir to billionaire Grey Rhodes who created the most popular antivirus software. After a betrayal by an ex, Kyle has an angry, drunken fit, hacking into her Twitter for revenge and then shutting the social network down. Now dubbed the “Twitter Terrorist,” he faces charges for his white collar crime.

Rylann is given the assignment to prosecute Kyle, but what happens when she finds out that he’s a witness to an even bigger scandal? And how will they deal with all their unresolved sexual tension from nine years ago, especially given their taboo relationship of prosecutor and defendant?

About that Night is an easy, light-hearted read that focuses less on criminal suspense and more on navigating a complicated relationship in the real world. Rylann is an admirable female lead, with a sensible head on her shoulders and an ambitious devotion to her career. More romance novels need characters like Rylann who look before they leap and won’t drop everything for a man.

It will be interesting to go back and read A Lot Like Love, which stars Kyle’s twin sister Jordan. I’ll get a peek into Kyle’s Twitter fiasco and learn about how Jordan began her relationship with undercover FBI agent Nick McCall.

All I know is that when it comes to romance, you can’t go wrong with Julie James.

So have you ever skipped a book in a series? Was it accidental or intentional? How did it change your reading experience, and would you do it again? Let me know in the comments!

Audiobook Review: Something About You

Image via JulieJames.com

Rating: 4 out of 5

It’s certainly been an eventful week, as I moved the last of my stuff into my new apartment and celebrated a close friend’s bachelorette party this weekend. It’s about to get even busier too, since I officially start my new job tomorrow (Thus, Masterpiece Monday may be postponed until I get the hang of my new schedule, or re-formatted to a different day entirely. I’ll keep you posted about my plans.)

With all the traveling that I’ve been doing the past few weeks, I’ve been able to finish another audiobook. This one was called Something About You by Julie James. I’ve read James before, so I had no doubts that this would be a fun read.

The novel features the relationship between Cameron Lynde, an Assistant U.S. Attorney from Chicago, and Jack Pallas, an FBI agent. The two met under tense circumstances, when Cameron was pressured to not press charges against a crime lord which Jack tried to take down.

Three years later, fate brings them together when Cameron witnesses a murder and Jack is assigned to the homicide case. Their icy dislike for one another soon melts into some electric sexual tension, especially when Cameron’s life is at risk and Jack becomes her personal security.

James has a background in law and lives in Chicago, so all the legalese felt natural. With four other novels under her belt, she’s quickly becoming a bestselling name in the world of romance. I also enjoyed Just the Sexiest Man Alive and Practice Makes Perfect, and her two other titles in her FBI/U.S. Attorney series on currently on my to-read list.

It was my first time listening to a romance novel, which was entirely different compared to the humorous memoirs of Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, and Chelsea Handler that I listened to earlier this year. Something About You is pretty steamy, so hearing the love scenes out loud amplified the experience.

A bad narrator can completely ruin an audiobook, but luckily Karen White did an excellent job given the circumstances. Although I would prefer a man to read male characters so that the dialogue sounds more realistic, I was engrossed nonetheless. Let’s just say on one road trip I missed my exit because I was so engaged with the story.

So whether you’re an amateur or veteran when it comes to romance novels, try listening to an audiobook version of one. The genre’s already great for escapism, and Something About You is a fun, sexy read to get sucked into. Just make sure that if you’re listening to it in your car, pay attention to the road!