Archive for Community Events

NanowriMondays 3

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Nanowrimo Banner
It’s that time of year again! Time for the more crazy among us to attempt to drive ourselves batshit insane! I mean… Time to write 50,000 words in 30 days! For the month of November I’ll be replacing my usual Media Monday posts with NanowriMondays (borrowed last year from Casey @ The Bookish Type, who sadly is no longer blogging). They’ll cover my progress, the frustrations and excitement, and some basics of the story I’m writing.

I have bad news guys. I am failing at Nanowrimo. Like big time. I know I was almost caught up last week, but since then life got in the way. I have about a week to finish all of my applications, which means lots of writing for that – personal statements, revising papers for writing samples etc.  I can’t afford to put my entire life on hold just to win at Nanowrimo, especially when I’ve done it once before. So, from today, I will officially no longer be participating. The plan is to continue my writing after all my applications are in.

Thanks to everybody for your support! I wouldn’t have even made it as far as I did without your help!


Nanowrimo progress

NanowriMondays 2: How do you write?

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Nanowrimo Banner
It’s that time of year again! Time for the more crazy among us to attempt to drive ourselves batshit insane! I mean… Time to write 50,000 words in 30 days! For the month of November I’ll be replacing my usual Media Monday posts with NanowriMondays (borrowed last year from Casey @ The Bookish Type, who sadly is no longer blogging). They’ll cover my progress, the frustrations and excitement, and some basics of the story I’m writing.

Is it Monday again already? Man this month flies past! This past week was pretty slow for me – I did some writing but I rarely made it to the daily word count. I was frustrated and angry, but I just didn’t have the time, and when I did, I was too exhausted to do anything about it. Then Wednesday or Thursday night (I forget which) I was talking to Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) and we were both complaining about the amount of THINGS we needed to do this weekend. So, we decided to have the Weekend of Awesome, in an attempt to get most of these things done. Friday was Nano day, and I wrote a whopping 7,500+ words! That got me within 200 of being caught up, and I was so proud of myself! Since then I’ve slacked off a little, so I’m back to being behind, but I am hoping, since today is a holiday and the library isn’t open full hours, that I’ll be able to get quite a lot of that in. And if not, I’ll make Kristilyn do some word wars with me – I rarely win, but I get a TON of writing done :)

One of the things that really helped me on Friday was getting my characters into an argument. They’re kind of mad at each other anyway, left over from their first book together when they both told major whoppers to each other, so it wasn’t too hard. All it took was putting one of them in mortal peril and suddenly they were screaming at each other! I’m not sure why but I’ve always had an easier time writing conversation (or screaming spats lol) than the rest of the stuff. While I love description and all, I tend to let the editor creep back in and tell me all the things I’m doing wrong if my characters aren’t talking too loud to hear her. Of course, this is all well and good, but I can’t very well write an entire novel out of conversations either…

How about you? Do you prefer writing conversation, or the descriptions in between?

Nanowrimo progress

My brain is evil. EVIL I tell you! See sometimes, I don’t give my brain enough to do. So, it goes off and does it’s own thing and comes back with “fun” things with which to torture myself. Which brings us to this weekend.

Kristilyn (of Reading in Winter and various other blogs) and I are planning a triathlon of EPIC proportions this weekend. We’re not the athletic type, so we won’t be out running, or riding bikes through the snow. We’ll be doing creative things! The schedule is as follows:

The Creative Arts Triathlon, Codename #WeekendOfAwesome

  • Friday (11/9): NaNoWriMo Day
  • Saturday (11/10):Reading Day
  • Sunday (11/11):Blogging Day

That’s a lot for one weekend! If you’re crazy like us and would like to join in, feel free to let us know in the comments (here’s Kristilyn’s goal post) or you can just follow #WeekendOfAwesome on Twitter.

Just to keep myself accountable, I thought I’d share a few goals:

Friday: I am SO BEHIND on my NaNo words it isn’t even funny. Goal #1 is to catch up. Goal #2 is 10,000 words for the whole weekend. Since we’ll be trying to hit our word counts for each of the days that aren’t OFFICIALLY NaNo Day that means 6,668 words on Friday. Oh, and Goal #3 is write more words than Kristilyn over the weekend ;P (Kristilyn will probably win because I still have to work 8-2 on Friday.)

Saturday: This is my first time that I don’t have to work on a Saturday (and didn’t have plans) in a year and a half. I’m planning on getting some serious reading done! What I read will kind of depend on what I have done by then, but my “checked out from the library” shelf currently holds:

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky
  • Switched by Amanda Hocking
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Carnival of Souls by Marissa Marr
  • Ten by Gretchen McNeil
  • The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
  • Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray

I also have quite a few books that I’ve bought or been gifted recently that I’d like to get to soon. So, Goal #1 is finish whatever I’m in the middle of on Saturday morning, and read at least 1.5 books on top of that. Goal #2 is to read at least one of my own books for part of that. Optional Goal #3 may be to finish whatever audiobook I’m in the middle of so I can get a few chores done while I’m trying to read-a-thon.

Sunday: Unfortunately, Sunday is the day I’m most busy this weekend, between church and a Veteran’s Day concert with the community band/jazz band. BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t at least try to get some stuff done, right? Goal #1 is to write up reviews for anything I read on Saturday, as well as at least one backlogged review that I’ve been putting off. Goal #2 is to update my review archive (AGAIN!) and make sure all my reviews are cross posted to GoodReads. Since Sunday will be busy for me, I think that’s enough to be going on with, don’t you?

If you plan on joining us, please do let us know! The more the merrier!

NanowriMondays 1

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Community Events

Nanowrimo Banner
It’s that time of year again! Time for the more crazy among us to attempt to drive ourselves batshit insane! I mean… Time to write 50,000 words in 30 days! For the month of November I’ll be replacing my usual Media Monday posts with NanowriMondays (borrowed last year from Casey @ The Bookish Type, who sadly is no longer blogging). They’ll cover my progress, the frustrations and excitement, and some basics of the story I’m writing.

This year has seen a much slower start than last year. I had a lot to worry about in the last few weeks of October, which meant I spent very little time planning out what I was going to do. It certainly didn’t help that November first was much closer to the weekend than last year – every year I help my mom out with her craft show the first weekend in November, and last year I managed to get myself ahead enough that a few days off from writing didn’t matter too much. This year? Not so much.

Then, of course, there’s the problem of what to write. Since I had so little time to think about it and prepare, I threw together a few ideas and decided to call them a sequel to last year’s novel. I haven’t edited that one much yet, aside from reading it through and trying not to vomit in the nearest trash can from how bad it was, so a tiny part of me still didn’t really want to write this story. What’s the point of writing a sequel when the first one needs to be completely rewritten? After writing a mere 2500 words, I was already stuck (too many conflicting ideas), and kind of bored with what I was writing.

And then I talked to Kristilyn (from Reading in Winter). She fixed EVERYTHING! Isn’t it amazing how a new set of eyes can completely give you a new perspective? Sadly I haven’t had much time to write since I talked to her. But just to give you an idea of the difference – it took me the first 3-4 days to write my first 2500 words. Last night, I wrote over 1000 in ONE HOUR! Talk about a huge difference!

Now, even though I’m more than 5000 words behind (EEP!) I am newly excited for writing this book. My goal for this weekend (the next time I have a whole day to myself) is to write 10,000 words between Friday and Saturday together. Since last year I did on occasion manage 10,000 in one day if I was really focused and determined, I don’t think this is too unrealistic of a goal. Wish me luck!

Nanowrimo progress
Can't talk now...

If he can do it, so can you!
Image from I can haz Cheezburger

Unbreaking the Shelves

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Unbreaking the Shelves button

This fall I will be joining Amanda and Kelly in their Unbreaking the Shelves challenge! There are two parts to the challenge:

Part 1: Actively organize, categorize, and otherwise be brutally realistic about the books you have in your pile.

Part 2: Actively work on bringing that TBR pile down to something that isn’t threatening you with bodily harm if you don’t start reading it. [from the sign-up page at On a Book Bender]

For more details, click the button above [also from the sign-up page at On a Book Bender] and it will take you directly to the sign-up and directions.

Goals for Part 1:

All of these apply to my GoodReads shelving

  • Make sure ALL my books are on the own shelf.
  • Create To-Read hierarchy? (READ NOW, Read soon, Read someday)
  • Make sure ALL books are properly sorted according to genre.
  • Sort through my classics list and be realistic about what I actually WILL read (Maybe sort them into “want to read” and “should read” shelves?)  DONE!
  • Take all “Read” books out of the “series-completion” shelf and add in all the ones that I haven’t yet. DONE!

Goals for Part 2:

(As of 9/2: 65)

  • Keep my to-read list as close to 530 as possible. Expert level: bring it down to 500.

(As of 9/2: 535)

Note: This number may change as I finish my goals from part 1 – any additions made as part of completing those goals will NOT count against my overall total (I figure technically those are already on the list and I just forgot about them).

Series Completion

  • EXPERT LEVEL: Read a total of 57 books from the TBR list (overshooting my original GR year goal by 25)

Total Books

Since I don’t read well when forced to stick to a specific list of titles, I will be allowing myself a lot of leeway in which titles to choose off each list, and I won’t be listing them here. I hope to add a short updates section to my CR posts each week so I can check in and you can all keep me accountable! Good luck to everyone else participating!

Bout of Books Goals and Updates

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Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

It’s that time again! Time to get our read on with Bout of Books! According to the website:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal.  It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 13th and runs through Sunday, August 19th in whatever time zone you are in.  Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week.  There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.  For all Bout of Books 5.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. -From the Bout of Books 5.0 team

You were going to be reading anyway, right? So why don’t you join in?

Time Devoted to Reading

I will be reading all week. Since the internet won’t get fixed till next Tuesday (*rends hair and gnashes teeth!*) I’ll be putting in most of my reading time in at the beginning of the week, I hope!


My Goals

  • Beat my totals from the last Bout of Books: 6 books, 1,500ish pages (I apparently didn’t do a final update. Shame on me!)
  • End the week without any outstanding reviews. (A tall order, since I already have about 12 reviews backed up.)
  • Make new friends and have fun!

Books to Read

I’m not good at following a list if I make one, so I’m just going to do a list of possible choices:

  • For review: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • From the Library: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, One Good Knight, The Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, Neuromancer by William Gibson, The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier, Steel by Carrie Vaughn. (Plus a few more to be added later.)
  • Off the TBR pile: Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, the Inside series by Maria V. Snyder, The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch.

Check back later in the week for more updates!


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Outlander Read-Along: Week 6

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Outlander Read-Along Button

Last week of the Outlander Read-along! While I enjoyed discussing with everyone else, I can honestly say I’m glad I’m done with the book. I probably will not be reading the rest of the series – there were so many things that disappointed me, and while I’m curious about the rest of the storyline, reading the synopsis’ of the rest of the books has been enough information for me. You can find the rest of the posts here.

1. Jaime has the worst case of seasickness. Do you get seasickness or motion sickness? If not, is there something else that makes your stomach a bit queasy?

I am very lucky to not have a single bit of motion-sickness! My family goes on road trips a lot, and I love it because I’m able to just sit in the back seat and race my way through several novels. I don’t know how I would survive the road trips without being able to read.  As for things that make me queasy – well, blood I suppose. I’m okay with the sight of my own usually, and I’m mostly okay with other peoples blood in real life, but if I have to have blood drawn for anything I invariably almost pass out. I don’t particularly like blood in films either because I tend to imagine the pain worse than it actually would be.

2. How did you handle reading the details of Jamie’s torture at the hands of Randall? Did you blame Jamie for anything that happened during the encounter with the captain? If you were Claire, how do you think you would have taken hearing about the abuse from your husband? What did you think of Claire’s method’s to get Jamie to start healing psychologically from his wounds from Randall (when she filled his room with opium and simulated another attack by the Captain)?

I think the torture was sickening, and I wouldn’t blame Jamie for a bit of it. I’m unsure how you could blame him… other than blaming him for being captured I guess? I don’t know. I’m pretty good about detaching myself from situations, so while I’d have been sad about it, I would also understand his need to tell someone, so I don’t think I’d have a problem hearing about the abuse. Since I don’t have any training in psychology, I just sort of assumed her method was the logical one. Those of you who do know, is there something wrong with that?

3. This cover: “history, warfare, medicine, sex, violence, spirituality, honor, betrayal, vengeance, hope and despair, relationships, the building and destruction of families and societies, time travel, moral ambiguity, swords, herbs, horses, gambling (with cards, dice, and lives), voyages of daring, journeys of both body and soul…you know the usual stuff of literature.”

Which of the above elements of Outlander were you most looking forward to? Which did you enjoy the most while reading? Which did you enjoy the least while reading? Which did you just not care about? Any of these do you which there were more of? Or less of?

I was actually most looking forward to the time travel part and I was highly disappointed that it wasn’t dealt with better! I love time travel stories, and in this one it was pretty much just a device to start off the story! I enjoyed the exploration of relationships and learning more about that time period in history. I didn’t realize how primitive life still was in Scotland – it read to me like a medieval piece, when it was actually in the mid-1700’s. Enjoy least? Um, well, I’m not sure. There wasn’t anything I particularly disliked, or liked really well for that matter. The book was sort of ho-hum for me, I didn’t feel strongly either way. I don’t really want to sound like a prude, but the sex got a little gratuitous for me – I don’t mind sex scenes, as long as they have a purpose and after a while it felt a little like “oh everything else is getting boring, let’s put in a sex scene!” They were all… um… well-written, and enjoyable to read. I just felt a little dirty like I was reading porn, because some of them just didn’t have a purpose that I could see.

4. Share with us your overall thoughts on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Your favorite quotes, scenes, and/or your favorite words that had you searching for a dictionary. If you haven’t been marking your favorite quotes/passages, you can find Outlander quotes on Goodreads.

As I said in the last question, I didn’t have any strong feelings either way. I did rather enjoy the monk quote – “I said I was a virgin, not a monk” from Jamie. Nothing else really stuck out to me. Even reading through the Outlander quotes on GoodReads (I don’t generally save quotes from books I read) nothing jumped at me.


5. Are you going to continue with the series or are you done after Outlander? For those of us who are new readers of this series, any predictions? Do you think participating in the read-along helped or hindered your experience with the story? For those of you who’ve already read Outlander and books beyond, how much did you enjoy (or not enjoy) this re-read?

Probably not. I just didn’t enjoy it the way I thought I would, and I feel like the ending was good enough to be the end of the series for me. Unfortunately that means I don’t have any predictions either – I usually only have predictions when I really am interested in what happens next, and surprisingly enough, I’m not. I think participating in the read-along was good for me, though, because otherwise I might not have finished the book – not because I disliked it but because I would just set it down one day and not ever pick it back up.

I hate to be so negative about the book, because I know there are some of you that really loved it! It just fell flat for me, maybe because of high-expectations, maybe just because it wasn’t what I’m used to. Heck, maybe it’s because I just wasn’t in the mood! But whatever it was, I am glad I read it, because now I know my opinion of it, and I can honestly say I’ve tried it.

Thanks to all the hosts for organizing, and hope to see you all around!

Outlander Read-Along: Week 5

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Outlander Read-Along Button

Can you believe the read-along is almost over? I’m tempted to just finish the book now, so I can be done with it lol. You can find the rest of the posts, and this week’s questions here.

1. We are now settled into life at Lallybroch. What are your impressions of this place, and Ian and Jenny Murray? How do the stories of Jamie’s life here growing up shape your feelings toward him?

I love the idea of living at Lallybroch, and I almost wish the majority of the book were set here. Something about period dramas just grabs me, I guess. I love to think that I would do well living in that time period, and maybe someday I’ll get around to doing a reenactment or something – it would be so much fun! The stories of Jamie’s childhood mostly just gave me more reasons to believe him being the way he is – it doesn’t really change the way I feel about him, just makes me understand why he feels justified. I feel like if I met him in real life now, I could at least agree to disagree on most things, instead of feeling like I needed to do something about it, you know?


2. What do you think of the story of what really happened between Jenny and Jack Randall? Could you have been as bold as Jenny? Does this change your understanding of Randall?

I honestly don’t know if I could do what Jenny did. I hate the idea of high-stress situations, but at the same time, I tend to keep a cool head, and be pretty reliable when they do happen. I’ve never been in such an awful situation as that though, so I don’t know what I would do. I wouldn’t say it changed my understanding of Randall – I always saw him as a petty, disgusting little sh*t, and he still is.

3. For the second time, we see Claire warning a Fraser about future events. Do you think this is wise? Or does this mess with history/the space-time continuum/the natural order of things?

NO! This is definitely NOT wise! Unless she knows for sure the Frasers survive (which she doesn’t) she shouldn’t be altering events at all! And THANK YOU for bringing it up, because we haven’t even talked about what happens now because she has changed so much! If this were a Weeping Angel kind of thing where you get zapped into the past and there is no possible way to get back, I could understand Claire’s actions, but she continually hopes to get back, and yet still does things that could change the future, meaning there may not be a future to get back to! As Heidi pointed out in the comments last week, H.G. Wells publishedThe Time Machine in 1888 (thanks for the date there, I didn’t know it, but I wondered if it was pre-Claire’s present!) and it was all the rage at the time, so even if Claire hadn’t read it, she should know the premise, and some basic details on the theory of time travel! And yet, she trots around the past all LA-DI-DA I DON’T CARE! and it bugs the heck out of me!

Sorry. Endrant now lol.

4. Do you consider Claire brave or foolish for going after Jamie? Would you be courageous enough to go into enemy territory to try and save the man you love?

I think it was very brave of Claire to try, and I think she had some chances of succeeding simply because she is from the future, knows a bit more about the world in general, and has a much more forward view of what women can do than most of the men guarding the prison – act a little silly and bat your eyelashes at them, and in that time they’d probably do whatever you wanted. I’d like to think I’d do the same, but I really don’t know. That’s another situation that you don’t know until you’re in it what you’re really made of, I think.


5. Jamie makes a gut-wrenching decision in Chapter 35. Do you blame Claire for putting him in that position? What kinds of repurcussions do you expect?

I think it was a stupid decision, but I don’t blame Claire. I think she did what she thought was best and that’s all we can possibly do in any situation. I expect if she ever does manage to break him out (which I’m sure she will) instead of thanking her for it, he’ll just beat her again, and I’ll hate him even more for not understanding. I don’t have much faith in him at this point, after the last beating over a misunderstanding, and I expect instead of being grateful, he’ll wish she’d never butted in and just let him hang. Silly stupid man!


There we are! One more week!

Reminder: The Book Sessions!

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The Book Sessions Button

Just a quick reminder that TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO SIGN UP FOR THIS FALL’S BOOK SESSION! Please check out  the original post for full details and the form to sign up.

What is The Book Sessions you say? I am so glad you asked! The Book Sessions, hosted by Alissa from The Grammarian’s Reviews and Anne from Creativity’s Corner, are a cross between a Read-Along and a Book Club.

Each session will feature 2-5 books of a specific genre or theme that we will be both reading and discussing over the course of several months. The discussions are intended to provide connections between involved readers and spark discussions that go beyond book reviewing and blogging.

Still confused? Check out the sample session below (just click on the titles to check out a description):

August 1-31 – Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

OPTIONAL August 24 – Sept 15 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky (Alissa and Anne will be reading this together in preparation to see the movie, coming out the 15th. Please let us know if you’d like to join in!)

September 1-14 – What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

September 15 – Oct 7 – Catching Jordan by Miranda Keannally

Oct 7 – Nov 7 – My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

All dates for discussions will be decided once participant availability is known. Participants will be chosen and announced in mid-July, leaving you two weeks to find copies of the books, before the session officially starts.


Outlander Read-Along: Week 4

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Outlander Read-Along Button

I am a complete and utter numpty and I didn’t visit ANYBODY’S posts last week, despite my best intentions. And of course, this week I’ll be gone all Monday (we’re getting up at 5 am! EEEP!) BUT! I promise to try harder to get to everyone’s posts this week! You can find the rest of the posts, and this week’s questions here.

1. How do you feel about Claire disobeying Jamie and the resulting punishment he brings forth on her for this? Do you feel that Jamie’s punishment was justified by the fact that everyone was put in danger by Claire’s actions? Finally, did Jamie’s vow with Claire’s dagger do anything to sway your thoughts or change your mind on how you initially feel/felt about his punishment?

Despite the problems with adultery, violence and rape that could have arisen from the previous chapters, Jamie’s punishment was actually the hardest section for me to deal with so far. I do not believe there is EVER a good enough reason for corporal punishment. Excuse it how you like, promise you’ll never do it again all you want, but it is NEVER okay for a man to beat his wife. I hated it when he told her he’d do it if she disobeyed, but I didn’t think he’d really follow through. When he actually did it, I honestly hated him for it. Despite every other good thing about him, I cannot love him as the romantic interest anymore.

All that said, I think, as an author, it was really bold to have him follow through, since that is what would have happened. One of the things that has really impressed me with this book is how true to the time period it has stayed, even when the subject matter isn’t the cleanest or easiest to deal with. Even so. Beating your wife? NOT OKAY!

2. Just for fun, what was your reaction to the suspicious black spot Claire spotted on the floor near the area where Jamie was sleeping? Did you have any theories to what it might have been before it was revealed to be a _____?

For a few seconds I thought it was like a spot of blood or something because Jamie might be hurt. I certainly pictured the spot much bigger than a bedbug!

3. With regard to the ‘changeling’ baby Claire and Geilie spotted in the wild – if it were you back then and you happened upon a changeling baby in the wild in a circumstance such as this, do you think you’d have reacted most like Claire or Geilie? Explain.

I honestly don’t know. I’m not in the same place Claire is – wanting a child for many years but not being able to have one. I like kids, sure, but would I feel the maternal instinct to try to save one at the expense of my own skin? Maybe not. Especially if the kid seemed sick enough that it was likely to die anyway.

4. Share your thoughts on Geilie Duncan. Is there anything that surprised you about her story or were you suspicious of her from the beginning?

I liked her! I was a little surprised to find out that she was from the future, though I should have suspected it with the way she knew her remedies etc. I was definitely surprised to find out she was from the future AND a Jacobite – wouldn’t she already know they don’t win? And what about the future made her hate it so badly that she wanted to change it? It seems odd to me.

(Also, speaking of changing the future, WHEN WILL WE DEAL WITH THAT? You have to, if you’re writing a time-travel novel! Claire hasn’t worried about it at all yet. I can excuse it, a little, if she comes from pre-H.G. Wells’ Time Machine I suppose [and I have no clue when that was published], because she would never have thought of it. But, from a post-H.G. Wells’ reader, I’m wondering just how much the world will have changed if/when she gets back!)

5. Your thoughts on Jamie’s LAST REASON for wanting to marry Claire – the one he had been so secretive about. GO!

Oh I saw that coming for a long time. I think it’s cute. I also am not okay with a wife-beater. This is conflicting for me – how could you beat someone you claim you loved? It makes for a nice resolution to the story, but I’m becoming more and more cynical when it comes to Jamie – a part of me wants her to go back to Frank. We’ll see what happens though.


I have this funny feeling I’ll be in the minority this week *sigh* I do so wish I could love Jamie like the rest of you do. But, love Jamie or hate him, at least the story is fabulous, right?


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