NaNoWriMo 2017: Conclusion

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You, guys. YOU. GUYS. It’s done! I know it’s been a couple days now, but NaNoWriMo is officially at its end, can you believe it? After all the late-night writing binges, after consuming more caffeinated beverages than anything of actual nutritional value, and after writing our little hearts out all last month, it is finally OVER!

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We did it, guys! We weathered the storm. If you participated, I’d love to hear how you did. Hopefully everyone got a great experience out of it. πŸ™‚ I think the whole challenge is a positive thing no matter the word count you end with because it is a valuable learning tool as a writer. So, no matter the outcome, congrats on another NaNoWriMo battle fought and survived (and maybe even vanquished!)

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I spent the last couple weeks of November sick, but determined not to give up. Hence why I wound up going on a brief hiatus and have been a no-show around here lately. (Can you tell I started to feel the pressure when I wound up a bit shy of my intended word count by the halfway mark?) πŸ˜› Well, the near-maddening level of work I put into it paid off and I DID cross the finish line. Not in a smooth, effortless gazelle-level-of-grace sort of way, but in more of a frothing-at-the-mouth, crashing through the wall and skidding to a bloody stop sort of way.

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So, that said, by the end of November I finished the challenge by the skin of my teeth with . . . dun dun dunnnnn . . . 50,246 words. I wrote my little heart out. Some of it is pretty rough, but they call it a “rough draft” for a reason, no? πŸ˜‰ There’s plenty more to keep writing for this story, but I’ve got a lot of that figured out already, too. I tend to be a project hopper, always bouncing from idea to idea, but I’m really enjoying writing these characters and their world right now, which leads me into another big announcement as the start of the new year draws ever nearer. It’s something I’m pretty excited about. πŸ˜€

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I’m one of those people who always does the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. For a long time I was ALSO one of those people who made the goals and forgot all about them a month or two into the new year. Last year was different, though. I made a lot of resolutions aimed toward improving myself and I actually did accomplish a lot of them, which was an amazing feeling. I’ll do a whole post about my goals for the upcoming year as January gets closer, but for now, while we’re on the topic of my current writing project, I want to announce that one of those goals is to (by the end of 2018) have a finalized draft of my novel to start submitting to publishers.

NaNoWriMo was a major step in this, but only the first of many that I’ll have to take to make these goal happen. I’m looking forward to the journey though, no matter how stressful it might just end up being. Along the way I may even finally work up the nerve to talk a bit about what it is I’m actually working on. I’m neurotic about only letting people see my stuff when it’s DONE but maybe I’ll lighten up a bit on that. Maybe. lol It’s hard for me to let people see the rough, WIP versions of things I’m making, so we’ll see. Are any of you guys like that, too? I always see people sharing the things they’re working on and I love to see it, just for some reason I’ve always had a hard time showing things until they’re finished. Maybe that is something I should work on, too. πŸ˜›

Alright, time to catch up on everyone’s blogs! I’ve missed popping into WP since I was finishing my writing binge and dealing with a very busy last few days. It’ll be nice to see what you’ve all been up to. πŸ™‚

 

 

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My Name in TBR Books Tag

This tag seemed so cute and fun when I saw thebookcorps do it. I haven’t done a book tag in a wee bit so I figured I’d take a stab at it! πŸ˜‰ I’ll be using my blogging name instead of my real name just as my own personal preference, but if this looks fun to you, do it whichever way you like. πŸ™‚ I’m also going by alphabetizing rules that would dictate you drop the first word in the title if it is something like “The” or “a”. πŸ˜› That said, let’s get this tag underway!

I – The Ice Dragon

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Although George RR Martin’s other stories featuring dragons (cough cough, you know, those books in that little series known as A Song of Ice and Fire) are full of violence, incest, foul language and other adult themes, The Ice Dragon is actually one intended for younger readers. I’ve heard it is enjoyable for all age groups, though, and would love to read it.

G – Gather the Daughters

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I’ve had several friends read this recently, including fellow blogger and my personal BFF Cupcakes & Machetes who posted aΒ review about this horrific dystopian read. I’ve heard it’s the sort of read that you won’t soon forget after reading it.

N – Night of Cake & Puppets

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A novella linked to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. ‘Nuff said.

I – In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

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After seeing Yeonmi Park’s moving speech regarding life in North Korea and what it took to escape it, I had to add her story to my TBR list.

T – Tin Stars (Descender, Vol. 1)

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I actually picked this one up recently from my local comic shop, but have yet to read it. I’ve heard marvelous things about it, though. It’s supposed to be a really good science fiction read.

E – An Ember in the Ashes

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Another book I’ve been hearing wonderful things about. I feel like this would wind up being one of those reads that winds up being devoured.

D – A Darker Shade of Magic

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I’ve heard this author specializes in good, dark reads. Sign. Me. UP.

M – A Monster Calls

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I suspect this book will make me cry my eyes out, but I hear it’s amazing. I hear the story itself and the illustrations blend this book into a memorable read that will definitely give you the feels.

O – Odd & True

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A blend of historical fiction and paranormal fantasy that I’ve seen several of you review favorably.

T – Traitor to the Throne

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Okay, I’m cheating with this one because I don’t have a whole lot of books starting with ‘T’ in my TBR list, and this is the second book in a series I really want to read as a whole, Rebel of the Sands. But, hey, it’s my blog and I can cheat if I want to! πŸ˜›

H – Hemlock Grove

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I (mostly) enjoyed the Netflix series of the same name, so I’ve been wanting to check out the book for a while now to see how they compare. πŸ™‚

So, there we have it, guys! This was actually pretty neat to do since it made me have to reexamine my TBR list. Some of these titles have been on there a long time. As for tagging, it’s no pressure here as per usual. If this looks fun to you, have at it! Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! ❀

Nimona (No-Spoiler) Review

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I’d heard good things regarding the graphic novel Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and I did not feel let down one bit upon reading it. The story was so sassy, cute and fun. I really enjoyed the characters, and how the story developed from humble beginnings to an increasingly dramatic plot with ever-growing stakes.

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Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

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I think this story would definitely be of interest to people who enjoyed the cartoon Adventure Time. It has that same sort of charm in my opinion, all while doing its own thing. Definitely worth checking out, in my opinion!

Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood (Review)

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How the heck did I forget to review this one after I read it way back in August?? I’m seriously stumped on this one, but I guess I’m gonna have to chalk it up to what my boyfriend and I refer to as “squirrel brain”. After reading and reviewing the first volume of Monstress, I had been really excited about getting to learn more about the dark and intriguing war-torn world and story of our protagonist, Maika Halfwolf. The artwork in volume 2 is just as gorgeous and detailed as that of volume 1 and the story drew me in right off the bat. In fact, I think I may have enjoyed volume 2 even more than I did the first one, and that’s saying something because I absolutely loved volume 1.

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As I mentioned in my review for volume 1, this is a story that unravels bit by bit and often leaves the reader with a lot of questions. Volume 2 follows Maika and her companions as they do whatever it takes to learn the truth regarding her past.

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Aaaaand we get pirates this go around, so if you already weren’t on board, get your butts in gear, people!

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Oh, and did I mention there are UNICORNS?!?!

As I’ve talked about before, Monstress is a very dark story with lots of violence and lots of swearing. That isn’t something that bothers me, but it’s just something I like to forewarn people about since I know some people are sensitive to it and whatnot.

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Maika Halfwolf, our protagonist and resident potty mouth.

I’d previously gushed about how much I enjoyed the worldbuilding in volume 1, and volume 2 simply expands on that, making me love it all the more. I’ve seriously never seen this level of worldbuilding in comic-form before and it just continues to blow me away. I can’t wait to see what volume 3 will bring to the table. πŸ™‚

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“You’re Not Good Enough” Book Tag

Despite that bleak-sounding title, this tag is actually a lot of fun. πŸ™‚ I saw Birdie Bookworm’s post with it and couldn’t resist giving it a shot. The rules of the game go as such: you pick 30 characters from books you’ve read and write those names down. After that, you randomly select 2 of those names for each of the questions. At this point, you’ll use what you know about each of the characters to pick who you think is the best answer given the specific question presented. Pretty easy, right? Since I like reading graphic novels/comics so much, I’m including characters from those as well as regular novels. Alrighty, now that we’ve sorted out the rules, let the games begin!

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You only have one more spot on your spelling bee team, who would you pick to complete your team?

Sevro au Barca (from the Red Rising trilogy) VS. Zaphod Beeblebrox (from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Huh, funny how both characters came from science fiction novels. Well, this one is definitely no contest. In a match of intellect I am absolutely going to have to pick Sevro over the outlandish Zaphod Beeblebrox.

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Both characters want to kill you, which one would you kill first so you have a better chance of surviving?

Katniss Everdeen (from The Hunger Games trilogy) VS. The Darkling (from the original Grisha trilogy Shadow and Bone)

Damn, I would prefer not to be on the bad side of either of these characters, but I’d say I’d rather not have to take on the Darkling over Katniss. I’ll take my chance with Katniss and her arrows in this case.

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You’re on the Bachelor/Bachelorette and you’re down to these two characters, which one are you going to give your rose to?

Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) VS. Temple (from The Reapers are the Angels)

Yeaaahhh, I’m going to have to say I’ll go with Atticus Finch on this one. I’m not looking to woo any underage girls, no matter how good at killing zombies they might be.

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You’ve been chosen for the Hunger Games, who would most likely volunteer in your place?

Maika Halfwolf (from Monstress) VS. Melanie (from The Girl with All the Gifts)

I would have to say Melanie. She seems way more likely to take one for the team and go into the games willingly to protect someone, especially if she cares about them. Maika on the other hand is a lot more jaded and would probably just let me go into the games to die.

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You’re stranded on an island, which character would you sacrifice to engage in cannibalism?

Esther (from Giant Days) VS. Molly Grue (from The Last Unicorn)

Ew. lol I’m not looking to turn cannibal any time soon, but logistically speaking, Molly is more scrawny and wiry if I’m remembering right, so probably not that great to eat. If you’re going to stoop to eating people to survive, might as well eat someone that is a little more tender like Esther. Sorry, Esther!

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You’re the next DC/Marvel superhero (with your own tv show, of course), who is your sidekick?

Hodor (from A Song of Ice and Fire) VS. Lord Maccon (from Soulless)

Okay, I adore Hodor and all, but I am going to have to say Lord Maccon. How could I pass up having a ruggedly sexy Scottish werewolf for a sidekick? I’m sure his alpha tendencies would cause a power struggle, but I think I’d be okay with that. πŸ˜‰

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You’re a manager of an avocado admiring company, who would you fire for lack of communication skills?

Coburn (from Double Dead) VS. Angel (from My Life as a White Trash Zombie)

Heh, undead pitted against the undead. What an interesting turn of events. Well, I know that Coburn has one hell of a foul mouth on him and an attitude for days, so I suppose he might not be as great communicating with whatever sorts of customers or clients frequent “avocado admiring companies” overall. “The customer is always right” is sure to not fly with him, especially if the customer is a homicidal idiot like the ones he encounters in his book.

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You’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies, which character is most likely to comfort you?

Alice (from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) VS. Luther Strode (from The Strange Talent of Luther Strode)

Mmmkay, so on one hand we have a hulking ultra-violent killing machine, and on the other we have a small little English girl. Oddly enough though, I’m going to have to give this one to the massive beast of a man who can shove his fist straight through your chest. Luther has that sensitive side to him that keeps him from just becoming another ruthless maniac. He’s got heart, so I could see him comforting someone like that. Plus, Alice doesn’t see the point in books without pictures, so yeah, definitely gonna have to give this one up to Luther.

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Ugh, it’s High School. Who would most likely be part of the popular clique?

Isabelle Rossignol (from The Nightingale) VS. Kinsey Locke (from Locke & Key)

I would have to say Isabelle for this one. There’s nothing snooty about her character or anything like that, but she’s a girl that everyone deems to be beautiful and although there is SO much more to her character than just looks, that’s really all it takes for some people to be deemed “popular” in society. Plus, Kinsey’s got too many demons (literally AND metaphorically) to join the ranks of the popular kids at school.

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The day has arrived; you’re finally a year older! Who would have the nerve to forget your birthday?

Bilbo Baggins (from The Hobbit) VS. Jeremy Clovenhoof (from Clovenhoof)

Jeremy Clovenhoof. Without a doubt. The guy is literally the devil, so yeah, gonna have to go with Clovenhoof on this one.

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You’ve just found an upcoming BookTube star. Who would it most likely be?

Emily “with a Y (from The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls) VS. Arya Stark (from A Song of Ice and Fire)

Heh. Just the fact that both of these characters would have no access to the technology needed to become BookTube stars is funny to me. But, pretending that they did in fact have the technology, I would see Emily being more into that sort of thing than Arya. It’s been a long time since Arya had time for things like books.

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Sleepover time! Unfortunately, you can only invite one person. Who would you invite?

Gwen (from Spider-Gwen) VS. Inej (from Six of Crows)

Hmm . . . I think I’d have to go with Inej. I really liked her character in SoC. She seems like a really good friend in the story, too.

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Bam! You’re pregnant! Who’s the other parent?

Dee (from Rat Queens) VS. Marko (from Saga).

Well, that certainly escalated quickly. Both characters are awesome, but I’m gonna have to go with Marko. Added bonus: He’s already got that dad thing down since he’s got a kid. Major drawbacks: He’s got a bounty on his head aaaand I really don’t feel like getting my ass kicked by his wife (and awesome character/his soulmate) Alana.

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You’ve just written a super important text. Who would see it, but not reply?

Karou (from Daughter of Smoke & Bone) VS. Darrow (from Red Rising)

This is a tough one. Neither of them are really jerks or anything, but both of them feel like they have the weight of the world(s) on their shoulders, so I could really go with either or on this question. I think we’ll go with Darrow though since the technology in his story is beyond the point of simple text messages. He’d probably see my archaic form of communication and laugh.

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You’ve just woken up and it’s time for breakfast. Your mom and dad have been replaced by . . . who?!

Tyrion Lannister (from A Song of Ice and Fire) or Atticus O’Sullivan (from The Iron Druid Chronicles)

While it would be beneficial to have a powerful druid for a family member, Atticus is just too swoon-worthy of a character to be a parental figure. So Papa Tyrion it is.

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Like I said, I went ahead and did this tag after seeing Birdie’s awesome post, so if you think it looks fun, have at it! And let me know if you do because I’d love to read your answers. πŸ˜€

 

 

The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls (No-Spoiler) Review

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This was such an interesting story, and it’s one I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time. It had been hard to find (and pretty pricey!) but with the recent (and much more reasonably priced) addition of The Asylum to the kindle, there was no way I could resist snatching that baby up! Emilie Autumn has never shied away from discussing topics like mental illness and the history of abuse women have suffered throughout history in her songs and poems, and her book The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls sure as hell doesn’t shy away from it, either.

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“Fight Like A Girl”

It’s hard to categorize this book into any one genre since it is written in a way that reflects the author’s actual time spent in a psych ward, but also tells the fictional and horrific (but sometimes darkly magical) tale of a fictional girl named Emily living in a Victorian era asylum. In the book, our author Emilie learns the tale of the Victorian Emily “with a Y” through mysterious letters she finds during her stay in the psych ward. I guess “Historical Magic Realism with a dash of Nonfiction thrown in for good measure” would be my best attempt at categorizing it? No matter, though, it’s just a really interesting story that discusses things most people choose to ignore concerning mental illness and the Victorian “polite society” so many people are quick to romanticize.

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If you’re already a fan of Emilie Autumn’s music, I’m sure you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect within the pages of this story. She’s got a dark and witty sense of humor, and she can weave words in a way that will both enchant you and disturb you. This story definitely reflects that. It has moments that will warm your heart and others that will rip it right out of you again.

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I really enjoyed this book and by the time I reached the second half of it I pretty much devoured the remainder of the story in one sitting, refusing to pry myself away until I’d finished. I would definitely recommend it, but will warn readers that it does discuss dark subject matter concerning suicide, rape, the horrific treatment people were subjected to in asylums like lobotomies and forced-hysterectomies, all manners of abuse, etc. It definitely takes some artistic liberties, but that’s part of Miss Autumn’s storytelling I’ve always enjoyed, so I embraced the fantasy-like elements along with the more gritty and realistic ones. Definitely glad I finally got to read this one. πŸ™‚

And just for fun, here’s a lyric video of one of Emilie Autumn’s songs that serves as a satire about the treatment of women back in the Victorian era when it came to mental illness (please keep in mind that women could be institutionalized for all manner of things including masturbation, domestic troubles with their husband or family, and other ridiculous reasons back then.) A lot of things in this song might sound far-fetched by today’s standards, but treating those in asylums like zoo animals for the public to behold was a very real and messed up thing back in those days. History definitely isn’t always pleasant, but it is something we can (and should) learn from so we can better treat our fellow man and learn from our past ignorance.

Updates of the Reading and Working Variety

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Hello, lovelies! πŸ˜€ Despite my recent absence, I swear I have not been eaten by monsters. (Not yet anyway.) Halloween is slowly creeping up though, so I suppose it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it? πŸ˜› I’ve just been insanely busy lately. A lot of it due to work. I still love my jobs though, so it’s all worth it. I just need to learn to manage my time and perhaps do more multitasking so I can have a wee bit more free time to do some of the things I enjoy (like blogging with all you awesome folks!) ❀

August has been an incredibly busy month, but it’s been a good one. It seems to be a big month for parties. I got to go visitΒ Cupcakes and Machetes for her housewarming party earlier in the month and that was a lot of fun. My work just had their 25th anniversary Luau party yesterday. I baked some strawberry cupcakes with cheesecake mousse topping and they were a hit. πŸ™‚ Aaaand my dad’s birthday is at the end of the month, so my mom and I are making him lemon cream puffs (his request), an awesome dinner, and spoiling him with presents (several of which are Guardians of the Galaxy related).

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I haven’t had nearly any time to read this month but I am squeezing in a few minutes of reading here and there where I can fit it in. This usually results in me being super grumpy when I’m really interested in what I’m reading at the time and have to put the damn book down. lol So infuriating. I’ve started Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, and The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn.

Though I’m not as far along in either of these stories as I’d like to be by now, I am enjoying them both. πŸ™‚ Laini Taylor really does have a way with words, so it’s been awesome returning to her writing since it’d been a while. Aside from her writing style itself, I greatly enjoy her imagination. She’s so creative with her stories.

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Laini Taylor, pink-haired bad ass writer of books.

I feel like a lot of you already know about Strange the Dreamer, but for those of you who might not yet, here’s a quick blurb on what it’s all about:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way aroundβ€”and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteriesβ€”including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

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Emilie Autumn, Singer/Writer/Violinist/Actress/Etc. Etc.

I’ve been a fan of Emilie Autumn’s music and poems for a while now, and this book of hers was on my TBR list for quite some time but A.) it was difficult to find B.) it was pretty damn pricey, so alas, it stayed put on my TBR list all this time. Buuuuut, it did recently get released on the kindle for a very reasonable price so I bought that baby right up! πŸ™‚ Here’s a quick blurb regarding The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls:

Treated as a criminal, heavily medicated, and stripped of all freedoms, Emilie is denied communication with the outside world, and falls prey to the unwelcome attentions of Dr. Sharp, head of the hospital’s psychiatry department. As Dr. Sharp grows more predatory by the day, Emilie begins a secret diary to document her terrifying experience, and to maintain her sanity in this environment that could surely drive anyone mad. But when Emilie opens her notebook to find a desperate letter from a young woman imprisoned within an insane asylum in Victorian England, and bearing her own name and description, a portal to another world is blasted wide open. As these letters from the past continue to appear, Emilie escapes further into this mysterious alternate reality where sisterhoods are formed, romance between female inmates blossoms, striped wallpaper writhes with ghosts, and highly intellectual rats talk. But is it real? Or is Emilie truly as mad as she is constantly told she is?
The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls blurs harsh reality and magical historical fantasy whilst issuing a scathing critique of society’s treatment of women and the mental health care industry’s treatment of its patients, showing in the process that little has changed throughout the ages.

So, those are my little updates. Do you have any of your own? Lemme know, I’d love to hear them. I’m trying to catch up on reading everyone’s fantastic blogs, but I’m a bit behind right now, so feel free to fill me in on any exciting new news and whatnot you’ve got going on! Also, it’s Friiiiidayyyyyy!!! Have a great weekend, everybody!! ❀ ❀ ❀

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