2019 Reading Challenge: COMPLETE!

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Woo! A few days ago I officially completed my reading challenge for the year! πŸ˜€ And even though I still have six months to go, I plan on sticking pretty much to my original plan. I kept my reading goal low, slashing it in half from last year’s 50 down to an easily attainable 25. The reason I did this was to be able to shift my focus to some of my other goals, the main one being writing. Well, as previously stated, I intend to GET. SHIT. DONE. over the next six months, so I’m ready to pour my all into writing for the rest of the year. Still, I thought it’d be fun to discuss how the reading challenge went. πŸ™‚

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I started the year off on a dystopian/post apocalyptic streak with The Road and The Handmaid’s Tale.

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From there I ventured off into some lighter whimsical fantasy with Howl’s Moving Castle and a re-read / buddy read of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with Cupcakes & Machetes.

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I also squeezed in some good non-fiction with Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works and the morbid but very interesting The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery. (The latter of which I intend to do a special review of for blogging buddy and podcast extraordinaire, Imperial Rebel Ork for his and his buddy’s Fly on the Wall Podcast.)

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Eventually I found myself in a total Urban Fantasy binge, devouring two novellas and the third full-length novel of The Iron Druid Chronicles as well as the first installment of the Mercy Thompson novels.

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I’m sorry (not really) but I found this one while looking up memes and I couldn’t resist adding it. The struggle is REAL, I tell you!

Along with these titles were several graphic novels of various genres (horror, slice of life style comics, superhero, action, and comedy). I also read River of Teeth recently which was such a great story that I will probably end up reading its sequel sometime soon despite insisting I’ll not be reading much the next few months. πŸ˜‰

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Well, that’s it for me, but how has YOUR reading challenge been going this year? πŸ™‚ What was your reading goal? How’s it going? Let’s talk books! ❀

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Book/Comic Mini-Reviews: Part 1

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Since I kind of fell off the bandwagon the past few months as far as posting, I feel like I have some catching up to do on my reading reviews. Since I prefer to write reviews right after having read something (while it’s still fresh in my mind) I decided the best way to go about it was to do a whole smattering of mini-reviews.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:

This one was a re-read, but it deserves a mini-review just the same! πŸ™‚ Cupcakes & Machetes and I decided it was time to revisit the beloved series with a buddy read back in February (told you I was behind on my reviews!) πŸ˜› The book was just as magical as I remember it, and the second time around you get the cozy, warm fuzzies that come along with the good old feeling of nostalgia. It was like visiting an old friend. I usually don’t do re-reads since I barely have enough time for all the new books I want to get into, but this was definitely worth coming back to. ❀ It gets a solid 5/5 stars from me the second time around as well. πŸ™‚

Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works

A book about books! What’s not to love?? Crammed full of information on old manuscripts, the evolution of books, how they were made at various points in history and how they shaped the world we live in, this one was just lovely to read. It also makes a rather dashing coffee table book if I do say so myself. πŸ˜‰ I enjoyed this book bit by bit, savoring all the information over many, many cups of coffee.Β  ❀ Another fun thing I discovered once I’d finished reading it, is that there is a pocket in the back of the book with four fancy little book marks in it for your future reading endeavors. Very informative, and you get presents in the book! Fantastic! 4/5 stars.

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Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe (Deadpool Killogy #1)

A quick read where you get exactly what the title tells you you’re going to get. After Professor X sends Wade off to an institution of sorts, our beloved Merc with a Mouth goes off the deep end (though his reasoning isn’t exactly wrong in its own twisted way) and takes down our beloved Marvel characters, both friend and foe, one by one. Loads of murder and mayhem fill the pages. And although we’ve all come to expect Deadpool to break the fourth wall by now, he doesn’t just kind of break it in this story, he utterly destroys it. I liked it, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. If you’re expecting really sassy and funny with a healthy dose of violence, this isn’t really the comic you want to go with.Β  It’s kind of the opposite of that, actually. It’s pretty much ALL bloody murder with only a hint of humor and sass. I’d give it 3/5 stars. That said, I do want to finish reading the “Killogy” (nice wordplay on “trilogy” btw), especially since the second installment sees Deadpool taking on characters in classic literature! πŸ˜€

Well, that’s it for today’s installment of mini-reviews. There are definitely more to come, so I’ll probably have 2 more posts similar to this one til I get back on track with my reading/reviews! They were short and sweet, but hopefully you guys enjoyed them. What are you currently reading? Let’s talk books! ❀

Updates: Writing, Drawing, Reading, OH MY!

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Hi, guys!! ❀ Life has been a whirlwind the past couple weeks, so apologies for my unplanned absence so far this month. There’s been some pretty big ups and downs, so I just haven’t been able to sit down and sink my teeth into blogging during all of it. But, I’m back, and I figured I’d throw together a quick update post full of Blah Blah Blah’s to catch up a little bit.

BLAH #1: Instagram has really been a lot of fun so far! I know I was late to the party on that one, but better late than never, right? πŸ˜‰ I’ve mostly been posting drawings, photos of Bailey, bookstagram and breakfast posts so far. Due to a busy schedule it’s been a lot easier updating on there more frequently, but I still love the blogging life and all my blogging buddies, so it’s good to be back! ❀

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BLAH #2: I’ve been drawing more, just like I said I wanted to. For the new year I treated myself to a new sketchbook, so the un-official goal is to fill it up by the end of the year with new drawings. πŸ™‚ I’ve posted a couple WIP pieces on Instagram, but I’ll post some more here soon as well.

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BLAH #3: Writing has been going really well. Usually fall seems to be my big creative season, but this winter I feel like I’ve really hit my stride again with my writing. It feels great. I have been learning to navigate my way around Scrivener. (Thank goodness for Youtube tutorials!!) It has some pretty damn snazzy tools and features for writers and I feel like it’s been helping keep me focused and on track with my writing since I started using it. Big thanks again to the lovely Cupcakes and Machetes for gifting it to me for my birthday! ❀ I’m the sort of person who likes practical gifts and this was the perfect surprise. I’m using the hell out of it and it’s helping me a lot as I work on my story.

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BLAH #4: In reading news, I’m currently doing a Harry Potter re-read/buddy read with the previously mentioned C&M. Neither of us seem to re-read books very often since there’s just sooo much out there to be read, but I’ve greatly been enjoying re-reading this one. Most. Magical. Buddy. Read. EVER.

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Anywhoooo, that’s about it for me right now. How have you guys all been doing?? I’m so behind on everyone’s posts so it’ll take me a hot minute to try to catch up a bit, so feel free to fill me in on any exciting news of yours I may have missed. I hope everyone has been having a great February so far. Have a wonderful weekend! ❀

20 Magical Years of Harry Potter

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I can’t believe it’s been 20 years now since Harry Potter made his literary debut. With all the books, movies, merchandise, and amazing amusement parks that have since followed, it’s hard to remember life before we knew of Hogwarts and dreamed of getting our very own acceptance letters delivered to us.

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I was first introduced to the Harry Potter series many, many Christmases ago when my grandmother surprised me with a copy of the very first novel. I’d never heard of Harry Potter before that moment and had no idea that I (and so many other people) were destined to fall in love with this book and the others to come after it, so big thanks, Grandma. (I also have her to thank for introducing me to South Park and the Evil Dead movies, so major props to her.) lol She knew cool shit when she saw it. πŸ˜›

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20 years later, no one can deny that J.K. Rowling truly created something special with her intriguing world of wizards and mythical beasties that intertwined with our very own world of muggles. She gave us such a delightful range of characters that many of us were lucky enough to get to grow up with. The Harry Potter series is one that stays with fans for life and can be visited time and time again, be it through the books or the films. Or both!

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Here’s to 20 magical years, and the countless more to come!

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Fight Like a YA Girl Book Tag

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Books and wine make an excellent pairing, and this is something proven frequently over at the YA and Wine blog where you can find awesome wines to go with awesome books, fantastic reviews, and exciting posts about book/author-related events. I was thrilled to be tagged for Krysti’s newly created book tag about the many types of kick-ass ladies in literature. Big thanks to her for tagging me to do this awesome new tag! Now, let the ass-kickery begin!

THE RULES:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Mention the creator Krysti at YA and Wine
  • Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
  • Tag as many people as you like!

WARRIOR GIRLS:

Okay, it’s been a very LONG time since I read this book, but I’m going with the Slayer (named Sophie) from Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row (A Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel). Slayers are total warrior girls! πŸ™‚

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR MIND:

How could I not choose Hermione Granger for this category? I mean, c’mon, she was the brightest witch of her age. πŸ˜‰

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR HEART:

Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Karou has a lot of heart, and love plays a large part in her story.

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GIRLS WHO ARE TRAINED FIGHTERS:

Virginia au Augustus (aka: Mustang) from the Red Rising trilogy. I nearly picked her for the “girls who fight with their mind” category since she is known to be highly intelligent, but she is also trained to fight with more than just her mind so here she goes!

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STRONG GIRLS OF COLOR:

Inej Ghafa (aka- “The Wraith”) from Six of Crows. She’s strong in every sense of the word, and she’s one of the many reasons I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom!

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT TO SURVIVE:

Temple from The Reapers are the Angels. She’s grown up in a tough, zombie-filled world, and she’s never known anything else.

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GIRLS WHO ARE WEAPONS MASTERS:

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy. Total pro with that bow and arrows. I wanted to list Inej and her trusty blades again for this, but I’m mixing it up with another girl and another type of weapon instead. πŸ˜›

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Fan art of Katniss by Me

GIRLS WHO DON’T CONFORM TO GENDER ROLES:

Okay, this series isn’t YA, but the young-but-fierce Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire immediately came to mind, so she’s who I’m going with. πŸ˜€

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GIRLS WITH KICK-BUTT MAGICAL POWERS:

Nina Zenik from Six of Crows. She’s part of the Corporalki order of the Grisha (a heartrender, to be exact), which means she has the ability to snatch the air from your lungs or even stop your heart if you’re in her line of sight.

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STRONG GIRLS IN CONTEMPORARY NOVELS:

Honestly, this isn’t really an area of reading I’ve explored, so I’m stumped for an answer. Here’s a cute puppy instead!

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SERIOUSLY FIERCE GIRLS:

Isabelle Rossignol from The Nightingale. This book really isn’t strictly YA, but I feel like Isabelle’s half of the story could be considered YA, and she becomes one hell of a fierce girl. Not through brawn, but through her determination and spirit.

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MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK WITH A STRONG LEADING LADY:

Wonder Woman: Warbringer! I can’t wait for this one to come out. πŸ™‚

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So, ladies & gents, there we have it. πŸ˜€ This tag was a lot of fun, so I’m tagging each and every one of you!! Let’s spread this tag like wildfire and promote the hell out of some badass ladies in fiction! Have a great weekend, folks! ❀

Wands for Wildlife!

This might seem like a Harry Potter related post from the title, but the wildlife we’re talking about doesn’t consist of hippogriffs or basilisks. And, chances are, we’re thinking about a different sort of wand entirely.

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Wands for Wildlife is a movement calling for a very particular type of donation: old mascara wands. Yup, you read that right. Here’s a video from Appalachian Wildlife Refuge that sheds some more light on why in the world someone might want you to mail them your old mascara wands:

Who’d have thought something you’re supposed to toss in the garbage every few months could actually wind up helping little baby animals? I think this idea is awesome, and I’m really glad that so many people are already contributing.

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge is a nonprofit that deals with wildlife rehabilitation in North Carolina. They care for orphaned and injured wildlife and educate people on conservation, among other things of that nature. (No pun intended.)

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Since their request went viral people are hosting what is called “wandraising” parties in order to collect wands from their friends to send out to the refuge. They just ask that all wands be cleaned with soap and water before being mailed out. If this is something you’re interested in, you can print up a mail form and get the address to mail out mascara wands and donations to by clicking here!

 

Mystery Blogger Award

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Lately I’ve been fortunate enough to be nominated for multiple blogging awards, and I am sincerely thankful for each and every one of them. ❀

 

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“F-for ME? Really??” It’s soooo shiny! :O

I still have the others to fill out yet but I thought I’d get started with the latest nomination from Kate, the lovely blogger behind All The Trinkets. If you haven’t yet ventured over to her blog I do highly recommend it. She’s always so nice and her blog focuses on creativity, passion and inspiration.

THE RULES:

 

  • Display the award logo on your blog.
  • List the rules.Β Copy.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well. Wait, who created this?
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  • Answer five questions from the nominator.Β Okie.
  • Nominate from 10Β to 20Β bloggers.
  • Notify the bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, including one weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best post.

 

Three Things About Little Ol’ Me:

Hmmm . . . I’m going to try to think of three things about myself I have yet to talk about in this blog. This might be a bit tricky though since I think I’m pretty open about things here.

Thing #1: I like to do volunteer work. I’ve volunteered as a side walker at an equine therapy place for people with mental and/or physical disabilities, and at a farm animal sanctuary with Cupcakes and Machetes, and also for part of a tutoring group a few years back when I was taking classes toward getting certified as a PCT. I’d love to do more volunteering in the near future as well. My family was also really involved in foster care for rescue dogs when I was younger. I think it’s important to help out in the community. Never underestimate the difference it can make.

Thing #2: Most people have birthday cake to celebrate their birthday, but my mom always makes me banana cream pie with a shortbread crust. It’s sooo good.

Thing #3: I am, and always have been, a TERRIBLE liar. Which is kind of a good thing because I don’t like to lie anyway, but I mean my poker face is virtually nonexistent. In fact, I usually start smiling or laughing because it’s so uncomfortable for me. In the past year and a half I’ve started playing tabletop games and there are some that are just impossible for me to play, like Sheriff of Nottingham. This game involves the players having to bluff and lie and trick the player who happens to be the sheriff at that given time. Let’s just say, they always figure me out. lol

Kate’s Questions / My Answers:

Question 1: What or who inspired you to blog?

I think I’d say fellow blogger Cupcakes and Machetes really got me into blogging. We’re BFFs in real life and we tend to enjoy a lot of the same things and do them together. We’ve even co-written a few different older blogs together in the past. So you can blame her for my long-winded ramblings here. πŸ˜›

Question 2: What was the biggest obstacle you overcame last year? Or recently, really?

Well, this is a pretty heavy question for me, but I’m going to say depression. Just about two years ago now I went through something that emotionally gutted me. It seriously broke me. It’s difficult even thinking back on the low point I hit mentally after that. My mental health was dangerously low and it took some serious time and support to get through it. It really affected my confidence, my entire way of thinking about not only myself, but life in general. It definitely changed me as a person but I survived and got through it.

Question 3: What’s your every day mantra?

Take things one day at a time. Accomplish small goals that will add up to the bigger ones you desire. All accomplishments, no matter how small, are still moving you in the right direction. The best things in life don’t come easily so keep at it. Each and every day.

Question 4: If you’re allowed one impossible thing only youΒ can do, what would that be?

Teleport! πŸ˜€ I think it would be amazing to be able to just see the world. Visit anyone or any place at any time you wanted. Think of all the amazing things you’d be able to see and learn and experience.

Question 5: What’s your spiritual mythical creature?

As of right now I’d have to say a phoenix. As cliche as it sounds I got burnt. Bad. And now I’m working toward rising from the ashes. It isn’t an instant rise, but most aren’t. I hope to keep at it and get there soon though! I’m on a path of self improvement and very determined.

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My Best Post?

Um . . . I don’t know! lol I think the ones I do about writing in general tend to do the best as far as likes and new visitors if you’re speaking from a technical standpoint.

All The Fine, Classy Folks I Nominate:

Cupcakes and Machetes

The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

Gamers United GG

Precinct 1313

Pink For Days

By Hook or By Book

Forged From Reverie

Imperial Rebel Ork

The Necro Nom-Nom-Nomicon

The Brunette Bookworm Blog

Darth Toothpick

Unbolt

The Happiest Pixel

The Maniacal Book Unicorn

Little May Fly

Books and Hot Tea

The Book Corps

YA and Wine

Book Bum

The Comic Vault

There are so many wonderful bloggers I love here. It was actually really difficult picking just 20 to nominate!! I want to just nominate you all. πŸ˜€

My Questions For YOU!

  1. Do you believe in any superstitions? Or practice any even though you think it’s silly?
  2. What type of food did you hate as a kid but love now?
  3. Can you name a person that you’ve never met but that has inspired you in some way?
  4. What was the last movie you watched?
  5. What is your favorite work(s) of fiction to geek out over? (We’re talking books, TV & film, comics, etc.)