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Mission Accomplished: First Draft

“Writer Girl Summer” is finally at its end, and so is my blog hiatus I was on. My entire summer was pretty much just a caffeine-fueled writing frenzy of utter madness. It feels really damn good though to have completed my (very rough) first draft. I am so ready to take a much-needed break from writing to let the story breathe, and to regain some of my sanity before I go on to tackle the dreaded second draft.

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Luckily for me, Halloween is just around the corner, so I’m going to use the full month of October to recover from my crazy writing binge and to just focus on doing all the things I love to indulge in during spooky season. We’re talking horror movies galore, catching up on some creepy video games, reading scary stories, fall baking, etc. I’m also planning to participate in the 2021 Corpsetober Art Challenge, so I’m really excited to get back into drawing. I really didn’t draw much this summer since I was so focused on completing the first draft of my book, so I can’t wait to get back at it and practice some more with my iPad Pro. It was kind of torturous just seeing it collect dust all summer, but I’m glad I remained focused.Β 

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I can’t wait to start catching up on everyone’s blogs over the next several days, and see what you guys have been up to while I was away. In the mean time, how was your summer?? What are you most excited for this fall?

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Pup Cups, Pumpkins, and Photos: July 2021 Wrap-Up

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Update #1: Pup Cups

My mom and I like to try to get together for coffee once a week, specifically Biggby frozen coffees with extra espresso in them because we are absolute fiends for caffeine. Well, as of late, our girls’ day coffee adventures have only gotten better with the addition of a third member of our “Treat Yo’ Self” squad, that being my parents’ new resident fluff monster that they got a few months back. (Like this dog needed any more reasons to love going for car rides.) πŸ˜›

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Update #2: Pumpkin Babies

Our pumpkin patch is already fast at work producing flowers and pumpkin babies for the fall. I think this pumpkin patch will always hold a special place in my heart, not only because I love pumpkins, but also because the first harvest was for our wedding last October. ❀ Hopefully this year’s harvest will be just as good!

Update #3: Writing Progress

Writer Girl Summer is going really well. πŸ™‚ I’ve mostly been cruising along right on track to have my first draft complete by the first day of fall, so here’s hoping I can keep this pace up. *fingers crossed*

Update #4: Reading, Or Rather, a Lack There Of

I didn’t get much reading done in July, mostly due to a misplaced charger for my Kindle that has thankfully since been found. Also, when I wasn’t writing, let’s be honest, I was mostly watching a ton of anime. While my kindle charger was misplaced, I had to take a break on finishing Pet Sematary for my buddy read with Cupcakes & Machetes, I started reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House.

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Update #5: Drawing

Other than completing theΒ Drawing Shark Week art challenge I participated in, I didn’t get a whole lot of drawing time in since this summer my focus is mostly on writing. Buuuut I’m hoping to at least squeeze in a couple Fan Art Friday posts this month since my last one was *GASP* all the way back in mid-May??! I can’t even keep up with time these days it seems. 2021 is just barreling by at breakneck speed and it’s all I can even do to try to remember what day it is half the time. Back to the point though, it will be good to get some more practice in with Procreate and my iPad Pro. I’m still loving it, I just have soooo much to learn!

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Update #6: Watching

July mostly had me been binge-watching the first 4 seasons of My Hero Academia with my husband, but I also started Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood on my own. We also enjoyed the 3 week Netflix event for the Fear Street trilogy of movies. I think we may have squeezed a couple other movies in as well, but the only one coming to mind at the moment is Gunpowder Milkshake.

Update #7: Baking

For my husband’s dad’s birthday I made a triple chocolate cake. My husband also really enjoys these honey cornbread muffins I make so I made some of those which we enjoyed with honey cinnamon butter. (SO good.) I also have an abundance of frozen blueberries I want to use up, so this weekend I made blueberry muffins. Aaaand if you follow the Sugar and Scream blog that C&M and I host together, you’ll have seen some pics of freshly bakedΒ bone-shaped snickerdoodle cookies we posted about in early July.

What shenanigans did you get up to in July? Any big plans for August? Hoping you all have an excellent month! πŸ˜€

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5 Years Ignited

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Oops! I might be a few days late posting this, but my humble little blog has officially been fluttering around the blogosphere for 5 years now. Half a decade! πŸ˜€

I just wanted to thank all of you for being the best blogging buddies a girl could ask for. I highly doubt I would have stuck around this long if it weren’t for all the wonderful friends I’ve made here, so thank you for making this such a fun and amazing place to be time and time again. ❀

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Utterly Pooped.

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Sometimes I look at my cat and think to myself, “What a life.” She has no kitty bills, doesn’t have to spend 40 hours a week or more at a cat job, she gets constant praise and care for nothing more than being adorable, and the most anyone expects out of her is to poop in the appropriate box and not to scratch up the furniture. I can do those things, too, damnit. Ugh. Being a human is absolute butts.

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None of these drawings are mine, FYI. I’m far too lazy to be drawing right now. I did do a couple pieces for that Haunted Garden Art Challenge, but I’ll post those another time. For now I just lament about my non-kitty existence. (If you can’t tell, work has been completely kicking my ass lately.)

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This post is mostly just a “Hey, there, Stranger. Yeah, I didn’t drop off the face of the earth despite what my blogging activity this past month might imply” sort of post. Oh, and an excuse to post cats, too, of course.

I’ve got a 5 day holiday weekend coming up and I am SO ready! I hope June has been a kind month to all of you. ❀

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May 2021 Wrap-Up

May really feels like it lasted all of ten whole seconds this year. I couldn’t have told you it’s already been 2 weeks since my lastΒ Fan Art Friday post, but here we are just the same. πŸ˜›

Anywhoooo, it’s update time. Gonna keep this brief because I’m very, very tired and sleep is calling my name.

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READING: I finished reading all the volumes of Attack on Titan that are currently out, and now it seems I’ll be waiting until October for the final volume to be released so I can see how the epic saga ends. That will be pretty good timing since the second half of the final season of the anime will start back up this winter. I really hope there’s a good ending because the series has knocked my socks off since the beginning.

TELEVISION: Schitt’s Creek and a bunch of anime, including Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, which I’m really enjoying so far. πŸ™‚

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BAKING: The only things I was ambitious enough to bake this month were a coconut cream cheese danish for Mother’s Day and a dark chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting for a family member’s birthday.

DRAWING: After finally getting the iPad Pro and accessories I’ve been drooling over for a while, I’ve been having a ball starting to learn how to use it all and have already picked up some really useful new techniques and skills I didn’t have before. It’s all been very exciting! ❀

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I am soooo ready for this long holiday weekend. I have 5 days off from work and I’m planning to savor every single minute of that time. Especially because I finally get to be reunited with the most fabulous BFF in all the land, my number #1 Partner in Crime, Cupcakes & Machetes!! ❀ ❀ ❀ Can’t wait for the shenanigans to commence! πŸ˜€

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March 2021: Digital Art, Fluffy Friends & Other Updates

Oof, March has been an absolute whirlwind of a month. It’s been quite the mix of high and low points. Registering for classes, family health emergencies, the sudden loss of a wonderful friend who taught me so much about life and brought so much joy to everyone who knew her, house and yard projects and repairs, and many other things have had me a bit stressed these past few weeks to say the least.

I did manage to squeeze in a bit of practice on my art tablet, taking some old sketches and outlining and coloring them digitally as seen below:

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Started playing Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U with Mr. Moth so that’s been a fun distraction from some of the more stressful stuff that’s been going on lately.

I think the only thing I baked this month was a dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Soooo good! ❀

I haven’t finished reading anything new at all this month. My mood has been all over the place, which also means my reading preferences have been just as erratic. I did start reading Leigh Bardugo’s The Lives of Saints and re-reading Shadow & Bone in preparation for the Netflix show coming out. It’s been like 7 or 8 years I think since I read S&B so I was definitely due for a refresher before the show starts. I always think it’s interesting to see the differences between a show or movie and its source material. I also started reading this big ol’ Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology that had belonged to my grandma back in the day. It’s something I have read bits and pieces from but never completed reading from start to finish so I’d like to finally do that. I’m not in a rush though, It’s a lot of information that I’d rather take my time and read here and there rather than all at once.

All the critters are doing well. Luna the baby hedgehog at my work is getting sooo big. She’s “quilling” right now so she’s a little grumpy at times but the Aveeno Oatmeal baths we’ve given her have helped a lot. Quilling is basically a process that can take up to 6 months of age where she will slowly be losing her baby quills here and there and having them replaced with her big girl quills. Here’s a pic of her after her first Oatmeal bath. She was so happy and relaxed afterward.

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Bailey’s been living her best life, as always. πŸ˜› Mr. Moth got her one of those little flower-shaped kitty water fountains and she LOVES it. It’s funny because he wasn’t exactly Team Cat before Bailey and I lived with him and he’s since turned into this Turbo Cat Dad, spoiling her rotten and researching things to make sure she is the happiest kitty she can be. ❀

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My parents new fluff monster is also doing really well. πŸ™‚ He had his first vet appointment and got a clean bill of health. He did really well while he was there and so he got a special “Shit Happens” treat from the doggy bakery. Kind of appropriate since they needed a stool sample from him for his first visit. Haha He’s such a happy boy and has already brought so much joy to my parents’ home with his goofy personality. The neighborhood squirrels may not like him but we adore him. ❀ We’ve been working on tricks and he currently knows “Sit”, “Lay Down” and “Speak”. He’s also really good at solving dog treat puzzles. ^_^

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That’s pretty much it for my updates for March. I tried to focus on the more positive stuff for my post but it was definitely a month with its fair share of worry and tears. Hopefully April will be better. πŸ™‚ How was your March? Oh, yeah, and Happy Spring! πŸ˜€

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February 2021: Huskies, Hedgehogs, and Honey Chai Cakes, Oh My!

I can’t believe it’s already almost March! February was a busy and awesome month full of surprises so I figured it was time to get my butt back on the blog and do an update post. πŸ™‚ I just got my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine this past Tuesday and I’m so happy and grateful. (Even if it did really knock me on my ass the day after with sore muscles/joints, fatigue, little waves of nausea, and a headache). After that, I was back to my normal self though and I was just thankful to be able to get it, so no regrets. Thanks, Science! ❀

I also started the process towards going to school for graphic design. Michigan has a new program it has rolled out to get people over the age of 25 back in school to get their associate degree by covering their tuition. It’s such a great opportunity and was too good of an offer to pass up, so I’ll be starting classes this summer. I’ve even already got my college ID! One of my co-workers is already taking the exact program at the same college and has had great things to say about it, so I’m really excited. Pluuuus, I’ll get to share in this experience with my BFFΒ Cupcakes & Machetes since she is going back to college as well starting in the spring. πŸ˜€ Different schools/classes, but we’re both excited to geek out over school stuff together so that will make it even better all the way around!

Other fun surprises this month came in the form of two new fuzzy and prickly friends. A girl I went to school with before was recently trying to find a home for a good dog in a sad and tough situation so he wouldn’t have to go to a shelter so long story short, my parents opened their home to him and now have a lovable, goofy, clumsy, fluff monster to call their own. ❀ My other new little animal friend came in the form of a lovely little hedgehog at my work. She’s so sweet and cute and the participants at my job just absolutely adore her, as do I. πŸ™‚

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It wouldn’t be an update post on THIS blog if I didn’t mention recent reads, hobbies, and baking. I didn’t have as much time for those things as I’d have hoped, buuuut I did bake this delicious Honey-Drizzled Cinnamon Chai Cake:

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In reading news, I happily read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard BookΒ  this month. It was such a treat. Kind of a nice and cozy, comfort read. πŸ™‚ I also started reading Leigh Bardugo’sΒ The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse)Β  and, for a refresher before the Netflix adaptation comes out, I’m re-reading/listening toΒ Shadow and Bone. I just watched the official trailer yesterday and I. Am. PUMPED. ❀

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Well, those are my updates for the month! πŸ™‚ I also did some writing and more practice with digital art but not as much as I had planned due to all the other stuff going on. All in all, though, February was a pretty good month. I hope you guys all had a good go of it as well. ❀ Looking forward to catching up on some blog posts I’ve missed but please fill me in on any excitement I have missed in the mean time. What were your highlights of the past few weeks?

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Buh-Bye, 2020! Hello, 2021!

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Happy New Year! ❀ I know this year has been, to put it very lightly, a rough one, but I hope you’re all in as good of a place as possible right now, healthy, and feeling inspired going into 2021. πŸ™‚

I think if 2020 taught us just one thing, it’s how truly unpredictable life is. That’s part of the reason I’m looking at my New Year’s Resolutions a little differently this go around. It feels good to be leaving 2020 in the dust but I also know that the strike of midnight isn’t going to magically make everything better. I feel like 2021 is going to be a year more about the journey itself and a gradual evolution toward something better rather than an instant transformation. That’s kind of how I’m looking at my resolutions this year, too, since we really don’t know what the next 12 months will be like. I’m hopeful, though, that they will be just what we all need to move us toward better days. ❀ So, let’s get on with the resolutions, shall we?

RESOLUTION #1: FOCUS

I know I wasn’t alone in this, but 2020 had me spun for a loop and I think one of my biggest personal weaknesses was FOCUS. I’m really going to try to pull out all my best organizational tricks and attempt to be more focused moving forward. I have so many things I always want to work on constantly battling to pull me in different directions but I know that without focus I’m not going to be able to truly accomplish any of them. Pictured below are my new 2021 planner/calendar, a notebook for tracking goals I’m working on throughout the year in more detail, and STICKERS! Haha I recently watched a video from an author I admire and she talked about how she rewards herself with fun stickers when she meets small goals that she has set that lead to bigger goals. So, I figured, what the hell, I’ll give it a go, too. πŸ™‚ The little type writer stickers say “JUST WRITE” on them and then there’s a ton of cute fitness-themed stickers as well.

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RESOLUTION #2: PUSH MYSELF OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE MORE

This week I’ve started dabbling with Prismacolor markers and I’m really enjoying them. πŸ™‚ I want to continue to play with different mediums which brings me to my next resolution: Pushing myself out of my comfort zone more. I want to start driving myself forward in new ways, I want to be more bold with trying new techniques for my art and writing, etc. I want to try to share more and put myself out there more in general. 2020 unfortunately was a huge reminder of how short life can be and how suddenly everything can change and I want to push myself to do the most I can while I’m here. To learn amazing new things and to grow as a person. I saw a quote recently that said “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there” and I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind as I work toward my various goals this year.

RESOLUTION #3: SELF-CARE

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Mental health is so important and mine has always pitted me in an uphill battle against myself. It really sucks sometimes. Depression and anxiety are the worst and they make you feel like you’re the worst. I’m going to try to make sure while I’m working on my goals this year that I also take the time to really work on me. I’ve been taking baby steps toward this while I’ve been in quarantine and it’s something I really want to continue to explore in 2021. πŸ™‚

So, yeah, those are my resolutions. I’m going to try to be flexible with whatever may be going on in the world at any given time because I honestly have no idea how the world around me will me in the months to come, but I will do my best to keep pushing forward during it as best I can. ❀ 

How are you kicking off your New Year so far? Have any resolutions for 2021? Here’s to what will hopefully be a MUCH better year! ❀

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Happy Halloween!

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I’m baaaack! ❀ And just in time for Halloween, no less. I know things are a hot mess this year, but I hope everyone is finding some way to have a fun (and safe) time this Halloween. Mr. Moth and I are celebrating the 5th Anniversary since we became a couple in a low-key “Quarantine & Chill” sort of way. πŸ˜› We got curbside pickup from one of the local breweries for lunch and we’re going to continue our month-long horror movie binge. I’m especially excited to check out the movie The Mortuary Collection on Shudder.

I think it looks like a lot of fun and a perfect viewing treat for Halloween! πŸ˜€

Mr. Moth also surprised me with these lovely and delightfully spooky flowers and bats for our anniversary. The boy knows my dark little heart so well. ❀

5th Anniversary Halloween Flowers

The past 2 months have been a real whirlwind, with the highlight of it all being that Mr. Moth and I officially tied the knot! We kept it small due to the pandemic but everything was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. ❀ The lovelyΒ Cupcakes & Machetes was my Maid of Honor and her hubby and my Brother-from-another-Mother was our Officiant. (I’ll do a post with more info and some photos soon!) ❀

We had planned a honeymoon, bought our plane tickets, got our hotel, and got a city pass for a trip to Boston and Salem, a trip we had always talked about going on together since we first began dating, but ended up postponing the trip due to the pandemic. It was a hard decision to make, especially since (like most other people we know) we’ve had to cancel so many big and exciting plans during the ongoing dumpster fire that is 2020. Still, we know it was the right thing to do and we’ll make the trip one day when it is safer to do so. So, instead of exploring new cities together we just did what we’ve done for most of 2020 and stayed in for a little Stay-cation.

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In other news: I returned to work in September after 6 months of us being closed due to the pandemic. It’s been really different due to all of the new safety measures we must take. Cold and Flu Season is always a rough time of year at my work, but now with the Coronavirus cases increasing in our state and it being a constant threat in the back of everyone’s mind, it’s been especially stressful and exhausting. We’ve been trying to make the most of things though, and keep everyone safe and happy. My room also hosts weekly Zoom skill-building lessons with some of our participants who prefer to join in virtually rather than in-person, so that has been an interesting learning experience as we try to find our groove presenting fun activities online.

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Honestly, I’ve been too busy and exhausted to do much of anything related to my usual hobbies, unless you want to count power naps as a hobby. I’m hoping to ease my way back into the things I enjoy now, though. πŸ™‚ It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do any writing and, for a while there, I really had my doubts that I would have the energy or sanity to participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo, but I’m going to give it a go. πŸ˜€

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What are your Halloween plans this year? How have you been the past 2 months? I’m gonna try my best to catch up on some blog posts around here but if you have anything specific you wanna share PLEASE tell me or even hit me up with a link. I’ve missed my Blogging Buds so I’d love to know how you’ve all been doing. Have a frightfully fun Halloween, everyone!! ❀ ❀ ❀ Looking forward to catching up with all I’ve missed and getting back to a more normal posting schedule. πŸ˜›

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2020 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Okay, so I’m a little late to the party on this Tag, but in all fairness what even IS time in 2020?? I sure as hell don’t know! πŸ˜› I saw this wonderful post from Lair of Books and decided that I, too, wished to join in on the fun. Better stylishly late than never, right? πŸ˜‰

1.) Best book you’ve read so far this year?

Probably the same book I’m about to give as the answer for the following question, too. πŸ˜›

2.) Best sequel you’ve read so far this year?

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Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo. Loved this book. Great characters, great twists and turns, and great worldbuilding.

3.) New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

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Even though I’m still not finished reading Dread Nation (not the book’s fault, but mine) I went ahead and bought the book’s sequel Deathless Divide, by Justina Ireland that was released earlier this year.Β  Definitely looking forward to reading more of Dread Nation and then diving into this one.

4.) Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

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I didn’t have anything that instantly sprang to mind (mostly due to my own lack of research of new releases) but upon a little digging I discovered that we can, in fact, have SOME nice things in 2020. As it turns out, the fifth (and apparently final) volume of Monstress is coming out in October! πŸ˜€

5.) Biggest disappointment?

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Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest, and I will explain why in the next question because it really does apply to both.

6.) Biggest surprise?

Probably how much I was disappointed by Boneshaker (pictured above). Zombie Steampunk shenanigans should have been my jam, but I just could not get into the characters, especially the main 2 characters. I was so sick of reading how “smart” the son was when he pretty much gave me zero evidence of that himself. And the mom just felt so flat. Like, we knew who she was married to, we know she wants to find her son, but other than that, there isn’t much I can say about her, unfortunately. And as much as I adore worldbuilding, I think they went a bit too heavy with setting the atmosphere compared to the actual plot and character development. I really had high hopes for this one but it just was not my cup of tea, sadly. πŸ˜₯

7.) Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)?

Ilona Andrews. New to me, and such a treat. πŸ™‚ Looking forward to checking out more of her books, especially in the Innkeeper Chronicles series.

8.) Newest fictional crush?

Ya know, I hate to be boring on this answer, but I don’t have one from the books I read. Unless you want to count Henry Cavill’s portayal of Geralt in The Witcher. I mean, it started as a book series (that I have yet to read) but who can deny how pretty this dude is wielding a sword, kicking all sorts of monster ass and brooding all over the place??

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Though, by that logic, I could make a similar argument for Charlize Theron in The Old Guard, based off a graphic novel series I *also* have yet to read. Fierce. Badass. Warrior. QUEEN. ❀

9.) Newest favorite character?

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Zoya Nazyalensky. She may not be a new character to me since I read the original Grisha Trilogy back in the day, but it was new to me just how much I enjoyed her character in Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars. Really good character development.

10.) Book that made you cry?

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A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness. SO. MANY. FEELINGS. This book is so dark and beautifully done. Grief is such an ugly and complicated emotion and this book captures it perfectly.

11.) Book that made you happy?

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Giant Days is always such a feel-good and fun slice-of-life style comic. Sometimes there are sad parts, but overall it’s a comfort read for sure. ❀

12.) Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?

I don’t know . . . I really couldn’t pick one right now, sorry! D:

13.) What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

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Definitely sooner than before the end of the year, but I need to finish my buddy read with Cupcakes & Machetes for Gideon the Ninth! Enjoying it so far, just have a lot going on right now and an attention span in tatters.

How has your year in reading been so far? πŸ™‚ Let’s talk books! ❀