Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year, all you amazing, lovely folks! โค I can’t believe 2018 already came and went. My last post served to kind of wrap up the old year before we headed into the new one. I went over how I did working on last year’s resolutions and what some of my favorite things and big milestones were. 2018 was great and all, but I am so excited to venture into 2019! ๐Ÿ˜€ With that in mind, let’s talk New Year’s Resolutions, shall we?? Here’s some of the major goals I want to conquer this year:

1.) Skydiving! My biggest fear would probably have to be heights, but my dad has talked about wanting us to go skydiving together since I was a little kid. This has yet to happen because I am a total wuss. My dad has been skydiving before and he loved it, so when I asked him what we should do to celebrate his 60th birthday, of course he would go and pick to jump out of a damn plane! *INTERNAL SCREAMING* Well, my dad is a really great dad and this is a big milestone birthday for him, turning 60 and all, so it’s happening! Full Disclaimer: I make no guarantees that I will not cry like a baby when we go to do this!

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I promise you I will be nowhere near this cool or composed.
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Yup, I think this is a pretty accurate representation of what I can expect from myself.

2.) Go on some sort of vacation with Mr. Moth! Oddly enough, we have yet to go on a real vacation together despite all the relationship milestones we’ve shared. We’re not quite sure where yet, but we know we want to make it happen this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

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3.) Complete my GR Reading Challenge set for . . . dun dun dunnnn . . . 25! That’s right, I’ve drastically lowered my reading goal for the year. My reason? I want more time to further work on other goals like writing and drawing. It’s the age old problem: too many hobbies but never enough time. Sacrifices must be made, yada yada yada.

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4.) Re-vamp my Blog. Your blog is like your online home and sometimes isn’t it nice to reorganize and redecorate a bit? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m looking to spruce things up a little around here. I’d also like to get a little more structure to my blogging schedule and whatnot, but we’ll see about that. ๐Ÿ˜› Changes are coming, what they are exactly remains to be seen. Ooooh, mysterious, no?

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5.) Focus on my Creativity! Writing and drawing are two things I really want to make a priority this year. I want to get better at avoiding distractions and really push myself to have my first submission-ready novel by the end of 2019. This is going to be one hell of a challenge (and, honestly, it’s one I’ve failed at before . . .ย  a few times) but I’m so excited about the current project I’m working on, so I’m going to do my absolute best this year! I think I’m going to open up a bit more about my writing and the journey as well this year in my blog so I can kind of hold myself accountable more. I also really want to work on getting more into my drawing again. This started in 2018 so I’m hoping to continue to push myself artistically in 2019.

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6.) Share more recipes! I’ve done it a few times here and there on my blog, but I’d like to share more. Despite all the cussing you might here from my kitchen while I’m cooking, it’s actually something I really enjoy doing. You can expect desserts and vegetarian dishes mostly. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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7.) Health/Fitness. The usual goals everyone has: drink more water, go to the gym more, etc. I really like going to the gym so as long as I can manage my time/schedule this shouldn’t be a problem.

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Well, those are MY big goals for 2019, what about you guys?? ๐Ÿ˜€ I’d love to read about them. Trying anything new this year? Tell me all about it! I hope the New Year ends up being amazing for all of us. โค

 

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2018 Wrap-Up

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2018 has been a crazy year full of big and exciting new adventures. Mr. Moth and I went home hunting and moved into our first house together, we both applied for/received promotions at our jobs, and we did a lot of work around the house/yard in our first year of home-ownership. During this time I also worked on my resolutions for 2018 and I’m pleased to report that I didn’t do too shabby. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Concerning my READING GOALS for 2018: I completed my GR reading challenge goal of 50, and I explored reading more poetry like I hoped to do as well. My only reading goal I messed up on was that I still didn’t read all the neglected, unread books already sitting on my shelves. Sigh . . . I suppose that’s the curse of any lover of books, though, isn’t it? We always wanna obtain more books even before we’ve finished all the ones we already have at home.

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Some of my reading highlights of the year included discovering a new author I really enjoyed in V.E. Schwab. I’ve only read her book A Darker Shade of Magic so far, but I will definitely be checking out more of her work in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d say all in all, my top 2 favorite novels I read this year were Strange the Dreamer and The Great Alone.

Concerning my CREATIVE GOALS for 2018: I had sort of an iffy year in the creative department. I did more writing and drawing like I intended to do, but with everything going on I just never seemed to make it as far as I wanted to with my creative goals this year.

I participated in Inktober and Women’s History Month by producing multiple new ink drawings, as well as experimented with some new watercolor pens during Shark Week to produce a new whale shark illustration.

As for writing, I did more of that and am really excited about my current writing project. I recently shared the currently-private details with my BFF, the lovelyย Cupcakes & Machetes and she shared in this excitement, making me that much more motivated to not be the notorious project hopper that I am and see this one through. I participated in NaNoWriMo and although I didn’t make the full 50,000 word count I’d hoped for that month, I didn’t give up and got some good writing in which I’m pleased about. ๐Ÿ™‚

I did try a new creative thing this year that I hadn’t even been planning on, and that was face painting. Mr. Moth and I both required skull makeup for the Halloween event we attended this year, so I gave it a shot and was totally thrilled with the results.

Concerning my HEALTH/FITNESS GOALS for 2018: This was another set of goals that I worked on but would have liked to have been able to push myself further with. I did make a few gym buddies, I took some different classes at the gym and tried lots of new things there, pushing myself out of my comfort zone quite a bit. Me being my very introverted self, I’ve always preferred working out at home to going to an actual gym, but I think that really changed this year. I wanted to try hitting the trampoline park again and finding new active hobbies like that, but the gym was pretty much my go-to in that department this year. Maybe next year?

All in all, it was a pretty damn good year for me as far as milestones and working on goals. Any growth and development one can make to oneself is always a plus, right? I know I have lots of exciting new things I want to work on in 2019, but we’ll save all that for my upcoming New Year’s Resolution post. ๐Ÿ˜‰

TOP MOVIES I WATCHED IN 2018:

Deadpool 2

Black Panther

Avengers: Infinity War

Fantastic Beasts 2

The Incredibles 2

Game Night

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TOP SHOWS I WATCHED IN 2018:

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Attack on Titan

American Ninja Warrior (and it’s other counterparts)

Channel Zero (I didn’t really care for this show previously, but this season was much better!)

The Jim Jefferies Show

American Horror Story

Insatiable (this show got a lot of hate for not being PC but it’s a dark comedy. The characters are supposed to be flawed, messed up people with flawed, messed up views. I binge-watched the hell out of this.)

Riverdale (Okay, first of all, WTF is going on with the writing this season, also I can’t pull myself away.)

Anywhoooooo, I hope you guys had a productive year working on your goals and that you made lots of amazing memories in 2018. Here’s to everyone having a fantastic New Year! โค Best of luck to all of you with your New Year’s Resolutions and let’s make 2019 the best it can be! ๐Ÿ˜€

And, just for funsies, here’s a picture of Bailey taking a nap. Something I’m sure we’ve all been ready to participate in after all the recent holiday chaos. ๐Ÿ˜›

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June’s Pick For The Happiest Reading Challenge

If you’re taking part in The Happiest Reading Challenge you know that June calls for reading “a book someone has recommend to you“. It didn’t take long to decide on what book I would read for this month’s part of the challenge. Like some of you guys, book and baked good blogger Cupcakes and Machetes has been throwing book upon book into my TBR mountain for quite some time. One of these books is The Lies of Locke Lamora (Book 1 of the Gentleman Bastard series), written by Scott Lynch.

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“An orphan’s life is harsh–and often short–in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly.

Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game–or die trying…”

Sounds pretty good to me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Epic fantasy is always a plus in my book. It also helps when it passes the C&M seal of approval. And by seal of approval, I mean she was willing to bare-knuckle fight anyone in a mud pit that had the audacity to say that Scott Lynch wasn’t a “fantastic fucking author.”

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I’m really excited to finally read this one. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hear it is a seriously amazing debut from Scott Lynch. It’ll be nice to get to experience it for myself after hearing so many good things.

So, how about you? Reading anything good right now, or taking part in any reading challenges of your own? I’d love to hear about it! It’s always nice to talk about good books. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

May’s Book Pick For The Happiest Reading Challenge

I accomplished some really exciting things in April, so I’m feeling really good going into May. One of the many things I’m looking forward to in May is starting The Happiest Reading Challenge created by fellow blogger, The Happiest Pixel. The challenge theme for May is to read a book by an author you already love.

The first book to come to mind was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

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I became an instant fan of Leigh Bardugo while reading The Grisha Trilogy a few years back. So, naturally, I was quite excited when I learned that she would be taking us back to the enchanting but dangerous world of the Grisha.

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The three books making up The Grisha Trilogy.

Six of Crows is the first book in Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology. I actually have both of the books (the second book is called Crooked Kingdom) sitting on my bookshelf just waiting to be read. Let me tell you, these books are just absolutely gorgeous to look at. The first has black-edged pages, the second has red-edged pages, and both books have stunning hardcovers featuring a crow on them.

The Six of Crows blurb:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

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I’ve been hearing so many good things regarding this book, and I can’t wait to read it. Even more so since I have the second one on hand already in case of a cliffhanger ending. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Leigh Bardugo, I’m also really looking forward to her upcoming Wonder Woman novel, Wonder Woman: Warbringer. It comes out in August! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Reading Updates + Inside & Out Book Tag

Hey, there! So now that I’m back home and things have settled down a wee bit (for now anyway) I figured I’d post some quick reading updates, but then the lovely Irena (blogger behind Books & Hot Tea) tagged me for the Inside & Out Book Tag so I’ll just go ahead and blend the two things into one post! If you’ve yet to venture over to her blog I definitely recommend you grab yourself a nice cup of tea and head right on over. Don’t worry about bringing a book of your own though since she always has plenty of good ones to recommend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, let’s talk a bit about the most recent book I finished reading:

While visiting, celebrating, and marching in the name of SCIENCE this weekend with BFF an fellow blogger Cupcakes and Machetes, I did manage to squeeze in the time to read next month’s assigned reading for the book club I’m in. C&M had already read it and still had her copy from the library so I just went ahead and gave it a go. The book’s called Finding Me- A Decade of Darkness, A Life Reclaimed – A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings, written by Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford.

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The book really pulls you in right from the beginning. I honestly feel like I could have read it in a single sitting if I’d just been at home when I’d dug into it. The things Michelle and her fellow survivors went through at the hands of their captor are unspeakable and yet somehow this woman bravely recounts the horrific events that unfolded over the course of the 11 years she spent trapped and tortured in a mad man’s hell house. Not to mention, the hard and tragic life she led up until that point as well. I was in awe of the strength she had, not only to survive through all of it and be able to share her experiences with the world, but also for the incredible level of compassion she had and still does have for others despite the things that people have done to her throughout her life. I would highly recommend this book. It won’t be a pleasurable reading experience because of the terrible things these girls had to go through, but it is definitely an eye-opening one. Cupcakes and Machetes did a review of this book as well if you’re interested in reading another person’s take on it as well.

Now, onto the book I’m currently reading:

The next book I’ve started is so much lighter than the last one it isn’t even funny. I know I am incredibly late to the party on this one, but I’ve finally started reading The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time.

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The decision came during Easter, a holiday that always makes me think of my late grandmother on my dad’s side. I spent a lot of Easters at her house, as well as plenty of other visits, and I always remember seeing this book series on her bookshelf. For whatever reason I never wound up actually reading it though. Well, I recently found her copies of the books in a box of old books my parents had and I’ve decided to give them a read. Call it being sentimental if you will. They’re short books, not very long at all, but I’ve just begun reading the first, The Magician’s Nephew. I’ll probably review the series as a whole once I’ve finished it. I’ve only just gotten into it, but I hope it is a series that an adult can fully enjoy even if they don’t have the nostalgia factor of having loved it as a child. I hear C.S. Lewis is good for that though, so I hope that turns out to be the case. I love fantasy and fairy tales, so the odds are probably in my favor for it. If you’ve read this series, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Especially if you’ve read it as an adult. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Oh, and here’s the reading challenge I’m going to try to take part in for the rest of the year:

So, I was reading The Happiest Pixel’s recent post about her newly made reading challenge and I’ve decided to join in on the fun. It starts in May and then carries on each month through the rest of the year with one challenge for each month.

MAY: a book by an author you already love

JUNE: a book someone has recommend to you

JULY: a book published in 2017

AUGUST: a book set in a country that youโ€™ve never been

SEPTEMBER: a nonfiction book

OCTOBER: a book you chose for the cover

NOVEMBER: a graphic novel

DECEMBER: a book set around Christmas

I’ll post each month about the book I wind up reading for the challenge, so if you wish to join in with your own choice of a book that fits the challenge theme each month, the more the merrier! ๐Ÿ˜€ I think I even have my book for May already picked out. I love Leigh Bardugo, and I really enjoyed The Grisha Trilogy when I read it, so I’m finally going to venture into her latest duology set in the same world and read Six of Crows.

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So, those are my reading updates! What are you currently reading? What’s the latest book you finished? Do you ever do reading challenges? Lets talk books! And while we’re on the topic of books, here goes my stab at the Inside & Out Book Tag:

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1. Inside flap/Back of the book summaries: Too much info? Or not enough?

Hmm . . . well, it depends entirely on the book. It varies. I like when the summary gives me enough info to get me really excited to read it, but without spoiling anything for me in the process. Most books seem good about not doing that but I’ve seen a couple that do and it’s kind of a bummer when that happens. My biggest pet peeve is when there’s like no real information about the story on the inside flap or the back of the book. You gotta gimme something to work with here, people! lol

2.ย New book: What form do you want it in? Be honest: Audiobook, E-Book, Paperback, or Hardcover?

I usually go for paperback, but as long as the story is good I don’t normally fuss too much about the type of book it is.

3.ย Scribble while you read? Do you like to write in your books, taking notes, making comments, or do you keep your books clean clean clean?

Ooh, this is a topic that can get pretty heated with readers. lol For me, it 100% depends on the TYPE of book it is. If it’s a fictional novel I never write in them. Ever. I keep it clean with those. However, and omg, I feel like people are going to come for me with pitchforks at the ready when I confess this, but some of my books I own are FILLED with notes as well as pages of highlighted and underlined text. Mostly my history books. Basically, if it is something I’m reading to learn about a certain topic, things are going to be highlighted and what were once clean, blank parts of the page will become littered with scribbled notes. Oddly enough, even in books I write in I still never dogear a single page. I might be reckless enough to write in them, but I am no monster.

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4.ย Does it matter to you whether the author is male or female when youโ€™re deciding on a book? What if youโ€™re unsure of the authorโ€™s gender?

No way. Doesn’t matter at all to me. People don’t write their books with their genitals last I checked.

5. Ever read ahead? or have you ever read the last page way before you got there?

Not really. Maybe if it winds up being a book I am condemning to the DNF list. Then I might, I suppose. But I love when a book surprises me too much to risk ruining it usually.

6. Organised bookshelves, or Outrageous bookshelves?

Kind of both? I always keep books that are part of a series together, sorted numerically, but my book shelves are not alphabetical or anything. I do tend to keep types of books together, though, so there’s that. (Like graphic novels and art books in one area, novels in another, history books in their own place, etc.)

7.ย Have you ever bought a book based on the cover (alone)?

I have a weakness for a damn good cover, but I still need to see what the book’s about before I give into it just based off of what it looks like.

8.ย Take it outside to read, or stay in?

I usually like to be cozy and inside when I’m reading, but I will read outside on occasion if it’s nice out.

Who do I tag to do this? Why, anybody and everybody who loves to read books, of course! ๐Ÿ˜€

So, that’s it for my book tag and reading updates! I’ve been trying to catch up here on reading everyone’s blog posts I’ve missed but it isn’t easy since I was out of town this weekend, so if you have a post I may have missed that you wanna bring to my attention please link me to it so I can be sure to check it out. I’d hate to miss anything of importance! Thanks! Hope you guys all had a great weekend! โค โค โค