Happy Friday!Β 

Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a great week! It’s family movie night and we’re watching A Nightmare Before Christmas! Tomorrow we’ll be off to the hardware store again for another craft activity–clay pot monsters to go with the Frankenpumpkins they made last week!.

Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes and shoutouts! (My birthday was Tuesday.) I’ve been celebrating all week. I’ve got so much to share–two book signings (one was actually on my birthday) and my birthday book haul!

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What have you been up to? What’s your favorite cookie?

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October TBR

My TBR is pretty fluid but I do stay on track for the most part thanks to my reading tracker. And audiobooks–I’ve been able to finish so many books this way! (I’d give you a percentage on my completion rate before and after I started listening to audiobooks, but I’m not going to even pretend that I can math right now. Or ever. But it’s a lot.).

And just so you know, in case you can’t already tell, I will read almost anything (nonfiction is still a struggle for me). YA is my favorite but I also love fantasy (middle grade, YA, and Adult).

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But in the last two months I’ve branched out into two genres that I haven’t tried–Political thriller and Stephen King. I picked up the Mitch Trapp series by Vince Flynn and so far I’m really enjoying it. And yes, I think Stephen King is his own genre. I’m reading Revival (for the #grimdragon Read Along), IT (buddy read with @zoetzure) and The Drawing of Three (bc I want to know what’s going to happen to Roland). The only writing convention his books conform to is his own distinct style of storytelling and his flawed characters that you can’t help cheering for. You really can’t put King in one genre which is really quite brilliant. (Clearly, I’m still in the honeymoon stage of discovering a new to me author. Let’s see what happens when the gang returns to Derry or Roland gets to the Dark Tower or what’s Reverend Jacob’s sermon going to be before he leaves.)

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How do you pick your TBR? Have you tried any new to you authors lately that surprised you?

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Pre-birthday celebration with my sister today–lunch and a book signing! Have a great day!

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Weekend Update & Book Sleeves!

I don’t do outfit of the day kind of posts that often, but when I do, I try to stay bookish. Or at least attempt to be bookish. πŸ˜† And what luck! I can use this post for two challenges! .

For #grimdragon, Into the void: camouflaged/hidden books! Inside my @bookbeau is the book I’m buddy reading with my girl Anna @fairravenbooks. It’s a YA fantasy inspired by feudal Japanese culture and features a heroine who has been compared to Mulan! I am behind in our buddy read (I promise to catch up soon, Anna!), but I’m enjoying it so far. Anyone like to guess the book?

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For #ocmyths, Bookbeau adventure! This was actually the Bookbeau that was in the September box Mythical Creatures. Korrina, I don’t know how you do it, but you always put something in my Owlcrate that I needed in my life! I used this book sleeve right away! Here it is in the garden center at our local hardware store. (Reasons why I was there explained below.) How did I live life for so long without book sleeves?!

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I hope you’re all having a great weekend! This morning we went to the local hardware store because they were having a Frankenpumpkin craft for kids which pretty much means they got to stick bolts and screws and staples into pumpkins. They turned out pretty cute! Tomorrow, for a pre-birthday celebration, I’m grabbing lunch with my sister and mom and then heading to a book signing with my sister for CB Lee, Sarah Kuhn, and Maurene Goo! 

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Book Challenge: These characters have a lot to learn!

In the hopes of making her into a proper lady, her mother enrolls Sophronia Temminnick at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Girls of Quality. There she learns about proper etiquette in dress and dance but soon Sophronia learns her Finishing school’s lessons also cover topics in weapons, deceit, death, and espionage. Instead of feeling unsettled by these revelations, Sophronia feels she has finally found a place she fits in and actually has a knack for the deadly arts.

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Why did it take me so long to read this series? It has all the things I like–Why did it take me so long to read this series? It has all the things I like–Victorian era steampunk setting, paranormal creatures living among people, sassy and smart heroines, sharp stabby weapons, and tea (I could not get through one of these books without at least making a cup of tea)–Etiquette and Espionage: Finishing School Book the First by Gail Carriger @gailcarriger was such an entertaining read!

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The first book was so much fun–like when Harry first gets to Hogwart’s if Hogwarts had lessons in the language of handkerchief messages and using a grappling hook to swing from one balcony on to the next on a dirigible. Sophronia is also a very likable, smart character who you can’t help rooting for. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for a story and character that turns class and female roles in society over on its head. 

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What’s a book or series that you put off but finally read? Do you have any steampunk recommendations?

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Thank goodness it’s Friday! Yesterday I went hunting for NYCC Exclusive Funkos and found two out of four that I wanted! Today, one of the libraries near me is having a used book sale. I’m hoping to find some Stephen King and Vince Flynn books and any others that catch my fancy. πŸ˜‰

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For #grimdragon World Teacher’s Day: These characters have a lot to learn! A little late but Sophronia and the other ladies of quality in the first book have a lot to learn before they are considered “finished”. 

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For #octladylibrary Black and Orange

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Book Challenge: Darkly humorousΒ 

For #grimdragon They’re all gonna laugh at you! Darkly humorous books! When our hosts for #grimdragon Holly @the_infinite_book_dragon and Corey @grimdark_dad rave about a book, take note of it for future reference. When they rave about a book and post about it several times, that means get off your arse and read it which is what happened with Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames @thebookofeames. Holly and Corey have never led me astray so I was excited to read this one!.

If you like epic fantasy quests, you’ll enjoy this. If you like bands made up of likable, imperfect characters you will enjoy this. If you like richly detailed, unique world building, you will enjoy this. But what you will love is how these old, retired band of friends (bands of mercenaries are treated like rock stars in this story) get back together to save the daughter of one of the band members against impossible odds–one being they’re old (in comparison to the other bands) and the other being in order to save her, they have to go to a place that would give Mordor a run for its money. Despite all these issues, there is sardonic humor on nearly every page and also conveyed through the main character Clay Cooper–a member of the band who had a fierce reputation as being one of the deadliest mercenaries of all time but when the band broke up, he became a sentry guard and started a family. Needless to say, because of this attitude, Clay’s observations during the quest are both endearing and humorous at the same time.

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This was one of my favorite reads this year! What are some darkly humorous books you enjoyed? What are some of your favorites this year?

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A virus has infiltrated our house. I thought I escaped it but I’ve been fighting off a sore throat and the urge to just bury myself under blankets and sleep. If mom goes down, this whole ship will sink!

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The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

So it’s been like five minutes since I’ve talked about Rick Riordan which I need to rectify now!.

Not only are his stories funny, but they are so diverse and inclusive. As a former teacher and parent of a child with a learning disability, Rick Riordan wrote his books so that every kid could find themselves in the story. 

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I’ll have to admit, I’m a big Percy Jackson fan, and when the series ended, I was so sad! Then I heard he was going to write more books, but when I heard Percy wasn’t going to be in all of them, I admit, I wanted to punch a cloud. Percy must be in all the books!

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But, since it’s Rick Riordan and he pretty much owns my soul, I gave his other books a chance. I’m so glad that I did! Even though Percy is not in all of them (sad face), he still wrote compelling characters that I grew to love like Piper, Jason, Leo, Hazel, and Frank; or Magnus, Samirah, Hearthstone, Blitzen, and Alex; or Apollo, Meg, Will, and Nico. And they were all connected to Percy in some way so it made it a little easier to accept those stories.

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So, I was really reluctant to try the Kane Chronicles because it was new characters and new beliefs and mythology (Percy is based in Greek mythology and the Kane Chronicles is based in Egyptian). But since we’re all caught up with Rick’s other books (I’ve been reading them with my kids for a year now), we decided to start the Kane Chronicles (while we waited for Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead which comes out tomorrow!).

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And I am not too proud to admit that I’m sorry to have taken so long to start this series! We just finished The Red Pyramid and I loved Sadie and Carter and their story was trademark Rick Riordan full of humor, adventure, and of course dealings and battles with gods! We’ve already started Throne of Fire and we can tell it’s going to be another great story!

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If you’re not sure where to start, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is the first series. If The Lightening Thief has been on your TBR, what are you waiting for?! Any other Rick Riordan fans out there? πŸ™‹πŸ½ Who else is excited for Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead?

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It’s really October, isn’t it? My mind has not fully accepted this fact! πŸ™…πŸ½

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Writing update!

It’s been a while since I shared my progress on my novel! I finished my draft in August and took some time off before revising. And to be honest, when you do a thing for two years and you finish the thing, it kind of messes with you and so I had to spend some time sorting myself out. As an aspiring author, you’re goal is to finish the story. It’s different for everyone but the message is to don’t give up. But when you finish, it’s like, now what? πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ.

I had to spend some time rethinking what I wanted for my story and how I could fix it. It’s not easy because when you finish a draft (that took two years to write), it’s hard accepting that there’s still a lot of work to do.

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Once I came to terms with the fact that I needed to revise (because a part of your brain wants to be done with the thing), I took out a new notebook (because any reason to use a new notebook is the bee’s knees) and did a brain dump of all the things I wanted for this story. I spent some time hemming and hawing at the audacity of my demands (if I were the drinking type, copious amounts would have been consumed) and when I decided it was time to get down to business (read: talk myself down from the very high ledge I put my self on), I began to systematically break down my wishlist for this book into actionable tasks.

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Basically, I Hermioned the hell out of what needed to be done.

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I printed index cards summaries of each chapter (compliments of Scrivener’s index card feature), then I created an index/list in my notebook with each chapter, noting the Acts and Climax points in the story and now I’m book mapping my story–a developmental editing strategy to show where themes and other details show up in the story for consistency and pacing.

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If your eyes are crossing at this point, it all means I’m kicking ass on this revision.

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I’m actually excited for October (and not just because it’s my birthday month and Halloween 😜), but the light at the tunnel does not seem so far away now. I’m setting a goal to be done with revisions by the end of this month!

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Anyone else get excited about doing things that involve notebooks and lists? πŸ€“ Also, I was recently sorted into Ravenclaw (surprising I know), so when this Luna with the Gryffindor mask (which was where I had been previously sorted), it’s become like my mascot while I work on this book–Hermione inspires me to get things done, but Luna reminds me that there is also wisdom in taking time in the process too.