4/28/15

Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who Are Badass


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's topic is top ten characters who are _________ and I chose BADASS.  Having recently finished Heir of Fire, I am all about kickass female heroines these days.  If you love these types of books, read on!

1. Celeana Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
Of course the top spot on this list belongs to the Celeana.  She's fiercely loyal, a kickass assassin and she loves to read!

2. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Hermione kicks ass with her MIND, solving problems and riddles like nobody's business.

3. Ismae from the His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers
I have only read Grave Mercy so far in this series; however, I imagine that the characters from the next two series will be equally badass!

4. Tris from the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
Tris is the definition of a badass female character!

5. Katniss from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Ditto for Katniss!

6. Karou from the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor
Although Karou is a sensitive artist, she also has to deal with a lot of trials and heartache throughout this trilogy, which makes her a pretty kickass heroine in my books.

7. Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Pretty much all the characters (Scarlet, Cress, Iko, etc.) are pretty badass, but since Cinder is the main character in the first book, I chose her for this list.

8. June from the Legend trilogy by Marie Lu
It's been quite a long time since I read the first book in this series, but I remember June standing out as a pretty awesome female character!

9. Clary from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Clary starts off a bit wimpy, in my opinion, but quickly becomes a strong female character.

10. Astrid from White Oleander by Janet Fitch
I struggled to think of one more YA character, and then realized that Astrid is the ULTIMATE badass female character!  This girl goes through SO MUCH insanity over the course of the story, and emerges on the other end a completely different person from how she was in the beginning of the novel.

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4/23/15

Things We Know By Heart - Jessi Kirby

I've had a copy of Golden sitting on my shelf since shortly after its release date.  I bought it based on all the positive reviews that I'd seen from bloggers whose recommendations I trust, so I knew that I would love it too.  Yet, for some reason, the book remains unread!  I even went through two summers where I craved nothing but contemporary standalones, and still this book remains on my TBR pile.

When I saw Things We Know by Heart pop up on Edelweiss, I have no idea what compelled me to download it.  I had previously decided to be very careful about how many review books to take on, and had basically decided to only download books by authors that I had previously read or books that I was really excited about reading.  I'd heard nothing about this book, and only grabbed on a whim because I just know that I will love Golden....whenever I get around to reading it.

I am SO GLAD that I took a chance on this book, and am now determined to read every last word that Jessi Kirby has read.  This book was absolutely fantastically written.  I did have a couple of problems with the plot because I found some elements of the story to be predictable, but the writing is absolutely flawless.  In fact, it's been quite a while since a book has inspired me to grab a pen and jot down a few quotes; I scribbled down several beautiful quotes from this book!

This is the one that started the waterworks though, and kept me thinking long after I'd finished the final pages: it's terrifying to realize how much your world is wrapped up in loving another person.  This quote really resonated with me and I paused on that line for quite a well, letting the words settle.  It's true in my life; I love both my husband and my son so incredibly much, that it does scare me sometimes how intense those feelings really are.  My husband and I have mentioned that to each other a few times, about how devastated we would be if we were to lose each other.  There are no words that could possibly explain how that would make me feel, and it's something that I don't even want to think about, but we were being realistic and talking about the what-ifs in the world, and making sure that the other person would be okay.  (As we always do, we then lightened the mood by deciding that my husband would end up a chess-playing recluse with 27 cats, always yelling at the kids to get off his lawn while shaking his cane in the air!)  To bring this back to the book again, I just love how Jessi managed to pack so much emotion and feeling and thoughtfulness into her prose, and I am definitely looking forward to checking out the rest of her work!

Hope this rambling review makes sense to you all -- I had to type it out immediately after finishing the book, while the ideas and thoughts are all fresh in my (slightly rambling) mind.

If you haven't tried any of Jessi Kirby's work, don't be like I was and push her down the TBR list.  Take the plunge -- I assure you that you won't regret it!

Note: I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The fact that I received a review copy of this book did not influence my opinions in any way.

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4/22/15

On My Nightstand - April 22

Although I'm not really writing reviews these days, On My Nightstand is a bi-weekly feature that allows me to share what I'm currently reading, some thoughts on what I just finished reading and what's coming up next from my TBR pile.

On my nightstand:

I recently watched the City of Bones movie (finally!) which renewed my love for the Mortal Instruments world, so I thought I'd finally tackle the final book in the series, City of Heavenly Fire.  I've been listening to it on audio on my drives to and from work, plus reading the book in between, which is helping me get through this chunker of a book a bit quicker!  The audio of A Storm of Swords finally came in again at the library, so I'm determined to finish the book this time around.

I have my book club meeting tonight, where we're discussing Christopher Moore's Lamb (even though I couldn't finish it in time) but tonight I'm jumping into Leigh Bardugo's Ruin and Rising!

Recently shelved as read:

You guys, I finally FINALLY read Requiem!  Last year, I shared a post on my struggles with forcing myself to read certain books and you guys chimed in with similar feelings!  I was so grateful to know that I wasn't alone with feeling overwhelmed by certain books that I knew I SHOULD read, but just couldn't force myself to pick up.  I often feel that way about series, and Requiem was a book that I wanted to read, but the longer I avoided it, the more I was building it up in my head to be disappointed.  And you know what?  I actually really liked it!  I loved being swept up in Lauren Oliver's writing again, and I thought it was a beautiful conclusion to the series.

I also read Leigh Bardugo's Siege & Storm -- I'm loving the series binging that I've been doing lately!  Her storytelling is so beautiful and I love being swept up in this magical world.

I also finished Challenger Deep, which I reviewed last week.

Calling my name from the shelf:

I'm hoping that Ruin & Rising doesn't give me a book hangover!  I'm not sure which book to dive into next ... here are my choices -- help me choose?

  1. Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers.  I read, and enjoyed, Grave Mercy earlier this year and I do want to continue in this series.
  2. The Young Elites by Marie Lu.  I recently gobbled up the entire Legend trilogy, and I love her writing.
  3. The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons.  After so many amazing series, maybe I should do a standalone?
How about you?  What are you reading this week!  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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4/21/15

Top Ten All-Time Favourite Authors


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Today's topic is a hard one -- my top ten all-time favourite authors!

1. Lauren Oliver
Although I didn't LOVE Panic, and still haven't read either Rooms or Vanishing Girls, my love for Before I Fall and Delirium have solidified Lauren as one of my all-time favourite authors.

2. Sarah J. Maas
I'm relatively new to the Throne of Glass bandwagon, but holy crap this girl can write!  I'm counting down the days until A Court of Thorns & Roses, which will hopefully tide me over until Queen of Shadows is released.

3. Andrew Davidson
This man has only written one book, The Gargoyle, but WHAT A BOOK.  I've read it three times, and it is absolutely one of my all-time favourite books!

4. Ann-Marie MacDonald
I still haven't found the words to review her latest release, Adult Onset, but a review will be forthcoming, as a finished copy was kindly sent to me for review by Random House.  Fall on Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies are two of my all-time favourite books, and she Canadian, eh?

5. Jojo Moyes
Again, I still haven't read all of her books, but I've loved each and every one that I have read thus far, so I'm sure that the rest of her books are just as phenomenal.

6. Katie Cotugno
I loved How to Love when I read it last year, and was equally dazzled by her upcoming release 99 Days.  She's now an auto-buy author for me.

7. Kate DiCamillo
Kate is a middle grade author, but The Tale of Desperaux and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane top my all-time favourite books list forever and ever.  

8. Sarah Dessen
I have yet to read her latest release, but I have read and loved all of her other books.  There's just something about the way she weaves the perfect contemporary story.

9. J.K. Rowling
I considered not adding her to this list, as I tried reading The Casual Vacancy and gave up after only a chapter or two; however, my love for the Harry Potter series necessitates having her on this list.

10. Jodi Picoult
Again, I contemplated leaving Jodi off this list, because some of her more recent releases haven't been as spectacular as some of her older books, but I loved Nineteen Minutes and Second Glance SO much that I had to include her.  We can't all be perfect all the time, and her great books definitely make up for the ones that were only okay.

Are any of your favourite authors on my list?  Do you consider an author to be a favourite, even if you haven't loved all of his or her books?  Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by!
 
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4/20/15

99 Days - Katie Cotugno

I read, and absolutely loved, Katie's debut novel, How to Love, when I read it last summer.  There's something about the way that she writes her characters; they just hit you in your gut, grab hold of your heart and refuse to let go, even long after you've savoured the last page of the story.

99 Days is a truly fantastic follow-up novel to her epic debut.  Molly has returned to her hometown for the summer leading up to college, a hometown that she ran from a year earlier after the messiest break-up one could possibly imagine.  The countdown is on: 99 days until she departs from college, during which time she plans to lay low and watch every documentary possible on Netflix.  Each chapter is a day in Molly's life, which gives the novel the perfect pacing and reads seamlessly and beautifully.

I can't rave enough about this novel or the writing.  If you haven't yet sampled Katie's writing, start with this book, or start with How to Love, but definitely give her a shot.  Her books will stay with you and carve out a spot on your favourites shelf for sure.

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4/19/15

On Bookish Distractions

Reading is, and has always been, my favourite hobby.  Now that I'm a mom, and I work full-time, I have a lot less reading time than I used to.  Gone are the days of my childhood where I could spend hours a day with my nose buried in a book.  Now I'm a grown-up and I have other priorities, like cleaning the house, grocery shopping and paying bills.  Only after the chores are done for the day, and my son is tucked into bed for the night, do I have a blissful hour to myself to read before I head to bed.

Lately though, I've been distracted by other things.  Bookish things, but things that are taking away that precious reading time.  I'm sure that some of you share my bookish distractions, so I thought I'd confess them here:

  • BookTube.  I love the blogging community, but have lately discovered ANOTHER reading community on YouTube.  I love that this corner of the Internet is called BookTube, and have spent hours watching book hauls, unboxing, and TBR videos.  In fact, I started to feel like I was spending more time watching people talk about reading, than the time I actually spent reading!
  • Book Outlet.  Ever since my very first book order last month, I have spent a lot of time combing through the site, looking to see if there's any new books that I'd like to order.  I received a $5 coupon with my order, and I think it's burning a hole in my pocket!
  • Goodreads.  I don't spend a ton of time on Goodreads, but I do like popping on to see what my friends are reading, or have recently added to their TBRs.
  • Instagram.  I'm new to Instagram, and still haven't quite figured it all out, but I love checking out my feed each day, especially beautiful bookish pics!
Do you suffer from any of these bookish distractions?  I have enjoyed the time that I've spent on all of these sites, but I'm definitely going to be focussing on more reading time and less time online being distracted by bookishness!  How do you balance it all?  Last year, I shared about feeling out of the loop, and I feel that these bookish distractions are along the same vein.  I still haven't been on Twitter in who knows how long, and most of my online time is spent watching, rather than interacting.  Instagram is definitely allowing me to connect a bit more, which I'm loving, but I do feel a bit shy just jumping back into a community that I love, but have been absent from for so long.  How do you guys juggle it all?  Let me know in the comments below -- hopefully I'm not the only one who struggles with this =)


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4/16/15

Challenger Deep - Neal Shusterman

When I first added this book to my "to-read" shelf on Goodreads, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it already had an average rating of over 4 stars, months before publication.  I originally downloaded this book because I loved Neal Shusterman's Unwind, which I read years ago.

Neal Shusterman is a master storyteller, but this book is nothing like the dystopian world of Unwind.  Challenger Deep is the story of Caden Bosch, whose story is best summarized by the book's description:

Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.
This book is hard to read because the story is all over the place, just like Caden's mind.  But in amongst the chaos the reader will find nuggets of brilliant writing and profound wisdom, which makes this book worth the read.  Although I'm not a fan of bookish comparisons, if you liked Hilary T. Smith's Wild Awake, the sleeper hit of a couple of years ago, then this one has a similar feel.  It's not an easy read, but one that will stick with you long after the final pages have been savoured.

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4/14/15

Top Ten Inspiring Book Quotes


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Today's topic is inspiration book quotes.  I love a good book quote, but am lazy about writing them down, mainly because I'm usually devouring the story and can't be bothered to grab a notebook and pen.  Thanks to Goodreads' quotes section, I pulled out these quotes, which I remember striking a chord with me when I originally read them.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

She was the heir of ash and fire and she would bow to no one.
~ Sarah J. Maas, Heir of Fire

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
~ Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”
~ A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
~ Neil Gaiman, Coraline

The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
~ Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

“As he read, I feel in love the way you fall asleep: slow, and then all at once.”
~ John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”
~ Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

“You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not.”  
~ Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

“One must always be careful of books," said Tessa, "and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” 
~ Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

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4/8/15

On My Nightstand - April 8

Although I'm not really writing reviews these days, On My Nightstand is a bi-weekly feature that allows me to share what I'm currently reading, some thoughts on what I just finished reading and what's coming up next from my TBR pile.


On my nightstand:


I'm savouring the last few pages of Champion, and then I'm jumping back into Neal Shusterman's Challenger Deep.  It's a weird, but strangely good book so far -- I'm still on the fence about whether I'm going to love it or hate it, but I'm intrigued enough to keep reading!

I also started A Storm of Swords on audio and read quite a big chunk of it, but I can never get through the entire audiobook in a three-week loan period (even when I volunteer for filing duty at work, just so that I can listen while I work!)  I want to finish reading the book before the show starts up again this weekend, since the final few chapters will encompass the final episodes of last season.


Recently shelved as read:


What are YOU reading this week?  Please leave me a comment below!
Omigosh, I finished Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone and OMG you guys.  I originally picked this book up back in 2012, but returned it to the library because I just couldn't get into it.  Lauren @ Lose Time Reading just loves this book and since I know she's as inexperienced with fantasy as I am, I decided to give it a second shot.  Boy, am I glad I did, because the story and the character sucked me in, and I ordered a copy of the next two books after only reading 100 pages!  While waiting for Siege and Storm to arrive in the mail, I gobbled up the prequel novellas: The Demon in the Wood and The Witch of Duva.

I also re-read Legend by Marie Lu on audiobook while I was completing my practicum (checking off an inventory list of dusty, smelly boxes necessitates some good audibookish distraction!) and I love, love loved it even more the second time.  Re-reading my review from 2012 (yikes!) reminded me of how I used to be SO excited for book 2 to come out, but then the excitement of reading on in the series faded as the months went by.  I've binged a couple of series over the past six-ish months, and I really love this feeling of getting utterly and completely lost in a world for an extended period of time.  So, I immediately leapt into reading Prodigy and then Champion, excited to keep the momentum going!

Calling my name from the shelf:


As soon as my Book Outlet order comes in, I will be diving into Siege and Storm, followed by Ruin and Rising.  I can't get enough of the Grisha world!


How about you?  What are you reading this week!  Let's chat in the comments below and thanks for stopping by!

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4/7/15

Top Ten Characters I'd Like to Check In With


Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Today's topic is characters that I'd like to check in with ... the book/series is over, but I still wonder what's going on in these characters' lives...

1. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, etc. etc.
I still desperately wish that J.K. Rowling would write just.one.more.book.  Just one more?  Is that too much to ask?

2. Celeana Sardothien from Throne of Glass
Luckily, I will get the opportunity to see what she's up to when Queen of Shadows comes out in the fall, but until then I'll be in withdrawal!

3. Louisa from Me Before You
I recently found out that Jojo Moyes is publishing a sequel to this phenomenal book, so I'm looking forward to getting to know Louisa a little better.

4. Samantha from Before I Fall
This is one of my all-time favourite books, and I would love to spend a little more time with Samantha.

5. Macy from The Truth About Forever
My heart shattered at the end of this book, and I would love to sit down with Macy and find out how she was feeling after the final pages of the story.

6. Leah and Adah from The Poisonwood Bible
I love these twins so so much and, although the book wrapped up so well that I was fully satisfied, I would love to check in with these two and see a bit more of the world through their eyes.

7. Astrid from White Oleander
This book is at the top of my favourites pile, and is the only book that I finished and immediately flipped back to the first page to start it all over again, just because I couldn't bear to have it end.  I would love to have another installment of Astrid's story.

8. Christopher from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Christopher's world view is so unique and memorable, and I would love to see how he grew up.

9. August from Wonder
Just like Christopher, I need to see how August grew up!

10. Katniss from The Hunger Games
Although Mockingjay wasn't my favourite of the series, and I felt that it could have just been a standalone rather than a trilogy, I would like to see if Katniss is still as badass as she was in the first installments!

What about you?  Which characters would you like to check in with?  Thanks for stopping by! 

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4/4/15

Book Haul [17]

I've done a bad, bad thing you guys.  After watching a lot of book hauls on YouTube, I decided to look at the website for Book Outlet, which is a site that a lot of people have purchased books from at crazy low prices.  I kept my spending to a minimum; however, I can definitely see myself ordering more books from here in the future!  Here's what I bought for my very first order...






Siege & Storm and Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo
I was loving Shadow & Bone so much that I ordered these two books when I was only 100 or so pages into the book.  I can't WAIT to read the rest of this beautiful series!

Lux Beginnings by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Confession: I have yet to read a JLA book, even though I've had Half-Blood sitting on my shelves for YEARS.  I've seen these bind-ups around the blogosphere, and they're SPARKLY.  Honestly, the aliens concept creeps me out a little, but I've heard that they're good books, even for those that don't really like aliens?  Thoughts?

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
This is the first Sarah Dessen novel that I ever read, and I don't own many of her books.  I couldn't pass up the chance to own this book (and for so little money!) so I happily added this one to my cart.

Thanks for stopping by and please let me know what's new on your shelves!  Have a great weekend!

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4/2/15

Life of a Blogger - Astrology


My good friend, Jessi, over at Novel Heartbeat runs this awesome feature as a way for her followers to get to know her better!  Check out the list of upcoming topics here.

Today's topic is astrology -- what a fun topic!  I used to be more into astrology than I am today.  I read my horoscope every morning, and read quite a few books on the topic.  Over the years, I have become a bit more jaded about whether or not astrology is true.  I am a Pisces and have found that a lot of the things written about Pisces are quite true.  My husband is also a Pisces, and I find that we get along quite well because at our core we are quite similar, even if we do have very different personalities.  I've had a more in-depth reading done of my astrology, centered more around the specific location where I was born and where all the planets were in relation to one another at the moment that I was born, and found that that was much more accurate than the daily horoscopes.  I'm definitely intrigued by the whole concept of astrology, even if I am a bit skeptical too =)

What about you?  Do you believe in astrology?

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4/1/15

February and March Wrap-Up!

I had intended to do monthly wrap-ups; however, February disappeared in a haze of sniffles and coughing and blogging was the first thing to fall behind.  Thankfully, our family is all fully healthy again and it's time to see what I've been up to over the past two months!

The Books

Books Read: 8 (The Rosie Effect, Choose Your Own Autobiography, Orphan Train, Stolen, Heir of Fire, 99 Days, Things We Know By Heart and Lolita)
Of these books, five were books that were from my own shelves (although three were acquired recently).  Only one book was borrowed from the library, and it was an audiobook -- I never buy those.

Books Acquired: 6 (The Assassin's Blade, The Glass Arrow, The Young Elites, Fairest, Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and Lolita)
I have acquired a total of 9 books so far this year, and have already read 4 of them.  In all fairness, my birthday book haul only arrived recently and, while I have been slogging through Lolita for book club, I keep eyeing the pile of lovely new books on my nightstand and am determined to jump into those as soon as possible!

The Challenges

Prequel & Sequel Challenge: +12 points (2 + 10 for finishing the Rosie Project duology!)
Flights of Fantasy: 1 more book read (Heir of Fire) for a total of 3 books so far!
TBR Challenge: 2 more books off my shelves, for a total of 5 so far!

The Blog

A cold that dragged on for three weeks prevented me from either blogging or reading too much, so I only shared four posts in the entire month of February.  The posts that I did share were a lot of fun to put together, including the TBR Tag and my top ten book related problems.  I also shared my routines and organization (or lack thereof) as part of Jessi @ Novel Heartbeat's Life of a Blogger meme.

I returned to blogging in March with enthusiasm, and shared my birthday book haul as well as my spring TBR pile and some favourite books from my childhood.   I shared two more Life of a Blogger posts about nature and dreams.  Finally, I shared a list of recent additions to my TBR, as well as a new-ish feature where I share my thoughts on what I'm currently reading, recently read and upcoming reads.  Finally, Marko Monday made another appearance!

The Other Stuff

Other than a volley of germs, things have been pretty quiet!  We celebrated Marko's second birthday at the beginning of February, and he had a blast with all his friends at a local indoor play gym.  My husband spent the past two weeks at home with him over Spring Break, and they had so much fun.  It was hard to leave for work every day when I knew that they were going to the park, the river, the mall and all kinds of fun places.

I started my practicum for school and am grateful that my job has let me take a short leave of absence so that I can complete this program requirement.  I have been placed in Special Collections at a local university's library and, while it's not the most stimulating setting, I'm trying to stay positive and make the best of it.

Now that spring has arrived, and the evenings are getting longer, I'm looking forward to more outside time with the family!  We're heading to my hometown for the Easter long weekend, and I'm looking forward to tying up the final pieces of my practicum coursework so that I can have ALL SUMMER OFF!

Hope your spring is off to a great start too, and thank you for stopping by!

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