February Wrap Up! ’21

Happy end of February! My reading month was pretty decent, though I admit my blogging has suffered a bit. I’m hoping to turn it around in March, but we’ll see how it goes.

This is what I read:

Books

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin – I’m very late to this train, but I absolutely loved this book. I did a blabber on it earlier this month, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. This story takes place in a world that ends over and over again, and follows the people trying to live there.

5 stars

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett – This was another favorite of the month, I absolutely adored it. A review for this one though likely won’t be coming, just because it’s been so long since I finished it. But who knows, maybe I’ll get inspired. But I loved this book just as much as the one above – I couldn’t pick a favorite between the two.

5 stars

The Book of the Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick – Unfortunately this book really disappointed me. I picked it up off a recommendation from one of my buddies so I was hoping to love it, buuuuut I didn’t. I felt the ending was too abrupt, and the characterization was one dimensional. I tried to read this with a mindset knowing it was middle grade or just above but I feel like I would have disliked this even if I had been twelve. Sorry pal.

2 stars

Manga

Ouran High School Host Club vols 8-18 by Bisco Hatori – I finished it! I finished my reread! Well, according to Goodreads it’s my “initial” read, but I did read it back in 2006 or so during high school. This reread though showed that the series holds up over the test of time. There are definitely some jokes in it that haven’t aged well, but overall? it’s pretty good. It was just as funny and sweet as I remember, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3.25 stars – 4.5 stars each

Shaman King vol 9 by Hiroyuki Takei – I’m really trying to catch up with this series. My sister lent it to me back in like April or May, so I’d have something to read during the plague, but I’m a bad sister and haven’t binged it yet like she’d hoped. I’m hoping to get a lot farther into it in March, or even complete it. We shall see.

So far the story is pretty decent. This specific volume wasn’t my favorite but I do like the series overall.

3.25 stars

Fanfiction

No striking ones this month, but I feel like that’s going to change in March. I’ve been eyeing another DBZ fanfic, and was just waiting for the right time to start it.


2021 Reading Goals

  • Read 100 books – 24/100
  • Reduce physical fiction tbr to 185 – 215
  • Reduce manga tbr to 50 – 147
  • Maintain blog schedule – 
    • January: Good
    • February: Passable
  • Finish my 10 in 2021 list – 1/10

Stats

  • 15 things read this month
    • 3 novels
    • 12 manga
  • 9 things purchased this month
    • 3 novels
    • 6 manga
    • Total money spent: 133.80
  • Genre breakdown:
    • 3 fantasy
    • 11 shojo
    • 1 paranormal

And that’s it! Lemme know how your reading month went!

Reading Resolutions 2021!

It’s a new year! New year means new goals!

My goals this year are going to be similar to last year’s, with a few modifications and additions. I nailed last year’s goals, so I’m confident I can do this year’s as well!

  • Read 100 books – I set this goal about four months into the year last year. Originally it was 50 but with my manga reading I shot past that real quick. So I’m just going with 100 right off the bat this time.
  • Reduce physical fiction tbr to 185 – My goal in 2020 was 200, which I hit. So this year I want to knock it down more. My ultimate goal is about 20-25 books, but that’s obviously a few years off still.
  • Reduce manga tbr to 50 – This is the first time I’ve had a goal for manga. This past year I’ve read a ton of it but honestly I bought more than I read. So I’d like to knock it down to 50. As of today, not including Christmas gifts (which is about 5 volumes) my manga tbr sits at 156. So I gotta read 100 volumes to get it that low. I can totally do it, I read manga like nobody’s business.
  • Maintain blog schedule – This is an adjustment from last year in that I’m changing how often I post. In 2020, I started with three posts to week and actually increased to four. Blogmas is obviously its own thing, but otherwise, I was really feeling it after a while, posting four times per week. Honestly I spent more time on my blog than I did on reading, which kinda defeats the purpose. So for 2021, I want to post twice a week, except for special occasions.
  • Finish my 10 in 2021 list – I’ve made a list like this every year since 2015, but I’ve never completed one. The books I picked this year are really exciting, and a lot of them I have buddy reads lined up for, so I think (I hope) it’ll go well.

And that’s it for reading goals. I set some personal goals too this year, which is the first time I’ve done so in about three years. I don’t think I’m going to post them here though. I did write them down in my journal, so I hope to keep that updated every month.

Wish me luck, everyone! Lemme know what your goals are.

December Wrap Up! ’20

Happy New Year’s Eve! Less than a day, and this damned year will be over. We’re not out of the woods yet though – 2021 will be rough for a bit but we can get through it! But this year being over will still be so welcoming. It’s the mental line we’ll get to draw, boxing off the year and allowing us to progress.

Augh.

Anyways, this is what I read:

Books

Hunted by Meagan Spooner – This is a young adult fantasy with a tinge of romance. Honestly, I was expecting the romance to be a lot more heavy handed as it’s a beauty and the beast retelling, but it wasn’t as in my face as I thought. Sure it was there, but the author focused a lot more on magic and tone, and I really enjoyed it. – 4 stars

Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw – This was probably my favorite book of the month, and it was also read via audio book. The narrator was Croshaw himself, so it had that nice deadpan delivery. This book is about a magic school student that is killed, but then he ends up being revived to be an evil minion of a villain and he’s really grumpy about it. This book is laugh out loud funny and I adored it. The only issue I had with it was its use of an ableist slur, so if that’s a hard line for you, you might wanna pass on this one. – 4.5 stars

The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh – Unfortunately this was a DNF for me. I stopped about a hundred pages in. This isn’t super shocking, as the first book in the series was about a three stars for me. This one was just… awkward. – 1 star

Ouran High School Host Club vols 1-2 by Bisco Hatori – I’ve finally started this series. I read it in its entirety about fifteen years ago, so my memory is a bit fuzzy about the details, so it’s like reading it for the first time. This series follows a young woman who accidentally breaks an expense vase, and to pay her debts, ends up in her school’s host club, posing as a man and acting as a host. This has many comedic elements and if I remember correctly, an eventual romance or two. – 4 stars each

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson – This is a reread, and I read it on Christmas Day! It’s a middle grade chapter book about a children’s pageant and Christmas magic and yada yada. I enjoyed it as much as I did last time, though I didn’t care for the gender stereotypes it portrayed. Without that though, it’s super wholesome. – 4 stars

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin – This is a YA romance between a witch and a witch hunter, and takes place in France! It was a buddy read and honestly I feel like I’m missing something. The book was ok. I didn’t hate it but there were several themes within it that were a bit uh, yikesy.

But yeah, it was ok. I guess I just didn’t see what everyone else saw. – 3 stars

Other Stuff

  • I’m doing Blogmas! (duh) and I will be for the next week or so.
  • I’m on vacation and I’m seriously enjoying it.

Reading Goals

  • You’ll find out tomorrow!

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And that’s it! I’ll see you all in 2021!

November Wrap Up! ’20

Well hi!

Today’s post is a little (a lot) late – I’m not even sure if WordPress will count it as ‘being posted Nov 30th’ because their servers are 5 hours ahead of me. But know this is going up around 9pm on Nov 30, my time. I haven’t messed up Blogmas yet.

So November wrap up! I gotta warn ya: Nanowrimo was this month, so I barely read. So this should be short and sweet:

Books

Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko – Honestly this is probably my favorite book of the year so far. It’s just so weird. It follows a young girl as she’s whisked off to a school that teaches… something. It’s not really clear what, and for the majority of the book, I was totally confused. I finished the book and I’m still not sure I understand what I read.

But it was awesome. 5 stars.

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie – This was an audio book for me this month, though I do physically own a copy. This was also my first Agatha Christie book! I realized in retrospect it was one of a series but luckily they’re standalone enough that I was able to perfectly follow. I did like this – it was charming.

4 stars.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – Unfortunately I didn’t quite like this. I didn’t really dislike it either tho. It was very meh? I feel like I read this book ten years too late. I have the box set of the three but honestly I don’t know if I want to continue. If you’ve read this series – lemme know, does it get better? Worse? Stay the same?

2.75 stars.

Other Stuff

  • I won Nanowrimo!

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 164/100
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
    February – Pass
    March – Pass
    April – Pass
    May – Pass
    June – Pass
    July – Pass
    August – Pass
    September – Pass
    October – Pass
    November – Pass
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 209 – close!

And that’s it! I’ll see you tomorrow!

November Currently Reading!

Happy November! I’m currently 17k words into Nanowrimo, so my reading has taken a bit of a dip as a result. But, I am reading a few books between writing!

 

Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw – This is my current audio book, and it’s by the guy who does the Zero Punctuation videos if you’ve heard of them. He also narrates his own book so it’s that same deadpan delivery, and I think it really fits.

This is a book about a student at a magic school who gets killed right at the beginning of the book, and then is revived as undead and is pissed about it. It’s hilarious and so far I’m really enjoying it.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – In fairness I haven’t touched this in a couple weeks, and I probably won’t until Nanowrimo is over. Out of the three books I’m reading, it’s the lowest priority for sure.

But so far, it’s not bad. I’ve heard mixed things about it, so we’ll see how it goes.

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb – This is the last Hobb novel I have left, and after this I’m going to need to find something to fill the void. Like with the majority of all the other Hobb novels, I’m buddy reading this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks.

So far, I have no idea where this plot is going, but I also felt that way in the second book and ended up loving it, so I really hope this one ends well. I tend to like Hobb’s endings, so my hopes are high.

And that’s it! Like I said, my reading is currently a bit slow. It’ll pick up at the end of November – I’m ahead in Nano, so hopefully I stay that way and can finish early.

Lemme know if you’ve read any of the above! Happy reading!

Halloween Book Tag!

Tag creator can be found here!

Happy Halloween! I’m doing a tag today! I wasn’t tagged, but I linked the creator above, if you’re interested. The last time I did this tag was I think in 2015, so I figured it was okay to repeat at this point.

1. Carving pumpkins- what book would you carve up and light on fire?

Honestly I don’t think I’d do that, unless it was necessary to stay alive. Five years ago I had an answer, but now it’s just… I don’t know, I don’t feel the hate anymore, haha. Even for books I hate, if that makes sense.

2. Trick or treat- what character is a treat, what character is a trick?

Trick: Erik from The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I read this very recently and this guy is such a sneaksy person!

Treat: Spink from Forest Mage by Robin Hobb. Spink is such a wholesome little button, I love him.

3. Candy corn- what book is always sweet?

 

A Man & His Cat by Umi Sakurai – This is such a nice, wholesome story about exactly what the title says. It’s such a joy.

4. Ghosts- what character would you love to visit you as a ghost?

To be honest I’d rather do without a ghostly encounter of any kind, thanks.

5. Dressing up in costume- what character would you want to be for a day?

Honestly I’m going to go with the same thing I said five years ago: Someone from Dragon Ball Z by Akira Toriyama. It’d be cool to be that strong and be able to fly and stuff.

6. Wizards and witches- what is your favorite Harry Potter moment?

Proooobaby the whole time-turner business at the end of the book three. I really like how that played out.

7. Blood and gore- what book was so creepy that you had to take a break from it for awhile?

Apologies again for duplicate answers, but there’s really only ever been one book I had to put down because of too much gore, and that’s MPD Psycho by Eiji Otsuka. It was just a tad too much for me.

And that’s it! If you’d like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged! Happy spooky day!

October Wrap Up! ’20

Happy end of October! This month my reading did slow down a bit, but I also read all novels and graphic novels, no manga, which is the first time in a long time that happened.

This is what I read:

Books

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous – I picked this up as part of my end-of-year-MUST-REACH-TBR-GOAL frenzy. It was short so I figured I could get through it quickly. Well I did. It was ok.

3 stars

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb – I buddy ready this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks and I really liked it! This was the second book in Hobb’s soldier son trilogy and man was it gritty. Killed me. But overall, liked it. Wrote a blabber, if you’re interested!

4.25 stars

Armada by Ernest Cline – Unfortunately this one was a DNF. I tried. I tried. Augh I tried. This book felt like a teenage boy’s wet dream. And to be fair, that’s probably intentional. And I’m sure there are a large number of people who would love this.

It’s just not me.

1 star

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux – I picked this up for the same reason I picked up Go Ask Alice: it’s short.

I gotta tell ya though, I was not expecting to love this. But color me surprised, it was by far my favorite read of the month. It was eerie and spooky and heart breaking and dramatic and it was perfect. I. loved. it.

5 stars

Fence vol 3 by C. S. Pacat – Again, a short one! This is my one and only graphic novel of the month and it was pretty decent. I was able to pick it up after not having read vol 2 for literally a year and figure out where I was, so it’s got that going for it.

I’m still waiting to love this, it hasn’t happened yet, but it could potentially get there. I like it, though.

3 stars

Other Stuff

  • I’m super full right now. I had ice cream! Not really news but I enjoyed it, man.
  • Yeah I got nothin’. October was uneventful, at least to the extent that I’m comfortable sharing on the internet.

Reading Goals

  • Read 50 books – 161/100
  • Maintain a consistent posting schedule
    January – Fail
    February – Pass
    March – Pass
    April – Pass
    May – Pass
    June – Pass
    July – Pass
    August – Pass
    September – Pass
    October – Pass
  • Keep track of reading statistics – In progress
  • Reduce physical TBR to 200 – 214

And that’s it! Lemme know if you’ve read any of the above. Happy reading!

End of Year Book Tag!

Happy Saturday! I did this tag last year as well but it’s a new year, sooooo doing it again! I wasn’t tagged! Wah!

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – I started this one a couple weeks ago, but it’s fallen by the wayside because of buddy reads I’m in. I’ll finish it though!

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

I hate the word ‘autumnal’.

I choose Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko – I’m currently buddy reading this with my irl buddies Katy @Bookbinderway and Amanda @LadyCorvinous. So far I’m really digging this, and I think the other two are as well. It’s not necessarily a book that takes place during fall, but it has ‘fall vibes’ if that makes sense.

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

I don’t think so. Aside from being on a ban, preventing me from buying anything anyways, I don’t believe any of my anticipated releases for this half of the year have still to come out. Or if they do, it’s obvious it wasn’t that anticipated. There’s one manga that’s come out since going on my ban that I definitely wanna pick up as soon as the ban is over, so that’s the closest I can get to answering this question.

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb and Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin are two buddy reads I have coming up, so I’ll definitely be getting to them. Slade House by David Mitchell is… well, it’s one of the shortest books I own, and I’m like 17 books away from my TBR goal for the year, so… short books are gonna make up a lot of my reading for the rest of the year. Hwe hwe. Slade House gives me spooky vibes too so I’m hoping it’ll be good for fall-y season.

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

Honestly Vita Nostra, mentioned above, might just do it. I wasn’t expecting to love it but it’s surprised me so far. We’ll see how the ending is – it’s gonna make or break it.

Have you already started making reading plans for 2021?

Tentative ones, yes (This is the exact same phrasing I used to answer this last year).

If I achieve my TBR goal, I’ll set another, lower one. I also plan on making a manga TBR goal, and a buying-restriction of some kind. Not an outright ban but maybe like a ‘5 books a month’ thing or something. I’m not quite sure yet.

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And that’s it! If you’d like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged!

 

Top 10 books I read because my best friend peer pressured me into it

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl

Happy Tuesday! Today’s topic is books I read because my best friend made me recommended them to me. She peer pressured me, I tell ya! Originally I was just gonna make a ‘books that people recommended to me’, which is what the topic technically is this week, and then I started making the list and realized that nine out of every ten books I’ve been recommended in my life were by her. She has this habit of showing up with a literal bag full of books when she visits, going ‘hey I want you to borrow these’. So she gets her own post I guess. She doesn’t read my blog so she’ll never see this anyways. But hey thanks pal for all these books, you fiend.

PS I have multiple best friends, some who do read this blog, so other besties don’t worry I still love you, even if you recommend me fewer books, pbtbtbtbt.

These are in no particular order.

Livingstone by Tomohiro Maekawa – This is a four volume urban fantasy-y, paranormal-y manga about souls, and how they interact with their fates and the living. I wrote a full, spoiler-free blabber on it where I give an actual decent synopsis, so if you’re interested, check that out. This is definitely a unique manga and I do recommend it if you like philosophical topics being thrown into your reading (and handled well, at that).

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik – Anyone who’s been around my blog for any length of time will probably recognize this title, as it’s one of my favorite books of all time. Aaaand yes, she recommended it to me, originally, back in 2008 or 2009 or something. This is the first book in an amazing nine book historical fantasy series about dragon warfare during the Napoleonic era.

Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat – I realize this book is very polarizing to readers – some hate it and some love it. I am in the love it camp. When I originally borrowed this from my buddy I buzzed through it in like a day or two and then ended up getting my own copies so she could have hers back.

Saiyuki by Kazuya Minekura – This is a nine volume manga series set in almost-our-world, about a group of four people, two demons, a half demon and a human, who go on a quest into the east to discover why all the demons in the world have suddenly become bloodthirsty and insane. This is a really good series with deep characterization and meaningful bonds. I really, really liked this one. I did a full blabber on this too!

Scar Night by Alan Campbell – Hey look, another ‘favorite book of all time’ book. My buddy has a nice track record when it comes to recommending me books, but at the same time she also has a horrible track record. I tend to either absolutely love or absolutely hate the things, and luckily this one was firmly in the ‘I love it’ camp. This is one of the most underhyped books I have – I’ve never seen anyone else talking about it. You should really pick it up, man. It’s a dark steampunk-ish fantasy about renegade angels and false gods set in a city dangling over a seemingly bottomless abyss, held up only by large, ancient chains whose origins are unknown. It’s really, really, really good.

The Demon Ororon by Mizuki Hasake – This is a four volume manga series (shown above is the bindup of all of them) about a romance between a devil and the orphaned daughter of Michael the archangel. It takes place in modern day and has a very sedated, melancholy feel to it. My buddy first recommended me this back in high school and I loved it. I read it again probably a handful of years ago now and still really enjoyed it. This is a good one.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – This is a bit of a unique take on zombie apocalypse. It deals with religious cults and societal expectation, and also goes into the horrors of well, zombies. This is a solidly good one.

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice – I just read this book in its entirety for the first time earlier this year or late last year or something. I don’t remember, it’s all blurring together. But originally, I was recommended this in high school. During that time I read about half of it, remember liking it, and then had to give the book back or got distracted or something. I don’t quite remember why I didn’t finish it. But anyways, actually finished it now, and I love this book.

Hotel Africa by Hee Jung Park – This is the most recent recommendation from my buddy that I’ve loved. Originally I read it last year or so, and then more recently maybe last month. This is a slow moving, introspective manga about a young boy and his mother, who run a hotel out in the middle of the desert, and the people who show up there. It’s really, really good.

Hands Off! by Kasane Katsumoto – I’m actually reading this series right now, on and off. Again, originally, I was recommended it in high school and remember loving it. So technically this is a reread but man it’s been so long that I remember nothing about it, so it’s like reading it for the first time again. I’m pretty entertained by it so far.


And that’s it! I pruned this list down to ten books and series, but honestly this friend of mine has recommended me probably a grand total of one out of every four books I’ve ever read. She’s basically made it her job to make me read things.

If you’ve read any of the above, do let me know! Happy reading!

Spoopy Memes Book Tag v2! [Original]

Around this time last year, I created the original Spoopy Memes Book Tag, and I think it went over pretty well – I got to see a lot of answers and found a bunch of new bloggers to follow! So this year I’m re-creating it with all new questions and memes!

If you’d like to check out the original tag, go here! If you’d like to do that tag, do it!

  • If you do this year’s tag, please link back to me so I can see your answers!
  • Feel free to use the banner (and I highly recommend also copying the memes. That’s the whole point!)

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spoopymeme1

Name a character that keeps repeating the same mistakes, despite having multiple opportunities to prevent them

I’m choosing Fitz from Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy (and every other book he’s in by her). Fitz has this habit of getting an idea in his head and going with it, despite those around him making other well thought out plans. He consistently feels like his impulsive actions will have better results than anything anyone else comes up with. He’s annoyingly consistent with this, despite his impulsivity often being his downfall.

spoopymeme2

Name a book where the characters got their just desserts

I’m definitely going with Goblin Slayer by Kousuke Kurose, and the characters I’m referring to are the goblins themselves. I mean, what did they think was gonna happen after consistently stealing people and killing people and doing terrible things to people?

spoopymeme4

Name a book that tries to put a positive spin on something terrible

Hands Off! by Kasane Katsumoto does this pretty well I think. One of the characters in this series can see images of the past. For instance, he avoids hospitals and the like because every time he’s in there, he just sees and hears people dying and the cries of the families around them. He’s a rather disturbed character as a result of always seeing these phantoms of past violent acts, understandably. The book spins it though, as because of this skill, this character is often also able to track down people that have gone missing and prevent further acts of violence, by seeing where they were beforehand and who they were with. This is a pretty interesting series, honestly.

spoopymeme3

Name a book that delves into an existential topic

I chose I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino, because despite the title of the thing, this is a pretty serious manga. The main character comes across the journal of a girl who has terminal pancreatic disease, and knows she is going to die. The story deals with the mentality of someone who knows their life is almost over, and also deals with being that person’s loved one. Obviously this book is a tear jerker, and it’s definitely worth reading.

spoopymeme5

What trope or theme in a book do you really like that you don’t feel gets enough attention?

It’s kinda hard to put it into just a few words to give this trope an actual name, but I really love it when a book dives into the thought process of a character that originally you feel like is going to be a hero, but then turns out to be an anti-hero. I get that the anti-hero trope is pretty common, but I haven’t really read too much where you can see them turning into one enough so that the character themselves realizes they fully aren’t ‘good’ anymore, and has to deal with the mental crisis that they themselves might be a monster. I’ve chosen The Traitor Baru Cormorant as my example here, because I’m seeing heavy, heavy hints of this in books one and two. Three is out now and I haven’t read it yet, but my hopes are high man.

spoopymeme7

Name a characters whose humor is consistently underappreciated by those around them

I chose Kip from Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series. Now, Kip is written to be funny. I think he’s hilarious and I’m sure so do many others, but a lot of the characters don’t really react to his sense of humor, which is rather self-deprecating. Personally, I think he’s a hoot. Most of the characters things he’s weird.

spoopymeme6

Name a book (or two or three) that has helped you get through this year

Black Butler, The Harp of Kings and Shaman’s Crossing all have. This year obviously has been a rough one for everyone, but I gotta tell ya, I’ve read some really good books this year. The three I’ve named here are really up there among them. They’re just so engrossing and I got obsessed with them to the point where it helped me pass the time. And boom, now it’s October. There are so many more books I could name here as well, but honestly that might be a separate post.

spoopymemes8

What are your plans for Halloween this year if you celebrate it? How do you plan on spending what’s left of October?

I decorated my house this year, moreso than just putting up a pumpkin, which I’ve never done before. I will also likely going to be seeing a buddy and watching a scary movie. Other than that, nothing really. I haven’t decided if I’m gonna give out candy for trick or treat or not this year because of the plague. Maybe I’ll just throw snickers at children from the second story window? :”D

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And that’s it! I’m going to tag people below, but if I miss you and you’d like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged!

I tag (also, you should follow):

Peer pressure, do it