Saturday, January 31, 2015

Book Nerd Loneliness

Let me introduce to you to a short list of the worst nightmares of a book nerd.

1. No one to talk to about books. This is every reader's worst nightmare. When you read an awesome awesome AWESOME book (see: Snow Like Ashes) and there is NO ONE to talk to about/obsess over it. It's hard. Painful. Lonely.

2. People don't know what's happening to you. All that internal screaming? The bottled up emotions that you're experiencing because of that plot twist or cliff hanger? No one understands the torment you're going through. And it gets better when these things start to have an effect on your life. "Why is Erika lying on the ground?" BECAUSE MY HEART WAS SLAUGHTERED BY CHARACTERS AND EVENTS AND I CANNOT MOVE ON IN LIFE.

3. People that don't understand books. Yes, I get overly emotional when I finish a good book. No, that does not make me crazy. "Oh, it's just a book," they say. "It's not real." 

4. "Lower literature"/Judging. This one bugs me the most. There are so many people against YA, and I've even heard of some articles about how people who reach 21 should be "ashamed of reading young adults books." That's ridiculous. There's nothing wrong with reading about first loves, about being bewildered and overwhelmed and feeling out of control. So it's unrealistic. So what? I don't know about the rest of the world, but I like being swept away into different realities, I like reading about the different ways people can grow up under fictional circumstances. I like using my imagination. I like the endless possibilities that are presented to me. And I like YA books. They say you're only young once, but in the case of YA, you can be forever young. So yes, I read YA. Is there a problem?

Basically, this is just me complaining about my lack of YA book friends. Which is crazy, because I know there are tons of people online, but nothing ever really compares to being able to physically sit down with some, face-to-face, and simply talk and gush and everything. I know, I know, you're saying I should join a book club. I should. But that consists of taking time out of my schedule when I could be reading...

What do you guys think? Am I being too immature here? Unrealistic? Whiney? Gone too far into "la-la" land? (that's a direct quote from someone I know who called me that) Let me know your thoughts, and if you have any other book nerd issues, I'd love to hear them! :)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sentinel Review: Alex

War is brewing.
The godly kind.
And I'm in the middle of it.

I'm the deciding piece in this war.

I'm the one able to stop it.

But it will come with a heavy price.

I have to choose.
The destruction of everything I hold dear.
Or the destruction of me.

My name is Alexandria Andros.
Hey all! Today, I'm Alex from the final book in the Covenant Series!

Name: Sentinel
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Convenant Series
Book status: Book 5 (final)
Setting: New York...or maybe South Dakota... Okay, I admit, I don't know. Somewhere in the US, modern day.
Genre: YA supernatural/mythology/fantasy/paranormal. Wow, that's confusing.
POV: first person, told by Alex

Reading: re-read
Favorite line: "This is everyone's fight. Because it's everyone's future."
Rating: 5 stars

Why, hello hello! How are you all? Ready to start a war? Because Alex sure is.

I'm one of those people who loves a good war at the end of a series. Don't judge; I just feel like it brings finality and proper closure to the whole good vs evil thing. Okay, so there wasn't as epic of a war here like in Lord of the Rings or something, but there still was the whole the-cavalry-is-coming-and-they're-taking-you-down aspect, which is close enough. Well, minus the horses. It's set in the modern day, so no horses.

Back to Alex. For one, she is epic. Like, she takes epicness to a whole different level. Kind of helps that she a) has been training her whole life b) controls five elements (that's five, as in five bloody elements) and c) is sort of a God Killer. Bam. If that isn't a recipe for a butt-kicking heroine, I don't know what is. She's straight out snarky, running her tongue at both appropriate and inappropriate places (inappropriate makes her funny), being brutally honest about things. Smart, snarky, and overall butt-kicking. Done.

But, like always, she isn't without flaws. I'm not going to go into the nitty gritty details of her flaws, but seeing as this is the last book of the series, it's been really nice to see the development of her character. How she's gone from being impulsive for her own kicks to being impulsive for everyone's good. She's made her peace about a lot of things, like her mom, handling stupid comments, and being used like a pawn. And I enjoyed it.

Moving on to the ending. That. Ending. Complete man-slaughtered my heart, in a good way. It was just...that ending. That's all I'm going to say, because I'm not giving out any spoilers here. But this is my, what, third time re-reading this? And every time, that ending has me. My heart just swells and ugh, the feels. The feels.

Also, words cannot describe the feeling I have for Aiden. I just...can't. Why doesn't a guy like him exist in this world? A super kind person who cares about everyone and also is freaking ninja. Like, holy crap, he can easily pummel just about anyone. Plus he wields fire. Hello? That's hot, pun intended. This guy proves that chivalry isn't dead in fictional modern day characters, though sadly, I can't say the same for the majority of the non-fictional modern day guys in the world. Sigh. But still. Gods above, Aiden is the picture of perfection. Unrealistic in the real world, but perfect. Perfect. Which is why Aiden and Alex make the most adorable couple. Adorable. Wow, I'm just parroting myself a lot here, aren't I?

Bottom line: in the event of a Greek-god-sort-of-apocalypse, call Alexandria Andros. And Aiden too. Because they make on god-killing deadly duo.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Days of Blood & Starlight Review: Karou

I finally know who--and what--I am.
The truth, at last.
And all the pain it comes with.

Before, I was in love.
In love with an angel, a seraphim. 
In love with the enemy.

We dreamed of a world together.
A world with no bloodshed between species.
If only.

He betrayed me.
And the world suffered for it.
I have to decide how far I'll go to avenge it.

My name is Karou.
Hello, my friends! Today, I am Karou, who's name happens to also mean hope.

Book: Days of Blood & Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Book Status: Book 2
Setting: Human world and Eretz (fictional)
Genre: YA fantasy
POV: third person, mostly from Karou and Akiva

Reading: first time
Favorite line: "As long as you're alive, there's always a chance things will get better"
Rating: 4 stars

You got to admit, that title? Simply amazing. "Days of blood & starlight". So very epic.

This story is quite unique. When I first picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone (book 1), I thought that this was going to be the regular human-girl-falls-in-love-with-an-angel kind of thing. Nope. It's so much more. There's an entire world full of chimaera, something I was not expecting. And let's be honest, how many books out there are about chimaera, let alone chimaera and angels? Not that many.

Enter Karou. Karou isn't really your average heroine. For one, her role in the book sets her apart from all the others. The job of building/resurrecting a monstrous army isn't the typical heroine stuff. And when you can do that, well, you get into a whole bunch of issues like being forced to resurrect people you don't like or for some reason being unable to resurrect people you want to. Add that to the fact that you're also harbouring some very bitter thoughts from your ex-love, who may or may not have done some really terrible things to your people. Yeah. Complicated things like that.

What I particularly liked about this book was the setting. Yes, it is partially set in the fictional world of Eretz where the angels and chimaera live, but it also corresponds to modern-day Earth. Where about on Earth, you say? Morocco, Africa. Or the kasbahs there, anyways. Bottom line is that it's in an uncommon place, a place people normally don't write about. The first book, set in Prague in the human world, is another example. These are places most people don't travel to because they've never been exposed to it. They definitely need some more love, and this book is providing it. 

You know how you can travel to different places through books? Well, I can now add both Prague and Africa to the list along with England, Japan, Italy, Greece, and many more. My passport is quite impressive, isn't it? Where have you guys been through books? Let me know!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On the Fence Review: Charlie

I live with my dad and three brothers.
I can match them all wit for wit, sport for sport.
I'm their equal, even though I'm a girl.

One speeding ticket happens.
And I'm stuck working it off.
I end up working in a really girly store.

I'm clueless in this new world.
A world of clothes and makeup.
It's hard for me.

I spend the nights talking about this to relieve stress.
Talking to my friend and neighbor, Braden.
We're simply separated by a fence in our yards.

My name is Charlotte Reynolds.
But I like being called Charlie.
Hi guys! Today, I'm Charlie Reynolds!

Book: On The Fence
Author: Kasie West
Series: Standalone
Setting: California
POV: Charlie, first person
Genre: YA contemporary

Reading: first time
Comments: cute novel about being whisked into a world of fashion and makeup
Rating: 3 stars

Ha, not to use a bad pun, but I was actually on the fence about reading this. There are two categories of books that I have a tendency to read less: standalones and contemporary. Standalones, because I hate feeling the feeling that there will never be more. Contemporary, because I always find there's a lack of danger, lack of fear. Am I saying that I love dark, dangerous stories opposed to normal, realistic books? Yes. I'm weird. Don't judge. I like living in other worlds, okay?

Okay, back to my blog post.

Charlotte "Charlie" Reynolds. First off, I like how she's a tomboy. As in she's not one of those girls who freak out at every speck of dirt. Her relationship with her brothers has left her tough, participating in nerd gun fights, mud activities, and other contact sports. Her knowledge on girly things? Nadda. Clueless. Which is why Charlie working in a girly store is such a change for her.

Initially, her fear of being laughed at by her family for being girly has her questioning her ever move. But gradually, she becomes a little more adjusted to it. Charlie is really debating between being herself or being the girl her coworkers expect her to be. Of course, having someone to talk to (cough, Braden) helps a lot. It's kind of nice, reading about someone who has such a trust-worthy relationship with her neighbor, about having a special place to talk to. It puts a new perspective on what it means to have a fence in your backyard.

Can I also talk about her brothers? I'm going to talk about her brothers. They are awesome. Protective, yes, but overall awesome and super supportive. Though Charlie at first is afraid of them laughing at her, they don't. They just accept her, love her. They're her brothers and they're some pretty awesome brothers at that too.

This book is about stepping out of your comfort zone, of experiencing being someone you're not used to. But it's also about finding love without trading who you really are, to find someone you don't have to change to be with. Stepping out of your comfort zone is great, but if the guy you're dating only likes you when you're not in your comfort zone, well, you need a different guy. Don't succumb to peer pressure or the expectations of others; find a balance between the two, of someone who pushes you out of your comfort zone a little and still loves you even if you don't. 

Wow, listen to me. I sound like some love-expert... Don't listen to me. Just know that the person that loves you should love you for everything you are, not just one side of you.

And that pretty much is the takeaway message. For me, anyways. What about you guys? Have you read the book, or heard of it?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Snow Like Ashes Review: Meria

The Kingdom of Winter was conquered.
Its people were captured, enslaved.
Not me.

I escaped the wrath of Spring.
I survived with seven others.
Including my best friend and further king, Mather.

I have been training as a solider.
To help bring back our kingdom.
I would do anything to help Winter.

A locket was discovered.
And it has the power to restore our kingdom.
I'm going after it.

My name is Meria.
Hi guys! Today, I happen to be the chakram-wielding Meria!

Book: Snow Like Ashes
Author:  Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes
Book Status: Book 1
Setting: Land of Primoria (fictional world)
POV: first person, told by Meira
Genre: YA fantasy

Reading: first time
Favorite line: Oh my god, there are so many...
"Congratulations, everyone. You've finally broken Meria, the crazy, orphaned solider-girl. She's snapped, all thanks to the mention of floral arrangements."
"Someday we will be more than words in the dark."

Comments: A unique, original story. 
Rating: 5 Stars!!!

This has to be one of the best high-fantasy books I've read. It features a realistic heroine, Meria, who has the same mindset I would have in her situation. Her characteristics? Brave. Loyal. A catalyst.

Let's break this down, shall we? We'll start with bravery. It is made very clear from the very beginning that Meria is brave. She has no qualms in risking her own neck, of facing danger she may or may not be ready to face. She will face even the king of Spring for her kingdom, which leads us to her next trait: loyalty. Meira's loyally to Winter? It goes deep, like really deep. Meira is willing to go to extreme extents for Winter, including physical and mental sacrifices. But what I really love about her is that she is the catalyst for everything. If it weren't for her actions (however impulsive they may seem), things would have gone very different. Plots wouldn't have been uncovered, objects never discovered, nothing. Meira doesn't sit idly by, waiting for time to pass; she's always acting, reacting by acting, always getting things done. She deserves a medal, really. Like a hundred.

Another medal she needs is for her skill with chakrams. It's a circular disk which you throw, also featured on the cover of the book. First off, how many people even grasp the awesomeness of that? Just the weapon itself is amazing. Then we add on to the fact that Meira knows how to use it, like expert/pro/sensei/master. Immediately her cool factor skyrockets. And that's just for wielding a chakram. She's got it going for knives, crossbows, swords, the list goes on. She's amazing.

But what I really love about this book is that it's a story about a girl who wants to be needed. A girl who wants to matter, who wants to find her place in everything. And I really understand that, really connect to her feelings. Her victories, her surrenders, everything she does is to find her place, to find her meaning to Winter. She's trying to find a reason to matter to the world, and I love her for that.

The next book, Ice Like Fire which comes out in the fall, is definitely on my list of most highly anticipated books of the year! I can't wait!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer Review: Mara

I don't remember the last few days.
Just that I woke up in a hospital.
And all my friends were dead.

I don't know what happened.
But I keep seeing my dead friends everywhere.
I'm afraid I'm losing it.

There's got to be more to the accident.
The one that killed my friends, but not me.
There has to be more.

Something happened. 
Something involving me.
I know it.

My name is Mara Dyer.
Hey guys! Today, I happen to be the awesome Mara Dyer!

Book: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Series: Mara Dyer
Book status: Book 1
Setting: Florida
POV: Mara, first person
Genre: YA paranormal, romance

Reading: first time
Favorite line: "I think not knowing is worse. I'd rather remember."
Categories: assumed insanity, bit of mystery, animal lovers/saviors
Rating: 5 stars

Heads up: might be a tad spoilerly. Given that the book description gives you nothing and I got to say something.

The question I asked myself 30 pages into this was: "Why the heck didn't I pick up this series earlier?" I'm serious. I'd known about this series for a while now, and yet I stalled to read it. I stalled. Shame on me.

If you haven't guessed from my reaction yet, I adored this book. There was the perfect amount of humor, alienation, romance, determinism, and paranormal abilities. You had a mixing of political sides of the world (lawyers and law suits) along with justice enforcement (cops, detectives), plus scary events (murder, kidnappings, death). It was so good. I got shivers reading this (yes, Noah was part of the reason, but he wasn't the only reason).

Mara...gosh, where to start. She has no clue what's happening. All she knows is what her parents told her, that she was found at an abandoned asylum, which had collapsed with her in it. She keeps seeing her dead friends, keeps hallucinating things that aren't--can't--be there. Solution to prevent her parents from sending her to a mental institute? Move away. Which lands her in Miami, Florida. New school, new faces. And, of course, Noah.

(Noah. *sigh*. That boy. I mean, he stands up for her, convinces the whole school they're dating when they're not, then persuades her to go on a date with him, even showing up at her door with flowers. He goes to all sorts of extents for Mara, and it. Is. Simply. Adorable.)

Mara's coping levels to the new school (she jumps from a public school to a private school) are admirable. She's still mourning the loss of her friends, trying hard not to fail school or give her parents any reason to send her to a long-term facility, plus dealing with the fact that she still doesn't know what happened that fateful night. It doesn't help that she makes some enemies, both schoolmates and adults. And what she ends up doing...well, I can't spoil everything. Just know that it. Is. Epic. To be able to do what she can That girl has power.

This is the first book in the series, so I'm really interested on learning what becomes of Mara!

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Bane Chronicles Review: Magnus

I am the High Warlock of Brooklyn.
I have been around for quite some time.
And I have seen pretty much everything.

My adventures date way back.
Before technology.
Before the mundane wars.

I am Magnus Bane.
Hi guys! Today, I am the [fabulous] Magnus Bane!

Book: The Bane Chronicles
Authors: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson
Series: It's a collection of short stories about Magnus Bane set in the Shadowhunter world
Setting: Peru, Paris, London, New York
POV: Magnus, third person
Genre: YA urban fantasy

Reading: first time
Notes: Magnus, Ragnor, and Catarina are hilarious together
Rating: 4 stars

I must say, I've been waiting for a while to read this. When the short stories first came out individually but for kindle only, a part of me died. So I waited, very patiently I might add, until all 10 stories came out, and then waited a bit more for it to be turned into one book. The can't say I don't suffer for my chosen sport (yes, reading is a sport! It's exercise for the mind and soul!).

Magnus Bane. May I say that he is one the most flamboyant characters I've had the pleasure of reading about. And he's hilarious about it too. I fully approve of his confidence in himself. I sort of wish I had that kind of confidence. I'm sure if I was a great and respected warlock, I'd be very confident in my abilities. Of course, I don't want to undergo some dark ritual to gain access to magic. Those things always have a tendency to go awry one way or another, usually resulting in some painful death.

When you're immortal, you really do have a lot of time to spend. I've always wondered what you would do if you actually had that much time to live out. Well, I've now gotten a taste of what one could do. Like Magnus, I probably would travel the world, picking and staying in the places I particularly like. I'd go to London, Paris, and New York, just like Magnus. But I'd probably throw in Sydney, Tokyo, Dublin, Venice, Singapore, Amsterdam, and so many more. Though I probably wouldn't be doing the same slightly outrageous things as Magnus...

What would you guys do if you had forever to live? Would you go visit other places, maybe live there for a few years?

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Selection Review: America

I was chosen.
Thrown into a competition of forced love.

Many girls dream of entering the Selection.
To be offered the chance to win the Prince's heart.
But not me.

I don't want the luxuries.
I don't want the crown.
I don't want Prince Maxon.

My name is America Singer.

Hi guys! Today, I'm America from The Selection!

Book: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection
Book status: Book 1
Setting: IllĂ©a
POV: told by America, first person
Genre: YA romance
Categories: royalty, competition/contest, dystopian (not the doom-and-gloom type though)

Reading: re-read
Favorite line: "I want to wear pants for a week."
Categories: very light/girly dystopian, fashion, princess luxuries.
Rating: 4 stars

You know, when I first was debating whether or not to read The Selection, I kept thinking that the name America was weird. Turns out there's a good reason behind the name, and I'm glad I didn't forgo the series just because of the name. Beside, she has cool nicknames.

Take a girl who isn't exactly living as the wealthiest person in the country, make her sign up for a chance to be in a competition to become a princess, then actually pick her and throw her into a completely new world of luxury and royalty she doesn't want? You get America. She's smart in the sense that though she doesn't want to win and wants nothing more than to go home, she's sticking it up in order to help her family. The competitors are very nicely compensated for every week they stay without getting eliminated, and every bit helps America's family. She's reluctant to be there, but she's there anyways, and in exchange for the money, she gets to enjoy luxuries for a little bit.

What I really like about America is that she makes it very clear that she's there not for the prince or the crown. When asked, she simply says she's there for the food. Literally. Food for her family via money, and food for herself. It's a five star meal every day, so it's doubtlessly a little taste of heaven for America. Another thing I really like about her is that she doesn't abuse the opportunity. Yes, she takes advantage of it, but she doesn't abuse it. She appreciates her maids, she appreciates the luxuries she's being offered. Not once does she ever demand more. In fact, she actually demands less, insisting on simplicity of dresses and jewellery, even letting her maids go for the night rather than stay up with her. America doesn't need a life of elaboration; she's happy as she is, in all her simplicity. She is perfectly capable of getting herself ready for the night, not needing the assistance of maids. Compared to the other competitors, all who are more or less wealthier than her, she simply is a very grateful girl. She tries so that her maids have the minimal amount work they need to do for her.

Speaking of other competitors, there are a few (or just one in particular) who are downright nasty. They're wealthier than America, and a few use it to their advantage to try to put her down. But America is resilient, which is very inspiring. She doesn't let any rude or unnecessary comments get to her, nor does she take any forms of bullying or harassment. She doesn't retaliate, inducing that she knows how to be the bigger person. But she knows how to still make the best of having terrible people breathing down her neck all the time. It's something I think we all should learn from, to not let other people get us down!

Want to know what's it's like being pampered as a possible-to-be princess? Read The Selection to find out!

(p.s. it's a girlish book, so it's great for all you people who like contemporary, but want something a little more fairytale-like (aka princesses) to it!)

(p.p.s. I'd also like to publicly call out my friend Sally to read this book, because I'm 100% sure you'd love it!)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Deliverance Review: Rachel

I was kidnapped.
Taken away from Logan.
Being dragged to Rowansmark.

I'm to be ransomed for tech that Logan took.
But I know that I'm also to be killed.
Logan will be, too, unless I do something about it.

I won't let them kill me.
I won't let them kill Logan.
I'm going to escape and bring them down.

I am a survivor.
A warrior.
And I will set things right.

My name is Rachel Adams.

Hello! I am once again Rachel, this time from the final book of the Defiance series!

Book: Deliverance
Author: C. J. Redwine
Book series: Defiance
Book status: Book 3 (final)
Setting: Wastelands, Rowansmark, basically all 5 city-states that exists
POV: Rachel and Logan, first person
Genre: YA fantasy, dystopian/post-apocalyptic

Book reading: first time
Favorite line: "I'm choosing to infiltrate the enemy's city and right a wrong because I'm a warrior, and that's what warriors do."
Comments: Beautifully written. 5 stars on all counts.
Rating: 5 stars
There really isn't enough I can say about Deliverance. It was exactly what I expected, and more. A lot more. I might weep as I type this.

Three aspects I would like to address today: 1. The book itself  2. Rachel  3. QUINN.

The book itself was amazing. The places, the character arcs, everything. Yes, things were dire, but weaved in the story were bits of light humor, very appropriate and expertly placed. What I really loved was the closure at the end; I wasn't sure what I was expecting to happen at the end, but I did not expect everything to be wrapped up so nicely, with a bottle of my tears beside it. There was complete and absolute closure for both the plot and its characters. One of the most satisfying endings I've ever read. It's a fitting ending for the world that it was built on, for the experiences of pain and grief the characters went through. I could not be happier or more satisfied with the ending, it's perfectly round and dynamic characters, or the book itself. It simply was amazing. Beautiful words, beautiful characters, beautiful world, beautiful book.

Rachel. Oh, Rachel. She is everything I wish I could be. Courage? Check. Fortitude? Check. Strong sense of right and wrong? Check. Selfless? Check. Rachel isn't without flaws, though; she's vulnerable and a bit broken, yes, but she emerges out tougher than ever. She's not one of those I-was-broken-but-I-got-over-it-and-it's-all-a-thing-of-the-past-never-to-bother-me-again type. She's the I-was-broken-but-I've-let-myself-truely-feel-and-understand-it-and-though-I'm-not-completely-healed-I'm-stronger-than-before. She doesn't emerge from her pain head-strong with a flawless resolve; she's simply stronger both inside and out, and knows both herself and others better. She doesn't come out of her pain ready to take down and the burn world; she comes out ready to face the world. And to me, there's a big difference between the two. Rachel becomes wiser, and the descriptions of the inner turmoil she goes through to reach her appropriate resolve is extremely well defined. By the end, you can truly see how much Rachel has evolved as a character, as a person. Outstanding.

And last but not least, I would like to address someone known as Quinn. I want to say he's my Quinn, but I now accept that I can't say that anymore *sobs*. But I don't want to wish him unhappiness, so fine. The whole I'm-giving-you-up-because-I-love-you-and-want-to-see-you-happy thing. Yes, it is eating away at my heart. No, I'm not crying bucketfuls. But like I mentioned before, he, like the rest of the characters, all find their appropriate closures. So who am I to change Quinn's closure? That would be disastrous for him.

All you need to know is that Quinn is simply the sweetest and bravest person in the world. He has a strong resolve, and it's very admirable one. Quinn is the friend everyone needs, the one who is able to see past your pain and help guide you pick up the pieces yourself, thereby helping you make yourself stronger. He's the big brother everyone wants, which may or may not make me extremely jealous of Willow, and he knows when to put family first or friends first. And when his friends start to become family. He understands what it means to have a debt, and what it means for it to turn into loyalty as a friend. He's a good person inside and out, and I just love him. I'm probably not the only one that loves him, which means I have competition, but unlike the others, I've accepted to give him up for his own happiness (which means I love him more). The Outcast, which is the prequel, is all about him, which I fully intend to read. And love. Lots of love.

Overall, Deliverance is one of the best well-written books I've ever had the pleasure to read, and it's definitely going onto my favorite's shelf. Thanks go to Bridget, who recommended the series to me!

Well, what are you waiting for? Go read Deliverance! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

From me to you,

Happy New Year, everyone! May the new year bring you wonderful surprises!

(By the way, am I the only one shocked that it's 2015 (halfway through a decade!) and that it's now January? Crazy!)

Have a great year!