A Personal Reading Goal

Books have a way of creeping into our souls and staying with us for beyond our years. We learn a lot from them and they allow us to escape reality. They’re relaxing and yet we feel empowered to do anything and everything we put our minds to.

It’s no secret that I adore the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. If you follow my book reviews, you’ll notice that I’ve picked up the series yet again.

Most people love Harry Potter and read that series over and over again. I’ve only read the series once – I love it to death and have seen the movies too many times to count. However, if there’s a book series I’m going to go back to and re-read, it will always be Warriors.

A Personal Reading Goal | Reading | Books | Book Blogger | Goals | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

The very first book of the whole series came out in January 2003. This was the book that originally got me into reading in the first. I was 11-years-old. I’m 25 now and the series is still going on.

Yeah, seriously. The Warriors series as a whole is broken up into multiple mini-series of six books each. The first book of their seventh series comes out in April 2019. I actually grew up with these books and have tried my best to keep up with the series.

Of course, it’s easy to get behind. There are – currently – 36 main series books, 15 manga books, 11 standalone titles, 6 guides, and 12 novellas. I’m not even going to do that math, but I know the 36 will soon become 42 once the new series comes out in a few months.

With that said, I’ve clearly gotten behind. There are other books to be read and, with this blog, I accept review requests from authors. So, I don’t always end up “choosing” what to read next. My backlog can get pretty long.

Once in a while, when I get into a reading slump, I go back to the series. It helps me enjoy reading again and makes me feel like I want to read all the books in the world. I’m on book five out of six for the Omen of the Stars series, which is the fourth series. That means I have two other series left to read before the seventh comes out in April.

So, that’s what I’m hoping to do. I’ll be spreading the book reviews out so this doesn’t become the “Warriors” blog, but I’m determined to catch up with the whole series buy the time the next book is released at the beginning of April.

Wish me luck.

The only downside I can see to this is that once I catch up, I’m no longer going to be able to binge the series. Once the next book comes out I’ll have to wait six months for the next one just like everyone else.

Do you have a childhood book or series that you read or reread to this day? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Warriors: Omen Of The Stars: Fading Echoes By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors: Fading Echoes | Omen of the stars book 2 | middle grade | fantasy | reading | book blogger | blogging | RachelPoli.com

I bought a hardcover of the book a long time ago.

Summary:


After the sharp-eyed Jay and the roaring Lion, peace will come on Dove’s gentle wing.

Three ThunderClan cats, Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw, are prophesied to hold the power of the stars in their paws. Now they must work together to unravel the meaning behind the ancient words of the prophecy.

As Jayfeather tackles his new responsibilities as the Clan’s sole medicine cat and Lionblaze trains his apprentice in the ways of the warrior cats, Dovepaw hones her own unique ability and tries to use it for the good of ThunderClan. But the dark shadows that have preyed on the Clan for many moons still lurk just beyond the forest. Soon a mysterious visitor will walk in one cat’s dreams, whispering promises of greatness, with results that will change the future of ThunderClan in ways that no cat could have foreseen.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

As usual, the cover is simple. It showcases one cat that will be important to the story. Sometimes this is obvious to me which cat it is and other times it isn’t. Still, I like it.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

Warriors is a series that I’ve been reading as a kid. This is the second book in the Omen of the Stars series, which is the fourth series of the whole thing. A lot of stuff happened in the first book and the story is getting dark, so I was certainly eager to keep reading on.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw continue to work together to understand their powers, learn about the prophecy, and figure out what they need to do next and where they need to go. They discover Ivypaw, Dovepaw’s sister, has been training in the Dark Forest (the book’s version of Hell).

They do their best to keep moving forward but that also means keeping secrets and sneaking around, which sometimes land them into even more trouble.

I enjoyed this plot and the back and forth between Dovepaw and Ivypaw. It hurt to see the two sisters fighting so much, especially when they’re usually joint at the hip. I definitely enjoyed the dark elements of the story and this series is beginning to give me Harry Potter feels.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I’ve always loved the characters. I have a new appreciation for Jayfeather and his snarkiness. Sometimes he could seem like just a grump, but I sympathize with everything he has to do and go through. Yellowfang plays a big part as his “mentor” in a way from StarClan (the book’s version of Heaven). She has been a character I’ve certainly missed.

Lionblaze was certainly getting arrogant but I think Cinderheart, his crush, and Dovepaw did pretty well at trying to snap him out of that.

Overall, the characters are fun to revisit in each book.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a fast read. The book is around 300 pages, which is the typically length for these books. The chapters vary from seven pages long to 20 pages long, but each one goes fast.

Erin Hunter has a certain style of writing so that you just keep reading and going on. There are lulls here and there, but nothing too dull to get you to put down the book unless you have to.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was another great book to the Warriors series and I can’t wait to continue reading Omen of the Stars.

Warriors: Omen of the Stars: Fading Echoes by Erin Hunter gets…
4 out of 5 cups

Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com

Favorite Quote:

“He never seemed to get tired. Always first up and ready to move on. Never afraid of what lay ahead.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Omens of the Stars: Fading Echoes

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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I Need Your Input – 2019

So… 2019 is right around the corner. How in the world did that happen?

2019 Ideas | Blogging | Creative Writing | Lifestyle | RachelPoli.com

New Features

So many new things will be coming in 2019 and I can’t wait to share them with you all, but… today is not that day.

There was no reason for me to include this section into the post.

I Need Your Input

I’m going to be doing things a little differently on the blog in 2019. The daily schedule will remain the same – I’ll still post short stories, writing prompts, and book reviews as well as guest posts, interviews, and the like.

However, I usually have a monthly “theme” that goes along with the blog. For example, last January I talked a lot about character development. Sometimes I talk about editing or the mystery genre (hence Mystery Month in May).

This has been a lot and if I’m going to be honest, I’m kind of running out of ideas.

I still plan on doing monthly themes but not all the posts will be about the specific. I’m going to do my life and personal posts and more updates on my own writing and such.

With that said, I want to know what you want to know.

  • Are there any topics you want to learn about? (Creative writing, blogging, reading, etc.)
  • Is there anything you want to know about me and my work?
  • Are there specific blog posts you have in mind? (Not necessarily a vague category such as “creative writing.”)

I enjoy doing the research and learning alongside you guys. I have my own ideas but I want to know what you guys want to see on the blog.

This doesn’t have to strictly be writing or anything either. I plan to add more life-style-type blog posts. Honestly, I think that will be a blog post in itself and I’ll explain why I’ve decided to do that. (Though that post won’t come until January.)

Let Me Know In The Comments!

I really want to hear your input! I value your opinions and am trying to make this space bigger and better. I’m looking forward to 2019!

Do you have any ideas for what you’d like to see? Are you looking forward to 2019? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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December 2018 [Goals]

2018 December Goals | Creative Writing | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I’m just plugging along on my reading list. I’ll still be uploading a book review every Saturday. Honestly, I have no idea where I am in my Goodreads goal because I’ve gotten so behind keeping track of that. So, aside from reading, my goal this month is to catch up on my Goodreads and get that updated.

Writing

December is all about playing catch up. I’ve gotten behind on some writing projects and I’d like to get my head on straight with them. Though there will be a separate blog post about my writing soon.

Blogging

Again, more catch up. Well, I guess not catch up per say… there’s a lot I need to do for 2019 for the blog and something extra. So, I guess more getting my head on straight. I want to finish my December posts and get a head start on January. Plus, there’s something else that will be coming in 2019 though I don’t know when yet. I’m hoping January or February.

What are your plans for December and the end of the year? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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November 2018 [Wrap Up]

2018 November Wrap Up | Blogging | Creative Writing | Reading | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I feel like I’ve been in such a reading slump for a while now though I haven’t missed a book review. This month, I started catching up with a series that got me into reading in the first place and now I want to read all the books in the world, which is a great feeling. With that said, I’ve read and reviewed four books for this month. You can check them out on my Reading List.

Writing

NaNoWriMo was successful! I wrote 50,000 words of Short Story Sundays for 2019 plus editing and revising of some other projects. It felt good to get all that writing done. I feel like I haven’t written like that since the last NaNo session. So, that was great.

Blogging

December posts as well as new and updated ideas for 2019 are a-go! I’m excited and it’s been taking up the majority of my time (my poor writing!) but hopefully it’ll all work out and you guys will like it. I’m looking forward to the new year!

Posts to Remember

1. Meet Annette Rochelle Aben, Author
2. November & December 2018 Writing Submissions
3. My Writing Space

How did November treat you? Are you looking forward to November? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Becoming Someone By Anne Goodwin [Book Review – Blog Tour]

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Book Review: Becoming Somone by Anne Goodwin | Blog Tour | Short Story Anthology | Fiction | Book Blogging | RachelPoli.com

I received an ARC from the author.

Summary:

What shapes the way we see ourselves?

An administrator is forced into early retirement; a busy doctor needs a break. A girl discovers her sexuality; an older man explores a new direction for his. An estate agent seeks adventure beyond marriage; a photojournalist retreats from an overwhelming world. A woman reduces her carbon footprint; a woman embarks on a transatlantic affair. A widow refuses to let her past trauma become public property; another marks her husband’s passing in style.

Thought-provoking, playful and poignant, these 42 short stories address identity from different angles, examining the characters’ sense of self at various points in their lives. What does it mean to be a partner, parent, child, sibling, friend? How important is work, culture, race, religion, nationality, class? Does our body, sexuality, gender or age determine who we are?

Is identity a given or can we choose the someone we become?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI absolutely love the cover. The colors are so pretty together, the font of the title is simple but makes itself known, and the birds have a sense of symbolism to them. This cover was well done.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI enjoy short story collections. I love seeing different perspectives from different characters and this was no different. I’ve enjoyed Anne Goodwin’s work in the past and didn’t want to pass up this opportunity to read her latest.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThe plots vary from story to story and they’re very different from one another. There are a few that have similar themes, but each story is unique from the one before it and they were all interesting backgrounds.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAs the title and summary suggests, each of these stories showcase the characters “becoming someone.” Everyone goes through their own struggles and battles and we all have good times and bad times. The characters in these stories had their own troubles to deal with and life kept moving on for them. Some were easier to get through than others, but the characters were becoming their own within their short tales.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a collection of 42 short stories and no two are the same. The writing style for each differed as well, depending on the character. The POV varied and there was even one story where the narrator spoke in first person and wouldn’t give their name. It kept the book interesting and made me wonder what sort of story and character would await me on the next page. Overall, they were all well written.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis book is well written and is a good length at nearly 300 pages. There are definitely some stories that I enjoyed more than others, but they were all an experience nonetheless.

Becoming Someone by Anne Goodwin gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Loitering with a raspberry milk-shake in yet another coffee-bar, she was afforded multiple glimpses of men with flowing golden curls, but none adorning the head of her prince charming.” -Anne Goodwin, Becoming Someone

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, was published in 2017. Alongside her identity as a writer, she’ll admit to being a sociable introvert; recovering psychologist; voracious reader; slug slayer; struggling soprano; and tramper of moors.

Website | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Amazon Inspired Quill Page | Facebook Book Launch

Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin | Blog Tour | Book Review | Becoming Someone | RachelPoli.comCheck out Sugar and Snails: My debut novel is discounted to 99p or equivalent (Kindle version) throughout November viewbook.at/SugarandSnails

Blog Tour | Becoming Somone by Anne Goodwin | Book Blogging | Book Review | Short Story Collection | RachelPoli.com

Interested in this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Warriors: Omen Of The Stars: The Fourth Apprentice By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

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Book Review: Warriors | Omen of the Stars Book 1 | The Fourth Apprentice | creative writing | middle grade | fantasy | fiction | reading | book blogging | RachelPoli.com

I bought a hardcover copy from Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

The first book in this fourth series, Warriors: Omen of the Stars #1: The Fourth Apprentice, brings more adventure, intrigue, and thrilling battles to the epic world of the warrior Clans.

It has been foretold that Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and one other cat will hold the power of the stars in their paws. Now they must wait for a sign from StarClan to tell them which of their Clanmates will complete the prophecy.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is simple showcasing a big of the background of the forest where the cats live as well as a head-shot of one of the main cats in the story. This is the first cover edition. It’s been updated since the book came out. The new one is pretty but I really enjoy the first edition cover.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comThe Fourth Apprentice is book one in the Omen of the Stars series of the overall Warriors series. Omen of the Stars is the fourth series which technically makes this book number 19 overall. This a series I’ve been reading since I was 11 and have gotten behind in. I’m eager to pick it back up again and continue the story.

Plot | RachelPoli.comThe cats of ThunderClan are getting over the events of the last book and are also grieving some deaths. Lionblaze and Jayfeather, two chosen cats from StarClan to fill a prophecy have lost their sister, Hazelleaf. They believed her to be the third cat in the prophecy, but she wasn’t.

Two cats of Firestar’s kin become apprentices and Jayfeather and Lionblaze work together to figure out which one of them is special to aid them in their quest. They discover Dovepaw is the one with the special powers and when she’s the one who knows why the lake is drying up, they go on a quest with other cats from the other Clans to fix it leaving Jayfeather and Dovepaw’s jealous sister, Ivypaw, behind at the camp where they both have to deal with other matters.

This plot is somewhat similar to some previous plots with slight differences, though it’s enjoyable with the different cast of characters.

Characters | RachelPoli.comDovepaw is one of the main characters in this story as she discovers her heightened senses and seems to be one of the few cats who can help fix their problem of the dried up lake from the drought and beavers blocking the stream. The chapters switch between Dovepaw, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather as they each deal with their own thoughts and problems.

Each of them have their own unique personality along with all the other many cats from ThunderClan and the other three Clans. It was nice to revisit these cats again, new and old.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Warriors is a quick read. It’s about 300 pages long but the words are easy to follow along with and there’s always so much going on that that you keep turning the pages.

Overall | RachelPoli.comI started reading this series when the very first book came out when I was 11. This is the series that got me into reading in the first place and I was pleased to get back into the series again after so long. I’m looking forward to reading the next book of Omen of the Stars.

Warriors: Omen of the Stars: The Fourth Apprentice by Erin Hunter gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“I know what it’s like to have a power no other cat understands. It’s the loneliest feeling in the world.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Omen of the Stars: The Fourth Apprentice

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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The One And Only Ivan By Katherine Applegate [Book Review]

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Book Review: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate | Middle grade | Fiction | Reading | Blogging | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

My mom borrowed it from her work’s library.

Summary:

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is cute. I like the art style and the spotlight on Ivan and Ruby is sort of a metaphor in a way.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comThis is a book I’ve thought about reading so many times, but I’ve never picked it up. After reading Wishtree, my mom and I were talking about this book. So, she brought Wishtree back to the library and picked up this one.

Plot | RachelPoli.comIvan is somewhat happy in his “domain” at the circus. He draws a lot which sells at the gift shop. He has his friends Stella the elephant and Bob the stray dog. They’re as happy as they can be living within closed walls at the circus.

Ruby, a baby elephant comes along. Mack, the circus owner, buys her for the show in an attempt to get more visitors. Ruby is afraid and sad. She misses her life in the wild with her family. She makes Ivan remember what happened to his own family. Then they plan the escape.

Told through Ivan’s eyes, this is a heartwarming story and really opens your eyes to animals in the circus and even at the zoo. It’s true to life with poaching involved and will make you shed a couple of tears. This was a good plot with a nice message though.

Characters | RachelPoli.comAll the characters were well done. This book doesn’t have a big cast. There’s Ivan, Stella, Bob, and Ruby. Mack owns the circus, George is the janitor, and Julia is George’s daughter who hangs around the circus. She draws and often gives Ivan paper and crayons to color with.

All the characters are great and serve their own purpose. Mack is the “bad guy” of this story, though I sympathize with him. He wasn’t necessarily a bad man, but didn’t go about certain things the right way.

Overall, I loved all the characters.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book was very simple to read. It wasn’t written in blocks of text but blog-style. I think it was simple because it was coming from the voice of a naive gorilla who only knew the circus and his domain. This book is 300-pages long, but I got through it within a day. It was that quick and that good.

Overall | RachelPoli.comOverall, this was another great read. After reading two books from Katherine Applegate now, I’m looking forward to reading more by her.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Memories are precious… they help tell us who we are.” -Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Trust (Children Of Chiron 1) By Tabitha Darling [Book Review]

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Book Review: Trust by Tabitha Darling | book review | book blogging | review copy | fantasy | adult fantasy | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Dying, centaurs return to Earth in the hopes that humanity can help. War breaks out instead. One centaur, Ieang struggles to keep the last infant alive, finds himself trapped on this planet and on the run. Desperate, he and his companion capture one of the enemy, a human, but will the woman care for the infant girl?

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comI like the art style of the cover. It’s simple but it shows the plot as well as one of the main characters and it works. I like it.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comI don’t read much fantasy, but I’m always looking to try new things and this book sounded like it’d be an interesting read. When the author asked me to give it a try, I was happy to agree.

Plot | RachelPoli.comIeang, trapped on Earth with an infant of his kind, struggles to keep himself and the baby alive. He captures Brenda, a female human, to take care of the baby who Brenda names Aubrey. Together they learn the ways of each other’s cultures and ways of life. They get to know one another and teach each other new things.

I found this plot to be very unique. Honestly, it almost felt like a non-fiction book. I got the sense that, if this were based off real history, this would be a school-assigned book.

Characters | RachelPoli.comI enjoyed all the characters. Brenda and Ieang were great together. Even when Brenda finds her human family again they were well done too. Her father, Ken, and brother, Cody, are very stand-offish to Ieang. I definitely got a racism and prejudiced vibe from this story as well. The humans didn’t understand the centaurs and vice versa and therefore, they didn’t like each other. Still, it made for good storytelling.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book was fairly easy to read. I definitely thought the beginning was slow. I personally didn’t think the book picked up until about halfway through. Brenda and Ieang learning about each other was great, but I felt it lasted too long and some parts sort of dragged on for me. It wasn’t until Ieang was living with Brenda’s family and had to live as the humans do that things got interesting. I preferred them doing rather than just explaining to one another.

There was also a good amount of internal thoughts from Ieang but most of the time they were the same thought which got repetitive. There was also one or two thoughts that wasn’t in his POV as well which was inconsistent.

Overall | RachelPoli.comThis wasn’t a bad book. I enjoyed the story and thought it was well thought out. The characters were interesting and it was certainly unique. While it wasn’t my favorite due to the voice sometimes as well as the beginning being slow, it was still worth the read. The imagination and world building is strong in this one.

Trust (Children of Chiron 1) by Tabitha Darling gets…
Book Review Rating System | 3 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com3 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“This land was haunted, why did so many of these animals share aspects of his kind with four limbs and fur? It chilled him.” -Tabitha Darling, Trust

Buy the book:

Amazon

About Tabitha Darling

Tabitha Darling is wife to a robot builder and mom to a toddler. By day, she is a barefoot farrier, horse trainer, and riding instructor. She lives in Texas, with her husband, toddler, three horses, four ducks, six chickens, three geese, and three doves.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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November 2018 [Goals]

2018 November Goals | blogging | creative writing | reading | goals | RachelPoli.com

Reading

As always, I’ll be reading and reviewing four books this month. I also plan on going through my bookshelves as well. I want to organize them and also make a list of books I still need to read… without buying new ones… but we all know that won’t happen.

To keep up, you can check out my Reading List and Goodreads.

Writing

NaNoWriMo is officially back in session! I’ll be working on a few different projects, as I’ve already mentioned. I won’t go in too much deal since I already did, but I’ll be working on writing flash fiction for 2019’s Short Story Sundays, Sunday Morning, and a little bit of George Florence & The Perfect Alibi.

Blogging

I had tried to get as much of my blogging done for this month in October because I knew NaNo was going to take up the majority of my time. So, November is just about done and I also planned a lot of December so I won’t have to worry about getting ahead for next month either. This will also free up December so I can plan for 2019, which I’ve already started. New things are coming!

What are your plans for November? Are you participating in NaNo? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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