spoiler free, tbr thursday

December TBR 2019

tbr Thursday

It only occurred to me this morning as I write this that I haven’t actually decided on a TBR for this month. I’ve just kind of been picking each book as I finish the one before. Looking at last months TBR I got through about half it but read two other books that weren’t on the list at all so I think four was an accurate estimate for a quiet reading month. I’m going to try and stick with four again this month as obviously it’s Christmas but I have a few things going on this month (mostly Dungeons and Dragons related, I’m not gonna lie) that will mean I might not be able to read as much as I would like (always the case tbh). I’m just going to wing this TBR so let’s see…

Starsight by Brendon Sanderson
I adored Skyward last year and its sequel has been one of my long-awaited releases for the end of this year. This will quite likely be my next read and I’m so grateful to have received a gifted copy from Gollancz on its release. I’m so very ready to follow Spensa and M-bot (not forgetting doomslug) into the stars!

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
I had been hearing about this for a while, I own Slayer by the same author which my husband immensely enjoyed reading but I haven’t got around to yet and as someone who loves Arthurian lore I was tempted more and more every time I heard something about this new release. It was when author Kiersten posted “SO MUCH LONGING IT COULD BE A CW SHOW MAIN COUPLE BROKEN UP AT THE END OF SEASON ONE” on Twitter that I immediately brought it. I love me some longing and angst and this description just gave me Kara and Mon-El from Supergirl vibes after stuff goes down there and I need more of that drug and I’m hoping The Guinevere Deception will deliver.

The God Game by Danny Tobey
I am SO hyped for this January release! I was lucky enough to have been picked to receive one of the few ARC copies of this from Gollancz. We have a virtual world ran by underground hackers, an omnipotent A.I that refers to itself as GOD and starts demanding its users complete more and more worrying and cruel missions with threats against them if they do not complete them. This book sounds so very up my street and with CTRL+S still very fresh in my mind I’m excited to get around to this book.

Somebody Give This Heart A Pen by Sophia Thakur
The Goodreads synopsis describes this much better than I ever could:
“From acclaimed performance poet, Sophia Thakur comes a powerful new collection of poems exploring issues of identity, difference, perseverance, relationships, fear, loss and joy. The collection is arranged as life is: from youth to school, to home life, falling in love and falling straight back out again. The poems draw on the author’s experience as a young mixed-race young woman trying to make sense of a lonely and complicated world. With a strong narrative voice and emotional empathy, this is poetry that will resonate with all young people, whatever their background, and whatever their dreams.”
I haven’t read a lot of poetry recently and it’s just something I tend to dip my toe into now and again but something about this book just called to me and I’m looking forward to reading this one too!

The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
I really loved The Last Namsara, which I finally got around to reading last year just before the release of The Caged Queen. I enjoyed both of them but The Last Namsara especially. I’m really looking forward to this third book in the Iskari series! I only have my kindle version of this at the moment which I preordered but I will probably need to get my hands on a physical copy to match my others asap.

I think five books is probably ambitious enough for me this month! Especially as Starsight is quite a big chunky book. Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What are you hoping to read this month? Do we have any the same?

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 4th December

www wednesday

For a change, it actually feels like it’s been longer than a fortnight since I last did one of these! I think because I actually got some books finished for a change. I’m definitely feeling more confident reading-wise and on a whole which is a nice change after feeling quite overwhelmed over the past month or so.

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Sherlock Holmes and The Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove is my current read. As soon as I realised it was penned by James I knew I needed it after he wrote an AMAZING Firefly novel earlier this year (review here) and I had decided then that I needed to read some of his Sherlock Holmes work and this seemed the perfect opportunity, not to mention that the cover for this book is the most beautiful thing in existence. Not to mention it’s actually a really good read so far!

What did you recently finish reading?

A few days ago I finished Star Wars: Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse and although it didn’t quite grab me the way Phasma did (I’m seriously never getting over that book) it was really good, I enjoyed seeing what happens during some of the time between The Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker as well as seeing some older faces that have been in the books, the comics and the older films.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Ahh, I won’t go into too much detail as my December TBR is going live tomorrow but I think it’ll probably be Starsight by Brendon Sanderson. I am trying to work my way through my ARCS and advance copies but trying to keep a balance between books that are coming out next year and new ones that are out now so that I can get some content written in advance but without running out of my weekly reviews too.

Have you read any of these? What are you reading right now? What have you read recently? I want to hear all about your reading life right now!

book reviews, Uncategorized

Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Book Review

26032912._SY475_Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Rating: XXXX

Published November 19th by Hot Key Books

“You will be nothing. You are nothing…You come from nothing and it is to nothing you will return,” he whispers against my neck.

He will be the destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

Queen of Nothing has been one of my most anticipated books to be released this year. I hadn’t been sure I enjoyed some aspects of The Cruel Prince but fell head over heels, irrevocably in love with The Wicked King and have been eager to get my hands on the conclusion to the trilogy since I read the last page of the second book. So much so in fact that I pre-ordered stupidly early and was lucky enough to receive my Waterstones edition (you get letters from Cardan to Jude included as an extra and if you ship those idiots then you will NOT want to miss out on this edition trust me) almost a week before the official release date but I had agreed to wait until my friend received hers to read it so I patiently waite (By patiently I mean that I got my taller than me, husband to hide my copy on top of the board games which are, in turn, on top of my bookshelves so I couldn’t reach it). When the time came to start it I may have then read it over the course of about two days. I know a lot of people have read it much quicker, some in one sitting but I had NaNoWriMo to contend with and a four-year-old who isn’t at school much so I’m pretty proud of what I did manage.

So now to discuss the book itself…I definitely enjoyed it, maybe on par with The Cruel Prince or a little lower. If I had to rank them in order I would say that Queen of Nothing was probably my least favourite but it was just in good, just in different ways. The Cruel Prince was, I think, the forming of Jude, in The Wicked King we see her coming into her own and then in Queen of Nothing she is out of her comfort zone and we see yet another side to Jude that is something between the two versions I think that we’ve seen so far. Jude has become one of my favourite fictional characters over the course of these books for many different reasons, I love that she’s smart but not to the point of absolute cockiness, she makes mistakes and she admits them, she’s conniving and she plays people and tricks them like the best (and worst) of the fey and I love that she just feels so unapologetic. “What could I become if I stopped worrying about death, about pain, about anything? If I stopped trying to belong? Instead of being afraid, I could become something to fear.” or in this book “I feel like a constellation of wounds, held together with string and stubbornness.” Jude is strong on so many different levels and I love her.

I loved seeing other sides to a lot of the other characters as well, especially a bit more of an insight into Maddoc and Tayrn and my boy Cardan really made me proud in this book too. A new character that was introduced quite early on in this book who had been mentioned at least in passing previously was a great addition too and one that became a firm favourite of mine too, particularly how she was brought into the story. A lot of the relationships, not just romantic ones got a lot of attention in this book as well which was a welcome addition and one much needed, I think, in a third book as we already know the characters fairly well but how they interact with each other and their reasons for doing so adds another needed level to them. I’m glad the members of the Court of Shadows their own part in the story too and no one was really forgotten, the good and the bad.

There wasn’t a whole lot of world-building in Queen of Nothing but as the third book in a trilogy set in the same places as the first two books it didn’t really need it, I particularly loved the fey presence in the human world and would honestly love a book or group of short stories around the folk there as I found the concept a really interesting one. Some of the insights we did get however was a little more information regarding the political side of the Fey Courts and some great new lore.

As for the plot and story itself, it was enjoyable but probably the least strong out of the three books. There are the odd few little twists and one that was a little shocking but I don’t think it really had the effect on me that it was meant to for some reason or another, whether that’s because I had come to expect big twisty moments from these books and over-hyped it for myself or because it seemed like something I expected or at the very least expected to be solved I’m not sure. I liked that it wasn’t completely out of left field though and made a lot of sense. The story is well-paced for the most part although I did find the last third felt a bit off balance especially the part that I imagine would be the last climax of the story. Again, it wasn’t bad and it could genuinely be my expectations and the final book curse, I often don’t really like final books and have found very few that fully meet my expectations or hopes and feel flat. Queen of Nothing isn’t the worst final book I’ve read but doesn’t quite make it into some of the best, this is all personal opinion though and I know a lot of people really did enjoy the ending. I enjoyed the ending but just felt that bit before needed some more whammy to it.

Overall the book really is a great read that I enjoyed reading I just wish it wasn’t the end although I don’t think there’s really much else to do with the story now in a vein that I would enjoy or perhaps do it justice. Either way, this is a series I’ve loved and I think will stick with me for a good long while, especially some of the beautiful quotes Holly has given us throughout the three books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Must Be Monday, writing

Must be Monday – NaNoWriMo Finished!

unboxing
So it’s December 2nd and NaNoWriMo is finished and I DID IT! Despite falling behind a little toward the end and having my first big wobble right at the finish line I finished at 50,139 words and wrote the end to the story I’d been working on for the past three NaNoWriMo’s. I literally cried for ten minutes after at having finally got it done at just having gotten the majority of it down. I have some more to write for sure as a lot of the three versions don’t strictly connect but I’m having a break from writing every single day until the new year because I just have too much on.  I didn’t even write a Six for Sunday post yesterday as I just needed the break. All back on schedule now though.

nano19stats1nano19stats2

This year I’m really proud that I managed to write at least a little every day and whereas I usually have a dip in motivation at around 25k to 30k and decide what I’m writing is horrid and it’s not worth it and I want to start again I didn’t really experience this until towards the end and it didn’t affect me hugely until the very last day. I also had a couple of D&D related projects that I was able to write for that really helped to boost my creativity and one or two friends who really encouraged me to write when I needed to extra push as well as my husband reminding me when I was procrastinating. He also brought me a box of chocolates for when I finished which was really sweet.

Although I didn’t finish early this year I still feel like this was my most successful NaNo to date and I’m looking forward to next year and maybe writing something a little different as well as spending the next year learning to hone my writing and improve my skill. For now, though, I’m sticking to D&D planning and hopefully catching up with blogging again, I miss having scheduled posts ready! Did you take part in NaNoWriMo? If so well done! No matter your word count just taking the time to sit down and write is enough.

The question is, what do I do with the weekly Must be Monday posts now? Any ideas welcome! Would you like to know about my various games of Dungeons and Dragons? My “normal” life? More writing stuff or something completely different?

Tags

Star Wars Book Tag

tag Thursday

So for the past four years around this time each year I’ve been bitten by the Star Wars bug. I loved the original films since I was a child and grew up watching the prequel films and then adored the new trilogy as it’s been released and I’ve been reading the new canon books, I’m obsessed with Battlefront two and it’s single-player story campaign again at the moment too! With the new film feeling so close now and the release of Jedi: Fallen order I’m once again riding the Star Wars hype train and damn I’m excited so I decided his week for Tag Thursday I would have a look around and hunt down a Star Wars-themed book tag. Plus I’m ill so planning to crawl into my bed and watch Star Wars films while the small one is at school today.

This wonderful tag was created by Joana and Elizabeth over at booktube (you can check out their videos here and here) and was expanded by the lovely Bia and Cass at B&C Books. Check out their post here

1.R2-D2

The lovable droid filled with sass: Name a series that made you laugh.

Almost definitely the Illuminae Files books, the sass is unbelievable and there are so many great one-liners. The parachute incident in Obsidio is the absolute icing on the cake though. That KILLED me and it’s become an iconic scene in our household.

2.PADME AMIDALA

Even though she’s not a Jedi, she sure does kick some butt: Name a badass female character.

Jude from The folk of air series by Holly Black. I know she’s not loved by everyone but I love her determination, I love that she’s a strong and clever and assertive. I adore her.

3.LEIA ORGANA

This girl gets herself into a rather strange love situation: Name your favourite or least favourite love triangle.

I think my favourite is probably Will, Jem and Tessa from The Infernal Devices and to this day I’m still gutted that we didn’t get that perfect poly relationship.

4.LUKE SKYWALKER

The last hope to restore the Jedi Order: Name a rising author or a new to you author that you love.

Christine Lynn Herman. I read The Devouring Gray this year and loved it. I can’t wait to the sequel and probably anything Christine writes!

5.ANAKIN SKYWALKER

A character whose morals changed over time: Name a series that started out well, but ended out badly.

The Sookie Stackhouse series. The last book and the ending of the series overall absolutely ruined the whole series for me.

6.QUI-GON JINN

Losing himself to a terrible fate: Name a character who suffers a tragic death.

The Dark Artifices SPOILER. Livvy’s death in Lord of Shadows completely wrecked me and put me into an almost sixth-month reading slump. I still haven’t got over it.

7. HAN SOLO

Unsuccessfully using his wittiness to get himself out of sticky situations. Name your favourite sassy character.

I think maybe Mia from Nevernight or Rhysand from ACOTAR. Them two trying to out sass each other would be hilarious if they didn’t immediately probably want to kill each other.

8.EMPEROR PALPATINE

A well-constructed character in a vast universe: Name a series with incredible world-building.

I think this probably has to be Game of Thrones, to be honest, the world-building so rich and fleshed out with all the different areas, regions and continents, the inhabitants, their traditions and religions. I love it.

9. OBI-WAN KENOBI

Even though he is “to the book”, he is a force to be reckoned with: Name a series that exceeded your expectations.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. If you’ve read my blog at all you probably already know the story but I picked it up on a whim thinking it would be a cute kind of Fangirl story but in space and WOWZA it was so much more. Blew me away and to this day is still one of my favourite books.

10. MASTER YODA

A being containing so much wisdom: Name a series that taught you something or that made you grow.

They’re not a series but they’re both books by author Akemi Dawn Bowman, Starfish and Summer Bird Blue taught me a lot about the way I approach my own mental health and that of others. As someone who deals with what can sometimes be crippling anxiety Starfish especially helped me to look at it in a way that just made me hate myself that little bit less. What happens to me is normal to a degree and something others experience too, it taught me a lot. Summer Bird Blue also made me think about the way I see my sexuality and the way we deal with others when we’re hurting. Both beautiful, heartfelt books that I cannot recommend enough.

11. DARTH VADER

Learning about how he became this man only made us love him more: Name your favorite villain.

A lot of the books I read don’t tend to have a definitive villain so this was difficult. I think my favourite out and out villain would probably be Marcella Riggins from Vengeful by V.E Schwab, another reviewer has put this much better than I, saying, “Fear is her medium, and nightmares her art. She refuses to bow to fate and determines to embody the word that defines her: ruin.” I just love her so goddamn much. Usually, I love me a villain who is more of an anti-hero and has some good in them, a nice dose of angst and maybe some kind of redemption but Marcella is the unapologetic and I bloody love her.

12.CHEWBACCA

Loyal to his friends, he’s always got your back: Name your favourite fictional best friend.

Janek from Finding Home. I know he has a crush on Chepi and so that might affect the way he is around him but even quite early on before things got a little more heated (as much as the second volume of a slow burn romance can) the way he helps Chepi going through his panic attacks, giving him space when he needs it or offering to be there to talk if he needs it but not pushing it etc is just *chef kiss* I would die for that boy, he is so damn pure and I love him.

13.C-3PO

Despite his simple ways, he always gets himself into trouble: Name a character who always needs saving.

This is another hard one because I don’t read a lot of books where someone tends to need saving more than once. The only instance I can really think of is Sookie from the Sookie Stackhouse books (True Blood) and honestly, that’s not entirely her fault, she’s only human in a world where she’s often stuck in the middle of people who aren’t and have ‘supernatural’ extra abilities, not to mention she’s usually just trying to help them out.

14. BOBA FETT

Witnessing the death of his father must have been difficult: Name a character who went through a traumatic childhood experience.

Sebastian Morgenstern from Shadowhunters is the first character that comes to mind here, to be honest. He was raised by a cruel father who had a very warped moral compass and then was banished to Edom where he was effectively tortured for years, I can see how he turned out so starved for affection but ultimately broken and twisted.

15.REY

A scavenger who ‘just so happens’ to be Force sensitive: Name a character with a mysterious past.

(I don’t like the tone of this question with all the crap Rey gets for being a ‘Mary Sue’ character but as this is an old set of questions from after TFA so I get that it’s hinting at a reveal about Rey’s parentage that never came.)

Okay so it might be cheating to choose another Star Wars character but I feel like it’s criminal that we got an entire, very awesome book all about Captain Phasma and her past but absolutely no recognition of it in the films so far because it was a brilliant book and it feels like such a waste seeing as it was headed as one of the “Journey to the Last Jedi” books.

16.STORMTROOPER FINN

Questioning his future, he finally makes his own decision to change sides: Name a character who has questioned his/her morals.

Okay, so I actually really like that Mia from the Nevernight books is, a little by the second and definitely by the third, questioning her morals and weather her succeeding in her final goals and ‘purpose’ will make her just as ‘bad’ as the people she wants to make pay. Not to mention she often tends to shrug these thoughts off and deem it ‘worth it’ quite often. That’s my revenge hungry knife wife.

17.POE DAMERON

An amazing pilot flying through hyperspace: Name your favourite series that travels through time.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin, hands down. Loved it to pieces and recommend it every chance I get. It’s one of the best stand-alone books I’ve read and has some really interesting concepts and brilliant characters (there’s also a red panda).

18. KYLO REN

Obsessed with an idealistic view of his grandfather: Name a character who will stop at nothing to fulfil their destiny. 

Okay so I hate to name her again so soon but my answer for this is absolutely Mia Coverre from Nevernight for pretty much all the reasons I cited a few questions back.

19.MAZ KANATA

Even though she’s force sensitive, she never trained in the ways of the Jedi Order: Name a character who doesn’t rise to their full potential.

Okay, so I feel like Jacob Black from the Twilight books got wasted on continuing to pine over Bella and then imprinting on her daughter. I remember I really hoped that he would either get over his romantic feelings for Bella or understand they weren’t reciprocated and just continued to be the awesome best friend he should have been. The way he dealt with his feelings made him a dick and I’m sour about it.

20.BB-8

Following previous droids is not an easy task, but he is loved by all: Name a sequel you prefer over the first. 

I’ve already mentioned Vengeful by V.E Schwab so I’ll pick another but I just wanted to say that book is an absolute masterpiece. My next pick would be Chasing the Shadows (review here but it is NOT spoiler-free for the first book) by Maria V. Snyder. The first book was enjoyable but the second book improved on SO many things and amplified some of my favourite parts of the first so it was a win all around.

I love you all but I’m going to climb back in bed and binge-watch me some Star Wars while I wait for this cold/flu thing to leave me alone or kill me.

 

Blog Tours, book reviews, spoiler free

CTRL+S by Andy Briggs

Book Review

45437425CTRL+S by Andy Briggs

Rating: XXXX

Publishes November 28th by Orion Books.

“Escape is easy. Staying Free – That’s harder.”

Life in the near future’s NOT ALL BAD. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire.

But ALMOST ANYTHING isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested – and lives traded – to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted.

NOW THEO’S MOTHER HAS DISAPPEARED. And as he follows her breadcrumb trail of clues, he’ll come up against the most dangerous SPACE has to offer: vPolice, AI Bots and anarchists – as well as a criminal empire that will KILL TO STOP HIM finding her . . .

When I received an email asking if I would like to receive a copy of this book I took one look at the synopsis and practically made grabby hands. I’ve been working on a piece of writing for about three years now which share some similarities and I decided that this book would be the perfect read for during NaNoWriMo as I often find it hard to read books of a different genre to what I’m writing or it has a habit of taking me too far out of the story and I have to ease back in every time. A huge thank you to Orion for an advanced finished copy in exchange for an honest review.

I will admit that to start with I wasn’t sure about this book. We had the hard done by main character who was a bit of a dick, the angry, only female friend the main character has a crush on with the high up and/or well respected dad who just wants her freedom, the confident guy friend who may or may have had a thing with said only girl and the shy guy who doesn’t want to take risks but ends up doing so anyway. Sounds familiar right? We even get the crappy relationship between the main character and his struggling single-parent mother who he tends to refer to just as ‘Ella’ instead of Mum. It’s not that it was a bad start, it just felt very predictable. Flash forward to me a few days later frantically reading as I walk the three minutes to my son’s school because I just could not put it down. 

The characters are definitely their stereotypes but it was easy to forget at times as we did get further insight into them, the main character especially and although I still don’t particularly ‘like’ any of them but they’re still interesting characters who DO develop throughout the story which only spans less than a week anyway so I wasn’t expecting any huge and major changes, I don’t feel like they’re meant to be idea ‘loveable’ characters and I kind of like that about them because it’s very easy to see our own flaws in them and it gives them a whole other level.

The plot itself is the real MVP here, again there are moments that seem predictable but to honest having read a fair amount of sci-fi and seen a hell of a lot of sci-fi films and TV shows that is absolutely bound to happen, almost every story has been told before but this if the first time it’s been told by Andy and I really loved the twists and turns we got along the way and how each clue had to be found and then unravelled. As well as the plot, the writing is at times incredibly fast-paced and has you right at the edge of your seat which is probably my favourite thing about this book, I’m shocked I don’t have any ripped pages and apparently I was impossible to talk to while reading because I was just SO engrossed with the events. We have some downtime, obviously but it fits well with the pacing and isn’t too slow as we get information in that downtime, as well as some character development and some new (awesome) allies.

Another aspect I really enjoyed was the world-building, it’s a not too distant future and incredibly believable in pretty much all aspects for me, the good and the bad. Not only do we get to see the good things that have changed like the way we as a human race impact and care for our planet and it’s animals, finally accepting how important the earth and it’s ecosystems are but we also see how such technological advances could develop going forward and how, like everything that exists it has the potential to do great good but also evil too. There is a fair bit of ‘technobabble’ but most of it seemed easy enough to understand and where needed we get extra information anyway so if you’re used to reading sci-fi this shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad I gave it the chance it deserved. It was addictive and possibly one of the most satisfying books I’ve read in a while. I highly recommend it, especially if the synopsis catches your attention.

CTRL+S releases in just two days time on Thursday, November 28th. Make sure you check out the other wonderful book bloggers also taking part in the blog tour over the next week!

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spoiler free, writing

Must be Monday – NaNoWriMo Week Four – The End is Nigh!

unboxing

So I had a really really bad weekend for writing. Weekends are usually the hardest days for me to write anyway as I write best when alone with music blaring stupidly loudly through my big ole PC headphones and that isn’t really a possibility with my four-year-old at home. Even though he only goes to school for a couple of hours a day I tend to write solidly during that time. Not to mention any time that I could have potentially have tried to write in the evenings got swallowed up by prepping for a dungeons and dragons game Sunday, that’s out of the way now but I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

I’m absolutely kicking myself after I was so confident for most of last week. As of this morning at around 6am I’m 4,368 behind the target at 37,707 It’s not helped that I’m not at any points that are particularly easy or quick to write at the moment AND I have blog posts to write for this week. I’ve been working so hard on this project and done so well so far that I’m determined to not to fall behind any further and still win NaNoWriMo. Dabble (the word processor I use) assures me that if I make sure to write 2116 a day over the next six days I should be able to make it!! Feeling pretty good as two years ago I was a whole 10k behind and I still made it!

Update: A little over 800 words written today (before 9am) already so hoping this is a good sign!