Fictional Fridays

I am so excited for my first Fictional Fridays post!! After getting a little burnt with 5 Fandom Friday, I’ll be hopping over to join Bookworms In Dresses fabulous Friday link-up! Fictional Fridays is dedicated to gushing about literary related goodness. Characters! Stories! Book covers! Anything you want – post about it!! I love how it’s open ended, and it’s just the link up I’ve been looking for to pull me out of my Friday funk lately.

I was originally thinking about book characters I love as a topic to discuss here today, but then I realized there was something I wanted to talk about about more: Characters I Love to HATE.

I actually love it when I get truly angry at a character in a book. Why? The above quote sums it up nicely. If I have a mad case of rage towards a character, I definitely care and am invested in the writing enough to be so filled with turmoil. I love that. I love getting the feels for fictional characters, and I am always impressed when an author can churn up some true anger in me. So without further ado, here are my Top Two Characters I Love To Hate.

1. Dolores Umbridge

She is at the very tippy top of my list in terms of nerd rage while reading. I have never been SO ANGRY when reading. There were so many times I sat there, jaw clenched, white-knuckling my copy of Order of the Phoenix whilst reading about her latest horrifying act. I was actually sad when you find out the centaurs did not, in fact, rip her to pieces. I wanted her torn to smithereens, entrails hanging from the Forbidden Forest as a warning to others to not be such a complete douche.

2. Cersei Lannister

I absolutely love what a cold-hearted bitch Cersei is in the books. In fact, I’m not overly enamored with her portrayal on the show – she comes off rather victim-like in some situations and that is just NOT Cersei. She knows what she’s doing. She knows what she wants. And she will do ANYTHING to get it. I love (to hate) that about her. Her cold, calculating manner, her complete disregard for anyone but herself. In the earlier books I was in awe of just how selfish she was. Which made it all the more satisfying as things began to fall apart for her.

Those two have definitely given me the most rage I can think of while reading. There are certainly others I can mention:

Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter (for being such a skeevy jerk), Sansa from Game of Thrones (for her overwhelming naivety), Sandman from the Neil Gaiman comics (while he is the main protagonist, there are many occasions he is just a complete dick), Lucifer from Sandman and his own spinoff series (he IS the devil, I guess it’s not too surprising he would do some angering things). I’m sure I could name more, but that’s a good start.

Are there any characters you just love to hate?

Don’t forget to link up over at Bookworms in Dresses if you join in on Fictional Fridays!

A-Z Book Survey

Alycia from Habitual Homebody had yet another cool survey post – this time about books! So here it is – feel free to snag it to use yourself.

Author you’ve read the most books from:

I think it’s probably Augusten Burroughs. I’ve read all but two of his books, and they are excellent. Such a brilliant combination of dark humor, sad truths, and honesty. I like that.

Best Sequel Ever:

I think I’ll have to go with ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ by Stieg Larsson, which is Book 2 of  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series. I liked ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’, but I wasn’t riveted for the whole book. With Book 2, I was. I could NOT put that book down. Book 3 is fabulous as well – I highly recommend the whole series.

Currently Reading:

‘The Way of Shadows’ by Brent Weeks. It was loaned by a friend who knows I love fantasy novels, and it is quite good so far. And it’s one a trilogy, so I have two more after, yay!

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Tea. But then again, tea is always my drink of choice. However, if it’s super late, or I’m in bed, usually it’s a bottle of water.

E-reader or Physical Book?

I have both, and I like both equally. Originally, I thought I would hate a Kindle. Nothing beats holding a physical book, or that lovely book smell. But when we got our Kindle many years back, I begrudgingly tried it, and found out I like it! It is really so much more convenient in bed than trying to comfortably lay and hold open an 800+ page hardcover book. And since it’s not a standard screen like a computer, I don’t get the headache problem from staring at a screen too long (which is why I will never get a Kindle Fire).

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

I’d have to say Simon from the YA series Mortal Instruments. He’s nerdy, a bit weird, into anime, and hot. Pretty much sums up my actual high school dating experience! But I think he’s realistically the most like me and my friends in high school, therefore, the most likely fictional guy I would’ve dated.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

‘Lamb’ by Christopher Moore. I was in a bookstore, just browsing the shelves, and I picked up Lamb. At first, I was put off because it had to do with religion (it is a ‘re-telling’ of the Christian gospel according to Christ’s childhood pal, Biff. Yes, it’s a comedy). Now, I have nothing against religion, I myself am just not a religious person so I wasn’t sure I’d be interested in the book. But a complete stranger (a girl about my age ,which was 20 or so at the time) saw me with it and said, “Just read it. You will love it. It’s hilarious.” Well, that was enough for me. I bought it, and it is currently one of my all time favorite books. It IS hysterical, but it has it has sad and serious moments as well. I definitely recommend it.

Hidden Gem Book:

‘Lamb’ by Christopher Moore. See above question.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

When I was nine or ten years old I read a book called ‘The Daydreamer’ by Ian McEwan. It was the first book I remember that really sucked me into another world. It has fantasy elements in (the main character is constantly daydreaming about his everyday life) and it is the first memory I have of realizing that reading can really show you amazing things.

Just Finished:

The third book in the Gentlemen Bastard series, ‘The Republic of Thieves’ by Scott Lynch. This series is absolutely fantastic, and the first book ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ is in my top ten books of all time. The Republic of Thieves is good, but not as good as the first two. It suffers from sequel-itis, in that it really seems to be setting you up for the NEXT book, which sounds like it will be far more interesting. But this was still a great read.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Romance novels. I’ve just never had an interest. I mean, not that I mind stories involving a love story, but for the most part they are secondary plots in the books I like. That being said, I have read the 50 Shade of Grey series, and I don’t consider them love stories. They are basically porn, in book form.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, book 2 in his Song of Ice and Fires series. Clocks in at 1,004 pages. Dance with Dragons (Book 5) is longer, but I have yet to read it.

Major book hangover because of:

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I am not a sappy person, but every since I had a child, I can not handle anything having to do with sick/dying children. This whole book was about kids with cancer. Cue sobbing silently on the couch for half the book, and for about an half an hour after I finished it. But despite that, I highly recommend the book because it is excellent!

Number of Bookcases You Own:


One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Besides the entire Harry Potter series, I have read Dry by Augusten Burroughs about eight or nine times. It is in my top ten books of all time, and I love it every time I read it.

Preferred Place To Read:

Curled up on my couch with a blanket.
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

“Much of my life had been devoted to trying not to cry in front of people who loved me, so I knew what Augustus was doing. You clench your teeth. You look up. You tell yourself that if they see you cry, it will hurt them, and you will be nothing but a Sadness in their lives, and you must not become a mere sadness, so you will not cry, and you say all of this to yourself while looking up at the ceiling, and then you swallow even though your throat does not want to close and you look at the person who loves you and smile.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

“We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

This whole book gave me the feels, but those quotes are a few I really love.

Reading Regret:

The Great Gatsby. I couldn’t even finish it. I didn’t care about a single character in the book, nor any of the events.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

The Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Allegiant (the final book) just came out last month, and I bought the whole series but at the time, my hubs had taken over the kindle. When he’s finished, it’s next on my list!

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
World War Z by Max Brooks
Lamb by Christopher Moore

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

The Mortal Instruments series – they’re a YA series, and while I recognize they aren’t spectacular, I thoroughly enjoy them!

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Allegiant (final book in the Divergent trilogy) which just came out, and the next Gentlemen Bastard book which probably won’t be out for years, as the most recent one just came out last month. But I want more!

Worst Bookish Habit:

Constantly adding to my ‘Want To Read’ list on Goodreads without ever actually reading books on that list. I’m usually too frugal to constantly buy books, so I read books my neighbor loans me that aren’t on my list (but at least they’re good!).

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson (Book 2 of the Mistborn series – excellent series!!)

Your latest book purchase:

Bought The Republic of Thieves (Book 3 of Gentlement Bastards) and the Divergent trilogy on the same day.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

When I first read the Divergent series. I could NOT put those books down – definitely my favorite YA series. I had a couple late-nighters with the Mortal Instruments books as well.

Hope you got some new books you’d like to read out of this – I did in reading the previous answers! I tend to sway towards fantasy novels, and I have a soft spot for YA series so if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

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My Open Sketchbook

I wanted to use this post to display some of my own artwork (old and new!), and give you a little insight to me and my art. Lately I’ve been hard at work on commissions for people, as well as some personal portraits of my own. I figured I’d give a little rundown on my history with drawing.

I began drawing when I was 11. I was a rather geeky 11 year old (who turned out to be a rather geeky adult). At that age I was obsessed with Pokemon, Zelda, and especially Sailor Moon. My best friend was really into drawing Pokemon, and I’d always liked drawing, so I started drawing some Sailor Moon characters (my personal favorite – Sailor Venus. She’s still my fave!).

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The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker fanart circa 2003.

Looking back ay my old drawings cracks me up. No sense of proportion, bold outlines – classic stuff. But hey, gotta start somewhere! Sometime during my freshman year in high school I made the switch from drawing anime to drawing more realistic people. I think what prompted me was the Lord of the Rings movies. Me and my buds were heavily into LoTR. Posters covered my walls, I had the action figures. And somewhere along the lines I started drawing my favorite cast members (usually Elijah Wood; he was definitely my celeb crush back then). That progressed to a real enjoyment drawing and capturing people’s expressions in portraits, and I just kept going!

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Elijah Wood, drawn 2003.          Khal Drogo, drawn 2013.
Ten years makes a difference it seems!

I went to art college for one year, and it was amazing. To sum up, I made the decision not to go back for all the wrong reasons, but it all turned out okay in the end. I love the life I have now, and wouldn’t change it for a thing. When my hubby and I decided we wanted a baby, I was just getting back into the swing of art again after taking a rather long hiatus from it after college. While pregnant, I did keep drawing, but close to the end of my pregnancy I stopped completely. Becoming a mom consumed me for the first year of my daughter’s life. And it wasn’t in a bad way. I just couldn’t get enough of my beautiful little girl; I didn’t want to miss a single thing she did, any expression on her face, any sound she made. I drank in every aspect of her. But around her first birthday I began to get restless. Eventually, I realized I needed more than just ‘being a mom’. I needed my own hobbies and activities back. And art was always such a big part of me. So I began drawing again, and haven’t stopped since. I’ve only recently begun sharing my art online again, and opened up commissions. I’m confident enough with my skill again that I’m proud to share it, as opposed to wanting to hide it! FYI, if you’re interested in a commission, check out my Facebook page, Pencil & Paper, or email me at

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A just for fun drawing of one of my friends and her son. The second was a piece just for fun too, but the woman loved it so much she bought it from me!

My drawing style doesn’t really follow a specific technique. Unless ‘winging it’ counts as a style, in which case that’s mine. I usually start with the facial features (eyes mainly, but sometime the nose first) and sometimes I start with something else entirely! When it comes to shading, I usually do things pretty routinely (click below image.)

Ian WIPS montage

I usually follow that pattern, but not always. Hair used to be the bane of my existence in the drawing world. It overwhelmed me. So many strands, so much movement; I didn’t know where to begin. Now, I have completely embraced hair. I’ve stopped looking at it as a whole, and started viewing it like a face – something to break down into individual pieces and draw. When I draw hair it takes on more of a graphical quality than an ultra realistic one, but I like it. It’s nice to now enjoy something I used to loathe – such an accomplished feeling!

Hair like this would have crushed me a couple years ago. Now, it’s a challenge that I love finishing!

Nowadays I use drawing as a way to relax, but also as a way to challenge myself. Those sound conflicting, but they mesh together well. When I just want to chill and lose myself in art, I’ll grab some tea and work on a piece that isn’t too hard for me. But when I want a challenge I’ll purposely select a reference picture with something I know I’ll find difficult – a clothing texture perhaps, or a difficult pose. It all depends on my mood. Lately, for my personal pieces, I’ve been really picky about references that have expressions I really want to capture. I also think I want to start working more on full body poses instead of just head and shoulders ‘bust’ type portraits.

Why people portraits? I just find the human face fascinating. As different as people are, I find when I’m drawing so many things become similar. The curve of an eye, or lips. The subtleties between each person is what makes them unique – I love to try and capture that. And I love the lines of the face. Profile shots are one of my absolute favorite; the continuous curving line from the top of the forehead all the way down to the neck is just beautiful.

In my spare time I like to oil paint. I’m incredibly slow at it, but I love it!

Some more Legend of Zelda fanart. I started this piece back in 2012, and every few months do a little more work on it. Lately I’ve had no time for painting!

My hubs requested this piece – she’s a character from a game called League of Legends. I haven’t touched it in months. . .I should really get on that!

If you’re an artist, what medium do you favor? And if you’re not as into art, what do you do to unwind, or challenge yourself?

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Launch Day!

I’ve finally made my first foray into the blogging world! And I’m pretty darn excited about it. Seeing’s how this is my first post on my brand spankin’ new blog I figured I’d give you a little taste of things to come. To get to know me personally a bit better, feel free to venture to the About Me section and take a look around!

I love art. Expect to see lots of artwork posted. Some will be my own – currently I’ve been hard at work on some commissioned pencil portraits. But in my free time I also enjoy oil painting. I love to browse other artist’s work too – I’m constantly printing out little images to tack onto the wall above my art desk. That’s why I’ve made my Pure Inspiration page. It’s nothing but art that I find inspiring in some way. Take a look, and get inspired!

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Two of my drawings. One of my friend and her son, and Drogo from Game of Thrones. Both graphite pencil.

Definitely don’t miss the Shop ‘Til You Drop page. It’s filled with amazing indie shops. One of my personal goals this year is to buy as many gifts (including gifts for myself!) as I can from indie vendors. There are SO many things to choose from, and who doesn’t love a unique, often customizable gift? As someone who is just venturing into an indie business I can really appreciate the importance of helping out other small businesses.

As for my post content, that’s going to cover a lot. Stories from my life, crafts I make, projects with my little miss, art I make, products I’ve bought and love. . .the list goes on! After I get the wheels greased and things are running smoothly for me, I will eventually be including a Monthly Feature page. This could be an artist, a shop, a blog, a product and have a page up and promoting it for a month. A great way to get the word out about things I find spectacular. Oh, and get used to this little face.


You’ll be seeing lots of her around here. I tend to be a photoholic when it comes to my daughter. What can I say, she just inspires me!

So thanks for stopping by my blog – stay tuned for some features of things that I love, some serious art inspiration, and I may just need to start up a Fun Fact Friday. Because who doesn’t love useless trivia? I’d be happy to hear any feedback on my blog, or any advice – I’m still learning about the blogging world! Thanks for reading!


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