Top 10 Characters I am Grateful for

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by the lovely The Broke and the Bookish. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I will be deviating from the prompt because it is exactly the prompt for Top 5 Wednesday. I’ll be discussing my top ten characters I am grateful for this season.

Let’s go.

10. Raisa from the demon king by Cinda Williams Chima

This queen heir is driven, curious, clever, and brave. I just like that she is willing to learn more about her  people rather than live in ignorance. Plus, she doesn’t rely on people around her to inform her of what her country is like. Instead, she goes out there to see for herself. And, I love her so much.

9. felicity from the gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue by mackenzie lee

Felicity, my soul sister, has the best lines in this already-hilarious-and-poignant-book. I love how different she is from people of her time. She’s progressive, clever, and so funny. Plus, that ending with her next adventure is just perfection. I cannot wait to read her story.

8. the falconer trilogy by elizabeth may

I am grateful for the female characters in this trilogy. Elizabeth May features abuse survivors and it means the world to me to see women building each other up. The way they encourage one another, and sympathize and connect together was so moving to me. Can’t say who deals with what, obviously, but these ladies meant a ton.

Oh, and obviously, I will always be grateful for Derrick, my love.

7. diana from lord of shadows by cassandra clare

Strong, resilient and beautiful: these are some of the ways I describe Diana. Cassandra Clare introduces strong women in her stories, and with each series, she brings in even more different ways for strength to manifest. While I love Emma and Clary, Diana made my heart sing. Obviously, she and Maia will be my babies forever.

6. shadow and bone by leigh bardugo

“I am not ruined. I am ruination.” I am grateful for this line and the person who says it. Hands down one of the coolest moments in my year.

5. a darker shade of magic by victoria schwab

Delilah Bard is my dream self and my dream friend all rolled into one. I just wish I had her guts and her confidence. Having met her in the book is a highlight of my year, because I keep thinking of her. If you ever stumble on my Tumblr, I am always looking for quotes and moments about Delilah Bard. Needless to say, I am ever so grateful for her.

4. weight of feathers by anna-marie mclemore 

Lace and Luc, my precious babies, I loved meeting them, and witnessing their beautiful love story unfold in this debut by one of my favorite authors. Where are all the fan videos and the mood boards, and the fan casting? Come on, peeps, get on it!

3. six of crows by leigh bardugo

Oh my Lord. How much do I love this cast of characters, I will never be able to fully explain! Kaz, my gloomy child, and the rest of his team made a lasting impression. Inej and Nina are people I wish I’d become somehow. Wylan, Jesper, Matthias made me laugh and choke up.

2. the raven cycle by maggie stiefvater

My darling Blue Sargent, my intimidating and yet total cinnamon roll Ronan Lynch, Adam, and Gansey: I am grateful that we met this year. Their friendship is so beautiful. To the dearest ghost I have ever met, Noah Czerny, I think of you often. I am grateful you exist.

 1. harry potter series by jk rowling

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, and Ron Weasley are my favorite buddies of all time. There are many things I don’t like about this series, so many flaws and I wish the author would take ownership of such mistakes. But, still, it was an effective story, full of incredible characters. My dear Neville Longbottom, you are fantastic. Luna Lovegood, Tonks, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and so many other characters I carry with me always. I am grateful for this series.

 

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BR: Turtles All The Way Down

 

 

I was surprised when John Green announced his newest novel, Turtles All the Way Down. It felt very sudden and miraculous, almost. Believe me, I try not to be a sap about things often. But, this book was immediately a favorite, before I had even read it. I’ll come out and admit it:I am a John Green fan. Here are some of my thoughts on the book.

Premise

Best friends Aza and Daisy gather up clues on the missing billionaire in their town. His sons Noah and Davis try to come to terms with his disappearance. Some talk of a tuatara lizard, which is a word that my computer doesn’t even know it existed.

mental illness

I don’t mean to exaggerate here, I am genuinely expressing my admiration for this book’s honesty and raw featuring of mental illness. From my own experience, I think Aza has the depersonalization that I deal with daily. I admit that mine is a bit more exaggerated than hers, but it was still moving to see her sessions with Dr. Singh.

When she deals in metaphors because her pain is so intense, I was nodding along. Part of me wanted to snap-shot the whole book.

The invasive thoughts, intrusive and powerful, were terrifying. My own experience is not so much focused on bacteria. Instead, my brain is invested in what I cannot control: people’s perceptions and my value as a human.

Besides, the way this anxiety shakes up the foundations of relationships, be it friendship or romantic ones, even parent-child relationships. Heck, I’d say even Aza’s relationship with Dr. Singh is rocky because of it.

John Green gets this weird reputation of glamorizing illness. Listen. This is in no way fun or romantic. If anything, it is destructive and dwindles any bit of connection Aza has with anyone. Even Daisy, who has been her best friend for years,  communicates her frustrations .

the mystery

While I wasn’t too much of a fan of the Holmes last name here, I did like the mystery presented in the story. Davis and Noah were crucial to humanizing Pickett.  I think John Green always deals with people in a sensitive and cautious manner. It is hard not to be emphatic toward characters in his stories.

I felt so much compassion for Davis and Noah. Maybe it’s because I don’t have much of a paternal connection myself. Davis and his blog was also incredibly moving and powerful as a study of human psyche and emotion. He deals with so much loss and frustration. People assuming that wealth equates to entitlement was heartbreaking, because Davis asks for such simple things. He wishes for them, not really asks for them.

privilege and wealth

I think the novel certainly presents some good insight for readers to consider. Daisy, Aza, and Davis all posit that there is more to wealth than material things. Let me tell you, I hate it when people assume that John Green writes “philosopher” teens. Listen, teens are people. They vary. For me, if I had read this book as a teen, it would have blown my mind away because it articulated things that preoccupied me all along.

Friendship

Daisy reminded me of my failed friendships. I just got out of an old friendship from college days, and I was flinching a little whenever Daisy and Aza had conflicts. In a way, Daisy is still a refreshing response to mental illness. I’d rather have someone tell me what to work on. I was mostly isolated with every friendship I had, because people did not know how to work around my weirdness.

I don’t know if I’ll ever have a friendship that lasts as long as Daisy and Aza’s relationship. My illness manifests differently, and dynamics vary from person to person.

 

  I finished reading the Monsters of Verity duology over the past two weeks. My mind is
  I could have sworn there's a review up on my blog for Not a Drop
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Week 3 of November 2017 TBR

 

November has been tough in some ways, but I am busying myself as much as I can. So: READING is a fun thing. I have a TBR for this week and it is as ambitious as ever. Let’s do this.

Challenge fun times

This week is part 1 of the Tom Topple, where book folk read tomes (500 pagers). As such, I am going to attempt to read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff this week. Perhaps I will not make it far, but the plan is to at least give it a shot.

If I do finish this one (which is highly unlikely, to be honest, but okay), I’d like to try starting The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness because, you know, I heard something terrible happens in this book. If it is not detrimental to the dog’s life, I should be (mostly) okay.

Gimme more

Yes, obviously, I don’t want to just read a huge book in one week. I’d like to try squeezing in some regular-sized books. Here are a couple of the ones I’m considering for the third week of November!

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder should be a quick read, and it is a shorter book (compared to the tomes, anyway). I like Snyder’s writing and I am a fan of this story thus far. Yelena and Valek: I missed you! It’s time to see what happens to them next.

If I do manage to finish this (which is, like, miraculous at this point), I would like to read A Darkness Strange and Lovely by Susan Dennard. The first book in this trilogy was such a nice, quick read.

this is not realistic…

There’s a reason I get sorted into Slytherin often. I am ambitious. But, also, I have been trying to increase my reading intervals daily. The holiday season is a good time to cozy up and read stories in bed. It’s my ideal way to deal with stress. As Katniss Everdeen says, “there are worse games to play.”

 

  I did not do a good job last week in terms of reading. So,
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The Netflix Chronicles: The 100 Season 3 Midway Point Reflections

It has been a while since I have done a Netflix Chronicles update. So, here it is: I will be talking about the show I have been watching regularly. The 100. I have now reached the midway point of this season. As such, flailing and anxiety must be shared.

Warning: spoilers may lie ahead

premise

Dealing with the consequences of season 2, Clakre is now called Wanheda and everyone is looking for her. Her connection with Lexa leads to some attempts to create peace between the Grounders and the Sky-people. But, chaos reigns within a few episodes. So, don’t get too excited.

Wanheda x heda

Speaking of which, I have to discuss this Wanheda/Heda business. Two people in a position of power, and yet conflict pressures them a lot. It is kind of like an elaborate dance, because neither Clarke nor Lexa ever seems distressed by all the tension between their people.

Also: like, all the backstabbing and the secrecy is hard to watch because I love Lexa and Clarke. They’re awesome people.

Bellamy and the angry mob mentality

Sigh. Look, I love Bellamy. I really do. But, he slips into this angry rage in season 3. I don’t know how much more he’ll screw things up. I mean, you know we’re in trouble when Bellamy is a threat to Clarke.

Just saying.

Besides, the tensions between Team 1 (Bellamy, Pike and gang) vs. Team 2 (Kane, Abby, and Octavia) is really intense. Okay.

jaha and alie marching on

Man, I don’t know what to make of ALIE. Like Abby, I remain rather…unsure. But, hey, they got Raven. So that’s kind of epic because Raven is super critical of things like this.

Moreover: Otan or whatever his name is. I hope this doesn’t bite Emori and Murphy in the butt.

murphy

This boy has the CRAPPIEST luck of all time. I don’t know if I am 100% sure of Emori yet (she reminds me of Echo…shifty). He tries to survive through this poop-fest of a life that he’s leading so far. And, while I do understand that he tries to make sense of the history of commanders and the lady who keeps appearing (oh jeez. I don’t know how this is going to come together as a single cohesive story-line. Not being sarcastic. I am seriously unsure how it will work out eventually).

To be continued…

 

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Over the past week, I have inched my way through the second season of The
As you may have gathered by now, I am working my way through The 100. This

BR: Monsters of Verity Duology

 

I finished reading the Monsters of Verity duology over the past two weeks. My mind is blown, and my heart has felt such a range of feelings. In short: I want to share some thoughts on this story. Let’s go.

premise

The story begins with the Seam. It is a line separating two little towns. One of them has monsters. The other has humans. Humans wear medals to get their safety under the reign of some jerk named Callum Harker.

Two characters are at the center of this tension-filled city: August Flynn and Kate Harker.  They have no contact.

Until August goes over to her school as a transfer student.

Boom.

characters

Kate is Callum Harker’s daughter. He is the leader of their town, the protector of humans. And yet, Kate has a dark backstory and metal nails. She has been kicked out of schools for the past couple of years. [See backstory].

August Flynn is a monster. Born out of violence, he is trying to be human. He attempts to fit in with human beings, and he is apologetic for his monstrous nature.

When the two characters bump into each other, chaos ensues.

Also: No, this is luckily mostly a non-romantic story.

conflicts

What I love about this story, like many of Schwab’s novels, is that deals with morality, and consequences to choices. It zeroes in on nature vs. nurture, humanity, and the nature of monsters.

In addition, it is an exploration of compassion, survival, friendship, and vengeance.

This duology is just perfection. I enjoyed it to the moon and back, and that’s not even an exaggeration.

overall

I’d give these two novels a 4-4.5 star rating. My qualm is with pacing in the second book, particularly early into the story. It takes a while for things to happen, and so it kind of slowed down my reading for a little bit.

But, when things start moving, you better clear your calendar. This story will take over your world.

    I was surprised when John Green announced his newest novel, Turtles All the Way
  I could have sworn there's a review up on my blog for Not a Drop
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Top Ten Books That Will Give Me Cool Aunt Status

 

 

Top Tuesday is a meme created by the lovelies over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, a topic is listed for bloggers to share their top ten books or characters that relate to the prompt. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I am going to be discussing my top ten books that will give me cool aunt status.

Let’s begin.

10. the hunger games by suzanne collins

A trilogy that correlates with strong political commentary but coupled with an intense plot and pace would definitely earn me some points. Look, Katniss Everdeen, along with all the people around the Hunger Games,  face serious choices to make, with very high stakes. Plus, the movie adaptations are pretty good, too. Aside from the casting, which still kind of bothers me sometimes.

9. the weight of feathers by anna-marie mclemore

This book is somewhat slow moving at first. As such, my cool aunt status will not be attained quickly. I am okay with that, because this story packs a punch that “Romeo and Juliet” doesn’t quite manage to accomplish. I do think they’d learn more about adversity and family feuds better through this story. Plus, beautiful costumes and art drive this tale. I think my nephews and nieces would like this book eventually.

8. not a drop to drink by mindy mcginnis

Just like The Hunger Games, I think this story has a lot of weight to it because it seems possible to happen in future. The questions of morality and compassion posited by the author would provide just enough tension and jog (to put it lightly) some thoughts into the nephew and nieces lives, interactions, and discussions.

7. Monsters of verity duology by victoria schwab

Yep, it surpasses Shades of Magic series because I think it warrants a more urgent discussion on evil and choice. I doubt that forgetting August and Kate will ever be feasible. I mean this in the most honest sense: I think of them often.

***Next are books I have not read yet, but they are on my shelves*

6. illuminae by amie kaufmann and jay kristoff

I have not read this series yet, but dude, I know the format will be a ton of fun to experience. All the cool kids have read this series, and while I am not cool (yet), I will make sure my future nephews and nieces know what’s hip.

5. and i darken by kiersten white

Another unread book on this list, but I like the alternate takes on history that are out there in literature right now. So, this one sounds really promising, even though some people say it starts out slow. If I may, I want to add another one that I have not read: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman. We can talk about erasure of queer figures in historical texts, too.

4. ash by melinda lo

It’s embarrassing that I haven’t read this on either, but I WILL. And, when I do, those poor nephews and nieces will be exposed to a fresh take on Cinderella. And, in the words of Harry Potter in his musical, “It’s going to be totally awesome.”*

*If you haven’t seen the two Harry Potter musicals, you must remedy this soon. They’re so good.

3. chaos walking trilogy by patrick ness

While I do fear for this trilogy’s adaptation, I still look forward to reading it. A world where people can hear each other’s thoughts sounds terrifying and interesting. Plus, gender, freedom, and cute dogs are relevant to the story.

2. Beauty queens by libba bray

A remake of a classic, and it is far more inclusive, this book sounds like an interesting read. I have skimmed through this before, and it has this reality-television setting that made me smile.

 1. turtles all the way down by john green

OCD representation and discussion of friendship, plus some detective work. Another bonus for me is that this is a book by one of my favorite authors ever. I think the nephews and nieces may like this one, too. (I hope so).

 

    Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by the lovely The Broke and
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    Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, a meme run by the bad-ass Broke

Review: The Big Sick

 

 

 

My brother was super kind to get me The Big Sick a few days after my birthday. I want to share some of my thoughts on this film, because it hit close to home.

Finding your voice

While the story is centered on love, I do think it is also dependent on Kumail finding his own voice as a comedian and as a Pakistani American. He has to come to terms with his place in the middle of two seemingly different cultures.

He finds the balance between comedy and boring exposition. I remember the whole “this is your name in *insert native language here*” tricks just to get people to see that I won’t be scary. And, in some ways, I understand the struggle to place oneself in the grand conversation of the world.

romance

So, obviously, I’ll have to talk about the romance. Ultimately, Emily is this nice white girl, who is cool and unique. She is clever and funny, sweet and strange at times. The big sickness she deals with is terrifying and harrowing.

Her family show a sense of belonging and acceptance of her and her history. It’s sweet to see them welcome Kumail after hesitating at first. I think the love story in this film is also between the two parents and their grappling with infidelity.

universal family problems

I suppose it was a nice depiction of universal familial tensions when faced with accepting new members and significant others. I like that this is portrayed without being too preachy or idealistic.

Honestly though

I am literally sighing. Look, I love the story, please don’t get me wrong. However, I want to say a few things here. First, being American doesn’t mean you erase your culture. There can be Muslim Americans. I deeply dislike this apologetic view of faith, like you can’t be a modern person and still practice a religion that is old like Islam.

Like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the assumption that marrying a white person would allow for integration into western society is shallow and woefully untrue. I wished Kumail would embrace his culture, introduce it to Emily, and uncover the mystery of how to marry both cultures into his life.

Believe it or not, we are capable of multitasking and containing multitudes in general. There is no need to reduce oneself to a single pill with no complicated ingredients.

Yet, I respect his story and I appreciate it. Maybe if there’s more interaction and overlap between different cultures and races, people would be more tolerant.  I do wish there was a more nuanced discussion of culture and identity, though. In addition, I wish there was more variety in our stories on immigrants and the quest to come to terms with identity.

 

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TBR for week 2 of November, 2017

 

I did not do a good job last week in terms of reading. So, I though maybe just trying a couple of different books could help me make my way through this cloud of depression. It’s more of a storm, but I am trying to make it out of this mess.

My to be read pile is in need of some serious trimming, and I feel like reading could help me cope with this funk a little better. Because of this, I am trying to be more ambitious this week.

 

contemporary love

Obviously, I have to read John Green’s latest novel entitled Turtles All the Way Down.  An ownvoices novel on OCD, it sounds like this one may be triggering at times. However, I think the way it deals with friendship may give me some solace. I love the way John Green crafts real and raw friendships in his books.

Plus, this book has been on some of the lists on here. It is time for a review and reflection.

steampunk stories

For week 2 of November, 2017, I have to add some steampunk into my TBR. In particular, I am going to try two series: 1) The Girl in the Steel Corset and 2) Rebel Mechanics. 

The latter series has gotten some okay reviews around the internet. I have the first two books in that series, so I am hopefully going to enjoy the way history is told in this series. Revolutions aren’t stuff that I have read about much, so this should be neat.

Oh, and the first series is often mentioned as a recommendation for those who love steampunk. I have the whole series on my shelf, ready to go.

Also: before I forget, I am still reading Something Strange and Deadly, which is steampunk (I believe). While I am not far in, it’s a nice read at this point.

Perhaps?

I may read The Kiss of Deception, at some point this week, too. (Hey, I am dreaming out loud).

Your turn

What are you reading this week?

 

  November has been tough in some ways, but I am busying myself as much
    November is upon us! As such, I am planning to read all the
Hi! This is the final week of October of 2017. I want to keep busy.

Top 5 Problematic Favorite Characters

 

Welcome to Top 5 Wednesday. Here’s a link to the Goodreads group so you can follow along with topics and such. This week, the topic is about problematic favorite characters.

5. Looking for alaska by john green

I will always love Alaska Young, even though I do acknowledge that she is a bit of a manic pixie dream girl. Often, I find myself thinking of her, more than Pudge and the gang. Incidentally, I read this book at least six or seven years ago, and haven’t reread it since. That is a testament to how memorable Alaska is. “The only way out is through.”

4. Eleanor and park by rainbow rowell

A lot of people dislike how Park is portrayed in this book. I do think this, though: he and Eleanor broke my heart on such an epic level. Like Alaska, I find myself really drawn to them because of their social awkwardness. Also, I felt like Eleanor’s family situation was borderline triggering at times. She reminds me of my own experience with abusive family dynamics and, for that I connected with her a lot.

3. the falconer by elizabeth may

Gavin, the dude who stole my heart even more than Kiaran, did something horrible in book 2. Yet, I found myself still sympathetic towards him. Maybe it is because he was such a close friend to the main character? I am not sure. I just love him, even after the end of the final book, I still love him so much.

2. anna and the french kiss by stephanie perkins

I read this trilogy of companion novels a long time ago, and I noticed recently that people have problems with it. Mainly, the issue is that the endgame couple starts their relationship based on cheating. So, at first, I put the books away in shame because, oh my god, I didn’t even remember this fact. But, I put them back on my shelves, because I love them and I recognize that they are problematic.

 1. poison study by maria v. snyder

Look, this person is mentioned as a part of the LGBT+ community, but it’s not explored or explained. And, it makes me mad that this person was not given enough exposition. I love these books, but this is something I want more of.

It's Top 5 Wednesday time! This week, the topic is to discuss paranormal creatures and
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Top Ten Leaders in My (Imaginary) Book Club

 

 

Yes, it is time for another Top Ten Tuesday. This is a meme run by the Broke and the Bookish peeps.  For this week, I am going to be talking about my dream (and imaginary) book club with literary characters.

10. Legend by Marie Lu

I have not read this trilogy yet, but I do know that the main characters are very intelligent people. June is top of her class brilliant. Having her around in our book club would make her a resource on all things survival. Speaking of survival, I think the other character’s name is Day, and he is brilliant. All I know is that he is the most wanted criminal in this society. He can introduce a new list of resources, things not mainstream.

9. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

So, Lynn has such an appreciation for literature and medicine, it’d be a blast to have her around with us. I mean, she’s socially awkward and aggressive, but I’d like to be her book club buddy. Her perspective on literature would be amazing, because she’s living in every dystopian work’s setting probably.

8. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Yeah, yeah, Hermione has to be on this list. She’s good at reading and retaining information. She may end up befriending June, to be honest. But, mostly, I think she’ll really like the next characters on this list.

7. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Obviously Sydney is resourceful and curious. She unlearns and unpacks many prejudices towards vampires. And, the rest is all spoilers, so I can’t tell you, but suffice to say: Sydney and Hermione would have plenty to discuss in regards to female empowerment and societal control of people.

6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Y’all know, Gansey is as nerdy as they come. He researches, and, when the topic gets even more convoluted, he reaches out to those much more knowledgeable than him. I think Gansey brings in a nice resourcefulness to this book club. We’d go out on trips to see what we read about. Lots of discussions, I think as well. Also: I think he’d be kind of like Schmidt from New Girl. Every time he’d say something privileged, we can yell at him to put money in the jerk jar.

5. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Listen. Charlotte can teach us all about etiquette (a word I struggle to even spell). However, I really just want to hang out with her and Aithinne, who can also teach us about fae history and maybe recommend some interesting literature and folklore. (I avoided mentioning the rest, because…they got enough love in the series. But, Charlotte, Aithinne, and GAVIN! Gavin was maltreated and I love him, for the most part. He can join our book club, too).

His and Charlotte’s mom can come in and tell us to sit proper or something.

4. Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon would be AWESOME to have around. We can talk about Harry Potter, which could: a) freak Hermione out, or b) amuse her. Also, he and I could eat Oreos the whole time (Oreos are vegan, if you haven’t heard).

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I believe that Charlotte’s mom would be bewildered by Effie Trinket, which is my goal in life really. I love Effie and Haymitch, and I think they’d be so much fun in our book club. They could talk history, self defense, even talk about etiquette and interview manners. So good. Maybe Effie could give Simon some tips on internet dating.

2. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Obviously Kate and August would be a delight to have around. I love them, and I think they’d be an edgy addition to our book club. Kate would scare everyone away, and she’d teach us about monsters. August can teach whatever he wants. I just want to say hello to him, possibly give him a hug. He needs it. (as I write this post, I am still scared to read Our Dark Duet). 

 1. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee

Felicity. The love of my life. She needs to be part of our book club, just for being a witty (possibly) asexual woman. I want to be her friend, and I wish all the rest of our book club can be buddies, too. She and Charlotte have the potential to be great friends. They can help August be more comfortable with himself.

    Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by the lovely The Broke and
    Top Tuesday is a meme created by the lovelies over at The Broke
    Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, a meme run by the bad-ass Broke