monthly recap

(February and) March wrapup

Teal coloured title card reading £March Wrap-Up" with flowery teal and purple ornaments above and below the title

So things got a little bit away from me there…

To give you a bit of context, I’ve been struggling with my health (yes, again, that’s the “chronic” part unfortunately, and it’s making me exhausted, and also depressed, so that’s a double whammy there) while having to restart work, and job searching for something better for both my sanity and my health. Oh, and I moved apartments! So, it’s been busy. And in the middle of all that, I kept thinking I needed to do a February wrapup, until it was mid-March and I thought, well… The same happened with reviews, where I’ve been postponing some so much that I just can’t think what I wanted to say anymore.

So here we are, March has just ended, I’m still in the same job, I’m still exhausted all the time… but on the plus side, I’ve read some cool books! I managed to finish the r/fantasy bingo, as you might have seen earlier this week. I’ve read some of my physical books, too, and a buttload of audiobooks because they help me get through stuff when I otherwise don’t have the spoons to focus.

Continue reading…

January Recap and February TBR

As I try to recover from burnout, I’ve actually had quite a lot of time in January to read! I’m currently at 16 books as of writing this, and I might finish another before the day is out.

I do still want to read more ebooks (I’ve only finished 1 this month!) but I find it a lot easier to focus on audio at the moment! Plus I have a giant pile of library books to get through…

Continue reading…

April highlights and a bit of a chat

April was another busy month, I’m finishing up my psych degree at the moment so there were loads of assignments and exams to prepare for, on top of full time work. This left very little time for reading, but I still kept on track with my goals. I’m still planning to read 75 books this year, and hoping to increase this to 100 depending on how the summer goes.

With things wrapping up, and work being slow, I’m also hoping to get a lot more reading in the coming months. I’ve scored a few ARCs I’m really looking forward to, I’ll tell you all about them shortly!

My health is giving me some issues and I don’t know if it’s long Covid (never was tested positive but it doesn’t mean anything does it) or Something Else, but my energy has been really low and I get bad… flare ups, I guess. Slowly coming to terms with the idea that this is the new normal for me too. It’s annoying because there are times where I can’t do anything, not even read! Audiobooks are a life saver there, to be honest, because it makes me focus on something else, and it makes me feel less like I’m doing nothing.

This month’s highlights:

  • Local Star, by Aimee Ogden. This novella just slaps! Queernorm, polyamorous, space station mystery/investigation with some cool space battles!
  • Clocktaur War, by T. Kingfisher. Just a cool fantasy story with great snark and enjoyable characters. The first volume is really short too and I like bite-sized stories
  • Poppy War, by R.F. Kuang. Again, I’ve not fully processed my feelings about this book yet. It took me a while to read it, and it’s… heavy, to say the least. But quite possibly brilliant.

I’m also thinking of what to do next, and June is not so far off, so I want to do something special for Pride 🏳️‍🌈 (while also being conscious that I’ve limited spoons and limited time to do anything. I do want to make sure to include different identities and center bi, trans and nonbinary characters/authors in particular. Should I do a bingo? Should I look at everything queer I own and make myself a shortlist? all suggestions welcome 🙂

March overview (cat pics included)

March was a little bit of a low month, both in terms of reading and in my personal life. I’ve basically got all the assignments due for college, plus a bunch of health issues came knocking since early February so I’m exhausted all the time. Which, strangely enough, isn’t very conducive to reading…

I feel like I started a lot of things but did not finish much.

Then again I just had a look at what I read this month and it’s not too bad.

  • I just finished One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest this weekend. It’s for an assignment, and I’ve been dragging my feet to read it, which I think influenced just how much ELSE I got (not) done this month. I’m just not really into this postmodern, unreliable narrator thing, and contemporary fiction… But having read it I do think it’s a good thing to have psych students read, it puts the focus on a lot of medical abuse that psychology kinda got away with over the year, and it’s important, even if it’s by no means a fun read.
  • As a spillover from F/F February, I went on to read Other Words for Smoke at the beginning of the month, which I really enjoyed. I think it stayed with me a lot more than a similar book would have, simply because it’s set in the Dublin area, and living in Dublin it added to the uncanny.
  • I didn’t review it here directly but I finished the Murderbot Diaries series with Network Effect, and it was a lot of fun. I don’t think it could be read as a standalone, despite being the first novel in the series, because it does rely on a lot of previous context from the series. It was a nice wrapup though, and gave Wells the time to explore more of the universe and characters she sketched out (in quite a bit of detail already) in the novellas, and bring back old favourites.
  • I went through some more novellas (Nghi Vo’s duology, and Cat Sebastian’s a little light mischief, very different genres and styles), which I think were just the right size for me at the time.
  • Read a bit more middle grade with the second book in the Murder Most Unladylike series!
  • I also started quite a few things that I intend to finish in April, so more on that later!

I also got some lovely washi tape and stencils to use for my (not quite bullet) journaling, which I’m looking forward to using a bit more extensively. I did make nice spreads for my reading, which I’m happy with!

April Plans

So, ok, looking back on that… even if most of them were on the short side, it’s not so bad!

I have big plans for April, and I received quite a few books recently! I want to read them all…

But realistically I’m still exhausted, and I’ve still got a lot of things to do both at work and at college, so I’ll rein in my horses, so to speak. I think this month again, I’ll focus on novellas and shorter (audio)books, and maybe a few MG novels. Just some bite-sized content that I can get around too.

It’s also camp nanowrimo, and while I’m not really doing it on the website itself, I always do it on 4thewords, the RPG type game I use to motivate myself to write. They always have a special, one-off adventure for Camps and Nanowrimo itself (as well as occasional events for things like Valentine’s Day or Pride) and it’s just a chill, inclusive community (use the referral code GZNRQ83820 if you want to join in on the fun!)

But doing that means I’ll likely be spending more time writing than reading, so we’ll see how it goes!

(F/F) February recap

So this month did not go as planned, at all. Mostly because I’ve got a lot of exams for class, and some health things to take care of, and volunteering on the weekends, so I ended up not reading nearly as much as I’d planned for February, and not much on my F/F list. February’s been tough on my burnout feelings, so I’ve coped by reading more audiobooks instead of the paper books I’d planned.

So I have 2 bingos, but they’re not really the books I’d planned to read. And there’s overlap, so I didn’t count it all

F/F february books I read:

  • Gideon the Ninth (audiobook, “enemies to… friends?” trope, SFF… backlist and own voices too, but I don’t wanna count anything too many times): It was fucking amazing, and I’m not over the ending. I wish I’d found the time/energy to get through Harrow the Ninth some time this month too! Full review here
  • Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows (romance/historical, own voices I think): Equally as enjoyable as the first one in the series. Every time I read a sapphic historical romance it reminds me I should read more sapphic historical romances! Full review here
  • Fireheart Tiger (SFF, 2021 book even if not a debut, own voices): I jumped on it the very day I got it, and I read it in two hours. Just so very good, and there is more de Bodard in my reading future for sure! Full review here
  • Angel Mage (only very technically on this list. Audiobook, SFF): I did really enjoy it but it pales compared to all the other great books I read this month! Full review here
  • I also started Other Words for Smoke but I’m only about halfway through. It’s really original though and i’m enjoying it so far

Other reads

Been reading through the Murderbot audiobook as my way to relax this month, and it’s been great. I wrote a raving review here as well but the main point is that they’ve been giving me bite-sized audiobooks that I can just “read” when I have a minute, or while trying to sleep, and that’s all I’ve managed the last two weeks. This is really what all the pink in my reading tracker below is about: murderbots!

Other Life Things

I’ve been training for a charity volunteering thing, and it’s taken this whole weekend and the last, plus some evenings. So I’ve been absolutely knackered. In a good way, for the most part. I’m learning a lot. But I’m also getting a lot more headaches than before so it’s made it hard to do anything. And my psychology course is reaching its end, meaning that I’m scrambling a bit to get everything done. I feel like I’ll be a lot more at ease in a month or two when that’s done, then get more reading at that point.

With Tessa’s influence, I’ve been giving my bullet journaling (or lined journaling, technically) a second life. We were chatting about it and suddenly I’d ordered too many stencils and some washi tape… It was long overdue though! I also did a nice spread, which I think gives me a better idea of how much I read so far this year.

March blogging might be a bit more sporadic as I get other things sorted in my life, but my plan is 1) to read some of the upcoming ARCs that I got and 2) finish what I’d put on the F/F TBR!

January reads! and other musings

Not much of a recap to do, as I’ve reviewed pretty much all I read this month already.

I’ve received loads of books (thanks to belated Christmas presents and the slow postal system, I’ve had a trickle of surprises this month) and I look forward to reading them all but in practice I’ve not read as much as I wanted this month.

January started right up with exams and a 3k lit review to write (and me regretting having gone back to study while also working full time) so it wasn’t exactly conducive to spending time reading. Then friends got me back into playing Stardew Valley, so it’s been a gaming month more than a reading month, but I’ve started keeping track in my bullet journal and it’s actually a lot better than I thought!

I actually ended up reading more ebooks than I normally do!

I’ve also started playing Merchant of the Skies and it’s loads of fun. It’s low stakes, kinda stardew valley-like (and not just for the visual style), but with the concept and some mechanics reminiscent of Sunless Skies – you go around and trade and fill out quests and discover more of this universe as you go. It’s simple but really engrossing!

As for books, I think if I had to pick ONE this month that really stuck with me, it’d be Upright Women Wanted. Absolutely blew my mind and I keep thinking back to it, I really hope there is more to come in this particular universe! Belle Revolte and Desdemona and the Deep would be close seconds.

I’ve also started a lot of books that I’ve yet to finish, mostly because I don’t have time or can’t focus, and through no fault of their own, so I’m really hoping I can write more about that in the next month! I’ve got some plans to do F/F February but eeeeh it’ll depend how much time I’ve got to read. Realistically 90% of my TBR is F/F so it would not be very hard!

Louxor trying to help me sort my TBR

December reads

I had a week off from work and Plans to read a lot more books (or at least finish the ones I’d started) before this year was over, but it didn’t really happen… I lost track of time and watched a lot of trashy tv instead, but well, everyone needs time off sometimes.

I still read some good stuff this month, so, final recap of the year here we come!

  • Rise of One, by Dixon Reuel. Indie Irish novel about vampires living through the zombie apocalypse! It was a fun little read, although I still struggle through ebooks in general. Full review here.
  • Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon by Maria Grace. Anyone say dragons and regency romance? Really loved the concept, not fully into the execution, but the audiobook narrator really made this worth listening to. Full review here.
  • The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, by Terry Pratchett. I’ve spent this year trying to get through my Pratchett backlog, with the help of the library app… I’m not a fan of all the books, it turns out. But this one was a shortie but a goodie, it went against some of my expectations and well worth 3h of my time.
  • Dragon Physician, Joyce Chng. It had been on my wishlist for years and I finally got my hands on it! Who doesn’t love the idea of a trans commune taking care of dragons? It was perhaps a bit rushed and too short for the concept to be developed fully, which saddens me because I was really into it in theory. It’s a decent novella, but it could’ve been a great one with a bit more polish.
  • Drowned Country, by Emily Tesh. Along with the next book on this list, one of the highlights of this month for me. It was a highly anticipated read, and while it wasn’t at all what I expected, it did not disappoint! Full review here.
  • Queen of Coin and Whispers, by Helen Corcoran. I gotta admit (to myself, mostly) I’m a sucker for queer romance. I’m also a sucker for fantasy stories but that’s no news to anyone. I’m also ALSO a sucker for women making their way through in a complicated and kinda patriarchal society. And this one is also queernorm, somewhat, which we could use more of. It was a serendipitous read but I could hardly believe how much I enjoyed it. Full review here.

November 2020 Reads

After trying to read 30 books in 31 days for #OcTBRChallenge, I took somewhat of a break in November. Still there were a few good reads and I’m pretty happy with what I got!

The Burning Page, by Genevieve Cogman : Third in the Invisible Library series, and still quite funny and enjoyable. I ordered the next one from the library the second I put it down (well, I tried – the library was on lockdown and not taking hold requests…)

Night of the Dragon, by Julie Kagawa: Last of the trilogy and the big disappointment of this month. Too bad because I really enjoyed the first two, but some things in the last one really did not sit well with me so I wouldn’t recommend any of it in the end.

Girl of Hawthorn and Glass, by Adan Jerreat-Poole: A great fairy tale / contemporary fantasy novel that reminded me a lot of Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children. Probably my favourite read of the month! (see full review here)

The Four Profound Weaves, by R. B. Lemberg: Long-expected (by me, at least – i had to order it over from the UK), the writing style was not really my, well, style, but I loved the characters and universe. A good queer read.

Murder Most Unladylike, by Robin Stevens: I kept hearing about it, so I just had to see what the fuss was about! Fun middle grade mystery novel featuring girls in a 1930s British school, it was really enjoyable even as someone way out of target range. The fuss is merited!

Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett: Part of my attempt to finish Discworld at some point in the near future. I still absolutely love Susan, she’s the highlight of the Death books for me. However, there’s some of the humour that’s a bit dated and, well, cringy (all the fake-Chinese-sounding-names-that-are-puns-in-English, I’m looking at you).

Unmasked by the Marquess, by Cat Sebastian: Every time I read a romance, I get more convinced that I need to read more romance. This was no exception. Fun, hot, gripping plot with two bi leads, one of them nonbinary – in a regency setting. What’s not to like?