Yesterday on my Bookstagram (linked in the About Me page), I posted my tentative February TBR.
But as I mentioned in my January Recap post, I am definitely a mood reader. So this list, even though I wrote it 6 hours ago has already changed. Obviously before I read Lovecraft Country I should probably read some of the HP Lovecraft collection that I have, and before I read Reaper at the Gates I have to finish Torch Against the Night. All of the books listed are either books I’ve started already or books that currently fit the mood I’m in.
The potion bottles were purchased with the Patronus Potions Year 2 mystery box.
Last year, between the New York shut down and the reduced in person hours at work places, there was a lot of time to read. During this time, I joined Alexandra Bracken’s Brackfast Book Club (link in currently reading), and the books we read were voted on by everyone in the group. This led to us reading things that I wouldn’t normally have read on my own and it was an interesting way to analyze how I read different types of books. It was fascinating to see how my brain tackled series verses standalones, and how tracking my reading differently changed the way I was reading.
Most trackers focus on the number of books finished in the month but for me, I have trouble focusing on just one book at a time. So, I decided to start using my Happy Planner as a way to track pages and books read in a day.
This way of tracking and reading came about because of the book club. Specifically, with standalones and binging series, I kept getting bogged down with all of the information going into my brain at once. So, I started reading side books to break up the reading for the book club. But that also put me behind the book club’s pace and made me feel like I couldn’t keep up. Tracking the books differently wasn’t going to make me read faster, or help me keep up, but it made me reevaluate my goals and expectations for myself and experience less burn out. This is how it worked out for January’s tracker:
This month I was trying to finish We Hunt the Flame from the book club, but it’s just too much world building for me to speed read. So, I focused on a couple of other books that I had been meaning to read instead and got pretty far in all of them. Tracking this way had not only given me a more visual representation of my accomplishments, but also a way to make time to slow down and process what I was reading. I even wrote notes on the books for reviews.
In the end of the month I had made it 25% of the way through We Hunt the Flame, 15% of the way through The Naming, 15% of the way through This Time by Azaa Davis, and 17% of the way through Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith.
This wouldn’t be a recap without a brief description of the books I read so:
We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal follows Zafira and Nasir in the kingdom of Arawiya. Zafira is a woman in a society that doesn’t value their contributions beyond being in the home and working under men. But she desires more, and has lost much to get it. Nasir is deadly, but his actions are not his own. They are sent on a mission, both to seek, one to kill, one to survive. This book has the feel of The Hunger Games.
The Naming by Alison Croggon follows Maerad from her life in slavery, to her daring escape with her rescuer Cadvan. Along this journey she discovers that she is from a line of very powerful Bards, and her destiny may be more important than that of a simple slave. This book has the feel of Tamora Pierce’s Immortals Quartet.
This Time by Azaaa Davis (free copy for review) follows Nadira, a demon hunter who wakes up in a strange place and is unsure of how she got there or how long she had been there and once she escapes is shocked to find the answers she’s looking for. This book has the feel of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
So that was my January 2021, I didn’t finish any of the books but that’s okay, I’m sure I’ll finish some eventually and it’s the reading that’s important not the pace.
Can you believe that it’s already the second month of 2020? A new month of a new year, and a new decade. Maybe your January didn’t kick off the year like you’d hoped. But who cares? Every month is a new opportunity to start your goals over. Every day is a new opportunity to start your goals over. Do I have a large list of things I didn’t accomplish this month? Yes. But were they essential? Not really. They didn’t impact my immediate health and well being, they didn’t impact my living situation, they really didn’t impact much at all. Does this mean that I’m not setting the right goals? Maybe. Or maybe it means that I’m setting exactly the right goals. Goals don’t have to always have to be working towards a long term change. Sometimes it’s okay to just work day by day.
That being said, I do have goals for the month, most of them are reading goals but some of them are not. For my reading goals, there are four series that I want to finish in the beginning of this year:
The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa
January didn’t end as planned as far as this series was concerned. So I intend to finish Iron King by mid-February, and start Iron Daughter before the end. So far I’m 1/3 of the way through Iron King.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
In January I finished my re-read of the first book in this series Stalking Jack the Ripper. So for this month I want to get at least halfway through Hunting Prince Dracula, hopefully I’ll finish it completely, but I’m aiming for halfway to be safe.
Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab
In January I finished A Darker Shade of Magic and I hope to review it this month. While I’m reviewing the first one I hope to get to at least halfway through A Gathering of Shadows by the end of the month.
The Witchlands by Susan Dennard
As anyone who has seen my recent posts from last year knows; I went on a pretty big binge of Susan Dennard’s Witchland series over the summer. During those months I finished the first three parts of the series but I feel like I burned myself out, so I took a little bit of a break from Bloodwitch. So for this month I wanted to try and finish that in order to finish the latest piece of the series. (Sooz is currently writing more of the series so this isn’t the last book. Also, go check out my review for Truthwitch)
I definitely hope to finish these series by the end of the year, maybe even before June. But for now I’m just going to take it one day at a time. In addition to these reading goals I have some writing goals and money goals, but they are less concrete. I know I would like to edit one of the projects that I have started. But I also want to flesh out character cards for all of my projects and both are big undertakings so I don’t know which to start this month.
For money I know I would like to save double what I usually do for the month and I’m not sure if that’s possible. If I take advantage of the promotions this month for Younique or Paparazzi (check the links in the About Me for details) and hit the goals they set I could probably do it. But again, the goal is not concrete. Later today I will try and have fully updated pages. But for now, here are my goals for February, here’s to a productive month!
So after writing up my July recaps I
decided to also write up an August TBR list and an August To Try Out List.
However, life caught up to me and so I’m still going to post it, but I’m going
to edit it into a recap of sorts instead. So let’s kick things off with my TBR.
These first books on the list were the books
that I had started in a previous month and just wanted to finish this month if
I had the time.
Windwitch By Susan Dennard
I had started this book last month immediately after finishing Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. By the end of July, I was just about halfway through the book so it wasn’t hard to finish this one. I am now so invested in this world that I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of reading about it. Since finishing this book, I have also started Sightwitch which is the short story in between Windwitch and Bloodwitch. Sightwithch was not initially on this TBR list because I didn’t at the time have the book since it was an ebook only.
This book is really big so I’m just sort of reading it in pieces. As much as I can get through in each month. I didn’t read any of it for this month so it will definitely be on the September TBR list that I post on the 1st.
I started reading this as soon as it came out and before the Barnes & Noble Book Club night. But I never quite absorbed the full ending of the book because of how fast I was reading it. I was forcing myself to rush for the Book Club and I wanted to finish the book quickly. But now I went back and restarted and started reading it slowly this time. But then I started reading The Witchlands series. So this also did not get finished this time.
That was my short list for August, and
the progress that I made on them. Obviously, my To Read List is much bigger and
will continue to grow. So September’s will build off of that. Here are some things
I had wanted to try out in August:
You-ology Exfoliating Mask: I had hear that exfoliating masks are really good for your face and getting rid of gunk that has seeped into your pores. Now, my day job is really dirty. Boxes are disgusting. So I really need something to take care of my face. The Bioclarity that I use is very good at keeping my face clean and hydrated but I needed something a little more aggressive to combat all of the layers of gunk on my face. I’ve only used this product three times so far and it has helped make my face softer and smoother. But I’ll keep you posted as I keep using the product.
Relics and Rarities: This is a show by Geek & Sundry, and it’s another RPG campaign stream. It is a fascinating concept. It basically arcs the story around what artifacts they choose at the beginning of the episode, and there’s a new guest star every week. They are still trying to complete an overall goal, but it’s not the same set up as Critical Role is. It’s very quirky. I like it.
Webtoon: This is an app that allows you to read online comics. An author I follow on Instagram (Alexandra Bracken), had mentioned that a webcomic called Lore Olympus existed that might mean her latest novel title might have to change. When she mentioned it, I immediately googled it to see what she was talking about because the description sounded like something I had seen pictures of online. So I signed up for the Webtoon app and I was not disappointed! Lore Olympus is SO GOOD! I would definitely recommend this webcomic if you haven’t read it yet.
Chokers by Paparazzi Accessories: Paparazzi came out with some pretty cute chokers recently and I really want to get some. I’m just not sure which one to get. I sort of want the cute silver ones, but I also want the corded ones. So I’m not sure which one I’m going to get. But I definitely want one.
Calisto6: This is another RPG stream that I wanted to start watching but I never got fully into it. It’s set in a futuristic sci-fi version of L.A. It’s a very different concept, from the description. So it will go on into my September TTO list.
So in Recap 1 I mentioned that I had
non-book/show/internet recommendations that didn’t really fit into one
category. This has no sort of order to it, so I’ll just do a general list of
My most recent favorite comes from Younique Beauty Products. This month I bought the complete set of Younique’s Lip BonBons. They are a tinted lip balm that works well as a light layer to moisturize while adding the slightest color. They also make a nice base coat for any lipsticks that may dry out your lips or show the cracks in them. They are lightly scented but not perfumed. They are also only lightly tinted, not like the Chapstick or Burt’s Bees tinted that looks like actual lipstick. They are really handy for quick color.
The next favorite of the month is bioClarity’s cleansing face routine and hydrating moisturizer. It has easily replaced my old skincare routine which was bar soap in the shower. Right now, I have bioClarity’s cleanse step in the shower so it can replace the soap bar I used to use. Then the other two steps can be put on after I get out. Or they can be skipped all together. It’s a super flexible routine. For right now I’m going to stick with my bioClarity over the new You-ology line just because it’s all plant-based material and I want to see if it works.
I was trying to get a referral link like a few people have but I haven’t received a response yet. I will post about an update should I receive one. https://www.bioclarity.com
The next favorite is another Younique Product though, and it is their liquid lipstick called Splash liquid lipstick. It comes in all sorts of colors and is easy to put on for work or to go out in. It goes on like a lip gloss but dries matte. You can mix them to make different colors and they set pretty nicely.
This next one is a consistent favorite, and is scented candles. I’ve been using Yankee Candle Co. Sparkling Lemon tea lights with a Jolly Rancher Orange wax melt from Kmart. I also have some scented jar candles from Yankee Candle Co. that just sit on my filing cabinet and make my room smell pretty.
The one downside to the candles is the artificial scents in them. They can sometimes be a little too much for my nose, especially if I already have a headache from something else. So I’ve taken to using more natural scents and essential oils. Right now I only have two scents that I use. One I got from CVS and it is Nature’s Truth Calming aromatherapy oil, it is a combination of orange oil and patchouli oil. I believe it has been discontinued by CVS at least. But it’s what I have. The other one is a peppermint oil that was gifted to me by my old store manager. They are very nice I just still haven’t quite figured out what to use them on because I don’t have a diffuser and the tops of the containers make it hard to use as an applicator. But they are soothing and good for getting rid of headaches and stress.
In relation to the previous favorite, my recent favorite is Paparazzi Accessories. This is a company that works roughly the same as Younique where you can join as a seller and host parties and they give you your own website. But instead of selling make-up they sell $5 jewelry. Now, I had purchased a couple of things from them previously but never really explored the stock. I was just doing it to help out a friend really. And I still am. But this time I joined for her. One of the things that I had purchased before joining though, was a lava bead bracelet. The first one I had was one with brown glass beads and the black lava beads. The second one that I just got has blue glass beads with black lava beads. They’re very simple and are supposed to hold essential oils. I’ve managed to get a little bit on one but I’m not quite sure of the best way to apply the oil to the bracelet. I’m thinking I might just put the oil on me and then see if it absorbs into the bracelet? I’m not really sure. But they’re really cute bracelets and they’re only $5! So it’s a pretty good deal.
So those were all of my July favorites,
up next I will post one for August that I was intending to be a TBR/To Try Out
(TTO) list but since this was so late I will probably do it in a TBR/TTO list
format but I will add end of the month updates
underneath the original thoughts at the beginning.
So I always see people online talking
about their favorites for the month. So I thought I’d take the time to write
out a few of mine. I think at the end of this post I will also make an August
To Try list and an August TBR. But maybe that will be a separate post. I
haven’t decided yet. This might just be a summary of what I’ve used the most.
It’ll be broken up into different parts.
Part 1: Books
Dune by Frank Herbert
The first one I started reading back in June, but continued reading in July, is Dune by Frank Herbert. I know that everyone is going to say that I’m only reading it because of the movie and that I’m not a real fan. But this book came out 31 years before I was born so I would say the fact that it has still captured my interest after all this time is quite a feat. If we’re being honest though, this book as been on my “To Read” list since I saw it on the shelves in my bookstore a few years back. But it was the movie that finally got me to read the book. It’s not that I didn’t want to read it before, I just was reading other things that my friends wanted to discuss at the time and that is really what drives me to read something or see something. I need someone to discuss things with. So that’s why Dune was book number 1 of the month.
This book is the first book in the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. While reading this book I achieved one of the fastest read times I’ve had in a really long time. If I had read this straight through, I could have finished it in less than 1 day. It’s also such a cool concept for a book. It’s got its own cool lore and plays off of the environmental witch type of magic set up but with a twist. It’s really quite interesting and I can’t wait to write a review for it. It also relates to book 3 of the month.
This is the second book in the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard and I had only just started this book towards the end of July so it definitely is the first on my August TBR. So far it is a little slower than Truthwitch was. But it’s still keeping me captivated.
“A Hole in the Plan” Critical Role |Campaign 2, Episode 42: Geek and Sundry
I have finally made it to episode 42 of Critical Role Campaign 2. This series is so good. You don’t really have to watch Campaign 1 in order to be invested in Campaign 2 but I would highly recommend both. This is an online D&D Campaign that is live streamed. It features Matthew Mercer, Travis Willingham, Marisha Ray, Liam O’Brien, Sam Riegel, Laura Bailey, and Taliesin Jaffe. All of their characters are so easy to get attached to. They’re funny and interesting, moody and heartfelt. You grow with them as they go through each new task. It’s basically just like listening to an audio book but with the characters acting in real time. SPOILERS AHEAD: In this current episode, they are with a band of pirates on a quest for a magical orb that grants special powers to its owner. It’s really interesting, it has spurred most of my other recent interests. From getting me hooked on Loot Crate, to introducing me to Tor Books, and even rekindling my interest in writing, reading, and blog posting. It’s really been a good creative boost for me.
So this is a new thing for me at least, and I think for most of the internet. Susan Dennard is the author of the Witchlands series, and the Something Strange and Deadly series, and she has started a Twitter “Choose Your Own Adventure” for one of her books that she was going to publish. It is amazing. It’s such a good story, I’m invested. This story has me going back to Twitter everyday to check this thread. It’s so fun to see where it’s going to turn, to see what is going to divide our decisions. It’s so fun to interact with other fans, other participants, to read their comments and join discussions. It’s really such a good community. I love it so much.
So this is Part 1 of my July recap. The
rest will be in part 2 it’s just less organized and more of a Miscellaneous Stuff
kind of post. So that will be Part 2. Then will come the August TBR/TTO List with
products I want to try in August or things I’m going to read in August. This
took way longer to write than I thought it would so everything’s behind. September’s
will be much more put together. You can also expect more reviews from me in the
near future assuming that the classes I’m taking again won’t interfere. See you
soon for Part 2.
I’m not sure how many of you guys live in places that still participate in the Daylight Savings Time change. But I do live in an area where DST is still observed and we have been under its influence for just about two weeks. For most people, the time change disturbs their sleep for one or two days and usually I’m the same way. But this time change seems to have taken a larger toll on my sleep schedule than usual.
not quite sure how to explain exactly how badly it has been affecting me. It
has most drastically affected my anxiety levels and my late-night paranoia.
I’ve gotten anywhere from 4 hours of sleep to 30 minutes of sleep each night.
There have been a few exceptions where I’ve gotten 10-12 hours of sleep. It’s a
very strange schedule and I’m not quite sure how to knock myself out of it.
been debating multiple medical fixes including Z-Quil, doctor’s visits,
psychiatrists, or essential oils. But I haven’t quite decided which to go with
or try first. So far the only routine based remedies have been reading for
roughly an hour in bed, watching BBC’s Planet Earth (and accompanying
offshoots), and listening to Josh Groban before bed.
still aren’t as effective as I need them to be for sleeping. They have however,
greatly improved the status of my To Read list and my To Watch list. My current
book of choice is Terrier by Tamora
Pierce. I’m not quite sure what drew me back to Terrier. It’s been sitting on a stack of books next to my bed for
over two years now. But for some reason it was the only book I wanted to read
to get my brain to sleep.
just something about Tamora Pierce books that is comforting and easy to escape
into. They’re like their only little fictional sanctuary universe. I would
definitely recommend them.
Update (4/7/19): It has been two
weeks since I wrote the bulk of this post. Since then I have finished Terrier and moved on to Bloodhound. The next post will be a
review. I’ve almost run out of Planet Earth (and company) episodes to watch.
I have begun sleeping better. There are still a few days where getting to sleep
is hard but for the most part I’m back on a somewhat normal schedule. I still
can’t describe quite how bad it was. And I definitely couldn’t tell you why it
was happening to begin with. I’m not even sure what made it stop. It just went
away. I’m really glad it stopped but I’m also concerned it could come back. And
I don’t want that.