Mini Reviews of Mini Stories: The Deep & The Six Deaths of the Saint

Mini Reviews

Stories don’t always need to be long to hit home and the following two “books” (they’re more like a novella and a short story, but let’s not stress the details) once again proved that to me. I’m so happy that I started out my year with them and will happily share a brief review for both with you.

*links to Goodreads and Storygraph will be provided after the ratings!*

The Deep by Solomon Rivers with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes

The DeepPublisher description:

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.

My Thoughts:

Don’t let the low page count fool you with this one, because it sure holds a lot. While reading, I always felt the weight the characters had to carry and really took my time reading to process what was going on. All those memories, all that shared pain and trauma, but also the beauty that came in community and wanting to share the load. The Deep took me on a journey that I don’t think I will forget soon.

“What is belonging?” we ask. She says, “Where loneliness ends.”

From the setting to the characters, I can’t say I’ve quite read anything like it (despite how I came about finding this book, which I will explain below). It took me a bit to really understand what was going on and to accept some unfamiliar components, but it was a masterclass in making you invested and feel deeply connected. I was sad, joyful, infuriated, bewildered, moved, lonely and found along with Yetu’s people.

Lastly, I want to give a shoutout to Olivia’s Catastrophe on YT. She made a video recommending books by black authors based on other stories you might have liked. She compared The Deep to The Giver, but mentioned that this was for a more mature audience, which I would agree with. You can check out her full video HERE!

Hint: The audiobook version of The Deep is actually narrated by Daveed Diggs!

Page Count: 170
Content Warnings:
trauma, slavery, hate crimes
Fazit:
 4.5/5 stars! Quite heavy, yet beautiful!

Goodreads | Storygraph

The Six Deaths of the Saint by Alix E. Harrow

The Six Deaths of the Saint (Into Shadow, #3)Publisher description:

The Saint of War spares the life of a servant girl so she can fulfill her destiny as the kingdom’s greatest warrior in this short story of love and loyalty by New York Times bestselling author Alix E. Harrow.
Always mindful of the debt she owes, the girl finds her worth as a weapon in the hand of the Prince. Her victories make him a king, then an emperor. The bards sing her name and her enemies fear it. But the war never ends and the cost keeps rising—how many times will she repeat her own story?

My Thoughts:

The Six Deaths of the Saint is part #3 in the “Into Shadow“-Anthology. You DO NOT have to read any of the other stories to read this one. They’re not connected!

Last week or so, my entire Twitter feed just EXPLODED with tweets about this book and THEY WERE SO RIGHT! The all caps may seem overly dramatic but there’s not a single thing that I didn’t enjoy. 30 pages. JUST 30 pages and I was out here sobbing like a baby.

a man in a shower, sobbing uncontrollably

I want to say more, I want to scream about this short story from the rooftops, but it also very much feels like something you should just go into knowing as little as possible? I didn’t have the slightest idea what The Six Deaths of the Saint was even about, I jut knew that many of my bookish friends suddenly couldn’t stop raving about it. Please, join us in our cult of the Saint of War … thank you very much.

I very much do realize that this was my worst review to date, but I’m not even sorry. JUST READ IT!

If you need something to compare it to, I would say that it felt most close to The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo.

Page Count: 30
Content Warnings:
a lot of death really
Fazit: 5/5
stars! I’m trying not to exaggerate, but it really is the best thing I’ve read this year so far.

Goodreads | Storygraph


Have you read either of those stories? Would you like to? Let’s chat!

The Year in Review – 2022

The year in review

So, with all my ranking concluded, there’s nothing more to do than look at the entirety of 2022 in review. There’s actually a lot to talk about and dissect, because 2022 was the first year I made some resolutions (which you can check out HERE, if you missed them). We’ll compare goals, check out the most popular features on the blog and talk about life in general. Let’s get started!

READING

I have a Goodreads and a StoryGraph account, although I’m really more of a fan of the statistics from the latter. They’re just so much more extensive, even if the page count is sometimes a little off. It’s tradition for me to share some of the stats, so let’s dive right in.

I finished 45 books with roughly 11,700 pages total. In comparison to last year, that is a lot less, but I also had a lot less time. I reached the reading goal I set in terms of the total amount of books on the final day of December 2022, but I unfortunately didn’t make it to the 15,000 pages I had set my eyes on.

A graph showing the books and amount of pages I read throughout the year 2022.

What I enjoy about the stats from the StoryGraph is that they show you so much more than just pages or minutes or number of books. They really focus on the mood of the stories, the pacing, the language and so much more. I would have never guessed that I mostly read books that involve romance for example, but I now have a detailed graphs showing me my most read genres.

I read 13 books from the romance genre, 10 contemporaries, 8 books from the Fantasy and Poetry genre each and 6 were general literature.

I ended up mostly reading medium-paced books (58%) and books with less than 300 pages (also 58%). I’m not surprised at that revelation at all, since it was the year of novellas for me. Something I’m really proud of is the fact that 29% of my reads were non-fiction. I wouldn’t say that I previously scoffed at non-fiction books, but I always found them harder to enjoy or connect to, but now I’m actively seeking them out. I can see that trend continue in 2023.

Ultimately my average rating is very similar to previous years. I once again ended up at 3.7 star-rating on average, which is the third year in a row.

Did I stick to my reading resolutions for 2022?

I didn’t have that many resolutions aside from the traditional Goodreads/StoryGraph reading goals, but I wanted to read more books in German and read more diversely. So, how did I do with that?

My plan was to read 1-3 books in German and I DID THAT! It was only one book, but I did read Stella by Takis Würger and even reviewed it on the blog (check out the post HERE). The book surprised me in that I basically flew through it and found reading it fairly easy, but it was still disappointing content … you can’t win them all.

The “read more diversely”-goal is harder to quantify and I can definitely still do better. 12 out of the 39 authors I’ve read books from in 2022 were non-white. That’s only a very slight improvement from the previous year and I know that this is going to remain a goal for future years. I can definitely tell that it helps when I don’t do reading experiments though …


For a complete list of my favorite books of 2022, click HERE!


WATCHING

There’s not really a good way to track all my media consumption, although I adore Letterboxd for movies. Since we all know that I watch more TV shows than movies though, their stats are welcome, but not nearly enough.

Either way, just for fun, I will share some Letterboxd stats as well! Apparently I watched 74 films, although I must admit that I maybe didn’t log all my rewatches … anyway, if we’re going by that number, these movies amounted to 132 hours of uninterrupted screen time. Since that only amounts to roughly 5.5 days, it actually doesn’t feel like all that much.

What came as a bit of surprise to me were my most watched actor and director. Dave Bautista starred in Glass Onion, Thor: Love and Thunder, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and Dune. We could surely debate about the legitimacy of these stats, because is the cameo in Love and Thunder noteworthy? Does the Guardians Holiday special count as a real movie? Either way, I like how invested Bautista is in just honing his craft. I’m very excited for Knock at the Cabin. Denis Villeneuve made it onto my list, because I watched Dune and rewatched Arrival. I guess that is fair.

Dave Bautista was my most watched actor and Denis Villeneuve my most watched director in 2022


You can find all my favorite movies of 2022 HERE and all my top TV shows HERE!


WRITING

I failed so hard at all the writing goals I set for myself. I plotted a whole Fantasy novel. I dug up all the material I had from that one finished Romantic Comedy draft, so I could finally edit it. I made aesthetics and playlists, but … I just didn’t write. Doing things in my head is easy, I love to fantasize about all that stuff. But as soon as I sit down to write? My mind goes blank, I have zero motivation and just literally want to do anything else. It makes me sad, because I used to love to write, now I can’t make it work. AND I TRIED! I even set up a dedicated time to write, just 30 minutes a day (and more if things were going well), but nothing came of it. So, I dropped it …

Tom Hanks in "You've Got Mail" wildly gesturing with his hands, because he got nothing to reply

BLOGGING

Life and Other Disasters has been such a huge part of my life for so long, it was strange to see it thrive in numbers, but for engagement to keep dwindling in 2022. I’ve heard similar from old and new blogging buddies alike, with a lot of discussion about “the death of blogging” swirling around the internet. Today, I don’t want to focus on the sad aspects though and rather celebrate the community we DO have.

First things first, I was really consistent again and don’t want to break with tradition. Here are some updated blog stats:

  • We’re less than 50 WordPress subscribers away from 3,000! I can’t believe that many people care about my ramblings.
  • I’ve written less posts (159 total) but had another 20% increase in views. I think I’m getting better at SEO, but I’m really just winging it. So, this is an unexpected delight.
  • I want to thank every single person who reads my posts, leaves a like or even takes the time to comment! You cannot imagine how much these interactions, however small, mean to me, because it’s my favorite part about blogging. It makes me feel less like screaming into a void, but rather sharing my thoughts and ideas with friends all over the world. A special shout out to my top-commentors CaroMarieRami, Sophie, Deanna and Bruce.

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2022

These are all posts that I wrote in 2022 and that were popular with the internet. The archive posts (so everything I published prior to 2022) will be listed below without much comment.

Should YOU Read “The Atlas Six”? (What I learned from my reread!)/Does The Atlas Paradox suffer from Second Book Syndrome? – This was the year of Olivie Blake and I’ve personally read three of her books as well as the YA book she published under a different name. I get why the internet is so enamored with her writing, I like it too, but sometimes it’s difficult to navigate the hype and to manage expectations. I hope I helped with my posts!

Should You Read the Atlas Six?

Along for the Ride: Book vs. Movie – I think the only reason this comparison was successful was due to the fact that I posted it on the release day of the Netflix movie. Sometimes I just work ridiculously fast!

Movie poster of Along for the Ride with the text "book vs. movie"

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston (Book Review) – How cool is it that book reviews are doing so well? I remember times when reviews could not compete with tags and challenges or even simple TBR posts, but this year has proven me wrong. Reviews are still very much relevant!

Ranking All the Morgan Matson Books! – As I’ve slowly moved away from YA, I couldn’t help but highlight one of my favorite YA authors – Morgan Matson. I might grow out of that age range, but her books are cherished regardless.

Ranking All the Morgan Matson Books

Are Harry Styles and I compatible (readers)? – I don’t know if it’s because of the celebs I picked or the feature just not being that interesting anymore, but the celeb book club posts have not been doing particularly well this past year, which was part of the reason that I stopped doing them. I mean, it’s hard to never get to pick what you want to read and just have to rely on other people’s taste anyway, but I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to give it another go in 2023.

MOST POPULAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES:

LIFE

I’m scared to wish for better for the new year, because life seems to take it as a challenge to make it worse somehow. Every year, I feel like I shouldn’t complain, because I know that a lot of people have it a lot worse than me. I have a steady job (even if I sometimes wish it would pay more), I have colleagues I adore and that make work fun, I have a loving family and friends all around the world I can turn to. And yet, life is hard and keeps throwing particularly difficult challenges my way.
There were a lot of health scares in my family in 2022 and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was terrified for months and months. I found less joy in things I used to love to do – such as binging TV, drawing my portraits or doing other creative work. Instead, I turned to long walks by myself and working out. (Eeew, teen me would not recognize herself.) I guess health (mental and physical) has become much more important to me as I’ve gotten older and that’s something I’m going to continue to work on in the years to come.

I have no idea where 2023 will take me, but I’m trying to go in with an open mind, a positive attitude but low expectations. Life is gonna do whatever it wants, you can’t plan for it. You can put things out into the universe and set things in motion, but in the end, it feels like what’s going to happen is going to happen. I just hope to see us all come out happy on the other side.

So, from me to all of you – THANK YOU for another fabulous year here on Life and Other Disasters! I literally couldn’t do this without you and am forever grateful for the relationships forged and the bonds made.

My Top Books of 2022

Top Books of the year

Yesterday, I showed you a list of my top movies. Today, we’re here to discuss my top books of 2022! First things first, I need to point out that not all of these books were 2022 releases. For the first time since I’m making this list, I have not distinguished between fiction and non-fiction, although I will have a separate list for poetry collections.

Below you will find my top books out of the 45 I read. If you look at their content, you will find a very clear pattern throughout the themes of the majority of these reads. Enjoy!

Read More »

December 2022 Wrap-Up

While I usually do a monthly and yearly wrap-up at the beginning of January, I’ve decided to change things up this year. We’ll have the regular wrap-up for December now, then the rest of the week will be dedicated to various rankings and looking at 2022 in review as well as what’s ahead on the blog. Seen as I’m heading towards my 10th blogging anniversary fast, there are some things I’m starting to consider for the future of Life and Other Disasters.

First things first though, I’m happy to report that I somehow managed to achieve my reading goal for 2022 and finished 45 books! It’s five less than I managed to read in the previous year, but I was far busier, so I’m happy with the result. Here are the reads that accompanied me in the final month of the year:

  • Alone With You in the Ether by Olivie Blake (3.5 stars)
  • Stella by Takis Würger (2 stars)
  • Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume I by Matthew Mercer/Matthew Colville/Olivia Samson/Chris Northrop (5 stars)
    Massive shout out to my mate, Lois, who gifted this comic book to me for Christmas, because she knows my love for Critical Role knows no bounds. This was such a well-paced volume and a great backstory on top of things. I was beyond happy!
  • Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (5 stars)
    According to StoryGraph, I started this book 233 days ago, but I couldn’t have read it sooner. It was hitting way too close to home, but I did it. I finished it before the end of the year and I’m proud of that.

Alone With You in the Ether Stella Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, Volume I Crying in H Mart

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! OR find me on StoryGraph, where I have become more active this year. My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above, if there are posts for them.

In Other News

As I’ve mentioned in many posts, I’ve been sick for quite a large chunk of December. On top of that, Christmas with my family had to be cancelled due to other health issues. This was the first Christmas ever that I didn’t spend with my family, despite my many years of traveling and living abroad. It was kind of sad, but then I had to work anyway, so at least I had something to do …

Binging TV is my coping mechanism

Whenever I feel down or just plain don’t have the energy for anything, I start getting REALLY into a show. This is mostly the time when I pick a show that has several seasons or spin-off shows already, so that I can just fixate on it like there’s no tomorrow. Momentarily, that is the Yellowstone universe for me. Yellowstone, 1883, 1923 and the upcoming 6666 show have my brain thoroughly occupied. These shows are brutal and definitely don’t just show history’s pretty side. As much as I appreciate that Taylor Sheridan doesn’t sweettalk what was done to indigenous people, he is still just a white man? So, what these shows have really done is whet my appetite to check out content (movies, shows, books) by actual indigenous creators in 2023.

I will continue to watch these shows though. They have me in their grasp now …

My Weightloss Journey

Again, feel free to skip this portion of the wrap-up. I know it’s a difficult topic for many and I get it, put yourself first!

I always use this portion of the post for accountability, but my journey has come to a halt and I’ve even taken a couple steps back. With me getting sick and the holidays, I’ve not been able to work out at all and have gained back some of the weight that I had already lost. As frustrating a setback as this is, I also know that my body needed that time. I was not well and there was no point in going on a diet while sick just because I couldn’t do my regular workouts. Things like this happen and I try not to be too hard on myself, instead I want to get back into things as soon as I get rid of this persistent cough. (No, it’s not the ‘rona.)

Still, I couldn’t deprive you of another fun dance workout. It’s just one song, but oh so timely considering last month’s release of Wednesday.

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF DECEMBER 2022

This list is literally identical, except that the first and last spot have swapped. Wild!

  1. Does The Atlas Paradox Suffer From Second Book Syndrome?
    (originally posted November 2022)
    Love that this post is gaining traction. I put a lot of thought into the review.
  2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)
    (originally posted in December 2020)
    This is the staple review post of my blog by now.
  3. Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (Book Review)
    (originally posted November 2020)
    I still attribute the popularity of this post to the holidays.
  4. Something Different: Duskwood (Game Review)
    (originally posted June 2020)
    Curious that this game is still sparking new interest almost daily.
  5. Should YOU Read “The Atlas Six”? (What I learned from my reread!)
    (originally posted March 2022)
    Well, if they read about the sequel, they probably also want to read about the first book.

MY OTHER POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

ALL KINDS OF TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you had a brilliant start into the new year! I wish you nothing but health, luck, love and happiness for the months to come!

Mini Reviews: Alone With You in the Ether, Stella

Mini Reviews

We’re nearing the end of 2022 and I still have a couple books that I need to read in order to reach my book count goal (we can forget about the page count goal …). So, I didn’t really think it was necessary to do separate reviews for the following books and hope you enjoy their mini versions.

*links to Goodreads and Storygraph will be provided after the ratings!*

Alone With You in the Ether by Olivie Blake

Alone with You in the Ether by Olivie BlakePublisher description:
CHICAGO, SOMETIME—
Two people meet in the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist, undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. By the end of the story, these things will still be true. But this is not a story about endings.
For Regan, people are predictable and tedious, including and perhaps especially herself. She copes with the dreariness of existence by living impulsively, imagining a new, alternate timeline being created in the wake of every rash decision.
To Aldo, the world feels disturbingly chaotic. He gets through his days by erecting a wall of routine: a backbeat of rules and formulas that keep him going. Without them, the entire framework of his existence would collapse.
For Regan and Aldo, life has been a matter of resigning themselves to the blueprints of inevitability—until the two meet. Could six conversations with a stranger be the variable that shakes up the entire simulation?

My Thoughts:

I’ve read three (four if we’re counting her YA story under a different name) books by Olivie Blake this year and only one of those was a reread. She was so excited to have her stories published traditionally, some with more edits than others to her previous versions, I was so hyped to get them straight on release day each time. Which is why I felt all the sadder when I didn’t initially vibe with Alone With You in the Ether at first.

While Blake definitely has a way with words, I struggled at the beginning. It took me a while to connect with the characters and I found it much easier once they had actually met each other. Starting from that moment, I could see the usual banter, the intricate psycho-analysis and peeling away of layers as well as tearing down of emotional walls. Those are the things I know, love and expect in an Olivie Blake book. Still, she chose to play with her writing in this one and I found the inconsistent style choices weren’t exactly for me.

“Can you love my brain even when it is small? When it is malevolent? When it is violent? Can you love it even when it does not love me?”

I know that this was a deeply personal story for the author and one she longed to tell. The characters both had mental health struggles and unique ways of perceiving the world, which I feel like that was something that was mirrored in the way the different parts of the story were written. So, it fitted the characters and their minds, but unfortunately not always my own. That’s all I’m going to say in terms of the mental health representation, just because I don’t have any personal experience and don’t want to speak on a matter I’m not informed enough on.

This might also make me sound like a hypocrite, because I would absolutely love for my partner to be my best friend, lover and confidant, but something about Aldo and Regan’s relationship sometimes just felt like … too much? I was worried for them and that’s not what you want in a romance – no matter how unconventional it might be. That’s not to say that there weren’t some truly beautiful moments of genuine connection, but I’m still not entirely convinced that their relationship is healthy.

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! This won’t ever be my favorite Olivie Blake book, but it had some good moments.

Goodreads | Storygraph

Stella by Takis Würger

Stella by Takis WürgerPublisher description:
In 1942, Friedrich, an even-keeled but unworldly young man, arrives in Berlin from bucolic Switzerland with dreams of becoming an artist. At a life drawing class, he is hypnotized by the beautiful model, Kristin, who soon becomes his energetic yet enigmatic guide to the bustling and cosmopolitan city. Kristin teaches the naïve Friedrich how to take care of himself in a city filled with danger, and brings him to an underground jazz club where they drink cognac, dance, and kiss. The war feels far away to Friedrich as he falls in love with Kristin, the pair cocooned inside their palatial rooms at the Grand Hotel, where even Champagne and fresh fruit can be obtained thanks to the black market. But as the months pass, the mood in the city darkens yet further, with the Nazi Party tightening their hold on everyday life of all Berliners, terrorizing anyone who might be disloyal to the Reich. Kristin’s loyalties are unclear, and she is not everything she seems, as his realizes when one frightening day she comes back to Friedrich’s hotel suite in tears, battered and bruised. She tells him an astonishing secret: that her real name is Stella, and that she is Jewish, passing for Aryan. Fritz comforts her, but he soon realizes that Stella’s control of the situation is rapidly slipping out of her grasp, and that the Gestapo have an impossible power over her.
As Friedrich confronts Stella’s unimaginable choices, he finds himself woefully unprepared for the history he is living through. Based in part on a real historical character, Stella sets a tortured love story against the backdrop of wartime Berlin, and powerfully explores questions of naiveté, young love, betrayal, and the horrors of history.

My Thoughts:

I wanted to read more books in German this year and this was my feeble last minute attempt at doing just that. I was surprised that I flew through this book, making it one of the quickest German reads in a long time, even though the subject matter is quite literally WWII and the atrocities committed during that time.

Back in 2019, when this book was first published, it was just about everywhere and sparked quite a lot of discussions. Since Stella is in part based on historic facts (such as the title character, Stella) and part fiction (such as the lead character from who’s POV we’re reading the story), I understand the criticism the book is facing after I’ve now read it myself.
I know that a lot of people were bystanders in the war, their silence and passivity making them complicit in what happened. A larger portion of the population would probably fall under that category than the usual heroes and rebels that stories tend to be about. It’s one thing to tell the story of a citizen who was compliant with the regime for whatever reason and a totally different one to bring and outsider into this, who decides to go to Berlin in the midst of war to “learn how to draw”.

Friedrich was one of the most infuriating characters I have ever come across. He is passive, privileged and naive beyond reason. Everyone tells him that people are being murdered for being different in Germany and he wants to go see it for himself and experience a bit of music and art while he’s at it. Even though we get a lot of (quite horrible) historic facts at the start of each chapter and aren’t spared some truly gruesome moments in the story itself, they don’t seem to affect Friedrich in the way that they should. All he cares about is the woman he loves, despite us never understanding that supposedly deep and unwavering connection.

A story from the point of view of Stella, no matter whether you agree with her choices or not, would have been fascinating and an interesting historical study. Telling the tale of a lovesick puppy, who ignores literally every warning he is given in life, feels useless and disappointing.

Fazit: 2/5 stars! This was told through the wrong lens in my eyes.

Goodreads | Storygraph


Have you read either of those books? Do you plan to? Let’s chat!

“This Is Your Story” – Book Tag!

This Is Your Story - Book Tag

I haven’t done a book tag in ages, but you know, what better time than this very December – since I decided to try and blog every single day of the month. So, thank you very much to the Orang-utan Librarian for delivering me content for my blog on a silver platter! Also, I love imagining myself in stories, so this is absolutely perfect.

The Rules

  • Link back to the creator @ReadBetwixtWords
  • Answer each question by using your favorite (or TBR) book covers, characters, and stories
  • Tag a friend or two
  • And have fun with it!

Questions

AUTHOR – WHO’S WRITING YOUR STORY?

With where my mind is at right now, I’d 100% love to see Olivie Blake take up that job. We’d all be complex and multi-dimensional characters with deep yet relatable conversations.

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake book cover

WORLD – WHAT LITERARY WORLD IS YOUR STORY PART OF?

This is honestly so tough for me. I want it to be a world with magic, but there’s still SO many options and I’m not sure how high Fantasy I actually want to go. What about The Night Circus!? There’s magic for sure, the system isn’t entirely strict and logical though and it has all the whimsy!

ROMANCE – WHO WILL BE YOUR LOVE-INTEREST?

I’ve had many a bookish husband over the years. There was Dawsey from the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Max from the Book Thief, Mark Watney from The Martian … As of late, I tend to rather want to adopt characters though, it seems.
Well, that’s not the question/prompt though, is it? I want Benji Andor from The Dead Romantics! He basically looks like Lee Pace and works as a book editor. Dream job and dream guy anyone?

Lee Pace entering the room with one hand on the door frame looking tall and sexy while doing absolutely nothing.

APPEARANCE – WHAT WILL YOUR CHARACTER LOOK LIKE?

So far, I didn’t pick anything unhinged with my answers, but let’s go off-road for this one. I pick my own character, Viola, from my current Fantasy WIP, who is actually inspired by my very own Dungeons & Dragons character. With that skin color, I’d definitely stand out.

A girl with pointy ears, light blue skin, almost white hair with faint traces of pink in a lilac dress looking off into the distance, holding a book tight to her chest.
I once showed this to my aunt and she said, “oh, that looks like you!”

SIDEKICK – WHAT CHARACTER/CREATURE WOULD YOU HAVE BY YOUR SIDE?

I bet I’d be so annoyed by him after a very short while, but can I get my boy Sevro from the Red Rising saga by my side? He’s a maniac, but I adore him with all my heart. He’d be my bestie (and fierce protector) for sure.

I made this character aesthetic a while ago and I’ve used every chance since to include it in posts.

GOOD, EVIL, OR GRAY – WHERE DOES YOUR CHARACTER STAND?

I’d sure pretend I was a little Ms. Goodie-Two-Shoes, but it will be so much more interesting if that’s just an outward facade and there’s a really more of a gray-scale personality behind it. Actually, I’ve always loved the idea of the main character giving in to the proposal of the villain and burning down the world together. It would be something I’d love to read about.

DESIGNATION – WHAT WILL YOU BE? (HUMAN, FAIRY, PIRATE, PRINCESS, ETC..)

Since we’re not talking about D&D classifications (although my character is a wizard Air Genasi), I’d just go with elemental magic-y creature? I’ve always loved the idea of playing with the elements. I’ve even written a story back in school about “elementals” before Avatar: The Last Airbender became a thing.

OPPOSITION – WHO WILL BE YOUR NEMESIS?

Do I have to have one? Uhm … the ghosts of my past? Is that a cop-out? I was thinking kind of like Watch Over Me?

Watch Over Me

THE ENDING – HOW DOES YOUR STORY END? *SPOILER ALERT!*

I like a romantic, yet absolutely devastatingly tragic and emotional ending. I’m really thinking along the lines of Soulswift here. If you’ve read that book, you know exactly what I’m talking about!


I TAG THEE

If this seems like a fun idea to you, go wild and consider yourself tagged! I’d love to see Anoushka and Sophie give it a try, but please don’t feel obliged!


What did you think of my answers? Can you sort of maybe picture a story with those elements? Would you read it? Let’s talk!

November 2022 Wrap-Up

November Wrap-Up

So, I really dropped the ball in terms of blogging in November. I don’t know if it was some preemptive winter blues getting more or something else, but I neither had the time nor motivation to do anything creative on here. I also didn’t manage to read a whole lot, but what else is new? Check it out:

  • Swimming Lessons: Poems by Lili Reinhart (2 stars)
    Yeah, I’m sorry, friends, but there was a reason people dunked on this when it came out.
  • The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake (5 stars)
  • Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman (5 stars)
    While it’s really hard to read about the pandemic – especially in ways that suggest it’s over completely – this book was so emotional, relatable and vulnerable. Amanda Gorman has honed her craft and it shows.

Swimming Lessons: Poems  The Atlas Paradox (The Atlas, #2)  Call Us What We Carry

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! OR find me on Storygraph, where I have become more active this year. My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above, if there are posts for them.

I’m sort of still on track with my reading goal in terms of books (I can read four more books in a month, right?), but there is absolutely no way I will read 4K+ pages in December. It’s sad to see that I aimed too high, but sometimes you have to push yourself. I’m still happily reading Babel at the moment and have added Alone With You in the Ether to my currently reading pile, because why stop at three books by Olivie Blake in one year. I can up that number at least.

 

In Other News

November was an odd month for me. Loads to do in general, I barely registered the month flying by. I distinctly remember wanting to do more, but somehow you just blink and *poof* no more time left. I initially was really determined to get back into writing and then did exactly none of that, so we will see how my resolve to blog every day of December will go (watch me break my streak after four days). Let’s break down the month again!

Twitter Went Into Titanic Mode

Twitter is my favorite and most used social media platform. I can’t handle all the images and videos on short livedness (that’s not a word, is it?) of instagram and TikTok (although zero offense if you like these platforms, they just overwhelm me). When everyone started jumping ship, I really panicked. I don’t want to loose contact to so many people I love having in my life, getting information on things I care about and just being able to communicate in a simple way.

Ultimately, I’m still on Twitter, I won’t go anywhere for now and I even made a proposition to my friends. If you consider yourself one of them, feel free to DM or email me:

The Atlas Paradox Released

THIS was my most anticipated sequel of the year! I went to the bookstore on release day and was really excited to get a physical copy to make notes and annotations in. I just adore Olivie Blake’s writing and was so, so giddy to just get started on reading it. Sequels are dangerous and many books suffer from second book syndrome, so I wrote a whole post about it.

Does the Atlas Paradox suffer from second book syndrome?

I Accidentally Played a Game for 15 Hours Straight

I’m not a gamer, you know this about me! So, I have no explanation for what happened to me when I started playing I Was a Teenage Exocolonist and suddenly it was 5AM and I hadn’t gotten up or eaten or slept at all in the past 15 hours. After I got over the fact that that was some disconcerting behavior and I now had to readjust my entire sleep schedule (it took a while) I moderated the time I spent on the game and fell in love with it even more. Would you guys be interested in me making a post about the game and talking about why I love it so much?

I Got a New Show to Obsess Over

Don’t I always obsess over some show or movie? It sure feels like it on my end. And there’s many contenders for content I adored – Wakanda Forever, Walker Independence, The Sex Lives of College Girls, … to name a few – but there’s one in particular that left me wanting more: 1899. Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar created one of my favorite German shows ever (Dark, hope you knew that) and have now reeled me in again with 1899. It’s a far more international undertaking and includes languages such as German, English, French, Spanish, Cantonese, Danish, Polish and maybe some more. The cast has been assembled in part from previous Netflix projects and together they made the most expensive German TV show to date. I hope they get to continue. I’ll be so upset if they don’t. If you’re curious about the show, please don’t wait too long to watch it – viewing hours in the first couple of weeks are most crucial for Netflix.

My Weightloss Journey Continues Some More

Again, feel free to skip this portion of the wrap-up. I know it’s a difficult topic for many and I get it, put yourself first!

I started going to the free gym at my work about twice a week, which includes some weight training. Going into it with the knowledge that I wouldn’t loose as much weight since I was building muscles and getting stronger, I’m happy that I still got to further reduce my weight by 1.5kg/3lbs. I have to say that my motivation still took a dip during the past month, because there were times that I just felt physically exhausted and didn’t see any progress, which made me want to not continue at times. The thing is, I factually know that I now fit into pants comfortably that I could barely zip up a couple months ago, but my brain couldn’t see a difference while looking at my body. We’re weird creatures, us humans.

Anyway, point being, when people tell you to take progress pics, they really mean well. Your brain might not want to register the difference, but when you put images side by side, you’ll notice it clear as day.

If you want another fun at-home-workout, I got you covered:

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF NOVEMBER 2022

I know you’ve read this before, but I’m going to keep saying it – thank you for showing up to my old posts even when my blogging motivation is lacking. I appreciate it so much!!

  1. Should YOU Read “The Atlas Six”? (What I learned from my reread!)
    (originally posted March 2022)
    That just made sense with the sequel coming out, I guess people were wondering if they should jump on the bandwagon.
  2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)
    (originally posted in December 2020)
    Not a month goes by that this post isn’t doing numbers.
  3. Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (Book Review)
    (originally posted November 2020)
    Did not expect that review to make a comeback!? But Dash and Lily are basically bookish Christmas, so that makes sense.
  4. Something Different: Duskwood (Game Review)
    (originally posted June 2020)
    Glad people are interested in the game. I loved playing it.
  5. Does The Atlas Paradox Suffer From Second Book Syndrome?
    A new post made it onto the list! Wohooo!

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

Apologies for not doing better and blog hopping more. I did the bare minimum of everything and anything in November.

MY OTHER POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you all will have a great last month of the year. I hope the holiday season won’t be too stressful and you’ll all finish your reading goals with ease! Let’s talk soon!

Does The Atlas Paradox suffer from Second Book Syndrome?

Does the Atlas Paradox suffer from second book syndrome?

The Atlas Paradox was my most anticipated book of the year, so you can surely imagine that a lot of expectation were involved with the release. I think I’ve been fairly open about the fact that I’ve been a huge fan of Olivie Blake’s the Atlas series ever since it was indie published a couple years ago. Seeing its huge success now fills my heart with joy, even though I know it’s not necessarily for everyone. But how did the sequel fare in comparison to its predecessor? Let’s talk about that!

For all of those of you who are still uncertain whether The Atlas Six is for them or not, I highly recommend checking out my non-spoiler post detailing its strengths and weaknesses here! I’ve heard from fellow readers that it has helped them make up their mind, so give it a try?


The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake book cover

Summary according to the publisher: “DESTINY IS A CHOICE”

The Atlas Paradox is the long-awaited sequel to dark academic sensation The Atlas Six—guaranteed to have even more yearning, backstabbing, betrayal, and chaos.

Six magicians. Two rivalries. One researcher. And a man who can walk through dreams. All must pick a side: do they wish to preserve the world—or destroy it? In this electric sequel to the viral sensation, The Atlas Six, the society of Alexandrians is revealed for what it is: a secret society with raw, world-changing power, headed by a man whose plans to change life as we know it are already under way. But the cost of knowledge is steep, and as the price of power demands each character choose a side, which alliances will hold and which will see their enmity deepen?

GoodreadsStorygraph


Now, I’ve posed a question in the title of this post – Does The Atlas Paradox suffer from Second Book Syndrome? – and I don’t mean to keep you in suspense for too long, so I’m giving you the easy answer now, which is NO! However, this is supposed to be a review of sorts and even though words are currently failing me, I do want to share some general thoughts. Later on, there will be a more in-depth spoiler section, where I’ll talk about each individual character, but this part won’t reveal anything too specific.

This book – oh, THIS BOOK! It was a personal attack. My feelings were hurt. My anger bubbled up. My deepest and darkest dreams were fulfilled. It was everything I hoped and feared.

Right from the get go, Olivie Blake‘s writing is still as witty and compelling as in the first book. The philosophical and scientific conversations continue; the moral quandaries deepen. If I had to critique one thing, which a review is sort of the right place for, I would say that she struggles to convey the passing of time in her story. There are so many scenes where we go from people talking in one room to another set of people talking in another room, with often very few action-packed or faster paced snippets in between, so it tends to feel odd when all of a sudden, a couple months have gone by. It’s only a minor flaw in my eyes, but something I have noticed in the previous installment as well.

Where the Atlas Six established our characters and hinted at the greater scheme behind the secret society, the Atlas Paradox only slightly furthered the plot and rather focused on how the initiation changed each of the people involved. It remains a mostly character driven story, which I think is good, because that’s essentially what I signed up for. I, personally, would have been disappointed if we abandoned the in depth analysis of all these different personalities and focused on other hijinks instead. It gives you answers, but just opens up a whole box of new questions, which is both – so very satisfying and absolutely infuriating!

While, overall, I felt like I could predict a couple more twists and turns this time around, I still felt surprised by a lot of new character pairings/dynamics as well as character decisions. This series definitely keeps you on your toes and to be honest, I don’t have the slightest idea how it could possibly end. All I know is that I love these characters and that I support all their rights and wrongs. And I know another thing for sure, I will be first in line when it’s about getting my hands on a copy of The Atlas Complex, the ultimate conclusion to it all.

a gif showing a woman sitting in front of a bookshelf and reading, while the bookshelf behind her just fills to the brim of the room with books.
I would read a million more books in this universe, if it meant I could keep the characters close.

!!!SPOILER SECTION!!!

You have been warned, there will be spoilers for The Atlas Paradox moving forward! 

In previous reviews, I’ve mentioned that it felt like some characters got preferential treatment in the first book and that one could sort of deduce who were the author’s favorites, but The Atlas Paradox turned all of that on its head. So, instead of continuing with a “normal” reviewing format, I’d like to take a closer look at each individual character and the new pairings and dynamics.

All the main characters from The Atlas series by Olivie Drake and illustrated by Little Chmura.
credit: Little Chmura

Reina Mori

I was extremely fascinated by Reina in the first book, but felt like she was cut short on chapters for sure. Now, this time around, she definitely had more page time and suddenly I’ve grown quite scared of her.

I wasn’t quite aware of just how attached she had gotten to Nico and how hurtful it was to her that he saw her as nothing special in his initiation. But her spiraling afterwards was just terrifying to me. She really developed a sort of God complex and her teaming up with Callum just makes the potential of the horrors they could unleash together all the greater? I hope she allows herself to connect to people again, because this disconnect worries me. I mean, even nature wanted her to go outside and touch some grass.

“No, Nico, I would have lit on fire anyone with even the slightest intention of harming you, and that is the kind of friend I am, when I choose to be a friend.”

On an entirely different note, I’m very happy about it now being more or less confirmed that Reina is ace. That’s representation that is often sorely lacking in fiction.

Callum Nova

Many of you knew this, but I hated Callum Nova. I was so sure I would continue to hate him through this book and then his first POV chapter came along and my resolve crumbled quicker than anything I’ve seen before. It literally took all of one chapter for me to really feel pity for the guy. He’s still insufferable and has a plan (to kill Tristan?) that I cannot support, but I have more sympathy for him than I used to. He was mostly just a drunken mess for the entirety of the book, but still … my heart warmed to him a little bit.

“It doesn’t have to make you weaker, you know,” Callum continued. “You’re allowed to have human qualities. Which inherently means silly things like sadness and longings and flaws.”

Parisa Kamali

Parisa is one of the most badass characters in this series and I felt like she really took a backseat in the sequel. That’s not necessarily something bad, because the scenes and chapters she was involved in, were absolutely fantastic. The way she was vulnerable with Nico (not the least because of Gideon) was maybe one of my favorite bits in the entire book. He would f- her with his whole heart and she proved her point.

“To know what people really are and not destroy them is savagely remarkable. She has exceptional restraint.”

Nico de Varona

Nico, my chaos child, crumbled to bits and pieces without his twin flame Rhodes. While he was surely one of the characters that felt her absence the most and I especially enjoyed his teaming up with Tristan (look at both her men working together to get her home), I also loved to see his feelings for Gideon being spelled out more clearly (from both sides). This book proved more than anything to me that those two belong together.

Without Libby for a counterweight, there was nothing to temper his recklessness. Nothing to anchor him at all.

Tristan Caine

Tristan and Libby are my favorites – there, I said it. They are my ride or die ship in this series and I know that many people love other combinations more (there’s loads of Libby/Nico, Tristan/Callum or Tristan/Parisa shippers out there), but they just kind of do it for me. Tristan really blossomed as a person, finding his confidence in his ability and I love that for him. But what I love for myself is that there wasn’t a single chapter where Tristan didn’t mention Rhodes in some way. He’d rather see the world burn than not have her and that is such a problematic villainy thing to say, but I’m here for it?

Still, I also would like to mention that I think Atlas manipulated him to the t and actually got the person to stay that he always wanted to stay. I worry about that at night …

He knew it like his own pulse; Libby Rhodes would be back, and he would be here. Waiting.

Libby Rhodes

Libby. My darling girl. You really aren’t the moral compass of the group anymore, are you?

I felt the paranoia and fear when Libby was trapped in the past. The way she always had to look over her shoulder, worrying that Ezra might show up and imprison her again. It’s always all the more painful when it’s someone close to you, someone you trusted. And it was just so infuriating to see Ezra think he was doing her some sort of weird favor, he got what was coming to him in the end.

Nonetheless, I feel quite conflicted about her choices, which makes reading her chapters so much more delicious, if I’m being honest. She screwed some people over hard, but she has always put others first. This time it was her turn and can we fault her for it? Yep. Yep, we can. The moral complexity is what makes this so utterly great.

“She’s your true error, Ezra. Your biggest mistake was not leading her here, to me, but in allowing her to become dangerous.”

Other developments and characters

Obviously, a lot happened with Gideon, Ezra, Atlas and Dalton. I’m in no way trying to minimize any of that and have touched upon it when talking about the core six. But, there is one character in particular who I’d like to spotlight – Belen. While I guessed her identity and connections relatively early on, I feel like she deserved so much better. Whereas Ezra felt like the architect of his own demise, she is a true victim of the Alexandrian Society and their scheming. She would have never been involved in anything, wouldn’t even have known about the existence of all that secret knowledge and power, if it weren’t for the narcissistic behavior of the initiates. Not even Ezra, who so continuously spied on Libby in the past, saw who Belen really was. Her anger was more than justified. 

Is Destiny a Choice?

Now, this was the prime statement of the book. Whereas in The Atlas Six we learned that knowledge is carnage, The Atlas Paradox claimed that destiny was a choice. But is that really true considering that things, in hindsight, played out exactly like they always have? Ezra always abducted Libby, making her realize her full medeian potential. Libby always risked the lives of countless people in order to get back to the library. Did anyone make a choice that differed from the path they were once put on? I guess that is what we will find out in The Atlas Complex!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! What a wonderful continuation. It has made me all the more excited for the inevitable conclusion in The Atlas Complex!


Have you read the Atlas series? What did you think of the sequel? Let’s chat!

October 2022 Wrap-Up

October was a complete disaster on the blog. Even though I posted my usual two posts per week, I really felt like I was on some sort of hiatus, doing the bare minimum. Somehow, I just didn’t find the time to read anything until the very end of the month (currently, I’m knee-deep into Babel and The Atlas Paradox and loving it!). So, here’s what I ended up finishing:

  • Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells (4 stars)
    This is the third installment in the Murderbot Diaries and while it wasn’t my favorite, the series is still excellent. I hope you won’t mind that I wait to review the books until I finish the series (up to the book it is out right now) and am able to do it in one go.
  • LVOE: Poems, Epigrams & Aphorisms by Atticus (4 stars)
    I first encountered poetry by Atticus while I was in Canada and I still enjoy it. It’s not always as deep as others, but it leaves me with a nice and warm feeling.

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3) LVOE: Poems, Epigrams & Aphorisms

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! OR find me on Storygraph, where I have become more active this year. My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above, if there are posts for them.

I had built up quite a comfortable buffer for my reading challenges, which has gone entirely to waste these past two months. I’m still sort of on track with the number of books, but I highly doubt I will reach my (for me, quite ambitious) page count goal. Even with Babel and The Atlas Paradox, it’s a stretch.

Two bars showing my reading progression this year so far until the end of October 2022. I have managed to stay on track for the number of books (45) I want to read and am currently at 84%. I am behind 2556 pages on my page count goal of 15000 pages for the year, which leaves me at 67%.

 

In Other News

October was once again a very busy month. We had presidential elections in my country, loads of my friends and family members had their birthdays and name days (yes, we “celebrate” those too) and in general, I feel like there was just always something going on. I’ve thought about this just recently, but I can’t even recall the last time I was bored. It legit doesn’t happen to me anymore. Once again, I’m sticking to the format of dividing up the month into segments and telling you about them separately.

Writing My Fantasy Novel

I have made ZERO progress. I’m not even sure I opened the document during October, if I’m being completely honest. It’s not that I lost interest in it, I just feel like I’m more in a reading rather than writing mood at the moment. However, having said that, it is NaNoWriMo. I have no intention of rushing through the novel, but maybe it will help me just work on it on a daily basis? That would be nice. But we all know I have the worst track record with sticking to NaNoWriMo …

I Still Have the Same Favorite Poet

Last month, I heavily teased that I fell in love with the writing of a certain poet, who kept his work out of the public eye. Funny story, the person is actually a former boxer now actor and while his Instagram is still private, he has decided to share some of his work on TikTok. Now, I quite enjoyed having his words all to myself (this is an exaggeration, he did share it with several hundred people before as well), but if you are curious and want to check out Kieron Moore’s poetry for yourself, you can do so here.

I Played Foretales

One of my favorite voice actors I share a birthday with (serious shout out to the legend that is Travis Willingham) promoted the latest game he did voice work for and I immediately wanted to check it out. I don’t have a proper gaming set up, I only have my laptop, that’s not really made for a lot of processing work. Regardless, Foretales is a really cool story-driven RPG card game. I enjoy games where my decisions have an impact on the story and certain paths are blocked or opened, depending on what I did prior. I have to admit that I sometimes got stuck on really silly things and was frustrated when I had to redo chapters, but overall, it was a lot of fun. You can find more info on it on Steam here.

My Weightloss Journey Continues

Again, feel free to skip this portion of the wrap-up. I know it’s a difficult topic for many and I get it, put yourself first!

As I keep at my regular cardio workouts and still haven’t gone on a diet – on the contrary, I think I’m eating more now than ever before and I notice it in my budget – I continue to slowly but steadily loose weight. The most important thing to me is that what I do remains something that is sustainable. There’s no use in starving yourself or overworking, just to go back to “normal” and reversing all that progress. I feel like what I’m doing does push me to go out more and definitely exercise and move more than I did previously, but I found the joy in moving and therefore it’s not so much of a chore, but rather something I feel incomplete without.

I’ve upped my workout time and often end up doing 30 to 45 minutes a day, but sometimes, when I just don’t feel like it, I end up only doing something for 10 to 20 minutes and that’s still enough. So, I’ve lost another 3 kg/6.6 lbs since the last wrap-up, which makes me feel confident that I can reach my desired goal by my 30th birthday.

Here’s the latest workout video I’ve been coming back to, especially with Taylor Swift’s release of Midnights:

This Spooky Season offered great Spooky TV!

There were so many great seasonal shows this last month! I loved the latest adaptations of Vampire Academy and Interview with the Vampire. Two very different shows, but both offering me everything I wanted from them. However, there is another adaptation that I feel got completely lost in the sheer amount of content that is being released as of late – The Bastard Son & The Devil Himself! The show is based on the book Half Bad by Sally Green, which I’ve read eons ago and can’t remember in detail, but still recognized in the show. It was fantastically paced, had super interesting character dynamics and would have been a perfect Halloween watch. I don’t see a lot of people talking about it, but I really wish more would watch it. It has some seriously f- up stuff happen it, but I would love to see what they do with another season.

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF OCTOBER 2022

I’ll never know how to express my utter love for everyone who keeps visiting this corner of the interwebs, even when I barely post any new content. I genuinely adore you! Here are the most popular posts of October.

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)
    (originally posted in December 2020)
    No surprise there, right?
  2. Should YOU Read “The Atlas Six”? (What I learned from my reread!)
    (originally posted March 2022)
    This actually makes a lot of sense, if you think about it being the release month for the sequel. I’m glad people find this post helpful!
  3. Something Different: Duskwood (Game Review)
    (originally posted June 2020)
    No clue what sparked the resurgence of this post.
  4. Are Chris Evans and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted July 2021)
    Yeah, why not? He’s always interesting I suppose.
  5. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (Book Review)
    (originally posted October 2016)
    So, clearly I read this book way before it become a TikTok sensation and when I, myself, was still much younger. It’s the only Hoover book I’ve ever read and while I apparently enjoyed it back then, I’m not sure, I would still like it as much now? It’s wild to me that a post from 6 years ago is getting that much traffic.

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

This is only a fraction of all the great content that my fellow bloggers put out into the blogosphere in October. Still, I hope you’ll give them a visit and share the love!

MY OTHER POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you had a wonderful spooky season and are now enjoying your November! Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Any particular reading plans or otherwise? Let’s chat!

September 2022 Wrap-Up

So, I’ve made no secret out of the fact that I was very busy in September and things (on the blog and elsewhere) didn’t exactly always go according to “plan”. I did, however, start reading the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells and I love them. Their short format was ideal for my schedule and even though I didn’t get super far, I’m happy to be in the middle of the third book by now. I’ll write a whole post on them, once I’ve finished reading the books that are out so far!

  • All Systems Red by Martha Wells (5 stars)
  • Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (5 stars)

 

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! OR find me on Storygraph, where I have become more active this year. My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above, if there are posts for them.

Now, with me only having read novellas all of September, and not many at that either, my reading challenges have suffered a little. I’m still ahead in terms of the total book goal I set for myself, just because I’ve accrued a nice buffer in previous months. The page count goal though? Not looking great …

A graph showing that I have read 36 out of my 45 book reading goal and 9503 pages out of 15000 pages. This means I am two books ahead of schedule but 1839 pages behind on my page goal.

 

In Other News

As I’ve now mentioned a lot, I was booked and busy in September. A lot of it had to do with work, because I’ve had quite a lot of hours scheduled and will continue to work a bit more than usual until the end of the year. That in itself is a bit tiring, but I made some other lifestyle changes and they just really took up a lot of my time in addition to that. I quite enjoyed the format of last month’s wrap-up (where I definitely had more to talk about, check it out here, if you missed it), so I’m going to stick to it.

If you don’t want to read about my weight loss journey, you should probably skip this portion of the wrap-up. I get it, put yourself first!

Lifestyle Changes

With working from home and just not having taken the best care of myself, I’ve gained quite a lot of weight over the past year. Every body looks different and needs different things, but I just didn’t feel comfortable in mine anymore. As I’ve mentioned last month, I got a Fitbit and that was the start of my weight loss journey.

I wanted to make sure that whatever changes I made, they would be sustainable and that I wouldn’t be miserable. I really found joy in movement again and could still (mostly) eat whatever I wanted, as long as it was in moderation. I’ve definitely become the boring friend who talks about calories and workouts and how many steps I got in too much, but this takes up so much of my time that I think it makes sense that it occupies so much of my mind.

In my mind, I’m kind of still stuck pre-pandemic at being 27 years old, but in reality I will turn 30 in less than a year. I’m now working out six times a week for about 30 minutes each and have lost 2 kg/4.4 pounds in a month, which doesn’t seem like an unhealthy or rapid weight loss. I’ve decided I will make sure I’m the hottest and most comfortable I’ve ever been once I turn 30. It’s a ridiculous goal, but mostly I just want to keep having fun with this journey, because right now, it IS fun.

This is one of the videos that got me started, as it is very beginner friendly and I personally just also really like Harry Styles’ music:

Writing My Fantasy Novel

I think I’ve been dreaming more about writing this book than actually sitting down and writing it. Still, I’m going to keep including my WIP in the monthly-wrap ups for accountability. I’ve worked so hard on the outline, there’s no way I’m just going to let it disappear in a drawer somewhere, never to be seen again. I’m currently at 1,131 words, which isn’t great, but it’s something.

This is legit the slowest I’ve ever written anything and somehow I don’t feel like I’ve really found the right voice for it yet, which is why this is taking so long. BUT I’m not giving up. It’s just hard to find the time and mental capacity to sit down and write after work and work outs.

Nick Miller from New Girl sitting in front of his laptop and saying "I got nothing" as he attempts to write his novel.

I Found a New Favorite Poet

I don’t know if you’ve ever fallen in love with someone you don’t know through their writing, but it has happened to me. I got so obsessed with some of the poems, I transcribes them into one of my gazillion notebooks, just to have them with me whenever I want to revisit them. You cannot imagine how much I would love to share some of this person’s writing with you, but I can’t. Some of you I might have confided in with his identity, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing it on here, because I’m really not entirely certain how he feels about his poetry getting out, despite him being in the public eye quite a bit.

He’s brilliant, vulnerable, poignant and relatable, but he doesn’t wish to share his stuff with the broad public right now. He might secretly be working on a poetry collection that I’m pretty sure will eventually get published AND WHEN THAT DAY COMES – YOU WON’T HEAR ME SHUT UP ABOUT IT!

I really wish I knew how to write poetry, but that’s a skill that has always escaped me.

I Watched All the Gen Z Content

We’ve established earlier on that time stops for no one and I’m approaching 30 fast. I’m a millennial through and through, but somehow I still got entranced by Gen Z content. In terms of movies, I thought Do Revenge was formidable and so much fun (even if the last quarter of the movie was a bit rushed) and I also completely got sucked in the world of Heartbreak High. Netflix’ hold on me was strong this past month! Please, give me more!!

the cast of Heartbreak High sitting on rocks by the ocean
credit: Netflix

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF SEPTEMBER 2022

Since I wasn’t very active this month, views definitely dropped by quite a lot. Here are the top visited posts of September though:

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)
    (originally posted in December 2020)
    I still have no clue why this one is so popular. I’ve tried searching for it on google, but didn’t actually find anything.
  2. Should YOU Read “The Atlas Six”? (What I learned from my reread!)
    (originally posted March 2022)
    The sequel releases this month and I CANNOT WAIT!
  3. Are Chris Evans and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted July 2021)
    Interest for him comes and goes in waves.
  4. Are Pedro Pascal and I compatible (readers)?
    (originally posted December 2021)
    I imagine it might have something to do with The Last of Us trailer release.
  5. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Book Review)
    (originally posted December 2021)
    More people watched the movie so they might have wanted to know what the book was about? I definitely didn’t promote it anymore.

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

I’m terribly sorry, but I’ve not gotten any better at blog-hopping. If you have a post you would like me to check out, make sure to link it in the comments!

MY OTHER POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you’ll have a productive yet chill October! I’m really looking forward to the spooky season, despite not having a costume yet …