September Wrap-Up

Well, this was easily one of my best months of the year. Not even because I read or wrote a lot of things, which I did, but just because I felt all-around wonderful pretty much the entire month. There were, of course, some fairly shitty days that didn’t need to be shitty, but that people outside of my chosen circle decided I needed a dose of fury and tears, but those aside, I had a really good month! I spent a lot of time just feeling free to do whatever I wanted with my writing, and almost all of my books were amazing. Grace spent a lot of time laying in between me and my laptop, putting her front paws over my left arm so I was basically trapped while she purred & fell asleep (sim, I know, I live a hard life). I made a lot of excellent food, did a lot of yoga, and just really had a nice beginning to autumn. Let’s dig in, and see why it was so good!

Mini Book Reviews

🌈 LGBTQPIA+ characters
πŸ”₯ BIPOC authors
πŸŒ‘ BIPOC characters

Cemetery Boys | Aiden Thomas 🌈πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(9/2-9/3) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I mean, duh? Right from the beginning, I knew this book was going to be a new favorite. Honestly, even before it actually started because that premise? Queer Latinx ghost story with brujx? GIVE IT TO ME. And this was truly a gift. It was so well written that I know I’m going to have to reread it slower so I can really appreciate the nuances and the beautiful language. For some reason, I had this archetype in my head of what Julian was going to be like, and wow, I was wrong, that boy is sunshine and a bumblebee embodied, and I will fight anyone who comes near him. He was definitely my favorite, and every time he did just about anything, I was shouting. Yadriel absolutely broke my heart, and I loved him SO MUCH. I wanted to weep over him, and just protect him from the world, but also was like YES KICK SOME GHOST BUTT. Goshhhhh, this was just amazing. The lore was incredible, and that ending, holy. I did not see that coming, but I really should have, and it was both so awful (in a good way, the rip your soul out via your spine way) and so damn good at the same time, and I just UGH. I have so few words. What a fantastic way to start off the month.

A Dash of Trouble | Anna Meriano πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(9/2-9/11) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

This was an absolute joy, and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Leo was the most adorable MC I’ve ever read, and I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time. Like, this was truly just a delight. It was so sweet, and so fluffy, and so full of such wonderful Spanish bruja lore, and UGH. If you want baking and beautiful family dynamics and the best sister relationships ever and GIRL FRIENDSHIPS and women supporting women and ghost abuelas and just the cutest magic ever, this is the book for you.

As the Shadow Rises | Katy Rose Pool πŸŒˆπŸŒ‘
(9/4-9/13) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Gosh, talk about a good sequel. This was just outstanding. Everything that I wanted to happen did, and more. I won’t talk specific spoilers, but if you know you know, so you’ve been warned. The romance that I was craving finally happened, and I was literally overjoyed by it. I loved every single second of it. The indecision and internal battles at the beginning, the uncertainty as they tried to navigate what this meant for each other and individually, and, ultimately, just the total badass boyfriends bliss that I didn’t realize I needed in my life. Seriously, it was superb, and I recognize that it’s not even a little bit what the book is about, but the plot was so damn amazing and so much more than I could have possibly hoped that the romance nearly didn’t steal my heart because I was so busy screaming about everything that was happening. Because the one thing Pool’s got mastered is an excellent plot. Like, damn. Not only is the lore and the world-building absolutely incredible in this, but the arc of each character’s story, and how those stories start to wind together, is just mind-bobbling, and I’m so damn impressed. I mean, yeah, of course, I’d have liked this to be even longer (I know, I’m nuts, it’s already 500 pages) so we could spend even more time describing things and lingering in emotional distress every time Jude even kind of tried to make a decision (my boyyyy, leave him alone, he’s like an overstressed kitten), but even without those additional 500 pages that I want (yes, I’m asking for a 1000-page book here, @ me in the comments because you know I’m right), this was spectacular, and I can’t wait for the finale.

Patron Saints of Nothing | Randy Ribay πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(9/14-9/16) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Wow. Just wow. I want to give Ribay a standing ovation if I ever meet him, which I won’t, but wow. This was an incredibly complex and powerful story, and I was truly not expecting to learn quite as much as I did. I’ll be the first one to admit that my dumb, white ass had no idea where the Philippines were, and their culture was so completely foreign to me that I felt like I was stepping into something completely unknown, and I am highkey impressed with how well Ribay threaded that culture into the story without losing someone like me. And I feel awful for not having known anything about the war on drugs or the absolute atrocities happening in the Philippines, which makes it all the more important for books like this to be published so that our book world reflects the actual, very diverse world. I was so enamored with each of the characters in this, too, even when they made me angry or did things that I wanted to shake them for. Even Jun, who is nothing but a ghost and scattered through letters, felt so very present throughout the entire story. This was just truly phenomenal, and I can’t wait to read more by Ribay.

The Bedlam Stacks | Natasha Pulley πŸŒˆπŸŒ‘
(9/15-9/18) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I was 100% ready to love this as much as The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, which is perhaps a bit too high of an expectation to set, but I set it, and boy am I glad that I did. This is so different from Watchmaker that it’s hard to set them at the same caliber, but since this had me screaming into my pillow at nearly 1AM, I’d say they both did the same thing for me. I just absolutely adored so much about this. The writing is truly fantastic, and it’s something that will stand out for me for a long time. I’ll continue to read everything and anything Pulley publishes, just based on the writing style alone. Her characters, again, are phenomenal, too, and I really just want to wrap Merrick in a warm blanket, give him some tea, and hide him from the world. He’s the sweetest, most clueless man, and gosh, he just broke my heart over and over again. When he talks about never having laid beside someone because he’s fallen in love with the wrong people and then felt too old to even bother, but then realizes, while laying next to Raphael, that he might actually be capable of loving the right person? UGH I AM WEEPING AGAIN. Raphael was so delightful, too, and his character just unfolded in layers until he felt like one of the most well-developed characters I’d ever read. He was constantly making me laugh, and I loved anytime they bickered. The plot, though! Pulley’s plots are so intricate and tangled, and the way they weave into this chaotic, but kind of really plausible historical fiction is just so interesting. And don’t even get me started on twelve-year-old Keita Mori making a cameo because I actually keeled over and this is my skeleton talking. I just loved so much about this, and I’m both so sad to have read it because I don’t have anything else by Pulley now, but so happy at the same time because it was just truly wonderful.

The Wrath & the Dawn | RenΓ©e Adhieh πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(9/23-9/27) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Did I order the sequel from Waterstones because I somehow ended up with the UK cover, and I could not stand the thought of having the US cover of one of my new favorite books? YES, I DID. I probably won’t receive The Rose & the Dagger for actual months, what with the state of the mail, but it will be worth it, damn it. Because this book was truly incredible, and I’m struggling so hard to put into words how and why I loved this so much. The characters were just everything that I adore. I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that I was going to like Khalid because he’s angsty, brooding, and distant, but of course warms up to Shahrzad oh so slowly, and that would have been enough, but then Shazi was a freaking queen in every sense of the world, and I 10/10 would go to battle for her. The plot was so intriguing, and I loved the blend of original elements from One Thousand & One Nights and new elements that are some of my favorites in YA books. This was just such a gift, and even though I’m going to have to probably wait one thousand and one nights for the sequel, I’m going to read it as soon as it arrives because I just can’t stop thinking about how much I loved this. I kept reading huge chunks of it in one sitting because time just became nonexistent.

The Magic Misfits: The Fourth Suit | Neil Patrick Harris πŸŒˆπŸŒ‘
(9/24-9/28) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I AM BEREFT. I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS SERIES IS OVER. I AM WEEPING. WHAT A GOOD FINALE. This was seriously the most perfect way to close out this series, and though I am absolutely heartbroken that it’s over, I really love what NPH did with these books, and I know it’s going to be like A:TLA for me in that I’m so sad the whole world won’t read it because it’s middle grade. It’s just such a fantastic story, and I think that everyone in elementary school should be reading it, and I am going to continue weeping for the rest of my days. I love that we got to see each of the Misfits have a book, and I was so excited to see Ridley close it out. There were so many elements, over the course of this series, that reminded me of ASOUE, but they were done so much better, and I’m really glad NPH capped it at four and didn’t just keep churning them out. I loved the characters, the relationships between adult and children, the lessons, both magical and moral, and just everything. These are truly outstanding books.

Girls of Paper & Fire | Natasha Ngan 🌈πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(9/28-9/29) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

You know when you just keep not reading a book for no good reason, and then you finally read it, and it’s truly amazing, so you’re just mad at yourself for the rest of your life? Yeah, that sounds about right. I knew, too. I knew before reading this that I was going to love it, and I knew as soon as I started it that I should have read it sooner. This was just exceptional. I would have been hyped just by the wonderful characters that I loved to pieces–each of them, too, every individual character had such amazing development–and the complex plot, but add that with excellent pacing and beautiful writing? Like, damn, this book is a threat all around. I absolutely adored how slow this was, and how not a ton actually happened. I am here for a slow burn in both romance and plot, I want it everywhere now. And though this was difficult to read at times because it felt a bit too possible in our very near future, it was written in a way that felt both empowering and honest.

The Old Guard, Vol. 2: Force Multiplied | Greg Rucka & Leandro FernΓ‘ndez 🌈πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(9/27) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I really tried to read this in two sittings because I wanted to savor it, but every damn chapter ended in a cliffhanger, so here I am, bingeing it in one night because Rucka & FernΓ‘ndez are actually geniuses, and I was actually screaming out loud in the middle of the night while reading this. I definitely need to rewatch the movie now, and I can’t wait to see this volume adapted (if it doesn’t happen, I will riot). The story in this is so relevant and poignant for right now, and I love that we get to see Andy make mistakes and actually experience consequences. I loved the complexity in her relationship with Nile, how it’s changed since the first volume, and how it’s continuing to change in this one, even if it is for the worse. I’m so curious to see how everything comes together in the last volume, and though I’m devastated there’s only going to be three, I’m more excited to see the arc of this story tie itself together. This was a wonderful sequel, and I look forward to the final one.

Camp | L.C. Rosen 🌈
(9/5-9/13) β˜…β˜…β˜…

Listen, no one is more disappointed than I am about this. I mean, the cover alone should have been a dead five-star right from the gate. The plot? HECK TO THE YES. All of this was screaming at me to love it, and I honestly didn’t from the very first chapter. There’s a very clear message here that this book is trying to give–you don’t have to change yourself just to appeal to someone you like. And yet, that message gets pretty lost. Throughout the story, Randy abandons everything he loves, is fairly shitty to all of his friends, straight up lies and deceives the boy he’s trying to get to notice him, claims that he’s not trying to change anyone, but is then upset when Hudson won’t change, and generally acts like a complete ass the whole time. I could have gotten over all that, too, if there had maybe been some consequences to those actions. Because I’ll be real with you, if one of my friends acted the way Randy did and then literally got away with everything with only a few highly half-assed apologies that mostly blamed everything on everyone else and didn’t take any responsibility at all–yeah, we wouldn’t be friends anymore. Randy was a horrible person, and not only did he try to change his entire self for someone, he then expected that person to change completely while he just reverted almost entirely to who he was before he started piling lies on top of lies, and then got angry at the person when they didn’t change as completely as he wanted them to. Like? Your message is hanging out in the Peanut Butter Pit, my dude. OH, and don’t even get me started on the sex. This was one of the more graphic young adult books I’ve read, and considering that the age of the characters skews on the younger side of the age range, and really reads as geared toward a younger audience trying to understand themselves, I’m frankly shocked at how graphic this was. Not only that, but, though the camp is sex positive, there’s absolutely no discussion on how to be safely and healthily sex positive because most of the counselors are too busy being far too self-absorbed, way too mentally ill to be in charge of young, impressionable kids, or just weirdly like eyyyyy get it boiii to a bunch of fifteen-year-olds. I mean, no thanks? I’m here for the sex positive, but could we maybe also talk about how to be safe? Maybe provide more information on what to expect since literally no standard education is going to do that? If it’s going to be graphic already, with barely sixteen-year-olds, could we maybe just add a little education in there? Anyway. There were parts of this I enjoyed (not the romance), and it was so diverse and inclusive that I’m still landing at three stars, but, all in all, not a great read.

Blood & Honey | Shelby Mahurin
(9/19-9/23) β˜…β˜…β˜…

This book was weird for me. I really didn’t like Lou or Reid, and that’s mostly because I felt like they reverted back to their original introduction as characters and basically redid the enemies to friends to lovers except in reverse? I mean, they spend half the book pissed off at each other and calling each other monsters, and the other half sneaking off to go bang somewhere, and it just doesn’t add up? Not to mention, neither of them ever own up to their own shitty behavior, but instead blame everything on the other person so it’s just this cycle of “I hate them/they don’t respect me/they want me to change/they did xyz to me, which made me do xyz in response” and it reads for both really lazy character development and outright aggravating characters. I didn’t empathize with either of them throughout the entirety of this. The plot was also kind of nonexistent, and while I wanted to say this suffered from middle book syndrome, I think it was more a case of this should have been a duology. It reminded me a lot of Lemony Snicket in how LITERALLY ALL THIRTEEN BOOKS HAVE THE SAME PLOT, and the villain just keeps getting away at the end. Like, what was the point in this if Morgane was just going to escape again? A book to introduce some Pagan-esque gods and kill off my favorite character? I’m not mad I read it, and I’ll read the third book, but it was also a huge disappointment.

Runebinder | Alex R. Kahler 🌈
(8/30-9/2) DNF @ 200 pgs

The worst part about this was that I couldn’t connect with the characters at all. We were told so much about them, and I know the adage is old, but there was literally no show in here. Because of that, I didn’t care about Tenn or Jarrett even a little bit. The twins were vaguely interesting, and the villains had a lot of potential, but all of it was just so flat that I was practically yawning while reading. There was also an incubus character, and the consent issues surrounding that were just gross and a whole lot of no thanks. You know, it takes very little for me to be interested in a queer story in general, not to mention a fantasy one about elemental magic. I mean, that’s LITERALLY everything I want in life. And yet. Here we are. I only had 166 pages left, and, normally, I’d just push through, but there were so many other good queer releases that arrived in the mail while I was reading this that I just could not be bothered to keep wasting my time on something I knew was going to be, at minimum, a two-star read.

Monthly TBR

Eyyyyyyy, it’s spooky season! That means that I have a separate post dedicated to my TBR because it’s longer than usual, and I want to highlight the books more than normal so I can really focus on them. I’m hella excited to be reading a bunch of magical, horrific books for Halloween, so if you’re interested, check it out here!

Favorite Posts

Not going to lie, I honestly almost spit out my water while reading Truffle @ Truffle Reads‘ post about creating healthy reading habits because of this: “We all love the quote, β€˜so many books to read but so little time’ but realistically we have a lot of time. We have years to get through our TBR and you don’t need to have read all the books you own either – what’s the fun in having a library full of books you’ve read already. Reading is as much of a hobby as book collection and there shouldn’t be a stigma for either.” I really didn’t know I needed to hear that, and I’m getting a little emotional right now.

Fadwa @ Word Wonders wrote a wonderful discussion on the #ownvoices label, and it’s everything I’ve been trying to say lately, but actually done in an eloquent and well thought out way, and I just appreciate them taking the time to break this down so much. Thank you for all the work you do in amplifying diverse voices just in your everyday life, and thank you for taking the time to highlight a growing issue in the book community.

Writing Updates

I think I talked about this last month, but I’ve been focusing on consistent writing rather than just writing whenever I want, and jfc, let me tell you, it’s really working. I’ve set aside the morning hours for writing, and even if I’m having the best time ever and could totally just keep on keeping on, I’m not letting myself write in the afternoon or evening. Which sounds crazy, I know, because why stop myself from writing when I want to? Well, because I was writing whenever I wanted to before, and though I was averaging about 30k a month, that came at a substantial cost to myself. I was feeling burnout all the time, I was always exhausted, I would just binge write upwards of 10k in a day and then run away for a week, and it just wasn’t a healthy way to write, and there’s a whole slew of reasons simmering under why I was doing that, but I’m not here to talk about those, I’m here to talk about the fact that I wrote 77,460 words this month. I broke my consistency rule once, I think? Maybe twice, but every other day, I was allowed to write a chapter in the morning, which is generally a little over 3k for this novel, and then it was only reading or watching TV/movies at night. And I’m just totally and completely baffled at how well it’s working. Like, damn. I mean, I saw it working last month, I wrote 72k words in one month. THAT’S INSANE. And now, here I am again, with 77k words, which is just more than I’ve ever written before in a month, and I’m so shocked. My relationship with my writing is healthier, and I’m getting more done. Wow.

Not to mention I finished drafting a new novel? Like, what? I’ve been pretty secretive about this novel, and it feels weird to be posting about finishing it. I mean, I’ve talked a little online of what it’s about, but I haven’t been doing my usual posting about my word counts and flailing in my Insta stories over it. I haven’t even really told many of my friends about it. I just handed off the whole thing to Chelsea, and my new CP (sim, I am freaking out about having another critique partner, THE GODDESS IS SMILING DOWN ON ME), Sara, has the first act, so it’s finally about to go out into the world a little more, but it still feels like something no one else knows about, and that’s kind of cool. It’s also interesting how that’s effected the writing process because, realistically, I felt weird about writing it because I wasn’t “supposed” to be writing it, so it kind of felt like I was sneaking anyway, and then, by not telling anyone, it just removed all possible parameters around it, and suddenly I wrote a book in two months? It’s good, too, not gonna lie, I’m really proud of it, and I can’t wait to see what Chelsea & Sara think of it.

Also, who wants a mood board?

As I’m sitting here typing about not talking about this at all, I remembered that I actually wrote & published a short story, so uh, yeah, I guess I’m lying? That said, truly the only thing that survived from that short story were Freddie & Hugo’s names, a little bit of their personality, and that it took place in Portugal. They’ve undergone some serious changes in their characters, and while Freddie still will summon a demon at the end of the book, that’s about it, the rest has taken on a life of its own. But this story, with the working title between two lungs, is about a British occults researcher determined to prove demons exist who arrives at the Biblioteca Joanina in Coimbra after an anonymous letter arrives promising to fund his research if he continues said research in Portugal. When Freddie arrives at the Joanina, he’s been assigned a librarian, Hugo, to assist him, and Erin recently described it as: “Lots of queer fluff, but with a side of demons.” She also said that the same could be said about all of my writing, but that this one had even more romance than usual, plus an added bonus of both legit and internal demons, sooooo we’ve been having a good time over here. There’s a third POV, too, Freddie’s sister, Florence, hence the image of stars since she is big into space & astronomy, and she basically bullies a local astronomer into letting her work in his private observatory. All in all, it’s a ton of fun, there’s ghosts and demons and mentions of the Fae, and I can’t wait to start writing the sequel.

What I’ve Been Watching

I visited Erin at the beginning of the month, which meant that not only did we get to do movie night in person for the first time ever, we also watched a heck ton of other things. We kicked the weekend off with Kiki’s Delivery Service, which she has literally been trying to show me for years. Something has always gotten in our way, though, whether that’s losing the DVD, then not having a DVD player, then it not being available for streaming anywhere, so when I was finally there and she had the means, we watched it. And I loved it so much! I knew that I would, but wow, it was just beautiful.

Erin’s not great at scary movies, so I know it’s going to be good when she wants to watch one. I truly didn’t know that We Have Always Lived in the Castle was by Shirley Jackson, but it made so much sense when I saw the credits after. I’m mad that I didn’t read the book first, as I’ve been waiting to do with The Haunting of Hill House, but I guess now I’m even more excited to read the book. This was just so uncomfortable and awful, and I really didn’t expect to hate Sebastian Stan so much because I just love him so much usually, but wow, he was the worst, and I was so tense when this finally ended, but I also had a spectacular time.

After reading two books in a row that were centered around DΓ­a de Muertos, I knew that I had to watch Coco. Erin & I have been wanting to for a while now, too, so it was perfect timing! I don’t know why I thought I’d be able to handle it without crying, too, given what a blubbering mess I was the first time, but alas, I managed to weep before noon. This is just so good, and if you haven’t seen it, I’m begging you to do so, and if you have, please go watch it again.

With everything that happened to Becky Albertalli during the month, I was just furious and really wanted to support her in some way, so I ended up rewatching Love, Simon with my dad and sister. I talked more about the experience in a post at the beginning of the month, so I won’t rehash it here, but yeah. This is still one of my favorite movies.

Erin & I are back to virtual movie nights, which is really sad, but we’ve got a lot of fun author movies planned, and that’s really exciting! We watched Frida, which was a lot of fun because though I know about her and know how well-loved her work was, I didn’t actually know her story, so it was really interesting to finally learn it. It was so vibrant and chaotic, and it was perhaps the only movie that could have possibly kept me awake post-hike because of how wild it was.

Okay, I wasn’t going to talk about iZombie because I did in the last wrap-up, but I was only just barely halfway into the last season, and I finished it this month, and I didn’t really love the finale, so I wanted to give it a bit of space here. It’s not even that I didn’t like the finale because I really like the route they took with it; it’s just that it felt like three episodes were smashed into one? There were also a lot of heart-wrenching moments where you think a main character is dead only to discover surprise, they’re alive, everything’s fine! But, like, barely a few minutes later, and it was just a lot of unnecessary pain. Again, I think I definitely would have liked it more had that final episode been spread out over, say, three, maybe two if you want to keep it short, episodes so that we could really feel the impact of those deaths, even if they weren’t permanent, and so that the tension could truly build. The whole season was mounting up toward this final confrontation, and then it happens in, like, five minutes, it’s over, we skip forward ten years, and zombies are still a thing. I don’t know. It was weird. It was way too fast-paced, and I’m really bummed because that’s it for the show. I liked the ending, I just disliked how quickly they ran through it, and I really would have been totally on board and loved it if they’d just spread it over a few episodes rather than a quick last one. I mean, it’s the series finale. I wanted to weep, and all I did was frown a bit.

Mad Max: Fury Road is one of my favorite movies, and though I haven’t seen it since its release, I stand by that, and I’ve been telling my dad that forever, but you know when your parent tells you something and you don’t believe them, but then their best friend tells you the same thing, and suddenly it all makes sense? That was Fury Road for us. He wouldn’t believe me for literal years, and then his friend at work told him, and suddenly, we HAVE to watch it. Well, I’m never going to pass up a chance to watch Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy kick butt, and wow, it was so much better than I remembered.

As we’re approaching spooky season, I’m weaseling my way into taking over the movies that Erin & I watch, particularly because I’m visiting for Halloween, but she’s apparently been saving We Need to Talk About Kevin for years, and now was the time. And I, uh–I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so uncomfortable during a movie in my life? Don’t get me wrong, it was good, and I’m glad we watched it, but wow, I have never disliked so many characters and continued to watch something. But you’re supposed to dislike the characters, so it wasn’t like they were poorly done. You’re supposed to feel uncomfortable the entire time and wonder what the hell you’re watching. It was just the weirdest experience ever to watch this movie, and I can’t think of anything else to say about it.

OH HELL YEAH, WE’RE REWATCHING SUPERNATURAL! I posted about my favorite TV shows halfway through the month, and Supernatural was 100% in there because I’ve watched it for almost a decade now, and that’s insane. I started it in college, and it’s been something that I’ve kept up with and rewatched and just all-around loved for so long that, with the fifteenth (FIFTEENTH, FOLKS) and final season coming to an end, I thought the only appropriate way to pursue it was to rewatch the entire thing.

I finished writing my book this month, and it deals a lot with demons & summoning beings from hell & lots of Catholicism all over the place. In the sequel, there’s going to be a legit exorcism, as well as more of the above, so I figured that not only is it the perfect time to watch exorcism movies because spooky season, but also, might as well do some research? Suuuuure. Anyway, I kicked things off with The Vatican Tapes, and while it was good, it was way too short, and the length of it left me feeling pretty disappointed at the end. Olivia Taylor Dudley is a truly fantastic actress, and I knew that she’d be good in a horror based on some of her roles in The Magicians, and yeah, she definitely made me look over my shoulder every few minutes to make sure I wasn’t currently hosting the antichrist. I loved the story in this, and the way they leaned on the lore was really well done, but the ending felt hella rushed, and I would have been over the moon with this if it was even just 40 minutes longer. 90 minutes feels pretty standard for exorcism movies, and that’s usually why I’m bummed because they deserve more space to expand.

I am actually speechless over As Above, So Below. Like, I just–I don’t even know what to say. I don’t know how to put into words how perfect this movie was, and I know I sound nuts because it’s a found film horror, and how could that be perfect, particularly because it got such wretched reviews, but folks–I just? Here’s the thing. If you don’t love Dante’s Divine Comedy, or even if you just have never read it before, this movie doesn’t make sense. It gets stupid in the last 30 minutes, and it’s weird, and if you’re just watching it as a found film horror, you’re probably not going to like it. But if, like me, you’re constantly trying to insert Dante’s lore of hell into everything possible, well. This movie feels like someone reached into the darkest edges of my soul and showed it to the world. I’m going to have a full review on this coming out next month because I can’t do it justice in one paragraph. Stay tuned.

Chelsea, if you’re reading this, please look away, I’m so sorry, don’t hate me forever. Erin has been trying to get me to watch Interview With the Vampire for literal years now, and I have been avoiding it like the plague for just so many reasons. I don’t like Tom Cruise, Anne Rice is a despicable person, and I just have very specific feelings about vampires that everything I’ve heard about Rice’s lore makes me fairly confident that I won’t like it. And, well–I didn’t hate it. It was a movie that I watched, and now people can finally stop trying to force me into watching it. Am I upset that we didn’t watch the new Shirley Jackson movie as planned and instead had to sit through this melodramatic nonsense? Mhm. I still don’t like Tom Cruise, I’m even less inclined to ever go anywhere near Rice’s works, and I hated the lore, so.

Y’all, Enola Holmes was freaking adorable, and it was just every YA dream I’ve ever had come true, and I need the kid who played the Viscount to be in another YA adaptation stat because DAMN. This was such an enjoyable movie. Like, I just had such an all-around fantastic time watching it that I wanted to watch it again immediately. I absolutely adored Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin is my FAVORITE when he plays grumpy characters, and Millie Bobby Brown was just outstanding. I already liked her with Stranger Things, but damn girl, go run the world. Also, there was a plethora of British actors in this, and every time a new one popped up, Alex and I kept shouting.

There’s a theory that all of Tim Burton’s movies connect, and my first spooky post for next month is discussing his three main stop motions, so we kicked things off with Frankenweenie! I find it really interesting that the movies were made in reverse order of when they’re supposed to happen chronologically, but, obviously, I’m going to start at the beginning. I’ll be actually breaking down the theory in my post, so no spoilers here! This was an adorable movie, and pretty much all you need to know is my dad, while crying, said, at the end, “That was the dumbest movie ever, I loved it.”

Obviously, Corpse Bride was up next. While I do love this movie, I think I’ve reached the limit on how many times I can watch it. It’s just not as good as the above or the below, and it’s kind of boring at times for me. I think it’s an adorable story, and I love the soundtrack, but yeah, I mostly sat on my phone during this.

And my very last movie of September was The Nightmare Before Christmas! Tudo bem, technically, I watched this on the first day of October, but that’s way more fitting anyway, so hush. I love this movie so much? I don’t even know how to review it because it’s truly one of my favorite films, and I cannot accurately tell you how many times I’ve watched it because probably twenty-eight? Every single Halloween since my birth? Probably.


What the heck did I do this month? Not hike, and it was really sad, but my girls are through with their busy weeks, and we’ll be back on the mountains in October! I think we’re going to do a few four thousand footers and then close out the season with Lafayette as our first five thousand footer, and just because it’s beautiful, so I’m really hoping the weather holds out. I’ll also be visiting Erin for Halloween, so stay tuned for lots of fun adventures next month. But September? Did I do anything but write a book?

I did visit Erin at the beginning of the month, and sim, we social distanced as well as we were able to. Obviously, I was in her house, so that’s already a big jump, but we’ve both not been in contact with people outside of our regular circles for literally all of quarantine, I haven’t seen her in seven months, and we’d had two other trips planned in those seven months, and it’s not like we were making out, y’all. We were safe, and while we didn’t take any pictures, it was really, really incredible to see her. When I first pulled up, we were both so weird, like, oh you’re real? Your voice is not coming out of a speaker? You’re actually there, in person, LIVE IN FRONT OF ME??? We mostly just waved our hands around in joyful distress and giggled incessantly, and we may have cried being reunited because she’s my best friend, and I have literally been going insane without her. I think I can’t remember what I did this month because that was such a wonderful start that nothing else mattered after.


I go through my Instagram while I write this section, and I hadn’t scrolled all the way past the first week of September, but it turns out:

I DID GO HIKING. It was our last hike before Ashley & Liv were busy with wedding stuff for their friend, but we did our first three thousand footer, and one of my favorite mountains of all time, Chocorua. I love both the hike and the summit, and it was a perfect day for it. I think they’re ready for the big boys now, too, so I’m stoked to be moving onto the mountains New Hampshire is famous for.

I also woke up with a weird craving for lemon meringue pie the morning after our hike, and because I’m both a bread queen and becoming a pastry master (lolllllllll), I decided to make one from scratch. I made little mini ones, which we decided would be a perfect idea for Thanksgiving while we were out apple picking, so I’m going to be making mini apple pies, as well as couple other flavors, probably, and I’m honestly really excited about it.

Lots of yoga, as usual, and though it’s getting dark and cold, I’m still teaching outside for CRG, so I’m hoping the weather stays nice enough for that to maintain for a while, too. Attendance is already starting to drop, though, which is totally understandable given that the sun has now set before class has even started. Hopefully, we’ll scoot back the starting time at least an hour, and that’ll give us some more time. I was also supposed to teach for the city, but alas, attendance was too low to run it, probably because of similar reasons. But I’m still practicing on my own, and I’ll stay outside as long as I can!

And I think that’s all? It really was an uneventful month. I did a lot of writing, and though it didn’t end up stretching into my nights and taking away time when I might have been doing other things, it was definitely my focus this month. I’m excited to take a break before I dive into my next project, so I’m hoping to read & watch lots for spooky month. I’ve got some fantastic posts coming up in October, and I can’t wait to share them with you. Until then, I’m going to leave you with my new headshot that Erin took for me! I’m so in love with it, and so grateful to her for always doing photoshoots when we’re together so I have a ton of professional pictures for yoga.

Happy fall, y’all!

How was your September?

4 responses to “September Wrap-Up”

  1. waytoofantasy Avatar

    It sounds like you had a wonderful September. I’m laughing about Blood & Honey–I haven’t read those books yet but I have the first in my TBR but I also can’t think about it without thinking of Read With Cindy’s review she did for it on booktube which is a roast and hilarious. Still want to read the books though. Have a great October!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Drover Avatar

      I can definitely see how someone would roast them, haha, because they’ve just got so many laughable qualities. They’re fun to read, and I think I went in expecting something much more serious than it was for the sequel, though I’m not sure why, given how ridiculous the first one was at times. I’ll have to keep that in mind when the third releases! Happy October!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kal @ Reader Voracious Avatar

    It warms my heart that you had such a great September, I am glad it was a good month for you and looks like you got a lot of reading in as well. I hope October is just as awesome for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Drover Avatar

      Aw, thank you! Fingers crossed both of our Octobers are fabulously spooky!


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