I don’t know, y’all. It was a difficult month. I’ll talk more about it after we’ve discussed the books read and movies watched, but it definitely contributed to why I didn’t finish my Orilium TBR and didn’t write a single word. I’m tired, and I’d really like a break.

Mini Book Reviews

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

A Treason of Thorns | Laura E. Weymouth
(9/14-9/16) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I definitely read this at exactly the right time in my life, and thus, this was a perfect book for me. It had literally everything I was looking for in a book when I cracked it open, and it delivered on all of those things in exactly the way that I wanted them done. This was just superb. From the magical houses to the powerhouse that was Violet Sterling to the soft romance to the Jane Austen gothic horror on the English moors aesthetic to the wonderful language, Weymouth just absolutely struck every single damn chord. I was so enthralled by this that I am absolutely going to be reading everything else Weymouth has written, and I will definitely be rereading this beautiful book.

As the Shadow Rises | Katy Rose Pool πŸŒˆπŸŒ‘
(9/18-9/24) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

As before, we all know that I love this book. I’ve talked about it enough times, and I recently reviewed it in-depth, so it comes as no surprise that I spent a solid week absolutely flailing about it. Plus, this is when Anton & Jude get together, and they may be one of my favorite fantasy couples ever, so I was shrieking a whole hell of a lot. This is such an excellent example of a perfect middle book in a trilogy, and I just don’t even know what I’m going to do with myself as I embark on the finale. To say I’m not ready doesn’t even come close.

Fellowship of the Ring | J.R.R. Tolkien, Narrated by Andy Serkis
(9/16-10/5) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I’ve got a longer review coming for this in a month or two, once I’ve finished the whole trilogy, but this has been such a splendid experience. I truly don’t think I’ll ever listen to another audiobook because it required some extreme concentration on my part to listen to this, and it’s not something I actively enjoy, but Andy Serkis’ narration of LOTR just went above and beyond anything I could have expected. It was like listening to a performance, and I’m just so damn impressed with the amazing work that he did in putting together this narration. Bravo.

Broken Web | Lori M. Lee πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(8/30-9/7) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

This was such a superb middle book! Though I’m a huge fan of romance, I’m actually really enjoying how this book just has absolutely none. Of course, the fangirl in my heart started shipping Theyen & Meleik together almost immediately, but I’d honestly be totally okay if that was just me reading between the lines. I love the friendship in this so much more, and literally every interaction between Sirscha and Saengo absolutely wrenches my heart out in the best way possible. It’s such a realistic representation of best friends, and I’m so grateful to see that kind of friendship in a fantasy book. I hadn’t quite realized how rarely we see best friends in fantasy until I was reading this, and it’s just filled me up with so much warmth. This was a delight, though, and I am so, so excited to see where the third one goes.

We Rule the Night | Claire Eliza Bartlett
(9/8-9/13) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

I’m so mad at myself for not picking this up sooner, it was superb! I kept forgetting what this was about, and every time I’d read the summary, I was like dude! The heck! Read this book! I’m so glad that I finally did, and I’ll definitely be reading Bartlett’s newer books because damn. The characters were fantastic, even if I wanted to throttle them most of the book, but I think that’s part of what I liked them so much. They were aggravating and often unlikeable, but I understood why they were like that, and it made sense in the story. If they’d been charming and super likeable, it wouldn’t have worked anywhere near as well. The story was really captivating, and I am so impressed with how Bartlett wove in her world-building so effortlessly. There were no huge dumps of information because everything came through in natural, seamless ways that made sense for the characters to be explaining or discovering as they did. The magic had an interesting time travel vibe to it, but with a spin on it that made it even more intriguing, and while this worked really well as a standalone, I could so see that magic being expanded into an even wider story. Overall, excellent beginning to my Orilium TBR, and it’s got me hyped for what’s next.

The Bone Witch | Rin Chupeco πŸ”₯πŸŒ‘
(9/25-10/3) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

This is excellent, and though it’s incredibly slow, I enjoyed it a lot. I definitely would have zoomed through it if it was even a little bit faster paced, but it’s a little like watching grass grow, but in a good way? It reminds me of foreign lesbian films where literally nothing happens right up until the end, and it’s just soft music fluttering by the whole time with a steady undercurrent of doom and sorrow. It definitely wasn’t the right book for me to be reading right now, given how my reading has been going lately, and thus took me one million years to finish, but I’m really excited about the sequel!

September Statistics

Books read: 6
Pages read: 2,468
TBR: 3/6
Great TBR Challenge: 10/72

Monthly TBR

I thought about doing my usual readathon wrap-up, but I’ll just be frank and say it was a difficult first half of the month, and I didn’t really get reading until my second book, so it mostly would have just been me frustrated for the first two weeks and pretending to power through the last two before I essentially gave up again. Out of the six books I set myself to read in order to journey through the Novice Path to reach Orilium, though, I only read 3, and it’s whatever. I’m over it. Moving on.

Is it October already?! HELL YES. Did I create my Halloween TBR back in July like the expected psycho that I am? OF COURSE. I’m excited to get back to more relaxed TBRs for November & December, but I’m also hella excited to be reading some spooky books for Halloween. I’m not really doing anything themed and grand on the blog this year, so it’ll be wonderful to get these vibes in my reading.

Favorite Posts

I truly cannot say enough how much I adore this post about Tolkien in comparison to GRRM from Kim @ Traveling in Books. I am no longer a GRRM fan largely in part because of what he’s said about Tolkien, and this just echoes all the reasons why I love Tolkien so much more.

Writing Updates

Though I didn’t actually do any writing this month, I feel like there’s a lot coming because I did create an entirely new story. It’s been a hellishly difficult month, and I’m not at all surprised that I didn’t write given everything that happened, but I’ve really enjoyed existing in these new characters’ brains and figuring out their stories, and I’m excited to finally start digging into the story itself next month.

What I’ve Been Watching

Erin & I both wanted to see The Nun, me because I loved The Conjuring and her because she’s getting better at scary movies. We had to stop the trailer at about 18 seconds in because we were so terrified of what the nun looked like, and we were so ready for this to absolutely wreck us. What bitter disappointment. You know a movie is bad when I don’t like it because I like literally everything, but I was so angry that even the jump scares stopped doing anything but pissing me off more. I was so ready to dive back into the universe, too, but this was such a horrible addition that I’m unlikely to do so now.

We watched Fear Street: Part Two – 1978, and while the first one was definitely better, I enjoyed this a lot. I really like how they’re tying everything together and slowly building the story one on top of the other. And while I completely understand why series movies are made individually, this truly was above and beyond good because they were all directed/produced/written/what-have-you by the same person. That cohesion made this even better, and it was already great, so that’s saying something.

Erin got so mad that I’d never seen Clue, so that had to be remedied. It truly was adorable, too, and I’m so glad that I’ve finally seen it. Tim Curry was so young and normal! I’m so used to his ultimate weirdness that it kept making me double take anytime he was just hanging out like a regular dude. This was fun, though, and I liked how they incorporated the game elements into it.

We wrapped up the weekend with Fear Street: Part Three – 1666, and HOLY HOT DAMN YES. I loved how they handled the homophobia of that age, and while Erin rolled her eyes a bit at how good–ha–the Goode character was in each one (obviously only in the beginning of this one), I really appreciated having a male character that didn’t have any of the usual flaws. Erin joked he was just expressing the bare minimum of what we expect out of people, but given that that’s usually not the case with men in film, his character was really wonderful. Also, the if they want a witch, then I’ll give them a witch vibes? YES GIRL GET IT. I loved how Sarah’s character just said fuck it to the patriarchy and society and went full tilt. So much of this was amazing, and I loved this conclusion so damn much. I can’t wait to see what Leigh Janiak does next.

I finally started the new season of Sex Education, and while it’s been a delight, it’s also just not something I can watch while I’m meal prepping. I didn’t even think about it, but so many people walk through the kitchen while I’m meal prepping, and it got real uncomfortable real fast with how much sex there is. But that just meant I got to take some time to actually rest and relax while I watched it, and I’m even more excited about the next season now! I’ll definitely be bouncing back to Atypical to finish that up before I come to the new season of Sex Education, but I’ll hopefully be watching soon.

I’ve been wanting to watch Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile for ages now, and there’s a new Elijah Wood movie coming out that features Ted Bundy, so Erin was all in a tizzy about wanting to watch a serial killer movie. She’s already seen it, but she’s been wanting to rewatch it, and my goodness. I was so curious about how Zac Efron was going to do in the role given that he’s such a sweet guy normally, but there was just something about the way he held his face and used his eyes that made me actively not want to look at him during several scenes. He looked so unsettling, and it was just the smallest of things that sparked that feeling. I was so impressed with both his & Lily Collins’ acting, and I’m even more excited for the new Wood movie now.

When we watched Rebecca, I was so hyped about the first half of the movie, and then it just completely tanked, and it’s now a movie that I wholeheartedly despise. It’s just awful all around. The same thing seemed like it was going to happen with The Voyeurs because, about halfway through, it suddenly took a turn, much like how Rebecca did, and I just wasn’t having it. We were both so pissed, and I’m pretty sure that if we’d been watching it separately, we would have turned it off, and I’m so glad we didn’t because damn. I love this movie. It took another turn toward the end that was just–I don’t even know how to describe this. Psychological thriller is the right genre for this movie, but I’d also stick it under horror or just absolutely batshit. It was insane, and while I don’t think I’ll ever rewatch it, I’m going to be thinking about it for a long damn time.

Erin has made the official call–it’s time to start watching scary movies. This is the first year ever that she’s allowed us to watch scary movies long distance because she gets so freaked out wearing headphones and being close to the screen, but she loves scary movies, so we’ve been watching them together when I visit in order to get her used to them, which means, drumroll please, WE WATCHED A SCARY MOVIE LONG DISTANCE! We’ve both been curious about Malevolent purely because it’s got Florence Pugh in it, and I’ve been loving stories about houses recently, and this definitely delivered. It was way different than we thought it was going to be–more slasher than jump scare–but the spooky house vibes were excellent, and this was such a fun start to the season.

LIFE

September feels like it was at least three months in one, and I don’t even know what to say beyond that. I’d like to sit here and tell you about all the amazing things I did, and I’m going to try, but the truth of it is that the second half of the month was absolute shit, and I’m exhausted. My best friend at work gave his notice about halfway into the month, and it was just all downhill from there. I spent most of his last week crying on my drive home or during savasana as I tried to pull myself together and not cry in the middle of teaching yoga. My reading & writing both took a huge nosedive because of his departure, in part because I just couldn’t focus at night and because I ended up eating lunch outside for a week straight because I wanted extra time with him. I did manage to listen to a lot of Fellowship during this week because we had a last project to work on together that meant me building nine desks for the office, but that was about all I did for reading for that entire week.

But let’s go back to the beginning.

Erin came to visit! On her way home from visiting family in another state, she stopped in MA for a couple days. We did a lot of shopping, went to high tea, and generally just lounged about. By the time we got to her house, we were ready for movies and vegging, and that’s exactly what we did. I taught a lot of yoga, and I’m very excited that the other yoga teacher is returning so that I’ll finally have one of my nights back. It’s been fun subbing for her over the last ten weeks, but also very draining, and I’m glad to have a night free where I can practice on my own again.

I also hiked Mt Cardigan! I meant to do another mountain this month, but the weather was a little unpredictable, and my mental health needed a day where I just fell on the couch and didn’t get up for several hours. Cardigan was fun, albeit very challenging. I hadn’t quite realized how tricky it was going to be to convince myself up those steep, difficult parts without anyone to cheer me on and keep me distracted, and while I’ll keep hiking by myself, it’s also a reminder of just how much I miss hiking with friends.

And ya girl finally got tatted again! It’s been so long, and I’ve missed it so much, and I’m definitely going to get back in the chair again way before a year has passed. I’ve only got three LOTR tattoos left for my arm before that section is complete, and I know exactly what they are, so those are up next. For now, I got the phial of Galadriel, which holds the light of Earendil, who is one of my favorite characters from The Silmarillion, as well as Tolkien’s signature. I’d like to get the LOTR version of his signature eventually, too, so keep an eye peeled for that in the next few months maybe?

And that was about where my month derailed. I mean, there’s not much else to say. If you’ve ever had a job, you’ve probably had a work best friend, and you know what it’s like to lose them. I’ve been soaking up as much time with him as I can in the last week, and while it’s going to be a very difficult change, we’re still going to be friends outside of work, and it’ll be okay eventually. My daily life is going to change a lot, and I’m angry about that, but it is what it is.

There’s more I could say, but I’m tired, and I’m gonna wrap it up here. I hope your month was better!

How was your September?

Posted by:Mary Drover

she/her | yoga teacher | Tibetan Buddhism | part-time witch | full-time author | astronaut in a previous life

9 replies on “September Wrap-Up

  1. Thanks for the shout out! Glad you enjoyed the post!

    Also glad you’re enjoying Serkis’ narration of Fellowship. He did an amazing job. His performance is part of what makes me love audiobooks- the performances. Because a good narrator is truly putting on a performance, and that’s half the fun. I don’t understand people who put the audiobook on at 2x or 3x speed. They’re missing out on the nuance just to get through the book!

    And Clue! That’s one of my favorite films! I love everyone in it and how clever the script is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would just be maddening to listen to it that fast! You’d miss out on so many of the fun parts, especially with a narrator like Serkis, who has put so much effort into really making it an excellent auditory experience.

      Like

  2. I love Clue! It’s one of my favourite board games so I knew I’d enjoy the film so much too. It’s great to hear that you liked Andy Serkis’ version of LOTR, I’ve been procrastinating about downloading them for a little while. I hope work gets better soon, it’s always difficult when your best buddy leaves. Happy reading for October! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly didn’t even know there was a film! It’s easily my favorite board game, too, and the film was just absolutely perfect. I highly recommend Serkis’ narration! I’m nearly done with Fellowship, and it has been such a joy. I can’t wait to start Two Towers! ❀ Hope your October is wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary!! Omg I’m losing my work best friend too this week. We started within months of each other and have been together for over two years since. I understand completely ❀ I'm going to miss her so much, but now we too (like your work buddy and you) will keep in touch! Also that's awesome that you got to go to another high tea!! I'm actually visiting Salem this October for a girl's weekend and we actually booked a high tea at Jolie!! I remember all the high praise you gave it so I knew that if I was going to be in Salem I would have to go πŸ˜€ Sending all the best your way girl and wishing you a better October!! ❀ ❀ ❀

    Like

    1. Oh, Jai Lynn, I’m so sorry to hear that! ❀ It's been such a difficult couple of weeks, so I'm sending you lots of love right now. It sucks so much to lose your work best friend. We spend so much time with the people at our work that we're bound to form really close knit relationships with them that it's just terrible when we lose those. But we'll get through because we'll still have them outside of work. ❀

      OH MY GOSH YESSSSSS!!!!! I love that so much!! I'm so happy that you're not only going to Salem, but going to Jolie!! If you feel comfortable, you should tell them that you know me! I've been a household name there over the years, haha, and I go in every single weekend. It's my absolute favorite spot in the world, and they have so many amazing blends. If you need any Salem recs, let me know! There are so many incredible shops on Essex St, and it's such a beautiful city.

      Hope you have the most amazing trip and month! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I definitely will!! Omg I love that you do that ❀ I wish I had a special cafe near me that I could hang out in every weekend πŸ˜€ Please tell me some good blends to try at Jolie and, of course, all the best places in Salem you recommend!!! I can't WAIT for this trip ❀ ❀ ❀

        Like

      2. Okay, if you like floral, my absolute favorite blend at Jolie is Madeleine. It’s got roses & bergamot, and it’s my go-to. (Side note: if you’re an Earl Grey fan, their Glenburn blend is mid-tier–they’ve got four different blends, so it’s just a step above a standard Earl Grey–and it’s delightfuly). I’m also a huge fan of honestly the entire Parisian line–Remembering Paris, Antoinette, La Parisienne, La Belle Rose, and La Magie du Monde. But if you’re in the mood for something minty, definitely Ocean Breeze (this is a seasonal one, so they might have already switched over to White Christmas, but they’re identical, they just swap out the chrysanthemums for white roses) or Slytherin. I don’t really go in for overly sweet or ones that remind me of foods, like most chais, but Summer Afternoon has roses & strawberries in it, and it’s to die for. Rhapsody also has a lot of berries, but it’s a little subtler. For white or green, big fan of White Rose, Secret Garden (secret menu item!), Daisy Buchanan, or Joan of Arc (it has rosemary in it, which is honestly a next level flavor in a tea, it blew my mind). And when I’m feeling out of sorts and can’t decide what to get, I usually default to the Lemon Lavender. Oh! And they just released two Van Gogh teas, and they’re in the middle of releasing a Wizard of Oz line. They’ve already done Harry Potter & Alice in Wonderland, too.

        That was so much, hahaha, sorry! There’s over 300 teas there, though, so it can kind of get overwhelming sometimes, but the staff is super friendly, and they’re always very happy to help out if you’re unsure of what you want.

        My absolute top favorite shop ever is Coven’s Cottage. It’s on Essex St, and it’s small, but it’s so cozy and just quintessential Salem inside.
        And not to link my own posts, haha, but I did actually do a series a couple years ago for places & food–https://marydrover.com/2019/10/07/haunted-happenings-places-in-salem-to-visit/ & https://marydrover.com/2019/10/21/haunted-happenings-food-in-salem-to-eat/

        I hope you have so much fun!!! ❀

        Liked by 1 person

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