Things are finally starting to look up. I’m glad that I took a small hiatus in May because I honestly think that it helped. I was stretching myself way too thin, and about one second after I decided to take a hiatus, I started reading and writing more regularly. I just needed a little step back to breathe, and while I am still significantly behind on my Goodreads goal for the year, I”m starting to actually want to read again, so I’m happy. (Also, I very clearly wrote this intro before I got COVID because what a way to end the month, but it’s so positive that I’m leaving it.)
Mini Book Reviews
🌈 LGBTQPIA+ characters
🔥 BIPOC authors
🌑 BIPOC characters
Can’t Take That Away | Steven Salvatore 🌈
I really couldn’t go into Pride with this still being unread, especially given I’ve got another Salvatore book on my TBR for this year, and I’m so glad that I read this when I did. It was exactly the kind of soft, a little bit sad content that I needed, and it pulled me right back into reading regularly. This broke my heart in several different ways while also being incredibly heartwarming, and I can’t wait to read more by Salvatore. Admittedly, I did think parts of it were very rushed, and I felt like I was scrambling to catch up to what was happening, but overall, this was a fantastic read.
All Souls Near & Nigh | Hailey Turner 🌈
My goodness, but those first fifty pages. I can’t in good conscience write what’s in them, so I’m hiding it under a spoilers note because holy shit but there’s rimming literally ONE SECOND into this book. This is such fanfiction level nonsense, and I am so here for it. Like, I was unabashedly waiting for the end of the fic sex to happen because you always get two instances of explicit content in any long fic that’s mostly plot, and guess what! I also legit laughed out loud when one of the Aztec gods said that the Morrígan was up next for them to fight because of course she is! I am so ready the third book in this series, I hope it continues to be as batshit and wonderful as the first two. (Also, did I immediately go watch a Malec compilation after I finished this? Obviously.)
Locke & Key: The Golden Age | Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez
I definitely did not realize that the first half of this compilation were two stories I’ve already read and owned previously, but I figured it out pretty quick when the artwork started looking very familiar. This was good, though it did feel a little patchwork in that there wasn’t anything really connecting the four stories other than they were the same characters. The artwork was still wonderful, though, and it was fun to get to know a different generation of Lockes, even if it was a lot darker than what I’m used to out of this universe.
Bravely | Maggie Stiefvater
This made me want to watch Brave so bad, particularly because Stiefvater did such an excellent job with staying true to Merida’s character. This book was definitely multi-fold for me. I’m not going to shy away from the elephant and hide the fact that I’m very much disliking the Dreamer trilogy, and Stiefvater’s writing took a huge hit during Mister Impossible, but this felt much more like what we’re accustomed to with her writing. Rather than contentious and holier than thou, it was musical and traipsing, and reading this felt like wandering through the Scottish countryside. It did definitely have a Disney flavor to it, and I can see the ways in which Stiefvater probably held back–both in the darker elements and with the romance–but this was still a good read.
A Crown of Iron & Silver | Hailey Turner 🌈
I would just like to say, there are three sex scenes in this one instead of two, PLUS a Christmas celebration and a first I love you, so clearly, the fourth book is going to be angsty as hell, and it’s gonna be a rough ride, but I can’t wait for it. I know how fanfiction rules work! This was so chaotic in all the best ways, and it definitely fit because we’re tapping Irish mythology in this one, so of course anything to do with the Fae has got to be wild. It was a lot of fun to see both Seelie & Unseelie courts represented with both forms of the Wild Hunt, and I loved the different levels of mythology within the pantheon, mainly getting to see which names I recognized were usually the ones that were considered most remembered, and thus most powerful, in the characters. We got to meet more of Patrick’s old crew, too, which is always exciting, and the cast list is starting to flesh out and become unruly, so I am feeling right at home in this series.
Hunters of the Lost City | Kali Wallace 🌈🌑
Wallace has done it again. She quickly became an auto-buy author for me a few years ago, though in a very subtle and casual sort of way, but every single book she’s written, I’ve enjoyed immensely, and Hunters of the Lost City was such a welcome addition to that joy. I would lowkey kill to see this as a young adult novel or television show that branches out into several books, but I loved this as a middle grade, too. The very gentle queer representation was fantastic, and I’d love to keep exploring this world not just for the magic, but to see Octavia & Sima’s relationship develop. And ugh, what a name, Octavia, to go with such a wonderful main character. I thoroughly enjoyed this dark, messy story about truth and fear, and I can’t wait to see what Wallace does next.
Books read: 6
Pages read: 1,972
Great TBR Challenge: 27/96
My Pride TBR is downright hilarious for this year given how few books I’ve read lately because sure, I totally think I’m going to read 12 books in one month when I haven’t even read double that yet this year. But hey, maybe this’ll be a good opportunity to catch up on my overall goal of reading 100 books? This is the first year in several years that I’m actually struggling with it, and that’s really bumming me out, so maybe Pride is the answer to all things. Either way, check out the TBR here!
Gonna be real, I didn’t do any kind of blogging during my hiatus. I’m back in April trying to catch up on posts, and I’m nearly onto May, so while I did read a lot, I was reading pretty quickly, and only a couple jumped out at me. Hopefully, I’ll be caught up for real soon, and I can get back to reading weekly!
The Orangutan Librarian wrote about collecting books and how comforting it can be, and I agree with every word!
I’ve been writing? I honestly don’t know how it happened, and I’m a little baffled by it, but I’m going to roll with it. I figured out a few things plot-wise that actually got me excited about what was coming next, and I had a stern talking-to with myself, so those are probably the key factors here, but I’ve actually been doing a lot of writing, and I’m so happy.
For Dimos, who was the lover I’d been stuck on, I wrote a grand total of 7,898 words, which means he is now done! He’s the shortest lover, coming in at 20k words, and that’s exactly what I wanted out of him. Hopefully, lovers six & seven will be around the same length, though I’m anticipating lovers five & eight to be fairly long. I’m very excited about this next lover, but I’m not going to say a whole lot about him because, historically, it doesn’t make sense because vampires, and I want some secrets in this book.
What I’ve Been Watching
Erin made me watch The Last Unicorn, and it was fine. I’m not a huge fan of cartoons in general, but ones from the 80s really put me to sleep, so I had to do some kind of activity while we were watching this. I intended to work on the wood craft she got me, but turns out I didn’t have wood glue, so I worked on my crystal puzzle and tried not to zonk out. (It was a near thing.)
We also rewatched The Witch, and I was getting kind of sleepy toward the end. I’ve been having several long days combined into very long weeks, and slow movies are not my jam right now. I absolutely adore this movie, though, and I was excited to watch it again.
And there’s a new season of Grace & Frankie! I’m so sad that this show is coming to an end, but I’m also really glad that it’s not going to end because either Jane or Lily has come to the end of their respective life, which will hopefully never happen anyway, but, realistically, I’m glad to see this story actually played out. And what a treat in that finale!
Erin was in need of a lighter night, so we watched 9 to 5 since we’re both in the process of watching the last season of Grace & Frankie, so why not go back to the very beginning? This was truly a fantastic movie, and I remained delighted by it through the whole thing. Erin noted that she hadn’t seen me that invested in a movie in a while, and I honestly just had a blast. It was funny, it made me yell, and I fell in love with Jane & Lily all over again.
I also started rewatching Shadowhunters because I deserve that joy in my life. Realistically, Hailey Turner’s Soulbound series is an older & gayer version of Shadowhunters, and I need to see that visual in my life, so I’ve just decided I’m going to rewatch the show to fulfill the need as much as possible. That, and I miss the Shadowhunters universe so much that I just need more of it in general, so I’m giving myself the gift of rewatching.
After Erin somehow didn’t like the opening episode of Heartstopper, we started the new Dracula series, which I am now realizing isn’t actually new anymore, how was 2020 two years ago. Not gonna lie, I didn’t super love it, so I’m not sure I’ll finish it, but the first episode was long enough to nearly be considered a movie, so I’m still sticking it here. I might continue watching, but it wasn’t really keeping my attention, and I didn’t love the way they portrayed Dracula, so.
LOL WHERE DO I EVEN BEGIN.
Wait! This month was actually insane. I was looking through my Insta, like I usually do, to figure out what had happened, and all of my captions are full of energy and activity. Okay, hang on, let’s go all the way back. At the beginning of the month, I had Jen’s bachelorette party, which happened to coincide with four of my boys getting COVID at the same time, so I didn’t end up staying at the Airbnb with everyone, and I wore my mask everywhere because I was trying to keep them and me safe. Luckily, there was no office transmission, which we’re somehow still not seeing even after over a year of fairly consistent cases, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the fact that we all wear masks at work still and are pretty safe in our daily lives means that we’re going to be able to keep on keeping on.
After Jen’s bachelorette weekend, it was three full weekends of moving. My brother moved first, which was a big deal because that meant that the entire upstairs floor of our house was now open. My parents were really amazing after college, and they cut their living room in half to give me a room separate from my sister. And while it’s been incredible to not have to share a room with Amy, who, although I love her dearly, is seven years younger than me, and that’s a pretty big age gap sometimes, my room was also 80 square feet, and it was small, y’all. Especially when you consider that I had 800+ books and two cats in there. Thus, after Tommy moved, the upstairs was finally open to me. Amy’s been living with her boyfriend, and Tommy moved into an apartment with his girlfriend, so my parents finally felt okay opening up the top floor to me. And while I would love to own a house or a condo, the market is horrendous, and I’m very much in debt with school loans, so living on my own isn’t really an option right now. Thus, we moved Tommy one weekend, and then we started moving me the next weekend.
Admittedly, I was not at all sure that my bookcases were going to fit upstairs. They’re the tall Billy ones from Ikea, which I absolutely adore, and the ceilings upstairs are about four inches taller than the bookcases themselves? We also had to get them up a narrow curved staircase, and part of the ceiling is slanted, so it took some doing. I am shocked that we managed to get them up there, but with a little maneuvering and some spacial knowledge on mine & my dad’s sides, we figured it out. I’ll keep chatting about the move, but here’s what the vibe is now:
We moved the bookcases & books first because I wanted to make sure that they could fit upstairs because without them, what was the point? I want to be surrounded by my books, so I hauled two shelves upstairs in a laundry basket at a time, and I was exhausted after. We got all four bookcases up, though, and I had to live with all of the books just stacked in a wild mess next to my bed for a few days while I moved everything else in before I could finally devote time to organizing them. I tried to transfer them in order, but that was just hilarious, so I ended up taking them up in whatever I could fit into the basket, so everything was mixed in. This was actually a blessing in disguise because I’ve been wanting to combine my urban & high fantasy into just fantasy, so it was easier for me to do this when I already had to reorganize everything anyway. You’ll notice, too, that there’s something huge missing from my shelves–literally everything!
Though the books are all obviously there, I no longer have any crystals, candles, statues, or other accessories on my shelves. There are some Funkos because I like those being part of my shelves, and a few plants landed on them, but all of my hippie dippie woo woo shit ended up on four huge shelves that my brother used for his sporting equipment, and I love how it looks. It does kind of remind me of a TJ Maxx shelf, but it’s rainbow organized, and I love that everything is finally not on my bookshelves. I know it makes my shelves less appealing in pictures, but I have hated how cluttered they’ve been for so long that it’s very refreshing to look over and just see books.
The vibe is truly superior in this room, and I freaking love it. There are plants everywhere, and I finally have room to get a monstera, and every time I look at it, I think of sister witches, and it just makes me so happy. I also got another pothos because clearly five wasn’t enough, good grief, I didn’t realize it was already that many. Two of my pothos were hurting, though, and they are now thriving in this new environment, so I’m very happy for them. I’m planning on getting a plant rod, too, that I can hang near one of the windows and just go ham on the hanging ones because I really don’t love my hanging pothos being on the back of the door right now.
I also have more room for hanging dried herbs, too, so that’s got to happen soon, but given that I just spent $150 on my Pride TBR, that’s going to take a backseat for a bit.
Moving took about two weekends of exhausting work, but we’re finally in a space where I’m ecstatic, the cats are happy, and everyone’s feeling pretty good. I have so much floor space, which is just wild, and I really feel at home up here.
I feel like I must be running out of weekends at this point, but the second weekend of the month, my second weekend of moving myself (I’m just now realizing we moved my brother at the end of April, just before Jen’s bachelorette), we finally had our office holiday party that we’ve been trying to celebrate since early December. We went out to Boda Borg, which is like an escape room, except there’s thirty of them, and you run through the halls trying to complete as many rooms as possible. I was paired with one of my rock climbers, my favorite psycho Russian, and one of the testing boys, which meant that we immediately went into one of the hardest physical rooms and spent an hour and a half of our two hour slot in there. It was insane, I had bruises everywhere, and I don’t think I’ve sweat that much in a long time. We had so much fun, though, and we’ll definitely go back on our own time and kick ass even more.
And then, well. One calm weekend of rest before I was ready to head up to Maine for the long weekend with Erin, who I haven’t seen since February, and this was supposed to be the first month of five months of seeing each other every month, except for the fact that I tested positive for COVID the literal day before I was supposed to drive up. What the fuck.
Honest to Satan, I don’t know how I got it. I wear my mask at work, I only climb with the people that I work with, and I don’t go anywhere otherwise. I wear my mask at the grocery store, I bookshop online, and all of my friends live out of state. Ffs, I went to Portugal for two weeks, and I was fine. And yet, on Wednesday, I woke up with my throat feeling weird, not sore, just weird, and I had myself convinced that it was like that because I was trying not to cry on and off all day about the shooting. I even tested on Wednesday just to be sure, and it was negative! I was working from home Thursday morning because my car was making a funky noise, and I wanted it checked before I drove up to Maine, and I woke up sounding way worse on Thursday, so I tested again, and y’all. That shit went positive so fast. Like, a fifteen minute rapid that was positive with fourteen and a half minutes to spare. And it was like, as soon as my body knew it had COVID, well. All bets were off!
It hit me pretty hard the first few days. As I’m writing this out, I’m only on day three, but I’m already feeling better. I had a two day fever and headache, a pretty ratchet sore throat, stuffy nose, wicked lethargy, and holy shit the shortness of breath. The fever finally broke, and the headache is gone, but the sore throat is no freaking joke on day three, and the shortness of breath is fucking real. The first two days, when I went downstairs to go to the bathroom and make tea, I’d have to just sit on my bed and try to breathe when I got back upstairs. It’s definitely better now, but I can’t talk a lot, and watering my plants just now took it out of me enough that I had to do the same thing. I will say, I did have a very lowkey subdued dance party last night, but can you blame me?
Perhaps the best thing out of this month was Harry’s House, which I’ve been listening to on repeat for a week straight, and who would’ve thought that my go-to during quarantine would be Harry Styles compilation videos, but here we are, and I’m enjoying every second of it.
Anywho, it’s been a month. A lot of wonderful things happened, and while COVID hasn’t been fun, I’m alive, and that’s what matters. It’s also given me a lot of down time to work on the blog and reading, so I’m feeling pretty good about where I stand with everything, and I’m excited to see what June has in store! (Hopefully not a lot, please chill, life.)