Long time no chat! I know that this is probably going to come as a surprise and not, but I’m taking a step back from blogging. I mean, take any of the following things for reference: my hiatus in May, my absolute exhaustion throughout all of April, the fact that posts kept going up incomplete because I forgot I was supposed to be blogging at all, lamenting how little I’d been writing at the beginning of the year, and just–I dunno, I’m doing a Hiccup gestures at all of me move in my head. 2022 has been rough, that’s the tl;dr of it. I haven’t written a lot. I’m only just now getting into the swing of things with reading. Work has been hectic. My personal life has taken a nose dive in several different areas. And I’m just not enthused to be here. I haven’t been reading other people’s posts for weeks, I haven’t felt called to write posts on my own, I haven’t wanted to make myself write them, and every time I sit down and open WordPress, I immediately do something else. I’ve heard this sentiment a dozen times before from several other people, but blogging has become a bit of a chore for me lately, and it’s supposed to be a fun hobby, so I don’t want to make it into something I’m not enjoying at all. The truth is, I didn’t have any posts scheduled for after June, and I didn’t write any of my June posts until either the night before they were due or the day after they were due, so I’m just going to stop doing that and let myself chill a little.
That said, I still really enjoying putting together wrap-up posts, and it’s very helpful for me to have somewhere to organize my thoughts on books and movies that I’ve been consuming lately, so I do think you’ll see one from me at the end of July, but until then, here’s what I was up to in June!
Mini Book Reviews
🌈 LGBTQPIA+ characters
🔥 BIPOC authors
🌑 BIPOC characters
I Kissed Shara Wheeler | Casey McQuiston 🌈
This was, obviously, fantastic. There was so much damn chaos in this book, and I was not at all expecting the turns that it took, and damn if McQuiston didn’t just completely deliver on the enemies to lovers vibe. I love that every single one of their books has been wildly different from the one before. There’s always that core of characters that I would 100% die for, but the plot, the structure, everything else is always different enough that I’m just left hella impressed each time. McQuiston has once again proven why they’re a top notch writer, and this was definitely enter the ranks of rereads.
Ophelia After All | Racquel Marie 🌈🔥🌑
This book was everything. Like, well and truly, this was what I needed in life and what I wanted, and it was so wonderful. The questioning bi representation, the messy realistic queer people, the fact that it was romance-centered while not actually at all–ugh, it was just so good. I absolutely adored Ophelia as a narrator and main character, and I was so hyped to find that this book was focused on her growth as a person rather than just giving her a happy ending because it was so much more satisfying that way. This will definitely be a book I reread, and one that I really wish I had as a teenager.
If This Gets Out | Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich 🌈🌑
Oh man, you cannot convince me this isn’t One Direction fanfiction, especially when there’s a 2014 Twitter mention in the acknowledgements, like, my dudes, you’re not fooling anyone. And while I don’t condone shipping real life people, I can understand the vibe of wanting to write something like the 1D craze back in the day, and this was awesome. This was so fanfiction heavy, and it was the kind of plot that I’ve read and written a million times before, and I loved it. I ugly cried real hard during the last one hundred pages, and I can’t wait to keep reading more by Gonzales.
In Deeper Waters | FT Lukens 🌈
This was everything I was hoping it would be. I didn’t know Athlen was going to be a merman until about fifty pages in, and then I was ready to have WORDS for the book if he wasn’t, so I was hyped when the reveal finally came. This was such utter nonsense throughout–magic prince falls in love with merman and has to save his entire family from an assassination plot while the kingdom thinks he’s dead? Don’t even get me started on The Little Mermaid vibes! The writing was a little clunky in here, and the pace was insanely fast, but I enjoyed the hell out of this, and I’ll definitely be reading Lukens’ new book.
Café con Lychee | Emery Lee 🌈🌑
This had such A Phở Love Story energy, and it was fantastic. I loved the dueling personalities, the over the top drama that was caused purely by miscommunication, but of the I don’t even want to communicate with you variety and not the gross everything is bad so we’re not going to talk at all ughhhhh variety, which sounds like the same thing, but the first one has so much more angst and unnecessary anger and just teenage vibes, and it was so good. I love how obnoxious these characters are, and they’re definitely more caricatures than they are representations of real people you’d see every day, but they’re done in such a believable way that even though the plot is not at all something that would happen, it’s great anyway, and that’s exactly what I was expecting out of Lee. This was a wild ride, and I loved it.
She Drives Me Crazy | Kelly Quindlen 🌈🌑
Basketball is my least favorite sport in the world, so while I really enjoyed this, that was rough for me. I don’t understand it, don’t want to, and don’t enjoy it at all, so the basketball scenes were a little lost on me. That said, though, this was wonderful! Admittedly, I didn’t love this anywhere near as much as I did Late to the Party, but it was a fun, silly read that I would have flown through if not for the insane levels of busy I was in the middle of when I started this. I definitely cried a little at the end when the big, romantic gestures were happening, and it’s made me want to read more by Quindlen.
When You Get the Chance | Tom Ryan & Robin Stevenson 🌈
I’m so conflicted about this book because, on the one hand, I didn’t like the characters at all, and the writing left a lot to be desired, but, on the other, I’m always here for a story about Pride, and that bolstered a lot of my good feelings. The characters were this weird mix of super flat, but also trying very hard not to be, and it just didn’t work. The writing was fine, and though I could nitty gritty pick out what I didn’t like, I was just kind of meh about the whole thing, and I don’t want to put that much effort into reviewing it. The journey to Pride was fun, and there were a lot of interesting side characters, so at least it wasn’t a bad time!
Act Cool | Tobly McSmith 🌈
(6/5) DNF @ 50 pages
I’m so bummed, y’all. I was definitely hardcore swayed by the cover for this one because the plot really isn’t something I’m super interested in, but enough so that I could get into reading it, and I would have stuck with it if the writing wasn’t so bad. This read like a first draft in high school, and your creative writing teacher has told you it’s good, but needs some work, and you’re an overconfident little shit, so you think it’s perfect as is, and I know because that was me, and this was exactly how I wrote then, and it wasn’t good. Not even a little. I just couldn’t get past the poor writing in this, and I’d just read three fantastic books and didn’t want to ruin those, so I had to set it aside.
Books read: 8
Pages read: 2,410
Great TBR Challenge: 27/96
It’s 6/29 as I’m finishing up this post, and I haven’t given a single thought to my TBR for August. I definitely want one because I’ve really been enjoying just picking up the next book in my stack. I set an actual schedule for Pride, and it was amazing to not have to think about it at all. Whatever was on top was next, and I kind of want to do that again, so here’s my TBR in order:
- If You Change Your Mind by Robby Weber
- A Vigil in the Mourning by Hailey Turner
- A Mixture of Mischief by Anna Meriano
- Rise to the Sun by Leah Thomas
- Love & Other Disasters by Anita Kelly
- On the Wings of War by Hailey Turner
- Velvet was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- Much Ado About Baseball by Rajani LaRocca
Yes, I’m putting eight books on my TBR because ya girl is a badass beast lately, and I’m finally getting back into reading in a big way, so I want to just give myself all the potential. I’d like to finish out my Pride books, and I’m going to be at the beach a lot this weekend, so figured it makes sense to put the most beachy of them right at the top. I’d like to finish out the Soulbound series, which is why I’ve got two Turner books on there, and I’m in the mood for some middle grade, so might as well finish out a couple series. I’m hopeful this’ll be a month of checking multiple things off lists!
I’ve got no updates for this section. I haven’t written anything, though I have been doing a lot of brainstorming, and I’ve got a solid idea of what happens with the next lover. It also occurred to me the other day that I’m finally past the halfway point, and though the next lover promises to be long, the two following him will be fairly short, and I’m going to try to just power through them. I think I’ll have a lot of fun with the next lover, and thus write it quickly, but it’s a matter of making time to do so. Blogging had been taking up a lot of time that I could have otherwise devoted to writing, so I’m going to try to use the time I’ve gained with taking a break.
What I’ve Been Watching
I started Outlander! I’ve been wanting to watch this for a while now, and with Scotland looming on the horizon–lol, it’s literally a year away–I want to watch this before I travel there. And wow, but this is just nothing I expected, and everything I’m happy about. I didn’t know this was going to be mostly me sighing over Scottish men in kilts and lots of sex scenes, but I’m here for it. The scenery is gorgeous, the plot line is whatever, and the characters have fantastic chemistry, so I’m having an all-around great time.
We watched Fire Island the literal day it released, and it was everything and more. Erin watched it for a second time the next day, and I want to rewatch it, too, because it was just perfect. Enemies to lovers, best friends, so much gay, political issues, just all the things. There was so much to unpack in it, but everything had exactly the amount of time it needed, and all of it was handled so lovingly, and UGH, this was just perfect.
Erin & I started First Kill for our second Pride watch of the month, and though we planned on watching a solid chunk of it right away, we’ve both been hellishly busy during the week lately, so we took our time with it. The acting is mostly meh, and the audio is weird sometimes–the background music gets very loud during dialogue–but we enjoyed it enough to watch the whole thing, and I loved the vampire lore in it.
Erin was here to visit for the weekend for Pride, and we finally got to watch Turning Red together. We tried to a couple weeks ago, but the watch party wouldn’t work for us. It was such a nostalgic kind of movie, and I was brought right back to my middle school days being in love with Backstreet Boys. It was so well done, even if it was hella silly, and I enjoyed every second of it.
We also watched Carmilla, which I’ve been wanting to watch for ages now, so I was very excited. I had no idea about it until sometime last summer, and though I still haven’t read the novella, the movie made me want to even more. It was incredibly slow, but in a haunting, agonizing kind of way where you know what’s happening, but there’s absolutely no way to turn away from it. The lore of it was very Dracula, which makes sense given Stoker probably took a lot of inspiration from it, and I loved how there was never any confirmation or actual vamp horror. That said, there was no way this would have been anywhere near as good without the vampire undercurrent given that was what held the poignant awfulness so well.
What even was this month? I was just getting over COVID at the beginning of the month, so I think I was still taking it slow. Looking back at my yoga posts shows me that I was hurting that first week trying to get back to being able to breathe, and my body was sore as heck, but I managed to climb and teach yoga, so it wasn’t too bad. OH! This was the secret BBQ month!
In July, my company is hosting a summer BBQ, but there’s going to be no alcohol, and one of the boys has been haranguing me about being able to drink at an event, so I finally just bullied him into co-hosting one with me. We did a #notsponsored secret BBQ that was not at all secret because every single person was invited, and we had an amazing turnout. I also got a picture that I’ve been wanting to get for a whole damn year and a half.
THE BOYS! A little over twenty of them were able to come, and we went from about 6PM until 11PM. It was a bit chaotic fitting around fifty people into my backyard and grilling for them all, but we had so much fun, and I just love them so damn much. We also launched our company out of stealth mode, and I can’t believe I’m actually about to tell the world what I do, but look, it’s us! I’m so proud of these boys, and I can’t wait for our science to finally start changing the world.
I’m also finally getting back on track with climbing, and I’m settling at a 5.9 level where I can start projecting harder climbs. It took me a while to get back to this point, and I’m so hyped to be here, so I’m going to work hard to stay here and get better. One of my goals for this year was to get comfortable at a 5.10 level, and I’d like to be able to do any & all 5.9s so I can finally learn how to lead climb. We did 108 sun salutations for the summer solstice, which was an absolute blast, and my time at the gym has just generally been fantastic lately.
And then it was time for Pride!
Erin came down for the festival in Salem the last weekend of June, and although it was a lot, it was also a heck ton of fun. I had so many cute outfits, hence all of the pictures below, but the obvious winner was my Pride outfit. I sent Erin a picture of what I wanted months ago, and she said she could make it, so I started sending her all the supplies with no idea what it was going to become, and I’m so damn happy. I was just flapping my arms the whole day, and I need to find a reason to wear it again.
The festival itself was a lot of fun, even if it was really hot. I got a pretty standard veggie burrito from a food truck, but it was the lemonade and fried dough that I’m still thinking about. There were a ton of vendors, and I got some new queer books from a lgbtqiap+ table from a local bookstore. Erin did my makeup, and my shoes had rainbows on the bottom, and it was just fantastic.
I was also just feeling good in my body in general, which I think is definitely because I kicked off the weekend in that yellow dress. It was so bright, and I spent the whole day listening to Harry Styles, and it was the first time I’d seen Erin since February, so I was very happy. I also adore the plus size bathing suits that I bought recently, and I felt so cute at the beach. The space buns pretty much stayed in all weekend, and it made my park ranger outfit even better than normal. Overall, the fashion was on point at the end of the month.
As I’m drafting this, I’m getting ready for Erin to arrive again (yes, four days after she left) for the long holiday weekend, and though there are no festivals in sight, we’ve got a weekend of beaching, hopefully writing, lots of food, and all the good things planned. July is going to be off to a fantastic start, and I hope that energy carries through the whole month.