March is always one of my favorite months because my birthday is at the very end, and I love the anticipation that builds throughout the month. I love celebrating my birthday, and though I wasn’t abroad this year, I still ended up having a lot of fun the week of. Overall, it was a kind of difficult month emotionally, but I read a lot of fantastic books, had wonderful times with my friends, and am very much looking forward to my Scotland countdown shortening to under two months!
Mini Book Reviews
🌈 LGBTQPIA+ characters
🔥 BIPOC authors
🌑 BIPOC characters
Prince’s Gambit | CS Pacat 🌈🌑
Don’t even speak to me, I am a shell of my former self. I was literally parceling out any time that I could find to read this during a weekend of twenty hours of training, and I stayed up stupidly late each night in order to finish it, and I was just wrecked by the end of it. I must have read those scenes at least four times because they were just so gorgeously written, and I love these damn books so much. I honestly might change my rating of the first book to five stars because, while I understand the trigger warnings are problematic, this brought me right back to early 2010s fanfiction in the best way possible, and it was just great. I had such a fun time. AND THAT CLIFFHANGER.
Kings Rising | CS Pacat 🌈🌑
I obviously had to immediately start reading this the second I finished the second one because good grief, but that cliffhanger left me screaming, and I again stayed up several nights until a stupid hour so that I could finish this, and I 100% was shrieking at my book in a way that had my cats giving me the stink eye. And for so many reasons, too. Everyone starting to kneel to Laurent, the fight in the baths, Laurent quietly asking for forever, Damen at the Kingsmeet. Ugh, just so much. This was such a satisfying ending to such a wild trilogy, and I am so excited to read the short story collection and be able to slowly sink into a puddle of joy over even more content.
The Summer Palace and Other Stories | CS Pacat 🌈🌑
I tried to read a book that wasn’t immediately this after finishing the trilogy, and I kept staring longingly at this, so I finally just picked it up and read it in two hours, and my goodness, but getting to see not only Jord & Aimeric at the beginning, but Ancel & Berenger before they come to court, and freaking Charls, that just about did me in. Obviously, though, I skipped the Damen & Laurent story to read the other three so I could read the Damen & Laurent one last, and I’m so glad I did that because damn, but it was good. It was everything and more that I wanted after finishing the trilogy, and it was just an absolute delight to get to see a little more into this world.
A Restless Truth | Freya Marske
Not me not knowing that this was a trilogy and being absolutely floored by the ending of this. I am hyped that not only do we get another story in this incredible world, but we’re going to get to see it via Hawthorn! I have no idea if he’s the POV, and I can’t believe that I’m actually looking forward to a book where he’s one of the MCs, but my goodness, this one just endeared me to him so much. And Maud! Yes, Violet is amazing, and I greatly enjoyed getting to know her, but Maud was the star of the show for me in this one, and I just adored her. She’s such a perfect character to align with Robin, and I just want more scenes of them together so bad because they’d be absolute hellions, and it would be wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed this, and I truly cannot wait for the finale.
A Secret History of Witches | Louisa Morgan
This was just lovely. I want to read everything else Morgan has written immediately, and though I am going to be bereft that none of them are a sequel to this one so that we can see witches in the modern age, I know, without a doubt, that I’m going to five star everything else. This is exactly my niche. I love long historical fiction with gentle magic that has absolutely no plot. Like, let me live in that kind of world forever. Every single page of this was wonderful, and it felt like reading a story of my own ancestresses, and I just adored it thoroughly.
Blade of Secrets | Tricia Levenseller
I’m having very mixed feelings on this book. For about 95% of it, it was very meh. The characters were pretty one dimensional, the writing wasn’t great, and the plot felt very I just played my first game of D&D ever, and I’m going to write a novel about it. The 5% of me that was like HELL YEAH was during the sword in the stone scene, which should 100% not be a reason for me to read the sequel, but, initially, I was so hyped about the King Arthur vibes that I was ready to immediately buy the sequel the next day. And then, when I was in the bookstore and they didn’t have it, I just had zero interest in actually pursuing buying it when it wasn’t immediately convenient for me, so I think that says it all. This was fine. I didn’t dislike it, but I’m also probably not going to read the sequel because it was nothing more than fine.
A Magic Steeped in Poison | Judy I. Lin 🔥🌑
(3/7-3/12) DNF @ 180 pages
This was such a weird book for me. I should have loved it. All signs were pointing toward this being a five star read for me. The cover was gorgeous, the plot revolved around tea, the story reminded me of Natasha Ngan, the writing had wonderful metaphors all throughout, but the characters just continued to fall flat for me. I didn’t care about anything that they were doing, and the MC kept vacillating wildly between being terrified of everyone and lowkey trying to start a revolution? There was a lot of telling going on anytime she learned something new or did something wrong, rather than showing us the impact of those things, and though the writing was beautiful, there was also not a whole lot happening with the writing. It was very purple, but nothing actually got described. The place I noticed this the most is when the emperor is announced as dead (I think?), and Ning & Kang just go hide in an alcove and flirt with each other? And that felt like a lot of wrong place wrong time, but Ning was trying to be a spy and Kang was trying to–I don’t even know, honestly. This book was just weird. I totally understand why people love it, but I was so disinterested that I was actively finding chores to do instead of reading it, so it was finally time to just set it aside.
Erin watched Women Talking, and loved it, and then told me that she’d watched a movie with Ben Whishaw, and did I want to watch it? I said of course, she sent me a trailer, I didn’t watch that, and I went into it with absolutely no knowledge, which she thought was psycho, but Whishaw has yet to disappoint me, and I trust him implicitly, and he’s one of my favorite actors, and I was right. It was just as good as I was hoping it would be–honestly, better–and though he wasn’t the main character, it didn’t really matter because I loved all of the other characters so damn much, and this deserved the Oscar it didn’t get.
Consecration was so dumb, but in a good way. It was one of those movies that most people will label as a guilty pleasure, but that is not necessarily bad in any way, it’s just not good, either. It’s a movie you don’t have to think too much about, and I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of jump scares that weren’t at all scary, Interstellar attempts at time travel, and big, sweeping discussions of religion in very honest and unproblematic ways, and it pretty much fit exactly into my niche.
This month was a lot of good and bad in very equal measure. I taught a lot of yoga because I ended up subbing almost every week, which was both fun and too much. However, I did surprise get a night off of my regularly scheduled teaching, and I ended up going home to practice on my own, which hasn’t happened in a really long time. It was nice to move in my own body without needing to check in with my students, and it’s definitely something I know that I need to do more often.
In the same vein, I’ve also been absolutely crushing it at climbing. I’m sending almost every 5.9 that I attempt now, and I’ve been making some serious headway on the 5.10 projects that I’m working on. Plus, one of the staff told me that he thought one of the new 5.10+ routes was definitely a 5.11, so he said that it looked like I was capable of 5.11 moves, even if not an entire 5.11 route yet, so that was a huge confidence booster. I’ve just been working hard to keep pushing through difficult spots and keep getting back on the wall on tough routes even if I’m unsure of how to do it.
Ostara was this month, too, so I went up to Erin’s for a celebration. It was finally warm enough to go outside around the fire, though when I say warm, I mean that there was still snow on the ground, and we were still in layers, but it wasn’t so cold that we had to stay inside. With layers and the fire, it was definitely viable to be outside, though I’m also really looking forward to Beltane since it’ll be nice enough to be in a dress. It was a really fast visit to Maine this time since I took a half day on both Friday & Sunday, so I was really only up there for a full day on Saturday, but I’m enjoying seeing Erin almost every month, and I’m more than a little sad that I won’t get to see her in April.
I had a truly superb massage in the middle of the month, which, as I’m typing this almost four days later, my body is still very chilled out from it. I did cupping for the first time with this massage therapist, and it would have already been intense given that I haven’t had cupping done in about six months, but she was also much more in-depth with it than my previous one, and I truly felt a little unsafe driving after. Like, ya girl was high as hell. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to find someone that suits my needs so quickly after losing my previous one (she moved away, that sounded really dire), and I can’t wait to continue working together.
And, in a truly unexpected turn of events, I’ve been writing much more consistently. My CP, Chelsea, did reach out to ask if I wanted to exchange, so I am very confident that that’s a huge part of it, since I know they’ll be handing me something to read toward the end of the month, and I’d like to have something to exchange in return, so I’m hopeful to get the lover I’m working on done shortly so I can send it over. And, for some reason, though deadlines usually bring me to a staggering halt in all other formats, writing deadlines are always a big hell yeah, so saying that I wanted to finish this lover by the end of the month/first week of April has got me staying up until midnight each night working on a scene. I’ve still got twelve scenes to write, so we’ll see how it all goes, but fingers crossed!
All told, the actual happenings of the month were great, it was just some of the emotional stuff that snagged hard at me. There was a lot of up and down energetically, and I’m glad to set some of that behind me. For now, though, the end of March means my birthday, and I’m looking forward to 31 for so many wonderful reasons.
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