Five 2020 new releases I’m excited about

Hey ! I haven’t been here in a while, mostly because of the final exams at the beginning of December, but also because I took a week off from – well, from everything, really.

I’ve been on holiday for a week now, and I spent that week at home, sleeping, reading, playing Stardew Valley (the latest update is so nice) and catching up on all the good stuff I like to do / see when I’m not busy studying every single hour of the day.

So now I’m back, with a few end-of-the-year blog posts – and today’s post is about five of the 2020 new releases I’m most excited about !

This Coven Won’t Break – Isabel Sterling

In this gripping, romantic sequel to These Witches Don’t Burn, Hannah must work alongside her new girlfriend to take down the Hunters desperate to steal her magic. Hannah Walsh just wants a normal life. It’s her senior year, so she should be focusing on classes, hanging out with her best friend, and flirting with her new girlfriend, Morgan. But it turns out surviving a murderous Witch Hunter doesn’t exactly qualify as a summer vacation, and now the rest of the Hunters seem more intent on destroying her magic than ever.

I read the first book in December (or at the end of November, maybe ?) and I just can’t wait to see where this story goes ! I got attached really fast to all the characters in the first novel, and loved the way magic was described in it.

This book comes out in June 2020, and you can find it on Goodreads here

Unravel the dusk – Elizabeth Lim

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

The first book, Spin the dawn, was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019, and one of my favorite ones too – It’s one of the very few books I actually preordered this year ! I’ve already preordered this one, as soon as it was available to do so, and it comes out in July 2020 – if you haven’t read Spin the dawn, there’s still time to do so before grabbing a copy of this !

You can find it on Goodreads here. (Also, the cover is gorgeous !)

We used to be friends – Amy Spalding

Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties.

This one just looks super fun. I’ve been wanting to read more stories about friendship-breakups, friends who grow apart, that kind of thing, and this book seems like a nice fun read ! It comes out in January 2020, so hopefully I’ll get my hands on it at the beginning of the year !

You can find it here on Goodreads.

The city we became – N.K. Jemisin

Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got six. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

I loved N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, so when I spotted this book coming out in March 2020, I had to put it on my list ! I’m really excited to see what this will have to offer – it’s shelved as urban fantasy on Goodreads and I haven’t read a lot of good urban fantasy novels, so we’ll see how this goes !

The wolf of Oren-Yaro – K. S. Villoso

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father’s rival heralds peaceful days to come. But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It’s meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she’s on her own as she struggles to fight her way home.

I looked at the cover of this one, and knew I wanted to read it. The synopsis only confirmed that. From the reviews on Goodreads, this is a very character-driven story, with a main character who lives up to her title of “The bitch queen” – and you know what ? I think I’d actually like to read a story where the main character is, indeed, an asshole. Let’s see what this one has to offer.

What are your most anticipated 2020 releases ? Did you add any of those books to your 2020 TBR ?

November wrap-up

November was a pretty productive month, after all !

Let’s see what I managed to get done in those 30 days of running around everywhere and checking things off my to-do list :

Books read

  • Only Mostly Devastated – you can find my review here
  • Bird brain – reviewed here
  • Eff this ! Meditation
  • Everything isn’t terrible – reviewed here
  • Out with the ex, in with the new – reviewed here
  • Girl, wash your face
  • Girl, stop apologizing – these two actually pleasantly surprised me – it didn’t start really good,but I appreciated the second one much better than the first.
  • The 5 am club – Gave it an honest chance, but I definitely didn’t like it.
  • Red, white and royal blue – review coming up in December, when I find the time for it!
  • Hyperbole and a half – I DNF’ed this one, it just wasn’t for me at all

I’m also halfway through the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, but life is pretty hectic right now so I’m not sure I’ll manage to finish it before I have to give it back to the library. We’ll see!

November goals

So, how did I do on my November goals ? Well, it’s not a win on each and every one of them, but it’s not bad at all !

✅ Read 4 books off my TBR

❌ Post 10 times on my blog – I only posted 7 times, but that’s still way better than I did at the beginning of the year, so. Still a win.

✅ Keep exercising – I did kick-boxing, and even some jogging !

✅ Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night – More or less

✅ Keep studying even without exams

❌ Get a job – Not yet. I’m not giving up, though.

✅ Form new relationships

✅ Post more on bookstagram – IG stories totally count, right ?

✅ Buy less takeout coffee – I still bought some, but definitely not as much as last month ! (Saved a lot of money, too)

❌ Write something – I procrastinated doing this one for the whole month.

Life in general

This month was pretty busy, and in doing so, was also pretty stressful. I had a lot of trouble staying on top of things, even though all my exam results were amazingly good and nothing terribly bad happened – I kept having this vague fear that something bad was about to get here, and that I only had moments to prepare. Not a good feeling.
However, good things still happened : those exam results, for example!

I also went to the Montreal book festival. I got a weekly pass so I could go to all the conferences I wanted to go to, and I had a lot of fun!

I also updated my reading goals on Goodreads! I had planned to read 40 books this year, but I checked that goal in November, so I moved it up to 50 for a challenge – we’ll wee if I can get to that before the end of the year!

Short reviews : 3 NetGalley ARCs

I’ve recently reviewed a few ARCs on NetGalley that I really liked, so I thought I’d put the reviews up here too ! They’re pretty short, since I didn’t try to lengthen them a lot for Goodreads and NetGalley, so I’m making a post with the three together.

Bird brain, by Chuck Mullin

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In this extremely relatable, honest and funny book, Chuck Mullin talks about depression, anxiety, self-care, and other aspects of everyday life in a very touching way.

As a person who’s suffered from depression and anxiety for a long time, this book felt very real in its portraying of what you feel (and don’t feel) during these times. I’d definitely recommend this to people who would like to understand or empathize more with a loved one who has suffered / is currently suffering from mental illness, and to anyone interested to learning more about this.

Publication date : November 19, 2019

Out with the ex, in with the new, by Sophie Ranald

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a very fun read for a day off – I picked it up on my way home from he university, and ended up reading it over the weekend and enjoying it a lot ! You get attached pretty fast to the main character, Gemma, who over the course of the book kind of “grows up” as a person and starts to become more independent, discovering things about herself, what she will or won’t stand for in life, etc. The settings, the Youtube and vlogging spheres, are interesting and well described by the author, and it doesn’t fall into the “everything is perfect a fame is amazing” clichés.

Also, I hated Jack, the boyfriend-ex-boyfriend, from the moment he appeared on the page, and I was 100% rooting for Gemma and her “living my best life as a revenge” plan. Just saying.

Publication date : December 3, 2019

Everything isn’t terrible, by Kathleen Smith

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As a psychology student, I picked up this book by curiosity, and I was not disappointed. I really like reading books on this type of topic, and this one was very instructive and organized. It’s not a book that will teach you how to cope with extreme anxiety or trauma situations, but it will help you manage small to medium amounts of anxiety in your day-to-day life, deal with anxiety-inducing people, and be more mature in your interpersonal relationships.

I would recommend this book as a gift for someone who has problems with anxiety that don’t necessarily need them to go through therapy but that still bother them on a daily basis.

Publication date : December 31, 2019

Did you read ( and review ?) any of these books ? Would you be interested in reading them ? Let me know in the comments !

ARC review : Only mostly devastated, by Sophie Gonzales

Finally, I’m writing this review I’ve been meaning to write for the past two weeks !

I’ll be honest and say that I asked for an e-ARC of this book without actually thinking I’d get one, and then… I did. I truly didn’t expect it, so I immediately downloaded it and read it in the subway on my way to and from class (really fast, because I just couldn’t put it down !).

Only mostly devastated is a fun, LGBTQ+ themed, YA contemporary romance with a 2020 release date, written by author Sophie Gonzales.

Synopsis

When Ollie meets his dream guy, Will, over summer break, he thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After. But once summer’s ended, Will stops texting him back, and Ollie finds himself one prince short of a fairytale ending. To complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country—Will’s school—where Ollie finds that the sweet, affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted—and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship. But as Will starts ‘coincidentally’ popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

It’s time to admit something to you : I’ve never watched grease, ever.

So when this book was described as “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets Clueless, inspired by Grease.”, as someone who hasn’t read or watched any of those references, I wasn’t expecting anything from it, because – well, because I just didn’t know what to expect. And I think that actually helped me enjoy this book more than some other reviewers who tended to compare it a lot to those references.

What I liked

Fair warning : the next paragraphs have some spoilers. If you don’t want to see them, feel free to skip until the end of the section.

For a YA romance novel, I thought this book tackled some heavy themes, and it hit me pretty hard. For example – Ollie has to stay in that new city to help a sick relative, and the themes of illness and grief are talked about in detail in a few chapters. This hit really close to home for me : this past year, one of my closest friends passed away after a long illness – the very same one that affects Ollie’s relative in the book, and a few months later, I lost my grandfather of sudden illness.

The character’s feelings and expressions of emotion in the book resonated with me a lot, and I had to take a few breaks at some points. This quote, specifically, felt so real to me that I had to stop and cry for some time before I could start again.

I lost it in the hallway. I pressed my back against the wall and sank to the floor, crying as quietly as I could. I didn’t want to be here in this house knowing [character name] would never be in it again. It was her house. We came here when we visited her. It’d been her house my whole life. This wasn’t right. None of it was right.

That quote echoes exactly my own feelings about grief, and about my personal losses, and I thought the author had managed an extremely just portrayal of what you can go through in that kind of situation.

The themes of fat-shaming and homophobia were also talked about in this book, and I really appreciated it.

What I didn’t like

I felt like some of the character’s relationships could have been developed a bit more – like Lara and Ollie, and Will and his friends. I also had some trouble getting over my initial dislike of Will on behalf of Ollie, even when the main character himself started getting over it.

Conclusion

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overall, this was a good book for me. I really liked reading it, even if it wasn’t as lighthearted and fun as I expected it to be, based on the cover and the description. I’d still recommend it to readers of YA contemporary books without hesitation !

That’s it for today !

WWW Wednesdays #2

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted on Taking on a world of words, and it is a short recap of three regular reading questions : What are you currently reading ? What did you recently finish ? What do you think you’ll start reading next ?

I’ve been pretty lazy this past week and haven’t made as much progress as I hoped on my TBR, but I’m not giving up ! Here’s an overview of these past few days :

What are you currently reading

I’m in the middle of Rage becomes her, by Soraya Chemaly, and and e-ARC of Tweet Cute, by Emma Lord. I tried to get into tweet cute but didn’t feel like it recently, so I stopped at around 30% and switched to Rage becomes her, hoping I’ll be able to get back to the first novel when I’m done with that.

Also, I made a spelling error in my IG post and I’m too lazy to correct it. Sue me.

What did you recently finish

I recently finished reading Girl, wash your face, by Rachel Hollis, the 5 AM club, by Robin Sharma, and Everything isn’t terrible, by Kathleen Smith.

I was actually pretty disappointed by the 5 am club (it wasn’t what I expected at all, and not in a good way – I might try to elaborate on that later this week, if I can find the time), and I wasn’t terribly impressed with Girl, wash your face either – out of these 3, the only one I’ve actually had pleasure reading was everything isn’t terrible.

What do you think you’ll start next

I’ve gotten a pretty big library haul this week, so I’ve added some books to my TBR. I’m hoping to next get to Girl, stop apologizing, by the same author as the first one – I’d like to read both before I write a review of them.

I also have a library copy of Red, white & royal blue, by Casey McQuiston and one of Is everyone hanging out without me, by Mindy Kaling. I’ve heard great things about McQuiston’s book, so my expectations are a bit high and I’m wary of being disappointed, but I think I’ll have fun reading all three.

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write my reviews, but I just can’t seem to get to it this week… hopefully, I’ll manage to get at least one done before Sunday !

October wrap-up : books, goals, life in general

October has been a difficult month (I feel like I say this every month these days… maybe it’s been a difficult year ?) but it was also full of interesting things, events, and a lot of good days of reading !

Here’s a short overview of what happened :

October goals

I totally aced my October goals !

  1. I filled out and sent my student loans application, and sent confirmation to the student loans organization that I was, in fact, still a student, so I don’t have to start paying back my student loans right away.
  2. I got involved in my program’s student group, and made a few friends there – there’s a lot of really nice people and I’m super happy to have met them !
  3. This one is only partially done, but hey. That still counts. I found a therapist for 3 free sessions in the month – it’s only three, because it’s paid by the university and they only offer 3 sessions a year, but that’s still pretty useful !
  4. I cleared out my wardrobe, Marie Kondo style, and got slightly better at fashion. Great changes won’t happen overnight, but I’m happier with the way I look, and that counts as a win for me !
  5. The local fresh produce marked turned out to be close to my house, open every day of the week, full of amazing food and totally affordable ! Having the right ingredients motivated me to cook more and eat better.
  6. I finally got a library card ! Two, actually. So I promptly borrowed and downloaded as many books as I was allowed to.
  7. I applied to a lot of jobs, still waiting to see how that’ll turn out.
  8. Sports still aren’t my thing, but I’m now doing a kickboxing class once a week, and trying to exercise on two days a week total – it’s not the best thing ever, but I’m getting better at it. Slowly.
  9. My phone usage wasn’t lowered much this month, but I tried to use it more responsibly – most of my time spent on that screen was spent reading e-ARCs instead of playing videogames that make me lose my time, so I’m feeling good about this one.
  10. See point “IRL classes and finals”
Books read

I totally didn’t read my whole October TBR – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t read books at all ! In fact, I managed to fit more than 10 books in my already busy schedule :

  • Out with the ex, in with the new, by Sophie Ranald
  • Everything isn’t terrible, by Kathleen Smith
  • Only mostly devastated, by Sophie Gonzales (I’ll review this one later this month and add the link here !)
  • Eff this ! Meditation, by Lisa Kindred – see my review on Goodreads here
  • Mooncakes, by Suzanne Walker – See my review here
  • Digital minimalism, by Cal Newport
  • Irresistible, by Adam Alter (I’m not entirely done with this one !)
  • The year of less, by Cait Flanders – See my review here
  • Ask a manager, by Alison Green
  • The bride test, by Helen Hoang
  • Spark joy, by Marie Kondo – See my review here

I’ll try to post medium length to full length reviews of the ones I haven’t reviewed yet here, but I can’t promise anything : I’m still pretty busy and writing full reviews takes so much time !

Blogtober

I planned to try and do Blogtober as much as I could, and I think it went pretty well : for a person who usually posts up to 4 blog posts a month, I published 10 of those in October ! I’m really happy about this, because setting myself this goal helped a lot in writing more regularly and getting my life a bit more in hand.

Which means : now that I know I can do it, I’m going to try to keep posting this regularly, and we’ll see how this goes !

IRL classes and finals

I studied pretty hard for all my classes – my midterms were at the end of the month and I absolutely need A+ in everything to be able to get the diploma I want to have, so I ended up super stressed out about everything and anything I could think about.

Fortunately, blogging and reading helped me relax a bit and focus more efficiently on the things I wanted to do well, and so far, I got A+ on 3 out of my 5 classes. I’m still waiting on 2 results, and I know at least one of those is going to be really bad, but I’m already working on how to fix this and how to get better in this specific class.

How did your month of October go ? Did you post your monthly wrap-up ? Feel free to link it in the comments so I can check it out !

November TBR

November is here, and it’s my first month without too many things to do – and by that, I mean that I only have one or two high anxiety-inducing tasks a week, instead of a dozen, so yay !

It also means that I have been, for the past couple of days, back on my bullshit – a term which here means that I’ve been binge-watching NCIS : Los Angeles and am now on season 6, am up to date with Lucifer and on my way to binge-watch the new season of Jack Ryan on Prime video. (And no, this isn’t a sponsored post by amazon prime, although I definitely recommend their service because all those TV shows they have are great)

But even if I’m busy watching TV shows on my laptop screen, I do have other things to get to this month. Namely : books. So, here’s my November TBR !

Photo by Claudia on Unsplash
  • Rage becomes her : the power of women’s anger, by Soraya Chemaly

I’ve got this from my local library and the due date is approaching soon, so I’m hoping to be able to read it before I have to give it back !

See this book on Goodreads

  • Girl, wash your face, by Rachel Hollis

I picked up this one on a whim because I kept seeing it in every bookstore I went to, and I’m halfway through it right now – hopefully, I’ll be able to finish it by the end of this week, and write a short review for my monthly wrap-up.

See this book on Goodreads

  • Tweet cute, by Emma Lord

I got an ARC of this one when I totally didn’t expect to, so I downloaded a copy to my phone, but I haven’t started it yet. I might get to it at the end of the month, if I have the time.

See this book on Goodreads

  • A slice of Christmas Magic, by A. G. Mayes

I loved the first one of this series, I found it really cute and soft (you can find my review in french here) so I didn’t hesitate to get an e-ARC of the second one !

See this book on Goodreads

  • Bird Brain, by Chuck Mullin

I got this one on NetGalley because it looked cute and I really like the comic style, so I’m planning to read this one on a day when I need to get my mood up a bit !

See this book on Goodreads

  • Would I lie to you ?, by Judie Ketteler

This is also an ARC from NetGalley ! I haven’t downloaded it yet, but I’m expecting it to be a pleasant read.

I also would like to get my hands on a copy of the first book in The expanse series – I’ve been watching the show for a long time now, and I love it so much that I think it’s time to start reading the books ! I’ve hear good things about them, and if they’re anything like the show, I should have a great time reading them.

As I said in my previous post, 10 things I’d like to do in November, I’m not planning to force myself to read 100% of this monthly TBR – my goal for this month is to read, and review, four of those books, and not feel guilty about it. And find some time to study and watch NCIS too.

We’ll see how it goes !

10 things I’d like to to in November

Can you believe it’s already November ? This year went by so fast, it feels like I didn’t have any time to do all of the things I set out to do in January ! Still, I’ve made a lot of progress in 2019, and I’m going to try to maintain that for the last two month of the year.

Following last month’s 10 things I’d like to do in October, I though I’d try to make this a regular feature, and share the 10 goals I wrote down in my bullet journal for this month ! So here’s a short list of things I’m planning to work on during the next 30-ish days.

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Photo by @esteejanssens on Unsplash

1 . Read 4 books off my TBR

I’ve realized that when I plan out my monthly TBR, I usually never get to read all of the books I put on it – I can manage to read a few, but I often make myself feel guilty about it when I really shouldn’t. I mean, it’s a TBR, a personal list of books I’d like to read, not an obligation ! So this month, the goal is to check 4 or 5 books off the list – and to not feel guilty about not getting to read the rest of it.

(And anyways, I’m good on my Goodreads goal, so I’ve got nothing to feel bad about !)

2 . Post 10 times on my blog

Blogtober got me pretty motivated, and forced me to plan a bit more my posts – and it worked out well for me ! I’m usually really busy with life in general, and only find the time to post 2 to 3 times a month, but in October, I published no less than 10 new articles on À lire plus tard ! The challenge really motivated me, so I’m going to try to do the same this month, and see where it goes.

3 . Keep exercising

I have a fitbit watch, and it’s really useful to check on how much I exercise. The bad news, about that, is that I clearly don’t exercise as much a I should. I don’t usually walk 9000 steps a day, and do actual sports maybe twice a week. But I’m working on it !

4 . Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night

This one is quite self-explanatory. My sleep schedule isn’t looking good right now, and I’m making this one of my monthly goals in order to give it the importance it deserves.

5 . Keep studying even if I don’t have any exams this month

I have a really bad habit where I study a lot when I have an exam coming up, then completely stop studying once the exam has passed. It’s not good for my long term results : studying with such an irregular schedule makes me forget what I learned soon after the exam, and it gets even harder to have to learn all of it again.

6 . Get a job

I applied to job offers last months but didn’t get a positive answer yet, so I’m going to keep searching. My finances aren’t looking good right now, so I need it sooner than later – this is the last month I can “afford” to not have a job yet, so I’m not picky about what type of work I’m willing to do.

7 . Form new relationships

Moving to a new city, in a new province, made some of my relationships less functional – some were based on going to the same events, having coffee together once a month, studying together, etc. – and I know I don’t do well alone. I’ve made some new connections here since I arrived, so, since I don’t have exams to focus on, I’m going to try to make some real friends here and share things with people a bit more !

8 . Post more on bookstagram

Screenshot_2019-11-04 Maude ( a_lire_plus_tard) • Photos et vidéos Instagram.png

I made a bookstagram account to go with this blog !

It only has 2 photos for now, because I don’t have many occasions to take really good pictures for it, but I’ll try to keep it up do date with what I’m currently reading, so the books featured on my feed will probably be there before I review them here.

9 . Buy less takeout coffee

I spend so much money buying Starbucks and Tim Hortons coffee in September and October…. I really need to stop doing that. I made a small coffee budget this month, and I’m going to try to stick to it as much as possible.

10 . Write something

I’ve been meaning to write something for years, but the act of writing in English feels really daunting to me, so I though I’d start with something small, like a short fanfiction of a TV show or a movie I liked a lot. Starting with that might help me feel more confident in my ability to write something longer and more complex.

What are your monthly goals for November ? Do you plan them monthly, weekly, yearly, or not at all ? Feel free to share your methods in the comments !

WWW Wednesdays #1

WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted on Taking on a world of words, and it is a short recap of three regular reading questions : What are you currently reading ? What did you recently finish ? What do you think you’ll start reading next ?

This past week has been pretty good in terms of reading – I haven’t been keeping up properly with my blogtober posts because it’s exam week (or, more appropriately, exam weeks, plural) but that hasn’t stopped me from reading ! The fact that I have to spend at least 1 hour in the metro every day helps a lot with that too… So here’s my recap !

What are you currently reading

I’m currently making my way through an e-ARC of Everything isn’t terrible, by Kathleen Smith, and it’s taking me some time because I want to properly pay attention to 100% of the content (and there’s a lot!).

What did you recently finish

I recently finished reading an ARC of Only Mostly Devastated, by Sophie Gonzalez – I’ll post my review here closer to the release date, but I definitely loved it and it hit pretty close to home – much closer than I expected when I requested this ARC.

I also finished the bride test, by Helen Hoang (my local library finally had a copy available !) – I’m hoping to be able to write a review of it by the end of October, if the finals let me breathe a bit this weekend – and Ask a manager, by Alison Green, as well as an e-ARC of Out with the ex, in with the new ! by Sophie Ranald.

What do you think you’ll start next

I just picked up Rage becomes her at my local library today, and I’ve been waiting to read this book for so long now, I think this might be my next one, before the rest of my October TBR. We’ll see !

Spark joy, by Marie Kondo (+ the year of Less)

I’ve been reading nonstop this week – I don’t know why, or how this is happenning, but I’m taking advantage of it and reading as many books from my TBR as I can. So for today, I’m making 2 short reviews. These books were on a very similar theme, and I read both of them in two consecutive days, so I felt like they went together pretty well !

Spark Joy, by Marie Kondo spark joy

The secret to Marie Kondo’s unique and simple KonMari tidying method is to focus on what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of. Ask yourself if something ‘sparks joy’ and suddenly it becomes so much easier to understand if you really need it in your home and your life. When you surround yourself with things you love you will find that your whole life begins to change.

I got this ebook from my local library, after reading Kondo’s previous book, the life-changing magic of tidying up, then watching every single episode of her TV show, and using her method to sort trough my stuff when I moved 18 hours away from home in September (with only 3 pieces of luggage to hold all of my belongings. I discarded, a lot.)

I loved the addition of the drawings – this was something that was lacking in her previous book, and that the TV show compensated for a bit : when explaining in detail how things are supposed to fit together, or how to fold or arrange objects, a visual representation is extremely useful !

I know that this isn’t a book for everyone : Kondo explains a lot about her philosophy (including why she speaks to her belongings and talks about their spirit), and from the few negative reviews that I read, it seems like Americans really have a hard time with that. It works well for me, though, so if you’re a bit into spirituality and open to a new worldview, it should be a pretty easy read !

I do think you need to have read her first book to appreciate the second one properly, though, so I’d recommend doing that first.

The year of less, by Cait Flanders
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In her late twenties, Cait Flanders found herself stuck in the consumerism cycle that grips so many of us: earn more, buy more, want more, rinse, repeat. Even after she worked her way out of nearly $30,000 of consumer debt, her old habits took hold again. When she realized that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy—only keeping her from meeting her goals—she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year.

I rated this book 3 stars on Goodreads – I liked it, mostly because the more I read memoirs, the more I realize that’s something I actually do enjoy reading a lot, but most of the tips and strategies described in it just weren’t things that I could apply myself, and that made me feel a bit disconnected from what the author was describing. I have a very small monthly budget and I just don’t have the money to spend more than the sometimes bare minimum, so the “shopaholic” lifestyle is a long way from mine.

The only thing I spend more money on than I should is food, which I often used as a point of comparison while reading – I actually think I might take the challenge, adapt it a bit for myself and see if I can reduce my food spending to help me be more secure with my finances, and make my sugar addiction a bit less severe.

I really liked the structure of this memoir, though : it’s separated into months, for the months during which Cait Flanders had her ongoing “shopping ban experiment”, and it really helped with seeing the evolution of her situation more clearly.

Overall, this was an easy read, even though I didn’t get that much out of it. I suspect it might be, in part, due to the similarity with the Marie Kondo method of discarding and tidying, something the author mentions while explaining her own thought process on the subject, early in the book.

Have you read any books on a similar topic ? Do you have any books on tidying and minimalism that you would recommend ? I’m open to suggestions !