The Horse and his boy – My favorite Narnia novel

Classic Remarks is a meme hosted at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.

You can find more information and the list of weekly prompts here.

Today’s prompt is : Which Narnia book is your favorite and why?

Find Krysta’s post here to see what her answer was!

My favorite Narnia book is The horse and his boy, which is the 5th book in order of publication, and 3rd book in chronological order. When I was a kid, I got a boxed set of all Narnia books in chronological order, so this is the one I first read them in – but I had watched the first movie before that, so I did have an idea of what I was getting into.

I love the presence of the original characters as adults – I feel like this is one of the most interesting times in Narnia, and I really wish we had more content on the years during which they ruled together. Seeing the adult Pevensies without focusing entirely on them makes it a very enjoyable read for me, as you have the fresh perspective of a new character without being fully lost (unlike in The magician’s nephew…). The character of Aravis especially was very toughing and I remember getting attached quite fast to the small group of main characters!

I also think that Aslan’s role fits much better in the story than in the other novels, as he actually gets involved in a way that makes sense with the story – I loved the appearance of the lion chasing the horses in the desert, pushing them to go faster so they could accomplish their mission! And seeing more of the world outside of Narnia was so much fun – in this sense, it reminds me a lot of Voyage of the Dawn Trader, where the voyage to a strange land is also at the forefront.

On the main themes, the flight to freedom is one I especially appreciate, and even if I’m not that much on board with the religious aspects of C.S. Lewis’s work, I do think this novel was really well crafted.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed reading this book, and I hold a lot of affection for it, which is why I’d say this one is my favorite. (Now, about my least favorite…that’s a story for another day!)

What’s your favorite Narnia book ? Or your least favorite ? Did you enjoy this one as much as I did ? Tell me all about it in the comments!

NetGalley TBR – November 2020

Good afternoon!

Today’s post is inspired by Alexa’s NetGalley Update series, which you can go check out on her blog, Writing the universe (and don’t hesitate to follow her blog if you haven’t subscribed yet!).

These past few months, I’ve done my best to improve my NetGalley ratio, which was at a low 65 at some point this year (yeah, I know, that’s pretty bad… I might have requested a bit more books than I could actually read…).

It’s now gone up to 78%, and I’m doing everything everything I can to get it all the way up to the recommended 80% – I feel like I’d be pretty happy if I could get it to 85, but then again, since I’m not a US-based reviewer, it won’t drastically augment the number of books that are available for me, so I’m not stressing too much about it.

Related posts : The eternal frustration of an international book blogger, by @insidemylibrarymind, My story with ARCs as an international book blogger, by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane books

My NetGalley “to read” and “to review” shelves have now been almost fully emptied, but I do still have some books I’d like to get around to reading and reviewing sometime before the end of the year :

  • Slingshot, by Mercedes Helnwein – I got an invitation to get this e-ARC in my email a while ago, and almost didn’t see it at all – it had slipped in my spam folder by accident. Fortunately, I managed to find it before the publication date!
  • Men who hate women, by Laura Bates – I read a book on this exact topic from a Québécois author last year, and I’m supposed to be taking a class on it next semester, so I thought it might be useful for me to read this one!
  • The truth and other hidden things, by Lea Geller – this just sounded fun and full of drama – exactly what I’ll need once my finals are done in mid-December!
  • Viral BS : Medical myths and why we fall for them, by Seema Yasmin – I felt like this was going to be particularly interesting considering the year we’ve just had, so my expectations are pretty high for this one!

I think I’ll prioritize them by their publication dates – the last one on the list here is due for January 2021, and it’s the earliest one here so far, which means I’ve got all the time I need to read and review them all before I end up with late ARCs.

I did wish for a lot of new ones, but I’m not holding out any hope of actually getting them, since most of them were highly anticipated YA novels for which I’m sure a lot of other people made wishes.

One thing that would be pretty useful, though, would be if NetGalley could add a “wished for” tab in the library section, so we could see those books in the same way we can see the pending requests – I’ve wasted time more than once opening a ton of NetGalley tabs to check out interesting books, only to realize that I’d been here earlier in the month / year and already wished for those…

There’s been a lot of change in my life recently, and lots of added stress, so I’m not sure how fast I’ll be able to check these books off my list, but I’m genuinely excited to read them all, so we’ll see how it goes over the month of December!

Tackling the pile of shame : my physical TBR

I’ve got a pile of unread books in my home, and I’m pretty ashamed of it. Physical books are expensive, and I have a very limited budget – especially in times of covid – so I tend to not buy a lot of them, but I do sometimes get them as a gift from other people, or use money meant to buy myself a gift for it. As a result, my collection of physical books is quite small – and yet, there’s still a good portion of these books that I haven’t read. Why is that, you may ask?

Since I’ve gotten into reading in public transport, or pretty much anywhere when I have the time, and borrowing books from my local library, I’ve been reading more and more e-books instead of physical books. Their instant availability means that whenever I finish one of them, I can just open the next one immediately – without having to go back to my apartment and getting another novel from my bookshelves. The availability of e-books has led me to ignore my personal collection, which is why I want to set myself a challenge for 2021 : read every single book on my physical TBR.

Can I do it? Probably. Will I do it? We’ll see that next December! For now, here’s the contents of that TBR :

From the series The Expanse : Caliban’s war, Abbadon’s gate, Cibola burn.

I got the first two as a Christmas gift, and bought the fourth one this summer, but haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. They’re excellent and I love them, but having watched the TV show kinda slows me down in reading. I’m hoping I can get through these soon, though, as the next season arrives on amazon prime at the end of the year!

Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

I got this book at a local secondhand bookstore a few street away from my apartment, and I’ve read it once before, when I was a young child, but the edition I have now is absolutely stunning – it’s the 60th anniversary edition, which has an introduction written by Neil Gaiman, and I thought it would be a very nice addition to my bookshelves when I found it!

I have little to no memory of the actual story, so it would definitely be good for me if I could re-read it.

Unravel the dusk, by Elizabeth Lim

I loved the first one, so I’m pretty sure I’ll love this one too, which is why I’m quite ashamed of putting it on this list!

I had a preorder of this book, and then Covid happened and I… kinda put reading on hold for a while during the summer, as I was working full time as an essential worker in a grocery store, then in a restaurant for as many hours as I could get, and studying part-time. With the new restrictions in September, I stopped working but went back to university full time, and I just didn’t find a moment to pick this up.

This is how you lose the time war, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

This was one of my birthday gifts! I’m super interested in the synopsis, and it’s the books and tea book-club read-along for November/December, so I’m hoping to get this one done before the end of 2020!

The city we became, by N.K. Jemisin

I loved N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, and I’ve had my eye on this one since it was announced a long time ago – I finally got it at the bookstore last week!

The midnight library, by Matt Haig

Good reviews made me pick up this book while it was on sale at my local bookstore on the same visit when I got The city we became, and I love the cover art!

Hopefully I can read this one in the first half of 2021… maybe even during my winter break? Who knows…

I’m really excited to be reading all of these, and I’ve got some preorders for 2021 that will get added to the collection once they arrive – I’ll post an update halfway through the year, to see where this got me!

Do you have a lot of unread physical books? What are the ones you want to read the most, out of your collection? Let me know in the comments so I can add them to my TBR!

10 backlist books I want to read in 2021

I don’t know about you, but ever since I started book blogging, I tend to look forward to new releases much more than before. Sadly, that focus on new releases tends to make me forget about older books – something that the beat the backlist challenge post by Austine on Novelknight this week reminded me of.

As I was talking about this with my partner, I thought it might be interesting to go back and have a look at some titles I’ve missed over the years, see if I could find some that I’d be interested in! So I went on a tour of Goodreads and my bookmarked blog posts, and spent a too long amount of time reading through lists of YA 2018 releases, to pick and choose from the ones I hadn’t read yet and make my first TBR for the next year.

Here are the 10 finalists of that first selection – the 10 YA novels of 2018 that I’d like to read in 2021 :

The forgotten book, by Mecthild Gläser

The synopsis portrays this as a YA retelling of Pride and Prejudice – a YA fantasy romance that seems like a perfect way to start my year!

Find it on Goodreads here

Girls of paper and fire, by Natasha Ngan

This is the first book in a series, and I’ve seen it in so many recommendations since it came out in 2018 that I absolutely need to add it to my TBR. I don’t usually read a lot of series, since I’m someone who likes reading the entire story all in one go (so when there’s multiple books in a series, I tend to wait until it’s finished to pick it up), but this one looks so interesting that I can’t wait to read it!

Find it on Goodreads here

Heretics anonymous, by Katie Henry

From the Goodreads synopsis, this is a contemporary novel about atheists and misfits in a catholic school. As someone who went through two catholic schools and didn’t really fit in properly, I’m interested to see this take!

Find it on Goodreads here

The forest queen, by Betsy Cornwell

This is marketed as a gender swapped Robin Hood retelling, and I’m 100% on board with it. I loved the story of Robin Hood as a child, and gender swapped stories are one of my favorites themes – I’m really excited to see the result in this one!

Find it on Goodreads here

To be honest, by Maggie Ann Martin

Sometimes, all you need is a fluffy contemporary YA romance. After the train wreck that is 2020, I’ll definitely need to read more than one of these next year!

Also : have you seen this cover? It’s super cute!

Find it on Goodreads here

Furyborn, by Claire Legrand

The cover for this book is stunning, and I’ve been meaning to read it ever since I saw it last year at my local bookstore. I think this is also the first part of a series, and I remember being really interested in the plot after reading the back of the book at the bookstore, so I’m expecting good things from this one!

Find it on Goodreads here

Empress of all seasons, by Emiko Jean

This is a high fantasy & mythology YA novel that I first heard about when Lauren @ Northern Plunder reviewed it on her blog, and her review makes it an automatic addition to this list.

Find it on Goodreads here

We regret to inform you, by Ariel Kaplan

This is a YA contemporary mystery about rejected college applications, and I didn’t know I needed this until I read the synopsis, but it sounds so right up my alley that I immediately added it to my library wishlist.

Find it on Goodreads here

———————–Related posts : Library book tag

Sky in the deep, by Adrienne Young

This is another novel I had initially seen at my local bookstore, then forgotten about as the new releases kept coming my way – and I definitely should have added it to my TBR when I saw it the first time.

I don’t often read historical fiction/fantasy, but this story seems really promising so I’ll give it a shot sometime in January!

Find it on Goodreads here

Reflection, Elizabeth Lim

A Mulan retelling written by the author of Spin the dawn and Unravel the dusk? Of course I’m reading that! The gorgeous cover is a nice bonus as well.

Find it on Goodreads here

———————–Related posts : Spin the dawn (The blood of stars, #1), by Elizabeth Lim

What are some older books you’ve been meaning to read ? Any recommendations ? Let me know in the comments !

Dealing with procrastination and avoidance

Procrastination isn’t good for you, and neither is avoiding the things you need to do. I know that. I know that for a fact.

Yet, the other day, I realized in a flash of panic that I had three extremely important things to do that I had just been passively avoiding for weeks – some for months, actually – and just had to muster the courage to face before it got too late. I needed to :

  • send a tax adjustment to the government (I made a small-ish mistake in my tax declaration and it’s been haunting me since I realized it)
  • send an email to my university’s administration to get my previous diploma’s classes credited so I can graduate this year (which. I’d like to be able to do. Tuition isn’t cheap.)
  • renew my medical insurance and my address on my social security card (it expires in a month and I have medical appointments I need to have that card / insurance for!)

Those three are, taken separately, pretty simple things that might take some time but aren’t necessarily complicated to do, and they’re clearly important enough that I should have come around to doing them a while ago. So how did it get to this point ?

It’s overwhelming

Sometimes, when something generates a lot of anxiety or overwhelms you, the unconscious reaction is to avoid it, as a coping mechanism : if you don’t think about that thing, then it can’t cause you any distress.

The problem with avoidance as a coping mechanism is that it teaches your brain that you aren’t capable of facing what causes you this type of anxiety, that it’s just so overwhelming that the only solution is to push it as much away from your conscious mind as possible.

Photo by @stilclassics on Unsplash

In essence, it’s the difference between stress management – the good thing, the one where you confront what’s stressing you out and deal with it in a way that makes you less stressed – and stress avoidance – where you ignore the stressors and hope they go away on their own (which they don’t.).

In the short run, sure, not thinking about it will make you feel better, help you not get overwhelmed by what you’re trying to avoid. But in the long run, it’s likely to turn your initial reaction to this stressor into an even bigger one – making it worse and worse until you either have to deal with the cause of your stress (in my case : those 3 administrative tasks that really really need to be done) or with the consequences of not doing it (here : losing my insurance so I can’t go see the dentist, or not being able to graduate this year because my classes haven’t been credited on time).

How to stop doing it

At the time I’m typing this, my papers for the class credit have been sent and half the classes have been approved, and my medical insurance has been renewed – I still have to take care of the social security and the tax returns, but it’s a work in progress. I’m getting there.

So how do you deal with avoidance as a coping mechanism?

I don’t have a universal method for this, but the thing that works for me – that actually works and forces me to confront what’s causing that behavior while not provoking even more distress – is to:

1 . Tackle one thing at a time.

Here, I’ve got three separate problems I’ve been avoiding unsuccessfully. I’m not going to try to solve all of these in the same day : that’s more likely to make me panic and quit / have a panic attack than succeed, and we’re trying to find a better solution than that. So I’m focusing on solving one after the other, step by step.

2 . Divide them into easily manageable chunks

Just like studying for midterms, if you try to do it all in one go, it’s going to be much more difficult than if you take the time to separate it into more manageable tasks that you can take care of efficiently and without too much stress.

For the class credits, I divided it like this : check out necessary papers / fill out class credit form / retreive official grades from my previous university / write email to the person in charge of class credits / add papers to the email and send.

While that may look like a lot of extra steps if you’re someone who’s not bothered with anxiety at the idea of doing important administrative papers, this was the right way to do it for me : it helped me stay focused on the small tasks I was doing, instead of thinking about the issue as a whole and getting overwhelmed by what was at stake here (and panicking. A lot.)

3 . Don’t hesitate to ask for help

Photo by @nate_dumlao on Unsplash

It’s easy to drown in something like this if you’re alone and have to do all of it on your own. But if you have anyone you can count on, someone you can ask some help from, then don’t hesitate to do so. My partner helped a lot, actually – not in actually doing the tasks that generated all that anxiety, but in making myself confident enough that I could handle them on my own.

Be it someone who can re-read your email before you send it for that internship you really want, someone who’s there to help you figure out which papers go where, or even just a friend to stay with you at that party where you’re so anxious to go because you won’t know anyone else… A little support can go a long way.

And if you feel like you don’t know where to even start, or that anxiety is significantly deteriorating your mental health, please consider speaking with a licensed therapist, who has the skills and knowledge needed to best assist you with these issues.

I hope this post was a little bit useful – if you have any tips on how to deal with avoidance as a coping mechanism, or with procrastination in general, feel free to leave them in the comments!

Jumping on the Notion bandwagon

It’s finally October!

As Zoom University is now back at full speed, I’ve been gradually shifting my interests in YouTube content from outfit and meme videos to studytube guides and tips for online school. I’m a very easily suggestible person, and I’d been hopping from studytube to studytube until I got to Mariana’s Study Corner‘s channel – which you can find here.

She makes a lot of excellent quality content, and has done a whole series of videos using everybody’s new favorite content manager – Notion. Being an aficionado of the bullet journal method, and loving writing stuff on paper all the time, I didn’t particularly care for it, but it still sounded interesting. It looked like something I might have wanted to check out if it fitted my style a bit better.

Then, CW from The Quiet Pond tweeted about book bloggers all making their personal Notion pages right now (and it was a really funny tweet, by the way), and that was it. I was interested.

So I went on the internet, hoping to discourage myself from trying yet one more thing just because I saw an ad for it, or heard people talking about it, and I googled “disadvantages to using Notion”.

The main one was it takes a long time to charge if you have bad internet. Wait. That’s not an inconvenient for me, I have good internet ! (I’m paying a lot for it, but with Zoom University, we couldn’t afford not to).

Aaaaand here I went, hopping on the Notion bandwagon just like everybody else. I’ve now spent a lot of hours on my homepage, set up a budget tracker, an internship hours tracker, a class tasks masterlist and a page to help me manage my late ARCs. And so far, it’s been great!

Image from @mikeyharris on Unsplash

I love how flexible Notion is, and how easy it is to use and adapt to your own methods. It lets you create tables, drop lists, checklists inside tables which you can filter according to due dates for your work, or different tags for your TBR books… the possibilities are endless and I’m enjoying it a lot.

So since I’m here and talking about Notion, I thought I’d share three of the videos that inspired me and helped me the most to understand all the different functionalities Notion has to offer :

And as an extra, if anyone’s interested, here are some pictures of my current Notion setup :

Back to blogging!

It’s been a long time since I wrote something here – my last post dates back to June 3rd, and so much has passed since then ! I got a new job, quit my old one, got back into Zoom university for a brand new semester, picked up old hobbies I’d stopped doing months ago, got really into cycling and biked every day to work… it’s been a long few months.

I’d love to make a series of posts on what I’ve been up to recently, but I honestly don’t have enough time right now (more on that later, by the way – it’s good news!), so I’ll just give you a relatively short overview here!

1 . I quit my job, and got a new one

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that up until my last post, I was working in a supermarket as a cashier / customer service agent. I really enjoyed this job, and the colleagues were all super nice, but during the month of July, my hours were cut – by a lot. Long story short, the salary I ended up making over July wasn’t enough for what I needed it for anymore (namely : food, phone bill, a new laptop and my university tuition fees due in September).

Fortunately, a local restaurant near my house was recruiting at that time, so I sent them a resume and a short email just in case my profile interested them – and it did! I got an interview a week or so later, and ended up quitting my supermarket job at the beginning of August to work at the restaurant full-time for the remainder of the summer.

As of now, I’ve been changed into a part-time worker at the restaurant, and I’m hoping my city stays safe enough that we don’t have to close, so I can keep working as much as possible during the school year. Even with parental support (and I’m lucky and privileged enough to have some, so if the worst happens and I lose my job, I can still pay my rent and eat), living in a big city is expensive, and being a university student comes with a lot of extra costs, which means I really want to hold on to this job as long as I can!

2 . University started again

Photo by Fallon Michael on Pexels.com

I took two summer classes during the lockdown, and those were really useful to familiarize myself with Zoom. For the current semester, I have five classes, all online, one of which is actually an internship in a psychology lab at the university.

I’m super excited for the lab! I got into my first choice of internship, and the project we’re going to be working on is on the very topic I’d like to do my doctorate thesis on – there’s honestly no better option I could have had.

It is, however, going to ask a lot of time and effort from me. I’ve got classes on 3 days a week, and one full day for the internship, with the remaining three days for work shifts at the restaurant – with the way things are working out now, I won’t really have a full day of rest anytime soon, so I’ll take it wherever I can.

3 . Reading

I spent a lot of my reading time getting through personal finance books, university mandatory readings, etc. and ended up reading mostly non-fiction for the past 3 months.

As a good part of it was in French, I probably won’t be reviewing these on the blog, but I might add them to my Goodreads account just to keep track of them. The library in my city has reopened, and I’ve been making the most of my library card since we can’t go there to sit, browse books a long tine, read with a snack or study quietly anymore.

4 . New hobbies

Last week, I took out my camera to take some pictures outside, when – to my utmost horror – it didn’t turn on. Cue one full day of me panicking over it, thinking I’ll need to mail it back to the manufacturer to get it repaired and pay hundreds of dollars since the warranty has expired… and then my cool-headed better half came and said “Maude, have you tried bringing it to the closest photography shop? They might know what’s going on, and be able to repair it for less than that!”.

Well. Turns out the better half was right – the battery was dead, and even if batteries aren’t cheap, it still cost me way less than what I has scared myself into believing it would.

Photography is a hobby I used to love a few years ago, and I gradually stopped doing it when this whole pandemic business happened. But my university has started a new psychology project, the Resilience project, to help students find good ways to cope during the months to come, and this week’s task was to re-discover old hobbies or things we used to love, and try them out again. So, with my now-functional camera in hand, I got back into photography!

5 . New laptop

A lot of my saved money from this summer has gone to my student tuition, but I also needed to save some of it for a new laptop : my old one had broken down at the hinges to the point that the screen was falling off one side, and whenever it slightly moved, it would go completely dark until I found an angle that made the bad connection work again for a short while. Long story short – it wasn’t going to work for and entire semester of Zoom university™. No way.

So since I had to get a new laptop, I tried and saved enough money for one that would let me study, blog, edit photos and play good videogames, and got myself an Acer Nitro 5 on sale! I got it for waaay cheaper than the current retail price is, because it was a) on sale and b) a box that someone else had bought and returned to the store, so it had an even bigger discount while still having a 1-year warranty. This model is light, fast, has a backlit keyboard and a full HD display with a 120Hz screen, and my comfort while working with it is incredible.

… and I’ve fallen into the No Man’s Sky hole and have been spending hours of my “rest” time for the past week playing this game and having lots of fun with it. 10/10, worth it, would definitely recommend.

I’ve also been watching a lot of studytube videos, and recently tried my hand at Notion (I might make a post about this later, or link to some interesting resources posts on it that I’ve read this week!) to plan my days and keep track of all my current projects.

I’m slowly easing back into blogging, and will try to post a little more before the end of the month and the beginning of October – we’ll see how that goes!

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Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag – 2020 edition

I’ve been away for a while and kind of neglected most of my obligations during June – exams and covid will do that to you – but I’m back with the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I’ve wanted to do this post for some time and actually had it scheduled for the middle of last month, but since I couldn’t find the time to write it then, let’s do this now!

The prompts

Here are the questions I used, if you like me, haven’t written this post yet even though you meant to and want to reuse them!

  • What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2020?
  • What is the best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?
  • What’s a new release you haven’t read yet, but really want to?
  • What’s your most anticipated release for the second half of this year?
  • What was your biggest reading disappointment of the year so far? 
  • What was your biggest reading surprise of the year so far?
  • What’s our favorite new author of these first 6 months of 2020? (Debut author or new to you)
  • What’s your newest fictional crush?
  • What’s your newest favorite character?
  • Name a book that made you cry in the past 6 months.
  • Name a book that made you happy in the past 6 months.
  • What’s the most beautiful book you’ve bought (or received) so far this year?
  • What books do you absolutely want to read by the end of 2020?

The answers

Goodreads tells me that so far, in 2020, I’ve read 35 books out of my 52 books goal. I’ve probably forgotten to log in a few, since I tend to go on goodreads sporadically and log in only the books I remember reading (so… I might have missed a few bad ones that I just completely forgot about), but still : I’m going to use this list as a basis for this post.

(I know, I should try to be more meticulous in logging which books I read, and when, but whenever I try it I just end up abandoning my new system a few days later.)

Best book

The way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson.

I’ve only read 3 books in the whole of June, and they were the first 3 novels in the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson – and they were all 5 stars books for me. I absolutely loved them, and can’t wait to get the next one in this series as soon as it comes out (hopefully, at the end of 2020!).

Best sequel

Aurora Burning, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

I had a preorder of this that was supposed to be delivered to my local bookstore in June… but it got terribly delayed by the lockdown in Montreal, and I got it way after it came out everywhere else. Both my boyfriend and I read it as soon as it arrived, and we both thought it was a very good sequel with a surprising amount of character development in not a lot of pages! 

New release I haven’t read yet

This is how you lose the time war, by Amal El-Mohtar.

I bought this book as a gift for my birthday, but haven’t found the time to read it yet (what with reading The way of kings, then Words of radiance, and following on with Oathbringer… I didn’t have much time for anything else, really!). 

Most anticipated release

Unravel the dusk, by Elizabeth Lim.

I preordered this book back in November and was one of the lucky few to have access to the international forms for preorder incentives at that time, so the goodies have arrived! They got here right on my birthday, which was a nice coincidence, and if the contents of the books are as good as the contents of the goodies envelope, I’m expecting great things!

Biggest disappointment

The latte factor, by David Bach.

I even wrote a whole post about how disappointing this book was, and why you’d be better off reading literally any other personal finance book out there. Seriously.

Biggest surprise

The starless sea, by Erin Morgenstern.

This was back in the beginning of the year, as I got this book as a Christmas gift in December 2019, but since we’ve already established that I’m extremely slow at picking up new books to read from my TBR, it won’t surprise you to know that it sat untouched on my shelves for a long time before I finally picked it up and realized how good it was.

Favorite new author

Brandon Sanderson, hands down.

I’ve read 5 books of his so far, and 4 of those were read this year – and I’m impressed! He’s slowly but surely making me gain back my love of Adult Sci-fi and Fantasy, and my interest in 1000-ish pages long books. The character development alone… 

Newest fictional crush

Adolin Kholin. From, guess what… the Stormlight archive, by Brandon Sanderson!

I don’t want to spoil anything for the people who haven’t read these books yet (but if you are one of these people, and you have an interest in magic swords, brooding heroes and/or fantasy worlds with super developed magic systems? I have books for you!) – but he’s the very best and I shall hear nothing negative about him, ever.

Newest favorite character

Kaladin Stormblessed, from… the Stormlight archive. Again, no spoilers here, but : he has loads of character development, a good backstory, strong motivations, and a whole lot of feelings. Everything I love all wrapped up in a well-written persona.

Book that made me cry

Maybe you should talk to someone, by Lori Gottlieb.

I picked it up mostly because I love everything more or less related to psychology, so a book written by a therapist about her life, and life in general, sounded pretty interesting. I was pleasantly surprised, and found the experiences she wanted to relate very touching. I might have cried a bit.

Book that made me happy

Happily ever after and everything in between, by Debbie Tung.

I got this as an e-ARC on a whim, just because it looked fun and was in the “available now” section on NetGalley – and I found myself relating to every single page of this comic. It’s funny, witty, and extremely realistic (so realistic that, at some points, I had to stop and tell my partner, “Hey, that’s us!”). 10/10 would recommend

Most beautiful book

The rise and fall of the dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte. The cover looks so cool, and the illustrations on the inside of the book are stunning.

5 books I need to read by the end of the year

The ever cruel kingdom, by Rin Chupeco – I read the previous book, The never tilting world, somewhere during the past 6 months (is time even real?) and I’m pretty interested to see how this story goes!

To be taught, if fortunate, by Becky Chambers – this is on my TBR with no other comment than just “TO READ, VERY COOL”, which probably means that I saw someone recommend it in a booktube video, scribbled the title down somewhere, and completely forgot what it was about.

Invisible women : Data bias in a world designed by men, by Caroline Criado Perez – this one is part of my list of feminism-related books to read in 2020. Most of the books on that list are in French, since I live in Montreal and there are a lot of French-speaking bookstores around, but I haven’t found this one there yet, so I might borrow it from one of the libraries in town instead.

Gideon the ninth, by Tamsyn Muir – I tried reading this book in… April 2019, I think, maybe? And DNFed it soon after. I don’t like giving up on popular books, though, so I’m willing to give it a second chance just to be sure.

Edgedancer, by Brandon Sanderson – So this one is apparently supposed to be read before the third book in the Stormlight archives, Oathbringer, but I didn’t know that when I got my library hold, so I apparently read them out of order. Better late than never, though, so I’m hoping I can get to reading this before the fourth book in the series comes out!

That’s it for me! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? If you’ve got opinions on the Stormlight archive, feel free to comment or send me a message – I’d love to talk about it with other readers!

5 things I want to do in June + my June TBR

June is my birthday month – I’ll be 22 on June 10th! – so I’m planning a lot for the next few weeks : I’ve got exams coming up, final projects for classes, blogging, reading… hopefully, I’ll have a nice start of the summer with all those plans!

The unrealistic June TBR

My TBR might be a little too long for me to manage this June – but I’ll try nonetheless !

So far, I’ve got these two fantasy novels to read first :

  • Words of radiance, by Brandon Sanderson – I’m at 52% in this one and hopefully will be done by Wednesday (mostly because it’s so good that I can’t put it down, even to go to sleep!)
  • Oathbringer, by Brandon Sanderson – right after I finish the previous one, because I need to know what happens to Kaladin, Shallan and the others, and I can’t possibly wait until I finish something else first.

I got into Brandon Sanderson’s books after watching one of Emily @ BookswithEmilyFox’s videos – you can find her (super fun) booktube channel here!

I’ve also downloaded much more library eBooks that I can possibly read, but I’ll do my best to get through at least those before July :

  • Don’t overthink it, by Anne Bogel
  • Furyborn, by Claire Legrand
  • The buy nothing, get everything plan, by Liesl Clark
  • What the most successful people do before breakfast, by Laura Vanderkam
  • How to hold a grudge, by Sophie Hannah
  • Rest, refocus, recharge, by Greg Wells
  • I wanted fries with that, by Amy Fish

I also have a few books from NetGalley I’m hoping to read during these coming weeks :

  • Every other weekend, by Abigail Johnson
  • Don’t read the comments, by Eric Smith
  • Martian blood, by John Pahl
  • Act like a lady, by Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin and Jac Vanek

5 goals for June

Write something (again)

One of my personal goals for may was to try to write something – and I did! It’s a small Star Trek : Alternate Original Series fanfiction that I posted on AO3, and it’s super short, but it made me happy to write it. Getting kudos and comments made me feel much more confident in my abilities to write more, so I’ll try to post something new this month too!

Related posts : check out my May wrap-up to see how well (or not) I did on last month’s goals!

Keep trying to post regularly

I’m doing my best to follow my schedule – for work, for studying, and for posting reviews and discussions here. My blog schedule for June is almost ready (it only has a few posts without full titles, so it should be good to go in a few days), and I’ll try to follow it by using my free time to plan posts in advance, save my drafts whenever I can.

This should help me avoid unexpected blogging breaks like the one I unfortunately had to take in the first weeks of May.

Pass all my exams

My intensive summer semester ends on June 23rd, with two exams on June 22nd and two final projects to turn in by that date too. I passed the midterms this week, and am hoping for good results – all that studying I’ve been doing should at least help me maintain my current GPA!

Try to cut down on takeout and restaurant food

One of my most important expenses, in May, has been takeout food.

A medium iced capp from Tim Hortons when I go to work, two bubble teas to bring home on my off days, some groceries when I leave the store I work at, a burgers and fries order at A&W… It all added up to an amount I’m really not comfortable with, and I didn’t appreciate that when I had to pay off my credit card in full at the end of the month.

Fortunately, I made enough money in May to cover those unexpected expenses (I know that having a job during the pandemic is extremely lucky and I’m doing everything I can to do it well and keep it) – but I should have been able to save that money for other things, and not waste it when we had food at home.

So yeah. In June, we’re doing better. I won’t completely ditch the iced capps or the bubble teas, but when it comes to full meals, I’d love to take some more time to prepare them at home, so I don’t have to panic next time I have to pay my bills.

Have a great birthday

I actually have two three-hours classes on my birthday, so I probably won’t spend a lot of time having fun, but I’ve bought myself a brand new book at my local library today to celebrate, and I’ve got good stuff planned! A nice meal, maybe bubble tea, and a nice evening of watching bullet journaling videos on YouTube and reading on the couch should be great as a birthday not party, and will help me relax – which is exactly what I need right now.

Hopefully, my preordered copy of Aurora Burning will arrive eventually – I’d love for it to get here for my birthday!

That’s is for this month’s goals and TBR – stay around to see if I can take on these new challenges when I post my June wrap-up post at the end of the month!

May 2020 wrap-up : let’s see if I hit those goals!

In the beginning of May, I set myself some pretty ambitious goals (at least they are for me, of course – what’s ambitious to me might be everyday life to you, in which case : you’re awesome, congratulations on being amazing and doing so much!).

So let’s go over these again and see how I did over the month !

Blogging goals

Maintain a regular posting schedule

This one was… only partly done. I’m tempted to say that it wasn’t fully my fault : me and my boyfriend moved out of our apartment on may 1st, and the technician who installed out internet connection didn’t come until a week after, so we were without a connection until may 6th or 7th, if I remember correctly.

I struggled to write blog posts in the first half of the month, the stress of the current situation catching up with me and amplifying my fears and anxiety. Luckily, things got better, and I managed to get back to my posting schedule as much as possible, so overall, I’d say I did okay!

Personal goals

Keeping up with university work

So far, so good ! My first exam of the semester was two days ago, and I think I did well – I’m hoping for good things in my two summer classes, I really like the content of the classes and the teachers are trying their best to make it fun to learn via zoom.

Playing video games

Sadly, I didn’t do as well as I wanted on this one : I’ve been extremely busy these past weeks, and just couldn’t find the time to play as much as last month. But I did work a lot of hours, so there’s a solid reason for that.

Watching TV shows

I’ve finally started watching She-Ra and the princesses of power, since I’ve already seen all of Avatar : the last airbender and of The dragon prince, and I can’t believe it took me this long to check out this show! I’m only a few episodes in and I’m already loving the story, the artworks, and the wholesome characters.

The last season of The 100 also started, so I’m watching that as soon as each episode comes out – I’ve got high expectations for this season !

Related posts : Why I love The 100, yet haven’t read the books

Writing something

I’m super proud of myself for this one, because I actually did it! Granted, it’s only a 500 words Star Trek : alternate original series fanfiction, but still : it took me a lot of courage to write and post it, and the views, kudos and comments it got on AO3 have given me a lot of encouragement to keep trying, and maybe write some more in the future!

TBR

  • Men explain things to me, by Rebecca Solnit ✔️
  • Crown of feathers, by Nicki Pau Preto – sadly didn’t have the time to read it before my library hold expired
  • Furyborn, by Claire Legrand – also deleted from my phone before I could read it
  • The 30-day money cleanse, by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley ✔️
  • Better than before, by Gretchen Rubin ✔️
  • Buy yourself the f*cking lilies, by Tara Schuster ✔️
  • Followers, by Megan Angelo ✔️
  • Surrender your sons, by Adam Sass – this was a NetGalley ARC that comes out in September 2020, you can see my review here on Goodreads! ✔️
  • The rise and fall of the dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte ✔️
  • Caliban’s war, by James S. A. Corey ✔️

I also read some books that weren’t on my TBR at the beginning of the month, including :

  • Planetfall, by Emma Newman
  • This book betrays my brother, by Kagiso Lesego Molope
  • The sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell
  • Happily ever after & everything in between, by Debbie Tung – this was a NetGalley ARC and it comes out in June, you can see my review here on Goodreads!

And I’m now a little more than 30% into The way of kings, by Brandon Sanderson – and this book is HUGE, oh my god.

Overall, I was surprised to see that I managed to achieve most of what I’d set out to do at the end of April. I’m feeling pretty good about this, and I’m hoping I can continue that way in the future !