January 2021 wrap-up

You know, I really thought January 2021 would be easier than 2020 – and oh boy, was I wrong. Wow.

Personal things

I’ve been beyond busy this month, and things have taken all my free time, leaving me with little to no energy for blogging after university started again. I was completely swamped with administrative work, files to send, forms to fill out, papers to get certified in the middle of a pandemic when all offices are closed and working remotely…

But we’re now back in business : my doctorate applications have been sent, and there’s not much more I can do to improve them in any way, so it’s just a matter of waiting until I get an answer – whichever it might be.

Photo by @craftedbygc on Unsplash

I’ve applied to three doctorate programs and one masters, and am really hoping to get accepted into at least one of those, but I’m not basing all of my plans on that and I’m confident that no matter what happens I’ll figure out where to go and what to do after I graduate from my current program, and I’ll be okay.

The actual application process was hell, though – asking for recommendations from teachers was one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to do, one of those recommendations still hasn’t gone through (really hoping it gets done before the deadline…), and an administrative error on the university’s part broke my application file in one of the unis I applied to. It took a week and a half to get it fixed, and it’s still a work in progress! It’s been one of the most stressful months of my life in Canada so far, and 2020 was already a pretty stressful year, so I’m really hoping February will be more relaxing!

Online things

Blogging has taken a great hit this month, as I’ve barely had the time to blog-hop, let alone write and publish posts myself. On days when I did have the time, I couldn’t find the energy – not for a lack of enjoyment or motivation, but just from sheer exhaustion. So, to occupy my time with things that took a little less effort than blogging, here’s what I did in January :

  • Started a new farm on Stardew Valley with the arrival of update 1.5 – and I must admit that this is my best run so far. My farm is splendid, my crops are thriving, and I’ve got a ton of happy chicken, ducks and cows. I love this game so much.
  • Watched The Expanse‘s 5th season (and cried comme une madeleine1 during half of the episodes. It was so good. If you’re looking for your next favorite show, give this one a try!)
  • Watched Wandavision and laughed way too much at the sitcom episodes
  • Found a lot of new youtubers to watch in-between my breaks from studying – I’ve been taking all my classes at the university’s library, in a small isolated room so there’s no contact with other people, since my partner is now working from home most of the week : we only have one desk, and no dining table, so if one of us is using the desk, the other one has to work from the sofa. Which is a very comfortable sofa, if you’re watching TV or eating dinner, but not so much for studying and having zoom meetings for nine hours straight.

All in all, I’ve been keeping busy!

1 For anyone interested : Comme une madeleine is a french expression, meaning “crying your eyes out”. It’s very expressive in french, and carries a lot of emotional meaning.

Reading things

One of the things I’m really happy about this month, though, is that even with all the stress and the work I barely managed to stay on top of, I still found some time to keep up to date with my Goodreads reading goal !

I won’t list them here, as I’m planning to talk about these more on a semi-weekly basis instead of in wrap-up posts, but I did get through some ARCs and a bunch of holds from my local library, as well as one more of the Expanse series. I’m finally up to date with the TV show!

My progress so far in 2021 : 10 books read out of 104.

February intentions

Seriously, that cover is so beautiful it’s intimidating.

I have a LOT of books from the library that I want to get through in February. Hopefully, since almost all my stressful administrative work is now done and all wrapped up, I’ll have enough time to do so! This list includes, but isn’t limited to, The poppy war, The camelot betrayal, In a holidaze, Barack Obama’s memoir A promised land, Anti-Diet, and The midnight library.

I also want to keep up my habit of exercising at least three times a week, while improving my relationship with exercise and my body in general. It’s been something I’ve known I needed to work on for a long time, and I’ve finally realized that the only good moment to start on something like this is right here, right now.

Another wish is to keep doing my best in university ! Just because the applications for next year have been sent doesn’t mean I need to stop giving my current program everything I’ve got. I’m really proud of where I am now – and I’ll only write it once here so I don’t brag too much, but I don’t have a lot of people to share it with so I still want to talk about it… I managed to get my GPA up to a 4.11 out of 4.3! I’m super proud of myself and all the work I’ve put into this, and I’m hoping I can keep this up and graduate as a straight-A student for the first time in my life!

Finally, I’d like to work a little on my bookstagram – which, by the way, is linked in the sidebar of my blog if you want to go check it out!

How did your January go ? Did you manage to accomplish most of what you set out to do at the beginning of the year ? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to link up to your January wrap-up posts if you’ve made one!

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 !

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

May is almost here, and as much as March and April have been terrible, hectic months, I’m sincerely hoping for a much better may 2020 – and as such, I’m making plans !

I’ve just recently started a new job in a grocery store, packing online orders for customers who are self-isolating at home, so I don’t have as much free time as I had over the past few weeks of quarantine – but I’m really excited over what I have planned, so hopefully I’ll be able to tackle at least some of these monthly goals !

The goals part

Blogging goals

Maintain a regular posting schedule

This month, I’d like to post twice a week. This is honestly a goal that I’m probably just going to repeat every month for the whole of 2020 – keeping a regular schedule is sincerely difficult for me, and I want to improve on that while still keeping all the fun of blogging ! I’ve read a lot of books I haven’t reviewed yet, and I want to try writing one or two discussion posts, so we’ll see how that goes.

Personal goals

Keeping up with university work

I’ve signed up for two summer classes at my university for this summer ! It’s the intensive summer schedule – instead of 3 hours of class a week, it’s 6 hours per class, which means two full days of class every week – which will split my summer weeks into 5 days of work (if all goes well at my new job) and 2 days of class. Hopefully I can stay on top of all of this, get good grades, and not overwork myself too much !

Playing video games

My boyfriend got me a copy of Harvest Moon : A new beginning this week, and I’ve been playing it every evening since then on my 2DSxl – and enjoying it a lot ! Playing video games helps me relax in stressful times, and Harvest Moon is such a sweet and wholesome game that I really want to make time for myself and play it while curled up on my bed in my comfy heating blanket !

Watching TV shows

I’ve been slowly making my way through the latest seasons of NCIS: Los Angeles, and I’m now halfway through season 9. Watching this show is such a fun time for me, I’d love to be able to take some time to watch one or two episodes per week on the days I don’t have too much work to do !

Writing something

I feel like it might be a silly thing to post about, but I really want to try my hand at writing fanfiction in English – I’m just having a hard time taking that first step and actually daring to write the stories I’d love to share. I’ve been feeling like no matter how much I try, what I’ll end up writing will never be as good as what a native English speaker would be able to write, and so I shouldn’t even try – and even if I know that’s not a very rational thought, it’s been preventing me from doing something I’ve been wanting to do for years now.

If you’ve got any advice on how to get past imposter syndrome when English isn’t your first language, please feel free to share it with me !

Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash

The TBR part

I’ve got a pretty ambitious TBR (for me !) this month, mostly because I might have bitten off more than I could chew while putting books on hold at my local library and requesting ARCs. Since I’m not planning on backing down from that challenge, I’ve got a total of 10 books I absolutely want to read this month : 5 from the library, 3 overdue ARCs, and 2 books I have in my bookshelf that I really should have read a long time ago.

Library books

Men explain things to me, by Rebecca Solnit

I had this one in my last library eBook haul, and managed to get halfway through it… and then my library hold expired and I had to request it again because I forgot to renew it. So this month, when my hold comes in again, I’m finishing this book !

Crown of feathers, by Nicki Pau Preto

This one is a case of “judging a book by its cover” – and by that, I mean that I saw it on my library’s website, the cover looked amazing, so I placed a hold on it and it came through this week ! I’m pretty excited to see if the contents are as good as the cover promises they are !

Furyborn, by Claire Legrand

Ooooh this one also has an amazing cover ! I actually saw this book at my local bookstore a while ago, and didn’t have the cash to buy it at that time even though it really made me want to read it – so when I saw that it was available on the library’s website, I didn’t hesitate one second !

The 30-day money cleanse, by Ashley Feinstein Gerstley

My love of personal finance books strikes again. I have no excuse for this one. I just love reading personal finance books and comparing different authors’s advice. Sue me.

Better than before, by Gretchen Rubin

This is also a book I had in my library eBook haul ! I didn’t have the time to read it these past few weeks, but I’m hoping I’ll get to it sooner than later this month.

Late ARCs

Buy yourself the f*cking lilies, by Tara Schuster

I’m a little more than halfway though this one, and so far it’s… meh. I usually love self-help books, but this feels like more of a memoir than self-improvement advice, and as far as memoirs go, it’s not the most relatable one. But I’ll keep my judgement until I’ve completely finished reading it.

Followers, by Megan Angelo

I’m super super late in reading and reviewing this book ! I got it through NetGalley, and it was published in January this year… I’m putting this one on the high priority list and hoping I can be done with it and review it before the middle of the month.

Surrender your sons, by Adam Sass

Finally, an ARC I’m not late for ! This one will be published in September 2020, so I’ve still got quite a bit of time to read and review it – still, it looks really good so I’m adding it to this month’s list just in case I’ve got some spare time lying around at the end of May to read it.

On my bookshelf

The rise and fall of the dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte

In December (or was it November ?) 2019, I borrowed this book from the library, and got through around half of it before my hold expired and I had to give it back for the next person to read it. Since then, it’s been bothering me so much that I finally caved and made an exception to my one book a month book-buying ban, and ordered it on the online store of my local bookstore ! From what I read so far, it’s an absolutely excellent book about dinosaurs, and honestly, that’s all you need to know to borrow it / buy it for yourself / buy it for your sister with a never-ending love for dinosaurs.

Caliban’s war, by James S. A. Corey

My parents actually gifted this one to me for Christmas, and I started reading it in January, but stopped a hundred pages in ( why ? I don’t know ! My reading habits defy logic) even though it was a perfectly enjoyable read. I’d love to get back to it this month !

Did you set any reading or blogging goals this month ? Feel free to link your posts in the comments so I can check them out !

Me and my boyfriend will be moving out of our basement apartment into a much nicer one downtown on May 1st, and a lot of changes are on the way during the next week, so I might have some trouble keeping up with those objectives, but I’ll do my best !

Stay tuned for June’s TBR, where we’ll see if my unrealistic reading goals were somehow miraculously met this month !

January TBR and goals

Happy new year ! (Yes, I’m saying that to everybody I know and I won’t stop until the end of January) I hope you had a nice holiday season and a good time in this first week of 2020 🎉

Mine has been pretty good – I slept a lot, ate nice food, and went to a Van Gogh immersive expo in Montreal (this one) which was amazing.

TBR

I’m planning January as a pretty relaxed month – I’ve got 5 classes this semester, and I’m looking for a job, so I want to be able to focus on work, and use books to relax, not to stress about ARCs or things I absolutely have to read before the end of the month.

With that in mind, I’ve still got a list of priorities when it comes to the books I currently have : 

  • Natalie Tan’s book of luck and fortune, by Roselle Lim

I’m so happy to have a copy of this book, I only heard good things about it so I’m expecting a fun and relaxing read !

  • Followers, by Megan Angelo
  • Don’t read the comments, by Eric Smith
  • Every other weekend, by Abigail Johnson

This book comes out tomorrow, so I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to review it in time before the release, but I’ll definitely post it before the end of the month.

  • Healthy as f*ck, by Oonagh Duncan 

This is the one I’m currently reading – I got this at my local library, and I’m feeling pretty meh about it, but not enough to DNF it so I’ll try to review it next week and see what my overall impression of it is.

I also need to give feedback on an e-ARC of Tweet Cute, by Emma Lord, which I read some time ago already, but didn’t get the time to write my review, so I’ll post it closer to the release date !

Goals

It’s January, and my September 2019 student loans haven’t come in yet, so the one big goal of the  month is to tackle that and see what went wrong. Other than that, I’m going to focus on school, reading, having fun and generally just having a good month. 2019 was rough all year long, so I’m just aiming for a better 2020.

What do you have planned for January ? Did you make a TBR ? Do you have ARCs you’re hoping to read this month ?

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 !