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 !

Until the day I die

As a rule, I don’t read thrillers. The ones I’ve read so far were not enjoyable, either absolutely terrifying or completely boring, and some even gave me actual nightmares. But Until the day I die, written by Emily Carpenter and published today (March 12) is the exception to this rule. With half the book set in a beautiful spa resort in the middle of the Caribbean, and two women protagonists who deal with loss and grief in the only ways they can, I just had to give this story a chance.

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It did not disappoint me.

The story begins pretty simply : Erin, her husband, and their two friends designed and created a revolutionary app that helps millions of people around the world budget their expanses, send money, check their savings accounts and plan for the future – and the future is bright. Until the day Perry, Erin’s husband, dies tragically in a car crash. Four months later, Erin is barely holding on, and her friends and family convince her that some time away from work would be the best for her.

Through the points of view of both Erin and her daughter Shorie, the author takes us on a thrilling adventure filled with suspense and unpredictable twists. Some parts are, as other reviewers have noted, a little more difficult to believe than others, but by this point, the reader is already immersed into the story, and it doesn’t ruin the final surprise at all. The way the mother-daughter relationship is depicted feels real, intimate and personal, and it’s what really pushes this book from a 3 stars rating to a 4/5 for me.

If you like colorful thrillers, family dynamics and stressful races against time (and through the jungle), don’t hesitate to give this book a chance !

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

So, there’s a whole book of “oh no” comics.

Even if the name Alex Norris doesn’t ring a bell, if you have any sort of access to the internet, you’ve probably read some of his comics in the last few years. Since 2016, he has been the creator and illustrator of the now famous “oh no” comics, all of which have the same sad, disillusioned and disappointed catchphrase – and yes, people love to read them.

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Oh no, from Webcomic Name, by Alex Norris

Now, the London-based comic artist is publishing a book made of 110 independent comics from his Webcomic Name series, featuring an easy-to-identify-with pink blob moving through life, one disappointment after another. The design of the comics is pretty simple, and the repetitive catchphrase could get old very quickly, but thanks to a good amount of self-awareness, it doesn’t, and manages to stay hilarious from start to finish.

Some of those panels are just plain fun (like someone’s complete failure at following a fancy recipe), and some are serious, tackling topics like the absence of motivation to do a task you really want to do, but… just can’t, or when you just want to be polite by asking “how are you” and the person you’re talking to actually answers seriously to that question – and if you’ve been in this situation, you know how much you wished you could simply say “oh no” out loud !

This is definitely a book I would recommend as a gift for the millennial you love the most in your life (or any millennial you know, really), and your friends, and yourself. It’s a short and funny read, that will leave you to contemplate the meaning of life, work, art, and where you should put a cat’s eyes and mouth when you draw them.

If you want to have some more fun, there is also a random oh no comic generator, that you can try here !

I received an ARC copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review – it will be published in april, 2019.

Breaking up is hard to do… but you could’ve done better.

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Breaking up is hard to do, but you could’ve done better is a book by Hilary Campbell (who is also the co-illustrator of Feminist fight club), published in January 2019. I received a digital copy of it from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a really funny collection of short breakup stories, and I liked it a lot. A breakup is generally painful, sad, and sometimes a mess, whether you’re dumping someone or you’re the one being dumped by your (now ex-)significant other, but the author manages to make you laugh all the way through her book, starting with the dedication, in which she writes :

To that one dude, for being such an inspirational dick.

From “the guy who throws his gameboy at his ex when she dumps him” to “the one that demands she give him back the underwear he got her as a gift”, all 100 pages of breakup drama have their own cute little illustration, and even though some of those don’t add a lot to the story in itself, they do add to the humor in the harsher breakups.

All those stories come from different people, which explains the slightly different tones between the various texts, but the drawings serve a double purpose here, and help the author give to this collection a feeling of consistency.

A critic could be made that the premise of the book is a pretty simple one, and that it doesn’t require much effort (or time) to read it, but if you’re looking for something light and fun to read on a sad, rainy day, this is the book you want !