Update: Life and Books (1/28/18)


Good news! The great bookish year continues!

Also, my wi-fi started working again, but then it acted up today (Saturday), but now it’s working again, so hopefully it’ll just keep working right. I also have Netflix now thanks to my grandparents! I watched Zootopia and Finding Dory. Both were cute, and Baby Dory was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!!!

Not much to report other than that. Haven’t felt well enough to do much drawing or writing. I did research werewolf lore a bit and do some brainstorming for my stories at least. Maybe one day I’ll actually start writing them. Like in 2019 lol.

Blog/Bookish Updates:

More giveaway wins arrived! These are from Tor and JeanBookNerd Blog Tours. They’re very pretty in person, but unfortunately my phone doesn’t take the best photos. The books are Ghostwalker by Jonathan Maberry, Thunder Moon Rising by Jeffrey J. Mariotte, and Boneyard by Seanan McGuire.

Deadlands Covers

Deadlands Illustration

Also, my recent discussion post on how to have more book discussions did end up being helpful because some of you have started DMing me about books, and I’ve loved our chats!

I worked on revamping my header a bit, which many of you saw on Twitter. But it wasn’t until after everyone professed their love for the moon-behind-text design that I realized I don’t know if I can legally use it. The brushes I used are free for commercial use, but that doesn’t always mean using it in something like a site logo is allowed. The rules on such things can be weird, and it doesn’t specify. I’m trying to find out.

I also need your help with one other thing. I’m trying to figure out what country my vampire character should be from based on how he looks (black hair, blue eyes, facial features) and possibly his first name (Levine). The name could potentially be Russian, Hebrew, French, or Nordic, although it’s a last name for some of those (whatever). So…

1) Does he look like any particular nationality to you?
2) Should I just not worry about where the name is from in making my decision?



Books I Received for Review:

1/21/18: Nothing!

1/28/18: Nothing!


Books I Finished:

The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French height=
Stake Sauce by RoAnna Sylver

1/21/18: The Grey Bastards (which still has no cover) was amazing! I didn’t know I could like epic fantasy that much.

1/28/18: Stake Sauce had great diversity but that was pretty much the only thing I liked.


What I’m Loving:

This week, what I’m loving is…

Baby Dory


In Case You Missed It:

– I reviewed The Ledberg Runestone by Patrick Donovan, an intense, snarky UF with an alcoholic, disabled MC.
– I talked about separating the author from the book (part 2).
– I reviewed The Watcher’s Son by J.L. Aarne, an intense, unpredictable M/M urban fantasy.

– I reviewed The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle, an atmospheric UF retelling with lovable characters.
– I talked about 10 types of characters who would be useful if you were stranded on an island.
– I reviewed Doom Sayer by Clara Coulson, another great book in a fantastic, feminist, intense UF series.


The Sunday Post Link-Up:

Once again, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer 🙂


Talk to me!

Have you found any good books or movies lately?
What country does my vampire character look like he would be from?


Your Thoughts


58 thoughts on “Update: Life and Books (1/28/18)

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  1. Greg

    Yay for Netflix, and glad you’re having a good bookish year so far! I keep thinking I have been too, with some good reads to start off the year, but I’m afraid to jinx it. Ha ha and Zootopia was fun. I haven’t seen Dory though…

    I like werewolves even though I don’t read a ton of werewolf books (not sure why)- hope your research/ writing goes well! We need more werewolf stories.

    I still think Portuguese (he has that look) or southern European for Levine. 🙂 Maybe French.

    The Deadlands stuff looks good, I like that interior illustration!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I was surprised at how much I liked Zootopia! I mean, I have read a couple meh books, but I’ve also read more GREAT ones than I feel like I’ve ever read in one month.

      I kind of want to make him more werewolf rather than just wolf shifter, so I’m trying to figure out the specifics and how it will affect the stories and stuff. But it’s like, the old werewolf lore doesn’t really coincide with the monster werewolf thing which doesn’t really coincide with paranormal type shifters lol. But that means I can make up whatever I want I guess!

      I’m considering the Portuguese, but I feel like I’m mostly leaning toward French or Italian. Maybe even Greek? I need to look into stuff more, waiting to see what others think.

      I love the illustrations!

      1. Greg

        I like the werewolf idea more than the shifter thing, I mean I don’t know much about the lore at all other than old movies lol but I like the idea of it being due to magic or some ancient curse thing. I also like lycanthropy being tied to the moon phases, although I guess that’s a fairly modern take. I don’t know, there’s a lot you can do with em I think. I never liked the painful transformation thing either, I don’t get the whole bones cracking and reforming- to me they just change. 🙂

        I always thought that while packs are cool (social support lol), it would be cool to read a UF exploring how a mated pair- a werewolf couple- would survive. Or someone having to live with their partner’s secret.

        1. Kristen Burns

          I like the werewolf thing because you never see that in modern paranormal, it’s always shifters who turn full wolf but still keep their human mind when they do so. But ugh, I make everything so complicated lol. So I’m trying to figure out the differences between the two in my version and thinking of maybe making him like half shifter, but also werewolf, and he’d have a bit of both? I have reasons for that, but I won’t get into all that. It’s just hammering out the details that’s proving difficult for me cuz I then think about how each little detail will affect every other part of the story and all the pros and cons and then I can’t make decisions.

          Yeah, the moon was just added in by someone in a book or movie at some point and it took off. It’s not in any original lore that I found. I don’t like the painful transformation either. In my story, my werewolf character is dating the faerie guy (it’s the two sims who are always dancing lol), but I made him a very specific type of fae, and it kind of works in an interesting way with the werewolf aspect. But yeah, there should totally be more modern werewolf stories.

  2. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    Images are difficult to deal with for bloggers, which is why I don’t use many in my posts. I’m afraid of using something that could cost me a lot of money.
    Your vampire does not look a specific nationality to me, but he does NOT look nordic to me… That doesn’t really matter, though, because he could be nordic without looking like a typical nordic. I think you should just decide where you think he’s from and go from there. People move around, and if he grew up in one specific country, that’s probably where he feels like he’s from. And that’s what’s important.
    Have a wonderful week ahead! I hope you’ll feel better!

    1. Kristen Burns

      The problem with these is that it doesn’t specify much at all. Just says commercial use is ok. So idk :-/

      Yeah, I could prob make him from any European country and not have much issue since people don’t all look the same. But he was born at some point in the past too, so I have to factor that in too.

      Thanks, you have a great week too!

  3. Sam@WLABB

    I may be one of the only people, who has not seen the Dory movie. I wanted to see, but then my daughter went without me, and I don’t do that sort of stuff alone. I have to see it though. I love Dory! Nice #BookMail. I love winning stuff and I love getting mail.

  4. Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks

    Congrats about the wifi 🙂 my computer is still broken in regards to wifi, so I’m borrowing. That one was borrowed too, but xD waiting for my new one to reach the warehouse.

    Your Sim is very cute, and I do believe he could be Russian, Hebrew, Romanian or even Turkish. Italian too! Very cute hairdo 🙂 but you know, sometimes names are from another country! Like, we have foreign names often. So just choose whatever is cute, I guess 😀

    Your post is VERY positive this week, so I am glad 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I need a new computer too, but I’m trying to wait as long as possible before actually buying one. Hope your new one is good!

      I feel like he could be Russian too, hadn’t even thought about Romanian or Turkish! I feel like in my mind he was Italian when I created him though lol. Well, I’m concerned about the name only because he was born hundreds of years ago, so it’s less likely he’d have a name from another country.

      Thanks, I do try to focus on the positives most weeks 🙂

  5. Lola

    That’s annoying about your wi-fi acting up, but that’s good it’s working again at the moment. I hope it stays that way. Sounds a bit like my computer some days it crashes so often and then other days it works fine.

    I watched Zootopia a while ago, it was pretty fun. Baby dory does look adorable. I haven’t seen that movie yet, but I did watch Finding Nemo. That’s nice you did some brainstorming for your stories.

    And yay for your giveaway books arriving! That illustration looks pretty well done.

    I just DM’d you about W&S now that I finished my review, so we can discuss it :). That’s great you’re having more bookish discussions now after you posted that discussion post.

    The rules surrounding those things and whether you can legally use it not are so confusing. And also one of the reasons I am changing my header. I’ll have to look up your tweet to see how your new header looks like. Have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah it started working really bad last night, but now it’s maybe working again?

      I was surprised at how much I liked Zootopia! And gah, you have to watch Finding Dory, if only to see the adorable Baby Dory lol.

      The illustrations are so pretty!

      I saw the DMs! I haven’t had a chance to read your review or respond yet though. But I will!

      Yeah, the rules are so complex :-/ It’s just, it says commercial is ok, but it doesn’t specify beyond that, so idk. Disappointing since I do like the header I created. Thanks, you too!

  6. Michelle @Because Reading

    If you have any confusion about the use of something you can always contact the person or place the you got it from. They are usually more than happy to help. Since you are using it for Personal use and just a header that isn’t porn or graphic, you are allowed by commercial use to use it. However, if you wish to just be sure I would contact the owner. I work with stuff like that all the time as a Graphic Designer and it can be tricky but mostly commercial use is for you to use on a certain amount of things, you can even sell stuff for commercial use. Personal use you can not sell only use it for yourself. If you need help finding out, let me know I will be happy to help any way I can.

    The Dead land books look awesome, need to look them up, those would look so nice on my book shelf! 🙂
    Baby Dory is so cute but that movie killed me, it was so sad until the happy end but I still cried.

    I hope you have a great week, Kristen, Happy Reading! ox

    1. Kristen Burns

      I did leave a comment, but I noticed they don’t *always* respond, and some of the times when they did, it took like a year -_- So Idk if they will respond or not. But I’ve looked into all the rules and stuff on diff sites too in the past, and I know that some don’t allow you to use for logos or things like that, for example, and idk if a blog header and site icon would fall under that, if they allow that, etc. It just doesn’t specify at all for this, but thanks for offering to help 🙂

      The books are so pretty! Seriously, Baby Dory was so cute, which made it even sadder when she was sad lol.

      Thanks, same to you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Grey Bastards was amazing, I can’t wait to see what you think! And also I may bug you with DMs about it when you finish, haha. Glad to hear Boneyard was good!

  7. Samantha

    Awww baby dory! So cute!
    I don’t get any particular nationality when I look at that character. Maybe Polish or East European? Romanian perhaps?

    1. Kristen Burns

      TOO CUTE! I hadn’t considered Polish. Someone else said Southern European. I’m guessing prob anywhere in Europe would be ok with his looks at this point lol.

  8. sjhigbee

    I’m intrigued by the Ghostlands books – they look like they’re part of the same series, and yet written by different people… how does that work? I hope you like them. Have a good week, Kristen:)

    1. Kristen Burns

      From what I can tell by the blurbs, they’re just all set in the same world. Maybe there’s a connecting thread, idk. They sound good though! Thanks, you too 🙂

  9. Chrissy

    I haven’t watched Zootopia or Dory yet . . . and neither have my kids. We’ll have to check those movies out.

    Have a great week!

  10. Ikram

    Netflix is great! I’ve been rewatching my favorite movies recently and am in the middle of Stardust which is great!
    I’m not sure whether the name would fit but maybe your character could be Russian or Easter European. Good luck with your research and I hope your writing goes smoothly! 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I didn’t think I would really care for Netflix, but it is turning out to be great!

      I think Russian could work too, and someone else also said Eastern European, so I might go with one of those! Thanks 🙂

  11. Literary Feline

    Netflix is dangerous. LOL I really like Zootopia. I hope you are feeling better. Yay for giveaway wins! I love stories about werewolves probably a little too much. They are fun. I hope you have a great week, Kristen!

  12. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    So glad you have Netflix. There are some awesome things on there to binge. I also love the books you got from Tor. I have the first 2 but need to get the 3rd one still. Hope you have an awesome week and yes, baby Dory is adorable!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I’m trying to not go overboard and start watching a bunch of shows though cuz I know it’ll be a time suck lol. I’m really excited about those books! I am totally into SFF westerns at the moment. Thanks, same to you!

  13. AngelErin

    Hooray for new books! I always love getting book mail. Also, I agree, Baby Dory is the absolute cutest. I just started a show on Netflix called La Mante and so far it’s pretty good. 🙂

  14. verushka

    I’m hanging out for Altered Carbon on Netflix. It seems like the makers knew exactly the sort of backlash they might get with a white actor playing an Asian character as I understand it, so I am wondering how they pulled it off in this. As to your vamp character, I’m not sure. He has fine features, but from his name I keep thinking of Maroon 5’s lead singer sooo ??‍♀️ Stuck!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve never even heard of Altered Carbon tbh. But I’m trying to not start a whole bunch of shows cuz then I know I’ll get hooked and end up wasting so much time lol. Naming sims is hard, damn it, and I hadn’t planned on writing about him, but now I’m stuck with that name! To be fair, I like the name, but it’s proving difficult to fit into history.

  15. Bookworm Brandee

    I love Zootopia! 🙂 My kids had me watch it with them. 🙂 I’m happy your wifi is working and that you got some research done for your book. 🙂 I also like how you’ve created an image of your vampire character. I do think it matters for your name to match his nationality – but that’s just me. Maybe Slavic? Anyway, have a great week, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It was so cute! Now the wifi is acting up again, so I spoke too soon -_-

      Actually, I think it was maybe while you were on a hiatus or something? But I shared some posts about a house of supernatural sims that I created, and they ended up being so awesome that they inspired me, and now I’ve turned them into characters and want to write stories about them. So I didn’t create him for the character, it was kind of the other way around lol. But that’s why he already has a name and appearance and I’m not having to work backwards and figure out what nationality he is. Thanks, same to you!

  16. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    OMG I love Finding Dory and Zootopia. Baby Dory is the cutest thing ever! I never smiled so much watching a film. And Zootopia surprised me with how fun it was, I love kids films but I kind of wasn’t sure about that one until I watched. Definite right move. Glad the wifi is mostly up to scratch for you, though, nothing worse than being disconnected.

    Oh no! Definitely find out if you can use the image for your blog header, I know I got mine from a paid thing and it included a commercial licence, hopefully, it’s ok (message the creator if in doubt). I love how much thoughts you’re putting into your sim as well, I totally just name mine whatever and go for it. No thought of origin/ethnicity until I get to know their personality and then the epic backstory gets created in my head.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It surprised me too! I didn’t think it’d be that good, but I think I liked Zootopia even more than Finding Dory.

      I’ve left a comment but so far have not heard back :-/ Well, that’s the thing. I didn’t put any real thought into his name and didn’t come up with a backstory when I created him, but now that I’m trying to write about him and need to know these things, it’s a problem because his name and appearance are already set in my mind.

  17. Daniela Ark

    awww a baby Dory clip! Of course I find it totally adorable. I have NO IDEA how I missed your post on how to have more book discussions. I need to go back and read it! Glad to hear your wi-fi is back.

  18. Wren

    hah the bit about researching for your stories but writing them in 2019 was very relatable. For me, I’m constantly working and reworking the plot, then I start writing, then think of a better plot, and the cycle continues.

    I don’t think you should worry about where the name is from, personally.

    Happy 2018 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      For me it’s that I’m so indecisive I get stuck on details. So I’m like, “Well if I do it this way, these are the pros and cons, and it will affect *this*, *this*, and *this*, but it make *this* worse…” and I do that for EVERYTHING. And then I can’t decide. And then I get stuck because I can’t write w/o knowing.

      Your opinion is noted 🙂

      Thanks, same to you!

  19. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Kristen! Hi! I’m finally getting back around to your blog during my sincere attempt to clear my backlog on my blog… Who knows if this will happen or not! I’m a few posts behind still!

    Your giveaway wins looked amazing. Congrats! I love the cover gor Thunder Moon Rising. Must have been the horse.

    I definitely need to DM you again soon to chat about books and I’m sitting hoping that we’ll get an email about a specific book coming out as an ARC in March (I hope!). I need more Lyre/Clio chats! 🙂

    Hopefully I won’t be such a stranger anymore! Chat soon!