Update: Life and Books (8/12/18)


Sorry, guys, this is one of those update posts where I’m not gonna be all that positive :-/

Things have been tough for me lately. My health and my living situation are kind of a constant struggle, and lately I’ve also been having a lot of dental work done, which has been exhausting and miserable. And it’s only like half done—if everything goes right, which it already seems like it’s not since I have more pain now than I did before. To top it all off, my tennis elbow has been worse than ever because of how rundown my body is.

So I didn’t do one of these posts two weeks ago and almost didn’t today because I know that many of you lovely people will want to comment, and then I’ll want to visit your blogs in return, but I just can’t keep up with that much commenting and bloghopping right now, and then I’ll feel guilty. That’s why I’ve only been doing two posts (reviews) a week; it’s a manageable amount. But I don’t want to stop doing other posts entirely because I have things to say and books to promote! So I’m not sure what to do in this situation.

Other than reading, I’ve been watching a lot of movies and shows in order to rest my arms. The Emoji Movie was surprisingly good! I loved the creativity of how the phone world was portrayed, and the movie was cute. Sing (the animated one with animals) was also cute. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil was really funny (thanks @jasonicprotosh for the rec!). Alex Strangelove was kinda cute. Those People was full of angsty emotion, and I thought it was really good. If you have Netflix recs, let me know!

Blog/Bookish Updates:

I had a couple good bookish things happen at least. I decided to try joining in the #bookishwish thing on Twitter, and one lovely person is sending me a copy of The Golem and the Jinni that they have, so I’m excited about that! Here is my list in case anyone else would like to be my bookish fairy godperson 🙂 I’ve been thinking of putting together a print book wishlist and an ebook wishlist on Amazon.

I also got my first unsolicited ARC (Nebula Awards Showcase 2018) in the mail from a publisher, which feels like some sort of milestone 😛

Last but not least, I was interviewed at JennReneeRead, so go check that out if you wanna learn a bit more about me and my blog 🙂


Books I Received for Review:

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel
Hero Forged by Josh Erikson
What Man Defies by Clara Coulson
Escaping Exile by Sarah Dobie Bauer
Elemental Thief by Rachel Morgan
Nebula Awards Showcase 2018
Beautiful Beast by Kyla D. Knight

7/22/18: I got Black Bird of the Gallows from YA Bound Book Tours. Hero Forged is from the author.

7/29/18: What Man Defies is from the author. Escaping Exile is from NetGalley.

8/5/18: Elemental Thief if from the author. The Nebula Awards Showcase 2018 is from Pyr.

8/12/18: Beautiful Beast is from NetGalley.


Books I Finished:

Temper by Nicky Drayden
The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories
Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel
Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel
What Man Defies by Clara Coulson
Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
Amendments by HM Lynn
Dead Boys by Gabriel Squailia
Elemental Thief by Rachel Morgan
Underneath by M.N. Arzu
Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler

7/22/18: Temper was a little confusing but also interesting. The Djinn Falls in Love was a complete disappointment. I won’t be reviewing it, so I’ll just share my thoughts here. I know that short stories are not for me, but this one lured me in because djinn! But I didn’t even “get” most of the stories. Some of them weren’t even about djinn, not really. Even the few I did like, well, like I said, I just don’t connect well with short stories. But my favorite was by Kirsty Logan. My second favorite was by Neil Gaiman (taken from American Gods). And the other two I enjoyed the most were by Helene Wecker (which bodes well since she wrote The Golem and the Jinni) and Saad Z. Hossain (which doesn’t surprise me since he wrote Djinn City). Black Bird of the Gallows didn’t blow me away, but it was enjoyable, and I liked the supernatural aspects a lot.

7/29/18: Keeper of the Bees also had neat supernatural aspects that I liked. What Man Defies was another good, action-packed book in the Frost Arcana series. Teeth was a gritty, bleak merman portrayal, and I really liked it.

8/5/18: Amendments was a fairly dark and thought-provoking time travel dystopian. A couple issues, but I enjoyed it. Dead Boys was one of those just not for me books.

8/12/18: Elemental Thief was good, but I think the series just isn’t quite for me. Underneath was great! More merfolk, but with a unique premise. I really want to continue the series. Sea Change was rather strange, but I got the HC for less than $2, so I can’t complain.


What I’m Loving:

This week, what I’m loving is…


I watched the first season of this show when it was on Disney Channel, then it stopped, and I didn’t know what happened. Turns out it switched to a different channel, and I didn’t even know. But it’s on Netflix! So I binged the first two seasons. The writing is not always so great, but I can’t help but get caught up in the drama. And since it’s about an art school, there are so many music and dance performances in the show, and they’re beautiful!

Sims 3 Building

I shouldn’t be playing because it hurts my arms, but I swear building in The Sims is the most therapeutic thing.


In Case You Missed It:

– I reviewed Sleepless Vol. 1 by Sarah Vaughn & Leila del Duca, a diverse high fantasy graphic novel.
– I shared more June/July/August sci-fi/fantasy releases to get excited about.
– I reviewed Kings Rising by C. S. Pacat, a fantastic end to a fantastic M/M high fantasy series.

– I shared book covers featuring hearts, and not just the cutesy kind 😉
– I reviewed Detox in Letters by Cheryl Low, an AMAZING paranormal/high fantasy with a super unique world and interesting characters—my first 5-star of the year!
– I reviewed The Gorgon Bride by Gordon Surlak-Ramsey, an urban fantasy about the Greek gods.

– I reviewed What Man Defies by Clara Coulson, an action-packed post-apoc urban fantasy.
– I reviewed The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie, a YA sci-fi involving empath abilities.

– I reviewed Temper by Nicky Drayden, a unique African-based fantasy involving twins.
– I did mini reviews for three paranormal/urban fantasy books.


The Sunday Post Link-Up:

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


Talk to me!

Have you had a good past month?
Do you have any good Netflix recs?


Your Thoughts


64 thoughts on “Update: Life and Books (8/12/18)

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  1. Adrian

    I’m feelin’ ya, Kristen. I’m having a rough time too. Flu, followed by a hairline fracture in one of my molars which caused excruciating pain. I also need a crown on the molar next to it, all this and a chest infection too. Let’s hope things improve for the both of us : )

  2. Danielle

    I’m sorry you’re having a rough time, Kristen. I’m not having the best month either. Actually, I haven’t had the best months between this month and last month. But at least I’m reading more, which is always good. 🙂 Hope you feel better!

  3. Greg

    First of all don’t feel like you gotta comment or visit back. It can be exhausting to try and keep up! Hope you’re feeling better and having a good weekend.

    The Emoji Movie looks fun. 🙂

    #bookishwish is pretty awesome, I love seeing that take off. Hope you get some good stuff. Black Bird of the Gallows looks interesting, and Underneath does too because merfolk.

  4. Roberta R.

    I’m not a big fan of the short story medium either, usually. But I really loved Windows into Hell by Curiosity Quills Press a while ago (OK, afterlife is my thing always, but still). They were mostly very good, plus interconnected!
    Yay for your first unsolicited ARC!
    And I’m sorry to hear things are going worse than usual for you. Please don’t feel guilty for not visiting back – we understand! Also, it’s not like one must reciprocate every single comment on time. Have some rest and enjoy your books/Sims/TV shows!

  5. Angela

    I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well! I hope things improve soon. I’ve been going through some health stuff, too; I feel like I’m at the doctor every other day, and it’s not fun.

  6. Tammy @Books, Bones & Buffy

    I hope you feel better soon! It sucks when you don’t feel well but you still have to keep doing stuff. I read Dead Boys a few years ago and it was so strange! I also really loved Sea Change. I guess I have a thing for “weird” lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you <3 Dead Boys was just... I feel like it wasn't a bad book, but it was so completely not for me. I think both books were a little too weird for me, haha.

  7. imyril

    Sorry to hear things are difficult at the moment – wishing you well (and please don’t feel obliged to blog hop back – I just want you to know I’m thinking of you!)

  8. Sam@WLABB

    Sorry you are struggling right now. Take care of you, and I hope you get through everything soon. Congrats on the unsolicited ARC. I feel like a real blogger, when a publicist reaches out to me. It’s a good feeling.

  9. Suz

    Sorry to hear you’re struggling. Sending hugs.
    Tucker and Dale v Evil is one of my fav films when I need a laugh.
    PS There’s no need to visit my blog, I haven’t posted for weeks!!!!

  10. Lola

    Sorry to hear you’re having such a tough time lately. I hate dental work, even worse if it’s a lot. And don’t you hate it if they fix something and it hurts more than before. I’ve had that a few times as well and even tough you know it’s necessary it feels weird to suddenly have more pain than before. And then to have your tennis elbow acting up as well, seems like you have everything at once.

    Don’t feel too guilty if you can’t visit in return. I am glad you made a post as I was wondering how you were doing. That sounds good that you’ve been watching some fun movies. We recently finished watching Star Trek Discovery. I would recommend that one if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s full of interesting and realistic characters and some LBGT characters and diversity too.

    Not sure how that bookish wish thing works, but that sounds great someone is sending you a copy of a book you want :). And congrats on your first unsolicited ARC. I hope it’s one you actually want to read. Looks like you got a lot of books read these past few weeks. Glad to hear you’re still enjoying the Sims, although that’s sad you can’t play as much because of your arm. I hope things are going better for you soon.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks <3 I hate it too :-/ And I'm getting really worried about how I have more pain than before.

      Thanks for the rec 🙂

      *whispers* I actually have mixed feelings about the unsolicited ARC because it's exciting that I got it! But it's an anthology, and I don't really like short stories :-/

  11. Laura Thomas

    I’m loving so many of your books. We appear to enjoy many of the same authors and genres. I’m sorry to hear about how hard things are for you right now. I’d say to not worry about doing a bunch of posts or visiting every blog you follow. Try a few here and a few there and mainly do the Sunday link up to keep in touch. We’ve all had times where life took front seat. Take care!

  12. ShootingStarsMag

    Oh gosh, I’m so sorry you’ve been having a lot of health problems. Being in pain is just the worst, especially when you aren’t sure what to do about it. Also, teeth pain is never fun. I haven’t been in awhile and while I don’t love going, I have a couple cavities I need to fill but no dental insurance so that’s annoying. Sigh. I hope you feel better soon!! Don’t worry about commenting back – do your best!


  13. Christy

    Well poo! Dental work is no fun at all. I hope you hit some positives soon! Good thing for good entertainment. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is so freaking funny! I remember watching it a few years ago but not knowing what it was at the time, and I was like wtf? It’s a fun one I always recommend. Have you watched The Magicians? The first two seasons are on Netflix. It is my favorite! Enjoy your new reads and feel better. <3

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s really not :-/ Thanks! I was told what it was about before I watched it, haha. It was so funny. I really want to read the Magicians series, so idk if I want to watch the show?! Thanks 🙂

  14. Karen

    Tucker and Dale vs Evil was funny. I thought Alex Strangelove was weird but cute and I binge watched The Rain on Netflix. It has a bit of a YA feel but we really liked it.

    You get to commenting when you get to it. My wrist (& now the pain is all the way up my arm) is bothering me and I can only comment in small doses. We all go through these things and understand.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah Alex Strangelove wasn’t the greatest movie ever, but it made me smile. I haven’t heard of The Rain, I’ll check it out!

      Hope your arm feels better soon too <3

  15. Tori @ InToriLex

    I’m sorry your going through some health issues. Dental work is the worst I still have some I need to do that I been putting off. Congrats on your first unsolicited ARC. When you start getting more then youll have the hard decisions of what to actually read, but that’s a good place to be. Don’t feel bad about scaling back this is all supposed to be part of a hobby so taking time off isn’t always a bad thing.

    Tori @ In Tori Lex

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks <3 Dental work really does suck :-/ Yeah... I doubt the unsolicited ARCs are gonna start pouring in, haha. I'm only on one mailing list and have a few contacts in total.

  16. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Argh Kristen! I’m so sorry chic. I hope that healthwise things start to look up for you and that your dental work settles out. 😭

    I’m doing so much less on my blog right now because I’m just so far behind on there and catching up feels like an impossibility! But I don’t have any good excuses… Just life. I’m glad reading is still going well for you and every time I read about your Sims adventures I want to go out and put it on my computer! But that wouldn’t be ideal since I don’t have enough time in my life as it is! 🤣

    I hope this week is going okay for you! 😘 😘

  17. Olivia

    I’m sorry you’re having a rough time, sounds like everything is coming at you at once. I hope you feel better soon and that everything good is coming at you next!

  18. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I really hope you start feeling better. Please don’t worry about not commenting back. I visit your blog because I wanna know what is going on with you and because you read such a variety of books and I always find some I want to check out. Your health comes first! I know you’ll visit when you can 🙂

  19. Tizzy

    So sorry you’re not well 🙁 Dental pain is the worst. I’m glad you’ve had a few bookish successes lately, though. And as others have said, don’t worry about commenting back, it can be so time-consuming and difficult to keep up with even when you’re feeling well. Take care of yourself and I hope you feel better soon.

  20. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Oh man, I’m sorry you’ve been struggling lately! I’ve seen you post about your dentist appointments on twitter so I know that’s been stressful, it’s just making me think I need to go the dentist and the stress of that is too much. No need to explain yourself, with everything you have going on having anytime to blog and comment places is impressive you look after yourself first! You need not feel any compulsion to visit my blog, all I’ve done is review a couple of books, post about fanfiction and in my Sunday post I got all kinds of excited about New York again… and got excited because I wore a cardigan the other day because it’s cooled down a bit and I was actually cold and it wasn’t because the aircon was too high in the office!

    Yay for bookishwish and an unsolicited arc! At least good bookish things are happening! And no need to justify Sims playing, I’ve been delving into Sims 4 and I’m kind of loving it even if it’s lacking so much stuff that previous games had. I find it so soothing controlling the life of a Sim and I don’t know why. We all have our things I suppose.

    I hope you find some kind of good life/blog balance and don’t get yourself down if you can’t do it all none of us can. And don’t judge me for a long comment I’m trying to save you visiting time here!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love your long comment, you are so sweet <3 I love that you got excited about wearing a cardigan, but yay for the weather finally cooling down!

      Oh you're playing Sims 4 more now?! Now that I've installed TS3 on this computer, I haven't been playing 4. I just have so many things I don't like about it, although I do want to try the vampires pack at some point 😛

  21. Olivia Roach

    Honestly, don’t worry about blogging hopping. The best quality of bloggers is that they are undyingly loving and also so incredibly patient! I am still replying to blog comments left in May. MAY. And no one has been hating at me for replying so late and visiting back months down the line. In fact, sometimes they reply to my replies and continue the conversation <3 Most of all, we want you to be well and happy Kristen! I hope the dental work somehow does work out for the better in the end and that your tennis elbow gets better. It does sound like things are hard now but it's okay to take some of the time to focus and care for yourself. Sending love your way <3

  22. Cee Arr


    Hope things go better soon!

    Don’t worry about keeping up with blog comments (I know, I know, easier said than done,) I always wondered how you bloghopped so much anyway, tbh. I keep a rough list of people to visit, and just delete people once I’ve got to them. I just don’t have time to do anything else. (Which is why I’m away for ages and then you get loads of comments in one go!)

  23. Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)

    I’m hit and miss with short stories. Sometimes I get a fab collection like Wilderness Tips or Blue Talk And Love. Other times one or two stories are enjoyable and others feel like filler.
    I’m sending positive thoughts that your health improves and that dental work gets finished soon at least. Sounds like you’re having a rubbish time of it right now ((hugs))

  24. Daniela Ark

    oh wifey I wish I could hug you tight now! Sorry to hear things continue to be so tough for you! Try not to feel guilty. I know is hard. I feel guilty too for not being able to visit my fav blog as I should. If reading and watching movies is what feels better now just do more of that and less of anything else. Hopefully better days will come soon when you’ll feel better to blog! Ok sooooo… you asked! Netflix recs! I am really really really enjoying Stranger Things! Have you watched it?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you <3 My grandma keeps telling me to watch Stranger Things too, so I will prob try it! I'm just hesitant to start another series that's incomplete because I already can't keep up with everything, haha.

  25. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having a tough time. I hope things get better for you soon.

    I’m glad to hear The Emoji Movie was better than expected. I didn’t hear much about it when it was in the theaters and figured I’d wait until it was either on Netflix or at Red Box.

  26. Dani Eide

    We forget how much dental work affects our health and well-being. Taking care of yourself is # 1. The Meg Kassel book covers are gorgeous! So glad you liked the supernatural stories inside. How was Hero Forged? Another great cover. ❤️