Update: Life and Books (Aug 2020)


Technically I’m a couple days early since August hasn’t quite ended yet, but eh, I don’t think anything noteworthy is gonna happen within the next day or two. Time is a blur this year anyway. Everything is starting to blend together. What even happened in August? Who knows! (I don’t mean to make light of the terrible things that have been happening, but it’s just a constant barrage, sometimes I need a break from talking about it all.)

I’ve been struggling lately, both physically and mentally, and each one makes the other worse and it turns into a loop, you know? I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but I haven’t been able to visit other blogs much. Please don’t take it personally! I still read every comment left on my blog, and I do appreciate them! But I know lots of other people are struggling too right now, so rest assured I won’t take it personally if you aren’t able to visit me either.

In non-struggle news, I finally got caught up Castlevania Season 3! It was kind of lackluster compared to previous seasons, but WOW EPISODE 9 WAS WILD. It was literally 20 straight (well, not entirely straight, if you catch my drift) minutes of violence and sex. Seriously. Just 20 minutes of nonstop violence and sex. It was exhausting just to watch! But also very good, since it was what everything had been building up to, and the actions scenes are the best animated ones. But my gosh, *SPOILER* POOR ALUCARD. THAT POOR MAN. EVERY SEASON ENDS WITH HIM ALONE, SOBBING. He thought he’d found something good finally. He thought he’d found companionship and acceptance. He was so happy that he literally shed tears of joy. AND THEN THEY TOOK IT AWAY FROM HIM. I’m an emotional masochist as much as the next person when it comes to the media I consume, but please. Alucard needs something good to happen to him. I can’t take this anymore. *END SPOILER* I do hope the next season is a bit better though. But hey, the show’s got some casual LGBT+ rep now (a lesbian vampire couple, bi/pan Alucard), so that’s cool.

I also watched Lucifer Season 5 Part 1. It was good! I loved Episode 6, I think it was, when the girls had a night out and the guys were all bonding taking care of the baby together.

I also watched The Sims Spark’d. It was a reality show with only four episodes that aired recently on TV but also on YouTube. And if you’re thinking about watching it, I’ll tell you right now, it wasn’t good! At least, not in my opinion, and comments on the videos lead me to believe many other people agree and had the same issues with it that I did. It seems like they really didn’t know their audience and tried to make the show serious and dramatic, rather than embracing the silliness and fun of the game. I assume they were trying to use this to get more people to buy and play, but I don’t think they even showcased the game well in that regard. And the whole thing was just kind of a mess, expecting things from the game that the game doesn’t do well to begin with, giving challenges that had nothing to do with The Sims 4 (or any Sims) gameplay, and being unclear with tasks / changing criteria for judging after the task was complete. I know I’m ranting! But I’ve always been disappointed by The Sims 4, and to see they put a bunch of money into this instead of making a better game, and then it wasn’t even a good show… Anyway, next topic!

I finished playing my first run in Overland, and it’s really a great game! I loved it and am still playing and loving it. I’ll have a review for it in the next few weeks.

I found this great song on Episode 1 of Lucifer, and I’ve been listening to it a lot. I especially love the beginning, it’s just such a great sound/vibe.

Blog/Bookish Updates:

I might start posting reviews more often, just because I have such a backlog (I read more than I post every week), and I’m tired of waiting over six months just to post a review for a book. I always liked having a reserve of reviews in case of emergencies, but I don’t care anymore. I just want these damn things posted lol.


Books I Received for Review:



Books I Finished:

Red Winter by Annette MarieOn the Wings of War by Hailey TurnerHell Divers 6 by Nicholas Sansbury SmithEver After by Riley Hart & Christina LeeDocile by K.M. SzparaWitchmark by C.L. PolkHemovore by Jordan Castillo PriceStarfighter by Hamlet MachineSilver in the Wood by Emily TeshStraight Outta Fangton by C.T. Phipps

I just included the cover for the first book in the series for some of these because that was easier. I’ve been doing this section differently every week, trying to figure out what’s easiest for me. Sorry if I’m confusing anyone.

Dark Tempest & Immortal Fire by Annette Marie – I finished the Red Winter trilogy, and I feel very neutral about it. It was ok, but it didn’t leave a big impression.

On the Wings of War by Hailey Turner – Another good sequel in an action-packed m/m UF series.

Hell Divers 6 by Nicholas Sansbury Smith – Another good sequel, this one an action-packed post-apoc series.

Ever After by Riley Hart & Christina Lee – A cute m/m fantasy romance.

Docile by K. M. Szpara – I have mixed feelings about Docile. I don’t think it was bad, just marketed to be more than it was (it was kind of commentary on capitalism x slave/master erotica), and not quite for me.

Witchmark by C.L. Polk – A sweet m/m romance with magic, but another book that I feel pretty neutral about.

Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price – This had a unique take on vampirism and turned out to be incredibly relevant and relatable to our current pandemic situation. I also just really enjoyed the thriller-esque story and the m/m romance.

Starfighter by Hamlet Machine – I finally read through the entirety of Starfighter! I had read Ch.s 1-4 years ago, but Ch. 5 didn’t finish until this year. I really liked it! It’s a free webcomic, if anyone else wants to check it out.

Silver in the Wood & Drowned Country by Emily Tesh – I read Silver in the Wood last year and didn’t love it but saw the audiobook for these two on Hoopla and was struck with the urge to try it. I actually ended up liking it more! These have a unique fairytale feel and sweet romance, and I rec the audio.

Straight Outta Fangton & 100 Miles and Vampin’ by C. T. Phipps – The first was a re-listen, the second was new to me. But these were more books that were just ok for me.

A lot of books I felt kinda neutral about this month, none I felt too strongly about, but some I enjoyed at least.


In Case You Missed It:

Here are the highlights:

– I shared some simple ways to make your blog and social media more accessible for people who use screen readers.
– I reviewed Changeling by Amanda Meuwissen, a wonderful second-in-series with a beautiful romance and fun urban fantasy action.
– I reviewed Arcade Spirits, a cute, inclusive visual novel / dating sim.


Talk to me!

How have you been?
Have you found any good books, shows, songs, etc. lately?


Your Thoughts


16 thoughts on “Update: Life and Books (Aug 2020)

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  1. Kristina

    Hm, now you intrigued me and I do need to check out Overland 🤔 — this little detail is so well-thought and cute though!! Ahh I love that.

    Yaas we’ve been watching Lucifer too; although we’re just on Season 2..

  2. Greg

    It is a constant barrage, so true! Such a crazy year. And wow- Castlevania S3 sounds fun! I remember seeing that show, I think, but haven’t tried it…

    Sorry to hear that about the Sims show, what a disappointment.

    I am curious about Silver in the Wood and the sequel- maybe it’s the cover. Looks mysterious. 🙂 Glad the second one was better, I might try those.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think it’s just that things are so bad with the pandemic that it’s making every other bad thing so much worse, so it feels like a neverending barrage. You should give Castlevania a try!

  3. Roberta R.

    I’m sorry to hear you’re still struggling, though I sort of figured, since you vent out a little on Twitter sometimes. I’m also sorry about the amount of lackluster books you happened to stumble upon! Here’s to a better month ahead!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m always struggling, what’s new really? Lol. Seems like everything has been kinda lackluster lately, starting to wonder if it’s just me and my mood, though I did enjoy some of the books.

  4. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    You also had the misfortune of watching Sims Spark’d? I thought I was alone. I was obsessed with Sims in my teens and early 20s, so I tried to watch the show. It might be the worst reality show in the history of reality shows. That’s an accomplishment, I guess.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Why was it SO bad?! Idk if you watched the whole thing, but I watched all four episodes since it wasn’t that many, and I had a bit of hope it might get better, but sadly it did not.

  5. ShootingStarsMag

    I’m sorry you’ve been feeling rough, both physically and mentally. And never feel bad for not commenting. I know it’s tough for a lot of people, for various reasons.

    I have a copy of Docile to hopefully read soon. Sorry you were a bit neutral about it. I feel like it’s one of those hit or miss books. We’ll see what I think I suppose, whenever I get to it…haha

    I’ve been watching so much HGTV lately. I really love the show Love It or List It. Besides, it’s just random things. Nothing much on at the moment. If you haven’t watched Prodigal Son, I do recommend. The whole first season is finished – not sure where it’s airing to watch though.


  6. Becky @ A Fool’s Ingenuity

    I think at this point I’m fed up of talking about the bad as it just keeps coming. A break to discuss other things is always good. Sorry you’re struggling at the moment, it really is a cycle of one making the other worse and if there’s anything you can do to help let me know. I saw Sims Spark’d was on but honestly… it sounded bad. I like some of the Youtubers who were part of it but it just didn’t seem like the right platform to get people interested as it wouldn’t show the strengths and the fun of the Sims. THey really should spend more money improving the faults in Sims 4. The game will never be perfect but there are some easy fixes they can implement.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think we could all use a break. I was only familiar with two of the YouTubers, but I wouldn’t have minded that if the show and competitions had just been good. Unfortunately they weren’t.