Update: Life and Books (July 2020)


I don’t feel like talking about everything horrible happening in the world. I need a break. And luckily I somehow have lots of other stuff to talk about this month!

I’ve been tentatively going by Kit on Twitter lately to see if I like it because I want something more gender neutral. (Though I found out Kristen is apparently a male name in Scandinavian countries, which is cool, if that’s true.) I’m just so used to Kristen though that it feels weird being called anything else! I also don’t know if it suits me. So I don’t know yet if I’m going to end up sticking with it. Have any of you ever attempted to change your name or go by a nickname?

In other news, I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with this vampire artwork. This painting is so incredible and realistic, and this man is gorgeous. His facial expression, his body language, the sheer confidence he exudes—it’s so well done. I would let him drain me dry just for the honor of being touched by him. I want to buy a print so badly, and I feel like it would look absolutely perfect on my book shelf with my dead dried roses, but the smallest size is too small to appreciate the detail, and the next size up is too big. They have acrylic prints in the perfect size, but that presents new problems and is a lot more expensive. So idk :-/ But I do know I’ve never wanted to own a piece of artwork this badly before.

I also forgot to mention last month this BEAUTIFUL (NSFW) body paint art I found! It temporarily broke my brain when I found it. My favorites (again, do be warned, these are NSFW because there’s nudity) are this gorgeously contrasting orange and blue one (everything about this—the paint, the pose, the photography and editing—is perfect), this Alice in Wonderland inspired one, and this Jack and Sally one (maybe partly because I’m jealous and want to be both Jack and Sally too lol). They’re all amazing though.

I watched The Circle on Netflix! I don’t normally care for reality shows, but it was recommended by two different podcasters I listen to, so I gave it a try. At first everyone seemed insufferable, but I ended up really liking the show!

I also finally got caught up on Season 5 of Peaky Blinders. That ending was a doozy.

I finished all the endings for Arcade Spirits! It was a cute. Something that was just nice and unstressful during this stressful time.

I also bought Scribblenauts Unlimited while it was on sale. I haven’t played much, but this happened:

In not-so-good news, the company that was making this kefir I ate every day stopped making it, and I haven’t found a suitable replacement that helps with my food sensitivities and digestive issues. Does anyone have tips or remedies for such problems, other than probiotics? And while I’m asking, does anyone have any for silent/acid reflux? (Natural remedies or OTC meds, I’m open to ideas.)

I’m also really upset that the Google TTS engine removed a bunch of voices, including the ones I liked best. I noticed other people upset too when I checked recent reviews, so it’s not even just me. They left us with one female and one male voice for US English, and the male inflection is all over the place, which is distracting and makes it hard to enjoy a book 🙁 I checked out a bunch of other TTS engines and voices, but none were any good except ones you have to pay for per character, so that sucks.

Anyway, I hope everyone is continuing to stay safe and wearing masks and all that <3

Blog/Bookish Updates:



Books I Received for Review:

Only the second ARC I’ve requested since last August or so (of course right before this TTS thing happened): On the Wings of War by Hailey Turner from A Novel Take PR.


Books I Finished:

Shatter Me by Tahereh MafiStealing Summer by Lexi BlakeThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerRed Winter by Annette Marie

Most of this month was spent listening to the entire Shatter Me series (I just put the image of the first book because putting them all is too much work, even though technically I read the first book last month). The first three books were alright (they were rereads), but it really took a turn after Book 3. A turn I just couldn’t get into.

Stealing Summer was fun, and I was so excited to get back into the POV of the main character from the original series and also to return to some loose threads from those books.

The Time Traveler’s Wife was a reread, and it was amazing (again).

I started the Red Winter Trilogy, and so far it’s alright, but I’m not loving it.


In Case You Missed It:

Here are the highlights:

– I shared my 5 favorite books in 5 years of blogging to celebrate my blogoversary.
– I reviewed Highfire by Eoin Colfer, a fun, heartwarming book about a dragon and a teen from New Orleans.
– I shared mini reviews for some great m/m paranormal books.


Talk to me!

How is everything going with you?
Find any good books, games, shows, art, etc. lately?
Do you have any remedies for my latest health woes?


Your Thoughts


20 thoughts on “Update: Life and Books (July 2020)

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  1. Greg

    Yeah the world’s a mess huh? And good luck with the name thing, whichever way you decide to go. I had noticed on Twitter you were going by Kit now.

    That artwork is pretty awesome. I love the one with the woman on the throne too- I guess it’s called Black Halo according to her Twitter. Amazing. Jack and Sally too. That one kinda reminded me of Marvel’s Mystique with the blue face/ red hair.

    That’s a bummer about Shatter Me. I was thinking of trying those.

    1. Kristen Burns

      She’s such an amazing artist! All of her work is incredible. Oh yeah, that is kinda like Mystique! I think I’ve only seen maybe one or two of the X-Men movies, but she was always cool.

      Maybe you’d like it? But idk, I glanced at reviews, and it seems a lot of people didn’t like the new direction the story went after Book 3.

  2. Suz

    Hey, I like the name Kit. I would definitely keep it.
    My name is Suzanne and I hated it all the time I was young. There were a lot of Susan’s in my year and to be a Suzanne seemed a bit pretentious and snobbish. I defaulted to Sue to fit in. As I’ve got older I think I’ve grown into my name and I really like it. Most people shorten it to Suz now.
    My advice on the print would be to buy the acrylic if you can afford it. If an image is speaking to you, you need to go with it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks 🙂

      I feel like three letter names/nicknames are everywhere now and have a certain charm to them. So I like Suz! It’s interesting to think about the relationships people have with our names. I’ve never really loved Kristen, but I just got used to it.

  3. Sam@wlabb

    I have to agree, book 4 of Shatter Me threw me for a loop. I am not sure how it was resolved, because I still haven’t picked up the other books, but I was mad about it. Funny, my whole life I was Sam, and while I was teaching I was never called by my first name, but at work I started asking them to call me Samantha, because we have a Pam and they would say Pam and I always thought I heard Sam, and then I would ignore them when they said Sam because I thought they were calling Pam. Yeah, who’s on first?

    1. Kristen Burns

      It almost felt like an entirely different series after Book 3. I finished the series because I did want to see how it would resolve, even though I wasn’t super into it. I can see how Sam and Pam would be confusing! Lol

  4. ShootingStarsMag

    I like the name Kit. I would imagine it would be tough to start going by a new name or nickname though, so maybe just give it time and see how you feel!

    I take the generic version of Prilosec everyday for acid reflux. I don’t know if you’ve tried that before or not, but it really helps me.

    The Jack/Sally bodypaint is so COOL. People are crazy talented.


    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah I feel like the only way to know for sure is to actually try it out for a while, though it’s gonna confuse and annoy people if I end up switching back or trying something else lol.

      I’ll look into that!

      Seriously, he’s such a talented artist. I’m glad you like that one too, I love it so much!

  5. Roberta R.

    The first time I saw that painting I thought it was a photo of a person posing in front of the real painting LOL. I hope you manage to buy the acrylic version.
    Love your mermaid story 😂.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It really does look like it could be a photo, esp when you see a small version! It’s incredible. The other problem with the acrylic though is that you can’t frame it, so I’d have to figure out how to display it, since I don’t want to put it on the wall. I felt so bad about the mermaid lol.

  6. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I think I saw it on Twitter you had loads to go in your update so yay! I’m slowly catching up with posts so you know I’ll be popping up on random older posts as well. I’m with you not wanting to talk about the horrible stuff, we know life sucks but let’s focus on other stuff for like 5 mins.

    Kit sounds good, I know getting other’s to call you by a new name can be a process! It’s all about finding a name you’re comfortable with, though. I’ll make a mental note to try and remember and refer to you as Kit going forward because I think the first part of going by any different name is getting folks to start calling you by it so you can get used to hearing/reading it.

    That vampire painting is stunning. I hope you do get it if you love it that much. I mean, it fits your vibe perfectly so I think you should invest.

    Sorry about the Kefir and the Google TTS voices, that sucks. I hope you find good alternatives, it always surprises me when people get rid of things people obviously liked, why get rid of voices folks obviously liked? It puts people off and means fewer people using your product?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I always feel bad that you try so hard to catch up on all the old posts you missed lol. It’s cool if you just wanna start fresh and visit new posts!

      Thanks 🙂 I do appreciate that some people have been using it in convo with me online, like, “Thanks, Kit!” because I feel like actually having people call me that is the only way to see if it feels like it fits.

      It does, right?! I want it so bad.

      Ugh, money probably. And Google makes enough that they’re not gonna be impacted by people unhappy with something they were making available for free 🙁 But I’d pay a few dollars if it meant getting those voices back.

  7. Karen Alderman

    I have silent reflux. It’s been several years and I’m still finding my way.

    I’ve found Gaviscon to be somewhat helpful during flare ups or if think I might be eating something that would cause one. But mostly it’s been trial and error with diet and finding what triggers it. No citrus or pineapple, no onions, carbonated drinks. I can have small amounts of garlic. Not too much dairy but I do have kefir and yogurt. I try to get brands that are more natural and low in sugar. It’s hard.

    I also read the book Dropping Acid by Jamie Koufman (she has several books) that helped get me started.

    That painting is so stunning that it looks like a photograph.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Idk how to even figure out what causes it because I have no symptoms. It’s just that I realized it’s probably what has destroyed my teeth and also why I have sore throats when I wake. So I feel like I really need to do something. Thanks for the tips <3

      It really is a stunning painting!