Update: Life and Books (July/August 2019)


Technically, I’m not back from my hiatus yet, but, well, I’ll explain.

I’ve been having this problem with some of the muscles in my face, kinda like an RSI, but it gets worse and gives me bad headaches whenever I do anything that causes a lot of eye motion or anything that causes the muscles to move. So pretty much everything, but especially reading, using the computer (which includes blogging, gaming, and writing), watching TV, drawing—everything I love and am able to do. And if I can be honest with you all, I’m worried that this is something that isn’t going to go away. And this is, of course, on top of chronic illness and my other chronic health issues and the neverending dental disaster that, yes, is still going on.

I know, this post is a real downer. I’m feeling really down right now though. I’d appreciate any good vibes you can send my way. I’m still trying to find a specialist who might be able to help.

So that’s why I haven’t been replying to comments or really visiting blogs. I miss you all. I’ve still been posting because I have a bunch of posts already made (the rest of this post was already put together for July), and because I’ve worked hard on this blog for over four years and was finally getting more views everyday, and I don’t want to give that up if I don’t have to. But I don’t know what’s going to happen yet with my blog.

If you have any suggestions for things I might be able to do to pass the time that don’t require a lot of eye movement or physical exertion, let me know. I’ve also been trying out some accessibility features like screen readers and text-to-speech and narration for Netflix movies, but they’re difficult (and the screen reader I downloaded is free, so probably not the best). You can let me know if you know of anything else. I can use a screen reader for reading comments, so don’t worry.

I do have one piece of art from July. It’s someone holding hands with the monster under the bed.

Monster Under the Bed

Blog/Bookish Updates:

Nothing this month.


Books I Received for Review:

Moth & Whisper Vol. 1 by Ted Anderson & Jen HickmanTrifles and Folly by Gail Z. MartinTrifles and Folly 2 by Gail Z. MartinSpellbound by Allie TherinFortuna Sworn b K.J. SuttonLord of the Last Heartbeat by May Peterson

Moth & Whisper was from Edelweiss. Fortuna Sworn from the author. The others from NetGalley.


Books I Finished:

Sins of the Son by Christian BainesDark Awakening by S.K. RyderThe Last Hope by Krista & Becca RitchieMoth & Whisper Vol. 1 by Ted Anderson & Jen Hickman Blood: The Third Course by Chele CookeSacrificed by Bey DeckardFated by Bey DeckardCareened by Bey DeckardPulse by Danielle KosteSpellbound by Allie TherinWinterdream by Chantal GadouryThe Shotgun Arcana by R. S. BelcherComing Up for Air by Amanda MeuwissenLast Bus to Everland by Sophie CameronSalt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee WelchNightfall by Jake Halpern & Peter KujawinskiStarfall by Melissa LandersEvolved by N.R. WalkerStatic by L.A. WittLast Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul KruegerRomeo & Juliet  Vampires by Claudia GabelCarry On by Rainbow Rowell
The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie DePaoloThe Knight and the Dragon by Torrance Hu & Tien Tran

I got a lot of books read because some of these are children’s picture books, graphic novels, short stories, or audiobooks.

There’s a lot here, so I’ll just mention the standouts. I loved the Baal’s Heart audiobook series by Bey Deckard and really came to love those characters. Sins of the Son, The Last Hope, and The Shotgun Arcana all had fantastic characters and relationships/friendships among them. Spellbound was super cute. Salt Magic, Skin Magic (audiobook) was a bit absurd, a bit intense, and overall great. Moth & Whisper was a fun start to what I think will be a great comic series. Static (audiobook) had such an awesome premise and exploration of gender. Carry On was super cute and I really liked it.

With the exception of one that I had multiple issues with, the rest were not bad and ranged from “ok” to “enjoyable.”


What I’m Loving:

This month, what I’m loving is…

This video of people trying all the recipes in Breath of the Wild

I’ve never played the game, but this video cracked me up so much.


In Case You Missed It:

Here are the highlights:

– I talked about July/August 2019 sci-Fi/fantasy book releases to get excited about, in this post and this post.
– I talked about upcoming indie games to get excited about in 2019.
– I shared opening lines of ten different books and asked which was your favorite.
– I reviewed Spellbound by Allie Therin, a super cute m/m historical paranormal fantasy.
– I reviewed Sins of the Son by Christian Baines, a great addition to a m/m urban fantasy series with complex characters and relationships.
– I reviewed Underground by M.N. Arzu, an amazing addition to a merfolk series with lovable characters and adorable family.
– I reviewed Moth & Whisper Vol. 1 by Ted Anderson & Jen Hickman, the first in a cyberpunk comic series with a nonbinary MC.
– I added a page to my blog to help everyone find diverse books easier.
– I reviewed The Last Hope by Krista & Becca Ritchie, an emotional conclusion to a great sci-fi duology.
– I talked about September/October 2019 sci-fi/fantasy book releases to get excited about.


Talk to me!

Did you find any good books or do anything fun in July?


Your Thoughts


38 thoughts on “Update: Life and Books (July/August 2019)

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  1. Roberta R.

    There are no words for this πŸ˜₯. I hope you find someone who can help! And I hope you can get back to doing all the things that give you joy.
    I also hope you won’t be forced to drop your blog, even temporarily – but if you are, we’ll still be here when you return!

    I love that monster piece BTW 😍.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you <3 I really hope I can find someone too, it's just such an unusual problem that I'm not even sure who to see. And I'm still trying to see if I can blog using the screenreader I downloaded. It's slow and difficult, but I guess it's not like I have anything to do all day anyway.

  2. Maxine

    Well shit, I’m sorry about your health issues Kristen, it sounds absolutely hellish. I really hope you find a new way to enjoy your favourite things.

    Your artwork is phenomenal, the texture in the hair and the hand. Gah, I love it a lot.

    Take care of yourself x

  3. Greg

    Sending lots of positive vibes your way. II don’t know if you like podcasts or not- I have trouble with them sometimes cause I get bored, but I always want to try more! Anyway something you can listen to while relaxing maybe? There’s always Critical Role if you want to listen to people play D&D. πŸ™‚

    I was listening to these people play the other night. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2hxQkbkvD4&t=2044s

    Roll20 has some decent stuff. And then there’s always Night Vale if you want weird. πŸ™‚

    Anyway ooh Shotgun Arcana. I find myself kinda wanting to continue with that series from time to time.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks <3 I would like to find some more podcasts to try, I just don't know of any. I tried Night Vale but didn't really care for it. I thought of Critical Role, but when I looked it up on YouTube, there were so many videos that I got overwhelmed and didn't know where to start. Do you know of any good entry points? I'll check out the Role20 stuff.

      You should definitely continue with The Shotgun Arcana! I liked it even better than the first book.

      1. Greg

        I didn’t really like Night Vale either. I WANTED to lol because I mean the premise, but… IDK it was disappointing. Anyway for critical Role I would start with Curious Beginnings (Campaign 2 episode 1 )- it starts off with a new game and it involves circus! lol They even show off some fan art at the 1:45:22 mark.

        Role20 is kinda fun. I haven’t listened to the whole thing but I’d start with Saltmarsh https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2hxQkbkvD4&t=2044s

        or Dungeon of the Mad Mage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-ehzRVEIew

        I kinda think the Role20 crew are funnier and move a little quicker, but they’re both good. It cracks me up too how all these people just eat while they’re playing!

        1. Kristen Burns

          Night Vale just wasn’t what I thought it would be. I was expecting more of a story, but it was literally like a radio show, which is kinda boring when you’re just sitting around listening, though it might be fun while driving or something.

          Thanks! I’ll check some of these out. Is the circus one the one with Mollymauk?? I was so sad about his death and I didn’t even listen/watch lol. I just always saw so much fan art of him that I felt attached.

          1. Greg

            Yes! Mollymauk is in it, although I haven’t listened to the whole campaign yet. I started it but got sidetracked with Roll20. πŸ™‚ I go back and forth lol.

            Exactly about Nightvale. I wanted more story too. I don’t mind weird but everything was too random.

            Oh I remembered that Deanna Reads a while ago was reviewing podcasts and has some SF ones. Not sure if any are of interest but you can check her post out.


              1. Greg

                No it’s okay! I jump back and forth anyway so it will take me forever to get through it!! And I don’t worry that much about spoilers anyway πŸ™‚

  4. Suz

    So sorry to hear this. I can imagine nothing worse than not being able to do all the things you love… and are great at (I love the artwork).

    Sending healing hugs and hoping you heal soon. xxx

    PS I’ve read Carry On and loved it too πŸ™‚

  5. Sam@wlabb

    I am so sorry to hear about your health woes. It must be very difficult not really know what is wrong, while also being robbed of the activities that bring you joy. ((HUGS)) I hope they figure things out soon.

  6. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    Oh my gosh, Kristen, I’m so sorry to hear about your headache issues. I hope you can find out what’s going on. Not being able to read would be hard. I was going to suggest audio books but it sounds like you’re already doing that. Hang in there😊 Oh and I absolutely love your artwork of the monster under the bed!

  7. S. J. Pajonas

    Oh man, I’m so sorry to hear this news. I really hope you’re able to find someone who can help! There’s a documentary on Netflix right now (I think it’s called Diagnosis) about people who figured out diseases they were suffering from by talking about them online and on social media. Maybe give it a watch and see if it gives you any ideas for figuring this out. Hugs.

  8. Crystal @ Lost in Storyland

    I hope you find someone who can help! I’ve been a bit MIA from blogging because of work stress and anxiety, so I’m just hearing about this. Have you tried listening to audiobooks? I use them for hands (and eyes) free reading.

  9. Angela

    I’m sorry you’re going through all that! I hope you find a solution, or at least a way to be able to do the things you want to do.

  10. Karen Alderman

    I’m sorry you’re going through this long, painful experience and, of course, sending you all the good vibes I can muster!

    I absolutely LOVE your monster art. I think it’s so beautiful and one of my favorites. Befriending what we normally fear or the unlovable. Gah – love it!

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

  11. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Oh gosh Kristen! I’m soooo sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve been having and while I don’t have anything truly helpful to offer as advice I do have plenty of good wishes and I’m sending you boat loads of positive vibes and hope that this is something short lived!

    Massive virtual hugs.

  12. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Oh no, sorry to hear the health issues are impacting even more on your day to day and especially on the things you love to do. Maybe try audiobooks and podcasts for something that involves less eye movement? I mean, it’ll help some, anyway. I am sending you all the positive vibes and then some in the hopes it will help you out.

    I love that video, I have played Breath of the Wild so totally appreciate it. And you read Carry On! I really want to do a reread ready for Wayward Son coming out.

  13. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    I’m so sorry to hear about your continuing health issues and that they impact all of your favorite activities. πŸ™ I really hope that things turn around for you soon. I was going to suggest audiobooks but it sounds like you’re already exploring that angle.

    Your artwork is lovely, by the way. I love the subject matter and all of the details.

  14. Erica Metcalf

    Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having a tough time with this. Ugh, I hope things get better for you soon!! <3 Sending you all the positive vibes! And LOVE that artwork!!!