Update: Life and Books (Mar 2019)


Hello again, my fellow book loving peeps. I gotta be honest, I am still struggling a lot. Both physically and mentally, for numerous reasons that I don’t feel like getting into (if you’ve been reading my updates, you know some of them). I just feel so drained at this point.

So blogging has been a bit of a struggle too. I just haven’t had the energy to go through literally hundreds of posts on my feed every couple days. If you want me to check out your posts, just leave me a comment so that I can click through to your blog and visit you too 🙂

I’ve managed to work a bit more on art. I’ve discovered I love finding the right songs to fit the mood when I’m working on a piece. Music just goes incredibly well paired with everything, doesn’t it? Movies, games, books, visual art.

Anyway, I redid the lighting and scene on my Matthiott painting that I shared last time. I’m much happier with it now! Since they’re in their date night clothes, I like to imagine they were out and somehow ended up at a bonfire. They do love the outdoors, so it’s not entirely out of the question 😛

Matthew and Elliott Dancing by @whykristenburns

I also painted this on a whim. I didn’t put as much effort into it as I could’ve, I don’t love how it came out (how do people paint wing???), but here it is anyway.

Fallen Angel by @whykristenburns

I also did a Bob Ross tutorial just for fun and to try and break out of my painting style rut.

I completed one other picture, but I’m not gonna share that one yet. Next month 😉

Blog/Bookish Updates:

There’s still time to enter the giveaway to win a copy of Black City Dragon by Richard a. Knaak, a really unique Prohibition Era urban fantasy!

Black City Dragon Giveaway

I got Kindle Unlimited for three months for $0.99 recently as part of some new user deal!

I also got offered my first visual novel for review. Two, actually! That was cool since I’ve recently started adding more gaming content to my blog. Unfortunately neither game seemed quite right for me, so I turned both down.


Books I Received for Review:

Smut Peddler Presents: Sex MachineLetters for Lucardo Vol. 2: Fortunate Beasts by Otava HeikkilaWinterdream by Chantal GadouryClouded by Envy by Candace Robinson

Sex Machine and Fortunate Beasts are both from Edelweiss from Iron Circus Comics. Winterdream and Clouded by Envy are from Parliament House.


Books I Finished:

Ties of Smoke by Claudia HerringThe Municipalists by Seth FriedMy Boyfriend is a Monster Vol. 1 by Evonne TsangLetters for Lucardo Vol. 1 by Otava HeikkilaLetters for Lucardo Vol. 2 by Otava HeikkilaSmut Peddler Presents: Sex Machine by Various AuthorsArtifacts, Dragons, and Other Lethal Magic by Meghan Ciana DoidgeBanshee Blues by Bilinda SheehanThe Alchemists of Loom by Elisa KovaThe Dragons of Nova by Elisa KovaThe Rebels of Gold by Elisa Kova

Ties of Smoke wasn’t bad but was kinda frustrating and slow. The Municipalists was fun and full of action but lacked the character depth I had hoped for. My Boyfriend is a Monster was not as good as I’d hoped, but each comic in the series has a different writer and illustrator, so I’d still like to try the others.

Letters for Lucardo thankfully was as good as I’d hoped. It’s such a great twist on the usual paranormal romance, having the immortal date an older person. Sex Machine was so much fun! I’ve discovered that while I don’t usually like regular anthologies, I do like comic anthologies! Artifacts, etc. was the last audiobook available for that series on Hoopla, and I’m bummed that I’ll have to wait now (I’m hoping the other books in the series will also be made into audiobooks soon and get put on Hoopla). I also enjoyed the audio for Banshee Blues and am continuing that series too. The Loom Saga was unique and interesting, and I really liked this portrayal of dragons!


What I’m Loving:

This month, what I’m loving is…


This supernatural thriller game is currently available for free from Epic Games, and it’s quite an interesting and trippy game! (I think it’s free to keep, not just a temporary thing, but I’m not 100% sure.)


In Case You Missed It:

Here are the highlights:

– I reviewed Lake of Voices, an incredible, beautiful, haunting visual novel.
– I talked about how I want more books about supernatural slice of life and gritty supernaturals.
– I reviewed The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, a unique vampire book with some complex characters and cool world-building.
– I reviewed Letters for Lucardo Vol. 1 by Otava Heikkila, a unique graphic novel about an immortal (possibly a vampire) in love with an older man.
– I interviewed Richard A. Knaak about his Black City Saint series, a Prohibition Era UF.


Talk to me!

Have you found any good books or games lately?
Been working on any hobbies or creative projects?


Your Thoughts


48 thoughts on “Update: Life and Books (Mar 2019)

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  1. Greg

    I’m throwing you a healing potion! Hope it helps. Seriously, why don’t we have those in real life? And yes music goes well w/ everything. 🙂

    Love the Mathiott painting! Are those fireflies, or sparks f/ the bonfire, or something else? Whatever they are, it add something romantic to the scene. And I love bonfires in general, so… the winged person (angel?) as well…

    Love that you did a Bob Ross tutorial- and it looks great! ASMR before it was trendy haha!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you 🙂 If we could just have magic in real life, that’d be great.

      Thanks! They’re fireflies. I also like the magical, romantic vibe they give the picture 🙂 Tbh I didn’t really know what I was painting when I started the winged one, I labeled my file “sad winged man” lol, but I guess it turned out to be a fallen angel.

  2. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Sorry you’re still struggling, I’ll send you all the good vibes to hopefully give you a boost. I get not being motivated to trawl through your blog feed to read posts and I didn’t even have a good excuse not to, I’ve just fallen out of the routine but I’m slowly attempting to catch up. Love the pictures, I agree the bonfire vibe for the Matthiott picture adds a good romantic/date night mood to the picture. I did laugh when I saw your Bob Roos tweet, always good to try something different to develop your art, right?

    That’s a good deal for Kindle Unlimited, need to make the most of it while you have it, they do have some good reads in there but also a bunch of stuff I will never want to read so it’s all about finding the good stuff.

    And you can Oxenfree free? I’ve been wanting to play that for a while. I am so there.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you <3 Yeah, it's hard to do all the interacting and stuff when you're tired, either mentally or physically. Thanks about the pictures! Yeah, I keep getting stuck, so I need to force myself to try some new things with painting.

      Girl, I am trying real hard to make the most of it because *shhhh* don't tell them, but I'm not planning on keeping the subscription once the three months are up lol. So far I've I've finished one trilogy (Loom Saga) and am hoping to finish all five books in the Heartstrikers series before it ends.

      Yes! Did you download it??

  3. Roberta R.

    Nice art! I actually think the wings are pretty cool – though the part where they are supposed to meet the body is a bit tricky.

    I’m sorry to hear things aren’t looking up for you. I hope that doesn’t end up being too much of a burden for you, blogging-wise. People like us, for widely different reasons, need the escape and comfort zone that blogging provides. Having said so, I’m going to take a “silent” hiatus soon (since I almost have enough posts scheduled to do that without my absence being noticed – I just need to finish a couple of drafts). I’m mentally tired and I need to tend to my home.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Yeah I didn’t even know how to make them attach lol.

      Thank you. Yeah a part of me is having less and less motivation to blog lately, but another part of me still enjoys it and doesn’t want to give it up. I hope your hiatus goes well and you’re able to rest up from blogging and get done what you need to 🙂

  4. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I love the artwork, especially the Bob Ross one. My mom used to follow along with his tutorials when I was a kid. I hope you feel better soon. Blogging does take a lot of time and energy. Have a good April!

  5. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    I’m sorry you’re not in a good place right now☹ I hope things get better. When I feel drained, I find it hard to make myself do anything. On the brighter side, I love your reworking of that first piece of art, those sparks are magical!

  6. Aleen @ Lampshade Reader

    Your art is lovely. I actually liked the angel one. Bob Ross is a legend and I watch him at night when I need to sleep. LOL.

    I wanted to thank you for the code you sent me but I couldn’t get it to work with my theme. I’ll have to contact the developer.

    Sending you some healing thoughts! Hope you have a good week.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Lol he is very relaxing.

      Darn, sorry it didn’t work. I don’t know about other themes. I’m not really a coding expert, just a “Google thing and then do trial and error” kind of coder lol.

      Thanks <3

  7. Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling drained, Kristen. I know exactly how that feels – hang in there! I absolutely love your drawings this month (I’m a failure at anything involving digital drawing). I’m actually really into those wings (maybe they could use a little shadow but the feather detail and proportions are so great) too. Anyway, I hope April turns out a little better for you.

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks <3 Aww thank you! Yeah, it was hard trying to figure out how to shade the wings since there's all these little individual parts (the feathers) but also the whole thing.

  8. Sam@wlabb

    You have me all nostalgic for Bob Ross now. I was obsessed with that show when I was a kid. Sorry to hear you are struggling a bit, but I am glad you found some joy in your art and music searches. Take care!

  9. Lola

    I am sorry to hear you’re still struggling :(. I’ve been having a bad few months too and it’s just so draining. I hope things will go better for you soon.

    That’s awesome you did some more art. I like how you changed up that art piece of your Sim characters, it looks great with that bonfire feel. And the wings turned out pretty well. I know I used to try and draw wings sometimes and it’s really hard to make them look right. I think yours turned out great. Your Bob Ross digital painting looks great too. Those Bob Ross painting videos sound so relaxing.

    That’s awesome you got your first review request for visual novels. Too bad they weren’t games for you tough, but it’s still great you got a review request for them. I often notice that when I am reviewing new genres after a while I get review request for those genres too. It’s fun when that happens.

    Glad to see you had some good reads this month :). I hope April is a bit of a better month for you.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you <3

      Thanks! Drawing the wings was the easy part cuz I just followed a tutorial thing that explained how wings are set up, but painting them is a whole 'nother story lol.

      I honestly never expected to get offered any visual novels or games, so that was really cool! But it is too bad they weren't right for me.

      Thanks, you too 🙂

  10. Angela

    Music does make almost everything better! Even just hearing a great song during my commute can make me less annoyed about the coming workday. Your artwork is so cool! I love the wings, and I think they came out great.

  11. Suzanne Williams

    Sorry to hear you’re feeling bad.
    You did a great job on your artwork – I’m loving the ‘happy little clouds’ in your Bob Ross pic. My father-in-law used to watch him all the time.
    Shame you didn’t like the Municipalists, I was fancying reading that one.

  12. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    Sorry to hear things haven’t turned around yet. I know it’s been a long struggle. 🙁
    I enjoy seeing your artwork. I’m not artistic at all so I’m always impresses by what others can create.

  13. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Ahh Kristen, I really hope things get better for you this month. I’ve been a bit shocking at following updates on Twitter at the moment although a spate of tags got me on there for at least one thread. 🙈 I’ll try to do better.

    I actually love your wings! I think you just about nailed them! I don’t know if the artist is ever truly happy though. I’ve been saying that I would read an Elise Kova forever and just haven’t got around to it… But then you mentioned DRAGONS. 😁 I will be checking those out at some stage…

    Hope you have an awesome April and I need to hit you up on a DM soon! I just finished Guild Codex Spellbound #4 and EEEEE!! 🙂 That is all. I’ll save the rest for our chats. 🤣

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you <3 Honestly I just get overwhelmed by tags on Twitter and never do them lol.

      Aww thanks! The Loom Saga was good! They were more humanoid dragons, don't know if that's your thing, but I'm also reading another series right now about dragons.

      Can't wait to hear about the 4th book!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you <3

      What?! I thought you finished? And I thought you really liked it??? I swear it was your reviews of this series that made me want to read it in the first place lol.

  14. Karen

    I’m sorry things are still so frustrating for you.

    I’m hoping to get back into some type of rhythm with reading and reviewing. I manage to get in an hour or so a day but for some reason my new set up isn’t like my old one so it doesn’t feel natural or welcoming to me yet.

    I’m glad you share your art. I think it’s great (& a great outlet!)

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks <3

      Sorry your new setup isn't feeling welcoming :-/ Hopefully you can get it feeling right soon!

      Thanks 🙂 It is nice to have some artistic/creative outlet after so many years of feeling like I didn't really have one.

  15. Brittany

    I’m sorry you are still struggling, I hope it gets better soon <3 It looks like you got a lot of reading in, so hopefully that has helped a bit! And I love your artwork! Especially the Bob Ross one! I love that you did his tutorial but digitally 😀 That was a great idea!

  16. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    I’m so sorry to hear that you’re struggling 🙁 I hope things turn around for you soon.

    I am glad that you’re still working on your art though. I love the pieces you shared. That Bob Ross tutorial made me laugh. He’s everywhere! He even has his own Funko Pop, lol..

  17. S. J. Pajonas

    I feel ya on the motivation from not feeling great. I broke my leg two weeks ago (actually, i broke my left leg and fractured my right foot) and I have been very unmotivated to do anything but lie around in pain. I hope you feel better soon! One of us should feel better!

    Loving your recent art. Especially the Bob Ross painting!

  18. Daniela Ark

    Sorry to hear you continue to struggle 🙁
    Hey…!!! you have always been an artist, waaaaay before the tutorial! Actually I’m featuring you and your art on twitter in one of me post of this quarter creativity series! 🙂

    I know what you mean about music. I have a play list for each of my WIPs and now for my “artistic endeavours” too. I think I decided I’m a “Visionary Artist”, since I’m currently drawing mystical stuff 🙂 so I listen to kind of creepy, ghostly stuff when drawing my demons. 🙂

    Hope you feel better soon! I may need to request a fallen angel commission from you. That’s waaaay beyond my very limited artistic abilities ;-P

    1. Kristen Burns


      I still feel like an imposter if I call myself an artist. My art isn't good enough yet to call myself an artist lol. But awww you're so sweet that you're gonna share my art!

      Music is so great for setting the right mood when doing creative stuff! Ooh visionary artist, I like the sound of that!

      Thank you <3 I'm a long ways away from doing commissions, haha. But keep working on your art, you never know, you might be closer to painting some fallen angels than you think!

  19. Olivia Roach

    Kristen, thank you so much for taking the time to keep up with my blog even though I know keeping up with everyone has been hard and I haven’t had much time to visit your wonderful blog (and basically any blog!) in ages. I’m actually writing this at 3am so I’ve started losing sleep time to catch up on everything ;.; But honestly, it means the world to me and you’re too good <3

    I really hope things health and mental health wise start picking up. I know you've been struggling with it for a long while and it frustrates me so much that the medical system seems to be failing you. Praying for the best and sending love.

    But YAY for these amazing drawings. I think the first one is my favourite. You're just SO good at it, and everything about it is pleasing from the way they are holding each other, to the strands of the grass and the glowing lights. I love it DD:

    And I love the Loom trilogy! I have yet to read the finale, but the first two were so good.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Aww no worries <3 There are a few bloggers I still remember to visit, and you're one of them 🙂 Don't lose sleep over my blog! It makes me so happy every time I see you've comment bombed me lol, but please don't feel obligated to comment on every post, I know you're busy <3

      Thank you. The medical system is completely failing me at this point in multiple ways. My quality of life is worse now literally because of dentists 🙁 Thank you <3

      Thank you!!! I'm glad you love that one!

      Gah all you people who haven't finished the Loom Saga. You're not the first person to say they haven't read the last book yet lol.