Update: Life and Books (May/June 2020) + I Finally Made Some Art This Year!


It’s been two months since I did one of these posts, and I still have nothing to talk about. No significant changes to my life or my health or my family or anything. Though the US has been a mess lately, hasn’t it? Just wear masks, please. And stay home if you can. And remember that Black Lives Matter. And remember that trans women are women and trans men are men, regardless of what a certain author says.

In better news, I managed to do one picture for #Mermay2020! It’s a clownfish merman playing with some baby starfish!

Friendly Clownfish Merman
Friendly Clownfish Merman Close Up

I’ve also played some games since I’ve managed to find some accessible ones I can play without looking at the screen (for anyone who missed the original explanation and is confused as to what I’ve been vaguely alluding to for the past year, I have a nerve problem in my head and get headaches from reading and electronic screens).

I finished the first three episodes of Code 7 and have loved it so far, but the fourth episode isn’t out yet. Hopefully I won’t forget everything by the time I get to play it!

I also bought the Racial Justice Bundle from itch.io and have been trying some of those games. I played and already reviewed Voyageur. Currently I’m working my way through the different endings of Arcade Spirits. It’s a charming visual novel, and it’s fully blind accessible with sound cues and everything, so that’s cool! Overland is not one you can play without looking, but I’ve been letting myself play here and there for a few minutes, and it’s a cool strategy game. Also it has dogs! Every game is better with dogs.

Anyway, hope everyone is staying healthy and safe <3

Blog/Bookish Updates:

So NetGalley is going to start offering audiobooks, which is great! Except:

I also tweeted this in response to NetGalley:

My tweet got a total of five likes. I’m sure many people simply didn’t see it (this isn’t a personal attack on anyone), but according to the stats, 273 did, which means most of the people who did see it chose to ignore it. And I guess NG’s answer was no, since that one never got a response.

I gotta say, it is starting to genuinely hurt realizing how few people care about accessibility. Because it’s not just this. Whenever I tweet about accessibility, whether it’s something that affects me personally or not, whether it’s something positive or negative or just informational, whether it’s original or a retweet, it’s almost always crickets in response.

But anyway… I guess we’ll see how the NG thing goes.


Books I Received for Review:

Storm Master (pictured below).


Books I Finished:

Storm Master by Clara CoulsonThe Last Dog by Adrian J. WalkerRuthless Gods by Emily A. DuncanSword of Destiny by Andrzej SapkowskiBlood of Elves by Andrzej SapkowskiIncubus by Amanda MeuwissenChangeling by Amanda MeuwissenSidhe by Amanda MeuwissenCollared by TA MooreWonderland City by Rhys FordThe Cruel Prince by Holly BlackThe Lost Sisters by Holly BlackThe Wicked King by Holly BlackThe Queen of Nothing by Holly BlackA Vigil in the Mourning by Hailey TurnerKick at the Darkness by Keira AndrewsFight the Tide by Keira Andrews18 Wheels of Science FictionShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I also read The Traitor’s Crown and The Stars and Everything in Between by Victoria Lee, not pictured above because they don’t have covers.

Most of these were audiobooks from the library. A few I listened to with TTS.

Dislikes – 18 Wheels of Science Fiction. This was an anthology, and though I think some people may love it, most of the stories just didn’t do anything for me.

In-Between Feelings – The Last Dog was ok. Ruthless Gods was good but didn’t blow me away. Collared and Wonderland City were novellas, I think, originally part of an anthology, and they were just ok. Blood of Elves was a disappointment because it was boring, and I only pushed through because I already liked the characters from previous books. The Cruel Prince books were enjoyable but didn’t leave a big impression. Same for Shatter Me (which was a reread because I want to read Books 4, 5, and 6 but don’t remember the first three).

Likes – Storm Master and A Vigil in the Mourning were solid sequels for their series. Sword of Destiny was a fun Witcher book. The Traitor’s Crown and TSAEIB were extra stories that go with the Feverwake series (preorder incentives), and I enjoyed them. Kick at the Darkness was alright, but Fight the Tide was really great with so much more emotion and development! And my favorites of May/June were Incubus, Changeling, and Sidhe. They were rereads, and I was afraid they might not be as good as I remembered, but man oh man, were they. They gave me all the feels! Check out my review if you like urban fantasy with romance because I highly recommend.


What I’m Loving:

This month, what I’m loving is…

Hey Riddle Riddle

I’ve been listening to this podcast a lot. They do riddles and also improv. It makes me laugh! And I need some of that every day. I also find that podcasts, YouTube videos, etc. that are unscripted, just kinda people hanging out, can make you feel less alone when you’re isolated.


In Case You Missed It:

Here are the highlights:

– I reviewed The Henchmen of Zenda by KJ Charles, a fun m/m romance retelling that I loved.
– I reviewed Incubus by Amanda Meuwissen, a m/m romance + urban fantasy with all the feels that I also loved.
– I reviewed some games I didn’t like but you might.


Talk to me!

How have you been?
Find any good books or games or anything?


Your Thoughts


25 thoughts on “Update: Life and Books (May/June 2020) + I Finally Made Some Art This Year!

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  1. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I love your clownfish merman! Very creative, and he looks so happy. I don’t use NetGalley and didn’t see your Tweet. It is frustrating that publishers only care about numbers. It would be nice if they prioritized reviewers who need certain books/formats. Have a great July!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I thought we could all use some happy art right now πŸ˜› It’s so frustrating that so many pubs only care about the numbers since there is so much more value that a reviewer can have. You too!

  2. Angela

    I hope NG takes your position under serious consideration. It really is a valid point. I understand they want to get their books out to the people that have a big reach for promotional purposes, but that can be really unfair to the majority of readers.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I doubt they will, but thank you <3 Yeah, I do understand that publishing is a business, but it's so frustrating how pubs only care about stats when there's so much more value that a reviewer can have, and it especially sucks if you're a reviewer at a disadvantage and are never even given a chance.

  3. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy

    I would think if you update your NetGalley profile with your accessibility issues, that would be a good way to get approved for audio. But it would be nice if NetGalley included things like accessibility, #ownvoices rep, etc when approving people. Good luck, I hope you get some, I’m curious about it but probably won’t request any myself, since audio isn’t really my thing.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like publishers don’t even read profiles, they prob just look at stats. It would be nice though if they could encourage pubs to take those things into consideration.

  4. Pingback: Sunday Post: Book Pre-order Campaigns & Giveaways Galore – 7/5/20 – Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  5. Ethan

    I agree that it has felt like life is basically in a holding pattern right now. You bring up such an important point about NG having audiobooks now. I hadn’t thought of the true need some people might have to listen rather than read. I hope they will partner with the publishers to at least identify those individuals who might need to have an audiobook. Who better to review them anyway?!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Weird times, right? I might not have thought about it either if I weren’t one of those people. That’s why I think it’d be helpful if NG would encourage it, in case the people doing the approvals for publishers don’t think about it either.

  6. Greg

    So true. The US IS a mess. Hope you are well there. I feel the same way- sometimes my weekend posts are like- what did I do this week? Anything to report lol? Love your Mermay pic though! Nice. πŸ™‚

    Visual novels are so cool and I feel like so few bloggers talk about them. And Netgalley- I hardly ever use (actually, almost never) but I always think I’ll use it more in the future. I hope actually that your raising the accessibility issue will maybe get someone’s attention? I mean, I know it seems doubtful but someone has to raise an issue that maybe more people will take on, right? So I think it’s cool you’re doing that.

    That’s good to know about Holly Black’s stuff. I’ve been meaning to read her for ages, because she’s the “queen of dark fae stories” and all that, but I just haven’t yet. I keep wondering if I’ll like em or not… :):)

    1. Kristen Burns

      It really is. Thanks!

      They are cool! I doubt it got anyone’s attention, but I tried. That’s all I can do.

      Yeah I know people love Cruel Prince, but I liked her Coldest Girl in Coldtown book more. But you won’t know if you like them until you give them a try!

  7. ShootingStarsMag

    I really hope Netgalley paid attention to your tweet even if they didn’t respond, etc. Certain books and formats SHOULD go to those that need them or can understand them best, whether that’s reviewers of color, those with accessibility issues, those who are LGBT+. Mix it up a bit and get genuine reviews from all over. I’m sorry you’re dealing with all of your medical issues though! I hope July is a good month. πŸ™‚


    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t think they did. But it would be nice if publishers could start putting value on accessibility, ownvoices reviews, etc. Thank you <3 I hope you have a good month too.

  8. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I do hope that publishers will read your bio and find out that audiobooks are necessary for you for accessibility. Do you typically review your audiobooks anywhere specific? (Like on Audible?) That might help audiobook publishers see that you’re serious about reviewing them. I definitely agree, though, that it would be nice if NetGalley had some way to indicate that you’re an #ownvoices reviewer or have accessibility issues, etc.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you. I’m not even sure how much I’ll be requesting since I haven’t wanted the stress of review copies lately, but I hope they read bios in general to check for that, though I still doubt they will.

  9. Sam @ Spines in a Line

    Your merman looks wonderful! Your thoughts on NetGalley make a lot of sense, thanks for increasing my awareness of issues of accessibility. I’m thinking of doing some posts about audiobooks and production next month, and if you were interested it’d be great to bring in your discussions of accessibility too

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I’m interested to see your audiobook posts now. I’m not quite sure what you mean about discussions of accessibility, but I’m not sure I would have much to bring to the table other than to say they’re important because they make books more accessible to more readers.

  10. Amber Elise @ Du Livre

    I didn’t see your tweet about audiobooks for accessibility but I really do hope that is taken into account when publishers are granting access. I’m tired of them using the excuse of “we grant approvals based on engagement numbers.” There is more to it than that.

  11. Roberta R.

    Hello again curvy Fabio πŸ˜‚.

    I saw your other tweets about audiobooks, but not the one where you directly addressed NG – so I’ve liked it now. I guess it’s improbable that the publishers will ever bother with a database of BIPOCs or – in this case – people who may need audiobooks for accessibility reasons, but NG or EW COULD do something…a little box you can mark in your bio or whatever. At least they would have tried.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you for liking the tweet <3 I imagine it brings it to their attention more if they see it getting likes. It would be nice if these review sites or publishers would try to do something for accessibility and ownvoices.

  12. Olivia-Savannah Roach

    Yeah, things seem to be just running at regular pace for everyone at the moment. I liked all of your statements at the beginning of the post. And I LOVE THE CLOWNFISH MERMAN Especially as I always see images of very thin mermaids all the time, so it’s nice to see something different. He looks happy. I am glad you could find some games that you could play. And yay for reading so much! I think I am just going to have to skip over the cruel prince series and felt the same about the shatter me books.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond!!! Thank you! I’m trying to be conscious of including different kinds of diversity in my art πŸ™‚ If you felt the same about the Shatter Me books, I feel like it’s prob a good call to skip Cruel Prince. I mean, who knows, you might like them! But I had similar feelings about both series.

  13. Karen Alderman

    That merman is wonderful!!

    I’m hoping that publishers start changing. I know I got a new survey from Macmillan because they’re switching to e-arc’s only and they no longer include stats and follower numbers.

    I don’t know if I could do audiobooks on netgalley. I’m sooooo slow with them and there are deadlines.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth