Update: Life and Books (Nov/Dec 2019)


I’m just gonna say it: I hate the new year.

I don’t hate the year itself, but I hate the holiday. There’s all this pressure to make the new year better than the last, and you’re supposed to be super positive, and you’re supposed to make resolutions and goals, and everything is supposed to be great. But I’m going into the new year with a chronic illness, chronic tennis elbow in both arms, a head problem no doctor can figure out that gives me headaches if I read or use electronics or do much of anything, what is most likely a fractured foot, and a mouth full of dental problems that have been put on pause but will have to be fixed eventually, plus my grandpa’s health is not doing great, and there are already so many bad things happening in the world in general. So call me pessimistic, but I’m not exactly feeling good about this year’s potential. I’m not trying to dismiss anyone else’s feelings though. If the new year gives you motivation or hope, then I’m glad! I just personally don’t feel that way.

But hey! If you’re still reading, don’t worry, I’ve got at least some positivity to share in this post. So what have I been up to since my last update two months ago?

For the sake of my mental health, I’ve taken Tylenol and played a little bit of Sims and Monster Prom. I also scratched my creative itch by doing a few little writing prompts (since I can type without having to look at the screen), I created a mod using the new Monster Prom mod tool (which one person left me a lovely positive comment/review on!), and I ended up making some unexpected art of the Interdimensional Prince for the ending (probably no one reading this is going to play my mod, but I’ve hidden the picture on the off-chance that someone stumbles upon this and doesn’t want the artwork spoiled).

Interdimensional Prince

Speaking of art, I had made it a goal in 2019 to complete at least one digital art piece each month. Unfortunately I was unable to do art every month because of my health, but I still managed to create 22-ish in total! And even though I don’t know how much art I’ll be able to do this year, I’m proud of what I’ve done so far. I might’ve said this before, but my whole life, I never thought I’d be able to take completely made up ideas from my head and draw them, I could only ever copy exactly what I saw in a photo or in life, no changes. So the art I created in 2019 has been such a massive step forward for me. If you haven’t seen my art and want to, right now it’s just scattered throughout my Life and Books posts, starting in Jan 2019. I’ll re-share my favorite from the year though, which is this one:

Deep Sea Merman

Back on the topic of the past two months, I also listened to a few Christmas movies but didn’t love any of them. I have been loving a podcast called Mission to ZYXX though, and I really enjoyed the Peter Pan audio drama that was available as one of the Audible Originals in December (I got three months of Audible as a Christmas gift!).

I guess that’s about it for me?

Blog/Bookish Updates:

I still don’t know what’s going on with my blog since I still don’t know what’s going on with my head problem. I’m sure I’ll still be posting, even if some weeks it’s just a review. So if you’re interested in whatever I post or just wanna stop by and say hi, please do! If not, no worries. I do have some fun non-review posts I’m excited for and plan to eventually share, but hopefully when I’m feeling a bit better.

I am still signing up for the Discussion Challenge though, hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight, since I am hoping to at least do a few discussion posts.

2020 Discussion Challenge Graphic


Books I Received for Review:

Nothing this month.


Books I Finished:

Wayward Son by Rainbow RowellCarmilla by J. Sheridan Le FanuA Midsummer Night's Dream by William ShakespeareThe Vampyre by John PolidoriParanormal Bromance by Carrie VaughnThe Night Circus by Erin MorgensternVampire Claus by Robert WintersSteal the Light by Lexi BlakeSteal the Day by Lexi BlakeSteal the Moon by Lexi BlakeSteal the Sun by Lexi BlakeSteal the Night by Lexi BlakeOld Media by Annalee NewitzMarried with Zombies by Jesse PetersenLadies Book Club

Let’s see, what did I read and listen to in the past two months…

I actually read Wayward Son the normal way, with the aide of lots of Tylenol, which probably wasn’t the best thing to do, but oh well. I loved it, at least! I also read a little webcomic called Ladies Book Club. It’s a prequel comic to a kind of DnD series on Drawfee (a hilarious and fun art-based YouTube channel I love).

The rest were listens, either actual audiobooks or TTS (text-to-speech). I finally got around to some classics I had never read (The Vampyre, Carmilla, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). I didn’t really care for any of them. I also FINALLY read (or listened to) The Night Circus, and… uh… I didn’t like it please don’t hurt me! *cowers in fear* Vampire Claus was kinda fun as a cheesy Christmas romance. Paranormal Bromance was alright. The Thieves series was a reread. I’m not usually a huge short story person, but I enjoyed Old Media. Married with Zombies was only ok.

I also DNFed two books (not included above), which was unfortunate because I was really looking forward to both.


What I’m Loving:

This month, what I’m loving is…

Mission to Zyxx

I loved most of the podcasts I listened to in the past two months, but this one is the most laugh-out-loud funny for me.


In Case You Missed It:

Here are the highlights:

– I reviewed An Heir to Thorns and Steel by M.C.A. Hogarth, a unique high fantasy with elves, magic, and disability.
– I reviewed Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell, an emotional sequel full of magic and lovable characters.
– I reviewed Static by L.A. Witt, a thought-provoking sci-fi about gender and sexuality with a super sweet relationship.
– I shared more sci-fi/fantasy books with no romance.
– I shared my top ten favorite covers, characters, and books of 2019!


Talk to me!

Find any good books or podcasts lately?
Are you excited for the new year, or is it just gonna be more of the same for you too?
How was your holiday season?


Your Thoughts


28 thoughts on “Update: Life and Books (Nov/Dec 2019)

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  1. Greg

    I think it’s awesome you’re playing (and modding) Monster Prom. I thought that game was fun but haven’t played it in a while. It seems tailor- made for some good mods though. Love the art too! I’m sorry to hear about your grandpa- best wishes there. That’s hard. and the world does seem like a dumpster fire, huh? I’m going to keep hiding in books lol.

    I still need to get to Night Circus *sigh*. If I ever do.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Yeah, the mod tool is great, and it’s really cool how people can add new characters and everything. Thank you <3 We're only a few days in, and already the world seems to have exploded. Oh! I wanted to tell you, you should check out this Drawfee DnD series if you need more stuff to take up your time lol: https://youtu.be/wfkXvKr1A5Y It’s like a very non-strict art version of DnD-ish, so I thought you might enjoy. It’s great (and I also just love the people doing the series and their whole channel). They’re currently doing another season right now too.

      1. Greg

        Okay this looks FUN! Thanx!! I’m gonna put this on and listen/ watch while I blog lol. I love that it’s interactive!

        1. Kristen Burns

          I thought the whole thing was a lot of fun, for sure! Unfortunately you missed the interactive stuff lol, and they kinda stopped that about halfway through anyway. I hope you like it!

  2. Lorna

    I used to get excited about New Year celebrations and always went out somewhere. Over the years that changed to where you couldn’t pay me to go celebrate. I do love Christmas but I loved the Christmas’s before my parents died. I didn’t go back home this year to see the rest of my family due to health issues so that was sad for me. I’m sorry you are still having so many health problems at your young age. In this new year I hope you start to heal. You are too young to be going through all that!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m sorry you didn’t get to spend Christmas with your family 🙁 I used to love Christmas too, but it gets harder to enjoy it when certain things happen in life, like losing loved ones. Thank you<3 I hope your health problems get sorted too!

  3. Suz

    I hate new year too. New year resolutions freak me out as I so rarely keep them.
    Here’s hoping 2020 will see an end to your health problems.

  4. Sam@wlabb

    I am usually in a funk from October through the new year, because the holiday pressure. This year was better, because my parents were away and my mother couldn’t make me do something for new year’s. I just pretended it was a regular old day off from work. I do hope you get some of your health issues worked out this year, and as pessimistic as I am, I do think each new day has some sort of potential.

  5. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I also felt “meh” about The Night Circus. I thought I was the only one who didn’t love it! I’m excited about 2020, but it’ll probably end up exactly like 2019. I can be hopeful though, right?

  6. Roberta R.

    “I don’t hate the year itself, but I hate the holiday. There’s all this pressure to make the new year better than the last, and you’re supposed to be super positive, and you’re supposed to make resolutions and goals, and everything is supposed to be great.”
    From my relatively privileged position (meaning that I don’t have the health problem baggage you do), I share the sentiment. I have problems in my household and little money, and me and the hubs have no friends. Christmas should be about sharing and thinking of the less fortunate, and here I can’t help feeling angry at the people who can do and have all the things I wish I could do and have but I can’t. I mean, little things…things most people take for granted…while on the other hand, at Christmas it seems we’re supposed to do more, get more, enjoy more, you get the picture. So, if one feels dejected during the other 11 months of the year, December is even worse. Plus I hate the commercials and the saccarine Christmas songs that get recycled every year. The only thing I really like about Christmas are lights, the vacation days at work, and getting my thirteen month’s salary (which doesn’t even amount to much). Plus I still have parents who gift me money for my birthday (Dec. 14th) and Christmas, which pays for my yearly book haul…

    I’m sorry about the amount of problems you’re facing, and yet, you’re fighting like a champ – making art, trying to enjoy books and movies on different medias, blogging. I hope you get the break you deserve this year. We will be here to listen and cheer for you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Even without health problems, life can be tough. I also find it hard sometimes to not feel bitter and angry that other people are taking for granted all the things they can do and have that I can’t. And like you said, struggles only seem to be magnified around the holidays. But hey, a bit of extra money and vacation time is always good 🙂 I think I might’ve missed your birthday, so happy belated birthday! Thank you, I hope you have a good year too <3

  7. Daniela Ark

    I’m happy you have been able to write and create some art. Looking forward to your opinion on the Night Circus and Five reasons to read Paranormal Romance!. Those are two books I want to read! Hope you feel better soon. Hugs

    1. Kristen Burns

      Regardless of circumstances, when things are tough, it can definitely make the whole New Year thing seem worse. I hope you can get out of your funk this year though <3

  8. Olivia Roach

    I can see why you hate the new year. We actually don’t celebrate it much and it is okay to set goals and it is okay to set none. The year doesn’t have to be better than the previous because in the end we all have no way to control what is really going to happen. I hope it will be a better health year for you though, and I like that you have been able to do some drawing and play games a bit for your happiness. Ooh, I am curious to hear more on your thoughts on the night circus as I am debating whether to read it or not. Oh, and I SEE SHAKESPEARE ON YOUR LIST. This makes me incredibly happy.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly, if the new year helps people get motivated, then great! But if it doesn’t, then there shouldn’t be any pressure. Like you said, there are so many things we can’t control.

      I plan to do a mini review for The Night Circus, so I’m not sure when I’ll actually get that post put together. Unfortunately I didn’t like A Midsummer Night’s Dream 🙁 I may have enjoyed it more had I read it normally, but I can’t do that right now, and I struggled to understand what was happening with the audio since I couldn’t process all the Shakespearean language.

  9. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    I’m honestly not big on the whole New Year holiday either. I make goals for my blog, but beyond that, I’m not big on making resolutions because I have no willpower so they just seem like a setup for failure, lol. I do hope that 2020 is better for you though, especially healthwise.