The Weekly Update: 1/15/17


My tennis elbow is back :-/ I knew this would be an ongoing battle. I know I’m not good at resting injuries, but I really thought I had been doing better with resting this one than with pretty much any injury I’ve ever had in the past. *sigh*

In better news, I completely forgot to buy peppermint oil when I went shopping -_- but I think the cold weather finally got rid of the last of the ant stragglers! Maybe they went to someone else’s apartment since I don’t have central heating that works. And the water pressure started getting worse and worse in my shower, but fiddling with the faucets seems to have magically fixed it, at least until they do more “plumbing repairs” *rolls eyes* So fingers crossed that two of my problems may have been solved!

Blog/Bookish Updates:

It’s Disability Diaries week! What is Disability Diaries, you ask? It’s a new event hosted by a bunch of bloggers that focuses on disability in books. And, as you can tell, even though I’m not hosting the event, merely participating, I’m super excited about it because disability is something that is often neglected in discussions about diversity. I’ve got an announcement about a little pet project I’ve been working on that I’ll share tomorrow (I actually started working on it before this even was created, but this just seemed like a good time to finally share it), a review for a book with disability on Tuesday, and then a list of sci-fi/fantasy book recs on Wednesday. And I can’t wait to see all the other posts from everyone else who participates! (I don’t think there’s going to be a link-up, but #disabilitydiaries2017 is being used on Twitter.)

Also, ok, we’ve all heard horror stories about authors behaving badly, right? Well, I feel like authors are getting a bad rap and not enough credit because everyone likes to vent when something goes wrong, but how often do we share stories about the positive interactions we have? Not often when it comes to this, which is why I’m doing this little PSA to say that there are, in fact, a lot of authors out there who are appreciative and professional. All the authors I’ve written less-than-stellar reviews for have respectfully left me alone, aside from a few who have contacted me about 3 and 2 star reviews just to thank me for taking the time to review their book or for pointing out flaws that they’re going to try and improve in their future writing. So remember, there are a lot of horror stories, but there are positive stories too!

Last but not least, since this section is getting long, I’m feeling really good about review copies, guys. I’m below 20 books! I’ve actually been reading more than I’ve been getting for once.

Books I Received for Review:

Muddy Waters by Sara O. Thompson | reading, books

Books I Finished:

Succubus by Brandon Varnell | reading, books
The Pedlar and the Bandit King by Kirby Crow | reading, books
Mariner's Luck by Kirby Crow | reading, books
The Land of Night by Kirby Crow | reading, books
The King of Forever by Kirby Crow | reading, books

Succubus wasn’t quite for me, but anyone who likes manga may enjoy it more. The rest of the books were all in the same series (yay binge reading!), and they were slow-paced and fairly quick reads but character-focused and enjoyable.

Song of the Week:

No song this week.


In Case You Missed It:

– I did the My Harry Potter Life Tag! Go read it, or I’ll touch you with my disgusting wand.
– I reviewed Succubus by Brandon Varnell, an urban fantasy that might be enjoyable for manga/anime fans.
– I discussed why I love book playlists.
– I reviewed Obscura Burning by Suzanne van Rooyen, an amazing, dark, intense, mindfuck of a book.

The Sunday Post Link-Up:

Once again, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer πŸ™‚


Talk to me!

Did you find any good books or music last week?
Have you had any good experiences with authors whose books you gave less-than-stellar reviews for?
How are you doing with review copies so far this year?


Your Thoughts


48 thoughts on “The Weekly Update: 1/15/17

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  1. Greg

    Sorry t hear about your elbow- seems like I’ve heard it’s a tricky injury to get rid of? So you might not have done bad at resting it but it flared anyway? Yay for the ants though lol. That’s the only good thing about cold weather up here- stuff dies. πŸ™‚

    Disability Diaries- nice. Great topic and I had no idea- will look forward to seeing some attention paid to that. A list of recs sounds good too.

    I agree about authors. There’s always some who freak or act unprofessional but there are so many who are great too! I had a nice little interaction just this week with thr author of Lost Girls and she was great- super nice. Glad you’re highlighting that.

    Othr Where- nice cover. Looks vaguely cyberpunkish?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks, repetitive strain injuries are just really hard to get rid of, that’s the problem. I had shin splints for years, for example, and it finally went away after years of rest, but even still it threatens to come back if I do too much standing or walking. But yeah, turns out the cold is good for something afterall πŸ˜›

      There are definitely great authors out there, and ones who are nice and respectful even when you give them negative reviews, not just positive ones. Even if I don’t like an author’s book, I still respect them for handling negative reviews with grace.

      The book is urban fantasy, actually πŸ™‚

  2. Megan McDade

    I hope your tennis elbow heals up for you. I hadn’t heard of the Disability Diaries week! I can’t wait to see the posts it’s such a good idea and I definitely need some book recommendations. Have a great week.

  3. Ely @ Tea & Titles

    I can’t wait to see what you’ve got planned for Disability Diaries. We won’t have a link-up, but we will be social media blasting throughout the event and continue afterwards. I’m so happy you decided to join in, Kristenβ€”it really means a lot to all of us!

  4. Olivia

    Tennis elbows hurt πŸ™ Hope it feels better soon! No new book or music discoveries from me, I’m just happily reading things that have been out forever, because I feel like I’m forever running after my growing tbr pile.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Lol if it makes you feel any better, all my reads this week were backlisted books even though they were review copies. I think we’re all just forever running after our TBRs!

  5. Lara @ Another Teen Reader

    Tennis elbow? Ugh, sounds horrific – this is why I’m too much of a coward to participate in any non-compulsory sport. Hope it gets better soon.

    I’m so excited about all your Disability Diaries posts – we all need disability recs, especially in Sci-Fi / Fantasy, and a mysterious pet project? Colour me intrigued. Thank you so much for participating and I hope you have as much fun as we all are hosting.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks πŸ™‚ I did gymnastics most of my life, so I’m no stranger to injuries and aches and pains, but this is especially frustrating because it was caused by using the computer too much, and computer work is the only kind of work I can do :-/

      I’m happy to participate, and hopefully people will actually be interested in the books I recommend!

  6. Wattle

    I am rather curious about your project, looking forward to you revealing it!

    I’ve had one song on repeat for most of this week, Hotel Crazy by Robbie Williams and Rufus Wainwright, I love them both separately (this is the second song they’ve done together) and need them to release an album of duets.

    Yay for getting rid of ants! They are persistent little buggers :/

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s not going to be that exciting lol, but I’m happy to finally share it anyway.

      Ooh cool song! I’m listening to it now πŸ™‚

      Yes, I’m happy that I seem to finally be rid of the stupid ants -_-

  7. Samantha

    I have never had an author be rude to me. I see the horror stories that get posted online, but I have never experienced it. I think its like the news “if it bleeds, it leads”. The good stuff is just not as attention grabbing as the authors bad behavior. It is certainly sad and paints all authors in a bad light.
    I cam excited to see what books you all feature as part of your disability features! I love books where the characters have mental illness because it helps bring awareness to a topic that has a lot of misconceptions.
    Have a great week! Glad the ants are gone!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve never had an author be rude either. I agree, I think it’s definitely that thing where people are more likely to talk about the bad and just ignore the good. It does paint authors in a bad light, which is unfair to the ones who are respectful.

      Thanks! My post actually focuses on physical disabilities, but I do have a tag on my blog and a shelf on GR for mental illness too πŸ™‚


  8. Michelle

    Ugh! Sorry your elbow is acting up again. Your apartment seems like a nightmare. I am so sorry you have going through all of that and I hope they resolve everything for you soon.

    I haven’t had any bad experiences with authors which I am happy about because I have quite the temper and I know I wouldn’t be nice if called out or attacked. I also notice a lot of people like to focus hard on the negative and ignore positive, I am all about positive and love the feel good stories and happy posts from authors! I think people are looking more to argue than be happy for others.

    I hope you have a fantastic week, Kristen! Happy Reading! ox

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks. And lol, yeah, it has been ridiculous lately with all the problems, but at least some of them seem to have been fixed.

      I haven’t had any bad author experiences either. I’m pretty good at just ignoring drama online though, so I’d probably be able to just ignore it if I did. But exactly, people like to talk about the negative but never the positive, which is why I mentioned it in my post πŸ™‚

      Thank you, same to you!

  9. chucklesthescot

    Anti-inflammarory cream is the only thing that keeps away my tennis elbow. It’s pretty impossible for me to rest an elbow when you use your arms every day! I was interested in what you said about authors contacting you. I wrote two 2 star reviews and got emails from both-my heart was in my mouth when I saw that but I read on to find really nice responses from the authors because they felt what I said was fair and constructive and helped them in their writing, without being mean or discouraging others to try the book. I was actually quite pleased to hear that. I know it’s frowned on for authors to do that but it actually helped me in knowing my reviews were fair and useful to authors even when they were low star.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m afraid I’d be allergic to anti-inflammatory cream since I’m allergic to anti-inflammatory meds like aspirin and ibuprofin :-/ It is nearly impossible to rest this though.

      I felt the same way, I was terrified when I saw the name of the author in the message because I had given the book 2 stars, but he just ended up thanking me and saying he was going to use my criticism to improve his writing. I’ve had other authors whose books I have 3 stars do the same. And it is nice as a reviewer to be reassured that my reviews are helpful rather than mean.

  10. Lola

    Sorry about your tennis elbow :(. Chronic things/ injuries like that are the worst. They always seem to came back again and again. But let’s hope your ant and shower problems are fixed for now.

    I don’t think I’ve read a lot of books with disabilities, or maybe I simply don’t remember them, but I am looking forward to see what you have planned for this event.

    I feel like authors often get a bad rap and while I am sure there are some authors behaving badly, I so far have had mostly positive experiences. Most authors are so nice and friendly. I also have had authors who thanked me and repsonded politely to negative reviews.

    I am like totally the opposite of you this week i got so many new books and I have some new review copies coming my way int he next month or so, it just seems all the books I want to read are getting released soon. I don’t think I am going to get below the 20 review copies any time soon.

    Seems like you’re enjoying that series and it’s nice when you can binge read books in a row. i did that at the start of this year with a series and read 2 books and a novella in a row, it was nice to do that. Also those covers are pretty with the artwork and snowy or nature-y backgrounds. Have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks. I agree, this type of injury is the worse since it’s like it never truly goes away, it’s ready to come back as soon as you use it just a little too much.

      I’m looking forward to sharing the posts πŸ™‚

      Exactly, it’s unfair that only the negative stories are shared since that gives a bad rap to authors who are actually respectful. So far I’ve had nothing but positive experiences.

      Lol, I don’t even have any pending requests for review copies except for one I was supposed to get but then never heard back after the last email I sent :-/

      I do love getting to binge read. And I love those covers so much! I actually got in the mood to read the books because it was cold here and the books were all snowy lol. Thanks, same to you πŸ™‚

  11. suzanna

    Argh. Repetitive strain is so hard to get rid of. I have it in my right hand and I don’t think it will ever recover now πŸ™
    I love the idea of the Disability Diaries. I can’t remember one book I’ve read that has had a disabled character in it!!! Will keep my eye on your Tuesday posts and try and join in.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Repetitive strain injuries are the worst to get rid of. They almost never truly go away. I had shin splints for years, but even after years of no longer doing gymnastics or anything that should aggravate my shins, just standing too much makes it come back sometimes -_- I love the idea of Disability Diaries too! Maybe you’ll find some good books in my rec post πŸ™‚

  12. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Well yay for somethings being sorted however temporary it may be. I feel like we should throw a party everytime your water pressure is working right. It’s definitely something to celebrate, anyway. And as for your recurring tennis elbow, rest it! I mean, I know you already are, but maybe you could rest it more? Is that even physically possible? It sucks it keeps coming back because I know how much it’s been bothering you it;s obviously one of those really annoying injuries which likes to make it’s presence known.

    And can I just say wow, check you out reading more than you’re getting, show me your ways! I am on an actual 2 week book ban now anyway… probably. But I feel like how you must have felt last year, how are you reading all of these books? I mean, I’ve read more this week but even so I’m still flagging behind.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Seriously, I’ll take it even if it’s temporary lol. Having normal water pressure definitely deserves a celebration. I’d forgotten what it was like to be able to rinse more than a 3 in. sq. section of skin at once -_- Resting tennis elbow is super tough though because pretty much any arm or wrist movement uses that muscle.

      Lol so you finally understand how I feel when I visit your Sunday posts! The only reason I read so much this week though was because all the books were short, quick reads.

  13. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    haha I liked how you said “in better news” and it’s followed by a “I forgot to buy something” lol Better? jk jk. I hope your elbow feels better soon! Also, have there been a lot of horror stories lately with authors? What have I missed?!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I have unique view of what “good news” means πŸ˜‰ Thanks! No, you didn’t miss anything. I was just talking about all the horror stories in general. My mention of it was triggered by a positive interaction I had with an author πŸ™‚

  14. Deborah

    Sorry you’re having problems with your apartment… and your elbow sounds frustrating!

    I love that you’ve mentioned your positive interactions with authors – that’s great!

  15. Cyn @ Bookmunchies

    Resting an injury can definitely be difficult sometimes! Hope that gets better soon!
    Disability Diaries Week sounds awesome! It’s great that there’s more books/spotlight on disability. Hope you enjoy your new books (:

  16. Luna & Saturn

    Hope you elbow manages to fully recover! It really sucks when injuries don’t heal up nicely. We guess authors are like any other groups of people – there are good and there are bad. We’ve met a few super nice authors. At the Melbourne Gemina book launch, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff had a HUGE line for book signings, and even though this agent-y sort of person kept rushing them and telling them they’re running out of time, they still tried to talk a bit to every person in line for a bit – that was so nice! Scarlet and the White Witch has such a pretty cover. Glad the ants decided to leave your home!
    ~ PendragonsΒ 

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Exactly, there are good and bad authors, but it seems unfair that the badly behaved ones are giving them all a bad rap. The authors at the book launch sound so nice! I also love the Scarlet cover πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m also trying to get through more of the ones I have, especially the ones with upcoming release dates and ones I received earlier last year but still haven’t gotten to, so that I can also read some non-review copies and books I own!

  17. Maureen Beatrice

    Sorry to hear your tennis elbow is back. That really sucks!
    The Disability Diaries week sounds exciting. I’ll go check it out! πŸ˜‰
    I think I’m missing something because I haven’t heard those horror stories about authors yet. But I’m with you that there are always other stories too. And for one I don’t have any negative stories really!
    Have a great week and Happy Reading!

    1. Kristen Burns


      You should definitely check out the Disability Diaries event!

      I’ve never had any negative interactions either, but I’ve heard about them. I guess we’re lucky to have worked with good authors so far πŸ™‚ Thanks, same to you!

  18. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    ugh sorry to hear about your elbow. Hope you feel soon. It’s great that the water issue has been resolved and the ants are gone. Thought I thought you were keeping at least one as a pet πŸ˜›

    I love your project. I think it’s great you are doing it! I already found at least two book I want to read on your list. πŸ™‚

    I haven’t had any bad interaction with authors but based on what you said I guess some people have. Authors are people too so I guess they come in all sizes, forms and behaviors :). And they have their moments too like all of us. It’s hard to be criticized, especially publicly. And I have read some reviews that OMG really seem to attack the author personally! AND GOD IT’S FREAKING HARD TO WRITE A BOOK! So I can understand why taking criticism there is harder. Some maybe fairly new at this and still learning how to manage it. I’m not sure how I would. πŸ˜›

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks. And lol oops, I forgot to save one of the ants to be my pet πŸ˜‰

      Thank you! Yay, I’m glad you’ve already found books πŸ˜€

      I haven’t had any bad interactions either, but that was kind of my point, you know? That with the horror stories, the negative things get blown out of proportion even though most of us have had lots of good interactions. And I agree! I get upset over some reviews that I read, and I didn’t even write the books they’re insulting! But still, authors shouldn’t attack reviewers either.

  19. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    Argh. For some reason I thought I’d commented here… But I hadn’t! Sorry Kristen!!!

    I’m sorry your tennis elbow came back. ? That is no fun at all. But I hope the other problems are now resolved – here’s hoping!

    I also have to mention that I haven’t had a bad interaction with an author yet (touch wood!) and I’ve left some negative reviews.

    Well done on getting that review stack down! Thays awesome! Mine was decreasing but then I visited NetGalley today and while there’s no guarantee I’ll get anything I requested there’s a fair chance I’ll get at least one…. Also I’ve got a few emails to sort through…. Hopefully I can catch up with some reading soon!

    Hope you have a good week and hope you can rest a bit and get your pain back under control.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol no worries. Thanks. Yeah, at least some problems are getting better!

      See, exactly, a lot of us have written negative reviews but never had bad interactions. The bad ones just get blown out of proportion!

      Thanks! Lol NG will do that to you sometimes. I just haven’t been super truly interested in any NG books lately. I’ve been better at being picky.

      Thanks, you have a great week too!

  20. Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings

    Disability diaries sounds intriguing, my husband has MS and I just about died of shock when I read one book and the sexy hero had it. You are right though, it is often left out in talks about diversity. Hope your tennis elbow sorts itself out!

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s awesome about the book! It didn’t happen to be a sci-fi or fantasy, did it? For some reason physical disability really is left out in all the conversations though. Maybe that’ll change eventually πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  21. Bookworm Brandee

    Stop playing tennis, Kristen! Just kidding. I’m sorry your tennis elbow is back but I can relate with not being good at resting injuries. I’m not so good at that myself. Who has time? LOL I can’t wait to read the Disability Diaries and I appreciate the PSA regarding authors. I’ve only had 2 bad experiences with authors in the 6 years I’ve been blogging. And you’re right, people dwell on the negative and don’t report on the positive so kudos to you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Damn that tennis addiction of mine! If only that was really what it was from, at least that’d be a better reason than using a computer -_- I’ve never actually played tennis in my life though—not the best at hand-eye coordination, and I’m afraid of objects flying toward my face lol. As for resting injuries, idk if everyone is like that or if it’s just leftover from my gymnastics days since I used to get injured and just throw some tape or a support on the injury and get back to working out. But anyway, yes, exactly, people focus on the negative, so I just wanted to point out a positive πŸ™‚