The Weekly Update: 1/8/16


It has been a fairly uneventful week for me. I’m just kind of really extra tired because of all the construction noises -_- I’m finally going to buy myself some peppermint oil to use for the ant problem today though (if I remember). I haven’t seen any lately, so they might be gone, but I was wrong about that once before, so I’ll use the peppermint oil just to be sure since apparently they don’t like the smell.

And that is honestly about it for this week unless you want to listen to me complain about my water pressure problems some more too πŸ˜‰


Blog/Bookish Updates:

I have a problem, and that problem is that my reviews are becoming ridiculously long. See, before I was a reviewer, I had a book journal. After finishing a book, I’d write down (or type) what I liked, what I disliked, favorite character, etc. It was all completely uncensored and unedited. I could fangirl or I could rant. I didn’t worry about length or organization. Then I started reviewing, and I would still write my thoughts in the journal in order to work them out, then I’d come back to them a week or two later and use those thoughts to write the actual review. But now I don’t do the journal thing. And I don’t let my thoughts settle. So all that fangirling and ranting is going into the review. And I also now feel this NEED to include every tiny little thing I thought so that I’ll never forget anything (since I can’t look at the journal). But pretty soon no one is going to read my reviews because they’re becoming novels themselves -_- I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, it’s not like you can help me lol. Just venting, I guess?

Books I Received for Review:

Garden of Thorns by Keary Taylor | reading, books

Books I Finished:

Blackwell by Alexandrea Weis with Lucas Astor | reading, books
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan | reading, books
Obscura Burning by Xan van Rooyen | reading, books
Garden of Thorns by Keary Taylor | reading, books
Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen | reading, books

I FOUND MY FIRST 4.5 STAR BOOK OF THE YEAR! I know, not quite as exciting as 5 stars, but finding a 4.5 star book within the first week is still great for me since I don’t give many of either rating. But let’s back up a bit first. The MC in Blackwell was just as villainous as I wanted him to be, but he felt inconsistent and the book fell flat. Y: The Last Man Vol. 1 had art that I loved and an interesting premise and is a series I plan on continuing. Obscura Burning, however, was one of those books I loved from the first page, it was one of the darkest books I’ve ever read despite the fact that it was YA, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it even had disability in it (even though it didn’t play a big part)! I’m still thinking about the book, and I’ve already looked up the author’s other books so I can read them too since apparently dark and twisted is their thing. Garden of Thorns fell flat though and ended before much happened (it was the first in a spin-off, and I’ve decided not to continue). And Unfolding was strange but I still liked it, and I loved the inclusion of disability.

Song of the Week:

“Svefn-g-englar” by Sigur RΓ³s – I listened to this a bunch while reading Obscura Burning because it’s haunting and went so well with the mood of the book.


In Case You Missed It:

– I shared my 2017 bookish goals.
– I reviewed Starflight by Melissa Landers, a sweet, fun, quirky, all-around great YA sci-fi.
– I discussed how our environment affects our reading experience.
– I reviewed Shadows of Humanity by J. Armand, another great book in an urban fantasy series with lots of action and lovable, developed characters.

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 songs last week?
Is your year off to a good start, or at least a good bookish start?
Do your reviews also ever get super long?


Your Thoughts


42 thoughts on “The Weekly Update: 1/8/16

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  1. roro

    Do you when construction will be done? I hope they’re done soon. I’ve yet to read Brian K, Vaughan’s Vertigo book ( Y TLsTMan) Now that i’m talking about comics there are rumors that saga will end at issue 150 !!! Y ended at issue 66.

    Congrats on your first 4.5. I’m adding Obscura Burning on my tbr, A lovely new week to you Kristen

    1. Kristen Burns

      I heard something about them renovating the whole apartment, so it’ll probably be a while :-/ I liked Y: The Last Man, but not too much has happened yet, so idk if I’d recommend it yet or not. Wow, 150 issues?! I guess that’s a lot for us to look forward to even though I feel like that’s gonna take SO LONG.

      Thanks, I really loved it! I’ll have the review up later this week if you wanna check that out. Same to you!

  2. Greg

    Still the construction noises huh? Geez…

    I think I have that same problem sometimes- sometimes the review just feels right length- wise but other times it feels too short (?) or too long. It feels like there’s a fine line between the two. Of course everyone’s different but yeah… if I exceed 4 or 5 paragraphs I start to wonder if I’m rambling. πŸ™‚ I guess it just depends on the review. And… the problem I have is I don’t journal so sometimes I want to have everything in the review so I remember, and then of course we get to the spoiler problem. Sigh.

    Hey at least you get to vent. πŸ™‚

    Yay for Obscura Burning. I love that cover of Unfolding. Where’s her other eye? Do I wanna know? πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think the construction might be going on for a while :-/

      I never have a problem with too short lol. If I do by some chance have very little to say, I just do a post with mini reviews. Usually only happens with graphic novels and classics though. I don’t have a paragraph length, but I kinda judge by how much length it takes up on my computer screen, how much I have to scroll or if I have to scroll at all to see the full thing when I look at the post. And that’s my problem too, I don’t do the journal anymore, so I also feel like I NEED to put EVERYTHING in my review so that I won’t forget lol. If I feel the need to include spoilers, I just hide them.

      I don’t think you need to worry about her other eye, it’s just a normal eye, think it’s just hidden behind her hair, haha.

  3. chucklesthescot

    I feel as if my recent reviews are too short! I take notes in a book journal as I read as I have a poor memory for names and there is nothing worse than going to write a review and you can’t remember the funny sidekick’s name! I feel like I need to expand my thoughts a bit, express myself more. Good luck with the ants and enjoy your books!

  4. Maureen Beatrice

    I don’t really mind reading long reviews. I love them to be honest. I think it’s really fun to read what another reviewer thought about every single thing. But I do admit to reading shorter reviews more, because of a lack of time at times.
    I’m having a good reading year so far. I hope to finish and start another book today!
    Have a great week and happy reading!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Actually I like long reviews when I’m actually trying to decide whether to read a book or not. But I feel like a lot of people don’t like long reviews, especially because they do take more time to read.

      Glad you’re having a good reading year so far! Same to you πŸ™‚

  5. Megan McDade

    I have had a great start to the year reading wise, two books down and one half way done. One of my new fave songs of the week is the song for fifty shades darker. Have a great week.

  6. Lola

    I didn’t know ants didn’t like the smell of peppermint. Hopefully they are gone now or else the smell will drive them away. And I hope the construction noises will be gone soon.

    Oh and I ordered Starflight this week, as I decided to just buy it and see how I like it.

    I am pretty sure people still will be reading your reviews. I don’t think your reviews are too long, but then again I am one of those long review writers as well. So maybe my opinion doesn’t count as much. I just write until I have nothing more to say, which usually means I end up with long reviews.

    Yay for your first 4.5 star of the year. Guess our reading is sorta aligned again this week as I had my first 5 star of the year, actually it was also my first read of the year. It looks like you had a good reading week and I am looking forward to your review of Obscura Burning. I guess that was the book you gave a 4.5 stars? And now I am wondering if the author changed the book as well as the cover as I DNF’d that one. Then again I am not a fan of dark and confusing books. I have read one of her other books, the Other Me and I did enjoy that one.

    Oh you discovered Sigur Ros! I love their music. There was a time in my teenage years I listened so much to that, I still listen to it now and then. Have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      DAMMIT I FORGOT TO BUY PEPPERMINT. I just got home from the store and realized when I saw you mention it in the comment -_- I think the construction might be going on for a while though :-/

      Yay Starflight!

      Yeah we both have long reviews, but I feel like mine are just getting way out hand, the ones I’ve written recently but haven’t posted yet.

      I saw that you DNFed Obscura Burning. I can see why because it’s so not your kind of book. It is a second edition though, so I have no idea how much it was edited since you read it. What I read was super dark. I didn’t think it was confusing though. Only the ending threw me off because it was open to interpretation, and I’d rather have something definitive. I think The Other Me is the one book of hers I don’t want to try lol because it’s the one that’s not all dark and twisted lol.

      Yeah I have no idea what they’re saying but I like how some of their songs sound! Thanks, you too πŸ™‚

  7. Samantha

    Oh I didn’t know peppermint oil can keep ants away. Good to know! Yay for getting a 4.5 star read in the first week of the new year! That is awesome! Hopefully you have a great week!

  8. Michelle

    The first week of the year always seems to be uneventful and I am totally fine with that πŸ™‚

    I am 100% with you on reviews. I have been thinking about changing mine up a bit and using something to write them down like you said and then doing the actually review after I gather all my thoughts. Sometimes I write the review so fast and after the post goes live some stuff has settled and I realized I had other stuff I would have rather said.

    I had my first 5 star this week and I was actually very shocked I gave it 5 stars since I have been on a 4 star kick lately. It was a nice change πŸ™‚

    Have a great week, Kristen! Happy Reading!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I’m ok with uneventful lol.

      Ugh, but see writing your thoughts down first in a separate thing, it’s more work. And with my tennis elbow, I really can’t be typing more than necessary. Though oftentimes my reviews sit there for weeks or months after I write them since I just don’t have a slot for them yet, so it gives me time to edit at least. But I still can’t bring myself to remove anything lol.

      Yay, that’s awesome you found a 5 star!

      Thanks, same to you πŸ™‚

  9. Deborah

    I have to admit Kristen I don’t feel very ‘natural’ when writing some of my reviews now. I go back to the early ones and felt like I had insightful things to say but now…. I feel they’re forced or something.

    I hadn’t known about the peppermint oil thing and I have ants so I’ll try it!

    PS. Hope your water pressure problems improve!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Some reviews come more easily than others. It sucks when they feel forced and you don’t know what to say :-/

      Supposedly it works for certain types of ants, so maybe it’ll help your problem too!

      Thanks, I have no hope for the water at this point though lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve never purposely done this, idk if it’s subconscious or something, but it seems like the first sentence in each paragraph of my review kind of summarizes that paragraph. So if anyone were to just read the first sentence of each paragraph, they’d have a decent summary of my review. But no one knows to do that lol. I’ve considered using bold for those sentences, it’s a good idea.

  10. Jane @ Raincity Librarian

    Peppermint oil sounds like the most pleasant ant reppellant! Much better than nasty chemicals, and you’re house will smell minty fresh! ? As for the reviews – I for one appreciate personality in the reviews I read, rants and raves feel more authentic and real than the formal reviews you get in magazines or journals. And besides, it’s your blog, you can write what you like! ?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Right? It’s such a nice smell! But smelling it too much could still possibly have negative effects since it’s an essential oil.

      I mean, I know I can write my reviews however I want, but it doesn’t do me much good to write them if no one reads them lol. I agree though, I much prefer reviews with some personality to the “professional” magazine ones!

  11. Laura Thomas

    I’ve used that oil before and it worked for me. Hopefully it will take care of those ant for you too. Been a bit quiet for me also. But life is getting back to normal and busy again:)

    1. Kristen Burns

      It might if I had remembered to buy it, haha. Glad to hear it’s worked for someone though. It’s nice to have a quiet week before the chaos starts again!

  12. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    Yay for a 4.5 this early in! Last year the first few books were all on the meh side but this year has been great so far! Construction noise can be so exhausting. Hopefully it won’t go on too much longer and the ants will stay gone. I’ve been trying to shorten my reviews too. It’s hard to talk myself into believing that not every single one of my thoughts on a book needs to be shared! I can see where not doing the journal anymore would make that extra tricky. Have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Glad you’re off to a good start too πŸ™‚ The construction noise truly is exhausting, but I’ve not seen any ants for days now, so fingers crossed about that! And yes, exactly! I feel like every little thing needs to be shared and I can’t bring myself to remove anything from the reviews lol. Same to you!

  13. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I really want to check out Blackwell and Garden of Thorns may interest me as well. I hope your ants are truly gone for good. We have an empty house next to ours and it’s becoming a haven for all sorts of things so I’m always on the lookout for invaders. Will they ever be done with the construction work? It seems like it’s been going on for ages. Hope you have a great (and quiet) week.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Garden of Thorns is kind of a spin-off series, I’d recommend checking out House of Royals and maybe starting there πŸ™‚ Yikes, that sucks about the house next door. The worst though is when a place nearby is tented. I had that happen with a nearby apt when I first moved in, and the roaches just invaded all of our nearby apts when the place was tented -_- And I have a feeling the construction will continue for a while :-/ But thank you!

  14. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    I hope the peppermint oil does the trick and maybe keeps those little guys far away from your bedroom. Also I like reading your reviews (long or not!) but I understand the wish to keep them concise. Sometimes it’s tough though!

    Obscura Burning sounds like something I really need to check out! I need to remember to add it to my TBR when I get a chance. πŸ˜‰ Thanks!

    Hope you have a great week. How’s the elbows and wrists?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I completely forgot to buy it lol, but I think they might be gone anyway. Thank you! I don’t even want my reviews to be short per se, just not ridiculously long lol.

      Obscura Burning was amazing! My review will go up Thursday if you wanna check it out πŸ™‚

      The pain was doing so much better but then I apparently pushed too hard and they hurt again :-/ Thank you for asking though <3

  15. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Uneventful weeks are a good thing, that means not too much has gone wrong to have you ranting. It also means not much has gotten you all happy and excited but not every week can be full of excitement.

    And there is nothing wrong with long reviews, especially if it means you can get all your feelings across. I find it easier to write a smaller review on Goodreads first just because that helps me get my thoughts in order before I then write my blog one. It sometimes helps and means my reviews go where I want them to.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree, I’m ok with uneventful.

      I mean, I know long reviews have their merits. I like long reviews when I’m actually considering a book. But still, I think mine are getting TOO long.

  16. S. J. Pajonas

    Ants don’t like peppermint and tea tree oil. I found both to be very helpful in fighting ours. Plus they smell great! πŸ™‚ I’m laughing about your review conundrum. Maybe it would be good to go back to journaling first! Lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      So the same oils that help headaches and sinuses also get rid of ants? Odd coincidence lol. Yeah, I am thinking of maybe going back to the journaling first and then just cutting out bits and pieces to kinda form my review. Still more typing though which is bad for tennis elbow :-/

  17. Bookworm Brandee

    Uneventful weeks aren’t so bad although I’m sorry construction is still interrupting your sleep. :/ Congrats on having such a wonderful reading week though! And I must admit I was disappointed that Blackwell wasn’t your 4.5 star read. I love that cover! πŸ˜‰ However, I look forward to reading your review of Obscura Burning. You have me curious.
    As for your reviews…I love them! They convey your feelings about the books so well and that’s what it’s all about. So review/fangirl/rant on, my friend!! πŸ˜€

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree, uneventful is fine with me! But the construction is really making me exhausted, and my body just won’t fall asleep early enough to be able to get up at 8 in the morning :-/ Yeah, I had high hopes for Blackwell and was disappointed, but Obscura Burning was an amazing surprise! And thanks, I’m glad you like my reviews regardless of how ridiculously long some of them are lol πŸ™‚

  18. La La in the Library

    I am so happy I decided to go back one on your Sunday Post BECAUSE THAT VIDEO AND SONG ARE STELLAR! I am not familiar with that band (artist?). I will be checking it (them) out. Tbe video makes me want to go back to college and take another film class and make some videos. The pure unadulterated expressions of joy on their faces in some of the shots lifted my heart. Thanks for sharing. ?

    Venting is good. I keep telling my IRL friends that blogging saves me a ton of money on therapy. ?

  19. Jessica

    I finally finished book 10 of the Anita Blake series. Now I’m reading Echo Vol. 2 by Kent Wayne. It’s getting pretty good. I don’t write reviews really long. But they might be long to some people.