The Weekly Update: 5/8/16


I really didn’t have a very exciting week. That’s not a bad thing, it just doesn’t give me a whole lot to talk about.

My laptop came back, but it was still acting weird when I first turned it on, so I need to kind of test it out a bit more to see if it’s actually working :-/

Some better news is that I’ve finally started catching up on the few shows I watch that I had fallen behind on (i.e. Awkward and Faking It). Unfortunately it seems like the entire plot of Faking it has just become someone walking over at the wrong moment and/or seeing something out of context and then jumping to conclusions. Rinse and repeat. (Also, is it weird that I don’t like to read about high school students but I watch shows about them?)

Other than that, there have been some thunderstorms, but that’s really about it.

And last but not least, happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms out there 🙂

Blog/Bookish Updates:

My star ratings are working on Google!!! I went through all the work of adding the Schema markup to the theme coding myself months ago because I’m a masochist like that, but the stars were never there when I checked before. But look at that little beauty now!

Star Ratings in Google

In other news, this will be my first week of posting three book reviews. I’m going to try and make it an every other week thing and, on the weeks in between, post other stuff on Fridays. Not sure yet what that other stuff will be, but I guess we will all find out soon lol. I’m actually thinking of sharing some of my writing and maybe starting to do author interviews (but I’m scared of both)!

Also, I have become shit at reading blurbs. That’s not really much of an update, I’m aware, but this keeps happening. I read blurbs. I really do. But apparently I twist them around in my head, or I forget like half of them even though I think I still remember, and then I read the book expecting one thing and being surprised by what I actually get. So then I’ll be all, I didn’t know this book was about abuse, or, awesome, I didn’t think there was romance in this book, or some other thing. But then I’ll go back and look at the blurb, and there it is. Right there. Lol.

Books I Received for Review:

The Human Cure by Tracy Auerbach | books, reading, book covers
The Funnyman by Sophia Whittemore | books, reading, book covers
Art Ops Vol. 1 by Shaun Simon, Michael Allred, & Matt Brundage | books, reading, book covers

My brain after requesting The Human Cure:
Me: What did I say about requesting standalones, Kristen???
Also Me: But, but… vampires?
Me: *stares judgily*
Also Me: And the reviews say it’s funny with really vampire-y vampires!
Me: *sighs* *gives up*

Books I Finished:

Kelpie Dreams by Steve Vernon | books, reading, book covers
Withered + Sere by TJ Klune | books, reading, book covers
The Haunted Pub by Melanie Tushmore | books, reading, book covers

It’s funny how I haven’t managed to read any books about gargoyles or trolls or the less-common-but-still-not-too-rare creatures, yet I’ve somehow read two books about kelpies this year. However, the humor in Kelpie Dreams wasn’t for me. But Withered + Sere—WOW! Just wow. It won’t be for everyone, but it really impressed me. That’s already eight 4.5 star books this year, and that’s a lot for me! The Haunted Pub was also really good, though the ending left something to be desired.

(Also I think it’s cool that I read one book set in the US, one set in the UK, one set in Canada, and I’m currently reading one set in Australia.)

Song of the Week:

“Youth” by Troye Sivan – My latest song obsession. I just love it. I think that’s partly due to the video though because of how well it captures the whole “youth” thing.


In Case You Missed It:

– I shared book covers featuring Ferris wheels.
– I reviewed Deadgirl by B.C. Johnson, a unique YA urban fantasy.
– I talked about why I think it’s a beautiful thing that we all have different taste in books.
– I reviewed A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly, an incredible mashup of magic, gangsters, and the Prohibition Era, and I made a quiz to help you figure out who you would be in a Magic Prohibition Era!

The Sunday Post Link-Up:

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


Talk to me!

Did you find any good books or movies last week?
Do you have any tips for sharing your writing or doing author interviews?
How are you doing with the whole not-requesting-too-many-ARCs thing?


Your Thoughts


40 thoughts on “The Weekly Update: 5/8/16

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  1. Deborah

    Oh Kristen I love the fact your ratings now appear. I wonder what mine look like. Not that I don’t think!

    And I know what you mean about reading vs watching. I don’t read fantasy / sci fi but watch A LOT of Sci Fi – Firefly, Buffy, Continuum, The 100, Orphan Black, Falling Skies, XFiles and many more I can’t think of. It’s kinda strange… (so I’m glad it’s not just me!)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks 🙂 Yeah, you have to add in the code or use a plugin to get to actually show in star form.

      That’s funny because I actually don’t watch any SFF (ok, aside from Star Wars Rebels), but that’s like all I read, haha.

  2. Greg

    Hey the laptop came back. Hope it’s OK. I’ve had the same problem with blurbs, where I THINK I read something and then later I’m like oh that’s what it said. Did I confuse it with another blurb or what??? It’s irritating. 🙂 Sometimes it turns out good and sometimes not so much…

    I’m wondering about The Human Cure with that cover. And vampires. Interesting. I don’t think I’ve read any kelpie stuff although I’ve read about selkies. What’s with all the different animal shapes?

    You read indie authors quite a bit seems like so I bet if you did interviews you could give them some nice visibility?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I am so not getting my hopes up about the laptop actually working right -_- I just haven’t even had the energy to deal with it yet to really check.

      Seriously, what’s happening with the blurbs? So far it’s generally turned out well for me though. I’m just confused about how I can keep getting them all wrong in my head.

      Yeah, I actually have no idea why there appears to be an octopus on the cover of The Human Cure? There’s no mention of octopi in the blurb lol. But kelpies… have you ever thought about how weird kelpies actually are? I mean, they’re horses that live/breathe/whatever underwater. I feel like it doesn’t get more random than that. At least selkies are just, like, seal shifters lol.

      Yeah, I was thinking the same, that I really shouldn’t be nervous about doing author interviews since I’m sure indie authors would love to have more exposure 🙂

      1. Greg

        I don’t know what the deal is with kelpies. I mean, horses that live in water?? Or do I have that wrong? Spirits that take horse form? either way it’s weird. 🙂 There must be some mythology behind it but I don’t know… the sheer number of fae/shapechange variants is pretty wild though. And that is an octopus? I wasn’t sure, I mean I guess it’s obvious but hey, you never know. lol

        1. Kristen Burns

          It is weird. I can’t remember what the purpose of kelpies are, or if they have a purpose, but yeah, underwater horses 0.o Except the ones I’ve read about were also shifters since they could also be human. And I don’t know, it looks like an octopus to me? I haven’t read it yet though, so don’t quote me on that lol.

          1. Shandy

            Ok forgive me for butting in, but kelpies have two forms human and horse. The mythos is that they take either form to lure travelers into the water so they can drown and eat them. Water Horses are big in celtic and norse mythology. Sorry if I sound know-it-ally not trying to, just thought I’d toss that out. I’m writing a mystery about a kelpie who falls for a pooka. So I did a load of research on the different creatures.

            1. Kristen Burns

              Not know-it-ally at all! I actually did some Googling myself after this conversation because I was curious to learn more lol. I did read about how they lure humans then drag them underwater and eat them. Rather terrifying. Your story sounds interesting, I like books about less common paranormal creatures!

  3. Literary Feline

    Sometimes I wonder if I even read one word of a blurb on a book because I’ll start it, read the blurb to make sure I am not crazy, and wonder why I even wanted to read it in the first place. And, like you, there are certain types of movies I will watch, but I wouldn’t read the book–or vice versa.

    I am terrible at not requesting too many ARC’s. NetGalley makes it too easy. I stay away for weeks at a time, and then I binge. I’m awful. Terrible. Argh.

    I hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ok I feel better that I’m not alone in this blurb problem I have lol. And that I’m not alone in that I have different taste when it comes to books vs shows/movies.

      Haha, yeah, Netgalley is so tempting! It’s even more tempting to accept books when you’re auto approved or they’re “read nows”, stuff like that.

      You have a great week too!

  4. Maureen's Books (@MaureenHinten)

    Those star ratings on Google look beautiful Kristen! 😉
    That laptop of yours really is a piece of work. I hope it will work good after you’ve test it.
    Good luck on the three reviews a week thing. I sometimes have three reviews up in a week, but I’m trying not too, because it’s a lot of work and it makes me stress sometimes.
    Have a great week and Happy Reading! 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks 🙂

      Ugh, I know. If the laptop doesn’t work this time I’m just giving up because idk what else to do.

      Thanks! I think three reviews will give me less stress though because I have too many piling up and not getting posted on time.

      You have a great week too!

  5. cindy

    Wow ! The star ratings on google look great! I need to learn how to do that. I love your blog design it looks awesome. Have a great week ahead:)

  6. Annika @ Hiding Books

    I can’t believe your laptop is still acting weird! That’s got to be so annoying!
    Look at those beautiful star ratings though! Yay!
    I do the exact same thing with blurbs. It’s so weird. Maybe we skim blurbs really fast or something, so we don’t retain all the information?
    I’m going to be listening to Youth all day now, I think. You’re right – the video is a really good depiction of youth!
    Also also the not-requesting-too-many-ARCs thing? I failed so badly this past week. I was approved for like eight ARCs during the week and now I’m drowning but it’s also kind of the best way to go?

    1. Kristen Burns

      Don’t even get me started on the laptop -_- I haven’t fully checked it because I just haven’t had the energy to deal with it.

      Thank you about the star ratings!

      I feel a lot better now that I see I’m not the only one with this blurb problem lol. I think that’s what it is sometimes, that I skim, see a keyword that makes me decide to read it, and skip the rest. Or I read it for real the first time but then only skim when I go back to read it again?

      Ahhhh I’m glad you also like the song and get what I’m saying about the video 😀

      And drowning in ARCs is totally the best way to go 😛

  7. Lola

    Not having an exciting week can be good too! That’s good news your laptop got back, I hope it works this time as that doesn’t sound promising it acted weird when you put it on.

    Oh that’s exciting your star ratings show up on google! Fancy! I am happy you decided to do some weeks with 3 reviews as I always enjoy reading your reviews. And the author interviews sound like a fun idea. Interviews can be fun to read.

    It can be hard to find fantasy books with the less common creatures, I’ve only Kelpie’s as side characters so far I think. Looking forward to your reviews of those books! This year has been weird for me with only one 5 star read, I did got a lot of 4 stars, but only one 5 star which is weird for me as I usually average about one a month.

    We’re currently watching the Librarians, which is a fun television series. And I had some good reads this week, I finished True Colors, Faerie Blood and Saven Denial. The last two were 4 stars and the first one a 3 star, but it was a fun read. And I am failing on the not requesting too many arc’s, so I can’t help you there. For interviews, I always like Daniella her interviews and Anna from herding Cats and Burning Soup does some good author interviews. I think the thing i like most with interviews is when the questions are tailored to the person you’re interviewing. I hope you’ll have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Exactly, a boring week means at least nothing *bad* happened lol. And yeah, it really didn’t seem too promising, but I haven’t had the energy to even deal with the stupid thing yet -_-

      Haha I do feel fancy 😛 And thank you, I’m glad you like my reviews, though I know one of the books I read this week will most definitely not be for you as even I was cringing at some of the stuff in it!

      I won’t be reviewing Kelpie Dreams since it just wasn’t for me and wasn’t a review copy. Sorry your reading year has been weird. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve only had one 5 star read too. Then again, I only had three 5 star reads last year, so that sounds about right for me. But I feel like I’ve had a good reading year so far since I’ve gotten a lot of 4.5s.

      I’ve never heard of Librarians. I feel like I remember seeing Faerie Blood on one of your Sunday Posts but can’t remember what it’s about, but I look forward to the review since I like faeries 🙂

      Yeah, see, part of the reason I’m nervous about interviews is because I want to tailor them to each author, ask specific questions, find out the interesting stuff, you know? But that’s easier said than done. You’d think I’d be better at interviews since I had to do them for numerous classes in college lol, but I kind of just asked generic questions, and I want these to be better, especially this is something I’m so passionate about. You’re right that Daniela does great interviews and asks really good questions. I need to ask her for advice lol. I haven’t seen Herding Cats and Burning Soup’s interviews though, so I’ll check those out 🙂

      1. Lola

        I’ve had a lot of good 4 star books so that’s good, but it’s just a bit weird I have gotten less 5 star reads than normal. Maybe I should do half ratings too ;).

        Faerie Blood is about fae and other supernaturals with lots of action and some magic. A bit of a romance side plot that worked pretty well. It was a good one. I think you might enjoy that one.

        I agree when you tailor the questions to every author you interview it will be more interesting , but it also takes a lot more time. So I understand why people often ask the more generic ones. Asking Daniela for advice sounds like a good idea. i do think it would be fun to see author interviews on your blog, so I hope you give it a try!

        1. Kristen Burns

          I couldn’t survive without my half ratings 😛 I just round them up on Amazon and GR.

          It does sound like I might like that book.

          Yeah, tailoring the questions takes more time and really more effort to think of them lol, but it does make for a better interview. If I can think of some good questions, I will give it a try 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like we might actually have similar taste in music since now this is two artists we both like lol. And that makes me happy. No one ever has the same taste as me in anything, and it gets kind of sad being excited about things alone 😛 I’ve heard some of his other songs, but none of them stick with me quite as much as Youth does!

      1. AngelErin

        That’s true! Youth is definitely his best song. We probably do have more music artists in common! I like a lot of music and different kinds. I don’t like being excited about things alone either. It’s always so fantastic to see people as excited as you about something. ??

          1. AngelErin

            I like “Wow, I can get sexual too” I’m not sure if I’ve heard their other songs. Am I missing out? If so, I will listen to more of their songs tomorrow! I’m really into Ladyhawke, Nothing More, Starset, and London Grammer right now. Red hot chili peppers is my favorite band, but I love so many bands lol!

            1. Kristen Burns

              You are so missing out! Check out “Ahhh… Men” and “A Walk Through Hell.” Those are my favorites. Or “I Want to Know Your Plans” for a slower, sweeter song. I’ve not heard of Ladyhawke, Nothing More, or Starset, so I’ll definitely check those out. I recognize London Grammer but can’t place what song I know. That’s funny though, I was just on a Red Hot Chili Peppers kick recently and listened to nothing but their songs for a few days lol. I don’t know a ton of their songs, but I do know some.

          2. AngelErin

            Perfect! I’ll check out those songs and more from Say Anything tomorrow and I’ll let you know what I think. Thanks for the suggestions. Feel free to DM me anytime on Twitter or wherever with any suggestions you have. I love finding new music!! ? We probably have even more in common. ?

            1. Kristen Burns

              Same to you, let me know whenever you have more song recs 😀 Btw I’ve been listening to Starset. I haven’t been focused enough to listen to the lyrics, but I like the sound!

  8. Barb(boxermommyreads)

    I love books about gargoyles and would love to find more about trolls. I think I read One series about kelpies. I would love to read some of your writing. I think I need to look into The Human Cure – is that an octopus on the cover? Hope your laptop straightened out. I have a tablet driving me crazy.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I really want to try a book about gargoyles this year. I have a few on my Kindle already, I just haven’t gotten to them. Thanks for the encouragement 🙂 I actually split up a short story a wrote and made the posts for it so fingers crossed that someone will like it lol even though it’s like the completely opposite of what I like to read, which is weird.

      Yeah, I don’t understand the octopus either lol. Maybe it’ll make sense when I read it.

  9. Laura Thomas

    I’ll be checking out Withered & Sere after you enthusiasm. Haunted Pub looks fun too. I believe kelpies are supposed to be dangerous. You mention humor so the author takes them in a different direction. I’ve always enjoyed watching science fiction and fantasy movies. Then I finally started reading the books and found I loved the genres:)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Both of those books have M-M romance, don’t know if you read that. But if you do, I definitely recommend checking out Withered + Sere if you like dark books. Kelpies supposedly eat people in the folklore, but you know how paranormal books are. The scary creatures are made sexy instead lol. And that’s funny because I read SFF books but don’t watch SFF.

  10. sjhigbee

    Sometimes boring can be good – remember the old Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times’:). The Haunted Pub looks like fun. As for blurbs – don’t get me started! I have a different problem with them – I find the majority these days FAR too chatty! You can easily read the first quarter of a book’s plotpoints in those short paras on the back cover, which I HATE as it ruins the reading experience, so I generally ignore the blurb until after I’ve finished the book and regularly omit/change the blurb on my review so as not to give out the Spoiler details. Hope you have a great week:)

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree, boring means that at least nothing bad happened 🙂 My problem with blurbs isn’t necessarily that they give too much away but rather that they’re just too long period, which is probably why I end up skimming them and missing half or just forgetting and that getting all confused when I read the book lol. You have a great week too 🙂

  11. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    YOu have some great books this week! I miss my laptop since it got some kind of virus or something a year ago. I have to use my work one all the time, and it just seems wrong. Oh well. Hope you have a great week! Check out my Sunday Post in the link below!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks 🙂 I get you, I’ve been using an old laptop, and it felt so wrong at first, but it feels more right now that I’ve got all my stuff installed and have been using it for a while. Thanks, you have a great week too!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh, no, when I got the laptop back it still didn’t work and I had to send it in again -_- I have it back for the third time but I’m still testing it. And thanks about the ratings!