The Weekly Update: 6/5/16


Guess what! Guess what! My laptop is back and it works!

Actually, this is kinda funny, it works because it actually isn’t my laptop. Mine had some faded spots from where my wrists rubbed when I used the keyboard, and this one does not… I’m 99% sure my laptop was just beyond fixing and they sent me a refurbished one. It’s the same make and model though, so as long as it works how it’s supposed to, at this point, I’m fine with that. I’m still hesitant to believe it works, but so far so good.

Also, I’ve started a love affair with kombucha! If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically fermented tea that has probiotics and B vitamins and other things that are really good for you. I had tried it once before and couldn’t handle the beer taste (since it’s fermented), but now I’ve realized that all I have to do is mix in some lemonade Crystal Light, and it’s perfect! The ginger one even tastes like fizzy ginger lemonade. It’s amazing. But even more amazing is that it seems like it might be giving me more concentration/energy, though I’m wondering if that might be the ginger. Or maybe it was just coincidence. I’m experimenting with the different flavors to figure it out.

So yeah, laptop, kombucha, that’s all I got this week, but at least it was some good news for once!

Blog/Bookish Updates:

I went on a rant on Goodreads the other night because why are so many new books not including any mention that they’re actually the first in a series??? This is frustrating to me. First of all, there are people who specifically WANT a standalone and will just be aggravated when they find out it’s a series. But then there are people like me who don’t really like standalones and actually want series. That means I sometimes don’t request books, even if they seem interesting, simply because they’re standalones. But lately I’ve read numerous books that I thought were standalones only to discover they were first-in-series. And yes, that’s great for me! But I almost didn’t even request them in the first place, and it makes me wonder if I’m missing out on a bunch of other great series I might love all because I’m accidentally turning them down. It doesn’t benefit anyone in the end to market a book as a standalone if it isn’t one.

Also, guys, guys, did you know there’s a gymnastics book coming out soon?! Tumbling by Caela Carter. But I’m already afraid from reading the reviews that it’s just gonna be a bunch of unrealistic teenage drama rather than, you know, gymnastics :-/ Plus it costs $10.99 for the ebook which is ridiculous, so I’ll have to wait for a sale.

Also, also, I’M KICKING ASS AT GETTING REVIEWS WRITTEN! I have 13 all typed and ready to go in WordPress! (You can find which reviews I have finished by checking out my upcoming reviews section.) You never know when something might come up to prevent you from blogging, so it’s nice to have a buffer. Plus I’ve got 5 discussion posts ready to to go πŸ™‚

Lastly, I’m still looking for sci-fi and fantasy books about characters with disabilities, chronic illness, etc. But a real disability/illness, not something that turns out to be a paranormal thing. I know many of you gave me fantastic recommendations already, but I’m posting my request again for anyone who didn’t see it.

Books I Received for Review:

The Paranaturalist by Ki Brightly | books, reading, book covers
The Ferryman Institute by Colin Gigl | reading, books
The Vampires' Last Lover by Aiden James & Patrick Burdine | reading, books
The Vampires' Birthright by Aiden James

*hangs head in shame* What’s even worse is that I also have two more books coming once they’re formatted -_-

Books I Finished:

The Funnyman by Sophia Whittemore | reading, books
Welcome to Deadland by Zachary Tyler Linville | reading, books
The Vengeful Half by Jaclyn Dolamore | reading, books

The Funnyman wasn’t for me, The Vengeful Half was decent but had too much politics for my taste, but I really enjoyed Welcome to Deadland even though the cliffhanger aggravated me. Guess what though…

THE MAIN CHARACTER IN WELCOME TO DEADLAND WENT TO THE SAME UNIVERSITY THAT I ATTENDED FOR TWO YEARS! Ok technically it wasn’t labeled as such, but I’m pretty sure that was just for legal reasons or something since the author also didn’t mention the word “Disney” even though they were at a famous theme park in Orlando that had a castle and was referred to as “the happiest place on earth.” There wasn’t really any significant school-related stuff that happened in the book, and it would’ve been even more fun if he had added a couple little details just so I could be all, “Oh! I’ve been there!” lol, but still, how cool is that?!

Ok I just realized there’s so much excitement in this post lol.

Song of the Week:

“Cali Swag District Teaches YOU How to Dougie!!!” – Ok so I’m posting this for the video, not the song, and maybe you’ve all already seen it since it’s not new, but it seriously never stops being funny lol.


In Case You Missed It:

– I reviewed No One Dies in the Garden of Syn by Michael Seidelman, a mysterious YA paranormal I couldn’t put down about an MC with cystic fibrosis.
– I discussed feminism and double standards in books and whether male and female characters are treated differently for being emotional.
– I reviewed Tainted Heart by Melissa Graves, a sexy M/M vampire romance with one of the most realistic yet adorable relationships I’ve ever read about.
– I posted the second and final half of my lighthearted contemporary short, All’s Fair in Love, Ice Cream, and Power Outages.

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 movies last week?
Do you also get annoyed when nothing is mentioned about a book being part of a series?
Have you read any books set in your hometown, the school you went to, etc.?


Your Thoughts


35 thoughts on “The Weekly Update: 6/5/16

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  1. Literary Feline

    I am so glad your laptop is back (or at least been replaced) and working! That must be a relief. I always mention a book is a part of a series when I review it, but I know what you mean. It can be frustrating to find out I’ve got the fifth book of a series when I was expecting a stand-alone. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, but sometimes it really does.

    You are really ahead of the game! I wish I had all those posts ready to go. I have to schedule ahead or blogging won’t happen, but I still feel like I’m always playing catch up.

    I hope you have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! It is a relief, except now I have to do all the work of transferring things and I just got used to using the old one I’m using now lol. But the other one should run smoother/faster.

      I’ve never had that happen with a later book in a series, it just keeps happening with first-in-series. I always post on my blog if a book is part of a series so no one will get confused, and I think I usually put it in the review too.

      IT FEELS AMAZING lol. I used to struggle to get posts up with a minute to spare, but this is so much less stressful! You have a great week too πŸ™‚

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    Yay on kicking written reviews ass! That is awesome. Scheduling ahead makes blogging so much easier. I am done June and half way done July. The tea sounds good, although I would have to check with my doctor since some of those can interfere with my meds. needing to know if a book is part of a series. NetGalley is awful at letting you know, so I always triple check Amazon, author website and Goodreads. Have an amazing week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! It makes blogging so much less stressful. And it makes me feel productive lol. If you’re able to try the kombucha with your meds, I recommend it! Good for you and delicious πŸ™‚ As for the first-in-series, I always check Amazon and GR too, but so many of them make no mention of it ANYWHERE, like it’s a secret that it’s going to be part of a series until you reach the end of the book -_- You have a great week too!

  3. Greg

    It’s back! And it works? Wooh! lol at least they sent you back something that (hopefully) keeps working. And I hear you on the series thing- I don’t know why they do that. Or don’t do it lol. Usually in YA they seem to be clear about it but then everything is a series in YA (well not everything…) but yeah that’s annoying, especially if you’re requesting off Netgalley or whatever.

    Love the covers this week. Supernatural Freak is pretty awesome.

    I’ve stumbled on a few books set in my state and it’s always cool to see if I recognize anything. Usually there’s not too much but you can kinda tell when they’ve really been in the area by some of the references… and if I see it in the blurb or know about in advance I’m way more likey to try it as long as it’s not too far off genre- wise.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Right? Yay laptop! But after so many issues, I just can’t bring myself to trust it. The thing about the first-in-series is though is that it doesn’t even say it on Amazon or GR—I always check.

      I’m about halfway through Supernatural Freak, and unfortunately it’s not living up to its cover.

      Well the author actually went to the same university according to his bio, so I know he’s been there lol. But he was purposely trying to keep things vague, though I don’t really know why. I’ve read a few books set in my state, some in my city even, but never any that really had recognizable stuff. One of them did take place in a museum I used to go to a lot as a kid, but it was this crazy kind of alternate destroyed world so… But I do have one book on my kindle right now that I bought because it’s set where I live lol and is urban fantasy.

  4. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    It’s funny that you actually recognized that the laptop you’ve got now may not be your original laptop πŸ™‚ I’m glad it’s working, though, Kristen!
    I have to try your drink – I’ve recently quit smoking, and I have to be careful not to put on too much weight. I have started a good workout routine, but having a drink that may help with energy levels is always a win!
    I hope you’ll enjoy your new books, they look really good. I’ll have to check my lists and shelves for recommendations for you – I think I’ll have some with characters with disabilities.
    Have a wonderful week ahead and happy reading.

    1. Kristen Burns

      The faded spots were kind of hard to miss lol. If not for that, I wouldn’t have known. But I’m also just glad it’s working!

      I definitely recommend trying kombucha! If nothing else, it’s still healthy, and I think it’s yummy (when I mix something with it).

      Thanks, and let me anytime if you happen to notice a book with disabilities πŸ™‚ You have a great week too!

  5. Deborah

    How weird that they send you a refurb laptop. Did they load all of your stuff onto it?

    Guess…. as long as it works and you haven’t lost anything, it doesn’t matter!

    On the book front, I hate getting a book to discover it’s part-way through a series, when there’s been nothing in the blurb to reflect that!

    1. Kristen Burns

      There wasn’t really anything to load on it in the first place since this was the third time I had sent it in, and the hard drive was replaced the first time (I had almost everything saved, so that was ok at least). But it did still have my wi-fi password, so… yes. They loaded my stuff lol.

      I check every book on Goodreads and Amazon before requesting, I just have a problem with those first-in-series that for some reason, like, keep it a secret that it’s part of a series -_-

  6. Lillian @ Mom with a Reading Problem

    Yay for getting “your” laptop back πŸ˜€ It’s terrible being without one. Bonus that yours is kinda new.
    I hate kombucha. More power to you! I’ve tried it in the past and couldn’t handle it. Not because of the beer taste but the sediment at the bottom. It got to me.
    I have another book recommendation for you on the disease/disability front. It’s called Pimpernel by Sheralyn Pratt. The MC has severe OCD and is off her meds in the book. Very good, crime/mystery/romance. I really enjoyed it!
    Hope you have a great week πŸ˜€

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Although mine was only a year old, so this one might actually be older lol.

      Huh, I’ve never even noticed the sediment. Like, I know it’s there, but I swirl my drink around, so I guess it just mixes back in and I don’t even taste anything different.

      Thanks, I’ll look that book up πŸ™‚ You have a great week too!

  7. sjhigbee

    Delighted to hear you’ve got your laptop back – if it is a replacement, I’m assuming that they have loaded everything onto your machine. Kombucha… so does it have caffeine? That’s what I’ve got to be a tad careful about – I love my tea, but too much and I get tinnitus, dry eyes and a bit twitchy… Well done for getting ahead with your reviews – I’ve a few in the kitty, but still need to get on with my reading for the June NetGalley arcs. Have a great week.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! There wasn’t even anything to load though since the hard drive was replaced the first time. But my wi-fi password was still there from when I booted up the computer after the second “repair” so… yes, my stuff was loaded since that’s all I had, haha.

      Kombucha doesn’t have caffeine that I know of. At least, I know there’s none added to the one I drink, and there’s no mention of any natural caffeine (is that a thing?). It feels great being so ahead on reviews though! It’s so much less stressful, though of course I still have plenty of unread ARCs to keep me crazy since they always seem to multiply lol. Good luck with your June ARCs πŸ™‚

  8. Samantha

    Have you read These Battered Hands? Its about a gymnast and her coach but she is older so there isn’t the teenage drama stuff. It was really good!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I have read that one actually! I was really happy that the author actually put a lot of focus on the gymnastics (but she used to be a gymnast, so it makes sense that she would). But I’d still like *more* gymnastics books, you know? There are so few, and it’ll still be a shame if this new one is just all drama :-/

  9. Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings

    Yay laptop!! I am not convinced about the tea though! Saying that I hate blueberries with a vengeance but tried one in a cocktail last night and have decided they aren’t so bad after all.

    I am miles behind with my reviews but have lacked the mojo to get them done but will get started this week!!

    Have a lovely week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Definitely yay! And see? If you could like blueberries, you can like the tea πŸ˜› Actually I hate both tea and beer, and this is a tea that tastes like beer… yet I like it lol.

      Aww, it happens sometimes. I’ve been in super review mode apparently though lol, so I’m taking advantage of it, even finally getting reviews written from old books I was too lazy to do before. You have a great week too!

  10. Lola

    Yay you actually got your laptop back working! I never had expected to read those words, lol. It does sound like they just send you a new one instead of your own laptop, but hey it’s good that it works. Let’s hope it stays working now!

    I haven’t heard of that tea before, it does sound interesting. I wonder if they sell something similar here. I don’t like the taste of beer either, so I probably would combine it with something else as well.

    When requesting books I usually look on goodreads to see if it’s a series, but even there it’s not always listed. Netgalley is really bad at listing if it’s a series and I accidentally requested a later book in a series a few times and since then always check at least goodreads first before requesting a book there. I like both standalones and series, although I read more series, but it would be nice to know beforehand what you’re getting.

    I hope the gymnastic book is a god one. And yes it’s a shame so many books are so pricey. I have 7 reviews written at the moment, so you’re still ahead of me ;). On the other hand I have 8 discussion posts scheduled (counting Lola’s Advice and Lola’s ramblings posts), so I am more ahead there.

    Your new books do all look good. That vampire series sounds interesting! And it’s so fun when a book takes place somewhere that you know, it’s exciting! It hardly ever happens to me, although I recently read a book set in Scotland and I was all like hey I have visited this city! I hope you’ll have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I never expected to type those words, so that makes two of us, haha. But yes, I’m still keeping my fingers crossed it’ll actually keep working.

      I don’t know if they sell kombucha over there, but I know that down here they’re found in the more health food type stores rather than the general grocery stores. But mixing it with something is definitely the way to go. I think the lemonade stuff I use works well since it’s a flavor that goes well with most thing and it’s pretty strong to cover that beer taste.

      I do always check GR and Amazon, but the problem is all these first-in-series that make it like some big secret that the book is in a series -_-

      Thanks, but it is a shame that some publishers price their ebooks so high. One of these days I’m gonna get ahead of you on scheduled posts! And then I’m gonna rub it in your face because it’ll probably only happen once and then the next I’ll be behind again lol πŸ˜‰ I don’t know how you do it though. I just don’t have that many ideas ahead of time lol.

      It’s so much fun reading about places you’ve been or know well! Thanks, you have a great week too πŸ™‚

  11. Got My Book

    Congratulations on getting so far ahead. It is something that I am working on, not very successfully so far. I have an extra day off this coming week and am hoping to get some extra writing done.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks πŸ™‚ I used to barely get posts up on time. But now I’ve started trying to get the reviews written up and ready asap after finishing the book, that way it doesn’t build up and get overwhelming. And the discussions, I’ve actually just gotten inspired a lot lately, so that could disappear at any moment lol. Good luck with your posts!

  12. Tiffany

    I’m happy you got your laptop back. That took forever! Hopefully all will be well and good. I’ve never tried Kombucha, but I have heard it provides a boost of energy. May it work out for you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks, it took ridiculously long since I had to send it in three time -_- If nothing else, the kombucha is at least still healthy! But thank you, I need all the energy I can get πŸ™‚

  13. Angela @ Simply Angela

    I’ve had that happen with a washing machine. I dropped a bottle of fabric softener on the top and dented up the lid, when it came back from being repaired for the third time, the dent was gone and washing machine actually worked.

    I’ve tried kombucha and I didn’t really care for the taste. I’ll have to try to add some flavor packets to it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s funny that you had the exact same thing happen, especially it also took three tries for me lol. Well, as long as they work, right?

      The flavor packets made a huge improvement to the kombucha taste for me πŸ™‚

  14. AngelErin

    OMG Yey for a laptop that works! Even if it isn’t your original one lol. I’ve never heard of that tea stuff, where does one buy that kind of thing? Oh wow, I agree with you about that on Goodreads. Some people do read only series or standalones! I also get annoyed when a book doesn’t say it’s the 2nd, 3rd, or whatever in a series and then you go to read it and then find out it’s not the first book. ? Also I want to read the Tumbling book! It seems like it will be like that Make it of Break it show and I loved that show.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Seriously, I’m just happy to have a working laptop! (Well, so far. I still feel like it’s gonna break again lol.) They sell kombucha at health food type stores like Whole Foods.

      Luckily I’ve never ended up with a book from later in a series, I’m really particular about checking for that, but I know that sometimes it’s not mentioned, which is even more ridiculous. But see, ah! That’s what some reviews said, that Tumbling is like Make It or Break It, and I’ve never watched that show, but I feel like it was probably just a bunch of drama which I’m not going to like :-/ Maybe you can read the Tumbling book first and tell me how it is lol.

      1. AngelErin

        Yeah, the Make it or Break it show was a teen drama. I’m fully expecting the book to be that way. Hopefully I’ll get to read it and then I would definitely let you know how it is! πŸ™‚

  15. Bookworm Brandee

    I’m so happy you have a working laptop…even if it might not be the one you sent them. LOL on your rant about books not being listed as first in a series. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten close to the end of a book thinking the ending is going to suck because it has to wrap up too quickly only to find out it *doesn’t* wrap up because it’s not standalone!! Hmm, I’m thinking I could rant on this topic as well. πŸ˜‰ Kudos to you getting so many reviews knocked out. That’s impressive. πŸ™‚ Speaking of, I need to go finish one. I keep getting distracted. πŸ˜›

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I don’t even care as long as it works lol. And yes! I’m glad I’m not the only one annoyed by the series thing. Like, is it just about money? Like, tricking readers into reading the first book so they can then force us to read the second when they leave everything unanswered? Because that really doesn’t breed good will in me toward the author -_- And thanks, I think writing reviews is also getting easier for me, so that’s a plus! Good luck getting yours done πŸ™‚