The Weekly Update: 7/10/16


Guess what, everyone…

My blog is a year old!

Yay, happy blogiversary to me ๐Ÿ™‚

But I’ll talk a bit more about that below. I do have a few real life things to mention.

First of all, I’ve still been drinking kombucha since it’s good for me, even if it’s not giving me the energy boost I originally thought it was, and I have a word of advice: Never—I mean NEVER—try blue-green algae kombucha. Ok, you can try whatever you want, I’m not the boss of you, but I’m warning you right now that it tastes like fish water. And as someone who doesn’t even like the smell of cooked fish, let alone anything to do with raw fish, it’s disgusting.

Second, I finally cut my hair! (Yes, I cut my own hair.) Ok it was only like six inches, which is nothing when your hair is as long as mine, plus some layers, but it’s exciting to me because I really took far too long to get around to doing it. It was looking all sorts of straggly, but it looks and feels much better now.

Third, I found this little guy when I was shopping at Bed, Bath, & Beyond:


He startled me because I swear I was standing there pondering which shower caddy to buy for a good five minutes before I even noticed him. Either he trusted me completely, or he was just going the route of, “If I don’t move, she won’t see me.”

And that’s it for my real life “updates” this week ๐Ÿ˜›








Blog/Bookish Updates:

As I mentioned above, it’s my blogiversary (well, yesterday, but close enough). I might do a post on Friday about some ways I’ve changed as a blogger in the past year, but I haven’t quite decided, and I don’t have anything special planned other than possibly that. To be honest, I didn’t even know what month I had started my blog in until I went to check the first post. I guess I’m not a big anniversary person for anything other than relationships. That being said, only a few things have stayed as a consistent passion or interest in my life, so the fact that I’m still here blogging after a year is a testament to how much I love it ๐Ÿ™‚ (Though I suppose it makes sense since reading and writing are two of the things that have stayed consistent). And don’t worry, I don’t plan on leaving any time soon!

You also may have noticed I’ve done some minor design updates. The comments section is what has changed the most. I also tweaked a few other tiny things, like putting the lines underneath the sidebar titles instead of through them. And I’ll probably continue to do make some small changes, so don’t be alarmed if you visit and things look a little different. I’m trying to figure out a way to incorporate more color, but so far I’m failing at that lol.

Books I Received for Review:

Crisped + Sere by TJ Klune | reading, books
The Beast Without by Christian Baines | reading, books
The Orchard of the Flesh by Christian Baines | reading, books

For weeks I have been thinking how badly I wanted to read Crisped + Sere because I’ve been craving something dark, and FINALLY THE ARC BECAME AVAILABLE! Withered + Sere was one of my only 5 star reads this year, and if you read M/M and like dark, I recommend you check it out!

Funny story about the other two though—I saw the second book on Netgalley and was considering contacting the author about a review copy of the first since it seemed like my kind of book, but I don’t know the protocol for that. Is it acceptable to contact authors like that? So anyway, I kind of forgot about it, and then he ended up contacting me, so that was rather perfect!

Books I Finished:

The Vampires' Last Lover by Aiden James & Patrick Burdine | reading, books
Crisped + Sere by TJ Klune | reading, books

Unfortunately I had issues with The Vampires’ Last Lover, but it wasn’t all bad, so I’m undecided about continuing the series. Crisped + Sere was great though—didn’t quite blow me away the same way the first book did, but I still loved it.

Song of the Week:

“Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots – I saw this on someone else’s blog last Sunday but cannot for the life of me remember whose. But thank you, whoever you were, for pointing this song out because I love it and have been listening to it all week. Update: It was Christy @ Christy’s Love of Books! It’s thanks to her I found this song lol.


In Case You Missed It:

– I shared book covers featuring feathers on them.
– I reviewed Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond, a YA magical realism book about a female magician in a circus.
– I discussed how I could never be a protagonist because I’m not observant enough and asked how much description you like in books.
– I reviewed A Cupid’s Wager by Deanna Wadsworth, a M/M erotic novella about a cupid and an Aztec God.
– I reviewed Naughty Cupid by Deanna Wadsworth, basically an extended version of the novella, but with more feels.
– I reviewed The Human Cure by Tracy Auerbach, a vampire romance with a unique twist that surprised me in a great way.

The Sunday Post Link-Up:

Once again, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer ๐Ÿ™‚


Talk to me!

Did you find any good books or music this week?
Do any of you also cut your own hair?
What do you think of my blog design tweaks?
(Is the comment section easier to navigate?)


Your Thoughts


55 thoughts on “The Weekly Update: 7/10/16

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  1. Deborah

    Oh nice that the author contacted you. I’ve never thought of that and have occasionally read a sequel and wondered about the earlier book/s in the series.

    The haircut isn’t too scary. I can’t imagine doing my own hair and I did horrible, horrible things to my Barbie dolls’ hair when I was young. Plus who the hell knew it was planted in rows?!

    But mostly a big congrats on your bloggiversary (sp?). Congrats and best wishes. x

    1. Kristen Burns

      I never read series out of order, so it really was a perfect coincidence that the author contacted me because I’d have passed on the second book otherwise.

      Haha, I started cutting my own hair in high school after numerous bad experiences with idiotic hairdressers. I decided I didn’t trust other people to do it anymore. But I also have some horrible Barbie haircuts lol.

      Thanks you!

  2. Literary Feline

    How blog anniversary, Kristen! Congratulations on making it a year. I bet your new haircut looks great! And don’t worry, blue-green algae kombucha is going on my never try list. Thanks for the warning.

    I think your blog changes look very nice, Kristen! I hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! And I’m enjoying my haircut, definitely feels so much nicer and healthier ๐Ÿ™‚ And GOOD. Blue-green algae is supposedly good for you, but no amount of goodness can make up for that taste *bleh*

      Thanks, you have a great week too!

  3. Greg

    Happy blogoversary! I don’t think I’ve had kombucha, and no I won’t be trying the blue green variety any time soon. I’ll take your word for it. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Love the lizard! Not something you usually see in a store lol. He’s probably like where’s all the food?? The Vampire’s Lover looks nice cover wise, sorry to hear it wasn’t quite up to snuff.

    Nice tune! I’m actually looking forward to that movie…

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! And I think that’s a smart decision, taking my word for it about the blue-green algae lol.

      Haha, well, where I live, it’s not uncommon to find those lizards in your house even, though I don’t normally see them in stores and it took me by surprise. It was probably just enjoying the AC. I’m actually not drawn that cover, but yeah, I still thought the book itself might be better.

      I’m loving that song! But I probably won’t end up seeing the movie just because I see so few movies and don’t much care for the superhero type ones.

  4. Christy LoveOfBooks

    *raises hand* Heathens was on my blog last week. lol. Gah, I love that song.

    Hooray for being a year old! I always enjoy your posts, and hope you keep them coming.

    And now I need to gargle because the whole fish water thing made me throw up a little. lol

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ah, yes, it was you! I’m going to add it to my post now that I know who it was lol. I swear I’ve just been listening to it on repeat over and over and over all week!

      Thank you!

      Haha, it wasn’t so bad that I gagged or anything, but I couldn’t drink anymore than the one or two sips that I tried. It was more like the aftertaste that was awful. Never buying that again!

  5. Laura Thomas

    Happy Blogaversary. Time flies when having fun…. Great books this week. Right up my alley. And you’re brave to cut your own hair. I used to have mine really long but never cut it myself. Now it’s very short and I don’t let it grow out. Funny how short hair keeps me going to the hair dresser more often. LOL

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! The year of blogging really has flown by.

      I got tired of hairdresser’s butchering my hair and started cutting it myself in high school. I definitely don’t think I’d be able to cut my hair if it were short, but since it’s long I can easily see and it and reach it. That is kinda funny that you go more to the hairdresser with short hair lol, but it makes sense!

  6. Annemieke

    Congrats on the bloagaversary! I always put off getting my hair cut but when I do it always feels so good, right?

    Have a good week. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! And yes, I put off trimming/cutting it for so long, but it feels so good now! I just keep running my hairs through it since it feels so much healthier lol.

      You have a great week too!

  7. Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer

    Happy blogiversary! Aww that lizard is so cute. Over here in Thailand, we call them ‘jing-joks’. They often grow to become bigger than a pencil case, so watch out! XD I actually found one of those in my fridge the other day.
    Anyway, it sounds like you had a good reading week. I’ve been a bit slow on the reading front because I’ve been first drafting like crazy, but hopefully I’ll finish my current book soon. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Those types of lizards in the picture don’t get that big though, they stay about that size, and the bigger ones tend to stay outside thankfully ๐Ÿ˜› We get the small ones in our houses, but I have yet to find one in my fridge lol.

      Actually it was a slow reading week for me since the first book I read was just so-so and took me longer than usual to get through :-/ But the second one was amazing, so that totally counts for extra. At least you’re being productive though since you’re writing! That’s one thing I really haven’t been doing lately. Good luck on finishing the book!

  8. Maureen's Books (@MaureenHinten)

    Congrats on your bloggiversary Kristen! I love visiting your blog and reading your posts. Youโ€™re definitely very good at it. Keep up the good work! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    To me the comment section looks great! Nice and neat!

    Do I cut my own hair? Well.. I have trouble doing anything with my hair myself. So I donโ€™t think cutting it myself would work. On bad days my hair even looks a little like Woopy Goldbergโ€™s hair in Sister Act! It definitely needs professional cutting! LOL!!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you!

      And yay ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m happy with how much neater the comment section looks now.

      Haha, oh my. I actually don’t know how to do any real hairstyles to my hair other than a sloppy looking French braid lol, but cutting is easy enough for me!

  9. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    Happy blogoversrary to you!! I hope there will be many, many more ๐Ÿ™‚ I sometimes forget my blogoversary as well… even if it’s the same date as my wedding anniversary ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    I want to read Withered + Sere now, I love dark, and I haven’t read an MM in a while ๐Ÿ™‚

    The lizard on your bath and body trip is so cute! We have loads and loads in our garden even if Freddy tries to catch them ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a wonderful week ahead and happy reading.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! But haha, oh no. I don’t think dates are my strong point either lol.

      READ IT. READ IT NOW. Ok maybe like read the blurb and some reviews first since I don’t know your taste lol, but I LOVE that book!

      Haha, yeah, we have lots of those lizards around. I’m surprised all the cats around my apartment haven’t killed them off.

      You have a great week too!

  10. sjhigbee

    Huge congratulations on your one year anniversary – your blog certainly feels and looks far more established – you clearly hit the ground running:). So would that little lizard actually be living in the store, feeling off small insects, etc like spiders do? Or has he just wandered in from outside? I loved the song, btw – many thanks for sharing it:). I salute your steady hand – I wouldn’t dream of having a go at my hair, but then I’ve worn it short all my life as it suits me better that way and it’s also so much easier to manage:). I have to say the cover of Crisped and Sere stopped me cold – and then made me feel rather ill. Is the book as gory/horrific as the cover suggests? Have a great reading week and birthday celebration for your blog!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! And aww, you’re so sweet, but I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing half the time with my blog lol. Those little lizards often unfortunately die when they end up inside buildings, at least when they end up in houses, but I imagine stores probably aren’t that different, since there’s just not enough bugs to eat. That’s why I’ve always tried to catch them somehow and bring them outside when I’ve found them at home.

      I imagine it’d be a lot more difficult to cut short hair. Mine is long enough that I can easily see what I’m doing. As for your question of whether Crisped + Sere is as gory as the cover suggests… yes, pretty much lol. If the cover bothers you, you probably shouldn’t read the books.

      Thank you, you have a great week too!

  11. Melissa

    1st off – Happy Blogoversary!!

    2nd – I can’t even imagine cutting my own hair…I know I would totally screw it up! Good for you!

  12. Cait @ Paper Fury

    HAPPY BLOGVERSARY!!! AHHH 1 YEAR IS A GRAND MILESTONE WELL DONE! ๐Ÿ˜€ I hope this is just the beginning of many awesome blogversaries for you. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    And omg you cut your own hair?! You’re super brave and awesome. xD I get my mum to cut my hair because it grows wickedly fast and I honestly don’t care about styling it or anything anyway. But me cut it? AHhahah. I’d be bald. -_-
    Eeep, and that just reminds me that I want to see Suicide Squad when it comes out. XD I keep forgetting about it, gah.
    And good books? NOPE. XD I mean, I’ve got plenty on my TBR! I’m really excited to read The Rose and the Dagger! But I’ve actually only been reading really low-star rated books recently! I need to read a good one before my brain combusts. ;D

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you!!!

      Haha it’s really not as hard as it sounds! And it helps that I’m not super picky and don’t worry about any fancy styles either. Just cutting the ends and then adding some random layering ๐Ÿ™‚

      I actually probably won’t see the Suicide Squad movie simply because I rarely watch movies and don’t much care for superhero/comic type ones. But oh no to the low star books! I feel like I’ve just had lots of 3 and 3.5 star books this year, which is just kind of *eh*. But yes, go find a good book!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you!

      I remember you saying in one of your posts that you love those little lizards, and it cracked me up since they’re so commonplace to me lol.

      You have a great week too!

  13. Shandy

    Congrats on your blogiversary! Mine turns 5 on the 30th I should do something but probably won’t. That little lizard is so cute, I might have taken him home if it were me. I tried cutting my own hair once, it did not turn out well. You are a braver woman than I. Happy reading and have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! But wow, 5 years! Congratas ๐Ÿ™‚ But lol, if you lived here you wouldn’t take him home because you’d already have other ones getting into your house all the time. And oh no, sorry your hair cutting attempt didn’t work out very well! Thanks, you have a great week too ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Lola

    I knew it! I noticed something different about the comment sections earlier this week, but couldn’t put my finger on what had changed, so I assumed I was imagining things. So glad to hear you really changed something. And congrats on the one year blogoversary! I always forget my blogoversary as well, I think it’s early December. My blog should be four this December I think, I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for so long already.
    And I am glad to hear you’re planning to stay around as i really enjoy your blog. As I subscribed to your blog by e-mail i actually make time to stop by almost every day :).

    Even though my hair is just simple straight I never would dare to cut it myself, also I can’t imagine how awkward of a position that would be to cut my own hair. I always ask my mom to cut my hair, like twice a year or something. I am glad my mom knows how to cut hair so i don’t have to go to a hairdresser.

    aww that’s cute you found that little guy at the shop, i wonder what happened with him and how he got there.

    That cover for Crispered + Sere somehow freaks me out a bit. But I am glad you enjoyed it even though it wasn’t as good as the first book. And that’s neat you got that review copy of the first book because the author contacted you. It’s nice when you get a review request for a book you already want to read.
    I find it a bit difficult to know what’s accepted or not when asking for review copies. I only dare ask for review copies when i see the author or publisher specifically asking for it. That’s actually how I got a review copy of the Immortality Cure when i saw the author was looking for reviewers on facebook, so i contacted her and asked if the offer still stood. I think i once e-mailed an author directly and never heard back. Asking directly somehow makes me uncomfortable and I am afraid the author won’t appreciate that, so I hardly ever do that.

    I hope you’ll have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha I knew you of all people would notice that something was different, and I wouldn’t want you to think you were going crazy! The comments used to only have a left border, the reply button wasn’t red like that, and each comment had a white background but the replies were just indented. So yep, definitely different ๐Ÿ™‚ And thank you! But wow, you’ve been blogging for over three years? No wonder your blog is so great ๐Ÿ™‚

      Aww <3 I love your visits! And your comments are always so genuine and awesome ๐Ÿ˜€

      The thing about my hair and how I like it cut is that it's kind of wavy, and I don't like it just cut in a straight line. I like it kind of feathered and slanted and ragged-ish at the ends for lack of a better word. A perfect straight line would be hard to cut myself, but the way I do it, I just have to make sure it's relatively even on both sides.

      The lizard probably just ran in through the front door lol. Probably enjoying the AC since it's so hot out.

      Apparently that cover freaks a lot of people out. I saw some people talking about it on GR, and someone else commented on it on my post. And yeah, the author who contacted me, it was so perfect!

      I've never requested a book from an author like that because I also feel like they might not appreciate it or want to give out review copies. I looked up Immortality Cure though since you mentioned it on your blog, and the author's website says she gives review copies, so I'm considering that book. But there are no reviews yet, and I don't know if it's quite my kind of book :-/ So I can't decide! Read it now so I can have a review of it! (Just kidding lol.)

      You have a great week too!

      1. Lola

        It’s just so weird when you know something has changed and you don’t know what, so I am glad you mentioned it here.

        aww thanks! To be honest I feel like my first year of blogging was mostly stumbling around and only after the first year or so i found my place/ direction with my blog.

        I plan to read the Immortality Cure next, but as I am reading my evening books very slowly lately it can take another week or two before I finally finish that one. I’ll let you know once I’ve read it. I like the concept of her being cured of being a vampire, so I hope the book is as good as it sounds :). It’s tricky deciding if it’s a book for you when there are no reviews.

        1. Kristen Burns

          Lol yes, it’s such a frustrating and weird feeling when you know something has changed but can’t quite figure it out.

          I feel like it took about 6 months for me to get into my blogging groove. Of course I’ve changed some things since then and still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing sometimes, but I do feel like I’m pretty comfortable with things at the moment ๐Ÿ™‚

          Some books just call out to you and it’s really easy to decide you want to read it based on the blurb, but other times it’s just so iffy without reviews :-/

    1. AngelErin

      Sorry for all the exclamation points, but it’s so crazy (and exciting) that we are having our 1 year blogoversaries within a day of each other. โค๏ธ

      1. Kristen Burns

        That’s so crazy! And awesome! Maybe we should celebrate together next year or something, like a combined blogiversary lol. But seriously, how funny that it’s not just almost the same date but also our FIRST blogiversaries which means we started blogging almost the exact same time!

  15. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I love Twenty One Pilots. My daughter saw them at Bonnaroo last year and I’m still a little jealous (though no part of me wants to camp out on a farm in Tennessee in June). I’m impressed with the hair cutting! I can barely use a curling iron so I avoid scissors but it is nice to have everything lightened up. That’s crazy about the lizard. I would never have noticed him! Happy blogoversary and have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t know a lot of their songs, but I’m loving this one, though it is kind of different from the other songs I’ve heard. Totally don’t blame you for not wanting to camp out on a farm in Tennessee in June though lol.

      Oh, I have no idea how to use a curling iron. Cutting my hair is pretty much the only thing I know how to do with it ๐Ÿ˜›

      Thanks, you have a great week too!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s supposedly really good for you, and I figured, “How fishy can it really taste, especially if I mix in some Crystal Light?” Turns out the answer is, “It still tastes like fish water no matter what you mix it with.” Lol. Thank you! You have a great week too!

  16. Stormi Johnson

    Happy Blogoversary, I don’t really celebrate mine either, so don’t feel bad if you don’t. I have been blogging for a long time that is all I know. ๐Ÿ™‚ Cutting your own hair sounds hard, I have done my own by bending over and flipping my hair over and cutting straight across, it layers your hair. My mom was a beautician and she taught me that but that is about it…lol. Enjoy your reads!


    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! Yeah, it seems like you’re almost *supposed* to celebrate, but I just don’t really feel like making a big deal out of it? That’s actually pretty much what I do for my hair, haha. Except I put it in a ponytail on top of my head, then flip it upside and cut it like that. Then I even out the sides and then add some random layering on the upper layers. It’s not like my hair has some perfect, intricate style, so it’s easy. Thanks, you too!

  17. Tiffany @ I Was Angelized_1st

    Sounds like you’ve had a good week. I didn’t notice the salamander at first, either. For the life of me I didn’t understand what you were showing us in that photo. LMAO! Glad your haircut turned out alright. I used to do my ends, but botched it a bit. Your books look interesting. I’ve never contacted the author for the first book in a series, but have been offered them from the author before. Usually, I’ll read the book, and then figure out it was a sequel.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha, what, you didn’t like my random photo of shower caddies? ๐Ÿ˜› But see, now you understand why I didn’t even see the lizard at first when I was there at the store! He just blended in. And thanks, I’m not too picky about my hair being perfect since I make it all layer-y and angled around the ends anyway. I’m really careful about the books I request from Netgalley and Edelweiss to make sure they’re not later in a series since I never read series out of order, I just wouldn’t enjoy them that way.

  18. Kathy

    Happy blogiversary! Time flies by so fast and I hope you have many more years of blogging fun. I’ve accidentally asked for books in a series and I never thought of asking the author for the previous books. I’ll have to try asking if it is a book I really want to read. I hope you have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! I always check before requesting books because I never read series out of order. I’ve never actually requested from an author though if they weren’t specifically asking for reviewers though because I worry they might not actually want to give review copies or something. You have a great week too!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like straight across would actually be hard! I do mine all layered and at somewhat of an angle, so the bottom doesn’t have to be perfect, just relatively even.

      Haha, yeah, I’m lucky if I notice when people change their entire blog let alone a couple little things ๐Ÿ˜›

  19. Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews

    Happy blogiversary! OMG, I cut my own hair too and it’s so much fun and easier, hairdressers always chop it all off for some reason but on my own I do okay. I feel you, I’ve been doing a lot of blog updates myself trying to make it colorful and stuff, yours looks great!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you! And yeeeeessssss the whole reason I started doing it myself was because twice it was butchered by hairdressers and I finally decided I’d had enough and could do a better job myself. And it turns out I could lol, at least for the specific way I wanted my hair to look. But I definitely wouldn’t trust myself to cut any other style or anyone else’s hair lol. And thanks! I just, gah, how do people make their blogs more colorful??