My November

sunrise

So… It’s December. I know we all like to yell “what the hell happened?” at the beginning of each new month, but I haven’t done a life/blog/reading recap in a while and thought it was long overdue. December crept up on me, mostly because the weather in November was gorgeous and made me feel like it was still October, only the days are getting shorter.

A life update: we moved. We’re now renting this great apartment on the other side of the city (I lived in our previous neighborhood for 21 years so it’s strange … I don’t even know what routes the buses take!) and we love it so much. It’s just high enough that we have a wonderful view over Ljubljana and our windows look both to East and West, so my Instagram has been spammed with photos of pretty skies lately. I also cut my hair again so this is probably the shortest it’s been since I was 15. I like it a lot.

A kiddo update: he’s doing great. He talks a lot and it’s a bit like learning a new language, trying to understand him and his one-syllable conversations. He’s started using two-syllable words now (like bah-nee is a banana) and things are getting easier. He runs around a lot, too, is fascinated by every nook and cranny and likes wearing boxes on his head, pretending they’re his helmet. He has 16 little teeth and a gap between his first two, so his smile is seriously adorable. We’re having a great time.

christmas-decorations

Ljubljana has gone into full holiday mode – I don’t think they’ve ever put up this many decorations.

A writing update: some of you may know this already, but others don’t, so: I won NaNoWriMo this year. I gave it a try, deciding to finally start writing that story of mine that’s been rolling around my head for a while and now I’m more than halfway through and really happy with it. It’s a contemporary romance (*blush*) and I like the couple very much.

A reading update: due to my writing sessions (seriously, 50k is a lot of words), I read a bit less in November, but I read the first two books in the Fever series, which seems perfect for a book binge, I’m at Volume 3 of Saga, which is effing fantastic (I have to get 4 and 5 soon!) and I read and reviewed Lady Thief and Nice Dragons Finish Last – this one is funny and cool, well worth a read.

A blogging update: you’ll have noticed that posts are a bit less frequent now. I’m trying to answer all your amazing comments in a timely fashion and now that I’m slightly more organized, things might get more active around here, but I feel comfortable knowing I’m posting less content and making it count instead of trying desperately to fill some self-assigned quota and making a rush job out of it.

That said, the most popular posts of last month were The Bastard Read-along, wherein DJ and I invite you to join us for a read-along of Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora and sequels, and Second Chances, a discussion on whether you read books by authors whose work you didn’t enjoy. I cordially invite you to check them out if you haven’t already! :)

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Link love

So, not a lot, but then I’ve tried to stay away from the internet as much as possible… :)

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How are YOU? What’s life been like on your end? 

Have you read any good books recently? Have you started your Christmas shopping already? (hint: I haven’t)

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • GORGEOUS Holiday decoration photo!! Wow ♥ Well, congrats on the move, on winning NaNoWriMo and on the new short hairdo too :) I’m planning on cutting my hair again quite short in the next weeks! Yay! Oh and hopefully with NaNoWriMo done, you’ll get more reading done in December :) I’m happy you’re enjoying the Fever Series too!!!

    • Yeah, Ljubljana is really pretty right now. We went for another evening walk through the old center yesterday and it’s nice, especially with the Christmas market in full swing.

      Oh, good luck with your haircut – cutting long hair is always difficult, but I like mine short so I’m not sorry I did it.

      As for the “reading more” part – I had a Fever binge + some romances, so I’m trying not to buy any more new books :D I have to start reading The Lies of Locke Lamora for my read-along. And I finished the third book in the Fever series – the one that ends up with half of Dublin dead and Mac being savaged by 3 Unseelie princes … I had a hard time stomaching that, truth be told. I mean, I knew going in it was going to be a dark series but this is pretty sinister. I’ll almost certainly continue with the series, though. I wanna know what happens!

  • Maraia

    Congratulations on winning NaNoWriMo! (I’m not actually sure what that means, but I’m guessing it’s reaching your word goal?) 50k is a LOT. I’m so impressed. I did read the article you linked about busting romance novel myths, and although I’m not sure I agree entirely (based solely on the one romance novel I read this year, lol), I would of course love to read anything you end up writing/sharing!

    I love the kiddo updates. He’s at such a fun age!

    Christmas shopping? What is that? Hah. That would be a “no.”

    Let’s see…the best books I read this month were Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (have you read that?), Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier, and Career of Evil by JKR. My favorite audiobook was Finders Keepers by Stephen King (but in German!) and my biggest accomplishment was reading a 700-page sci-fi, also in German. Yay! :D

    • Yeah, you “win” NaNo if you write 50k in 30 days. It’s a lot. But I’m really glad I did it! Hah, I won’t be sharing my stuff for a while but when the moment comes that I will, I’ll tell you, worry not. :) I’ll need the unbiased opinion of a non-romance reader anyway.

      I haven’t read Steelheart yet. I gave Sanderson 2 chances already – with Mistborn and Stormlight Archives and I wasn’t entirely impressed. I mean, Mistborn was fine but I’m not super-motivated to finish the series, especially now it’s more than a trilogy (?) and I DNFed the other one after about 100 pages because it was too bombastic and epically epic for my taste. SHOULD I read Steelheart? :)

      YAY for reading in German!! It’s great that you’re keeping in touch with the language – I should definitely read more French books for the same reason.

      • Maraia

        Is this the first year you’ve done it? I can’t even imagine writing that much. Hahaha, I can definitely fulfill that role!

        OH MY GOD, you didn’t like Mistborn?! This makes me happy, because everyone is completely obsessed with that series and Sanderson, and I feel like the odd one out. I loved the first book, I really did. The magic was so cool, and I enjoyed the heist aspect. The second book started with several hundred pages of the same scene over and over. -_- I have no interest in reading the second series. I’m also glad to hear you didn’t like Stormlight Archives, because everyone else has said I *have* to read it, and again, I have no interest in a 10-book series with 1000+ pages each.

        Steelheart, though, was EPIC. If you like books with superpowers and intense action, you’ll love it. If not, you can skip it. I’ve heard Firefight is even more epic, and I’m very excited.

        Hah, well, this is me deciding that 5 years was too long to pretend German didn’t exist, and now I’m quite angry at myself for letting it slip so much. It’s embarrassing how rusty my skills are! So go find a French book. :)

        • Yep, this is the first year I gave it a try and I think I’ll try again next year, I’m really competitive so it nudges me to write more, which is always a good thing.

          Nah, I mean, I *liked* Mistborn but didn’t love it. I only read the first book, though, so I can’t really judge. I … I’m not fond of “the chosen one” stories (except for HP and now Carry On but that’s different bcs Rowell did something epic with that trope!) and I really disliked Kelsier (like from page 1) because he was such a … man I don’t even know. The savior, the victim, the sacrifice, the hero. I… nope. It’s just too much.

          And I especially don’t want to start such a massive series when it’s not even finished yet and I’d have to wait for years and years for the new book to be published. I already gave up on GRRM (I think for good) and I’m in the middle of Robert Jordan’s enormous series (that’s the one that Sanderson finished because Jordan died! It has 14 900-page books eep) so I’m good for now. :D

          Okay, I might give Steelheart a try. Maybe I’ll get A. to read it first to check it out for me. :p

          • Maraia

            Are you hoping to finish your current WIP before then, or will you wait until next year? There’s nothing like a little healthy self-competition. :D

            My dad binge-read the series at the same time I did, and he pointed out that Sanderson is a Mormon, which heavily influenced his writing and probably led to the elements you don’t like (the savior, the sacrifice, etc.). I have to admit, it made me like the books even less. I have no interest in reading religious propaganda masked as a fantasy. (Not that I’m saying that’s necessarily what Mistborn is, but it still makes me uneasy.) I’m trying not to think about it while I read the Reckoners series, because it was just so good! I hope A agrees with me, haha.

            14 900-page books? NO THANKS. But enjoy. :P

          • Yeah, I’m slowly working on it now – I don’t write nearly as much but then 2 50k months might just be too much for me… I just don’t have that kind of time/stamina :D

            Hm, Sanderson’s a Mormon? Eh, I usually don’t put much stock in the writer’s religion UNLESS they try to sell their views as fact, which might have been the case here. I don’t know. Have we talked about religion yet (yours and mine, I mean)? I’m happily atheistic – I try to respect other people’s views but have trouble with what most cultures are doing in the name of religion.

            And yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking with Jordan, but I’m now at book 6 so I might as well push on. We’ll see.

          • Maraia

            Haha, that would be intense. In some ways I think it would be easier to get it all done as quickly as possible, before you forget all your ideas, but few people have that kind of time.

            We haven’t, but I will (happily) continue that conversation when I respond to your email! Wasn’t there something else I was supposed to tell you about over email?

            Um, you’re not even halfway done yet… xD Wait, I meant to say, “Wow, you’ve made so much progress!”

          • Don’t remind me. I wanted to read one book a year (approximately), meaning I’d be done when I was 35 or something and I still didn’t make it. But I really liked the characters! I just don’t understand why some authors need to write such massive books. I mean, do people actually read them? Well of course they do, but I think more people would if they were shorter…

          • Maraia

            I definitely think more people would read them if they were shorter. It’s a rare book that actually needs to be 1000 pages long, in my opinion. It’s inevitable that they will drag in places, and there is such a thing as too much detail.

  • Beautiful pics! And congrats, NaNoWriMo winner! I think we both deserve a much needed break :)

    And your son sounds like he’s just entering the stage where he’ll be picking up lots of words and sayings. The next year will be fun fun fun! My oldest is almost four now and I still get amazed on a daily basis at her growing vocab and the way she copies me and my husband in terms of her mannerisms and inflections. It’s really weird and funny to see your own words or habits echoed back at you by this tiny human being :)

    • YAY, congrats right back! :) I’m so glad I participated, this was the first time I put away so much time and effort for writing. Did you finish your novel already? Because I’m about 2/3 through right now and I need some motivation to keep going :D

      Oh, yes, the imitation has started already! We keep reminding each other to cuss less when kiddo is near, I don’t want him to pick up curse words. Not that I curse a lot in public or anything, it’s just really satisfying to let go with a string of curses if you stub your toe or something.

  • Congrats on completing NaNoWriMo! That’s fantastic. And yay for writing romance. You know I love romance. The photos you shared are beautiful.

    • Thanks, Quinn! :) I love romance, too, it’s such a great genre and SO HARD to get right! I hope I’m doing it justice with my story.

  • I just got a haircut too! I was pretty major: I got 3 inches cut off! (It’s like I lost 3 inches of my personality) XD That tree pictured is gorgeous, and I didn’t know you were NaNoWriMo. Congrats on winning! That’s a huge accomplishment.

    I am proud to say that I HAVE started my Christmas shopping! My mom birthday is tomorrow actually, so on Black Friday, I go to Bed Bath and Beyond and took advantage of their buy 3 get 3 free deal. Aka. Buy 3 gifts for her birthday and get 3 gifts for Christmas free :D

    • Eh, hair grows back. :) That’s what I always tell myself when I’m sitting in front of the mirror at the hair salon and see the guy hacking off half my hair. And it helps, usually. :)

      Yeah, NaNo was great, I’m so glad I gave it a try, I wouldn’t have made that much time for writing if it wasn’t for that counter telling me I have to meet my daily word count goal!

      And Bed Bath and Beyond sounds like the most comfortable thing ever, do they sell soft things? (I’m kind of sleep deprived right now so mounds of pillows sound like heaven to me.)

      • The past like 3 years, every time I got a “haircut” it was like maybe an 1 inch. So 3 inches was a BIG deal. My hairdresser was in shock Haha

        Really impressive that you were able to complete it! 2,000 words per day is insane.

        Oops, I actually meant Bath & Body Words! (I always get those too mixed up) XD But it’s all candles and smelly soaps, lotions, and sprays.

  • Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

    Thank you so much for the link love! :D

    Your move sounds great, especially because that picture of the sky is beautiful. And the Christmas tree! Brussels is full of Christmas decoration too, it makes me so happy. Have a great week (and month, of course)!

    • Well, it’s a great discussion! :)

      Yeah, we’re settled in, I think, though I still have to look up things like the nearest pharmacy or library on the map, I don’t really know this part of town.

      And Ljubljana is really nicely decorated right now + the Christmas market is in full swing, so it’s really nice to take a stroll through the old center in the evening.

  • Wow, you’re November sounds exhausting, the majority of mine has been spent in my pyjamas avoiding leaving the house because I’m lazy and I am mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of forced social occasions throughout December. And well done on winning NaNoWriMo it’s so cool that you’re writing something, I don’t know where you get the motivation (or the time) to do these things.

    And I’ve got to say, every parent I know is smugly telling me how they’ve done all their Christmas shopping already so how have you not sorted yours? That at least makes me feel better that I only have two people’s presents sorted.

    • I actually procrastinate with writing – I was supposed to be writing my PhD and/or translating books. :p

      Nooooo! *wails* Now you’re making me feel bad. Well I have parts of presents for several people already but nothing complete and/or wrapped yet. I’ll have to get to it soon because it’s somehow the second week of December already and family visits/parties are about to begin. I also have to start baking cookies, it’s a tradition that I skipped (and missed) last year because kiddo was tiny and I had no time/willpower for it. :)

  • congrats on NaNoWriMo!! Editing my audiobook has consumed so much of my time that I totally understand when something like that or writing means you rad so much less. It’s good, but also i miss it :)