My January

Oy, where has January disappeared to? Seriously, this month… it’s been a bit rough for me.

We started the year being sick. After the craziness that was December, we were all tired. My husband and mom got pneumonia, Baby had an ear infection and I had a sinus infection (all with a fever and antibiotics and feeling like we were run over by monster trucks). It took us two weeks to really kick the bastard bacteria’s ass and by then, we were behind with everything in life. We haven’t even sent Christmas cards yet. *hangs head in shame*

So we’ve basically been playing catch-up and trying to get our life in order. And now I have another cold that has me wondering whether we were really rid of the sickness at all. My voice is gone and I want to sleep all day but I have so much work to do. It’s not even all work-work, it’s just the general household chores that come with having two small kids. It’s kind of overwhelming at times. But we’ll push through this, just like we always do.

In Baby news: he’s grown so much. One of the best things is seeing his round little face light up when he wakes up from his nap and I come into his field of vision. I think he’s teething, which means he’s not sleeping well (cue tired laughter). He’s been going to bed at 10.30 pm this past week instead of at 8.00 as was our habit a month ago. We’ve started trying some solid food (carrot, potato, and rice cereal), and he’s really excited about it, even though he sometimes still chokes on it and scares the crap out of us (seriously, babies are scary).

In Kiddo news: I think he’s really smart, this one. It’s impossible to tell with really young kids because the differences always level themselves out by the time they get to school but he’s curious and happy and bright, which is everything. Current obsessions include breakfast cereal (similar to cocoa puffs) that turn his milk to cocoa, T-Rex, and combine harvesters. Last night, I heard him talking in his sleep – I couldn’t understand what he was saying but it sounded really important. Kids are awesome.

In personal news: I just want to sleep. Honestly, that’s all I’m asking for. :) You can probably guess that all this craziness means I’m in a major blogging slump right now. I’m not going anywhere but neither will I force myself to blog when there are a million other things that need my attention first. I promised myself I’d stress less this year, so this is me working on that. Honestly, just writing all of this down has been a major help. Ahh, the power of words…

I’ve been on a bread-making kick lately. Yes, I baked the bread in the photo up there. And it was really good! I’ve been baking both white and whole wheat/spelt breads and it’s been really soothing. There’s something relaxing in watching flour and water turn into something yummy. Does anyone have any favorite bread recipes? I’d love to try new ones.

Reading

I am sadly out of date with my book reviews. I have books I read in November and December that I really want to review but I haven’t had the time or motivation to do so. It doesn’t help that so far, none of the books I’ve read this year have been 5-star reads. Slumpity  slump.

My January books include The Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, which is probably the best book I read this month but still not as good as Six of Crows. Speaking of sequels, Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton has been such a disappointment! I got to read the ARC and could hardly make my way through it. I’m so sad, I liked Rebel of the Sands a lot. I read The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, probably one of the most hyped-up January fantasy releases. It was good, really good, but I thought it would be a standalone (hint: it’s not).

I discovered Julie James, whose romances came highly recommended by Quinn, and I loved both It Happened One Wedding and Suddenly One Summer. I’ll definitely be mining her backlist for feel-good romances with lots of banter and mature characters (seriously, I love NA but sometimes I just can’t deal with all the angst). I also read Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy, the sequel to a m/m hockey romance, Him, and it was better than the first part, which is always a bonus.

You know I very rarely speak about non-fiction here, but if you can get your hands on the January issue of the US edition of National Geographic, please do. It’s all about gender and it’s incredibly interesting. I didn’t know so many of those things and the topic is so important. As a bonus, the portraits are heartbreakingly beautiful. If you can’t get the physical copy, lots of stuff is here.

A winter selfie because it’s been a while since you’ve seen my face around here.

What I wrote this month:

Blogging Resolutions 2017 – The One Memory of Flora Banks review – The Republic of Thieves review (finally!) – How Not to Fall series review. Not a lot, but more than I thought I did.

How have you been lately? Is 2017 kicking your ass or has it been smooth sailing so far? 

Do you have any good pick-me-up 5-star books to recommend?

I’d love to hear from you, as always. I appreciate you all being here. *hug*

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

  • I’m sorry January has been a tough month for you. And I hope you get over your cold very quickly. January has been a tough one for me, too, but it’s all because of the craziness happening in the U.S. right now. Although it has been heartening to see so many people actively protesting. I’ve been struggling reading, too, because all the political stuff is always in the best of my mind. I can’t focus well on anything.

    But, I am so glad that you are enjoying Julie James! I understand completely about being very frustrated with angst in NA, and I love that Julie James writes some very smart and intelligent characters.

    • Well, I’m super late answering comments – but better late than never, eh? We’re feeling much better now and my will to blog has returned.

      I think “the craziness in the US” is going to be a staple for many more months to come, sadly. I hope you’re coping okay and that you’ve beat your reading slump.

      YES Julie James is great, I think I’ll be reading through her backlist whenever I need a pick-me-up. :)

  • Ugh, it’s awful to hear that you and your family have been so sick, and that you’re still not fully recovered. I hope you’re able to get plenty of rest; letting the blog take a backseat for a while sounds like a good idea.

    And it’s too bad that both Crooked Kingdom and Traitor to the Throne were so disappointing! I didn’t have much hope for the latter (Rebel didn’t impress me, personally), but I’ve been stoked about CK. I’m glad you still enjoyed it, at least.

    Wow, you baked that bread? It’s gorgeous (and no doubt was delicious). Hurray for finding new, restful pastimes!

    Hope you feel better soon. =)

    • Thanks, Liam, we’re doing better now (and see, I’m answering comments! Yay!).

      Crooked Kingdom wasn’t disappointing as such, just not as good as the first part. I expected it but it’s still a bummer. Standalones really should be more frequent in YA fantasy. If Rebel of the Sands didn’t impress you, I really don’t think you’d enjoy Traitor.

      And yeah, the bread is mine, I’ve been trying out new recipes and I’m very happy with the results. My cast iron pot is finally getting some use!

      Happy reading! :)

  • *stares longingly at bread*

    Phew, your post makes me exhausted just reading it. I really hope you get some well-needed sleep! It’s hard to fight a cold/sinus infection/pneumonia when your body is already drained from lack of sleep. <3

    Your baby and kiddo updates made me smile, as usual. Kiddo really does sound like such a cool kid! Does he "help" you bake bread ever? Speaking of which, which recipes are you using for your bread? (Not that I imagine I'll be baking bread in the near future, lol.)

    I really enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale as well! I was disappointed when I heard that it’s not a sequel. I was quite satisfied by the ending, and now I’m worried about what will happen next. But I supposed I’ll have to read them.

    January had its ups and downs. The great part was that S. came to visit me! It was so nice for him to meet all the important people in my life and just to see my life here. I’m really glad he made the effort to visit before I move. We mostly ate food for the two weeks. xD I got S. addicted to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so I consider that a success! We also spent a lot of time with my friend and her kids. S. was great with the girls—even the very moody and clingy 3-year-old fell in love with him, and it was adorable to watch. :)

    Unfortunately, the good parts don’t make up for the bad. Moving stress aside, I’m so angry and disappointed by what’s going on in my country right now. I’m still making calls to my congressmen and trying to stay as up-to-date as possible on everything, but it’s also really draining, and it’s hard not to feel helpless and hopeless.

    • Hi! I think this is the longest I’ve ever left comments unanswered, dammit. But better late than never, right?

      The bread was good. Sorry. It’s one of those no-knead recipes that have to rest 12 hours before baking but it’s pretty much worth it. Let me know if you need a recipe and I’ll send you the link(s). I’ve also made a simple white one and a no-yeast wholemeal loaf.

      We’re doing better now, getting some more sleep. I probably just jinxed myself though.

      And yeah, Kiddo helps me cook a lot. His fave is cracking eggs! >.<

      Haha, has S not eaten PB&J sandwiches before? I love those. Also, have you tried PB& Nutella? My brother calls them Snickers sandwiches, they're sticky and awesome.

      And I get your disilusionment with US politics. Every time I open my Twitter feed or news sites, there's something horrible going on – and I don't even live in the US. I'm just very, very glad there are people like you who won't stand for this kind of crap. *sending you transatlantic positive vibes*

      • Definitely! I’m sure everyone is still happy to receive a reply. :D

        I prefer to eat whole wheat bread, but it’s hard to find a good homemade recipe. If I’m feeling inspired (or bored while looking for a job), I’ll let you know. :P A recipe that doesn’t require kneading would obviously be much better for me.

        Fingers crossed that the sleeping trend continues!

        Nope. He already loved peanut butter, but pb&j sandwiches aren’t a German thing. I think they find it a bit weird. I don’t actually like Nutella too much. I prefer the Nutella-white chocolate (or vanilla?) swirl version! But Nutella with peanut butter does sound delicious.

        Thank you! <3

  • Oh no, the sniffles became a cold? That sucks, colds are the worst when they just drain you’re energy. I say let a few of the chores fall by the wayside, as long as you’ve got clean clothes and clean dishes a bit of dust around the house won’t kill you. Rest up for a bit and drink lots of orange juice (vitamin C is the cure for all ills).

    I’m glad kiddo and baby are doing well, though. Sorry Baby is teething but the smile on his face after a nap has got to be worth it. have to take the bad with the good. And Kiddo sounds great with his interest in so many different things, that has to be a good sign.

    Sorry to hear you didn’t like Traitor to the Throne. I have a copy to read, I’m planning on rereading Rebel of the Sands first so we’ll see what i think. And I didn’t realise Bear and the Nightingale wasn’t standalone and I read the book! I mean, it ends in such a way that could be the end but then you can continue as well. I guess that’s the idea. And is Julie James an author I need to get reading? I think she’s an author I need to get reading. I take little encouragement to read someone new.

    I hope you feel better (again) and fingers crossed February is a bit better for you.

    • I’m answering comments with a 3-week delay, but I’m glad to report we’re feeling better! I think we’ve now been healthy for 48 hours but I probably jinxed us again so I’ll shut up now.

      I haven’t been following any blogs (or social media) so I’m wondering whether you’ve finished Traitor to the Throne yet? I’m also currently avoiding Twitter for fear of A Conjuring of Light spoilers because my book hasn’t arrived yet and I will burn the internet if I get spoiled for this. :D

      And Julie James is a good author to try, I think. It Happened One Wedding was great! :)

      I hope you’re well!

      • I noticed you were gone and then I saw your posts this week so I’m glad to see your better (and hopefully haven’t jinxed yourself).

        Erm, I totally meant to read Traitor to the Throne… but then it was really long and I was put off. But next week I am determined to catch up on those ARCs I’ve been ignoring because I am a lazy reader. And I am definitely avoiding all book spoilers for Conjuring of Light. I might have time to read it in April at the rate I’m going with books.

  • Worst way to start the new year! Hopefully you feel better soon Kaja, and you get a sliver of time to catch up on naps. Hahaha. It sounds like Baby and Kiddo are doing really well, aside from Baby being a bit too wide awake. If only the two of you could swap energy levels. ;)

    I’ve been following your bread baking kick on instagram and it all looks delicious! Sadly I don’t have any bread recipes to share, although I’ve heard that the cookbook “Flour Water Salt Yeast” is the best bread book around (apparently it delves a lot into the chemistry of bread, which is pretty cool too).

    • Hey, I’m answering comments with a 3-week delay but I’m glad to report we’re feeling better. Also less sleep deprived. Everything’s better when you get 6 hours of sleep a night! :D

      Okay, I’ll check that bread cookbook, I’m trying stuff out to find something that’s both yummy and easy to make. :)

  • Greg Hill

    I have no bread recipes but I wil eat ALL the bread cause I love it. A crusty warm loaf… yum. Sorry to hear it’s been hectic, hopefully February will calm down some and everyone will feel back to normal. :) Everyone I know is sick right now, it’s crazy.

    January hasn’t been bad here except for, like, our government lol. I have had some good reads- I gave Lost Girls 5 stars .

    I will check out that Geographic.

    • I love bread, too, that’s why I wanted to learn how to make it. I’m a fairly good cook but I had no idea how to bake good bread, which seemed like a serious hole in my repertoire. :)

      February was calmer, though not perfect – but I’m hoping the arrival of spring will make everything better. Days are longer and warmer already.

      And I think your government will sadly be the source of bad news for a while. I hope you’re doing okay and staying strong.

  • Oh nooo, it’s horrible when everyone gets sick! Hope you’re all better now… It’s so cute hearing about the kids. <3

    • Thanks, Nikki, we’re doing better now, I think. Springtime’s around the corner and we’re sleeping more, which makes everything better! :)

  • Ah that bread! Did you use a bread maker?
    I started and ended January with a flu so I feel you on the whole sick thing. My kids and boyfriend also got sick so I’m glad January is over. Here’s to hoping our February lets us have more reading time!

    Nereyda│ Nick & Nereyda’s Infinite Booklist

    • Hey, no, I don’t have a bread maker. I’m using plain old bread recipes and a big cast iron pot with a cover that gets REALLY hot, so the bread bakes perfectly.

      I hope you’re feeling better, too – springtime is coming and I’m hoping that icky flu season is slowly ending.

  • I’m glad you’re better-ish? Definitely rest up and feel completely healthy soon! I agree: babies are super scary. O.O

    I’m sorry to hear Traitor to the Throne was a disappointment. I haven’t started that set yet, so maybe I”ll hold off for now. At least The Bear and the Nightingale was better, although I didn’t realize it was part of a series either. (I think you could still read it as a standalone…if you don’t mind a kind of open ending?) If it helps, January kicked my butt, too, and February’s looking to be more of the same. Hope it goes better for you and the kiddos! :)

    • We’re doing better, thanks, it’s been tough but we’re getting more sleep now and that makes all the difference. :)

      I hope you’ll enjoy Traitor to the Throne more than I did, maybe it just wasn’t for me. And here’s to springtime and feeling better! :)

  • I’m so sorry that January was such a rough month for you! I certainly hope everyone is feeling better now and that you can catch up slowly! I’m glad you enjoyed Crooked Kingdom though a little bummed that it didn’t live up to Six of Crows! I definitely want to read The Bear and the Nightingale as well!

    All the best to you and your family for February! xx

    • Well, some months are just like that. We’re better now and I’m hoping spring will come soon and chase away the winter blues.

      Crooked Kingdom *was* good, it’s just hard to top Six of Crows, which was pretty much perfect!

      Happy reading! :)