Category Archives: General Ramblings

Life Lately and Some Birthdays

Hi, I’m back. I mean, I’m still here. Leaving the blogosphere for a couple of months really makes you realize that life goes on even if you’re not chatting away in your little corner of the internet.

But now I’m here, I have some posts scheduled to appear in the next weeks, and I hope some of you are still here and reading this.

So, where have I been all this time? After January and February, which were the roughest months of the year because we were sick all the time (I think we had about 2 days in those 2 months where the four of us were healthy all at once, it was exhausting), I had to spend some time catching up with life. Everything from dirty laundry to my blog comments piled up and I just had to press pause on something, and it wasn’t going to be the laundry because we need fresh clothes, so the blog had to go for a while.

I’m sorry I didn’t say anything, I just saw all the wonderful comments you kept leaving on my last posts trickling into my inbox and felt so guilty because I wasn’t answering them, it was almost a relief to have them finally stop. Almost. And then I felt like shit for feeling this way because here I am, writing stuff, and here you are, reading it, and I’m just so grateful that you’re here. <3

But I missed you, people! I still read books and I missed talking to you about them, missed fangirling and ranting and being generally bookish, so here I am.

In baby news: We have two teeth! They’re sharp and cute. He has learned to crawl, first soldier-style (pulling himself forward while lying on his belly) and now on his hands and knees. He’s starting to pull himself up next to the couch and so on, which is quite early (he’s 7.5 months old), so he falls over a lot. He’s such a cool baby, he’s communicating more and more, eats solid food three times a day, and is this whole little person. It’s amazing to see how different he is from his brother.

In kiddo news: Dinosaurs are still a thing. He now knows various different species and loves nothing more than paging through the different dinosaur encyclopedias we borrow at the library. He’s also using complex sentences and has a cool sense of humor. Tantrums are still happening but they’re manageable. He loves being outside and his default mode is now running, so I’m getting lots of cardio.

In personal news: I finished writing that romance thingy. It’s as finished as it can be without the help of an actual editor, so I’m about to start querying agents. It’s probably still a long way from being ready for publication, so you can’t expect a romance of a bestselling kind, but I think it’s…kinda good. Anyway, my stomach is doing a painful clenching thing as I’m writing this, I’m not used to talking about this so openly and I’m really trying to be better about owning the fact that I write.

I’m still baking bread (which you’ve probably noticed if you’re following me on Instagram), I’ve reached a point where we very rarely buy bread at the store anymore. There’s just something so relaxing and satisfying about bread baking. I’m making my own sourdough now and experimenting with different kinds of flour.

I’m also turning thirty in about a week (on the 24th). So that’s pretty huge, right? I’m not super stressed about it, but it is one of those big birthdays, so I’m celebrating with a little giveaway. My blog is turning three in early May (on the 8th), so this is a dual celebration. I’m ten times older than my blog, haha! The giveaway is meant for you, for my followers, so there’s no “share” option, but new followers are certainly welcome. I’m mainly just so very happy you’re still here, willing to chat with me.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY, you first have to comment on this blog post and tell me one random fact about yourself. Here, I’ll start: I have so many notebooks I’ll never be able to fill them all. I just love stationery. / My favorite animal is a giraffe. / I hate the smell of pineapple and raspberries. / I put sea salt on my jam & butter sandwiches.

The giveaway is for one book from the list of my favorites (4+ stars rating) in the value of up to 15€. Open internationally if The Book Depository ships to you. I’ll be checking all entries, no giveaway accounts allowed. After the winner is announced on May 5, the winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new one is chosen instead. You know the drill.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now it’s your turn!

Having Kids in the 21st Century

Hello and welcome! It’s time for another discussion, we haven’t had any of these in a while, so I really need to get moving if I want to complete my Discussion Challenge (I’m participating again and if you want some really great discussions, head on over and click around a bit).

I normally only discuss bookish things around here – and while this discussion will touch on books, it’s of a more personal nature. Not that books aren’t personal to me, it’s just that my kids are more personal if you get me. If you’re new here, I have two kids, aged 2.5 years and 6 months (they share a birthday).

I was scrolling through the absolutely beautiful photos in this post the other day when it struck me how spoiled (or maybe just protected?) my kid was. It’s a sobering moment for any parent to realize their child isn’t the perfect little angel they thought s/he was, but I’m trying to go a bit deeper here.

Now, Kiddo is a great little person. He’s compassionate, kind, and very smart, and his temper tantrums can be chalked up to the fact that he’s 2.5 years old and it’s normal for kids that age to have temper tantrums.

But as I was looking through the photos of this Pakistani mining community, something jumped out at me. Now, I don’t know whether the kids in these photos are happy or not (I’m going to assume they are because my hormones are currently preventing me from imagining anything bad happening to kids), but they’re clearly not enjoying the same benefits of being middle-class citizens as my kid.

My kid, however, dissolved into tears last week because he wanted the orange jam on his toast, not the red one. We have daily battles on which t-shirt he’ll wear to kindergarten (because the stripy one from H&M is clearly inferior, Mom) and last night, he cried for a full five minutes because I wouldn’t let him eat double his usual dinner because I was afraid his tummy would hurt during the night.

What I’m getting at here is this: my kid’s troubles are superficial (aka First World Problems) because he’s never experienced what it’s like to really not have something. And thank whatever power there is out there for that. I’m grateful for our life every day.

But now I’m wondering how to instill some sense of worth in the (material and emotional) goods he has access to on a daily basis. How do you explain to a very young child that he should value his clean, dry, warm clothes because there are kids who don’t have the same privilege? How do I make him understand that turning up his nose at a perfectly good dinner is bad? How do I tell him that while my cuddles, love, and support are unconditional, not all children grow up in such an environment? And most of all (and this is the over-protective mother speaking), how do I do this while still protecting him?

Bookish person that I am, my first thought was to turn to books. I’m in search of picture books that feature diversity of this specific kind (we’ll tackle race and gender issues another day) without being over-the-top didactic. I know our local libraries and the Slovenian section of IBBY are preparing a list of children’s books that deal with the topic of immigrants, so I’ll definitely be making use of those, but I’d love more general suggestions.

I know that not many of my followers have children but in this day and age, social sensitivity is something we should all work towards, and where better to start than with our kids, right?

What’s your take on this? Do you have kids? How do you face similar problems?

Do you have any bookish recs for me?

I’l love to hear from you! :)

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Shifty Characters

It’s time for some discussing and some list making (because have you met me? I always make lists). I’m participating in the 2017 edition of the fabulous Discussion Challenge, which is a fantastic place to find more bookish discussions. The participants always have something interesting to say!

Today, I thought I’d say a word or two about my love for shifty characters: thieves, assassins, pirates, and so on.

It’s weird that I enjoy reading about these people so much when in real life, my worst “crime” was getting fined for jaywalking in high school (seriously, I’ve never even gotten a parking ticket, I’m distressingly honest and law-abiding. Okay, so there might have been some underage drinking and pot smoking but I’m a responsible adult now. *cough*). I can’t even say that I know any criminals – at any rate, I would do my best to avoid real-life hustlers and con (wo)men, let alone assassins, because they prey on innocent people and kill and engage in really bad behavior.

So why is it that I am so drawn to any book that has a morally questionable protagonist? I’m not even talking about villains here. It’s the main characters with shifty lifestyles that I love. The redeemable bad guys.

Probably it’s because I hate characters who are too good and pure to be true. I mean, I consider myself to be a fairly honest, good person, but I still get jealous, petty, and downright nasty (only when I’m hungry, though, promise).

So let’s consider the loveable bad guys and get some recommendations! Note that some of them fall into multiple categories (I mean, as if stealing wasn’t enough. Let’s add murder to the mix, right?).

Have you read any of these? Did you like the shifty characters?

What do you think makes them so great?

And do you have any recommendations for me?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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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.

My December

Hello in the new year! How was your December? Did you enjoy the holiday season?

My December was pretty good. I did get a nasty cold just after Christmas, but otherwise, it was a sunny month full of little walks in the cold, despite the fact that Ljubljana gets shrouded in fog too often. We didn’t get any snow (the air is so dry it crackles), but I’m hopeful.

In Kiddo news: He was really happy to be home over the holidays. He likes kindergarten well enough but my husband had 10 days off work and we spent some quality time together. The first half of the holidays, he had some tantrums, but he really calmed down for the second half, so it was so, so nice. He’s currently obsessed with his Cars long-sleeved t-shirt (which we got second-hand from a friend of mine) and I have to wash it every other day so he can wear it as often as possible.

In Baby news: He learned to roll from his back to his tummy! He still doesn’t know how to flip back, though, which is super frustrating for him. He’s great, such a sunny baby. He clearly adores his older brother, he follows him around the room with his eyes and when Kiddo condescends to play with him, he laughs out loud. I feel like Kiddo enjoys him, too, but they can’t really play together yet, so he’ll have to wait.

In personal news: I had a mini slump just at the end of the year, feeling like I didn’t complete all the things I wanted to do in 2016 (ranging from cleaning out our pantry to finishing my PhD, lol). But I had a nice chat with my husband who reminded me that the end of the year was an arbitrary barrier and that I still had the time to do all that. He’s a great guy.

December was a mediocre reading month. I really enjoyed Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie, which also made it onto my “Best of 2016” list. It made me laugh out loud, which is always a good thing. But the best read of the month goes to Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer which was my only 5-star read of the month, and punched me right in the gut. I’ll be reviewing it soon but if you can get your hands on a copy, I highly recommend it. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was good, too! I’m making some headway on my Winter TBR, which is making me happy, because I love crossing items off lists.

Two of those items were, unfortunately, DNFs. One was Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. I’d recently reviewed A Discovery of Witches, which I re-read in order to finally continue with the series. But Shadow pissed me off so much that I decided to quit it, even though I already own two of the books. Matthew (the “hero”) was a controlling jackass and acted so abhorrently, I no longer wish to read about him. So there’s that.

The other DNF (for now, at least), was Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, which came highly recommended (sorry guys). It is the most horribly depressing fantasy novel I ever had the displeasure of reading and I just can’t handle that right now. Kids being hurt/dying is definitely one of my triggers right now and I don’t need my books making me anxious. I don’t shy away from all hard stuff (case in point: the Guernsey book is about WWII and it’s beautiful) but this was just so fucking DARK. Like no hope at all and I hated the main characters’ decisions. So yeah. DNF.

I also read a couple of fluffy romances to compensate for all the serious stuff, and my love for Lauren Layne continues! Seriously, if you need a pick-me-up, her books are perfect.

Posts I Wrote:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – The Best Books I Read in 2016 – My Ultimate TBR List + ChallengesHappy Holidays!My Winter TBRA Crop of Mini Reviews – Rebel of the Sands – My Romance Binge Continues – The Exiled Queen – Challenges and Resolutions Update #3

How was your December?

What January books are you excited for?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays, dear readers! I know I’m a little late for Christmas, but I hope your celebrations were full of great food and good company. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you’re still relaxing at home, enjoying a good book and a warm/alcoholic drink.

While 2016 will probably go down in history as a really crappy year, it was a good one for me and my family. We got our second son and he’s a great little guy. Kiddo is also healthy and smart, so we have a lot to be grateful for.

We celebrated with both sides of the family already, so I’m looking forward to having a quiet celebration of New Year with just the four of us at home. It’ll be our first year as a four-member family, and though the little ones will probably go to bed like it’s any other ordinary day, we’ll be watching the fireworks and eating a good dinner. We also have a tentative date with The Return of the King, since we’re in the middle of a LOTR re-watch.

Hugs for all and I wish you a calm last week of 2016. How will you be celebrating on New Year’s Eve?