Category Archives: General Ramblings

My May

May was pretty good to me. Apart from constant sleep deprivation, we had some great weather and managed to go on some good trips.

In Kiddo news: He’s doing good. Sometimes, he’s jealous of his little brother and also annoyed because he keeps trying to steal his toys (I think this will be a recurring theme for years to come). He talks a lot, he’s mastered complex sentences and it’s really funny to hear him repeat back phrases that we use or read in books. He’s in a Peppa Pig phase, which is cool because that cartoon is awesome. Dinosaurs and tractors (and combine harvesters) are still a thing. He’s also potty trained, which is a relief. :D We planted some beans and cucumbers on our balcony and he’s very diligent with watering them with his yellow watering can.

In Baby news: We had his 9-month check up last week and he’s great. He’s really big for his age and it’s hard to carry him sometimes if he decides to squirm. He still doesn’t understand what we want from him, obviously, so it’s impossible to keep him away from Kiddo’s toys, for example. He’s also very different, personality-wise – he’s very determined and…brave? By which I mean reckless when he wants something and just goes after it, even if it’s out of his reach. Then he dangles from the tabletop or the sink by his tiny fingertips, waiting to be rescued by us. He also started saying mah-mah, which is adorable, of course! He can clap (clumsily) and if asked what sound cows make, he blows out his cheeks and makes a sort of bwuh sound that vaguely resembles “moo”. So that’s a win. ;)

In personal news: I’ve really been enjoying the weather. Being outside and taking day trips is so much easier in the summertime. And I’ve been taking photos of flowers everywhere, they’re gorgeous and early this year. I don’t bake as much bread anymore, though, because it just seems stupid heating the oven to 350°C every other day when it’s 30°C outside… I’ll start baking again in the autumn. I did bake a chocolate cake (with Kiddo’s help, of course) yesterday because my husband and I celebrated our 30th birthdays together (mine was in April and his is in 2 weeks but we invited everyone together).

We went to two medieval fairs these past two weeks – one at Ljubljana Castle, where we witnessed a sword fight demonstration (Kiddo watched, transfixed, and I had to explain to him that the gentlemen hacking at each other weren’t actually trying to hurt their opponents…), and the other at Bled Castle, where we saw a smithy and my husband tried his hand at flinging throwing axes at a battered wooden target (He hit it more than once! And the guy who gave the demonstration reminded me of Jean Tannen so much.).

I’m going to try and post a book haul/recently read post soon because I got so many books this month. I bought some for myself, I got some gift certificates for the bookstore for my birthday, I got a couple as gifts…and it’s been a while since I did one of these posts. Let’s just say that my reading slump still hasn’t gone away completely and I’ve been self-medicating with easy-to-read romance, which isn’t exactly healthy for my book budget. *sigh*

How are you doing? How was your May?

What was the best thing that happened to you last month?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

 

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Spring TBR

I had some success with seasonal TBR lists before, though I have to admit my winter list was a fail because a) life was crazy, and b) I only put weirdly serious books on it, which immediately put me off reading. Eh.

Anyway, I’m going for a combination of books already owned and new releases this time. I know I’ll be reading my favorite authors’ books as soon as they’re published (lots of romances, duh. Spring is going to be hell on my book budget.), but I want to mix it up a bit. Maybe I can even make some progress on my challenges.

  1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – I already started reading it, so this is cheating a bit, but it’s my list and I can do what I want. This has been very high on my most-anticipated list of 2017. So far, so good. (read in May, a disappointment.)
  2. Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier – I’ve been reading this one for more than a month. It’s different from the previous two books and I’m not sure why it’s dragging so much.
  3. The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn – this will release on May 30 and I can’t wait! Because of Miss Bridgerton, the first book of this series, was one of the few romances I rated with 4.5 stars. (read in May, so good!)
  4. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab – obviously.
  5. City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong – I saw this one got 5 stars from three reviewers I trust implicitly, so I grabbed the audiobook when I had a new credit to spend. I’ve listened to a couple of chapters and it sounds great! It’s just going slowly because I don’t have a lot of time to listen to audiobooks lately. (read in April/May, loved it, already bought the sequel.)
  6. Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen – I can’t wait for this one. I haven’t talked about my love for Bowen’s romances yet, I need to do that soon, but she quickly became an auto-buy author for me. (read in May, binged it in 1 day, ha.)
  7. Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy – yeah, like I said.
  8. I Knew You Were Trouble by Lauren Layne – I know I said I didn’t like Love Story that much but I *just* finished reading Walk of Shame (I binge-read it in a day) and it was gorgeous. Layne is another auto-buy author.
  9. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – I bought this one when it was a Kindle deal and haven’t had the time to read it yet. But I really want to! I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.
  10. One of Amelie Nothomb’s novels – I have several unread ones and I don’t know which one I want to read first, but I want to read more French books.
  11. Le Secret by Phillippe Grimbert – I’m halfway through this one and really should just finish it, it’s not long at all.

I think that’s enough for now, don’t you? :)

Have you read any of these? Which should I tackle first? 

What’s your most anticipated release for the rest of 2017? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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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*

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