Category Archives: Monthly Recap

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.

My November

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Hello! How are you? I know I said I’d be on break all of November, but I did actually post a couple of reviews, just to keep you on your toes. How is it December already? Are you ready for 2016 to be over? It just flew by for me…

We had a good month, though I’m sleep-deprived and tired but that’s normal when you have a toddler and a baby, no matter how great they are.

The weather wasn’t fantastic, but we did go out every time there was a slight chance of sun, like on this gorgeous day pictured above. We went to Bled, which we visit from time to time. Kiddo fell asleep on my husband’s shoulders, which was super funny because he was wearing his little sunglasses at the time and we didn’t even notice he was sleeping until I tried to show him something and he just sort of swayed in silence.

In Kiddo news: he’s talking a lot. He’s now forming full, grammatically correct sentences, and his personality is really starting to shine through. He’s also waking up in the middle of the night a lot, because those damn teeth are still growing. Last week, he showed up at our bed at about 3 am with his shoe in his hand (which meant he walked around the apartment a bit without us knowing), complaining he couldn’t get it on his foot. *sigh*

We’ve been baking a lot because he enjoys “helping” – of course it actually takes longer to bake anything if he’s there but it’s a great way to spend dark, rainy afternoons. He likes to scramble eggs, he adds pinches of salt, helps to weigh butter or flour, that sort of thing. It’s also good for him to see tangible results of his work – and he can eat them, too! :)

In Baby news: he’s SO BIG. Seriously, my arms and shoulders and back are killing me. Luckily, he doesn’t have colic so we don’t have to carry him around so much, but still. He’s starting to laugh out loud, he also coos a lot, and is a very cool baby in general. I know I’m biased but I really think my kids are pretty. :) We have a checkup and first vaccination on Dec 1st, so we’ll see how that goes.

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exiled-queenI read quite a lot this month, despite the general lack of time. The best book of the month was definitely The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima – I am looking forward to continuing this series as soon as possible! I’ll also be reviewing it sometime soon to fangirl a bit. Other than that, my love affair with Lauren Layne’s romances continued from October. (Seriously, I could spend all my book budget on her books. I’m about halfway through her backlist and loving it.) I read a couple of other romances but they weren’t that good. It’s always a hit-or-miss when you try new authors.

rebel-of-the-sands-hamiltonI also read The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Baar, which I’d received for review, and it was very strange but kind of good. I’ll be reviewing it closer to publication date. I was also able to finally cross another item off my Autumn TBR list as I read Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton – I liked it a lot! I’m glad I waited a bit because the sequel is coming in February. The cover is also one of the most gorgeous ones I’ve seen lately.

I re-read The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, which was such a disappointment. I remembered next to nothing about the story (I have terrible book amnesia) and what I read now was just… not for me. The sly commentary and the cynicism just got to me and kept throwing me out of the story and I also disliked all the characters, including the unicorn. I mean, who writes an unlikeable unicorn? *hangs head in sadness*

I also ventured out of my comfort zone by reading Simple (or rather, its Slovenian translation, Simpl, it’s a great translation) by Marie-Aude Murail (here’s the link to the English translation). It’s a very good book about two brothers, one of whom is 17 and a high school student, while the other is 22 and “simple”. It’s a powerful story about disability and the society’s reactions to it, but it’s also funny and lighthearted enough to be a truly wonderful read. If you get the chance to read it, I highly recommend it.

And then I read Paper Towns by John Green and was disappointed as well. I thought it was very similar to Looking for Alaska, with the added bonus of being completely pretentious. Eh.

But perhaps most importantly: we went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! I went in with really low expectations because I hadn’t read the book and I’m always wary of spin-offs – and I was blown away by how good it was! Newt was perfect and awkward and adorable, Jacob was a fantastic character, and I can’t wait to see what the next movie will bring! Have you seen it yet? :)

As I’m writing this, I’m also on track for my NaNoWriMo goal, which is great, since I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to write as much with all the stuff in my life. But I found a couple of people to do word sprints with and you can’t even imagine how productive that is for a competitive person like me! So yeah, I’m about halfway through my WIP and loving it.

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My reviewsSix of Crows (FANTASTIC!), When the Moon Was Ours (BEAUTIFUL!), and A Discovery of Witches (a reread but still good!).

And I’ll leave you with this gorgeous photography post – her photos are amazing, I’ve been following her blog and Instagram for a while now. I wish I had skills like that!

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What have you been up to this November? 

Are you excited for the holidays? How was Thanksgiving if you celebrated it?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

My October + A Break

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Hey, everyone, how are you doing? What’s been going on in your life? I’m less tuned-in with other people’s lives now that I’m on maternity leave and I want to know everything that’s happened.

Our October was good. We’ve fallen into a sort of routine with the kids and it takes some pressure off trying to figure out what to do each day. I mean, we still get sleepless nights (mostly because of the older one, he’s growing his last milk teeth and keeps waking up in the middle of the night) but we’re managing so far. It’s great to see how Baby is developing from a newborn to a tiny human who actually smiles and coos and flails with his little limbs.

I think we’re a bit more relaxed with Baby, compared to how worried we were when Kiddo was little. I mean, it’s just that this new-parent anxiety isn’t as horrible as it was the first time around, when we really had no clue about what we were up against. It’s also good that Baby doesn’t have colic (Kiddo did and it was pretty awful for a while, he’d scream for hours each day, the poor thing) and he’s such a calm child. It’s difficult to explain without sounding all esoteric but he has this soothing presence, I don’t even know how to describe it. Anyway, Kiddo is also adjusting pretty well, he’s really kind to Baby and keeps petting him and telling him not to cry (more like ordering him, really). They’re cool kids. :)

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In reading news, I’ve been reading lots of romanceShocking, I know. *sigh* I’ve discovered a new author, Lauren Layne, and her Wedding Belles series – the review of To Love and to Cherish is here. I read Half Wild by Sally Green, which was a good sequel. I was really, really impressed by When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore, but the favourite book of the month goes to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I was so scared it would be one of those hyped-up books that I usually end up disliking (like The Wrath and the Dawn), but I loved it. I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom.

I also have an announcement to make: I’ll be taking most of November off on the blog. I’ll probably come back with my November recap post, though I might post a review or two in the meantime because I have old ARC debts. I just need to schedule some posts in advance for December, because it’s always busy, I want to work on a NaNoWriMo project, and I just need a break to catch up with old comments and regroup. I’ll be back before you know it! ;) 

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What I wrote about:

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How was your October? Do you celebrate Halloween? 

Do you unfollow blogs if they stay silent for too long? :)

I’d love to hear from you!

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

My September

my-september16As most of you know by now, my September had a fantastic start as our second son was born on September 1st, which is also Kiddo’s birthday. Seriously, it was kind of odd – both of them were due on August 25th and both were exactly a week late. We didn’t plan it this way – not that you can plan babies with such precision anyway – but here we are. Baby weighed 4615g (that’s just over 10 pounds) and was 55cm long (and I have no idea how to transform this into a logical non-decimal measurement). He was (is) big. I’m okay, though, everything was done and finished in three hours, which is fantastic. We’re both doing great and he’s eating a lot. We’ve gone through our first cold (we all got stuffy noses, it’s amazing how these things spread) but nothing horrible so far (fingers crossed).

Kiddo is taking things in stride – we’ve had some tantrums, of course, but he’s being incredibly sweet to his baby brother. We’re still adjusting to being a family of four, which is to be expected. He has also learned to tell that he’s two years old and enjoyed having us sing Happy Birthday to him over and over (I think he thinks it’s his personal song, so he’ll probably be disappointed when he hears it sung for someone else). He’s in a dinosaur phase right now – that’s A.’s T-Rex chalk drawing up top, he’s great with these things. My dinosaurs are usually pretty sad.

Surprisingly, I’ve had a lot of time to read this month. Kindle is my best friend right now because I can read one-handed (or have it propped on my knee while I’m nursing). Paperbacks – or even hardbacks – are taking a back seat right now. So I’m doing great with my review copies and even tackling some freebie classics, who would have thought?!

The best books I read this month were Iron Cast by Destiny Soria (I’ll be reviewing it next week, stay tuned!) and Pride and Prejudice, which was a re-read, of course, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (a re-read as well). I also enjoyed Act Like It by Lucy Parker and I’m currently working my way through The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch, which is still fantastic. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh was a huge disappointment for me, especially after all the hype the duology has received in the blogosphere. I also flew through Sarah J. Maas’s Empire of Storms and it will surprise exactly no-one that I’ve written a spoilery review for it. I re-read What Happens in London, a favourite by Julia Quinn, and the Off-Campus series by Elle Kennedy in preparation for the last book that was just published.

I also meant to follow A Discovery of Witches real time read-along (Lark posted about this) but it’s moving at such a slow pace that I’ve already started reading ahead. If you’re interested, there’s a handy calendar with all the dates for the chapters. This is a re-read for me because I want to continue with the series but I’ve forgotten all about what happened in the first book. If you’ve been thinking about tackling this series, this is a great opportunity.

I’m still watching The Great British Bake Off – A. and I are working through old episodes, actually, while we wait for each week’s instalment of Season 7. Blindspot is also back, I love this show. Jamie Alexander is just so beautiful.

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What I wrote about:

Thanks to scheduling posts in advance, I’ve managed to keep on top of my resolution to blog twice a week. And I’ve been meaning to ask you – is this working for you? Or would you rather see more posts? I think that this schedule is one I can maintain without too much stress, which is essential right now.

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How was your September? Did you read anything interesting?

What TV shows should I give a go?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.

My August

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I’m writing this post in advance since I’m trying to lessen my blogging load for the end of August and September. I sincerely hope that Baby has already arrived (I’ll probably be offline but I’ll try to let you know somehow) because by the time you’ll be reading this, a week will have passed since my due date.

*update added on August 31, in the evening* Baby hasn’t arrived yet. *sigh* It seems more and more likely that my kids will share a birthday. I can tell you – I’ve been over due twice now and it’s not fun. Gah.

Today (September 1st) is my first son’s birthday; he turns two today and I’m so incredibly grateful for this experience. He’s a good kid and we’re so, so lucky to have him. We bought him a toy drum for his birthday present, which, now that I think of it, is probably the worst idea ever since we’re about to have a newborn in the house, but he loves instruments and has been talking about drums ever since he got a chance to play one at a festival.

August was a very good month in general. Yes, I spent most of it complaining of various aches and uncomfortable moments that come with the last weeks of pregnancy but my husband had two weeks off and we managed to get in an incredible amount of quality family time, which is exactly what we needed. We didn’t go anywhere far (I really wanted to give birth in Ljubljana) but we went on day trips every day, we spent as much time in nature as possible, and took care that Kiddo was entertained and properly tired each day.

Honestly, it’s been hard thinking of anything but the Baby. I like to think I’m not one of the people who talk about their kids all the time (I really try to make an effort, especially around childless friends, because I am more than a mother) but it’s hard when there’s a little future human constantly poking me from my belly, demanding attention. Plus there are all the preparations to think of, the aches, the anticipation… Well.

I didn’t read a lot, probably due to the fact that I kept starting new books. The best one was No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished by Rachel Aaron, probably my most-anticipated summer release, and also Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – I never know what I’ll get when I start a new series but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I also got Karen Hawkins’ Mad for the Plaid to read as an ARC, which was most welcome because I’d been meaning to buy it anyway. I was seriously, horrendously disappointed by Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Torn, which prompted me to write a post about reading bad books.

We went to see both Ghostbusters and Star Trek Beyond (yes, two movie date nights in one month, woop!). I liked both of them but didn’t love them. Ghostbusters is awesome and campy but also ridiculous at times. I loved the fact that there were no unnecessary sexy scenes, the receptionist’s role was just such a caricature that I loved it, and I will never be fed up with watching badass ladies kick ass. I was really glad we’d re-watched the original movie from the 80s before going to see this new one, though, because I would have missed every reference – I think I was about 10 the last time I’d seen it.

As for Star Trek, I really liked the first movie, thought the second was pretty good, but this one was… well, a sequel. I liked the fact that there wasn’t too much romance (Le gasp! I know, I always say I want more romance but it would have made me roll my eyes here.). My friends complained about the shaky camera but I wasn’t too affected by it. I liked the Beasty Boys scene but also thought it was perhaps too simple? The entire plot was a bit simple, in fact, that’s what bothered me the most. Also, don’t watch this one if you haven’t watched the previous two because there’s just so much history between the characters. I’m not sorry we went to see it but it wasn’t revolutionary.

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What I Wrote + Link Love:

This month’s post is a bit shorter than usual. Some links may be missing. And if I’m suddenly not responding to anything, I probably have a pink, screaming, adorable excuse.

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How was your August? Did you do anything unexpected?

What was the best book you read this month?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

Let’s be friends: emailbloglovin’twitterinstagramgoodreads.