Mercury Retrograde & 90’s Nostalgia: July Wrap-Up

Reading By Starlight Wrap-Up Banner (7)

Fun fact: the name Reading By Starlight was inspired by my deep fascination with the night sky. I’m by no means an astronomer but I’ve always be inspired by the mythology behind the constellations. You might be wondering where I’m going with this. Well, unless you’ve been hiding under Pride Rock you probably would have heard that Mercury has been in retrograde this month.

So what exactly is Mercury in retrograde? Retrograde occurs when a planet either laps Earth’s orbit or Earth laps another planet. This give the illusion that the planet is travelling in a backwards motion – i.e. in retrograde. That’s the astronomy behind the phenomenon but this is where science and mythology get murky. Astrologists believe, originating with the God Mercury, that Mercury in Retrograde creates communication turmoil and what basically amounts to a whole lot of misfortune for us.

And while it can be easy to chalk bizarre emotions up to hormones and bad luck to our own faults, upon reflection this month I’ve been wondering if there might be stock in astrology after all…

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My Month In A Nutshell

Okay, so this is where that whole Mercury-in-retrograde-speech comes into play. Confession: I’m not exactly a believer in astrology. While reading horoscopes can be fun I am a firm believer that we are the masters of our own course.

But, a lot has happened which forced me to question whether I could calk it all up to coincidence or, if Mercury Retrograde was playing a role.

For me, July was all about emotional reflection, nostalgia and regeneration. A lot was happening in my work-life and personal-life that forced me to question if I was really happy.  People from my past were suddenly popping back up in my life in ways that were more mysterious than others. Feeling slightly dissatisfied prompted me into some serious self discovery and some cleansing. Spoiler alert: It was time for some change. And while it hasn’t exactly been easy, I am feeling much stronger.

Though it wasn’t all reflection and transition…

Highlights included having some much needed girls days. The first was getting together with my squad to for a pampering session and an afternoon screening of After.  I’d binge-read the series after the wedding so I was super excited for this guilty-pleasure flick. I did love the film, for what it was we swooned, laughed and had a good time angsting over Hardin and Tessa.

Remember when I mentioned old friends re-entering my life? Early July I had some friends come to visit from interstate. We had grown up together so you can imagine we had such a good time drinking wine and catching up after fives years apart. Then, a week or so later on the train to work I, quiet literally, bumped into my old best friend from high school. We ended up going to see The Lion King and grabbed a coffee feeling all the nostalgia.

And that’s only the half of it. So bottom line: could this month of transition all be due to mercury’s retrograde??? I guess I can’t know for sure but it did seem like there was another hand playing a  role in my life this month. You also will have noticed that Reading By Starlight underwent total blog glow-up [that can be blamed on all that self reflection] so I’d love to hear you’re thoughts on the new graphics and style! It’s still a work in progress and there’s still a long way to go so any input is welcome.

Books Read


Frost Bite by Richelle Mead |★★★½☆|I figured it was time that I roll up my dang sleeves and finish this series – hence the re-read of the first four books. I have to say, this time around I’ve sort of been disillusioned by the characters and Richelle Mead’s writing. I was disappointed to realize that since my first romp through Rose’s world my ratings have dropped. Maybe I’m getting a bit old for this series?

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead |★★★★☆| As of now [not having read Last Sacrifice yet] I think that Shadow Kiss is my favorite installment. Why my rating dropped from five to four stars, I love the plot and dynamics of Shadow Kiss. Not to mention that this is the book that Rose and Dimitri finally get it on… [I’m not ashamed to say that I am here purely for #Romitri].

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald |★★★★★| There is a reason why the Great Gatsby has been called the Great American Novel – the characters are deeply flawed and the novel’s themes hold a mirror to our own society. I can’t tell you how much I love this book and how much I truly weep for Jay.

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead |★★★☆☆| Is it possible that I enjoyed Blood Promise a little more during my re-read? I can’t believe I’m saying this but yes. Okay, Blood Promise is still slow and riddled with angst but I definitely appreciate Rose’s character arch and development this time around.

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead |★★★★☆| This was my first time picking up Spirit Bound and unlike Blood Promise the action doesn’t stop. This is what I am here for! Spirit Bound was a wild ride from the start and even though the shock ending was spoiled I was still left gaping and guessing. I am actually really looking forward to reading Last Sacrifice now and not just wanting to push through to finish the series.

The Martian by Andy Weir |★★★★½| I honestly wanted The Martian to be a five star read but it just didn’t quiet take me there. This might be obvious but The Martian is very science-y. And that’s okay, but a lot of Mark’s POV went right over my head and I kinda skimmed in places. My favorite POV’s from the novel are the Hermes crew and the NASA team back on earth – I may have been slightly move invested in their narratives. I do have to add half a star though because this is a novel that truly makes you feel. 

Blog Posts

Movies & Go Karts: June Wrap-Up

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

The Third Annual 2019 Book Blogger Awards 

Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Final Thoughts and August Plans 

I can’t tell you just how good it felt to kick butt this month and topple some books off my TBR. It’s been a while since I’ve hauled some new books [you may have noticed I haven’t reviewed new releases in the past two months]. Money is tight living alone and when I was organizing my shelves I realized that I have approximately fifty unread books! I figured I needed to topple some tomes before I hauled again.

Next month I’m continuing my topple-ling and I’ll be tackling some books off of my 2019 TBR. You know, the ones that you have all been practically screaming at me to read? Yes that’s right – this month I’ll be reading Shadow and Bone and A darker Shade of Magic. Finally. First up I’ll be finishing Last Sacrifice thoughI also had the urge to re-read The Host and I need to pick a classic for this month.

In other August news: keep your eyes peeled because I have a very exciting project/announcement that I’m launching! But, more on that soon.

For now, I wish you all a very happy August reading month!Alexandra


11 thoughts on “Mercury Retrograde & 90’s Nostalgia: July Wrap-Up

  1. That’s so insane!! I live in Perth and it’s not that uncommon to bump into old friends/people you knew many moons ago in random places, but it’s still such a strange feeling! It’s so cool that you & your old high school best friend went to see the Lion King together as well – normally when I bump into an old friend it’s just a lot of “Hey, how’ve you been?” and then “OK BYE!” 😂

    Also I have no idea what your blog looked like before but I am LOVING the current graphics! Everything is so gorgeous 😍 It gives me very Night Court vibes!

    💛 Ngoc

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! You are actually spot on – I was channeling my inner Night Court vibes with the new graphics.

      It was definitely insane to bump into my friend. I never seem to bump into anyone in Melbourne! At the time I was going through a lot. I was having a bad day and it kind of felt like the universe was throwing me a bone by throwing us together again. I mean we get talking because I stumbled walking down the isle of the train carriage and knocked into her. It doesn’t get much crazier than that! Especially considering we followed through with our plans and re-connected so well. Sometimes things are just meant to be! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • It was amazing – you know you’ve read a good book when you’re still pouring over your review a week later! The good news is I think I’ve finally complied my feels into a some-what coherent review. 😉


  2. Oh, I’m excited to hear what you think of A Darker Shade of Magic! I consider it one of my favorite books/series but I definitely need a reread since I don’t remember too much of it 😅 And aahh seeing The Great Gatsby on your list makes me realize I should probably read it (and watch the movie 🙈) I hope you have a great August!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve started A Darker Shade of Magic twice in the past and wasn’t able to full lose myself in the story. I’m really hoping it was my current mood because I’ve heard good things and I’m SO ready for it to be my next favorite series!

      If you do decide to read The Great Gatsby [which I highly recommend!] I suggest watching the movie first. I know it goes against every fiber as a book-nerd but in my experience I find it gives you a better understanding. That and the movie is amazing – Leonardo is what swoons are made of! 💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

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