Thriving In Isolation: April 2020 Wrap-Up

Isolation – doesn’t that world have such a negative connotation? Isolation implies segregation, it means being alone and feeling lonely. Nobody wants that.

But, I’m a firm believer in the power of perspective. The idea that happiness is a choice and that a positive outlook changes everything. What if we looked at this period of self isolation not as a sacrifice, but as an opportunity? I’ve been in “stand down” from my job for a month but I took this time as a chance to re-set my batteries and you know what? I actually thrived in this mindset. So, let’s share some good news as I walk you through my new normal and April in isolation.

playlist My life is basically scheduled down to the last minute. When I’m not at work, I’m blogging – I’m writing, responding to comments and stalking your blogs. I also live independently. That means I’ve got to keep my house clean, make time to shop for groceries and to cook my meals [I can’t just live off microwave meals or take-out]. Clearly, I don’t get a lot of spare time so to have an entire month with no obligations was such a blessing. So what did I get up to?

Well, for starters, I’ve been writing pretty much every single day which has kept me grounded and some-what productive during isolation. Would you believe, I’ve actually done some of my best writing in this routine? In said spark of creativity, I posted a list; 101 Things To Do In Isolation and was actually working through the list myself. [Fun fact: the list was actually born out of the fact that I was trying to come up with a lot of activities to keep busy].

Some of the things I checked off was re-reading the Twilight Saga [and bingeing the movies], I also spent a lot of my time on self care – setting aside time to relax in a bath with a face mask and a glass of wine. I’ve built a lot of playlists too and discovered a lot of new indie bands, having had the time to really comb through Spotify. It also felt good to get to those odd jobs around the house. I got out into my garden, I cleaned up my study [which I’ve now converted into a seriously cool rec room] and gave the house a good scrubbing.

My favorite memory was having social-distance-approved dinner parties via FaceTime with my parents. Long distance and self isolation didn’t stop us from cooking together. We did brunch with pancakes but my favorite was making BBQ marinated pork ribs with mac n’ cheese and vodka cocktails. Having a good ol’ fashioned family dinner is always the way to go.

And you know what? Now that I’m sadly going back to work, not only do I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot, I feel organised and refreshed – ready to take on the world. But that doesn’t mean there were hard days – because there were. There are always going to be hard days. You’ve just got to trust in your strength, lean on your family and push through.

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie | ★★★★☆ | Welcome to yet another deliciously morbid world of macabre bone magic and forbidden romance. Inspired by French folklore and the legends of les Dames Blanch, Bone Crier’s Moon is an action packed fantasy adventure brimming with ghostly apparitions and siren-like women.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo| ★★★★☆ |  The Little Mermaid meets sweeping, high-stakes pirate adventuring in To Kill a Kingdom. It’s a deliciously dark, twisty AF retelling of epic proportions with a classic anti-heroine you just can’t help but root for.

Briar Rose by Jana Oliver |★★★★☆ |  Briar Rose is a sexy, dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty with an antebellum twist. Brimming with metallic beasts, monstrous tyrants, fairy-like creatures and a magical curse. And okay, the characters lack depth and the dialogue is iffy but, for what it’s worth, Briar Rose is an engaging adventure – the perfect book to binge during self isolation.

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace  |★★★★½| All the Stars and Teeth has everything you’d want in a riveting, swashbuckler adventure. Boasting an incredible cast of characters, the stakes are high AF and the pacing full throttle as we’re swept up in the shifting politics of a watery world. Basically, the pirate book of my dreams.

These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman & Meagan Spooner  |★★★★½| What happens if you mix Titanic with Man vs. Wild and set it in space? You get These Broken Stars, a timeless love story about hope and survival against all odds. It’s a high-stakes survival adventure with a science fiction twist – a vivid and immersive reading experience

Twilight by Stephenie Meyre  |★★★★★| After all this time, Twilight is still my favorite book ever. I could live perpetually folded between the pages of Forks forever – haters can hate all they want. A vivid literary world brimming with authentic characters and almost pliable emotions, re-reading Twilight is nostalgic, comforting and all-consuming.

New Moon by Stephenie Meyre  |★★★★½| New Moon was my least favorite of the series – mainly because Edward is so absent from the narrative. Upon reflection, I’ve realized that I have to appreciate the sheer emotion of it all. New Moon is such a deeply poignant book but post-werewolf Jacob is still the worst.

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyre  |★★★★☆| Okay, scratch that – I’ve now decided that Eclipse is my least favorite of the saga. Nothing really happens. For the most part, Eclipse’s plot is driven by emotion and Bella’s choices. That being said, Edward and Jacob’s testosterone-fueled fighting is still the best darn thing I’ve ever read. And the proposal!!!

The Disney Parks Book Tag [An Original Tag]

Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

The Not-So-Perfect Book Tag

Review: Bone Crier’s Moon by Katheryn Purdie

5 Things You [Probably] Didn’t Know About the RMS Titanic

101 Things To Do While Self Isolating

Review: Havenfall by Sara Holland

Social Distancing & Self Care: March 2020 Wrap-Up

Getting back to the daily grind is going to be complicated. Australia is still very much living in lock-down. There’s going to be new procedures to follow and social distancing guidelines to practice. It’s going to be an adjustment so I really want to take the pressure off reading this month. Let’s face it – I thrive when I’m not trying to stick to a TBR.

First up, I’ll be closing my return to Forks, Washington with Breaking Dawn. I’m actually going to be so sad to finish this series. Again. I’ve realized that these books will always hold a special place in my heart. Twilight is so comforting, so all-consuming – these books really got me through this unprecedented time. Then at some point, I should probably finish Little Women because I didn’t this month. Whoops.

I’m also excited about the return of YA vampires with Crave and for some reason I’ve felt the urge to read the Mortal Instruments??? I guess we’ll have to see how we go. No promises here.

I hope isolation treated you all well and that you’re coping in your new normal too. Have an amazing reading month and I can’t wait to chat with you in the comments. Happy reading!

25 thoughts on “Thriving In Isolation: April 2020 Wrap-Up

  1. Looks like you read some great books! These Broken Stars and To Kill a Kingdom are some of my favs, and I’m glad you loved them too! I’m so excited to read Bone Crier’s Moon and All the Stars and Teeth! And yesss I’m so glad that vampires have been making a comeback lately! Lovely wrap-up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was my second read through of These Broken Stars [it was a re-reading kind of month!] and can I just say that I appreciated Lilac and Tarver’s journey even more the second time! I picked up so many little hints that I missed the first time. I also forgot just how bleak and eerie it feels. That moment with Lilac on the plains – you know when she hears the man’s voice? – I got serious chills. I loved it!

      Thank you for reading as always, have an amazing May! ❤ x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i’m glad you’re doing well while social distancing, alexandra!! i relate a lot with getting more into indie bands on spotify because i’ve definitely been doing that too 😭😭 who are some of your favorites? 🥰 i’m glad you enjoyed all the books you read in april, and i hope this month is just as good to you!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh man, may – you’ve just opened up the flood gates because I have SO MANY recommendations! [You’re going to regret this!!! 😉 ]

      At the moment I’m fully into the whole dream pop movement. I’m loving Better Than Nothing by Riarosa and P.J.R. by Hydromag. I also just recently discovered Geowulf, they’re an Australian band who relocated to London and they have such a unique sound. My favorites are Don’t Talk About You, Want You Tonight, Saltwater and Lonely. I’m also a huge fan of Weyes Blood [a very nostalgic 70s vibe] who I saw live in February. My favorite Weyes Blood song is Andromeda.

      And, just to spam you with even more indie music, I have a summery playlist that always lifts my mood. Some of the bands on the playlist include Wallows, Far Caspian, Sports, Tim Ayre, Dayglow and Jeff Draco.

      Have you got any recommendations? I’m always looking to add to my library! have an amazing month, May! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • omg yes i am so excited!!! i will definitely check all of these out. i think i’ve gone a bit far away from the dream pop side of indie and instead into the indie/alt rock haha but i will for sure look all of these up!!

        i ADORE wallows, they’re one of my favorites, and dayglow is also amazing. i’ve been listening to a lot of cage the elephant lately, as well as hippo campus, peach pit, and alt-j!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Im glad your thriving in isolation alexandra!! I too have been getting more writing done and was able to post the most I’ve ever posted this month! Im also DYING to read Crave (I have it on my TBR) and To All The Stars and Teeth!

    and yess These Broken Stars was so cute!! But omg nearly stopped my heart at some scenes (if u know what I mean) It also has such a gorgeous cover! Great wrap up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • YAY for isolation writing – I’m so happy to hear I wasn’t the only one kicking major butt this month! 😉 My copy of Crave just came in the mail today and lashdjfgkasjhbdfoaslojdfgosijdfbo it’s so beautiful! I’m getting MAJOR Twilight vibes from the cover and it’s pages have a lovely deckled edge – I LOVE books with deckled edges!!! It’s so rustic and timeless. 😍

      This was my second read of These Broken Stars and I actually loved it so much more this time. Lilac and Tarver forever! And YES WHAT A COVER! The entire series is so beautiful! I especially love the art deco vibe of Their Fractured Light.

      Have an amazing month, lovely! ❤ x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you’ve come out of the other end of isolation feeling so positive. Good luck out there and take care!

    I loved These Broken Stars. I read it years ago but hearing you talk about it makes me think I need to re-read. I loved the opposites attract element of it and the survival aspect.

    If you decide to read The Mortal Instruments series.. good luck! There’s so much to catch up on but I know you can do it. I think you’d love the spin-off series The Infernal Devices!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww thank you, Carly! I have to say, after two days at work doing 9-5 I’m seriously missing that isolation sleep in! Enjoy it while it lasts! 😉 Have you heard any word from your work yet?

      And omg I am OBSESSED with These Broken Stars! This was a re-read and I was LIVING for the desolate, eerie vibe. I actually forgot just how creepy and bleak it was? I’m planning on continuing my re-read of the series over the next month or so.

      And I’m defiantly feeling a Mortal Instruments read. I’ve actually started both the Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices before [multiple times] but never got into them? Even though I REALLY wanted to love it. I’m feeling some MAJOR FOMO with the release of Chain of Gold so I’m hoping this time I’ll finally click with Cassandra’s world. Wish me luck!

      Have an amazing month lovely! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I work at a movie theatre, I think we’re a month off from re-opening unfortunately! I’m definitely enjoying the sleep ins now as mornings are SO MUCH COLDER!!

        I hope you find some luck with Cassie Clare’s books – some of them are real gems!

        Hope you’re having a great month too xx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad to see that isolation is treating you well, Alexandra!
    I am definitely going to reread Twilight soon – you’ve convinced me that it’s time to stop hiding my TwiHard side!
    I hope that May treats you amazingly well, and lots of love!
    – Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, you so should – I’ve had some SERIOUS fun re-reading them. I think my inner teenager clawed her way out of my soul because I was low key obsessing over it all over again? We can both let our inner TwiHards fly! 😂

      I hope your may is just as amazing! Sending a big hug! ❤ x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that you’ve found the chance for some self-care during isolation – I know for most people it’s been a time of incredible stress and uncertainty, but if you have the means to relax and unwind, I think it’s a great opportunity to take a break from the daily grind 😀 Also – BBQ ribs and Mac N Cheese??? UM, YUM!!!

    I’m glad you liked These Broken Stars – I really thought it would be an easy fave for me, but I found the plot way too slow for my liking & unfortunately I didn’t vibe with the romance at all 😅 But we can’t all love the same books, right? 😉

    ALSO SORRY DID YOU SAY YOU’RE THINKING OF READING THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS?!? UM YES PLEASE READ IT & MESSAGE ME UPDATES THE ENTIRE TIME SO WE CAN SCREAM (in excitement but also pain) TOGETHER!! 😱

    💛 always, your saltmate

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww thank you! I can tell you that my positive, chill mood has NOT carried through to this month. I’ve struggled with getting back into work. [There’s been dramas and a whole bunch of shit but like, what else is new, right?]. I’ve been MIA on the blog for the past week – nobody noticed though because thank god I had that stockpile of posts to save my life. 😅

      I feel like These Broken Stars isn’t for everyone. It’s definitely not you’re average edge-of-your-seat SCI-FI. It’s a major slow burn. If you needed a push, I do think the rest of the trilogy picks up. These Broken Stars is really the catalyst for a major struggle in a war-torn galaxy. The second book, This Shattered World destroyed me emotionally. But you know, in the best way. 😉

      And yes – I’ve just started The Mortal Instruments [just finished City of Bones]. In the past I’e read books 1-5 of TMI and books 1-2 of TID but never finished either series. This is such an unpopular opinion but I find them to be overall meh??? I’m mean the banter is fantastic but my eyes glaze over during the “action” scenes??? I feel like they’re average but EVERYONE seems to rave about them – I’m feeling some MAJOR FOMO! So give me all the motivation! I want to push through because everyone tells me TDA are the best.

      Also, we’re going to have to start up an Instagram chat so I can give you these play-by-plays. ❤

      Love always, your saltmate 💙

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awww I’m so sorry to hear that things have been crazy at work – I hope they’re giving you more support at work & that things have settled down more! 💛💛💛

        Hahaha yeah that’s a really good point! I think I went into it thinking that it was going to be majorly action packed & fast paced (especially since it did seem to be that in the first couple of chapters) 😅

        Hahaha I think at this point my overwhelming love for all the characters means that I can’t objectively say whether or not the series is good anymore 😂 Every time I re-read them I’m like AMAZING. NEVER SEEN BEFORE. WOW. FIREWORKS. Although I love TID with all my heart & it’s my fave series within the Shadowhunter world, I don’t think it’s the best in terms of action but TDA is so fast paced I almost went into cardiac arrest multiple times, so there’s that 😂

        UM YES HIT ME UP ON INSTA GIRL!!! I’m so sorry for the late reply to this message – I forget that I read blog posts on my own account & not the joint one with Nish & then get surprised when I log on & have 50 notifications 😂 So if you’re still reading TMI/TID, LET ME KNOWWWW 😍

        💛 Your saltmate

        Liked by 1 person

        • You know, out of all the Shadowhunter books, TDA is actually the series I’m most anxious to read??? Probably because I’ve read bits and pieces of all the previous series and heard so many freaking good things about Emma and the LA crew. Also I’m all about that Californian surfer vibe! [Says the guys who’s never surfed in her freaking life – like what? 😂].

          I’m looking to launch into TID in July [so far June has NOT been my month and I’m sort of in a slump but sort of not???] so you can bet your butt I’ll be hitting you up on insta with a comprehensive list of all my feels and ramblings. I’m going to need you to be my official Shadowhunters cheerleader! 😉

          Much love, your Saltmate 💙💙💙

          Liked by 1 person

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