Seasonal Depression & Stargazing: May 2020 Wrap-Up

So I’ve started seeing a pattern in my moods – and no, I’m not talking about general PMS. After spouting a lot of positive energy in my last wrap-up, I found myself slowly retreating into a bleak little cloud of anxiety. And that’s okay because we can’t win them all, right? Also, feeling overwhelmed is completely normal, given the current circumstances. I mean, can 2020 just not? At least for one month??? At this stage, I think we all deserve a freaking break.

But, as a blanket of fog settled over Melbourne and with it, the bitter chill of the southerly winds, I realized that I was stuck in exactly the same slump last year. Hello season depression! Maybe it’s the persistent rain beating against the panes? Maybe it’s the lack of vitamin D? Or, maybe it’s just that isolation has me going stir crazy? Whatever the cause, taking a page out of my own book, I made the best out of my bad situation and pulled through.

Here’s what I got up to this month…

After exactly one glorious month in isolation, I was officially released from stand down and thrust back into work. Let’s just say I was less than thrilled to be back at the grind. Especially when my customers refuse to respect social distancing laws and I had to cover shifts for multiple co-workers. Fun times. Suffice to say, I’m already stretched thin and 100% done with the stress.

Amidst running myself into the ground, I binged [for the second time] Virgin River on Netflix and the new original Outerbanks. I also had a social-distance-approved Mamma Mia marathon long distance with my parents [Seriously, we really should have invested our stocks in Zoom]. My throat is still recovering. #crushedit.

I also struggled with writing this month, barely scraping together any new posts. You wouldn’t have noticed my writer’s block – I’d built a stockpile in isolation that I’d scheduled – but you might have noticed I wasn’t as active in the community. I tend to retreat away when I’m feeling blue but I can’t wait to go back and catch up on your posts.

In an attempt to boost morale, I spent a crisp Melbourne evening stargazing in my backyard, charting the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. I mean, who ever said you had to leave your home to see the universe? Not this girl.

And she thinks math stuff is pretty chill. | Ellie goulding ...

The first constellation I found was Scorpius, one of the oldest, and brightest, constellations in the night sky. Scorpius, along with the Teapot asterism in Sagittarius, lies northward, near the galactic center of the Milky Way. Did you know Australia actually faces the Milky Way? On a dark night, we southerners can glimpse the thick, star clouds and nebulae clusters that forms a belt and marks the galactic center. As I stepped out into my courtyard, Scorpius was exactly parallel to my neighbor’s roof – I couldn’t have missed the distinctive, gentle curve of the stinger.

After mapping Scorpius and Sagittarius, I found Virgo and Libra which lie just to the left. Virgo is actually the second largest constellation in the sky but, with the position of the moon and it’s light pollution, I found it a little harder to distinguish. There are such a thing as legit stargazing binoculars. They’re just not fifteen dollars from BigW. Learnt that one the hard way. I also managed to map the constellations Leo, Crux [or the Southern Cross], the False Cross asterism of Vela and the Diamond Cross asterism of Carina. The last treat I glimpsed was Jupiter and Saturn rising in Capricorn as I called it a night.

And in other news, I finally gave into my Chain of Gold FOMO and finally decided to pick up [and finish] The Mortal Instruments. The end is neigh people – the end is neigh.

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer | ★★★★★ | Finishing Breaking Dawn is always bittersweet – I still cry when I turn that final page. For me, Breaking Dawn is the perfect conclusion. The atmosphere is bleak and you could cut the tension with a knife. I also love how Breaking Dawn plays out in three acts. There’s so much going on and I love it – I could live in the pages of Forks forever. #teamedward #twilightrenaissanceparttwo.

Crave by Tracy Wolff | ★★☆☆☆ |  I’m not going to lie – I was 100% sucked in by that Twilight-esque cover. The vampire literary craze was such a time to be alive and I was 100% here for a vampire renaissance. But Crave isn’t the feminist Twilight 2.0 we’ve all be waiting for. Not in the least. Crave feels like an early 2000’s YA – there’s minimal world building, the dialogue is super cringing and the characters cliched. You can expect my salty review next week.

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin  |★★★★½ |  Dang, if this wasn’t one of the best books I’ve read this year! Serpent and Dove was freaking PHENOMENAL – I’m so glad I finally jumped aboard the hype train. A dark and complex novel, Serpent and Dove is about ignorance, prejudice and tolerance with some seriously heavy religious overtones. An enemies-turned-lovers romance about a witch and a witch hunter packed with violence, swearing and some seriously seedy pub songs.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare  |★★★☆☆| Apparently 2020 has turned into yet another year of re-reading classic YA. I guess when the world turns to shit, I turn to paranormal romances. City of Bones is a tough one to rate. I don’t hate this book but I sure as heck don’t love it. It’s the character dynamics and the wit of Cassie’s dialogue that really takes the cake.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare  |★★★½☆| City of Ashes is a much stronger book compared to City of Bones – but it’s still not perfect. The action picks up right off the bat and there is a lot of romantic angst. The issue I have with Cassie’s books [not that I’ve read many] is the fact that her third acts always seem to drag.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare  |★★★½☆| City of Glass is the strongest book in the original trilogy. It’s still not a four star read. The stakes are higher as the Shadowhunter world dangles on the precipice of war. I love how bleak and desperate the atmosphere feels, I love how the world expands but again, the third act is overly drawn out – especially the climax/final confrontation. My eyes glazed over on multiple occasions. Unpopular opinion: Cassie’s strong suit isn’t writing action.

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf  |☆☆☆☆☆| I started reading Bring Me Their Hearts for two reasons. Firstly, because I really shouldn’t be re-reading so many books [hello 2020 back list – I see you staring daggers] and secondly, because of Jamie’s amazing review. But, I just wasn’t clicking with the story. I’m 99.9% sure it was my current mood so I’ll be resetting then coming back to Bring Me Their Hearts in June.

The Stuck At Home Book Tag

Review: These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

The Awesome Blogger Award [Take 2]

Review: All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

The Book Interview Tag

In Defense of Twilight

Review: Briar Rose by Jana Oliver

Thriving In Isolation: April 2020 Wrap-Up

Overall, May was a seriously weird month – a roller coaster of highs and lows. I’m grateful that as of June 1st, the Victorian government is easing back our restrictions because I need some sense of normality. Here’s hoping, right?

As for what’s up next? Well for starters I’m taking a break from the Shadowhunters world. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed re-reading the original trilogy but I’m starting to feel a burnt out is inevitable. I might start Clockwork Angel but I’m not making any promises.

Speaking of re-reads, I’ve suddenly felt the urge to delve back into Erin Hunter’s Warriors Saga. These books saved my season depression last year and helped me to enjoy the changing climate. Warriors has such a wintery vibe – the tension and overall atmosphere is the perfect mood for the colder months. I plan to start from where I left off with The New Prophecy and the next generation of felines.

I hope you are all safe and healthy and coping with the new normal. Sadly, there are a lot of unfortunate things happening in the world [#blacklivesmatter] but let’s spread kindness and love not racism and hatred. Have an amazing reading month – until next time.


28 thoughts on “Seasonal Depression & Stargazing: May 2020 Wrap-Up

  1. Thank you for spreading kindness (Although unsurprising, you are the sweetest person I know on the internet!) I hope we get clearer skies in June, although it’s definitely getting colder here so I’m not hoping for anything. Here for you if you need to talk! I definitely need a break from 2020 too 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwwwww – thank you so much, Carly! That means so much because I try hard to make Reading by Starlight a positive platform for readers to connect, interact and discover amazing stories. I consider you to be one of my closest friends on the interwebs. You are such a force of postivity and one of the sweetest bloggers too! 💙💙💙

      Here’s hoping for those clearer skies – I need a little sunshine right now! Have an amazing reading month x

      Liked by 1 person

    • I had so much fun – I was rugged up like a little burrito listening to my starry vibes playlist and just getting lost in the universe! Highly recommend it if you need some grounding in all this turmoil. Have a lovely reading month, Kay! 💙 x


  2. I went to school in the mountains so my friends and I would take drives up and star gaze late at night. I really miss it. I live in the city now so we have a lot of light pollution.

    I’m really glad you enjoyed Serpent and Dove. It’s such a fun fantasy. I have mixed feelings on the ending, but otherwise there were a lot of “laugh out loud” moments. I have yet to rate a Cassandra Clare book 5 stars. I think I’ve given two of her books 3.5 stars but rounded up to 4… so a very soft 4 stars. Haha. But I’m almost finished with Chain of Gold and it’s a strong contender for a 5 star rating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stargazing in the mountains paints such a vivid aesthetic – I can just imagine how amazing the night sky would have looked! I do this volunteer charity weekend in central Victoria with my family and camping out in the literal middle of nowhere with no light pollution means that you can literally see every facet of the Milky Way. Nothing beats drinking around the camp oven and watching the stars! Note to self: add mountain stargazing to post isolation bucket list!

      And my gosh – I could rave about Serpent and Dove until the cows come home. That book was freaking PHENOMENAL and I am so mad it took me so long to jump on the band wagon. I can sympathize with your mixed feelings though. To be honest, I had mixed feelings about the world building. I mean – why not just set the novel in France???

      And your Chain of Gold recommendation is giving me hope that not all will be lost! 😉

      Have a happy reading month – Alexandra 💙


  3. Ahhh yes this month has been CRAZY to say the least with everything going on in the world… but on a different note I’M SO EXCITED YOU LOVED SERPENT AND DOVE!! That book is sooo good! Def one of my fav reads of the year (dare I say of all time?) the romance is just… *chef kisses*!!

    Bring me Their Hearts is pretty much straight sarcasm and immature wit 😉 so I know its not for everyone but im excited for you to give it another try in June!! You’ll have to tell me your thoughts if you end up finishing it! and oooh I was going to read Crave but now I may not knowing its reads like a cringe early 2000s soap lol. Amazing wrap up Alexandra, I wish you the best of reading this June and that we all stay safe and continue to spread kindness!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been VERY CRAZY – I think by the end of the month I’m going to be ready to put the Christmas tree up and call it a freaking year because man has 2020 sucked!

      As for Serpent and Dove, I it’s been weeks and I’m STILL obsessively thinking about Reid and Lou??? That book has grown on me like a weed [even though I still adored it from the moment I started but like, somehow I love it even more now? if that’s even possible???]. Actually, you and Emma were some of the people who inspired me to finally pick Serpent and Dove up. Hahaha – I trust your bookish judgement as the law! 😉 You can bet I’ll be reading Blood and Honey the day it drops.

      I’m honestly hoping that I’ll fall back into Bring Me Their Hearts and adore it too, I’m even struggling with re-reading my old favorites at the moment so I’m 100% sure I can blame my reluctance on my mood. It’s like I’m /almost/ in a reading slump but not? I’m just waiting for that ball to drop. I’ll be sure to let you know my thoughts though!

      No one was more pumped for Crave than me. No one was as disappointed that Crave flopped than me. 100% would not recommend… unless you’re into that choppy fanfic/ early YA feel? It’s definitely early 2000s soap! I’ve actually got a super salty review that I postponed due to the Black Lives Matter movement but it’s on its way!

      Thank you as always for reading, and for your lovely comment [sorry for my essay in return!]. I wish you the best of reading months too! Much love, Alexandra 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry this month wasn’t very good to you, Alexandra ❤ But it's so cool that you were able to go stargazing. I don't think I'd be able to do that because I live in the city, but the way you described all the constellations were so cool! I've always liked the idea of stars and constellations 🥺 Also, I'm planning on rereading TMI just to read future Shadowhunter books too! I reread City of Bones last month, and it Was Not Fun. *sighs* Why did I wait so long to read City of Lost Souls that I forgot everything about the first four TMI books and TID 😫
    Wishing you an amazing June!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Caitlin – I guess we can’t win them all, right? Stargazing was 100% the highlight of my month. It really put things into perspective. Would highly recommend the next time you need a little grounding. Although, you’re right – it’s a little harder to go stargazing in the city! That being said, we’ve got an observatory in Melbourne with night star shows so you might be able to improvise that way?

      Haha the Shadowhunter struggle is real! I really want to love these books but I think they’re just not for me. They just feel so… meh? I care about the characters and love the banter but the plots and action scenes bore me to tears??? I have no idea why. We’re going to have to cheer each other on! 😉

      Wishing you an amazing reading month too! Love, Alexandra 💙

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t heard the Warriors series brought up in such a long time (instant nostalgia hit)!! Wow that’s so cool that you’re able to chart the different constellations – when I was still on campus, I would love staring at the sky as I walked back to my dorm after practicing late at night, stars are truly such beautiful and magical things. I hope your June is full of sunny blue skies even as the weather gets colder where you are 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Okay, you have no idea how flipping excited I am to find a fellow Warriors fan – WHO HOO! I feel like NO ONE’S read Warriors??? Definite instant nostalgia – I practically grew up patrolling the Thunderclan borders [lol].

      And you are so right about the stars being beautiful and magical. Despite having a crazy month, I found that stargazing was very grounding and helped me to put things back into perspective. As soon as I get another clear night down under, you can bet I’ll be back out there, charting a whole new set of constellations! 😉

      Wishing you an amazing reading month full of sunny blue skies too! Much love, Alexandra 💙


  6. I hope you feel better soon. It’s horrible when you’re feeling low and can be so hard to shake off. Especially when it makes you struggle to get any enthusiasm for anything. Your stargazing experience sounds awesome though. I wouldn’t recognize any of the constellations and think it’s amazing that you do. I do think stars are beautiful though.
    I’m also going to have to look up the Warrior Saga that you’ve mentioned as Ive never heard of it before. And I hope that you get on better with Bring Me Their Hearts when you try again. I abandoned Enchantee last year as I couldn’t get into it and wasn’t sure if it was my mood (I’m hoping it was as it’s a seriously anticipated book of mine). Anyway I hope you have a good June ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not going to lie – these winter/isolation blues have been VERY hard to shake off [oh – woe is me!]. The current situation hasn’t helped much either. I’ve been feeling progressively disappointed in humanity lately. :/ I guess we have to lead by example and spread positive energy and kindness.

      Actually, as far as stargazing goes, I have to admit that I wouldn’t have gotten on as well as I did without the help of star charts and my constellation app [I think it’s called SkyView]. I find when you start with the easier constellations, the harder, more complex ones are a lot easier to map. 😉

      And yes – I’d highly recommend the Warriors Saga! I literally grew up with the Warriors books but they feel so mature in terms of themes so really any age can enjoy them. The writing is super atmospheric too! Basically, Warriors is a feline fantasy series – think Watership Down but with cats. There’s plenty of action, violence and bloodshed as these clans of wild cats prowl the forest and hunt for survival.

      Also, I had the very same problem with Enchantee! I DNFed [even though I NEVER DNF] at about halfway through.

      Wishing you a very happy reading month – much love, Alexandra 💙

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aww well I really hope you feel better soon. I can definitely understand how the situation atm isn’t helping but you’re right, the best thing to do is try to spread positive energy and kindness.

        Ooh that’s awesome. I had no idea that you could even get apps for stargazing!! Ooh that’s true ☺️

        I did actually look the series up after reading your post and spotted that it seemed to be about cats. It sounds interesting and definitely unlike anything that I’ve read before. I’ve added it to my TBR ☺️

        Aww that’s such a shame 😔 I’ll let you know if the same thing happens to me when I try to read it again.

        Aww thank you 💞 I wish you a happy reading month too 💕

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ahhhhhh – that makes me so happy that you looked into Warriors! It’s such a fun series and so quick to read. They are the perfect little boosters for when you fall behind in your goodreads reading challenge! ☺️☺️☺️ I recommend starting with Into the Wild and the original “The Prophecies Begin” series.

          I hope you enjoy them! 💙

          Liked by 1 person

          • Ooh thanks for the tip ☺️ I didn’t set mind this year (which is just as well as I’ve been slumping a lot) but I’ll remember that in the future. Ok thanks, I think I probably did put that down as the starting point but I’ll double check ☺️ and thank, I’ll let you know if I do 💞

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve read so many books this month – though the majority of them were rereads of old favorites because I needed some joy in my life. I’m so ready to get back to work but I don’t know how that’s gonna go with everything. But I do have a pool coming and we’re planning a summer/fall garden, so I’m gonna be pretty busy with yard stuff for the foreseeable future. Also a lot of late spring cleaning since we’re getting a dumpster too. I hope June is better for all of us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like you’ve got a very busy month ahead of you! That being said, keeping busy is the best thing for these isolation blues. I think we all need a bit of a break right about now – can we just put the Christmas tree up and call it a year already??? 😉

      I am so happy that you’ll be getting a pool! I’ve always wanted a pool but sadly it’s not meant to be right now [maybe someday!]. Good luck with all you’re gardening and spring cleaning! Hope you have an amazing month! Much love, Alexandra 💙


  8. I can totally understand how going back to work would be absolutely bonkers at this time, especially when customers ARE THE ACTUAL WORST (customers were the worst even BEFORE COVID-19 tbh, this has just tipped them over the edge 😕) I hope things settle down for you at work soon & that hopefully the return to normalcy will help with your stress levels 💛💛💛

    As I mentioned to you before, I am absolutely INCAPABLE of reading Cassie’s books objectively now – I am in WAY too deep & I care too much about the characters not to be hanging off her every word 😂 Reading her entire Shadowhunters collection is a commitment though (I’m actually thinking of doing a massive re-read at the end of the year) so a break is 10/10 recommended 😂

    Hope you have a wonderful June, Alexandra – you deserve nothing less!

    💛💛💛 Forever, your saltmate

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my freaking gosh – I am so flipping DONE with COVID19 customers. No one seems to care about the “new normal” and the social distance rules we’ve put in place to protect both us and the customers. There have been Karen’s GALORE! I feel like these situations bring out the best and the worst in people. Unfortunately for me, the customers have become even more CRAZY. :/ I’ve got my fingers crossed that things will settle down too. Or, at the very least, people will be a little more kinder and understanding.

      I definitely had to take some time off the Shadowhunters. I think my current mood was starting to bleed into my reading moods and I didn’t want to burn out. That being said, I think the brief pause worked to get me hyped to read the Infernal Devices. While I didn’t exactly buy into the Will hype the first few times, I always loved the overall vibe of Cassie’s Victorian London. Here’s hoping that this read through I’ll finally click with Will! I hope to start again in July so I’ll hit you up with my play-by-play feels!

      I hope you have a lovely month, Saltmate! Sending you a big hug!
      💙💙💙 Alexandra

      Liked by 1 person

      • OH MY GOD YES, COVID-19 FLUSHED OUT ALL THE KARENS, MY GOD!!! We had SO many customers getting angry that we didn’t have hand sanitiser/masks etc & I was like “Why do you think that is??? IT’S COS PEOPLE LIKE YOU ARE PANIC BUYING” 😂 Thankfully things have pretty much gotten back to normal over here, so I hope it’s the same for you soon! 💛💛💛 Something I used to do sometimes when work was was really frustrating is write it all down in a notebook as a funny story & then laugh about it later 😅

        Yeah, it’s a HEFTY commitment at the best of times so given how stressful your life is right now, that’s not the kind of pressure you need! I think I was lucky in that when I read TID the first time, there wasn’t as much hype for the series as there is now, because there are definitely overhyped characters (like Nikolai from Six of Crows) who I feel like I didn’t connect with as a result of the excessive hype…if that makes sense 😂 Yes I’m definitely up for getting a play-by-play of your reading experience so hmu any time! 😍

        Wishing you all the best & I really REALLY hope that customers start being nicer to you very soon or I’ll have to catch a flight over there & DEMAND they be nicer to my saltmate in person! 😡

        💛 always, your saltmate

        Liked by 1 person

        • Actually that’s the best idea ever – writing down crappy customer experiences in a notebook to laugh over later. And, on that note, I have the best story for you… [prepare to spit your tea and die from laughing too hard].

          Picture this: it’s about 4;30pm in the afternoon. You’re tired, you have a slight headache and there’s only one hour to go. A customer walks into your jewelry store in her IGA uniform – she’s just clocked off work and she wants some help getting ideas for her mum’s birthday. She seems friendly – not you’re typical Karen, Janet, Susan, Carol or Sharon and you spend a good deal of time showing her some different options. But suddenly, you realize that half an hour has gone by and this chick still hasn’t bought anything, isn’t likely to but won’t leave your store. You figure she’s lonely or bored and try to be understanding as you listen to her talk with glazed eyes. Then something changes.

          Suddenly this middle-aged IGA checkout chic is waving her hands animatedly as she raves about how COVID19 is a hoax – government propaganda. She claims the reason why we are all in lock down is because the world leaders want to have us all micro-chipped. Apparently, they have already micro-chipped Canada as a trial. It’s all a scam, she cries. She raves about the drones flying overhead, about 5g and how it all co-relates with vaccines as a way for the government to control and monitor us.

          You try to keep it civil but it’s getting hard. She keeps harping on about the scientists and doctors who discovered what the government was planning and we’re tortured by the Chinese.You try to talk her down but she’s set in her misguided, conspiracy theories. In the end, you finally agree that this whole situations “must be a hoax then” just to get her the hell out of your store. She leaves, promising she’ll be back to buy the present she’s looking for. You turn to your manager and laugh hysterically.

          No joke – that actually happened last week. FML 😂😂😂

          Hope you got a kick out of that one – I don’t think ANYONE could top that experience!
          Love always, your Saltmate 💙

          Liked by 1 person


            This is just TOO GOOD, where on EARTH do people come up with these things???? I actually can’t deal – you must have the patience of a SAINT, honestly, because I would NOT have lasted through that conversation 😂

            If these are the kinds of customers you’re dealing with then HOLY MOLY you need some sort of prize or award for having to deal with them 🤦🏻‍♀️

            Sending you MAJOR positive (and by positive, I mean Karen-repelling) vibes,

            💛 your saltmate

            Liked by 1 person

            • I KNOW RIGHT – LIKE YOU HAVE TO LAUGH [otherwise you’ll lose your freaking mind]. I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT THESE PEOPLE WALK AMONG US??? [probably believes the Earth is flat too and the Moon landing was staged]. 😂😂😂

              And good news – your Karen-repelling vibes have FINALLY been received! No more Karen’s for me!!!

              Much love, your saltmate 💙


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