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
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.
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.
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.