Back in Lock Down: July 2020 Wrap-Up

Another month, another lock down. I don’t know about you but I, for one, am seriously over 2020. I mean, who else feels like this has been a wasted year? *Sighs*.

[One day, we’re all going to shake our heads and laugh about this. Like “ah, that was so 2020!”]

This month the city of Melbourne and the metropolitan areas across Victoria were sent back into stage three lock down. Masks were decreed mandatory and visitors or gatherings were strictly prohibited as cases soared. Suffice to say, we’re all a little starved of human connection. But, bright side: I didn’t let lock down 2.0 stop me from me from having a good month.

Here’s what I got up to:

I actually managed to get my mental health under control this month. Hallelujah! Victoria might have struggled along, but I was coping surprisingly well. [Thank you again for all your support and kind messages last wrap-up, they made all the difference. Guess I finally caught that break, huh? πŸ’™].

I officially went back to work after two weeks personal leave. Going back was hard – a lot harder than I anticipated. But, I was welcomed back with a bouquet of pink roses and I’m relieved to report that the workplace has since become a supportive environment. Despite the mental breakdown, this experience only made me stronger. In the infinite tug-of-war for power and control, I’m learning to stand my ground and put myself first.

To keep myself sane between working full time [apparently retail’s an essential service???] and lock down, I’ve been bingeing the Disney classics and Downton Abbey. [There’s just something about the drama and Maggie Smith’s savage wit]. I even bought myself a new pair of binoculars this time not $15 from BigW for stargazing. FYI – highly recommend for grounding yourself during a lock down.

In keeping with tradition, I hosted some more virtual dinner parties with my family. On one night we grilled salmon and watched Top End Wedding but the award goes to the night I steeped chicken marylands in house-made barbecue marinade. I mean, the chicken was so tender – just falling off the bone. Can you believe she’s still single, folks? Actually, speaking of my parents, they even sent me a couple of lock down care packages to perk me up. Fact: there’s nothing a pair of fluffy bed socks or a handful of bath roses can’t solve.

But what really saved this month though was my Starbound buddy read with bookish bestie, Octavia. While we’ve both come to the conclusion that we’re, in actually fact, HOPELESS buddy readers, we had so much fun breaking down this amazing trilogy. Our discussions over which Starbound boy is the ULTIMATE book boyfriend were #priceless. [Can’t wait for our next buddy read attempt πŸ˜‚]. Also, if you’re not already following Mermaid Reads please give Octavia some love. Not only is she such a positive presence in the community but she always writes amazing fantasy reviews and shares her recommendations. Thank you for a wonderful buddy read, Octavia! πŸ’™

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston | β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜† | I expected great things from Heart of Iron – I mean, it’s basically Anastasia in space. But, after a promising start, the pacing felt a little off and I just couldn’t connect to the story. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t exactly love it either? It’s overall… meh? I just don’t have a whole lot to say about this one.

Soul of Stars by Ashley Poston  |β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½β˜† | After a rocky start I was ready to kick this duology off my back list and give Ashley Poston another chance. But again – mixed feelings. I enjoyed Soul of Stars but I was never blown away. This duology just feels very juvenile? BUT the characters had an interesting dynamic and the climax was TENSE. I’d recommend if you like your space opera on the lighter side.

This Shattered World by Aime Kaufman & Meagan Spooner  |β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†| The second installment in a series of companion novels, This Shattered World introduces us to two new star-crossed lovers, each on opposite sides of a senseless and murky rebellion. It’s a breathtaking, deeply poignant story about hope and the power of truth. THIS is how you write space opera!

Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer |β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†| Life and Death is basically a gender-bent Twilight reimagined for it’s tenth anniversary with an alternate timeline. Was it necessary? Definitely not. Bella’s story had a happier conclusion – she lived the best possible version of this story. But it was interesting to see what might have been.

Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf  |β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†| I feel like Bring Me Their Hearts set out to be sweeping, grand and groundbreaking. Instead, it’s a trope-riddled adventure that reads like every other YA fantasy on the market. There’s plenty of potential for this series to grow – I’m looking forward to see how things develop with Find Me Their Bones.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey  |β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½β˜†| COVID19 had me craving this re-read. There’s just something about living through a global pandemic that put me in a Sci-Fi mood. The 5th Wave is about the end of the world – an alien race visits Earth and suddenly shit gets real. This book is super suspenseful and explores humanity in the face of adversity.

Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman & Meagan Spooner  |β˜…β˜…β˜…Β½β˜†| This was my least favorite installment of the Starbound series but I still adored the journey. The scope and tone narrows down as everything comes to ahead on Corinth. The atmosphere’s more urban and there’s this constant sense of urgency as the players unite in the fight against LaRoux Industries.

Alexandra’s Bookish Bucket Lists: The Folk of the Air

Review: Life and Death [Twilight Reimagined] by Stephenie Meyer

The Bookish Baking Tag

The Fourth Annual 2020 Book Blogger Awards

Series Review: Warriors by Erin Hunter

Film Review: James Cameron’s Titanic

An Attempt Was Made: June 2020 Wrap-Up

I’m learning that this year, we have to take life one day at a time. So next month I’m not looking too far ahead. Especially because I’m hearing stirrings of a stage four hard lock down. Instead, I’m choosing to ground myself in the present moment.

In terms of reading, I’ll be celebrating the drawing close of the colder months with some appropriate mood reading. First up, I’ll be reading Cruel Beauty and Crimson Bound – these books having been staring daggers at me, unread on my shelf for years. Then I want to delve into Even the Darkest Stars and All the Wandering Light which is a Himalayan-eque fantasy duology inspired by early expeditions to Mt. Everest.

But most importantly, I’ll be reading Midnight Sun – a book I’ve been waiting for since it was abandoned in 2008 when the unfinished manuscript was leaked online. After twelve years, Midnight Sun will finally see the light of day. WHOO HOO! My inner teenager is actually screaming… Judge me all you want. #shamewho? [Brace yourselves for an influx of Twilight content].

Anyway, I hope you’re all keeping safe and staying positive. I wish you the happiest of reading months. Until next time my friends!

22 thoughts on “Back in Lock Down: July 2020 Wrap-Up

  1. Aww, Alexandra, I’m so happy to hear that you’re doing better mentally this month! If you ever need to talk, feel free to slide into my DMs. I’m here for you!!!

    Thank you so much for your kind words about me and my blog. Buddy reading Their Fractured Light with you was the highlight of my month, and you definitely helped pull me out of the dreadful reading slump I was in! I loved discussing our Starbound boys (#TeamTarver) and all of the series parallels with you! Thanks for making my first buddy read an amazing one! You always have so many thoughtful things to say, and I just love talking to you. Seriously the best bookish bestie out there!

    I’m so excited for future buddy reads together! You won’t be able to get rid of me now! *cackles menacingly*

    Wonderful wrap-up, Alexandra! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • “If you ever need to talk, feel free to slide into my DMs.” – LITERALLY JUST SPAT MY TEA. But thank you so much, you’ve been such an amazing support this year and our buddy reads are the definition of LEGENDARY. I’m so glad to have you as a bookish bestie! 110% the BEST bookish bestie out there too!!! πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™

      I’m so glad the we were finally able to kick that horrid reading slump’s butt! Then again, the Starbound boys will do that! [#teamtarverforlife]. Already excited for our next buddy read!

      Love always xoxox

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love to star gaze when the skies are clear. It is so beautiful just to look around. I am happy that your work place is being supportive. For me, being supported in even the most tiny ways really makes me feel happy and great.

    I have Midnight Sun on preorder and I cannot wait to read it, it ha been so long since I have read a book in that series and I am so curious as to what I will think after all this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “For me, being supported in even the most tiny ways really makes me feel happy and great” – As a seriously sensitive person, never have I related to a comment so hard. All I need is a thumbs up and a pat on the back from my boss and I’ll work harder than ever! πŸ˜‰

      In case you need any incentive for Midnight Sun [LOL] I just finished and it’s GLORIOUS. It took me like 4-5 drafts to finally get my thoughts into resemblance of coherent order. It’s so complex and emotional – basically, it was WELL worth the agonizing wait! I hope you love it just as much as I did! πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is really good to hear about Midnight Sun, I am almost 50% and so far I am enjoying seeing this perspective. I am hoping to finish it this weekend.

        Also, yes great quote for sure! I am the same way, even a little recognition and I get so much more dedicated, it gives me a huge boost.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It definitely feels a long way away – but I promise you it’s coming… Eventually! I mean, I guess we’re all going to have some interesting stories to tell our grandchildren??? [I’ve got a board of 2020 memes ready for 80-year-old Alexandra to whip out πŸ˜‚] Sending a BIG hug! πŸ’™

      Like

  3. Great wrap-up! I am so OVER this pandemic already!! 😫 Glad to hear you’re getting your mental-health back under control and hopefully (despite the pandemic) it’s onwards and upwards now! ☺️I really enjoyed Even The Darkest Stars and finally got around to buying All The Wandering Light so that’s hopefully on my to-read list this month! Hope you enjoy reading them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh – great minds read alike! I hope you love All the Wandering Light too! I haven’t started Even the Darkest Stars yet… So far it’s been a bit of an up and down month. We’re back in lock down – this time Stage Four and it’s been a lot harder this time around. That being said, I feel like I’m finally emerging from my brief funk so I’m hoping to start Even the Darkest Stars in the next week or so! πŸ˜‰

      I hope you’re having an amazing reading month! πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’d definitely recommend stargazing for grounding yourself in the middle of a pandemic! Especially when you want to see the world without leaving your backyard! Thankfully, I have very little light pollution! πŸ˜‰

      Thank you for stopping by! πŸ’™

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  4. ahh, i really hope we can all look back on this year and think, “ah, that was 2020” πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί things have GOT to improve already lmao. as much as i’m an introvert, lockdown is slowly getting to me πŸ˜… but i’m glad that you’re coping well with it, and ahhh, your parents are so sweet ❀
    wishing you an amazing August!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always sort of referred to myself as an “introverted-extrovert” but this is getting BEYOND ridiculous. Like, can 2020 just get a freaking grip already??? πŸ˜… We’ve now “officially’ entered stage four lock down – we’ve got a curfew and everything. It’s starting to drive me mad! Here’s hoping it gets better in time for Christmas!

      Wishing you an amazing reading month! πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The virtual dinner parties with your family sounds great! It’s such a sweet idea:)
    I too have been waiting for Midnight Sun for years and I’m dying to get my hand on a copy. πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

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