Quarantine Flurries: August 2020 Wrap-Up

Honestly, I don’t even know how to begin this wrap-up. August has been an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows. Perpetual quarantine and a stage four lock down will do that to you. But it’s been tough – especially because I lost touch with my creative voice.

I am a writer. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen – it’s always come as second nature to me. But what happens when you lose that part of yourself? How do you make like Ariel and find your voice again?

That was the question that plagued me [too soon?] this month. But, general lack of motivation and creativity aside, my August actually got off to a pretty spectacular start…

This month the Victorian State Government announced some pretty drastic measures in response to the escalating health crisis. Metropolitan Melbourne was placed under a strict stage four lock down with all non-essential businesses forced to stand down their employees for six weeks. With heavy restrictions in place [including a curfew], I found myself back in quarantine.

And yet, the very next day it snowed in Australia. [FYI you’ve probably got a better chance of winning the lottery – I mean, this is the Outback after all].

I was sitting in my office, working on my next post when suddenly a crystalline flurry of snow began to swirl around my window.  Suffice to say, I screamed and raced outside as fast as I could [only to realize that it was, in fact FREEZING and I needed to grab my snow gear].

Okay, so the snow didn’t stick for long and it sure as heck didn’t blanket my backyard but it was so powdery and soft and we were able to have an actual snow ball fight. It was AMAZING. Even if I did cop a snow ball to the head… and the butt.

The lesson learned? Even amidst a global pandemic there is still magic to be found. As we marveled at the snowfall, catching snowflakes in our hand, we could hear the entire neighborhood squealing, almost in unison. Suddenly, and despite the lock down, we weren’t quite so alone anymore.

Anyway, as we established, I lost touch with my writing voice this month. You might have noticed that my posting was very sporadic. I missed deadline after deadline and just sort of spiraled there for a minuet. I’m hoping to do a little better in September.

But quarantine wasn’t all bad. Having WAY too much time on my hands, I was inspired by my new normal to create a COVID19 playlist. I might have had a little too much fun putting it together, burning CDs and sending them to my family. [I even drew toilet paper rolls on the cover to really set that scene]. I’ve linked it below, I’m hoping it will remind you that we’re all in this together. Remember: COVID19 will be our story – we’re standing on the sidelines of history.

In other news, I officially completed [and surpassed] my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge, I finished bingeing Downton Abbey [again] and finally started reading The Lunar Chronicles. I know, I know – it’s about dang time. [Thank you for the motivation, Kay!].

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge | ★★★★☆ | Why, why, WHY did I let this amazing book collect dust bunnies on my shelf for the past few years? Cruel Beauty had everything I wanted in a dark, twisty Beauty and the Beast retelling. This book surprised me in every way – I would highly recommend for anyone who loved A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Midnight Sun by Stephenie  |★★★★½ | THIS BOOK DESTROYED ME AND I STILL HAVEN’T RECOVERED. Midnight Sun, basically Twilight reimaged from Edward’s perspective is a decidedly darker, more complex novel. Emotionally intense and very dense, the entire tone shifts as Stephenie Meyer gives us more context into Edward’s character and a deeper understanding of the series as a whole.

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge  |★★★★☆| Crimson Bound wasn’t exactly what I expected but I was completely blown away. It’s less of a Red Riding Hood retelling and more of a fully-fleshed fantasy novel. Featuring a cast of flawed, complex characters, Crimson Bound is dark in tone and full of lush imagery.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer |★★★★½| Cyborg Cinderella set in a futuristic New Beijing? Best. Idea. Ever. As far as retellings go, Cinder was so atmospheric and refreshing [even if the whole plague-thing was a little too soon]. The romance was so pure and sweet and honestly, I ship the heck out of it. Probably my favorite Cinderella book ever.

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett |★★★★☆| Harking back to the early explorers of Mount Everest, Even the Darkest Stars is a sweeping, high-stakes adventure steeped in Tibetan lore. The plot might be simplistic but the execution is breathtaking – hauntingly atmospheric and cinematic. The perfect reading material for quarantine.  

All the Wandering Light by Heather Fawcett  |★★★★☆| Wow. Talk about a breathtaking conclusion to a seriously atmospheric duology. All the Wandering Light was fantastic. The mountainous empire was expanded, the stakes heightened and new dynamics made for an added layer of complexity.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer  |★★★½☆| Unfortunately I didn’t love Scarlet as much as Cinder. There just seemed to be something lacking? Whatever the reason I wasn’t fully immersed. That being said, I loved the futuristic rural French setting and Scarlet herself was such a strong-willed protagonist.

Review: Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

The Real Neat Blogger Award

Review: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Stay At Home With Me: My Stage Four Lock Down Routine

Review: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

Back in Lock Down: July Wrap-Up

In terms of September? Honestly, I don’t want to look too far ahead right now – I have no idea what my mental state’s going to look like next month. On one hand, I’m dying to be out of quarantine but I’m not exactly wanting to go back to work either. Customers just don’t respect social distancing, okay?

The good news is that September is shaping up to be a seriously exciting reading month, what with the release of Blood and Honey [AHHHHHHHH!] and The Other Side of the Sky. I’m also anxiously awaiting my copy of Where Dreams Descend which I hope arrives soon [Phantom is my LIFE]. While I wait for my pre-orders to ship, I’ll be finishing The Lunar Chronicles. I can’t even tell you how excited I am for Cress – I’ve heard great things!

I hope you’ve all had a fantastic reading month – be sure to let me know in the comments below what you got up to. Until next time my friends!

18 thoughts on “Quarantine Flurries: August 2020 Wrap-Up

  1. Great job on completing your Goodreads challenge!! I understand sometimes about losing your writing voice and which is why it’s great to take breaks! Don’t worry, I can always hear your voice whenever you write. It truly reflects you as a person ❤️👍
    Also,…. I loooove the Police. Recently I’ve been listening to them a lot and Every little Thing she does is magic is currently stuck in my head:) Don’t stand close to me is a good one too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwwww, that means so much so thank you, Lucy. 😍 I think it’s been a combination of quarantine and a lack of stimulation/inspiration. I’ve been writing daily but everything just felt so flat??? I’m hoping that I’ve finally broke the cycle!

      I feel like eighties music is ALWAYS the way to go! And yes I love Every Little Thing she Does is Magic too. It’s such a bright, uplifting song! I also love Roxanne – it reminds me of Moulin Rouge! 😉

      Wishing you the best reading month! 💙💙💙

      Liked by 1 person

      • Eighties music is the best!!I It’s one of the decades that I listen to the most 👍 Roxanne is another great one and yess I agree:)
        Thanks and same for you! Even though your done your challenge, reading continue 😂hahah

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The way you described the snow is just so beautiful and magical! Even if it was brief, I’m glad you had so much fun with it! Congrats on the completion of your GR reading challenge! It’s incredible that you managed to surpass your goal with four months left in the year! And I’m soooo happy to see that you’ve started the Lunar Chronicles! Cinder is simply wonderful, and I have to agree, Scarlet isn’t quite as good, if I’m being honest. But Scarlet herself is such a wonderful character. I think you’re really gonna love Cress… it’s SUCH an amazing addition to the series, and Winter is great too. You simply must read Fairest, the Levana novella, after you finish the series… it’s so eerie, creepy, and dark!!! I AM SOOOOOO HYPED FOR BLOOD & HONEY AND THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY! I can’t believe Blood & Honey comes out tomorrow! I’m going to be tracking my amazon package literally all day!

    Wonderful wrap-up, Alexandra! I’m wishing you a wonderful September! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww thank you, Octavia! It was amazing – I’ve actually still got one of my snowballs sitting in the back of my freezer #neverletgo. And you know, it didn’t even worry me that it was brief. To see snow fall in your backyard in Australia is honestly a once in a life time thing. Unless you live in the actual snow fields!

      If I’m being honest, I only surpassed my Goodreads challenged because this year I set an ~achievable~ goal of fifty books. I was sort of disillusioned with the whole thing last year and wanted to take the pressure off reading.

      And yes, I just started Cress and HOLY HECK IT”S AMAZING! Cress is such a cinnamon roll and I’m already shipping their relationship. And don’t stress – I’ve got Fairest, Stars Above AND Wires and Nerve all ready to go! I’m nothing if not thorough. 😉

      I can hardly wait for our buddy reads – have an AMAZING September too! 💙💙💙

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I could never get into Scarlet. I tried so many times. I might break a rule and skip to Cress.
    I feel you on not wanting to make too many September plans. Ugh. Nothing is predictable at this point. I hate how optimistic yet pessimistic I am for Fall. Btw, I’m SO jealous you got snow. I live in the Southern US and we barely see it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scarlet was definitely a bit of a chore to work through BUT it was all worth it because I’ve just started Cress and it’s as good as everyone says. I’m already shipping the heck out of them! 😉

      Trust me when I say that seeing snow fall in your backyard is VERY rare in Australia too. Unless you live at the actual snow fields it’s a once in a life time occurrence. But ahhhh – I’m so jealous you like in California. It’s my favorite place to travel! I was supposed to visit again next year but my holiday has been put on hold for now. One day I would love to have a beach front house in Laguna Beach. Once I win the lottery of course! 😅

      Like

  4. Congrats on completing your goodreads challenge! That’s always a plus! Customers definitely don’t respect social distancing (or they didn’t in the old retail store I used to work at). I’d say August has been pretty stressful because of work and my mental health not being the greatest because of said job. But I started a new job lat week that I already love and I can already see a difference in my mental health, I’m less stressed at work, my coworkers are great and because I work early mornings and the store is still on normal hours, I don’t have to deal with many customers. As for reading, I’ve only barely started Midnight Sun but because of my declining mental health, I haven’t read too much of it so hopefully that will change in September since I’m in a better place

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Laura! Though, if I’m being honest I only surpassed my reading challenged because I set myself an ~achievable~ goal of fifty books this year. Last year I was sort of disillusioned by the whole thing after the pressure landed me in a BIG reading slump. I wanted to keep it chill this year. In hindsight, I must have known something! 😅

      But I’m so happy to hear that you’re in a MUCH better working environment – CONGRATULATIONS! I can 100% relate to dealing with mental health in the workplace so it’s great that you feel more comfortable in your new team. I wish you the best of luck! 😉

      I struggled with Midnight Sun at first a little because it’s so DENSE and Edward’s just so dang anxious. Reading Midnight Sun made ME anxious! But it’s 100% worth it – trust me! Hopefully you’ll be in a better mindset to tackle it in September.

      Thanks again for your comment – I hope you have an amazing month! 💙

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome!

        It’s also great that I’m with a company that’s doing well and isn’t closing stores, so I’ve now lost the anxiousness about the future of my job. I do have hopes for a better reading mindset in Septemeber!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The way you described the snow sounds so enchanting and amazing ❤ (and also a bit unfathomable considering the heat wave happening here–I saw a news article comparing California fires rn to Australia at the beginning of the year lmaoo it all comes full circle we all suffer together). so glad you're able to have this plus in quarantine! Huge congrats on your Goodreads reading challenge!! and ahh I'm so happy you're reading the lunar chronicles those books are aMAzing!! Scarlet was definitely my least favorite book of the series (though still rly good imo!) so yay for getting through it haha I can't wait to hear what you think about Cress and Winter because those two are just aoidfkjalsfjdksofj amazing!! I'm also super excited to read Where Dreams Descend it sounds so amazing! hope you have a great September ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • [Ahhh, I can’t believe I’m replying to your comment – in OCTOBER!]

      I was watching the fires in California. My heart goes out to all the people [and poor animals!] who lost their homes. It’s sad to think that it did come full circle. Actually, we’re approaching summer now and I’m worried we’ll have a worse bush fire season in 2021. As the earth gets warmer so to do the fires. Fingers crossed we all manage to stay safe!

      And holy heck – I can’t even tell you how much I LOVED Cress and Winter! [Hahaha more on that soon]. 💙

      Like

  6. SNOW!!! That is amazing!!!! I was hoping to head up to the snow here in NZ but lockdown happened.
    I READ MIDNIGHT SUN ALEXANDRA WHY MY HEART AND I JUST CANNOT I SWEAR THAT EDWARD IS JUST AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    Sending you heaps of love and hoping that you get away from your slump as soon as you are ready xx
    YES FOR DOWNTON!
    xx Emma

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right??? I was SCREAMING! I’ve never actually seen snow fall outside of the snow fields before. Unless you live in Tasmania, snow just isn’t a thing here! LOL! And I’m sorry lock down stopped your snow trip. Fingers crossed you’ll get to go next year! 😉

      AND AHHHHHH – MIDNIGHT SUN WAS AMAZING! SO MOODY AND ANGSTY AND ROMANTIC AND I AM JUST IN AWE. Have you heard the song? Crooked Ways by Motion City Soundtrack??? I cry every freaking time I listen to it. It just captures the tone and mood perfectly – I’m so glad Stephenie pulled some strings and got it released!

      And you love Downton too??? More proof that we’re sisters! 💙💙💙

      Liked by 1 person

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