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August reading – dragons, yeti, & the Underworld

Lovely people, how did your reading go last month? Did you make any new…

Lovely people, how did your reading go last month? Did you make any new and interesting discoveries? Re-visit any old favourites? Let me know in the comments!

I had great good intentions regarding my reading last month. I mean, after getting back from Dubai I had two whole weeks of self-quarantine where I couldn’t go anywhere, and, to be fair, I never do go anywhere much anyway when it’s just me here, so … lots of reading time, right?

Eh. Not so much. It seems I am still not as adjusted to the whole world situation as I would like to be, or maybe think I should be. Which of course is absolutely okay and completely understandable, as I would tell anyone else who said they were maybe not operating at peak performance right now.

The Latest Kate creates the most beautiful art:

Unfortunately (as we all know), it’s easier to be gentle with others than it is with ourselves. I’ve been kicking myself almost every day because the stories aren’t coming the way they should — hang on. No. The way I want them to. The work that I am doing is taking twice as long as it shou— ugh. As I want it to, I mean. I’m not making the phone calls I need to, because they feel big and exhausting, and mostly what I want to do is curl up with the cat and just be silent. And, yes, I’m not reading as much as I’d like, and I’m fickle and patchy when I do. I’m DNF-ing as many books as I finish.

None of which is the end of the world. None of which is strange, considering how things are right now, not just for me, but for all of us. Lots of other wee problems aren’t strange either, although they are frustrating — like not sleeping much, or struggling to stop checking the news every five minutes, or eating even more chocolate biscuits than usual (which is to say, I should start buying in bulk). We’re all tired. We’re all a bit overwhelmed. Everything is a little different, a little off, and being okay is starting to look a little different, too.

self care, mental health, rest, Covid-19, life

… and also she shouted at herself a lot and rage-ate a whole packet of chocolate digestives, but that was okay too.

Which means we all need to take that touch more care of ourselves and each other, to be that touch more forgiving of ourselves and each other. Maybe our self-care needs to change. Maybe our self-talk needs to become a little more loving. Maybe we need to accept that watching bad movies on the sofa under three blankets while eating an entire chocolate cake is a legitimate lifestyle choice right now.

Whatever self-care and self-love looks like for you at this moment, I hope you’re practising it, lovely people. I hope you’re forgiving yourself if your best is looking different to how it usually looks, and embracing your new best as being something just as wonderful and beautiful as it was before. I hope you’re listening when your body or mind needs a break, and I hope above all that you’re being gentle with yourself. We all need that right now.

self care, mental health, rest, Covid-19, life

And with that said, on to my very small book list for this month!

You know what? I actually managed to get another book out this year, and while I’m kicking myself repeatedly for not having another well underway by now (and I’m really, properly sorry the next Beaufort isn’t on the way yet, because I said it would be), I can be mostly happy with the fact that this is here, now. And it has unicorns and anarchic rats. Plus the paperback is gorgeous. (And you can, of course, buy it in any format at your favourite store.)

Battle Bond, Lindsay Buroker: More snarky, telepathic tigers, more dragons (the new one is definitely even less friendly than the first), and a whole mess of horny shifters. I bought this almost immediately after reading the first book in the series, which I talked about last month, and I enjoyed it just as much. Fun, action-packed, well-written, and with lots of heart. Plus although the romance is definitely on the way, I’m fairly confident that Val will not suddenly turn into a fainting maiden. Especially as she’s having fantasies about slaying one dragon to rescue the other … Five serves of Nin’s excellent beef and rice, and a large tea to wash it down.

“Reputation is what other people believe about you. It isn’t always an accurate reflection of who you really are, but it’s damn hard to alter the perceptions of others.”
― Lindsay Buroker, Battle Bond

The Blue Blazes, Chuck Wendig: “This, then, is Mookie Pearl.” That’s how The Blue Blazes starts, and the first paragraph is just a physical description of him. In present tense. Followed by more description, this time of how badass he is. And it should not work, but it does. The whole book works, right down to the slightly disjointed writing style, all comma splices and violence and darkness. It did take me a little while to find the rhythm of the story, but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lots of world-building, lots of action, some fantastic description, and a good dose of dark humour. Four plates of charcuterie and a large whisky to wash it down.

“Dynamite’s not a scalpel. It’s not even a fire axe. It’s precise like a hand grenade. You don’t control an explosion so much as politely suggest what you want it to do and then pray.”
― Chuck Wendig, The Blue Blazes

Devolution, Max Brooks: Okay, so I’m a sucker for monster stories. I also love unexplained disappearances and unsolved mysteries (even fictional ones). I’m not always a fan of stories told in journal style, but when they’re well done they give such a close telling of the story that they’re fantastic. And this was definitely up there. Creepy, suspenseful, and told mostly through the journals of Kate, a woman in a tiny eco-village that has been cut off from the rest of the country by a volcanic eruption, it kept me up late reading more than once. The character development – both of Kate and what she observes in those around her – is really well done, and the theories on Bigfoot itself offered in the “interviews with experts” portion of the book are fun. Four organic tomatoes and a zero-calorie sparkling drink.

“I think the human mind isn’t comfortable with mysteries. We’re always looking for answers to the unexplained. And if an answer can’t come from facts, we’ll try to cobble one together from old stories.”
Max Brooks, Devolution

And now — video time! (With a special appearance by The Little Furry Muse.)

Now over to you, lovely people. How are you doing out there? How’s your reading been over the past month? How are you managing?

And if you need a reminder that it’s okay to not be okay — not just now, but always — consider this it. 🙂

book chat, book reviews, book vid, Chuck Wendig, Death Before Dragons, Devolution, Lindsay Buroker, Max Brooks, Mookie Pearl, reading, The Blue Blazes

  1. Oooh, Devolution sounds like just my thing!

    Sometimes you make me think my reviews should be helpful instead of incoherent rants…

    Also, Kim, come on. It’s time to admit that *you* make special appearances in *Layla’s* videos, not the other way around.

    1. Kim Watt says:

      I thought of you when I was reading it! It has the usual limitations of journal format – as in, in places you can’t help but think, “no one would write like that, especially when x has just happened,” but I really enjoyed it. And the “eco-conscious rich people confronted with actual nature” angle was fun too. 🙂

      And I love your reviews. I only make my written reviews coherent because my video ones very rarely are. But they do have a Little Furry Muse in them, so I figure people will watch for that …

      1. I love the old, “I hear footsteps in the stairs… and a knife scraping against the wall… the sound is getting closer…”


        1. Kim M Watt says:

          Snort. It was EXACTLY like that in places!

  2. Elma Hernandez says:

    Hi! Like your Dragon books haven’t read your new series yet. It’s on the list. I know exactly what you mean. I’m not to energize either. World is in the wastebasket. But I got a whole series of books I really want to read so I going to keeping living!

    1. Kim Watt says:

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you liked them, and it’s lovely of you to drop by here. And yes – books are a very bright spot at the moment. Even more so that usual. Happy reading!

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