Reflecting on May

Renovations

May saw us finally making some headway on our renovations! We officially live in a house with doors, skirting and architraves! Honestly I am so happy with how all this turned out considering how long it took us to find the right team of carpenters to get the job done.We do still need to paint said doors and architraves but that is definitely something that is on the back burner at the moment. 

Its all about getting excited about the small things in life and let me tell you I am in love with my front door lock! 

Reading

May was a busy month for us and I only ended up finishing two books. ‘The Well of Ascension’ by Brandon Sanderson and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ by J.K Rowling. 

The Well of Ascension
by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn book 2

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter book 2

In all honesty the pace of my reading slowing down is a bit upsetting to see but I do need to take into consideration that a lot has happened in May and give myself a chance to find a new routine that allows for a little bit of time each day to read. 

Family

Hugo James arrived this month and we honestly couldn’t be more in love with him! His birth didn’t quite go to ‘plan’ (I say plan loosely as we didn’t really go in with a plan) He arrived at 7:19pm on May 18th 2021. We spent 6 nights in the hospital before finally bringing Hugo home to meet his new best friend Archie. 

Currently we are all just getting into the routine of life at home. It’s a little Topsy turvy at the moment as Victoria is in another lock down, which is making it difficult, but we will get through. 

Life

So we are now parents! Which is a crazy thing in itself. Currently we are working on how to balance Hugo’s needs with those of Archie as well as what we each need to function day to day. We haven’t been home for too long so I think we are doing pretty well but Its something that is important for me to get the hang of sooner rather than later. 

Currently in terms of hobbies and things I enjoy doing, I am still cooking dinners, which I am really enjoying although they are all very simple meals at the moment. I am also trying to finish my book club book, although lock down may be helping with that as we can’t meet up just yet. I am trying to get a chapter read each day and cutting myself some slack if that all I get done in a day. 

We are currently re watching New Girl which I am absolutely loving! I forget just how much I love that show! 

Overall I think we are at the stage where we are managing life, which is a win but not quite where we are in a great routine. 

Reflecting on April

It has really gotten to the time where the cliche ‘time flies’ really applies. April has been a crazy month and I have seen a really big personal shift. I finished up work this month which is a massive milestone in my pregnancy. We are really getting to the nitty gritty now and the reality that when I write my next reflection I will have a tiny earth side human is absolutely crazy!

renovations

In April we made a tiny bit of headway with the renovations! Yay! We managed to find a carpenter that has been able to source doors, skirting and architraves to install in the main living area, dinning, hallway and both bedrooms. Its been exciting to finally be able to begin ordering everything and deciding what doors we want – which is actually a really hard choice! 

reading

My reading has really slowed down in April and I only managed to finish 2 books. I am trying not to be too hard on myself about it considering that will probably be my reality once Bubs arrives. 

I really enjoyed both ‘Mistborn’ by Brandon Sanderson and ‘Rule of Wolves’ by Leigh Bardugo, so definitely worth while reading month. I would definitely recommend ‘Mistborn’ to any

Family

Bubs is still not earth side! However we are at the point now where we are just waiting. At the end of April I had both a midwife and an OB appointment. That was the point in the pregnancy where I needed more blood tests to check my Vitamin D and Iron Levels in preparation for Labor. I also completed my Step B test which came back negative which is great.

We did find out that his growth rate has slowed down a bit so at my next appointment at the beginning of May he’ll be measured again and the OB will decide whether he needs to arrive a little early or if he can keep trying to grow.

April was also a busy, if not stressful month for our fur baby Archie! He turned 1 at the end of the month which meant at the beginning of the month he got neutered. Which was not a fun experience for the poor guy. He gets very anxious at the Vets so getting him sedated enough for them to place the IV was difficult. I am so thankful that the staff at our clinic are absolutely amazing and helped both Archie and I through the experience.

My brother also was finally able to get married to his gorgeous now wife Grace in April! Due to the virus and restrictions they had to push their wedding date twice, however they were both pretty good about it all even though they were thrown so many curve balls! It was definitely worth the wait and it was an absolutely stunning day!

Life

It’s all getting very very real and to make it feel even more like a reality that a baby is going to come out of me and that we are going to be someone’s PARENTS (what?!) I am now officially on my maternity leave. Which feels super crazy. Honestly I already miss my work friends and seeing the kids every day but I cannot wait to take Bubs in to meet everyone and see the kids he’s heard chattering away while I’ve been pregnant. 

My anxiety has been a little more difficult to manage at the moment, but considering I am about to give birth for the first time I am trying to give myself a bit of grace and take some time to relax every day to help. 

Ive started playing a few more video games as of late – not sure if its good timing to start playing additional games, but oh well – I’ve begun the ‘Not so Berry Challenge’ on The Sims 4 which I am really enjoying as well as playing a lot more Stardew Valley on both the Nintendo Switch and PC. 

My husband also picked up Pokemon Snap! Which was released on April 30th. He’s been playing to unwind at night and really enjoying it so far. I’ve only played for about 30 minutes so far but think it will be a great game to have. It’s very relaxing and I’ve been enjoying taking photos of all the cute Pokemon! 

2021 most anticipated book releases

I recently wrote a post about the video games I am most anticipating this year (and into the future) which reminded me of the list I had been compiling on random post it notes scattered throughout my house of all the books I am so excited to read this year. 

If you’ve been here for a while or even if you are new (Welcome!) it might be obvious that I am a pretty avid reader. Now I know things are most likely going to slow down once Bubs is in the mix but I am hoping to still be able to read something each month, even if its just one book. 

Every year I look forward to seeing all the books that they are going to be released in a new year, it always seems like an exciting ‘fresh start’ for the year and even through everything going on last year it was something to look forward too. 

Without adding to much to the preamble, these are the books that I am most looking forward too picking up this year. 

Already released

Since I am writing this post so late there are some books that I am am mentioning that have already been released that I just haven’t picked up yet. 

Synopsis

Synopsis
I absolutely loved Courtney Summers book ‘Sadie’ so I do really want to get to this soon

May 4th

Synopsis

may 13th

May 18th

Synopsis

may 25th

June 8th

june 15th

july 25th

November 11th

I am so excited for all these books to come out and these are just the releases I know about that I’m excited for. If you have any book recommendations of new releases leave a comment so I can add it to my list!

reflecting on February

Renovations

February has been a slow month for renovations. We have broken up all the things we want to accomplish with the house into phases – kinda like the MCU but not as cool – We are currently in phase one also known as the Pre Baby phase to kind of put back together the parts of the house that were removed during the beginning of the renovation, namely doors and curtains. 

We have spent the month chasing quotes for the skirting, architraves, door jams, and doors. We are hoping to get the ball rolling in March with finally getting things done, but we will just see how we go.

Reading

I honestly had the most intense reaction when I started A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas. I don’t know what it is about Nesta but man I am not a fan. Even though I love the series and the characters overall I did not enjoy reading from Nesta’s point of view!

baby

We ended February at 27 weeks pregnant. I think i’m feeling pretty good, thankfully. The long days at work are definitely tiring but they are also so rewarding and enjoyable that even though I am exhausted at the end of the day I can’t help but look forward to coming back the next!

I recently got my Glucose Tolerance Test which, for those who don’t know, is the Sugar tolerance test that is done to test for Diabetes and is done during week 26-28 of pregnancy to test for gestational diabetes. It takes 2 hours at the blood draw clinic. The clinicians take your first sample then you drink a very sweet drink, wait an hour, another sample taken, wait an hour and then your last sample. It was actually really nice to be able to go and sit in my car and head back into the clinic for my next draw, I was able to watch some YouTube and play some Animal Crossing. Really just living my best life.

life

Throughout the month I continued my obsession with Stardew Valley on the PC while also diving head first back into Animal Crossing which has been taking up a lot of my time. I’ve been patiently anticipating Taylor Swift’s release of fearless as well as discovering the world of digital bullet journalling. 

January Recap

After all the chaos of December and that weird period of time where no one knows what the date is or the day of the week January was an easing into 2021 that we needed.

Renovations


throughout January we continued renovating. We managed to achieve a lot and that is mostly down to my paint master husband who spent days upon days painting. We were able to get the living room, dining room and hall way completed painted and ready for the next steps in phase one of these renovations.

We were then able to replace the floors! This task wasn’t initially on our list for phase one however they got damaged during the plastering due to being quite thin and brittle. I am so happy with how they turned out and definitely not sad that they are done. Archie is a huge fan!

Reading

I was some how (don’t ask me how) able to finish 9 books to start the year off. I’m really excited that I was able to complete so many books and really enjoy the reading experience again after what was a slow reading year in 2020.

If there are any books you’d like to see a review on, leave a comment and I will make sure to review that book!

Life

Aside from having at least 1 doctors appointment each week of January I spent the rest of the month having coffee catch ups, preping for the baby and playing Stardew Valley and Immortals: Fenyx Rising. Both of which are games I absolutely love. I also got back into podcasts a little more, which has been really fun.

With January done and dusted I can’t wait to see what February brings…

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War
by Julie Berry

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Date: 2019
Pages: 480
Fiction/Non-Fiction: Fiction
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Days to Read: 7
Purchase Locations: Amazon and Kindle Audible Book Depository Booktopia Dymocks QBD

A sweeping, multi-layered romance with a divine twist, by the Printz Honor-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa, set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II.

It’s 1917, and World War I is at its zenith when Hazel and James first catch sight of each other at a London party. She’s a shy and talented pianist; he’s a newly minted soldier with dreams of becoming an architect. When they fall in love, it’s immediate and deep–and cut short when James is shipped off to the killing fields.

Aubrey Edwards is also headed toward the trenches. A gifted musician who’s played Carnegie Hall, he’s a member of the 15th New York Infantry, an all-African-American regiment being sent to Europe to help end the Great War. Love is the last thing on his mind. But that’s before he meets Colette Fournier, a Belgian chanteuse who’s already survived unspeakable tragedy at the hands of the Germans.

Thirty years after these four lovers’ fates collide, the Greek goddess Aphrodite tells their stories to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, in a luxe Manhattan hotel room at the height of World War II. She seeks to answer the age-old question: Why are Love and War eternally drawn to one another? But her quest for a conclusion that will satisfy her jealous husband uncovers a multi-threaded tale of prejudice, trauma, and music and reveals that War is no match for the power of Love.

Julie Berry is an American Author who has written 12 books so far in her career, with The Lovely War being her most recent release.

The Lovely War follows our wondrous Greek Gods, namely Aphrodite, Aries and Hephaestus as Aphrodite defends herself as she and Aries are put on trial for their affair. To defend herself Aphrodite tells two stories of love from the first world war. Throughout which we begin to see the world and the god of Love does.

The way that Julie Berry tells the stories of these for characters doesn’t make it feel like a historical fiction. Most of my previous experience with historical fiction has been dry and difficult for me to feel engaged in. As I saw reading ‘The Lovely War’ I felt transported back to the story of the first world war and the experiences of these characters. I was utterly invested in the outcome of their lives.

Hazel and James’s love story was one that I was wholeheartedly invested in. The Character were well written and had so much dimension and depth. You could really see how their characters change and develop through the war and what that does to a person and their connections within society.

Aphrodite as a narrator was an aspect of the book that I found really interesting. Looking and the relationship between love and war from the perspective of love was something I hadn’t seen before. I really enjoyed that the narrator was a character and seeing the little additions and notes the character makes throughout the story.

I’m not sure if this qualifies as a “dislike” but I felt that I was so invested in the story that when the main four characters we follow were treated badly I was really sad. I really didn’t like the racism that was clear in the times of the first world war, but I feel like that’s more of my own issue.

Overall, ‘The Lovely War’ is a transformative book that sends the reader back in time as they listen to a tale weaved by a god. The experience is one that can make someone appreciate the love that they have in their own lives.

Plot: 8.5/10
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 8/10
Quality of Writing: 7/10
Overall: 4.5/5

April TBR

April is here and with it a global pandemic and a ton of time to read. Along with the O.W.L.S I am planning to complete the April Year-a-thon reading challenge as well as reading a couple of additional books.

as well as one of the following books…

Overall, I am hoping that I can get all 10 of these books read as well as finally finishing ‘The Secret History’ Which I have been reading for a couple of months already!

What are you most looking forward to reading this month?

O.W.L.S 2020 Readathon TBR

I am so excited that the O.W.L.S are upon us. This is one of my all time favourite readathons, hosted by Gee from Book Roast on YouTube. The O.W.L.S have happened every April for the past 2 years with this being the 3rd year its run. It really couldn’t come at a better time either!

Gee has also created a careers guide which is linked to her announcement video each time and has this year added some more career options. Even with these awesome additional careers I still chose one that was in the original guide and that is…

This means that to pass my O.W.L.S I need to read 8 books, for each of the subject prompts which are as follows.

These are the books I’m picking up for each prompt.

Heart Rune: Read a book with a heart of the cover or in the title

I’ve decided to reread ‘Wild at Heart’ by K.A. Tucker for this prompt. I know that its one that I enjoy and even though I only recently read it for the first time, I cannot wait to get back into it!

Magical Qualities of Number 2: Balance/opposites: read something outside your favourite genre

For a book outside my favourite genre I decided to go with ‘Empress of a Thousand Skies’ by Rhoda Belleza, a science fiction. I don’t really have many genres I don’t like but I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy and contemporaries lately.

Lumos Maxima: White Cover

I’m not really sure yet which book I want to read with a white cover yet so I’ve got three options to choose from ‘The Dream Thieves’ by Maggie Stiefvater, ‘Nevernight’ by Jay Kristoff and ‘The Dragon Republic’ by R.F. Kuang. I am leaning towards ‘The Dragon Republic’ since I recently completed ‘The Poppy War’ and I want to be up to date before the third book is released.

Grindylows: Book set at the sea/coast

After watching Emma at Drinking by my shelf, do a 24 hour readathon where she read all the Lemony Snicket, I knew I wanted to read them again since I realised that when I read them as they came out I never finished them. I got up to book 3 which I remember being set by the sea so I decided to save ‘The Wide Window’ for the O.W.L.S.

Mimbulus Mimbletonia: Title that starts with M

After narrowing it down from my three options, I decided to pick up ‘Maybe This Time’ by Kasie West for the prompt. I want something fun and light to throw into this TBR so a contemporary seems like the best option.

A book from the perspective of a muggle (Contemporary)

For the contemporary I wanted to mix it up a little bit and pick up ‘Heartstopper: Volume 3’ by Alice Oseman, a contemporary graphic novel. This is one that I am so excited to pick this one up!

Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages

I actually found it really difficult to find a book that filled this prompt and after going through my graphic novel collection and found that ‘Thor: God of Thunder Reborn’ by Jason Aaron, Mike Del Mundo and Christian Ward fit the bill perfectly!

Animagus Lecture: Book/series that includes shape shifting

I don’t think I have any other books on my shelf that have shape shifter as a feature which works out perfectly because I am almost done with my Twilight reread, which means I can fill this prompt with ‘Breaking Dawn’ by Stephenie Meyer.

I am so happy that it’s O.W.L.S season again and I really cannot wait to get into all these wonderful stories. This readathon could not have come at a better time, so if you have the chance, join in, let me know if you will be participating and we can connect as a community and read some amazing stories together!