- The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher (★★★★☆)
- How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith (★★★★★)
- Detransition Baby by Torrey Peters (★★★★☆)
- Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey (★★★☆☆)
MONTHLY TOTAL: 4
YEARLY SO FAR: 92
So, I read (1) more book than I had planned, and that book was a novella, so there’s not much to write home about there, but I think it was still a good reading month! I enjoyed all these books, no duds, and three of them are books that have been on my TBR for a long time.
I got an e-ARC of JUNIPER AND THORN!!! It’s one of my most anticipated books of the year, and once I got the ARC, I just couldn’t resist starting it, even though I usually prefer to wait until closer to a book’s release date, and this releases in June, but I don’t care. I’m already 4% in and already I’m falling in love again with Ava’s writing. I also am loving the aesthetic of this; it’s set in a fantasy city inspired by Victorian-era Odesa, and I’m already getting those Victorian Vibes.
WORLD WAR Z is a re-read and a buddy read, and IRON WIDOW is a very hyped new release that I’ve been meaning to get to for a while now, since I have a physical copy.
Succession (Season 1)
This show is hilarious. I really love dark comedy, and watching rich people be ridiculous is so much fun. I don’t really have too much else to say except that the show is oddly compelling, and also apparently it’s heavily inspired by King Lear, which makes sense when I think about it. Looking forward to season 2!
Ragdoll (Season 1)
As always, I will watch literally any British crime drama, and this is no exception. I was very excited to see this stars Lucy Hale, who is actually American, which was weird but I do love Lucy Hale so I enjoyed seeing her play a cop in England. My favorite thing about this show, though, is the intense friendship between the other female lead and the male lead; they are so close and intimate and yet their relationship never ventures into the romantic, which is so rare to see! Also, said other female lead is Thalissa Teixeira, who is gorgeous and such a fantastic actress and I’m so happy this series introduced me to her!
I decided to watch this British miniseries mostly because Thalissa Teixeira has a supporting role. It was pretty good, if extremely sad, as it’s mostly about the perils of undiagnosed mental illness and what happens when someone who is mentally troubled is not given the proper support they need. It’s only three episodes and I flew threw them.
The Witcher (Season 2)
I re-watched season 1 because I had pretty much forgotten everything — did y’all clock that the first season actually aired in 2019, not 2020??? I was so shocked, but no wonder Ciri looks so different; the actress is like three years older (and her new eyebrows are so distracting lmao)! Anyway, I binged both season in two days with a good friend and we had so, so much fun. Season 2 was even better than Season 1, and I’d already loved Season 1. Some awesome things about Season 2:
→ The first episode, which was just…*chef’s kiss* in every way. The Gothic vibes, Ciri and Geralt getting to know one another, the discussion of just what makes a monster, the creep factor, the HUGE twist at the end…it was amazing. Fantastic way to begin the Season 2.
→ Character interactions! This was truly the season of fantastic character pairings! We got to see Yennefer and Fringilla, Yennefer and Cahir, Yennefer and Jaskier…okay, maybe I just love watching Yennefer interact with characters, because she’s so damn charismatic! But also I love the enemies to reluctant allies to friends trope and these pairings all hit on that! But also I loved Ciri and Triss’s initial reactions (remember Ciri dressing up and wearing a flower for Triss? GOD).
→ Triss struggling with trauma and PTSD. So often in fantasy big battles and injuries are just brushed off like they’re nothing, but we get to see Triss significantly changed after the huge battle last season, where she was very badly injured and nearly died.
→ Istredd is back! I love Istredd and was happy to see him given an expanded role. Seeing him interact with Geralt was hilarious.
→ Geralt talks so much more! I read that Henry Cavill actually encouraged this; he wanted his character to open up more, and it works so well. I love that Geralt completely subverts the trope of the brooding anti-hero who can’t deal with his feelings, because Geralt actually has SO much emotional intelligence??? He’s one of the most mature characters on the show, which makes sense given how old he is. Whenever he talks to Ciri, he’s just…so mature and smart and compassionate. He’s such a good dad.
→ LOVED Fringilla’s expanded role, and seeing her struggle with her morals; seeing her develop a friendship with Francesca and come into her own power was wonderful. The actress is spectacular so I’m very happy she had such good material to work with!
The Wheel of Time (Season 1)
So, a few years ago, I tried to read the first book in the Wheel of Time series. I remember I absolutely loved the prologue, and genuinely thought I was in for an awesome ride, but then it just kind of transitioned into Farm Boy Rand and Farm Girl Egwene and teenage hormones and I got bored. The show, just by the nature of it being visual media, meant I was less likely to be bored, and I was not! I binged this with the same aforementioned friend, in the same weekend, and we had a fantastic time.
I didn’t love this as much as The Witcher, and I think it would be a tough sell to try to make this into the next Game of Thrones (though we oughta stop comparing things to Game of Thrones anyway) but it was still a fun time, I think. The cast is really great, particularly Daniel Henney as Lan and Rosamund Pike as Moiraine, but the Emond’s Field five are great too, particularly Egwene! I think that the show suffered from a rushed pace, and so a lot of scenes that were supposed to hit hard didn’t feel like they had been earned by the time we got to them, and the final episode felt a bit shoddily put together, but I think they’ve built a solid enough foundation that season 2 will be much better.
After watching, I was tempted to try the books again, but then I read two articles:
Featuring a bunch of quotes from the books, I was reminded of why I probably would struggle through Robert Jordan’s writing. The show has already changed a lot in terms of the representation of women that makes everything much more palatable, and I think if I read the books I would just roll my eyes a lot. Not to mention that I’ve heard very lukewarm things about the first book, and I also hear that the later books meander a lot. So, I don’t think the books are for me, but I’m very excited for season 2 of the show, and I plan to hit up the Wheel of Time Wiki, because I think the lore of this world is very fascinating. I’m really happy I can get into this fandom without actually having to read the books lmao.
LOVE HARD: I gave this film five stars and I maintain that rating. This was just serotonin injected directly into my veins. It was fun and cute and wholesome and genuinely hilarious, like seriously, so much funnier than I expected it to be! Also, I have always and will continue to say that Nina Dobrev is one of the most underappreciated actresses in Hollywood; she’s gorgeous and her acting has such a naturalness to it, I really don’t understand why she’s not more popular. This is a fab holiday movie and I already know I’m probably gonna end up rewatching it.
HAPPIEST SEASON: On the flip side is a film that made waves when it aired last year, and I finally got around to it. So, first, some good things, and the reason I gave it a whole two stars. Kristen Stewart is actually amazing. I love her acting and her smile. She’s so cute. Also, the movie has some really funny moments, and it was never, ever boring; I have to say, I was definitely hooked the entire time. However…this is the most tonally discordant film I’ve ever seen. It was utterly bizarre watching Stewart’s girlfriend manipulate and gaslight her the entire film and then expect us to root for them. The scene at the end, where she’s outed, was supposed to be funny, I guess, but it was actually truly horrifying. I kept hoping for Stewart to just get the hell away from this toxic family and her toxic girlfriend and maybe get with Aubrey Plaza’s character but alas.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING: I actually watched this film years and years ago, but turns out I had forgotten literally every single detail! But aforementioned friend kind of wanted to watch it because I guess it’s the 20-year anniversary, and I’ve been meaning to finally watch this franchise, so we powered through the extended version of this, and it was…fine? I really don’t have much else to say about it other than that…my feelings towards this film are so lukewarm I really can’t even put them into words. I literally have nothing to say except that I was sometimes mildly bored and sometimes mildly entertained. Still planning on watching the next two films though!
→ I think the most exciting thing that happened to me this month was that I tried jerk chicken and collard greens for the first time and loved both.
→ I’ve been making these homemade gochujang noodles with homemade tahini and I’ve become terribly addicted to them. I think there’s drugs in the gochujang I bought because there’s no way something can taste that good. I’ve been eating it for five days and counting. Send help.
→ Deadline is coming up on revisions but I am very close to being done! I think I’ve got like fifty pages left, though they are a bit hefty, but I’ve still got five days. I actually went to a cafe a few days ago to try to make a dent in revisions and it worked! I’ve just been so sleepy whenever I’m at home, and when my bed is right there I tend to crawl into it, but in a cafe, I can’t do that, so it just meant I kept working.
→ I have barely started working on book 2 but I’m hoping that I can really start focusing on it once I turn in these edits. Going to a cafe seemed to really work for me so I’m gonna try to keep doing that!
→ My kitty was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor, and after a bit of a harrowing few days where I had to wait to see if the cancer had spread, I found out that thankfully it hasn’t, but he still needs surgery to remove the tumor to prevent it from spreading. He’s due for that next week!
→ I was officially diagnosed with Cushing’s disease, which means I am also in need of surgery! Essentially, Cushing’s disease means I have a pituitary tumor releasing excess cortisol, which has been causing me all sorts of wild symptoms, most notably severe abdominal weight gain. Surgery to remove the tumor should fix it, and they’ve scheduled me for March. I am genuinely so excited to do this and start feeling normal again.
→ Very much looking forward to a brand new reading year!