4 Books I Hope Are Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction + 2 I Hope Aren’t

Hello readers!

The longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction comes out next week! There are a few great prediction posts out already: Hannah’s Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020: Longlist predictions and Emily’s Women’s Prize 2020: Longlist Predictions, Wishes are some really great reads that hyped me even more for the prize. Really worth a read!

There are lots of really great books are eligible this year, and there are some that I particularly would love to see in the longlist:

my dark vanessa kate elizabeth russel the man who saw everything deborah levy girl woman other bernardine evaristo

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell / eARC Review

This was a dark, challenging read that feels very timely. I think it would be a great addition to the list!

The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy / Mini-Review

Oh, this was GREAT. Although I have reservations about a story about a man making it to the list, I think it’s a really good book and it deserves recognition! It’s basically as unreliable as a narrator gets.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo / eARC Review

I think this is a very obvious choice for the longlist, but it would be very deserved. This book is so interesting and I LOVE that each character got their own story told, and you can see how easily a person gets misunderstood and misrepresented by someone else. Such a great book. Continue reading

The Book that Inspired me to Start Running

Hello readers!

Running is a hobby I never expected to pick up in my lifetime – I am short, with the kind of body that builds muscle more easily than it does aerobics, and I’m famously terrible at breathing (I have asthma) and at not fainting (I have vasovagal syndrome). However, I’ve been running for about a year now, and it’s for sure because I picked up this book:

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, by Misa Sugiura

29073707 Continue reading

The Sunday Snuggle: Weekly Wrap Up & #FFFeb Progress W8/2020

Hello readers!

This has been interesting week. I’ve been feeling sick since last Friday, so I’ve reduced my work hours a bit and thus had more reading time, but also not that much more because I was not feeling so great, after all. I also had very limited patience with my reading, and DNF-ed two books within the first chapters: A Heart so Fierce and Broken and The Truth About Keeping Secrets. They’re both YA eARCs that I requested because they were available and I’d heard about them (plus I read A Curse so Dark and Lonely), but my interest in YA has been dwindling so much lately that I just could not hold interest in either.

I excluded them from my TBR; after a quite stressful workweek, my patience has been very limited, so it’s no wonder I DNF-ed two books (in fact, I almost DNF-ed three).

I bought in audiobook:

the king of crows libba bray

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Weekly Wrap Up

final girls riley sager the sun down motel simone st james something to talk about meryl wilsner

Final Girls by Riley Sager / Goodreads 4 stars

This book was intense and full of plot twists! I normally can see the ending coming from miles away, but I was mostly wrong with this one.

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James / My Review 5 stars

I LOVED this. This is definitely going to be one of the best mysteries for 2020 for me! I love the 80s atmosphere, the creepy, haunted motel, the characters, the nods to murderinos… this is a really good book!

Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner / Goodreads 3 stars

I picked this up for #FFFeb instead of The Truth About Keeping Secrets, and I enjoyed it for the most part, but the writing was so choppy and the chemistry just kind of wasn’t there… so in the end I was quite bored. It felt quite amateurish, really, and maybe it’s because I don’t love the age-gap romance, and also I am so tired of main characters who can’t communicate in a decent way. Still, I thought this was cute and relatively low stakes, which is such a nice palate cleanser kind of novel.

The Price of Salt

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith / Goodreads Ongoing

This is probably my last #FFFeb pick! And from what I’ve read so far, it’s going to end on a high note – I’m really enjoying the atmosphere and the writing so far!  I loved The Talented Mr. Ripley, so I have high hopes for this one.

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What did you read this week?

eARC Review: The Sun Down Motel, by Simone St. James

the sun down motel simone st jamesRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Mystery

Goodreads

I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

In 1982, Viv Delaney disappeared during her night shift in the Sun Down Motel and was never seen again. No one knows if she’s dead or alive, and her family doesn’t talk about her. Except for Carly, her niece, who in 2017 is trying to find answers about what happened to her aunt. She finds herself drawn to Fell and the Sun Down Motel, working the same night shift where Viv worked, and finding that there is something going on there which maybe can only be explained by the supernatural. Continue reading

Going Back to Running After I Stopped for Months

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Hello readers!

It’s been a while since I posted about my fitness & health journey, for two reasons: first, I’ve been writing mostly my bookish posts I actually forgot to write these ones; second, I got crazy busy with work since last September and was too exhausted to exercise or run consistently for a solid four months – basically until this January. I was thinking of posting about the stuff I was doing in that meantime health-wise in order to be able to jump back into it when I had motivation/time, but somehow I didn’t post that.

For context: I suck at aerobics. I did a couch-to-5K training last year, signed up for a couple runs and basically changed my life in several ways to become healthier. I have a family history of heart disease, and also a history of depression & anxiety, and found that exercise helps with keeping my anxiety levels a bit down and gives me energy in a way that seems to keep depression at bay. My 5K is still very slow (and most of the time I can’t do it all in one go without walking) and I’m not a terribly fit person, but I swear by the “okay can be better than perfect” and so I keep going. For someone like me, running 1K without stopping was hard, painful and a huge accomplishment.

After 6 months or so of running, I had to stop for around 4months, doing only the occasional asthmatic and painful 3km run. Now I finally managed to go back to a routine of running a few times per week and started my 10K practice. Here’s how I managed to do that:

I continued some healthy habits & slowly started hyping myself up for running

Although I had no energy or time to go running for a while, some habits I had created since last year were easy to stick to – for example, I still meal prepped for work and kept my meat, milk and sweets consumption rather low. I cook at home more often than not. I know those aren’t manageable for everyone, but for me they work really well and I enjoy coming up with different recipes for meal prepping! That helped keep me healthy, even though I was not exercising anymore.

Once I decided to go back and my workload had gone a bit down (or at least more predictable), I started hyping myself up for running. For new runners like me, the most difficult thing about running is the mental aspect: endurance, motivation, habit. Actually running isn’t nearly as hard as pushing yourself to do it, or to keep doing it, to keep going when it’s hurting or you’re tired. So I find that watching videos about running advice, reading articles and checking out sports gear I’d like to buy eventually really helps me feel motivated to go!

At first I could barely finish 1 km without stopping

I have asthma, which gets MUCH worse in winter. I had difficulty finishing 1 km running mostly because of that, but also I felt tired and my legs felt like mush after not running for so long. But after a few runs it got better! It’s warmer now, which improves my breathing, but also the practice makes it much better. I didn’t have any difficulties with that since then, and my legs don’t hurt the same way. More importantly, I find it easier to push through now and keep going when I want to stop. My 1km turned to almost 8km last week.

I created a challenge with a friend up & chose a running goal

I am… quite competitive. I suck at running, but I suck even more at losing. A friend of mine is training for a half marathon (21K) and I went slightly over-competitive and was like OK LET’S DO A RUNNING CHALLENGE, and here we are. I hate losing, and I am a lot more disciplined if I know I might have a chance of winning if I run more often than he does. I’m going about 4x a week now.

I also decided that I would like to do a 10K this year, and chose a particular race that I ran last year as a 5K, and I’d love to run the 10K track this year. I signed up for a training plan (free with my sports watch, but you don’t need one – if you have a smartphone, there are several apps. My friend uses Runtastic for the half marathon training).

Oh, I also re-instated my reward program – I get new shoes, pants, protein powder, etc for some milestones. At first I made it only mildly challenging (running 5K nonstop again) and then increasingly challenging (running 600m of a very steep hill near my track at pace x, run 5K in x minutes, running 10K nonstop etc). I will run looking GOOD very soon!

When I was mentally ready to go, I broke my own records

Running is a mix of motivation and habit, and I needed to get my motivation back before making it again a habit, and that’s okay too. But once I felt the itch to run again, I was so hyped for it that after a couple weeks of practicing more and getting back into shape, I broke my own 5K record. Last week, I ran for over 7km nonstop (which is huge for a potato like me). So, what I mean is: it’s ok if you stop. For someone who’s never been a runner or particularly athletic, the 4 month stop felt like going back to zero, but you NEVER go back to zero once you have started already. Your brain and body remember it, and you get back into shape much quicker. It was so nice to see that I could go even further than before, when I was lighter and fitter!

Have you had to stop running for a while and then went back to it? How did it go for you? I’d love to get some tips on more things I can do to try and stay fit even if I can’t run. I still feel very new to it and like I have so much to learn.

eARC Reviews: Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, Apartment by Teddy Wayne

exciting times noise dolanExciting Times by Naoise Dolan

Rating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Contemporary

Goodreads

I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Exciting Times is the story of Ava, a young woman from Ireland living in Hong Kong and working as an English teacher. She has a complicated relationship with Julian, who’s not technically her boyfriend, and things complicate further when Julian leaves Hong Kong for several months and Ava meets Edith. She does not tell Edith about Julian, and doesn’t tell Julian about Edith. Hopefully things will just sort themselves out somehow… Continue reading

The Sunday Snuggle: Weekly Wrap Up & #FFFeb Progress W7/2020

Hello readers!

By the end of last week, February was 25% done and I’d read 1 book and a half of my 9 planned for the February TBR, so it looked… a bit challenging. This week, I finally finished Harrow the Ninth, which is a 500-page read that I didn’t quite account for; somehow I thought it would be like 300 pages and I’d be done with it by Friday last week. Instead, it took me until the Monday after. But now it’s Sunday and I managed to finish Harrow, Exciting Times and Apartment. I read a bit of Final Girls (which is really good) and started The Sun Down Motel (which is really good, too!). I ended up DNF one book, so my “wrap up” looks quite long, especially considering two of the books I read were quite short.

This week I got from Edelweiss:

beach read emily henry sisters daisy johnson something to talk about meryl wilsner

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Weekly Wrap Up

harrow the ninth tamsyn muir final girls riley sager exciting times noise dolan

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir / eARC Review ★★★★☆ Continue reading

5 Recommendations of Thrillers in Audiobook

Hello bookworms!

I love thrillers – and I tend to listen to them more than read in print or e-book, and I enjoy listening to something gripping while I’m walking somewhere or if I’m going to the market on my own, sometimes cleaning, too. I end up reading a lot of thrillers, and today I’m recommending the best ones I listened to! I think audiobook thrillers are a great way to do long walks, if you’re trying to get more of those done, or to do some light jogging while listening to someone getting stabbed, it can really help take your mind out of your shin splits.

Blog Divider Stillhouse Lake Rachel Caine truly devious maureen johnson lock every door by riley sager

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine / Goodreads

Stillhouse Lake is the story of a woman whose husband has been discovered to be a serial killer, and is now in jail. She and her children changed their names and try their best to live normal lives, but they are haunted by trauma, shock and threats from people who refuse to believe that the wife of a serial killer knew nothing of the horrific things happening right under her nose. They move to a house near the lake and hope to start over, but it looks like their cover might be busted and her husband’s “fans” could just get to them…

The audio narration for this is really amazing, it fits the main character so well. I was hooked on this and if I remember correctly, finished the book in a day. Still one of the best thrillers that are out there, in my opinion! Continue reading

eARC Review: Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #2), by Tamsyn Muir

harrow the ninth tamsyn muir

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, F/F

Goodreads

I received an advance copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Harrow is now a Lyctor, and joins God and the other Lyctors in a war they cannot win. Her health is failing and her mind is, too – she is almost sure she’s going mad.

Harrow the Ninth is a puzzle of a book – entirely different from Gideon the Ninth, it starts exchanging between present (second person) and past (person), which I found terribly confusing. For a (fleeting) moment I considered not continuing the book at all because it was frustrating to try to keep up; while book 1 is deliciously addictive from chapter one, it took book 2 almost 70% of the book to feel the same way for me. Harrow is quite different from the first book, and the reader should be ready to be patient with it. It is worth reading through the confusing chapters, I promise, and once you start getting answers (and some of them you can try to guess yourself, which was exciting for me), it’s seriously worth it. The twists blew my mind. Continue reading

The Sunday Snuggle: Weekly Wrap Up and Haul & #FFFeb Progress W6/2020

Hello readers!

So a week ago #FFFeb started and I am excited to spend a month focusing on F/F books. My TBR is, as I showed last week, a bit challenging. I normally finish 2 books per week if I’m listening to audiobooks, perhaps 3 if it’s a slow week at work, but there will be NO slow weeks in sight now and I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to read everything, but I hope to! I really hope to end this month with my TBR 10 books shorter – next month it will get up to 16 books longer because of the WP long list coming out, and I still hold foolish hope to end the year with fewer than 100 books on my TBR. Who knows, maybe I can do it. I considered reading for Black Month History, but my monthly to-be-read list is already super long, so I will focus on black authors in future months instead.

I bought on audio this week:

final girls riley sager

Continue reading