Good morning, lovely! This Monday morning’s looking a little gloomy here in Poole. But no worries, I’ve got a delicious cup of coffee (Beanies Toasted Marshmallow!! 😍) and I’m ready to start the day with a little blog post. This is the first “Monday Musings” post here at Cosy Chapters but I’m hoping it’ll become a regular thing. Sort of an opportunity for me to sit down with my thoughts, check-in and just kind of write whatever really. For today, I think I’m going to do a little recap of the month!
February in Review
I don’t know about you but time seems to move differently now. Like, how are we already going into the third month of the year? Nothing much is happening on a personal micro level and yet it’s nothing but eventful on a global scale. I won’t go into the global or national stuff because well, that’s not why you’re here and if it is something you’re interested in then you can just visit your news provider of choice. That is very much not me.
So yeah, what have I been up to in February? Very little, to be honest.
I’ve been reading a lot which is to be expected. At the time of writing, I’ve read 27 books this year with 12 of them being read in Feb. Here’s what I’ve read this month:
- Cherish Farrah by Bethany C. Morrow (*review copy) – creepy social horror about the friendship between two teenaged girls, Cherish and Farrah, when they are threatened with separation.
- Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell – non-fiction about the power and effects of language used by cult adjacent groups including MLMs.
- Breathless by Amy McCulloch (*review copy) – breathtakingly atmospheric thriller set on a mountain that you absolutely MUST read if you’re a fan of cold or isolated settings in your thrillers!
- The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace – my second poetry collection by this poet. Lots of female empowerment but be mindful of content warnings for violence towards women, misogyny and rape culture.
- Moonstruck: Magic to Brew by Grace Ellis et al – sweet magical f/f romance graphic novel about a werewolf barista.
- Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier – another incredible thriller! This one was about a woman who was arrested as an accessory to the murder of her best friend as a teenager and after she finishes her sentence, similar murders start being committed on her doorstep. It’s an intense read and MAJOR content warnings for rape on page.
- Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine – a woman finds herself on the run with her kids following the arrest of her serial killer husband as an online forum targets her believing that she was involved in her husband’s crimes. This was so good that I immediately read the sequel.
- Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese-American by Laura Gao (*review copy) – moving graphic memoir on identity and what it means to belong.
- Killman Creek by Rachel Caine – not as great as Stillhouse Lake (I think because of the multiple POVs) but still a wild ride of a thriller. This one kicks off with the family on the run from their escaped murderer husband/father. Side note: I felt this was a little heavier on the gore.
- Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho – a great anti-racist audiobook that offered something different to similar titles I’ve read. This was really accessible and so I think it’d be a great starting point if you’re looking to start your own antiracism journey.
- Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office by Brian Baumgartner – this non-fic is written (and narrated) by the guy who plays Kevin in the show so if you’re an Office fan, this is a must read. The use of voice actors for the MANY contributors to this was a little jarring but I got a lot out of it in terms of knowledge and enjoyment.
- This Might Hurt by Stephanie Wrobel (*review copy) – another new thriller. This follows Natalie whose sister has joined a cult-like self-improvement programme on an isolated island in Maine. Multiple POVs and timelines mixed with an inability to connect with the characters made this a mid-range read for me.
In terms of what’s new on my shelf this month, I got approved for a few new ARCs and blog tours. Here’s what I’ll be reading and reviewing very soon:
- Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak
- Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
- The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd – blog tour with Orion Books (19th March on my Twitter)
- The Book of Living Secrets by Madeleine Roux
- Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by T.L. Huchu – blog tour with Black Crow PR (12th March)
I’m still doing really well with my book buying ban. This month, I managed to not buy a single eBook or audiobook.
However, I did pick up a small stack of graphic novels recently. Many of them are ones that I’ve previously read and loved and wanted to be part of my collection. These were:
- The Tea Dragon Festival by K. O’Neill
- Mooncakes by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker
- Creepy Cat volume 1 by Cotton Valent
And then I also picked up Creepy Cat volume 2 by Cotton Valent because I’m obsessed. I absolutely loved volume 1 and knew immediately that this was a series I would collect. The other newbie was The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor by Shaenon K. Garrity and Christopher Baldwin. I believe it’s got a gothic fiction vibe to it and that the main character winds up in this book that she loves but things aren’t quite right somehow? Anyway, it’s been on my wishlist since its release and it seemed like the right time to pick it up.
I also recently started a health and wellbeing journal. As you may know, I suffer from multiple chronic and mental illnesses and so I wanted a way to not only track my symptoms and triggers, etc but also a way to record my healing journey. I wanted to have all the helpful life lessons or tips for this, that and the other all recorded in the same place. The idea being that when I do wind up in survival mode or in crisis, the journal will act as a self-written self-help guide.
I’ve got specialised self-care pages for each of my conditions and lists of things that make me feel better. It’s just the little things that I think could help a lot later on. I read a lot of wellbeing type magazines on Readly so I can jot down any gems that I’d like to either try out or remember long-term.
And yeah, it’s a journey. I normally check-in with myself on a Monday and reflect on the past week looking at most common symptoms, how my sleep was and also looking at the positives. What did I love doing last week? I leave a little space for a photo sticker so I can select a favourite photo of the week and stick that down. (Assuming I ever get around to ordering some photo stickers…)
A few weeks back, I lost an entire Sunday playing the video game, Telling Lies. I loved being able to investigate something but ultimately felt that the lack of a clear objective or mystery to unravel let it down. Still, it was fun and so it wasn’t time wasted.
I’ve also been popping in and out of playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. My interest comes in waves so there are weeks when I won’t play and weeks when I won’t do anything else. At the moment, my priority is building a little farm/orchard area and also a residental area. I used to have all my crops grow around my house and then had to lug them back and forth to the shop which wasn’t really ideal so now they’ll be next to Nook’s Cranny for convenience. As for residential, before all my villagers were fairly spread out and again, a bit of a pain to visit everyone especially during events. Halloween involved a lot of back and forth. So yeah, some changes coming to MerryPalms very soon!
Many moons ago, I used to be a serial binge-watcher but I lost that to motherhood. In fact, there was a time not too long ago that I’d mostly stopped consuming TV and film which, looking back, is kind of sad because they are media that I really enjoy. So one of my goals for the year is to invest more time in hobbies including watching films and TV shows and so far, that’s been going well.
This month we finished watching Atypical on Netflix. If you’re not familiar, it’s a dramedy series about an autistic teenager as he transitions into life after high school and all of those first adult decisions and moments. His special interest is Penguins and Antartica and that’s a common thread throughout which is lovely. It’s just a really great show. My husband wasn’t too keen on the finale but I found it incredibly moving and had a little cry at the end.
We finished Atypical just in time for the release of season 2 of Space Force. Again, you’ll find it on Netflix. Space Force is a hilarious sitcom about a US government department dedicated to space travel starring Steve Carell. I remember when season 1 aired, it had mixed reviews but we absolutely loved it. And it has a lot of people from the likes of The Office and Parks and Recreation working behind the scenes on it and so there’s a lot to love here for fans of those shows. Season 2 was great. At last check, it hadn’t been renewed yet but I’m hopeful after the way it ended… 😬
In terms of films, I think we only managed to squeeze one in this month and that was Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Folks, it was sooooooooo good. I think it was a moving homage to the original movies and to Harold Ramis. It left me wishing more spin-off or reboots were done in ways that acknowledge and honour the legacy of the originals in the way that the Jurassic World movies have too. So yeah, it was a great watch. Highly recommended.
How was your February? What were you loving this month? Let me know in the comments below.