Monthly Wrap Up: March 2020

March definitely wasn’t good for my mental health. I had more downs than ups, and the fact that my wages got dropped for the time being didn’t improve things, that’s for sure. It was also my blog anniversary month and it honestly didn’t go as well as I hoped which by the end of the month left me totally unmotivated toward blogging. I still have a few things under progress which I’ll see through, but come summer, I’m not really sure how I’m going to go on. The issue – among other things, but it’s a bit complicated – might be that right now I’m posting 6 times a week, which is quite a lot. And it feels like too much effort for seemingly nothing. I’ll have to balance things better in the future.

But don’t let me take you all down, I’m sure these times are hard on everyone what with this shitshow going on in the world *sigh* I hope you are all doing well! At least there were good things happening too!


Book Reviews

In case you missed any of our reviews in February you can read them by clicking on the title! 🙂 We were a bit low on reviews this month, but I can assure you, we’ve read more than that, we just can’t share our thoughts on them yet. Or in my case, I had a couple of audiobooks I didn’t review.


Blight Marked by Josh Erikson – 5/5

The third book of the Ethereal Earth just got released in March and my review arrived just in time to celebrate it!

Blight Marked sets the bar one step higher yet and though the story concludes nicely, it also sets up the next installment to be something we can look forward to. Blight Marked is a fast, witty and emotional roller-coaster ride and I can’t wait to see what the next stop will bring.”


Lancelot by Giles Kristian – 4.5/5

I continued with my historical fiction audiobook series, but ventured out of my comfort zone and listened to a book I’ve never read before. I already have the next book, Camelot waiting on my kindle to read. It. Was. Awesome.

Lancelot has a great cast of characters, some you can love, some you can hate with a passion (I know I did), characters you can root for and feel their pain and happiness. I know I found myself a couple of times with my heart in my throat, wishing for the best. It also has a good balance between action and storytelling, though I would have loved to read more about the conflicts between the Brits, Saxons and Picts as well as their culture apart from that one scene with the priestess and the lake. Which was a cool one, by the way.


We Are the Dead by Mike Shackle – 5/5

I’ve been looking forward to read this one, ever since I saw Mike and Jen talking about it on Twitter.

“Mike Shackle is a fresh voice in fantasy, one we probably needed like a breeze on a hot summer day. It’s been a while I’ve been so excited about an epic fantasy and I can’t wait to read more. If you like character driven fantasy, with plenty of actions and unpredictable plot, spiced with some grimness, then We Are the Dead is definitely for you! I don’t think anyone should miss Shackle‘s rise into stardom.”


SPFBO

We started getting out reviews! We are done with reading (well, except me, I still have on left to go), but we’ll continue posting 1 review a week until we are done! Keep an eye out on each Friday!

If you missed anything during Phase 1, you can check out everything that happend with us on my SPFBO 5 Phase 1 page and you can get to know the team better here! If you’d like to follow our progress in the Finals, then my SPFBO 5 Finals page is for you!


Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke – 8.5/10

Team RockStarlit BookAsylum’s ratings are the following:

Belle: 9/10   Jen: 7.3/10   Nick: 9.5/10   Timy: 8/10

Read our official review(s) here!

Lidan Tolak is the fiercest of her father’s daughters; more than capable of one day leading her clan. But caught between her warring parents, Lidan’s world begins to unravel when another of her father’s wives falls pregnant. Before she has time to consider the threat of a brother, a bloody swathe is cut through the heart of the clan and Lidan must fight, not only to prove her worth, but simply to survive.

Ranoth Olseta wants nothing more than to be a worthy successor to his father’s throne. When his home is threatened by the aggressive Woaden Empire, Ran becomes his city’s saviour, but powers within him are revealed by the enemy and he is condemned to death. Confused and betrayed, Ran is forced to flee his homeland, vowing to reclaim what he has lost, even if it kills him.

Facing an unknown future, and battling forces both familiar and foreign, can Lidan and Ran overcome the odds threatening to drag them into inescapable darkness?


Beggar’s Rebellion by Levi Jacobs – 5.5/10

Team RockStarlit BookAsylum’s ratings are the following:

Belle: 2/10   Jen: 7/10   Nick: 7.7/10

Read our official review(s) here!

The Councilate controls everything except the truth. I have nothing save my discovery—but with this shall I destroy an empire.

Tai Kulga lost the rebellion and his best friend on the same day, stripping him of his will to live even as a strange power flooded his bones. When the friend returns as a spirit guide, it feels like a second chance—but his friend is not who he was, and the Councilate is not done oppressing his people. When trouble with lawkeepers lands Tai’s surviving friends in a prison camp, he must go underground to find the last of the rebels and convince them to break his friends free.

Along the way he meets Ellumia Aygla, runaway Councilate daughter posing as an accountant to escape her family and the avarice of the capital. Curious about the link between spirit guides and magic, her insights earn her a place among the rebels, and along with Tai’s power help turn the tide against the colonialists.

But as the rebels begin to repeat the Councilate’s mistakes, Tai and Ellumia must confront their own pasts and prejudices, before the brewing war turns them into the monsters they fight.


A Tale of Stars and Shadow by Lisa Cassidy – 8/10

Team RockStarlit BookAsylum’s ratings are the following:

Belle: 7.5/10   Jen: 9/10   Nick: 8/10

Read our official review(s) here!

Dumnorix princess and born warrior, Talyn Dynan was the finest fighter of her generation. With her Callanan partner at her side, she was invincible, reckless, a death-knell to their enemies. But after her partner is torn away from her, Talyn is left broken, wracked with guilt and unable to regain the confidence she once had. Could an unexpected mission to the mysterious country of Mithranar, home of the magical winged folk, be the thing that saves her? Or will the danger and secrets she finds there finally break her completely?

The Shadowhawk lives a life in the shadows. Constantly hunted for his criminal exploits, yet desperate to help the human folk of Mithranar who are oppressed by their winged folk rulers, he haunts the streets of Dock City. The arrival of a foreign warrior threatens to upset the carefully balanced life he leads, but when she begins to offer a hope for the humans he’s only ever dreamed of, can he risk trusting her?

And unbeknownst to both, a mysterious foe stalks the dark corners of Dock City. One that answers to a single purpose…

Vengeance.


Tales from the Asylum

Tales from the Asylum is a feature I came up with for SPFBO. I wanted to create a unique opportunity for the authors to show off their story telling skills by taking their characters and putting them in an asylum room to see how they would deal with the situation. A lot can happen in a closed space…

AngelaBoord author photo

Angela Boord lives in northwestern Mississippi with her husband and nine kids, and writes most of her stories at the kitchen table surrounded by crayons and Nerf guns.
FORTUNE’S FOOL is her debut novel. She is currently hard at work on more books in the Eterean Empire series, with book 2, FOOL’S PROMISE, slated for release in mid-2020.

Read Angela’s tale


Other Bookish Posts

Interview

Tom Parker

Tom Parker, illustrator and drawerer of things. Englishman in Taipei, TW. Bits and Pieces with #Orbit #Pintoo. Jigsaw puzzles, paintings, character concepts, maps! Don’t forget maps.

Tom Parker, illustrator and drawerer of things. Englishman in Taipei, TW. Bits and Pieces with #Orbit #Pintoo. Jigsaw puzzles, paintings, character concepts, maps! Don’t forget maps.

He is married to his wife Haneen and has a daughter Liberty, who all live with their mini golden doodle Rosie in Princeton NJ.

Read my interview with Tom


2nd Anniversary

Among all the craziness that happened in March, the celebration wasn’t as fun as I expected. Understandably, everyone had better things to do than to read my long-ass post about my 2nd year as a blogger. Still, if you are interested in all the milestones and memories I gathered this past year, I recommend checking out this post: 2 Years in the Asylum.

Part of the anniversary, the blog got a new design complete with a new set of feature images, an updated logo (crown!!) and a new rating system, which is my particular favourite. You can take a look at it in my March Sneak Peek post!

The Anniversary also brought 2 new features:


What the Hungarian?!

Üdv! Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you had no idea what was being said? Well, the brave people taking part in the What the Hungarian?! feature can experience exactly that. 5 qoutes, 5 guesses, 5 answers. In March we had 3 brave volunteers (to see how they fared and to test yourself, click on their names!):

Nick T. Borrelli – 0/5

Anna (imyril) – 5/5

Womble – 2/5


To Be Continued…

10 weeks, 5 authors, 1 story. In To Be Continued… I asked 5 authors (self-published and traditionally published alike) to write a story together based on my prompts, without knowing about each other. They each had 2 weeks to write their part before I forwarded it to the next person to continue. Each part is somewhere between 500 – 1000 words long. The first such story got the title of The New Sound and it’s MC is a panda as per my request. 3 out of 5 parts were posted in March as follows:

Part 1 by Tyler Hayes (author of The Imaginary Corpse, published by Angry Robot)

Part 2 by Victoria Corva (author of Books nad Bone, one of our SPFBO semi-finalists)

Part 3 by Justin Lee Anderson (author of the self-published books of Carpet Diem and The Lost War)


Other Posts

A Week in My Head

As part of my new habits regarding mental health and generally taking better care of myself, back in January I decided to start a new weekly series on the blog. In these posts I talk about all kind of stuff from my bullet journal to addressing some feelings and thoughts I have faced on that given week. I might not post in every single week,  but I’ll try to keep this up regularly as these posts seem to resonate with people and were quite well received.

I have a dedicated A Week in My Head page, where you can find all of my entries in this online journal of mine!

What I talked about in March:

  • March 1st: Entry 7 –  In which I talk about ALL the decisions I was facing this week. There was a lot. Seems like EVERYTHING just came together. Ugh.
  • March 8th: Entry 8 – In which I talk about some of the insecurities I faced this week along with some good moments. I had a bit of a roller-coaster week emotionally. Excitement and disappointment went hand in hand.
  • March 29th: Entry 9 – In which I focus on the little things that brought me joy this past week instead of the negative things. Including a lot of We Bare Bears gifs, because that’s my new addiction.


Music Musings

Music Monday

If you missed any of them, give them a listen and read my personal notes/thoughts/ramblings regarding them 🙂

I think that’s it for March. I hope to see you all in April!

3 Comments

  • Victoria Corva

    I’m sorry it was a hard month, and that the anniversary didn’t meet your hopes. 🙁 I think with all the world going to hell in March, there was probably less enagagement for blogs across the board. I myself have been sick for 2 weeks (yay! Ill again after barely coming out of 2 months of laryngitis. 2020 has been terrible so far).

    I’m catching up on some of your posts though, and I have to say they are still great and I’m enjoying spending Saturday morning going through my reading backlog. ^_^ I understand that 6 posts a week is too much. Like FAR too much. That sounds exhausting. XD I don’t think anyone would blame you for scaling back!

    Anyway. Thanks for continuing to produce great content and great book reviews.

    • Timy

      Thanks Victoria! I had some terrible mental health days recently, so… yeah, it’s getting to me. But you are right. After April I definitely will tone things down and will have less posts. My features are fun, but it’s a pain in the ass to chase people around to get them play, so… some of them will go to rest. Not 100% sure which I’ll keep around but we’ll see. There definitely going to be one more round of To Be Continued though, starting in May 😉

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