Pandemic Brain and the Comfort Read/Watch

This blog has been empty for months. No reviews. No commentary. No rants. I haven't had much to say that required a longer format than the short bursts of thoughts I post to Twitter. I have managed to keep reading throughout these long 11 months, but much of what I've read has been either rereads, short story or novella anthologies, or a few trusted authors. The few books I've tried from authors I don't normally read fit a very specific pattern: lighter, contemporary, and highly recommended by people on Twitter. But even those are maybe a handful. 

I've noticed the same inability to engage with new content in my viewing habits as well. Lots of people excited about new shows, and I just put on the same movie I've watched a hundred times. One I can fall asleep to and wake up knowing where I am in the plot. Or TV series I watch over and over. The only new show I've managed to stick with is Mandalorian, and that's mainly because of Hubs who loves all things Star Wars. And Baby Yoda.

Part of my pandemic brain is just the general malaise and depression and sense of stagnation many of us are feeling. That fog where time doesn't matter and moments just seem to blend into each other. Part of it is also that I haven't had a single day to myself in eleven months. Quite literally, I was typing the title to this post and my eldest teen son walked in to comment "Oh, you've got the blog going again?' Just...argh. I am an introvert, and the lack of space, the lack of being alone is probably the absolute worst part of this. I was used to those hours with the kids at school where I could turn on loud music and clean the house or settle in a chair and read for hours uninterrupted. Now, I have to tiptoe around every morning while the kids are on Zoom and despite that still feel like I'm constantly on the verge of being interrupted. And I am. Texts, emails, reminders going off all morning, every morning. There's a deluge of individual notifications for each assignment that's posted. There are the reminders for the kids. There's the questions from other parents who look to me for help. It's just endless interruptions.

In light of that, I'm going to try to ease back into putting stuff on the blog. It probably won't be formal reviews until I can get my groove back, but here's the list of new to me books I managed to read this last month or three:

Blue background with shamrocks TItle says Beginners Luck by Kate Clayborn

I read this one in December. It's the first Clayborn book that I've read (that I can remember) and I really enjoyed it. I bought the next two in the series as well, which are good, but not as a good as this one. This one was special. I suspect it was the nerdy science stuff I loved so much, but of the series, this was my favorite.

This was my first Olivia Dade book, too. And it was everywhere on Twitter when it was released., so naturally I stayed far, far away from it. Until it went on sale of course. There's quite a bit of stuff about fandom that went over my head, but it did buck the usual trend I have of buzzed books not working for me. I liked it. I didn't think it was as amazing as some people who adored it, but it kept me engaged.

Nothing about this book should have worked for me. I read the first in the series, The Hook Up, and thought it was ok. And the preview of this book was in it. It instantly sucked me in, and I went with it. This book is a NA-ish sports romance written in alternating first person PRESENT, which is pretty much every single thing I dislike. And yet. 

It starts as a modern day epistolary novel. Told through texts for a large chunk of the beginning. There's a playfulness to the conversations and honesty that I haven't seen in a long time, and I just loved everything about this book. Which is, again, WEIRD. Because I should absolutely hate it.

I've read Talia Hibbert before and liked her, but none of her books have ever really just made me laugh the way this one did. For a book with characters who have heavy backstories, I found myself laughing at some of the outrageousness here. It was just a wonderful book to sink into from the very first page.





As for my rereads, they are legion. There's the audiobook rereads (re-listens?) which are basically all five Lady Sherlock books and the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews on a constant loop. Then there's the books, which seems to be everything Lisa Kleypas, old school Nora Roberts (we're talking Stanislaski) and old Stephanie Laurens novellas I know I read when they came out, but decided to reread when I found the anthologies on sale in digital. I'm edging into new book territory by attempting to restart the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris. I've read the first few, but didn't remember them, so I started back at book one. I'm currently on book two. Fingers crossed.