Some #balisebooks

Spoiler Alert / All the Feels – Olivia Dade

Contemporary romances set in the world of a successful TV series… and the fanfiction around it.

Spoiler Alert and All the Feels are both set around the same fictional TV series called Gods of the Gates, in which the male protagonists of each book are both actors and best friends. In Spoiler Alert, Marcus is also a closeted fanfiction writer – and he meets April, who’s a cosplayer in that universe. In All The Feels, Alex has some PR issues after picking a fight in a bar; he’s assigned a minder, Lauren, to make sure that he doesn’t hurt the reputation of the production any further.

I loved both books, and I enjoyed seeing these two romances bloom at roughly the same time and seeing references to the other book in both books. I laughed out loud many times, and the handling of the fanfiction element was absolutely great. I also got a lot of warm fuzzy feelings when it came to the main characters starting to accept themselves and making real progress along the book – especially since I could identify pretty strongly with one of them.

Leviathan Falls – James S.A Corey

The last book of The Expanse series yields a very satisfying ending.

There’s always a bit of anxiety involved with starting the last book of a series that one loves – will the series end in a satisfying way that gives closure and a proper goodbye for characters that have existed in one’s mind for a few years at least? I’m happy to report that Leviathan Falls is absolutely in this category. The world presented in the first book evolved a lot during the few decades spanned by the books, and yet still feels very consistent. We started with some people, met new ones, lost some along the way, got emotionally involved with a lot of them… The Expanse, to me, is much more of a “character” series than a “plot” series – not that the plot is lacking (far from it), but I’m far more involved in the characters than in the plot. And in that regard, the ending was very satisfying to me. I still have a few novellas to read in that universe – this will probably happen this year; and I also still have a few episodes of the series to watch (I love the TV series as well!); in any case, I’m happy and grateful for the hours I got to spend with these books.

Across The Green Grass Fields – Seanan McGuire

Another book of the Wayward Children series – it has HORSES! Or, well, close enough.

Many of the Wayward Children stories follow the same narrative device: a child finds a door to another world and spends a few years there. In Across the Green Grass Fields, Regan loves horses, and “her” door leads to a world full of centaurs, unicorns, kelpies and other equine species. I very much appreciated the exploration of the world and of the social conventions of Regan’s world and, as usual with this series, the whimsy of the world and the delight of the language make it a pleasure to read. I was a bit disappointed by the ending, which felt a bit rushed to me, but I was still happy to have read this installment of the series.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals – Oliver Burkeman

Life is short, task lists WILL take all the time you give them – what to do with that?

In Four Thousand Weeks, Burkeman develops the sobering idea that time management is an illusion and that there is absolutely no way of “getting everything done” – partly because the “things that need to be done” will fill up the void anyway. He finds that liberating – since there’s no way to make it so that you will DO ALL THE THINGS anyway, give up, prioritize, and do what you can – if there is not enough time for you to do all the things that you must absolutely do, then your perception of what you must absolutely do is wrong, not the other way around.

I liked the book a lot and it feels like it has a lot of interesting/challenging things to say, but that I’m not necessarily ready to hear them yet because my brain goes into an anxious loop of “I… do agree with everything you’re saying, but I REALLY DON’T WANT TO, and I really don’t know what to make of that, and ‘now what'”. That said, it was for sure interesting food for thought and it did give me ideas and insights about how I could try to make my days work better – not because it gives plans for that in any way, but because it allowed me to take a step back and see the problem differently (… we’ll see how that goes 🙂 ). I would definitely have enjoyed it more if not for my own anxious relationship with time which made that book pretty challenging for me – but this may well be a re-read later down the road.

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