Wrap Up

2020, March: Frightening News, Underwhelming Books and Incredible Music

Hello friends! Another month has come to an end, and this one was a weird/terrible one for many of us. 😫 I’ve been panicking about covid-19 since I read the first article about it back in January, and things have progressively gotten worse since then. I hope you’re safe, friends – both health and job-wise. 🤎

LIFE UPDATES:

SABRINA:

You don’t need me to tell you how crappy this month really was, so I’m just going to tell you the good things!

The best thing to come out of this month by far is my little sister coming home early from college in America.  It is such a relief to have her back here in Australia and to be able to see her in person after so many months of her being away.  I think she is planning on staying here for good now too, so that is another weight lifted.

I’ve also been chatting online to some friends that I haven’t had a decent conversation with for quite a while.  It’s been nice to catch up, even if it’s not in person, instead of waiting until we see each other again to share all our stories.

Finally – though my library has been closed, they have still called me personally twice to let me know books I had placed on hold had arrived.  Since I’m in isolation, my dad has gone to pick up those books.  He said it was a really weird experience, because he had to park in the carpark and then call the library on his mobile phone.  Then, a staff member took my books out to his car.  I was so pleased that the library cared enough to do that.

I’ve also been enjoying watching Australian Survivor: All Stars and a rewatch of Despicable Me and The Princess Bride.


VERA:

So many things have changed and went south in March, I don’t even know where to start. The month started out alright; because Hungary only had two cases at the time, I was able to meet with a friend I hadn’t seen for a long time. Things took a turn for the worse after that, though. As more and more cases were registered in Hungary (and the rest of Europe) university was cancelled all over the country, and we switched to online classes.

Note that online classes and digital learning are not at all used in Hungary, so this was a huge change for us and our professors. The week of the 16th was deemed spring break – which originally was scheduled for Easter – and that was easily the worst week of my March. I felt pretty much aimless, and didn’t even have the inclination to read, which is when you know there’s something wrong with me. 😅

Thankfully, I got over it, and I’m currently working on a post about all the things that have kept me occupied and relaxed, because I hope they be of help to others, as well. As for online learning, it’s about as bad as you’d guess – my uni doesn’t have the resources needed for digital learning, and so it’s mostly emailing back-and-forth, or uploading materials to Canvas. One of the professors wants to have a video conference with the whole group once per week, starting on April 1, and I’m not looking forward to that. 😱

BOOKS WE READ

SABRINA:

I read several really enjoyable books this month and even got a second (almost) 5-star read for the year.  I am sadly experiencing a bit of a slump right now – I have picked up so many books but I am not getting through any of them, and I know it’s my fault, not theirs – but hopefully things will pick up again soon.  Anyway, let me tell you about some of the books I read!

THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN BY ROSHANI CHOKSHI: You can catch me ignoring all the problems with this book because I was so taken in by the gorgeous writing and all the magic.  I was whisked through the story so fast and I wish there had been some moments where everything slowed down more – especially when it came to the romance, because I feel as though I still know nothing about the love interest.  But there was a magic night market and magic doors and magic glass gardens and magic tapestries so I can’t complain too much.

PLATFORM SEVEN BY LOUISE DOUGHTY: I wish I had known what I was getting into when I picked up this book, because I was expecting from the synopsis and genres that it was going to be a thrilling horror. It was a much slower and quieter book that takes a deep look into domestic abuse and the ways we touch the lives around us. I ultimately chose to give it three stars, because it was too slow and predictable for me.

DARK MATTER BY BLAKE CROUCH: This was my top read of the month, getting 4.5/5 stars from me only because of a small lagging part.  It was overall thrilling and gripping.  I felt very drawn into the story and felt as though I could truly see every happening around me.  I don’t think this book was as trippy and twisty as everyone led me to believe, but it was still surprising and pretty unique.  I will also leave you with a warning that there is a part of the book that may hit too close to home right now, so I wouldn’t recommend reading it at the moment unless you are prepared for that.


VERA:

As mentioned, I struggled throughout the first half of March with my reading, but I managed to catch up – and actually became super-productive in other areas, too! So, in the end, I read 17 novels, which is more than I read in either January or February (15-15).

I think there’s enough negativity right now – and I’m working on some negative list posts, haha – so I’d rather concentrate on my three favorite novels of March.

MAUS: As the one and only five star read of my March (with the exception of my three rereads), Maus made a huge impression on me. I never considered myself a fan of graphic novels, but Maus is making me think that that was a big mistake.

THE KING OF CROWS: During March, I finally finished my reread of The Diviners series, and picked up the much-awaited conclusion, King of Crows. My excitement was off the charts, and maybe that is to blame for my disappointment – King of Crows is not bad, no, but it only received four stars from me because I adore these characters to the moon and back.

THIS ADVENTURE ENDS: Fittingly, my adventure through Emma Mills novels ended with This Adventure Ends, and while it’s not my favorite Mills novel, it was a cute, wholesome contemporary, i.e. exactly what I needed. Stay tuned for my post where I rank Mills’ novels!

MUSIC WE LISTENED TO

SABRINA:

I must admit I am woefully bad at keeping up with new releases in music.  I can’t tell you how many times I have realised a favourite band of mine has a new album months after it’s dropped.  That said, Spotify has been helping me a bit with it.  Silverstein released A Beautiful Place to Drown, which I am really enjoying, especially the songs Madness and Coming Down.  All Time Low has also released some new songs this month too, and I am loving… all of them.


VERA:

If for nothing else, March was an exciting month in terms of all the new music that was released. First and foremost, Dua Lipa released her sophomore album, Future Nostalgia, at the end of the month, and y’all, I’m OBSESSED with this. It’s so upbeat and fun, i.e. exactly what I need right now. Other than this, Little Mix released their first single from their new era, and it’s such a good one. Finally, I’m looking forward to listen to The Weeknd’s After Hours, but I haven’t been in the mood for it so far. (It’s most likely dark, and I want fluffy bops right now.)

POSTS WE LOVED

🤎 Belle @ Belle Can Read shared her appreciation for author’s notes.

🤎 Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea recommended some books she rated 3 stars, and argued that that’s a good rating.

🤎 Claire @ Clairefy announced the Soshelf Distancing Book Club.

🤎 Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Reads shared her good and bad reading habits.

🤎 Roberta @ Offbeat YA shared what it’s like to be in Italy right now and discussed why she needs a break.

🤎 Sophie @ Me & Ink talked about the problem with deeming certain type of female characters “perfect.”

How are you doing? What’s a good thing that happened to you this month? What have you been reading/watching?

35 thoughts on “2020, March: Frightening News, Underwhelming Books and Incredible Music

  1. I didn’t know you watched Survivor, Sabrina! I understand it’s the Australian version, but I assume it’s the same concept as the American one. I am so passionate about the American version, I cannot even begin to tell you. It’s such an awesome show!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty new to it – I’ve only watched two seasons! But yes, definitely the same concept as the American one. Lol, I have seen a lot of your tweets about it, so I can tell! It really is an awesome show! I love seeing the challenges… and a good blindside 😛

      Like

  2. I don’t even remember much of March 😥 Also! I didn’t know you were in Aus, Sabrina! I live there too. My local library has closed down as well, so I won’t be able to borrow any books for the time being. It’s not so bad since this will push me to concentrate on finishing up The Wheel of Time series hahaha I look forward to reading your post, Vera! Have a safe April ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stress will do that to you! I hope you’re going okay and have a safe April ❤
      Yes! Happy to find another person living in Australia!
      It's such a shame that book-borrowing is going to be different for a while – you should definitely try out Libby for ebooks/audiobooks if you have the chance 🙂 Good luck finishing the Wheel of Time series!

      Like

  3. Yeah, things have been crazy with the virus. Sabrina, you are like my sister who is ecstatic to have me back because I had to fly home from Australia early! It is relieving to be with family at these times. And Vera – I have online classes at the moment! They are all video conference esque with Zoom which was a learning experience for my university too. But they aren’t too bad! I really want to read Dark Matter and Maus so I am glad those were the top books for each of you this month. And I like the song Break My Heart by Dua Lipa a lot too. Hope you both stay safe and healthy ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So crazy! I saw you had to head back early. As sad as I am that you are no longer in my city, I’m glad that you are back safe with your family – especially your sister, because I can definitely relate to her feelings!
      Dark Matter was great, so I hope you get to read that soon. We hope you are staying safe and healthy too ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. March has been a scary and strange, it is still really hard to believe what is happening because it feels so surreal. But I’m sending you both well wishes and positive thoughts. Online learning does seem horrible and I hope it gets better for you!!
    It is nice that the library still tried to get the books to you. I have been using the library on my phone so I’m still connected to them in that way which I’m happy about, of course.
    The magic in The Star Touched Queen does sound amazing!!
    I’m sorry the last book in the diviners was a bit of a disappointment but I’m glad the characters were still amazing, I would like to check the series out!!
    I’m not usually that up to date on music either but I have heard a bit of Dua Lipa’s new CD and my sister loves Little Mix’s new single!! Conan Gray’s released his new CD this month so I’ve been listening to that!!
    Thank you so much for sharing my post, it means a lot and I hope you both have a wonderful April and stay safe!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really has been. Surreal is the perfect way to put it. I never thought something like this could happen in this day and age, but here we are. Thank you! We hope you are staying safe and healthy – and as happy as you can be right now.
      It is so good that a lot of us can still use our library from home. I have been using the Libby app which is great.
      It is amazing!
      ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. March has been a really scary month for us all. Sabrina, it’s really nice that your library took so much measures to ensure that you still able to read your books, but also keep the social distancing 🙂 Vera, online classes are also pretty much nonexistent before this period, so even now it’s a huge adjustment for the teachers and students. My sister (and many others) are complaining about the amount of schoolwork given without any guidance :/

    I hope April will be a better month for us all, and stay safe! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sure has. It was really nice of my library! I’m not sure they would continue with that method, considering how things have escalated where I am living, but it was nice while it lasted.
      We hope April will be better too. Hope you are staying safe and healthy ❤

      Like

  6. This whole crisis is so surreal 😔.
    I’m glad that you feel better now that your sister is back, Sabrina! I have so many sisters, but it still makes a huge difference when one of us is missing haha. And that’s super nice that your library made accommodations so you can still borrow books! ALSO, Dark Matter is one of my favorite books, and I’m so happy you liked it! It was super trippy the first time I read it because I didn’t know about Schroedinger’s cat and alternate timelines, but now that stuff is everywhere hahaha. Like have you seen Infinity War 😂?
    And I hope you’re feeling better after that week, Vera! Your online classes sound tough. I can only imagine how difficult it is to be properly instructed through emails 🙁. (My sister, whose still in high school and having online classes, was complaining that she’s already a week behind in her math work 😅.)
    I hope you two are able to find the structure and peace you need this month. Stay safe and well 💛!
    (And thank you so much for sharing my post 🥺💕!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is very surreal. We hope you are going okay during it all!
      Thanks! It is great to have my sister back, and I’m glad you can understand how big of an impact it makes when she is not here! I’m so happy to hear that Dark Matter is one of your favourites! I will definitely be thinking about it for a long time. That makes sense! Lol, I have seen Infinity War.
      We hope that for you as well ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. thank you for featuring my post here 😭🤍 I’m super glad that some people liked it, because it’s a post I felt passionate about and had a lot of fun writing, haha! Ah, I keep seeing people being disappointed by King of Crows, and now I’m scared to read it :((
    I also hope that you two are safe, happy, and healthy!! the way the coronavirus has affected both of you sucks, and I hope April brings better things ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The US is dealing with this virus as well. I know our Schools are closed and all them went to online schooling and this incluse our Collages and universities. Most of the country is under Stay at home orders but 10 of them. I hope you stay safe and enjoy the reading while you can. I hope all is well. Here is my March Wrap up
    Lindsay @ Nighttime Reading Center

    Liked by 1 person

  9. hope you’re doing well too! this virus is so scary and the way it’s not stopping makes me so PANICKED but we’re not going to stress and think about that right nowwww

    i’m so glad you enjoyed dark matter, it was such a thrilling read and i remember so vividly how much it messed me up i truly enjoyed reading some thing so different than what i usually reach for. sorry to hear platform seven was kind of a miss for you, i’m seeing a lot of mixed reviews coming in lately bleghhhh

    ahhh sorry you didn’t get a full 5 star reading experience with king of crows, i’ve heard the highest of praise for the diviners and i can’t wait to read it (im just the slightest bit scared of it) and YAY AN EMMA MILL TITLE!!!! so glad you loved the cute wholesomeness of it

    hope you two are having a great monthhhh ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is. Hopefully things will start looking up soon.
      It was a thrilling read! I think that was part of it for me too – it was so different to my usual reads! Yeah, Platform Seven was just a bit too long for what it was. At least some people are out there enjoying it 🙂
      We hope you are having a great month too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I hope you’re all doing okay even with everything going on 💗 March has been an intense month for sure! But gladly books are proving to be a great distraction 📚 I’m so happy that you liked The Star-Touched Queen, Sabrina, it’s one of my favorites and I love the writing and the world as well ✨ I highly recommend you also read the companion A Crown of Wishes as it’s even better 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  11. First off…thank you for the shout-out! 😘

    Sabrina: I’m glad your sister is home (maybe permanently) and safe. I’m also glad to hear that you managed to have your books delivered no matter what! Things are weird and difficult for everybody right now, but it’s nice that places like libraries have found a way to cope and still provide their much-needed services.

    Vera: we have spoken at length about the corona’s impact on our lives, so I was already privy of your online classes messy situation. From what I hear, it’s the same here – we simply weren’t prepared for the task. Here’s hoping that both our countries have learned a lesson from these dire times. But I hear you on the video conferences. I wouldn’t look forward to them either LOL. (Psst…make sure you set your alarm next time! 😂 😉).

    Stay healthy girls!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome!
      Thanks Roberta! I’m super glad she is home too. I agree – it is so good that the library has found ways to deal with things. It adds a little bit of normality to an otherwise strange time.
      Hope you are staying healthy too! ❤

      Like

  12. This really has been such a crazy change, huh? I got called back from my study abroad semester in Scotland this month, which I am still very sad about. I had to cancel a lot of travel plans and adventures I had planned and saved up for forever. But it is nice to be home with my family during all of this. I hope all of you are doing well and staying safe. Also, Sabrina, I am SO jealous that your library is open! Mine are both completely closed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve got that right! Ahh, I’m sorry to hear about all the cancellations, that must be really disappointing. But yes, it’s good to be with family too.
      I am very lucky that my library is still operating, even if it’s in a different way to usual! Have you got Libby? I’ve been suggesting it to everyone at the moment – all you need is your library card number.

      Like

  13. I’m so sorry that March was such a stressful month for the both of you! I have to agree with Vera, online learning is one of the worst things ever. So many of my professors have no idea how to convert to an online system and they all ignore their emails. It’s a disaster 😪

    I’m obsessed with Dua Lipa’s new album!! I listened to the entire thing almost two times over yesterday and had to stop myself because I was scared that if I listened to it too much I would get sick of it 😂

    I hope you both have a wonderful April!! 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My sister is struggling with her online learning too – some of the professors are really useless! She’s had to take all these tests online and the amount of errors that have been in them is ridiculous! I hope yours are getting the hang of online things by now…

      The new album is so good! Vera got me to listen to it and I am really in love with some of the songs.

      We hope you are having a wonderful April as well 🙂 ❤

      Like

  14. It’s so good to have your family with you and not be continents apart! Our library is closed too, but no holds can be placed or books returned, so I’m so glad I checked out 10 novels on the last day they were open. Wishing you well!

    Liked by 1 person

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