Heartbeat Monthly [36]: June & July 2023

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on August 6, 2023 | 0 Comments

June haul


  • Painted Devils by Margaret Owen (Illumicrate edition)
  • Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff (Blackwells edition)
  • Mister Kindly pin (LitJoy)
  From subs
  • Witch King by Martha Wells (Illumicrate, May)
  • Shanghai Immortal by A.Y. Chao (Fairyloot Adult, June)
  • Sing Me to Sleep by Gabi Burton (Fairyloot YA, June)


  • Light Bringer by Pierce Brown ARC (from publisher)

I want to shout a HUGE thank you from the rooftops to Del Rey for sending me a copy of Light Bringer!! THANK YOU!! It was my single most anticipated release of 2023 and I screeched when I opened the email. And again when it came in the mail haha!

July haul


  • Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa, 10th anniversary edition
  • Shadow of the Fox trilogy by Julie Kagawa
  • The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
  From subs
  • The Threads that Bind by Kika Hatzopoulou (Fairyloot YA, July)
  • Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong (Fairyloot Adult, July)
  • Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong (Owlcrate Adult, July)
  • Garden of the Cursed by Katy Rose Pool (Owlcrate YA, July)

June wrap up

Books I read

  1. Briardark by S.A. Harian – ★★★½
  2. Kill Your Darlings by L.E. Harper – ★★★
  3. Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater 🎧 – ★★★½
  4. Greywaren by Maggie Stiefvater 🎧 – ★★★★
  5. Opal by Maggie Stiefvater – ★★★★
  6. The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones 🎧 – DNF
  7. The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones 🎧 – ★½
  8. Light Bringer by Pierce Brown – ★★★★★+
  9. Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters 🎧 -★★★
  10. Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson 🎧 -★★½
  11. What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall 🎧 – ★★★★
  12. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 🎧 – ★★★★★+ (re-read)
  13. A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham 🎧 – ★★★
  14. Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta – ★★★½
  15. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 🎧 – ★★½

Pages read: 5,498
Average rating: 3.42
Favorite book read in June: Light Bringer
Least favorite book read in June: Drowned Woods

Books I reviewed

Other posts

July wrap up

Books I read

  1. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (RR) 🎧 – ★★★★★+
  2. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna 🎧 – ★★★½
  3. A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid – ★★★
  4. Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree – ★★★★
  5. Star Bringer by Tracy Wolff 🎧 – DNF
  6. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel 🎧 – ★★★★
  7. A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin 🎧 – DNF
  8. The Outsider by Stephen King 🎧 – ★★★
  9. The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent – ★★★½
  10. The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence 🎧 – ★★★
  11. Threads That Bind by Kika Hatzopoulou 🎧 – DNF

Pages read: 3,608
Average rating: 3.62
Favorite book read in July: Light Bringer
Least favorite book read in July: The Book That Wouldn’t Burn

Books I reviewed


What I’ve been up to


June was an eventful month! Early in the month, I was out on a morning walk and saw something in the road. It ended up being a mess of a possum momma and her babies that got hit in the road. As I got closer I realized some were still alive! Let me tell you, I RAN back to my house to get a box, lol! I didn’t want them to get hit too. Thankfully they were still there when I got back to the spot, so I was able to take them and release them in a safer wooded area! The place they got hit was near a copse of trees that was maybe 12 feet square, right smack in the middle of a housing development. I hated to take them away from their familiar environment, but I didn’t want to see them get hit from how close they were to the road.

The second exciting thing – I stopped taking new clients! This is a HUGE milestone as a dog groomer! It’s so wonderful. I actually stopped taking big dogs first because of my back, which was the best decision I ever made. I still have a few big dog clients that I’ve been grooming for years and don’t have the heart to turn away, but it’s all dogs that jump into the tub and on the table for me so I don’t have to lift them, and they do good on the table. It’s been wild in the shop lately though! We’re both booked out until almost September. All the last minute people have been super pissy and rude about it, like it’s my problem they didn’t plan ahead. I’m so happy I can turn away the bad clients and keep my good clients that maintain a schedule and treat me like a human!

Also in the work category, the annual grooming show was this month. I always enjoy going, it’s so exciting! It’s just a bunch of booths with suppliers selling grooming related stuff, but hey I get excited about it anyway XD

And here comes the most exciting thing of June – WE GOT A KITTEN! Ya’ll, I did NOT want another animal in this house. We already have too many. But our mamaw found him by a busy road out in the country, all by himself, with no mom in sight. He was itty bitty, too – 4 weeks old at most. She messaged me, at a loss because she didn’t know what to do with him and her dogs were freaking out about it too. So I was like, ‘ughhh I can’t believe I’m saying this but…I’ll take him *long suffering sigh*’
He was absolutely supposed to be just a foster until I could find him a home. He was flea infested, had worms, and barely knew how to eat on his own because he wasn’t fully weaned yet. He got a couple of Dawn baths and went to the vet. They confirmed he was around 4 weeks and gave him a clean bill of health and some dewormer. He was only ONE POUND! So tiny! I’d been calling him a little tater tot because he was so teeny, which is what I put him under in the vet’s system when I made the appointment, and it stuck. The staff at the vet office loved the name, and just about every single person in that whole building came to see him lmao! Everyone kept holding him and he would try to squirm away, but when they put him down he would cry for me until I picked him up. It was at that point that I realized I was attached, and he was just as attached as I was. -___-
Sooo, here were are, with 7 cats now. And a dog. And a bearded dragon, a chameleon, a Chinese water dragon, and an African clawed frog. Le sigh.

He has his own Instagram account – handle is @herecomestatertot! When this post publishes he’ll be 12 weeks old! I can’t believe he’s grown so fast T.T
He’s a freakin’ little terror now (we’ve taken to calling him Terror Tot or Tiny Terror) – he bites CONSTANTLY (seriously, you can’t pet him hardly at all anymore because he just wants to play), chases you around the house and attacks your feet, bites and attacks any exposed skin when you’re sitting/laying down, and he terrorizes the dog. She does play with him, though, it’s SO cute!! I’m happy she’s finally got one cat in the house that doesn’t hate her XD

Other than all that, I’ve been struggling a bit lately. I feel tired almost all the time, and I’ve been flagging on a LOT of things, including exercise. I don’t know why everything has been so hard. I’m trying to find a new doc (there was a fiasco with my old one where I was ghosted on a med refill and went through actual withdrawal because it took a WEEK to get a damned refill, even blowing up their phone and patient portal. Ridiculous.) and possibly change my meds, because I feel like the Wellbutrin isn’t doing enough.


Compared to June, July was fairly UNeventful, with the exception of one thing: I REVAMPED MY LIBRARY!!

I had my birthday week off, and originally I was just going to add some shelves and rearrange to make things look nicer. Then I decided to move my Kallax shelf to make room for another Billy shelf. THEN I got a suuuper wild hair and decided to add FIVE new shelves! I extended a couple out into the middle of the room, bisecting the room in half. It took away a lot of free space, but also added TONS of shelf space! I spent literally two straight weeks and 60+ hours on it (not to mention too much money – I said I wasn’t going to go on a trip because I didn’t want to spend the money and I SPENT IT ANYWAY *face palm*) I barely slept in the first week because I hyperfixate so badly on things that I was utterly obsessed with working on it and couldn’t stop until it was done. I worked myself into the ground on my vacation, oops.

I’ve got a few progress videos and updates on Instagram and Threads, as well as TikTok (I have a BookTok now! Same handle as everything else, @novelheartbeat) but here’s the mostly final product:

I’ve since added a couple of letter boards, a bunch of plants, and some new lighting in the dark shelves. I’ll be posting an actual updated video tour on TikTok when I’m satisfied with it, which will be very soon!

Other than that, July was actually kind of rough. I’m glad I took a break, because the burnout is reaching an all time high and I’m just struggling. I’m exhausted CONSTANTLY, I have no desire to do anything or go anywhere…I haven’t even been into reading. It’s worse than it was in June and I feel like I’m drowning. July was a very slumpy month for everything in my life. 

Current obsessions

Movies: Avatar 2 came out on Disney+ FINALLY and I’ve already watched it multiple times XD

TV: Prehistoric Planet season 2!

Music: I’ve been OBSESSED with Werewolf by Motionless in White, I can’t stop listening to it! (The whole album is awesome! There’s only a couple of songs I don’t like.) I’ve had Echo by Starset stuck in my head a lot recently, too.

Food: Papa John’s came out with a Doritos Papadia and it is to DIE for. Not something I can eat very often, but it’s delicious for a rare treat! I also discovered the Enlightened caramel fudge sundae cones and they are absolutely epic. 140 cal, 6g sugar, and 5g protein per cone!

Apps: Threads & Temu! I wish I hadn’t found out about the latter. Everything is super cheap, and they have so much cool shit that it’s easy to fall into the trap! I placed 3 orders in the first couple of weeks of finding out about them. I ordered a stupid amount of pins and stickers, a new wallet, and I got a super cool 3D printed dragon! So far everything I’ve received has been surprisingly good quality.

Other: I recently discovered the trend of decorating your Kindle with stickers under a clear case, and I am OBSESSED! I fell into a black hole of watching videos and then ordered an embarrassing amount of stickers, oops. Decorating video forthcoming on TikTok!

Things I’m looking forward to

I GET TO SEE PIERCE BROWN, AHHH!! I have been a fan for almost a whole freakin’ decade and he has not come within driving distance of me once. (I found out that he’d been at my fave bookstore in Cinci ONE MONTH before I read Red Rising for the first time and fell in love with the series. I *just* missed him, I was piiiiissed!) When I saw he was going to be in Michigan (a 5 hour drive), I jumped on it! I was able to get all my dogs moved around – it’s in the middle of the damn week so I swapped my Tuesday for a Monday and took a half day Wednesday. I have never bought a ticket so fast, lmao! I’ll drive up Tuesday for the event and stay in a hotel for the night. I can’t WAIT!! He’s the last author left on my ‘desperately want to meet’ list! By the time this publishes I will have attended the event. Stay tuned for a recap!


See anything you like? What did YOU get last month? Link me up!

Jessi (Geo)

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