Heartbeat Monthly [42]: March-May 2024

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on June 16, 2024 | 0 Comments


3 month haul


  • Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros (Fairyloot)
  • Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros (Fairyloot)
  • Heavenbreaker by Sara Wolf
  • A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal (Owlcrate)
  • Empire of the Damned dust cover (Librarian Box)
  • Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff
  • Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff (B&N)
  • Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff (Illumicrate)
  • Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff (Waterstones)
  • Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff (Goldsboro)
  • Empire of the Damned dust cover (Librarian Box)
  • Sons of Ares vol. 2 by Pierce Brown
  • Sons of Ares vol. 3 by Pierce Brown
  • EotD “jersey” (Librarian Box, not pictured)

March Wrap Up

Books I read

  • Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff – ★★★★★ (re-read)
  • Faebound by Saara El-Arifi – ★★★
  • Stolen Tongues by Felix Blackwell – ★★★

Pages read: 1,358
Average rating: 3.6
Favorite book read in March: Empire of the Damned
Least favorite book read in March: Stolen Tongues

Books I reviewed

Other posts

April Wrap Up

Books I read

  • Under This Red Rock by Mindy McGinnis -★★★½
  • A Fate Inked in Blood by Danielle L. Jensen – DNF

Pages read: 750 :(
Average rating: 3.5
Favorite book read in April: Under This Red Rock
Least favorite book read in April: A Fate Inked in Blood

No posts in April :(

May Wrap Up

Books I read

  • Cat Magic by Lydia Sherrer – ★★★★★
  • Golden Son by Pierce Brown – ★★★★★ (re-read)
  • Dungeon Crawler Carl by Matt Dinniman – ★★★★
  • Butcher & Blackbird by Brynne Weaver – ★★★★
  • Where the Dark Stands Still by A.B. Poranek – ★★★★★
  • Artificial Wisdom by Thomas R. Weaver – ★★★

Pages read: 2,190
Average rating: 4.3
Favorite book read in May: Where the Dark Stands Still
Least favorite book read in May: Artificial Wisdom

No posts in May :(

What I’ve been up to


I GOT TO SEE JAY KRISTOFF!! AHHHHHH!!!! I drove up to Chicago for the signing the Thursday before St. Patty’s Day and stayed in a hotel for the night. I got up there early enough to meet up with my friend Nicole (@fearyourex on Insta) and her hubby for dinner at this awesome Italian place (which I sadly forget the name of). It was great to see her, it’s been years! We got to Barnes & Noble around 5 for the signing, which was an hour before it started. Meghan (@bookloverinblue) was also there (with a couple other bookstagrammers who I sadly forget names of, oops), and we sat and talked books with them and others while we waited for Jay to come out.

Some random tidbits from the panel:

  • He was briefly an expert on rivers because of making maps for his books
  • Damned was the hardest book he’s ever written. He ended up going to Prague to finish it
  • Originally Damned was Band of Brothers style, and Gabe wasn’t half vamp
  • Jay is a pantser so he never has any idea what his endings are going to be
  • He was raised Catholic
  • Favorite scene(s) to write: Gabe & Dior banter
  • Favorite character he’s written: probably Gabe, runner up is Aidan (yes, he was all Jay)
  • He puts readers in his stories to make readers feel more at home, and it’s usually the character he wants you to like the most
  • If he was in Aurora Academy he’d be an Ace. Kat was his fave character (fun fact: her original name was Sarah but they changed it because of Scarlett)
  • His House in EotV would be Chastain because he likes animals (he also said “and they dress well” lmao). He’d never be a Voss because he has no patience (me either, Jay, me either). Also side note: this was my question and he said he’d never been asked it before, so yassss
  • He likes to listen to Cryo Chamber on YouTube while he writes
  • He claims he’s not actually THAT witty, he just has months to write his banter (lies Jay, you’re hilarious in person too!)
  • The odds of him ever returning to YA are slim
  • He and his wife married in Rome
  • Laini Taylor is a current favorite author of his (he has great tastes, obv)
  • The Hobbit was his gateway to fantasy, and the Farseer trilogy was most influential for him
  • He’s currently playing Elden Ring
  • Ezra had about 7 different names before they landed on Ezra
  • You already know he wrote Aidan, but he wrote all the boys and Amie wrote the girls, with the exception of Ella
  • If he had to pick one character from his other books that could survive EotV, it’d be Kal
  • His hardest character death to write was View Spoiler »

There was a 3 book limit per trip through the line, and holy crap was the line long. It was 10:30 before we finally got out of there! I don’t remember what number I was, but I had about 11 or 12 books I wanted signed so I had to go through twice. (At the end they were like, ok you can just get the rest signed.) Jay was awesome, as always!! He was like, “don’t I know you?” and I said “yeah, I was wearing an Avenged shirt the first time we met” and he remembered that he was wearing a Superman shirt. I honestly don’t know how he remembers these things, haha! (The second time I saw him he remembered my A7X shirt!) We chatted a bit – he said he wasn’t a huge fan of the newest A7X album – and he took pics of all of my Kristoff book inspired tattoos. We didn’t talk much the second time through, I think he was pretty exhausted at that point. Poor guy was signing books for 3.5 hours!

I also met a new friend while I was there! I was in line chatting with a woman behind me, and I don’t remember how it got brought up, but she mentioned that she was getting out of a bad marriage and the divorce was almost finalized. I was like HECK YEAH SISTER! and gave her a high five (I am also going through the same thing, so I know how freeing it feels). She took some pics of my tattoos. Well, she happened to post in a bookish group I’m in about the signing, and I was like “heyyy that’s my arm! I was right in front of you in line!” and she responded with a message that almost brought me to tears – that she didn’t get a chance to say how much the high five meant to her, because everyone else had been all “oh so sorry, don’t you want to work it out, blah blah blah” and that I had been the first to congratulate her. It meant a lot to her that someone was happy for her to be making it out and doing what was best for her. *puppy eyes* It made my day!! We are friends on Facebook now!

I ALSO GOT TO SEE AVENGED SEVENFOLD!! Ahhh it was fucking EPIC! I hadn’t seen them since 2017 and daaaamn, that was the best concert I’ve seen since the very first time I saw them perform way back in 2006 (which is what made them my favorite band in the first place)! M Shadows was struggling a bit with vocals after a few songs at the last two concerts I saw them at because of his throat issues. He sounded fucking amazing this time around! (Also, I forgot how much I fucking love that man, he’s so beautiful. He ages like fine wine! Still my #1 celebrity crush after all these years *smitten sigh*) I can’t even begin to describe the sheer dopamine rush I got from the concert. Being able to dance and sing and just get lost in their music…ugh, puuuure joy! I actually went through a little bit of withdrawal afterward!

It was the first concert I’ve been to since the last time I saw them (the 2017 concert I mentioned, which was with Volbeat) and it made me realize that I’m not as young as I once was, because it sure kicked my ass, haha! My hips and lower back were killing me for a few days after from sitting in the crappy stadium seats for 4 hours, then standing for the hour and a half that Avenged was playing. I was also exhausted AF afterward. Sullivan King opened and then Poppy played. SK was just okay, I wasn’t super impressed but some of it was good. Poppy was great! There were a few songs I didn’t care for, but overall I enjoyed her a lot. Seeing V.A.N. in concert was awesome, that song is lit!!


Wow, April was a fuckin’ blur, dude. I don’t even know what really happened. Work was overly rough for like two weeks straight and I am SO burnt out. I’ve been on the struggle bus lately for no reason whatsoever.

I’m in a HUGE reading slump, even for audio – which is really strange for me. I haven’t felt like physically reading much for a long time, but I usually still listen to audiobooks every day at work. Sometimes I’ll have phases where I go a day or two without listening to a book. But it’s been weeks since I listened to an audiobook, which is sooo not normal for me. I don’t know what’s going on. I’ve just been in a hardcore music mood lately (see obsessions down below) and haven’t been able to focus on books. Womp womp. I read one book in the entire month of April. It’s been years since that’s happened. I had to lower my goal of 100 books down to 75 and I’m still way behind.

Also, totally random: I got to do some fun color on a dog at work! I’ve never done feet before so I was happy with how it turned out!



I got a bit more reading done in May – I think I’m pulling out of the slump a little bit. I’ve been listening to audiobooks more regularly, thankfully. Still kinda in a funk in other aspects of life – been having trouble dragging my ass out of bed in the mornings and I’m having to force myself to do my weight lifting. I don’t know why it’s been so difficult lately!

The highlight of May was VACATION!! It was a short one, but I went to Daytona Beach for a few days! I needed it BAD. It was actually the weekend I was supposed to go to Sonic Temple, but I ended up not finding anyone to go with. There’s a lot of things I’ll happily do alone, but 4 days at a music festival is not one of them. So, I took the money I was going to spend on tickets and rented an AirBNB on the beach instead! I usually go to New Smyrna, which is only 9 miles south of Daytona, but I couldn’t afford my usual condo last minute and the AirBNB was half the price of the condo. A beach is a beach, but damn was it torture being so close to NSB and not being able to go. I really enjoyed it, though! A few days of sand and sun was exactly what I needed.

So, funny story: I was chilling on the beach, reading my book and minding my business, and this (hot!!) stranger stopped and struck up a conversation with me. We ended up talking for THREE HOURS! Ya’ll, I am not a social person and have never done anything like that before. Like, I’ll happily talk all day with bookish people, but I’ve never traded more than a few sentences with a non-bookish stranger in my life. He was really cool! And crazier still: We were out in the water swimming together, and he was like, “What is that? Am I trippin? I think I see something in the water-” AND THERE WAS A FIN!! IN THE WATER!!! Not more than 50 feet away from us! I noped tf outta there so fast, lmao! Turns out it was a dolphin, because the body was breaching the top of the water as it swam, but whew that was a moment of panic-spiked adrenaline. I have NEVER seen a dolphin that close to the beach and I’ve been vacationing 9 miles south of that spot for nearly two whole decades!! It was insane!!

I also joined a bowling league in May! It’s my first one ever, so I’m pretty excited about it. I even made top 3 in scratch scores and busted my own PR with a score of 193! I look forward to it every week and I think I’ll be staying in some sort of league year round from here on out :)

Current obsessions

Movies: I was in the mood for Alien a while back, so I binged all of the movies as well as the prequels. (It was my first time seeing the fourth, and it was TERRIBLE! The second is my fave tbh) I watched both AVP movies and then moved on to Predators because I love that one. I forgot how obsessed I was with Adrian Brody in that movie XD Soo I went on an Adrian Brody kick after that and watched a few of his older movies.

TV: In March, the Hazbin Hotel obsession continued! I also began my rewatch of Dexter, and I forgot how much I freakin love that show! I binged the whole thing all the way through by the end of April, and I have a little bit of a hangover from it. (My feelings haven’t changed about the ending, though – that last 30 seconds of the original show should not have existed!)

Music: I was on a HUGE Avenged Sevenfold kick after the concert in March! I’ve been craving metalcore a lot lately. Motionless in White (I am OBSESSED), Falling in Reverse, Bad Omens, and Sleep Token especially. I am absolutely obsessed with MiW and Scoring the End of the World was my hyperfixation song for about a week straight. Current hyperfixation song is Watch the World Burn (FiR), which is funny because when it first came out I hated it!

Food: I saw a recipe for a dupe of a garlic parm bagel (not sure where from), and it is DELICIOUS! In the video they cut slices in the bagel and stuffed it, but I don’t like that much cream cheese so I just spread some on the bagel. Glaze with butter & garlic, top with shredded parm, and air fry for 4 min @ 375! YUM!

Games: Nothing new on the game front, but I got my Switch working again so I’ve been playing on that a little bit! I get bored pretty fast, I just haven’t had the attention span to sit and play games. Or read.

Crafts: Still not much crafting here. I haven’t been in the mood.

Things I’m looking forward to

I have a lot going on in June! In the second week of June I have a grad party to go to for my friend’s daughter, and she’s been trying to set me up with a guy she knows for a while. I haven’t been ready to meet anyone, but he’s supposed to be there and I’m pretty excited to meet him! That same week I’m going to Cedar Point with two of my best friends, then later in the month I have a weekend bachelorette trip in Nashville and it’s gonna be LIT! I also have my yearly dog grooming show, which I look forward to going to every year!


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

Jessi (Geo)

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