I did a tonne of stuff in May, as usual! The milder things were, of course, Eurovision (I’m still laughing over the UK only getting three votes from the public… we deserve it) and a pub quiz with my colleagues in which my team came second (out of two teams, but still).
In mid-May, we attended a friend’s wedding in the Cotswolds (it wasn’t as fancy as it sounds) and I managed to not get super anxious, which was nice! There was a bit of a moment after I tried to dance and there were too many people, but I managed to handle myself pretty well. The day after the wedding, Quill and I went to Sudeley Castle, which was gorgeous, and we watched the jousting. It was a lovely way to spend the morning before heading home!
Speaking of Quill, he finally got a new job as a technical translator, which is something he has been aiming towards for a long time. This means that we’ll be moving house at the end of September so that we’re halfway between his new office and my current one, so our commutes should both be pretty decent. I’m a bit nervous about the move, but I’m excited about what’s to come!
I’ve also been working on optimising Recaptains for the past few weeks. It’s taking a long time because we have so many posts, but I’m really pleased that I have been working on this project consistently. It has meant that this blog has been a bit neglected, but I’m hoping that once I’m done fixing up Recaptains I’ll be able to focus on Books of Amber a bit more.
Another busy month! March was supposed to be quite chilled out, but it turned out to be quite hectic because we were seeing friends a lot. We did take my little sister ice skating for her birthday, which means we’re all becoming pros at this point. Unfortunately, I still can’t skate backwards, but SOON.
I went to an event at the Gollancz offices which showcased their upcoming books for 2019. I had a really good time for most of it, but unfortunately the chaos and crushing when the ARCs were released made me really anxious so I left early.
February was an eventful month, but it didn’t turn out to be too hectic, which was nice. I got to do some exciting things, but I also had a chance to relax. I think I’m getting better at this life/work/blogging balance. That said, I didn’t blog much in February, nor did I record much for my Booktube channel, because I was more focused on reading and spending time with friends and family.
We kicked off the month in London, where we stayed after seeing Cirque du Soleil at the end of January. I mentioned in my previous post that we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum and went to the video game exhibition there. Then, of course, I went to Waterstones Piccadilly, because that’s a tradition whenever I go into London.
Mid-month, Quill and I went to Windsor to see Ian MacKellen on tour. He’s currently touring a bunch of theatres for his 80th birthday in order to raise money for theatre students. He was incredible to watch, but I felt like the second half dragged on a lot. The show should have started earlier, because it overran by quite a bit and we didn’t get out until 11pm on a work night. (I’m getting old.) I did have the pleasure of very briefly meeting MacKellen afterwards, and he was very polite, although he did start to get annoyed by everyone who was trying to take photos with him. I didn’t take any selfies, obviously, because that would have been rude. He was there to collect donations, not take photos with hundreds of people. Also, random fact, he’s a lot shorter than I thought he would be.
The best part of the month for both me and Quill was the FALCONRY. We went to a falconry centre near Reading, where we got to hold, interact with, and fly six different types of birds of birds of prey. It was a brilliant half day that I bought for Quill’s birthday, and I don’t think I’ll be able to top it next year. The birds were so beautiful and intelligent, and I took so many photos and videos.
I was promoted (again) at work, and although I haven’t started training for my new position yet, I am really excited to have the opportunity to progress within my company and learn a new role. A lot of people at my office aren’t happy with their jobs at the moment because there’s little progression for them in their particular fields, but I’m really lucky to be where I’m at and to have managers that actually recognise that I’m damn good at my job. It also means I got a pay rise and I’m able to save more towards buying a house (eventually… in like a decade).
Lastly, we went back into London again for a family member’s birthday, which she held at the old BBC studios near Westfield. The party was alright (the band was the highlight) but the best part of that particular trip was going to Waterstones again the next day and buying even more books.
1. If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio *** 2. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo ***.5 3. Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds **** 4. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi ** 5. On the Come Up by Angie Thomas **** 6. Heroine by Mindy McGinnis **** 7. The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey **.5 8. Internment by Samira Ahmed **** 9. The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown * 10. Educated by Tara Westover ****
Book of the Month
I’m bringing back the stats section of my wrap ups because I love doing them on my Booktube channel so it made sense to do them here!
I read a total of 10 books in February, as you can see. I read 4,299 pages, which was only 3 pages less than I read in January. This means I was reading bigger books and I’m thrilled. I read an average of 143 pages per day, which was awesome because that’s over an hour’s worth of reading. Go me!
I bought five books and spent £38.00 on them. Not the best savings month, I have to admit, but at least I’m excited about all of the books and I’ve already read one of them. (Tell me it’s okay.)
I read 1 mystery book, 2 thrillers, 1 non-fiction, 2 fantasy, and 4 contemporary books. The high contemporary number is unusual for the winter months, as I tend to read more contemporary in the summer, but the #contemporaryathon happened and it spurred me on. The thrillers I read weren’t great, which is a shame, so I want to read some good ones in March to make up for it.
I read 4 backlist titles and 6 new releases. Most of the new releases were ARCs, which means I’m getting through my review copies at a decent rate.
I read 7 YA books and 3 adult books, which isn’t as balanced as my reading has been lately but I think this has something to do with the amount of review copies I was reading. I don’t request many adult titles.
And as for how diversely I was reading, I read two books with LGBTQ+ representation (If We Were Villains has gay m/m rep, and The Truth About Keeping Secrets has gay f/f rep), five books with a non-white main character, and four books from an author of colour. Not bad, I think.
Looking Forward To
March should be slightly more relaxed than February was, although there are a few things coming up that I’m looking forward to. Firstly, it’s my little sister’s 11th (!!!!!) birthday on the 8th, and while I won’t be seeing her on that day, Quill and I are going to take her ice skating in Oxford.
We’re also going into London again for a friend’s birthday, and I think the plan is to have lunch at their new place and then going out for some casual beer pong at a bar.
Then, finally, there’s the Orion Book Blogger event happening at the end of the month, and I’ll be going into London again for that. It’s in the evening on a work night though so I don’t think I’ll have time to visit Waterstones for a third time within six weeks. Shame.
I know everyone was saying that January was going on forever, but now that it’s over, I kind of can’t believe it? I’m also not really looking forward to it now being the shortest month of the year because I never get much done in February!
For me, January was a pretty great month. I wasn’t too busy, I got a tonne of reading done, and I managed to balance “me time” with socialising quite well.
Quill and I met up with some friends in London at the start of January. We went to a food market where you grab a bench and then get food from whichever stalls you feel like eating from. I went for Lebanese, and Quill got Turkish and German. It was a really nice place to hang out, although it was expensive because it was in London!
At the end of January, we went to see Cirque du Soleil: Totem, and I had an incredible time. It was a birthday gift from Quill, and he unknowingly got us box seats, which was a nice experience! It was my second time seeing Cirque, and it definitely won’t be my last. I’m always in awe of the performers, and the soundtracks are always incredible!
I also went ice skating for the first time in a year, and I remembered how much I love it! We’re going to go again in February, and perhaps spend a bit more time in Oxford this time, because it’s a really nice city.
Other than that, I spent most of January reading, blogging, and Booktubing!
Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay ★★★
The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky ★★★★
Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar ★★★
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao ★★★★
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson ★★
Rosewater by Tade Thompson ★
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel ★★★
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty ★★★★★
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo ★★
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan ★★★
I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya ★★★★
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker ★★★★
Okay, so I haven’t really decided how I want to look at my reading statistics this year so for now we’re just going to look at the basics. I’ll do a statistics round up some time in April so that it’s more in depth and interesting.
I read a total of 13 books in January, which I think is pretty damn impressive considering I’m also working full time, blogging, and doing Booktube. Go me! These added up to a total of 4302pages, and 508 minutes. My average rating was 3.2, which I’m happy with because last year most of my monthly averages were below 3 stars!
I’ve also started keeping track of my Booktube statistics because I find it really interesting. I’m struggling to keep track of my blog stats because my damn website keeps crapping out on me, so I’ll work on that later. As of 1st February, I’m now at 3193 subscribers on my Booktube channel, which is up from 3161 subs at the end of December! Pretty good, I think.
From what I can tell, most people discovered my channel through my reading vlogs, then my thriller/horror recommendations video from October (which is still doing well!), and then through my review of Two Can Keep a Secret. I’m going to keep track of these analytics so I can see how people are finding my channel.
I’m also very pleased because my monthly views added up to 1368 in total, which was only down very slightly from 1513 in December. The difference is that I was doing Vlogmas in December, so of course my views were higher! I have to say though, that I’ve noticed in my years of blogging and Booktubing that January tends to be the busiest month.
That’s all for my stats! Let me know if you’d be interested in knowing anything else in future. I can incorporate my blog stats as well once I fix my website and it stops bugging out.
February is set to be a good month in terms of balancing life and socialising, which is what I wanted. We’re going to Windsor just before Valentine’s Day to see Ian McKellan do a talk, and we’re going to do some casual falconry that weekend. There’s a big family event happening towards the end of the month, but other than that I’m completely free! I’m hoping to do a lot of reading because I’m taking part in several readathons, and I want to continue to blog and Booktube as much as possible, because it’s a fun way to spend my time!
Let me know what your plans for February are in the comments below! Did you have a good reading month in January? Have you read The City of Brass because I’M STILL FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT.
October was a pretty hectic month in real life, which meant I was incredibly grateful to Past!Amber, who decided to schedule a whole month of blog posts and Youtube videos. I didn’t get around to doing many exciting things, but I was working a lot so it meant I had very little free time to blog and do Booktube. BUT! I did do some things. Quill and I went on what turned out to be our first dinner date in over a month (!), and after eating we went to the cinema. It was lovely, and we’ve decided to make an effort to not let our date nights slide that much again.
There was a fun pub quiz with my work colleagues (my team came 2nd), and I went to the Chiltern Open Air Museum for their spooky open night. That meant we watched some fire dancers (dancing to no music… it was weird), took part in a chocolate workshop, went on a spooky walk through the woods where actors jumped out at us, and met a vanishing horse.
I took part in the Spookathon for the first time ever, which was lots of fun, and as I’m writing this, we’re just getting to the end of a horror movie marathon.