Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up: May 2020

may wrap up

The past few months have been a whirlwind, haven’t they? I feel like I kicked off the year in a bit of a high, and slowly my blogging has started to dwindle with everything that has been going on. But now I’m back, and I feel like I’m kind of in a routine now that allows me to actually work on my blog (and all of my outlets) again. So here’s what went down in May!

My Life in May

Obviously, the lockdown is still going on. I’m not finding it too difficult, to be honest, but it would be nice to not have so much media negativity, drama, and also fewer unknowns. I’m doing fine with staying at home, but I don’t like not knowing what’s coming up and how the world is going to change further.

The company I work for is hoping to have some people back in the office in July, but they have no idea how they’re going to tackle the social distancing problem. It’s just not going to work. But the way they’re talking about it makes it sound like they’re going to just go ahead and get everyone back in regardless. And that’s stressing me out. It would make more sense to me for them to work on helping people to work from home more productively and to a better quality, instead of rushing everyone back into the office.

I haven’t been doing so much running or exercise these past few months, but I did get back into running a couple of weeks ago. I’m hoping to keep it up but often by the end of the day I just don’t want to leave the house.

I have been more consistent on Booktube, though. I’m currently uploading three videos a week, and I’m loving it. I’m still nowhere near monetisation, and the algorithm continues to aggravate me, but I’m loving using Booktube as a creative outlet.

Quill and I have been having weekly date nights since lockdown started. We’ve had a cinema trip, a spa evening, a fancy meal, and a gaming night, all from the comfort of our own home. We’ve got a few more things planned to keep us occupied over the coming weeks too.

How are you coping with lockdown?

Continue reading

Monthly Wrap Up: November 2019

Life Stuff

November was such a fun month! Sure, it was really busy, but in the best way. First of all, Quill and I celebrated our anniversary by going to a spa and staying the night at a hotel. We also ditched our phones for the entire day, and it was lovely and relaxing. I didn’t get much reading done because I spent most of the time snoozing, eating, and trying out all the different facilities they had! We definitely want to go back soon.

My birthday came next, and while we didn’t do much to celebrate that, we did have a couple of friends over to watch the Christmas lights in town be switched on. Quill bought me a new Kindle (<3), so I spent a lot of time reading on that.

For Quill’s birthday, I bought him a gaming chair and the new Spiderman game. I’m excited to give both of those a go! He also had some friends over (which I found a bit stressful), and all in all it was a really nice weekend.

Aside from the birthday and celebratory things, we also had my mum and grandad round for dinner, and later on Quill’s parents visited. Now that everyone has seen the new house, maybe we will have a chance to enjoy it ourselves 😉

Lastly, we went to see The Woman in Black at the theatre, and while at the beginning I was a bit iffy about it, it soon got really good. It wasn’t as scary as I was hoping, but it was quite jumpy!

Books Read

  1. Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris ★★
  2. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett ★★★★
  3. Someone We Know by Shari Lapena ★★★
  4. The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson ★★★
  5. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman ★★★★
  6. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen ★★
  7. The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah ★★
  8. Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales ★★★★
  9. The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli ★★★★
  10. Emily Eternal by M. G. Wheaton ★★.5
  11. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager ★★★
  12. Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins ★★★
  13. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson ★★★

As you can see, I had kind of an average reading month in November. I read a lot of books, but most of them were just three star reads or below. I did get a few really good reads in, but I’m hoping for more in December.

On the Blog & In the Blogosphere

November was a slightly better blogging month for me than October was, but I’m still hoping to do better next month. I really want to get back into the swing of blogging again, but at the moment it’s very stop-and-start, even though I have lots of post ideas. I didn’t have a chance to do much blog hopping either! Here’s what I posted in November:

Movies, TV Shows, and Games

I haven’t done much gaming recently, probably because we’ve been so busy! I’m hoping to give Spiderman a go, and we’re also about to pick up the next Gears of War. Quill bought a gaming PC for his birthday, so when that arrives I’m planning on installing The Sims 2 (<3), and trying out Subnautica. I don’t know why I think that’s a good idea since I am terrified of deep water, but it looks so pretty!

We went to see Frozen 2 in the cinema on opening weekend, and I really enjoyed it. It was very empowering (I particularly liked the line “What do you need?” *SQUEE*), and I loved Kristoff’s solo song. LOVED.

We’re still making our way through Supernatural, and we’re currently about a third of the way through season four. We’re probably not going to catch up in time for the finale at this rate, but I’m glad we’re both enjoying the show. We’re also still watching Modern Family, and are currently on season three.

One new-to-us show that we decided to start was The Dragon Prince, which is written by the people who wrote The Last Airbender. I’m not as into it as I thought I would be, but can I just say that the animals in it are ADORABLE.

Looking Ahead

December is, well, December. I’m expecting it to be hectic. Aside from seeing family and friends for the holidays, there’s also our Christmas party, and also a secret surprise birthday thing that I arranged for Quill. Our weekends are pretty booked up, so I’m not sure how much reading I’m going to get in.

What do you have planned for December? Was November a good month for you?

Monthly Wrap Up: October 2019

Life Stuff

As always, October was busy. My life is just not calming down. I ended September (WRAP UP LINK) by moving into a new house, and so a lot of October was spent getting used to the new place and figuring out where we were going to put everything. We have SO MUCH space in our new house, which I’m thrilled by, and so we’re going to have to buy some furniture to make it look a bit more lived in. We have a new, much bigger sofa being delivered in November, and then I’m going to focus on furnishing the library room. I’m struggling to find the perfect armchair, though, so if you have any suggestions or recommendations, do shout!

Things have been eventful at work as well. Firstly, I’ve been training someone in their new role (one of my old roles), and that’s zapped a lot of my energy. I haven’t really been online much because of that. The commute hasn’t helped, since it’s currently way, way longer than it should be due to roadworks. I literally cannot get out of my town without hitting at least three sets, no matter which route I take. It’s draining, and so all I want to do when I get home is nap or play games. But on the plus side, we did have a week at the office dedicated to raising awareness for the current climate crisis. I was very appreciative about and keen for that. I just hope that my company keeps this up, and it wasn’t just a phase.

Despite being really, really busy in October, I also managed to fit in some pretty awesome things. First of all, there was GollanczFest, which has made a triumphant return this year. I spent most of my day with Justine (and her Scottish Husband) and Judith, and I also met Maggie, which was lovely! I had a really good time listening to the panels (especially the discussions that got quite heated because DRAMA), and Quill also really enjoyed himself, which I was glad about. I wasn’t sure how he would find sitting around all day listening to authors, but he found it all really interesting. I did have to leave early because we were going to a housewarming party (which sucked), which was a shame, but I guess I’ll be back next year!

Quill also booked a surprise for me – walking a silver fox! We spent a couple of hours on a farm walking this guy around and feeding him berries. He was an absolute sweetheart, and it was really interesting to learn about how silver foxes are entirely domesticated now because of the fur trade.

Then, of course, there was the 24 Hour Readathon, in which I read two and a half books! I love Dewey’s Readathon and I take part at least once a year. I love how the community comes together for it! Did you take part? How did your reading go?

Books Read

The links are all affiliate links

1. Thornhill by Pam Smy ★★
2. Fan the Fame by Anna Priemaza ★★★.5
3. If You’re Out There by Katy Loutzenhiser ★★★.5
4. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys ★★★
5. American Predator by Maureen Callahan ★★
6. The Whisper Man by Alex North ★★★★
7. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll ★★
8. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch ★★★★
9. City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab ★★★
10. The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy ★★★
11. The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts ★★.5
12. Do No Harm by Henry Marsh ★★★
13. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin ★★.5
14. Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick ★★★.5
15. All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban ★★★★
16. I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rish ★★★

On the Blog & In the Blogosphere

I only really had reviews going on on Books of Amber during October because I was struggling to find the time to write any more creative posts.

I’ve been a bit behind when it comes to keeping up with everyone’s blogs, but I did a little bit of reading over the course of the month. These area few of my faves.

Movies, TV Shows, and Games

Quill and I have been watching a lot of TV recently. It takes less concentration than blogging and Booktubing, so I’ve been having a whale of a time marathoning shows. We’re currently on Season 3 of Supernatural (I’m trying to rewatch it all before the final season ends, but that might be a long shot), and we’re obviously loving it. We started Season 2 of Scrubs (which I’m not such a fan of but I like a few of the characters), and I introduced Quill to Modern Family (which he is unexpectedly REALLY into). Basically, I have great taste in TV and everyone should listen to me.

I haven’t watched many movies, although I did make all my friends watch Scream with me. I used to be obsessed with that franchise when I was younger, and could probably quote the whole thing from memory. Quill and I also watched District 9, which was a lot more emotional than I was expecting! I got very attached to the aliens.

We’ve also been playing our way through the Gears of War series. We finished the first two games, and we’re currently about a quarter of the way through the third. The games improve massively, which I’m happy about, because the first one stressed me out more than anything.

Looking Ahead

November is going to be another busy one. I’m not sure if there’s any point in my noting that down anymore! First of all we have our anniversary, for which we’re going on a spa weekend. That should be nice and relaxing, and I’m hoping to fit a lot of reading in while I’m lounging around and being pampered. Quill and I also decided we would have a “no phones” weekend so that we’re properly off the grid.

My mum and Quill’s parents are coming to visit (on two separate days – I’m not ready for them to meet yet!) and to see the house, so that’ll be nice. We’re going to a fireworks display on the 9th with Quill’s family, and I have to say that it’s the best fireworks display in the county and I cannot wait for it.

Then we have both of our birthdays coming up as well! Mine is on the 14th, which is a Thursday, so I’ve booked that day off work along with the following day, so I can enjoy a really long weekend. I’m not doing anything special on the day, but on the 16th we’re going ice skating at the Natural History Museum and I’ll probably pop into Waterstones Piccadilly to FINALLY break my book buying ban. Quill’s birthday is right at the end of the month, and we’re not doing anything exciting for his until December. That’s a secret though, so I’m not going to post about it here in case he sees!

Monthly Wrap Up: September 2019 & BOTM Giveaway

Life Stuff

September was a slightly quieter month than August in that the beginning was chill and relaxing and then everything kicked off at the end! Quill and I moved house right at the end of the month, and it was the busiest week I can remember having. It was stressful, I cried a bit, but we’re now in the new place and everything is looking wonderful.

The house move also took place during the week that Contemporary-a-thon was happening, so that was fun! I decided to daily vlog for the readathon, and while I didn’t exactly fail, I still need to upload my final video for the readathon. I fell a bit behind due to having to move all the big furniture on the Friday.

Other than that, September was mostly just spent doing life admin. How was your September? Did you have a lot to do?

Books Read

I “only” read 9 books in September, which is half of the massive 18 that I read in August, but that was also to be expected. To be honest, I’m shocked that I got to 9! I read some really good ones as well.

The links are all affiliate links.

1. Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron ★★★★
2. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware ★★★.5
3. The Death of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware ★★★★
4. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple ★★★
5. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware ★★★★ .5
6. The Wall by John Lanchester ★★★
7. Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson ★★★.5
8. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ★★★★★
9. The How and the Why by Cynthia Hand ★★★★

Book of the Month & Giveaway

I read so many good books in September, so it was a lot more difficult to choose a book of the month. I eventually narrowed it down to two, so you can enter to win one of them in the Rafflecopter giveaway below! I decided last month that I wanted to spread the bookish love with you all, so I’ll be doing a Book of the Month giveaway every single month so you can experience my favourite books too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I read a total of 9 books in September, which added up to 3082 pages and 543 minutes. Eight of the books I read were physical or ebooks, and one was an audiobook. I wish I had been able to utilise audiobooks more while I was moving, but everything was so hectic that I couldn’t concentrate!

I read 1 fantasy, 3 thrillers, 3 contemporaries, 1 mystery, and 1 dystopia. I definitely felt more love for the contemporary books that I read, but overall every genre impressed me, bar the dystopia (it was boring).

My average rating was 3.8! YES! I read so many great books in September and I’m so happy with where my reading is right now. I’m feeling so motivated because I’ve been loving what I’ve been reading.

I only read from 1 male author this month, which means I read from 8 female authors. Only one of those was a diverse book in terms of race, but one of the books I read also tackled anxiety. Not my most diverse month, but not terrible either.

5 books were new releases, 3 books were YA, and 6 books were adult books. I’m reading a lot more adult books this year than in previous years, which I think is leading me to read a more diverse range of experiences. I also found that I’m slowly getting the hunger back for urban fantasy, which hasn’t hit me since about 2012. I’m excited to pick up some beloved authors (Nalini Singh! Rachel Vincent!) towards the end of this year or the beginning of next. I might do a whole post on this, actually.

Looking ahead

Quill and I promised each other that we’d relax in October, because September was so horribly stressful for both of us. We have GollanczFest to look forward to in the middle of the month, and I’ll be taking part in Spookathon and Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, but otherwise I refuse to make plans. November is going to be busy, so I deserve a month to focus on myself and on my blog!

As for things I’m looking forward to within the blogosphere, well, I’m looking forward to getting back into blog hopping and commenting on Booktube again! I slacked off during the last couple of weeks of September because of the move, but I’m feeling really motivated again and I’m looking forward to finding more bookish people.

What about you? What are your plans for October?

Monthly Wrap Up: August 2019 & BOTM Giveaway

Life Stuff

August was a very exciting month for me! It was busy, as usual, but some good things happened, the most important of which was Quill and I finding a new place to live! Due to his job being a lot further away from our current flat, we’re having to move a bit closer so his commute isn’t so long. We found a house at the beginning of the month, and have been sorting out all of the paperwork for it. I’m so excited that I’m considering doing a house tour vlog! Maybe lifestyle vlogging will be my new thing.

My company has started paying for fitness classes, so I’m now doing one of those a week as well as a Pilates class. I’m feeling pretty good about all of that right now. If I can get my running back up to scratch, I’ll feel even better!

Another thing my company is paying for is a monthly session on mindfulness. I’ve always wanted to try meditation but if I’m doing it on my own I get distracted, so these sessions have been quite helpful in helping me clear my head and help me to stay focussed for the rest of the day. Having a guide is really useful, it turns out!

Over the bank holiday weekend, Quill and I went to the New Forest. We were ambushed by a lot of horses and donkeys on multiple occasions, and we ended up doing a 16km walk on one of the days. I had a great time down there, and would definitely like to go back in the near future.

On a more negative note, the climate change and Brexit stuff that’s happening is stressing me out. I’m actually losing sleep over it because I feel so powerless to stop it. The Amazon is burning down and no one seems to really care, and the UK government has been suspended because one man wants it to. Continue reading