Wrap Up

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.

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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

Statistics

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

Monthly Wrap Up: May 2019

may wrap up

Life in May

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.

Continue reading

Monthly Wrap Up: March 2019

Me in March

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.

Continue reading

Monthly Wrap Up: February 2019

Me in February

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. 

Books Read

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

Statistics

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.