Labor Day, The Martian, & Other Small Nice Things

Posted September 11, 2017 by Amber in Checking In, Memes / 27 Comments


Bonjour my darling phoenixes.  I hope you’re all having a delightful September thusfar.  Up here in New England we’ve seen a little rain and a lot of humidity, but nothing to really complain about compared to the rest of the world.  My love goes out to everyone who has been affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma… I can’t imagine living through that kind of weather and am constantly impressed by the strength and compassion of people joining together in a crisis.

What’s New In the Bookish World?

September has been a really lovely book month so far – honestly, it feels like Christmas.  I’m really pleased.


I’ve already acquired an impressive stack of books for the month of September.  Most of these are older ARCs that were given to me by a fellow book blogger who was tired of looking at them!  I thought that was really sweet of her, and now I’m flush in hard copy reads for a while.

Also it was just SO NICE to sit over lemonade and talk about books with a fellow bookish person.  I don’t get out very often because LIFE and JOB and CAT TIME but it was just such a lovely break in my routine and I could not be happier about it.

NetGalley & I are Not Friends, Apparently

So I sucked up and signed up for a NetGalley account?  And I immediately grabbed and read Journal of Curious Letters.  To be honest?  Not my cup of tea.  But you can read the review.  I’ve spent all the time since being told by NetGalley that I’ve been rejected for all the other books because they don’t give Galleys to small blogs.  So I guess that takes care of that, then?  No ARCs for me until I had over 1000 followers.  Or ever.  YAY.

Seriously though I’m glad I tried it there instead of contacting a publisher because now my heart is less broken.

Things I’m actually reading?

I haven’t been crazy with books yet this month, but I’ve finished a handful and have some reviews pending.  I’m still trying to reorganize to find balance between content and reviews.

So far the highlight of this month has The Martian.  Oh.  My.  Goose.  Everyone has read this book, right?  I loved the tone.  I loved that it was a SUPER SCIENCE book that I really liked.  There was so much YAY going on, I can’t even tell you.

Otherwise, there’s Harry Potter books and I finished The Handmaid’s Tale and am working through a handful of audiobooks on my TBR (read: anything I can manage to get an audiobook of that’s is on my TBR).  THERE WILL BE REVIEWS!  YAY REVIEWS!




And what about me?

So September has been sort of interesting for me?  It’s either black, or white.  Nothing in the middle.  Really good, or just, ugh.

Nothing like a hurricane.  I have wee, small, petty human problems!  Like work drama!  And not getting enough sleep.  Small things.  We won’t focus on those because I’m in a good mood right now.

The Good

Last Tuesday was my husband and my second anniversary.  It’s the Cotton Anniversary, which is just dumb.  Like, what do you buy one another?  Curtains?  T-shirts?  Instead we took the day off, got some little stuff done (car registration, vacuuming, yay?) and went to a late lunch at one of our favorite places.


The restaurant?  It’s a brewery just over the river, lots of organic food and MAN do they know how to cook.  Neither my husband nor I are beer drinkers, but if we were, we’d be part of their club.  I love the place.  I always get a sandwich, which you’d think is CRAZY, but it’s got this cheese… and the homemade bread… and OMG I think I’m in love.  I should have taken pictures, but I didn’t, because I was eating it.  Matt had these grilled green beans that tasted like heaven.  We only ever go to this place for special occasions (Valentine’s, Anniversary, and sometimes my birthday) so it’s always a treat.

Also, I finally called and followed up on some missing bills from the medical treatments around my miscarriage back in May.  Turns out they weren’t missing… they were written off.  I couldn’t believe it – it was so nice of the hospital.  There’s really nothing more horrible than to have to pay for the worst thing that’s happened in your life.  I’m so grateful I don’t have to.

The Best

Since the hospital bills are now settled, my husband and I did something supremely irresponsible and doubly exciting – we booked a transatlantic cruise!  It’s not until April, which right now seems like an eternity away.  But I’m still so pumped that I’m telling everyone.  Here’s what’s great about it:

  • It’s two weeks.
  • We’ll be going to five different countries.
  • It’s on the same ship we had on our honeymoon #nostaligia.
  • We have a mid-ship balcony which = less sick, pretty view.
  • The food on this ship is delcious.
  • I never thought I’d ACTUALLY go to Europe.
  • They never do European cruises out of Boston or NYC… UNTIL NOW.


And the bad sides of this?

  • It’s expensive.  It’s covered, but it means to maximize our time, we’re going to have to minimize our spending until April.
  • We only get one day in each port.
  • April is far.

So while one day is nowhere near enough to properly experience Paris, for example, I am SO SO GRATEFUL I get to see it at all.  While Paris is on my bucket list, it was NO NOPE UH-UH on my husband’s, so it wasn’t on our radar until this cruise popped up.

Mes chers!  Je vais a Paris!


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27 responses to “Labor Day, The Martian, & Other Small Nice Things

  1. Danielle Pitter

    Sounds like you’ve had an interesting September! Happy 2nd anniversary!! And I’m so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. Here’s hoping you and your hubs can try again? And OOOH a cruise sounds fun! You get to travel all over the world on a boat lol. I haven’t used my NetGalley in awhile but it sucks how they won’t give you any access until you reach 100 followers. That’s so stupid!!

    Sorry if this comment sounds all over the place. It’s 8:30 am where I am and my mind is still sleepy haha!

    • Amber

      No worries – it’s 8:30 here too! Good morning!

      Thanks, you’re sweet. We’re going to wait a bit and let my body properly heal before trying again, but yup, it totally sucks, and there’s a long sad story and whatnot behind it all that I won’t make this comment really uncomfortable by sharing! 🙂

      REALLY looking forward to the cruise. Matt and I have had a pretty crappy year so it’s something really nice to look forward to. I’ve never been ANYWHERE in Europe, so I’m stoked!

      • Danielle Pitter

        That’s alright lol. Maybe someday when you’re more comfortable you can write about everything that’s happened and let all of that sadness out. But in the meantime, you get to treat yourself! 🙂

        • Amber

          Haha, maybe. I actually don’t think it’s the sort of thing a person every really gets past, but maybe at some point I will get really real about it. 🙂

          Amen to treating myself! 😀

  2. Omg that cruise sounds amazing!! Totally worth the sacrifice I think 🙂 And happy anniversary!!!
    And don’t give up on your ARC quest. Not every publisher requires such a high amount of followers! It WILL happen!

    • Amber

      Ah, thanks, I haven’t yet! I’m actually planning on popping over and looking through their ARCs once I finish my batch of blog post reading for today. 😀

      Thanks for the anniversary wishes! We had a really nice day and we are SO EXCITED about that cruise. 😀

  3. I have not read The Martian, but I have been recommended it so many times that it’ll just have to go on my TBR list.

    Happy 2nd anniversary, and yay for a vacation! We are planning a big vacation next year too, and although they are so so expensive, I don’t think you’ll ever say “oh man, I wish we didn’t go on that lovely cruise and experience those wonderful countries”. You’ll have an awesome time!

    Come check out what I’m reading HERE

    • Amber

      That’s such an excellent point – when it comes to vacations, there is almost never regret, even for the ones you get sick on (for example) because it’s always an adventure! 🙂

    • Amber

      I think we need more deep, witty characters like Mark Watney in fiction. It’s one thing to have a sarcastic heroine, but another to have a character with so many levels and such a great (horrible?) attitude. Purely fantastic.

      Thanks! So excited!

  4. There are so many good things in this post!! Paid off medical bills (honestly, what a relief! I’m so happy for you)!! A cruise to Europe, not going to say I’m not jealous!!😉 This sounds so very fun!! I can’t wait to see pictures! NetGalley…..I just made an account too and I feel like I have no idea what’s going on. I was given an e-book or two, but nothing in physical paper form. Is that a good thing or no? I just don’t know😯

    • Amber

      Yay! I was trying to be a positive monkey. 🙂

      NetGalley is ALWAYS eBooks… which is why I’ve avoided it for SO LONG. I just like physical paper books? And there are people who swear by eBooks so that’s cool too. Thing about NetGalley is, they’re your best shot at getting to read up and coming books from larger publishing houses… so I thought I’d try at least? Good luck to you – I hope you get something really excellent!

      • Abbey

        Ahhhh okay that makes sense. I’m definitely a physical book person…I just like them better. So having found that it’s always ebooks, I may stick with it and I may not. I guess time will tell!

        • Amber

          I’m definitely not putting as much effort into it as my physical books, but eh… one or two a month can’t hurt. 🙂

  5. Re NetGalley — If you really want to start getting approved, I’d say start by requesting books that are a bit off the beaten path, smaller publishers, etc, not the hugely requested ones. Then make sure you provide feedback when you’re done. My impression is that it’s less about the number of followers and more about establishing your credentials on NG as someone who actually reads and reviews the books you get. It just takes time, so hang in there if you really want to get there!

    And a cruise! Sounds fabulous! I’m so glad you’re treating yourself — you deserve it!