Checking In March 2018

March Wrap Up

Posted March 26, 2018 by Amber in Checking In / 4 Comments


My loves, I am exhausted.  February and March are always difficult months for me, with many thanks to the glorious New England weather.  I can only do so much with grey skies and snowstorms, you know?  This month’s wrap up is going to be brief – mostly just to say hi and let you know what’s been going on in my library these days and see how you all are doing!

The Monthly Haul

My haul was pretty low key this month, which is fine!  I didn’t go out and buy any of these except Children of Blood and Bone – all pre-orders, ARCs and gifts, or book boxes.  Elevate was a bit of a surprise – I work for the financial firm owned by the author, and walked in Friday morning to have it sitting on my desk – he bought a copy for everyone in the company.  At first I was pretty meh about it, but then it was blurbed by Amanda Palmer.  Also Joe is a pretty nice guy, so I will probably read it. 🙂

I’m starting to feel a little meh about the books I’m getting in my Page Habit book boxes.  I have one more coming in the month of April – a horror/fantasy box and if I’m still feeling meh, I’ll probably cancel the subscription?  I don’t know if it’s me or the weather (which has been ruining everything this year), but these book boxes aren’t stirring any excitement in me this year.

A couple of these (To Kill a Kingdom and The Wicked Deep) have both gotten very underwhelming reviews from people whose opinions I respect on Goodreads… so now I’m all worried about reading them.  Gahhh.

All the things I’ve been reading

On the brighter side of things after all that unappreciative grumbling in my haul, I have read some books I really enjoyed this month.

12 books found












Gunslinger Girl and Children of Blood and Bone both really blew my mind and I am so glad I read both of them.  I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately both in hard copy and audio, and I needed something to wake me up.  In particular, the audiobook of Children of Blood and Bone?  This narrator was amazing, she pulled me right into the story and I couldn’t wait to listen to it every moment of the day.

Additionally I had some pretty decent ARC reads this month?  Nothing that’s going on my OMG FAVORITES! list, but things that were much more enjoyable than I expected and I’m really happy to put my stamp of approval on them.  Those won’t drop on the blog until later in the year (one in late June!) but it was nice to read those as well.  Keep an eye out for reviews of Happily and Olympian Challenger!

Magic and Mischief on the Blog

I sat down one weekend this month and decided I was done with my formatting for The Great Bookcase Crusade.  I actually adore graphic design but for whatever reason, Photoshop has decided it hates me and it takes (no exaggeration) 30 minutes to load.  It takes about 10 minutes to open even the simplest image and until I sit down and deal with that, I don’t feel like fighting with it.

That’s also the reason why I haven’t really been using featured images lately.  I’ll figure it out, I will.  Just not now.


I love the idea of bookshelves on blogs and a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I actually tried to use book spines in my sidebars for the books I’d read that year.  Unfortunately, that didn’t work out.  I still love the idea and it occurred to me that it would be really nifty on the Bookcase Crusade pages… since the whole point of that challenge is to read through my owned books.  It’s so easy to snap a picture when I’m reading the book!

I’ve revamped the Gallery and Graveyard pages and waaaay at the bottom of the Crusade page.  Some of the Graveyard books were unlinked, since I don’t have them anymore, but otherwise I’m really happy with it.  It gives you a peek at my own library and how I organize it (although Quidditch Through the Ages is impossible to read – oh well).

What Have I been Scribbling?

I got about 500 words into Ashes to Ashes this month, and even that was a feat.  Between not sleeping, not eating, work, and just… everything.  The only thing in the world I’ve wanted to do is sleep.  I haven’t even been writing blog posts (more on that later).  I’m happy I wrote anything at all!  Next month, with the cruise and spring finally coming (maybe) I’m hoping to see more progress.

Ughhh how do you guys all do winter?!  Winter is the worst.

Adventures in the real world!

We are less than a month away from the Transatlantic Cruise, mes amis!  I am dreaming of long, luxurious soaks in the hot tub and watching glorious sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean.  Also we set sail 3 days after the Titanic sank… so you know, pray that there are no icebergs and what not.

Work has exploded.  I have so much to do, I am tearing my hair out.  I sat down with my manager on Thursday and basically told her I am strung out and something needs to change.  She is marvelous and made changes immediately and OMG I love my manager.  So I am feeling positive as I write this that things will change permanently and my job will be a healthier place for me to be.

In compensation for my overwhelming stress, my husband and I planned a second vacation in September and realized that for the first time in our lives, we have the luxury of being able to travel more than once a year, to multiple locations.  We were feeling very grown up.  So we booked a trip to Disney.

In these respects, life is good.  I’m at a turning point for better mental health, and it’s going to be great.

What’s Coming Next?

I told myself at the beginning of the year that I was going to slow down on the blog posts and I haven’t.  I believe I had two days this month where I didn’t have any posts, and January and February were both daily.  Nobody has time to read that much, and I don’t have time to write it.

In late February and in March, I felt myself running out of steam.  I’ve maintained this pace by posting way ahead and using my weekend to push out between two and five content (non-review) posts.  Bloggers – you know this stuff.  Posts take a minimum of an hour to write.  I was usurping a lot of my free time.  While this system works and works very well, it’s not great on my mental health when my leisure time is already short.  Instead of working on my novel or seeing friends, I was writing blog posts.

I burnt out, guys.

You won’t see the effects of this in March, because of the way I schedule posts, but you will witness it in April and early May.  I have a few prescheduled posts in early April, but after that… nothing.

Until my life schedule changes, I need to make sure I have time for self-care and to not let myself worry about my stats.  More posting and linkups mean better stats, but that doesn’t meant the content is good, or that I’m happy.

So here’s what you will see, coming up.

  • In April, I have a few Shadow Gang posts left.
  • Book reviews!  I’m writing them for Goodreads anyway and as long as I finish a book, you will get a review!
  • Whatever I feel like writing.

I have prompt drafts for the next six months on Tuesdays and Fridays for the two memes I regularly participate in (and haven’t linked up to in weeks! Even though I’ve written the posts….) and if I am in a good place, I’ll write those posts.  If I’m not, I won’t.

And maybe sometimes, I’ll even write a check-in on the weekends.  I’ve always loved writing and reading those sorts things, as long as they’re content based and not random lists of books.

I’m also going through my blogroll and trimming it down.  I presently have 203 followed blogs and I’d like to get that to somewhere under 50.  I’ll talk about that more another time.

I hope you all have had an incredible March with a lot more joy and vitality than mine! 🙂 I look forward to our Adventures in April and with sharing them all with you!  Thank you, as always, for being here and supporting my passion and sharing my love of the written word.



What did everyone do this month?  Did you get a lot of reading done?  Did you start on a new WIP?  Did you go on any grand (or small!) adventures?  I want to hear all about your experiences – let me know in the comments!

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4 responses to “March Wrap Up

  1. I’m excited about To Kill a Kingdom and I’ve heard nothing but great things about Children of Blood and Bone! I also am very excited for Ace of Shades the more I read about it!

    I haven’t been writing much myself either since last summer really. If I got to 1000 words in total since July it’ll be a lot. That’s great about your work though! Glad you have such a great manager. And I would book a trip to Disney if I could omg.

    It’s totally okay to take things slow for a while. If I hear how you’ve been blogging, it’s no wonder you ran out of steam! Take some time to take care of yourself and your mental health for a while. I’ve only just returned from a long blogging break because I was burnt out myself and feel a lot better now!

    Bee (Quite The Novel Idea / Novel Ink) recently posted: How To Blog When Life Gets In The Way
    • Amber

      Children of Blood and Bone is so well executed. You REALLY get wrapped up in the story, which is precisely what I like in my fantasy. I’ve read a few reviews that say the plot is weak and the characters flat and the world underdeveloped which is NOT my experience AT ALL. I’m itching for the next book – I really hope you enjoy it when you read it!

      Disney is The Trip my hubby and I keep coming back to – every time we say “ugh, we need a vacation” we end up on Disney’s website. We actually went back in 2013, but it was poorly planned and we burnt ourselves our pretty quickly. This time we’re sticking strictly to the 4 Disney parks (no Universal, no Busch Gardens) and going to let ourselves take it easy. I can’t wait to share pictures and what not when we get back! … In 6 months, haha.

  2. OK so I desperately need Gun Slinger Girl. It sounds phenomenal.
    I loved Children of Blood and Bone, I couldn’t put it down.
    I did find To Kill A Kingdom a little disappointing, but that was mostly down to the lack of description. I still don’t know what the mermaids look like and not only have I finished and reviewed it, but I’ve discussed it with about ten people haha.
    Cora |

    • Amber

      The big thing I’ve heard about To Kill A Kingdom is that it is not quite so piraty as advertised, which is a super bummer for me. Every year I go on a mad hunt for amazing pirate books (especially lady pirates – Lila Bard is basically a dream come true for me), and they’re pretty difficult to find. So I had really high hopes for this one and I am slooooowly bringing them down before reading it, just in case.