May Wrap Up

Posted May 28, 2018 by Amber in Checking In / 40 Comments


Sometime in the midst of May, summer arrived!

When I left to go to Europe, there was a snowstorm on our tail, following us from New Hampshire all the way up to Manhattan. When I came back, it was 80-degrees outside!  That, in a brief description, is New England weather.  I love it and I hate it, but overall I’m really glad to see the sunshine.

Mentally and emotionally, May is a difficult month for me.  I’ll talk about that a little more later, but lets start, as always, with the books!

The Monthly Haul

The breakdown:

ARCs/Freebies from Publishers: The Story GirlLIFEL1K3, The Poet X
Subscription Boxes: 100 Ways to Improve Your WritingThe Beloveds (Scribbler)I Capture the Castle, The Reader, Sky in the Deep (PageHabit), Beyond a Darkened Shore (Fairyloot), Sky in the Deep (again!), Catching Stars (OwlCrate), The Smoke Thieves (Scribbler).
Indulgences: Radium Girls, Love and Other Carnivorous Plants

The Story Girl popped up for request while I was in the middle of Anne of the Island and I knew I had to have it.  I’m aware L. M. Montgomery has written stories other than Anne’s, but I haven’t read them. I was  so excited for this, and it didn’t quite pay off.

However!  I’m only 20 pages into Radium Girls and WOW is it good.

All the things I’ve been reading

Intro to reading

13 books found














Even though I technically read some of these in April or earlier, the reviews didn’t make it to the blog until now.  I had a great start!  A couple 5 star reviews are the best way to start a reading month!  Seriously, I can’t recommend The Hate U Give highly enough.

Otherwise this month, I really enjoyed Clariel and Etiquette & Espionage.  One was a dark villain origin story, the other a quirky fun steampunk.  Also Just One Damned Thing After Another!  I had quite a few fun books this month, loves, and it was great.

Oh!  That reminds me!

I completed my Goodreads reading goal earlier this month!  The School for Good and Evil was book #52, and Goodreads congratulated me with all the traditional confetti.  I hadn’t thought about where I was at, number wise, as I was reading, so this came as a surprise!

I always set my starter goal at 52 – that’s a book/week.  I’ve always felt like that’s quite a lot of reading?  I know that not everyone may agree.  Goodness, there are bloggers who read 200+ books every year.  I’ve always felt quite good if I read 52.

Anyways, I reset my goal for this year at 75 books, 150% (ish) of my original goal. I  expect to pass that one too.  Last year I read 97 books and that was half-hearted… I didn’t even start reading seriously until last April.  So… here’s to 2018 being my best year!


Magic and Mischief on the Blog

This month, I’ve changed a little bit of the blog.

I know, I know!  I’m not supposed to do that!

It’s just the archive pages, not a big deal.  I’ve changed it to be featured images only and vertical.  I was going across some of my graphic archives on my computer and found a new template I really like, and it works with book covers as well, so that’s the reason for the change.  Hopefully it didn’t confuse anyone! 🙂

Otherwise, I’ve been sharing my “transatlantic adventures“!  I hope you have been enjoying them – I know they’re a little journal-esque and travel is outside of my norm.  I hope you are liking the pictures.  I have three more posts in that series left, then it’ll be done!

What Have I been Scribbling?

I had some time to write last month while I was away, but in the interim I’ve struggled.  I’m a morning person, so not only am I most vibrant then, but I dome best work in the morning.  One of my writing goals in June is to use the extra time I have in the morning before work.  I always get to work about half an hour early (I’ve a long drive and build in flex time for weather and accidents) and unfortunately what I typically do in that time is work unpaid.  Nobody asks it of me, but I get drawn in.  There’s no reason I shouldn’t be using that time for writing, as I used to do.

I did manage some self-control a couple days in the last week, and wrote this scene, which was fun.

It’s not my strongest work, but it amused me to write and hopefully will tie in to some things later in the tale.

Adventures in the real world!

May is a difficult month for me, because last year I lost my second pregnancy in a row in May, and May is also Mother’s Day.  It’s sort of this bitter reminder of so many unhappy things that I feel like my soul dims a bit.  I was out of work on short-term disability for nearly the entirety of last June, with a heavy weight of sadness burying me.  This June, I am going to try to be happier.

You’d think, after all this time, it would be easier.  It isn’t.  I’m not complaining, just being honest.  It’s heavy and exhausting and my limbs feel like lead.

Otherwise, I’ve been blessed with lovely weather and good movies this month.  My husband and I saw Infinity War at the beginning of the month, and that was a rush!

Not going to post spoilers here, because it’s a big movie and I don’t want to ruin it for everyone, but honestly?  I was bored until about the last fifteen minutes.  I like multiple perspectives, but there were so many, and the pacing was very slow.  The last fifteen, though?  I was not prepared like I thought I was prepared, and I’ll leave it at that.

We also went to see Deadpool 2.  Any Deadpool fans out there?  He’s a tricky one – either you love him or you hate him.  I’ve been on the Deadpool bandwagon… gods… I don’t even remember when I first started liking Deadpool.  Years and years before the first movie, and definitely before the X-Men travesty of him.

This was right on the money, though.

Yeah, okay, there were a couple moments of “seriously, did you just go there?”  But overall we got Cable and Domino who were both fantastic characters, a great big pile of puns, innuendos, bad jokes, and pop culture references.  More pop culture references than I can count.

Only thing I didn’t approve of what the awkward legs scene (you’ll know it when you see it) and Deadpool’s professed love of dubstep.  Because of the latter, my husband won’t let me hear the end of it.

If you do see it, there’s a credits scene that’s totally fantastic.  10/10 approve of it.

!!! Oh, another positive point is that Matt and I both got new bikes, and there’s several trails pretty close to our house.  I am quickly learning how HORRIBLY out of shape I am, but other than the leg pain and gasping for air, it’s been fun!

What’s Coming Next?

June is going to be a very busy work month for me, so I’ve spent the last couple weeks doing my darnedest to write a bunch of posts ahead of time.  There are two reasons for this:

  1. Work is in need of a Team Lead.  That is to say… we have three, but one is out on medical leave and the other one is needed in her group as they’re frightfully shorthanded.  So that leaves me, Mrs. Incredible… and I’m going to be awesome. And tired.
  2. As many of you know, I work in finance.  In order to keep climbing the ladder (yay…?) I’m going to be eventually required to take some FINRA exams.  Last week, I ordered study materials for one of these and I am capitally Not Happy about the whole thing.  I’d rather be learning Italian, or reading fiction, and instead, I get to learn about stocks and bonds.  Yaayyyyyy.

What I do have for you is three more peeks into the touristy side of Europe.  I have discussions about my blogging image and some really lousy fantasy worlds that you’d never want to live in, and even books for being angry.  And that’s just for the next week!

I’m also hoping to finish up Wolves of the Calla in June, and I’m just starting Radium Girls for the Our Shared Shelf book club.  Here’s hoping I still get to read a few fun books, even with the studying!


How was your May?

Did you get any reading done this month?

Have you seen either Avengers: Infinity War or Deadpool 2?

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40 responses to “May Wrap Up

  1. I’m so sorry to hear that May was a difficult month for you *hugs* I hope June will be a lot better <3

    I really love that snippet of your writing by the way, even though I have no clue what's going on haha. It's so vivid and charming 🙂

    • Amber

      Aw thank you! The scene really does demand context (*note to self for next month) but basically she’s walking through town in a dirty, bloody mess after she’s just fought a demon… carrying a sack with the demon’s head behind her. The boys were naturally curious. 😛

  2. Danielle

    So sorry you had a bittersweet Mother’s Day. You’ll be a new mom yet!! I think I asked you this before but have you and Matt thought about adopting or IVF? Infinity War was AMAZINGGGG!!!! I haven’t seen Deadpool 2 yet though and I won’t be able to until I get back from my second niece’s high school graduation in TX. Where’s that 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing Book from? I’m always ready to enhance my skills. 😉

    • Amber

      Adoption is probably what we’ll do down the road, but all of a sudden my career is making lots of demands from me and we have to start rearranging our life plans and getting our affairs in order to buy a house when our lease is up next spring. Which is more stress than I want to think about at the moment, so I’m shutting that thought away for the next three months!

      The book came in the April Scribbler box, though I imagine you can get it through Amazon or anywhere. 🙂 I’m always down for stuff like that, too!

    • Amber

      Ohmygosh yes Deadpool. It was such a blast – I’m ready to see it again! Any movie that makes me laugh like a fool is okay in my book XD

  3. Great haul, I want to read a lot of those. Congrats on smashing your Goodreads goal! I enjoyed the excerpt of your writing and I’m curious about what Meilyssa has in her bag. I’m seeing Deadpool 2 tomorrow, can’t wait. I loved Infinity War, even though it had its flaws. I’m sorry that May is such a tough month for you. Don’t feel like you have to project a happy persona all the time; there’s no time limit on grief. <3

    • Amber

      Haha, since the reader already knows at that point, I’ll tell you – it’s a rotting demon’s head. Pretty much exactly what she said. XD She’s very… glamourous… 😛

      I really hope you enjoy Deadpool 2! I think that anyone who enjoyed the first one will like the second, but he’s definitely an acquired taste for some. 🙂 Let me know what you thought!

  4. Awesome books! I also want to read Obscura. If life ever slowed down, I might be bored but I could do with a day or two of laying around reading. I covered for a maternity leave at work last fall during our busy season. Exhausting. I hope you get some time to relax and read even with the busy schedule. Anne – Books of My Heart

    Northwoman recently posted: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff
    • Amber

      Yup, you never quite appreciate certain people until they are gone! The person I’m covering for doubles as a co-worker of my same level and a friend, so I’ll miss him on both counts. Will be glad to have him back in July!

    • Amber

      Thanks! I’m hoping to realistically get up over 100 just like you, but I make it easy on myself so I don’t stress the numbers. 🙂 After all, not all books are the same size and quality. 😉

  5. Yay for summer! It’s gotten hot here too… I just finished Sky in the deep, and am looking forward to Obscura.

    Nice writing! I like it.

    Infinity war- same. It was a little too long, and too many perspectives- I completely agree.

    • Amber

      I hope you enjoy Obscura! I liked it more than I thought I would – it was a little out of my norm. 🙂

    • Amber

      Oooh, I really hope you like Deadpool 2 when you see it! It’s so much fun, and I feel like I missed so many jokes, too! Can’t wait to see it again when it comes out!

  6. We loved Infinity War as well Great Haul of books! I hope you love Sky in the Deep, smoke Thieves and Poet X as much as I did. I also enjoyed We were Liars and ADORED THUG. I’ll add Etiquette & Espionage to me TBR! Hoping to get to LifeLik3 next week. wow so many books in common we have! 🙂

    • Amber

      I’m so glad to hear those three are good! I haven’t heard *anything* about Sky In the Deep, and a few positives for The Poet X… but I’ve only heard disappointing reviews about The Smoke Thieves… glad to hear someone out there liked it!

    • Amber

      So far, The Radium Girls is really good, but in a horrifying way. Kate Moore describes the girls’ symptoms so well – it really makes you grateful not to have been one of them. 🙁 I hope you enjoy it when you get there!

        • Amber

          But definitely a great read! I’d still recommend it! 😀 It’s probably one of my Top 3 Non-Fiction books. 🙂

          • That’s a high ranking! Good to know. I just checked with my library. They have both hardcopies AND the kindle format! But all are checked out now so I’ll have to put it on hold.

  7. So sorry that you have to deal with your sorrow in May. I am glad that you push through.
    Lots of interesting looking books you have for May. Enjoy your bicycling and Happy Reading!

    • Amber

      Thank so much! I’m really looking forward to a lovely summer. 🙂 I hope you have a good one, too!

    • Amber

      Hi Rachel – welcome to The Literary Phoenix! <3

      It is quite exciting to have that pop up - it's the little things, right? How many books do you have to go until you get there?