June Wrap Up

Posted June 25, 2018 by Amber in Checking In / 15 Comments

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June is already gone, and what an unexpected month it has been.  For me, June has been a month that has required patience – at work and at home, and with my reading.  As I write this, though, my house is peacefully quiet and it smells like barbecue pulled pork, so it important to find all the little things are cling to them lovingly.

All in all, June has been a good month.  It went by so fast, but doesn’t it seem like they all do, by the time we hit the wrap up?

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Y’all know how I keep going on and on about The Great Bookcase Crusade and how I have WAY TOO MANY books and how I need to start raising my standards?  In a fit of pure self-control, I cancelled all my subscription boxes.

That’s right, loves.  Every single one of them.

I love my book boxes.  I love the surprise!  But after sitting down and really thinking about it, it became pretty clear that I was accumulating more bookish swag than I knew what to do with, and that I don’t need anything more on my hardcopy TBR right now.  I’ve stopped requesting new ARCs, too.  I just need to get through the books I own.  Starting with my 2018 debuts.  So that’s what I’m doing!

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Last month, I discussed how life was getting really busy over the summer and work was crazy and I was really going to have to slow down and that I wouldn’t have too many reads/posts in June.

I am hilarious.

Faced with too much on my plate, I absolutely delved into the blog last month.  By June 15th, I had posts scheduled for every single day, and I’ve had to start doubling up on reviews because, well, I’m reading like crazy all of a sudden.  And it feels great!  And it was very unexpected.

Highlights this month include:

Graceling / ★★★★★– This book made me think more than any book has since The Night Circus.  I really enjoyed this one.

A Great and Terrible Beauty / ★★★★  – Wow, how did I miss this one in high school?  Libba Bray’s writing is beautiful!

The Nightmare Effect / ★★★ – This book was republished by one of my favorite people.  Totally unexpected!  So pleased she asked me to review it, even if it was wicked hard to get out of my editing mindset (even though it’s been 7 years!).

Please note:  The books in this list with zero stars?  Those are actually DNFs.  I’ll talk a little more about that formatting later. 🙂  Don’t worry, I haven’t gone and given terrible star ratings to my DNF’d books!

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Remember Meilyssa from last month?  Yeahhh, she’s Myra now.  For those of you who are writers, do you every run into a characters whose name doesn’t fit?  Thank goodness for ctrl + f – I’ve gone back and changed all the “Meilyssa”s to “Myra”.  it works better.  I like the simplicity.

I am already struggling with direction.  I was thinking the other day about when I was in high school and how I couldn’t hold down a single book, either.  I was working on Fate back then (always), but I have three other novels on the side (most still unfinished).  It wasn’t until I tried NaNoWrimo in 2011 that I was truly able to get my stuff together….

I have different problems with NaNo, but… anyway… I’ve written a little this month.  I’ve switched to Pages?  I have issues with platform.  I want something universal to all my devices.  Both Word and Pages are, but I can’t access either at work because our internal servers block both iCloud and OneDrive.

Here are the first three paragraphs as I’ve got them in Pages right now.  A whopping 844 words, so I am not overly impressed with myself.

I’m tentatively calling this novel The Lady of Shadows.  I’m not in love with the title, but it’s better than “Unnamed Bounty Hunter Fantasy”.

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Early in June, I went on a Google Treasure Hunt to try and figure out how to do something with my Ultimate Book Blogger plug in and ended up running into the Book Library plugin over at Nosegraze.  I really, really like this plugin.  There’s only a couple of downsides – I have to manually fill my books, and it refuses to let me customize my entries.  Ergo, I am using it for its other glorious function – the Archive.

Is that not so pretty?  It’s a lot better than the endless text lists (which are still available). I’m working on duplicating my entries over to that system because it makes it SO easy to import book grids (see above!!!) and I get a bunch beautiful stats in the backend.  Did you know my most successful genres this year has been high fantasy, adventure, and LGBTQ+?  Me neither!  Cool, right?

This is going to let me import reviews without actually posting them on the blog – which is amazing for DNFs.  It also links multiple reviews for the same book if I have them, and allows a better search.  I really like it.  The plugin is free source and there’s no support for it, but I’m happy with the archive function.

The two places where Book Library doesn’t work for me are to input book info directly into reviews and when I use a book grid, DNFs show up as zero stars.  However, UBB is still a great tool for on blog reviews, and UBB does the same thing with the DNFs, so I’m still pretty happy.

Otherwise, I’ve still been hard at work replacing old featured images and reformatting posts for the current theme.  I’ve made it all the way back to the post theme I had last summer, so I’m making good progress.

You can see where the breaks are – the #15MF post and readathon follow-up have been changed, but not the rest yet.  I’m on page 34 of 78, so almost halfway done?  I try to do 2-3 pages very weekend.

If you haven’t been around much this month, here’s my top post and most popular review!

  

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I love the summer months, because I love the opportunities of what I can do in the summer.  In June, I took full advantage of the outdoor activities of things I enjoy.  Which, okay, was going to barbecue with friends and going to the drive-in. I’m soooo not an outdoorsy person.  But I love that we have sunshine again!  I am all about the sunshine.

One thing that kills me is that Renaissance Faire season has now come and gone.  I purposely avoided the Faires this year because I spend so much money at them and Matt and I have expensive vacations booked, not to mention we are trying to save for a downpayment on a house and the market is really bad for buyers so we have to save a lot and it’s going to take a couple years.  Every penny counts!

Seriously though, if you went to a Ren Faire this summer, regale me with your stories.  My soul longs for them.

Every June, there’s a precious gems and minerals show in a nearby town, and I got every few years.  I’m a sucker for raw and natural-looking gemstone jewelry.  I’m going to do a small post about it soon, so I won’t talk to much.  It’s just a fun, different sort of thing and it’s interesting.

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In July, I’m looking forward to keeping up the pace with new books.  I’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale (finally) and was so in love with it and inspired that I wrote a quick book vs. film feature on it.  I really like writing up that feature and have made a mental note to do that every time I see a movie or tv show based on a book I’ve read.  It’s fun!

Also in July I’m going to talk about my favorite short story ever, and there’s scheduled Top Ten Tuesday post all about books that are old and we don’t want people to forget about.  I LOVE that prompt!

Aaaand on July 12th I’m getting all 4 wisdom teeth pulled.  It’s going to be horrible.  Is it sad though I’m excited to have the time off work?  I’m a weird cookie.

Well I guess that’s all for June, then!  Thanks, as always, for sticking around through this endless monthly wrap up post!  These are some of my favorite posts to write, and I hope you find them interesting as well.  I hope everyone has a safe, happy, and healthy July!

Stay tuned!

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Have you been to any Renaissance Faires this year?

What was your favorite part of July?

Have you read any good books lately?
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15 responses to “June Wrap Up

    • Amber

      I will, I will! 🙂 My focus is completely on debuts after I finish my current hardcopy read, and since ATPN is a debut it’s on the shortlist! 😀

      Thank you!!

  1. Kathy Martin

    It has been a few years since I’ve attended a Renaissance Fair. They are summer things and usually unbearably hot. I like your organization and your resolution to read what you have. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    • Amber

      We’re really lucky that most of ours are in the spring, so the weather is usually really nice. Maybe rainy but overall nice. 🙂

  2. Having your wisdom teeth pulled sucks, but it isn’t the worst thing ever. You get to eat lots of ice cream and mashed potatoes and other soft foods, so that’s a win…

  3. Good luck with the wisdom teeth. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be when I had mine removed. I went back to work less than 24 hours later as I was in the midst of planning a big event at work (I didn’t plan well when I schedule the wisdom teeth). I want to read Radium Girls.

    • Amber

      Thank you for that – I always get nervous about any type of surgery, however minor. Always good to hear things went well. The doctors always tell you all those things that can go wrong, it always feels like a laundry list of “this will be your life now”! 🙁

      Radium Girls is heartbreaking, but fantastic. I hope you get to it any enjoy!

  4. Jo

    You have some books listed I’ve been interested in reading – The Radium Girls, The Anatomist’s Wife, The Lies of Locke Lamora… I’m glad to see they all rated pretty well.

    I love Ren Faires. We usually go to one in Wisconsin (around August), but we won’t be this year. Last year we got there and realized we left the tickets at home. I ended up paying for new tickets, and since there was only one more possible weekend, the first batch of tickets (4 adult!) went unused. =O As a result, we are taking a break this year. Because, yeah, it is already not cheap and then we pull a stunt like that…

    • Amber

      Oh no, that stinks! All the ones we’ve been to have been little ones, but I’d really like to go to King Richard’s Faire sometime, and since it’s in the late autumn it seems like a possibility (I always forget about it!).

      All three of those books are really good! I will give a small warning about The Lies of Locke Lamora – the first 30% is really difficult to get through because he’s setting up the characters, situation and world. The rest of it is intense, though! Really nerve-wracking in a good way. 🙂

  5. Ah I LOVED Graceling!

    I have to say, if renaissance faires are a thing in the UK then I am completely oblivious to them, although we DO get a lot of historical reenactments at castles with accompanying crafts where the craftsmen dress in period dress etc. I enjoy attending those. 🙂

    I feel your pain about downpayments and house buying! We’re in the process of buying our first and my head feels like it’ll explode between mortgage brokers and lawyers. I’m sure it’ll all be worth it in the end! :/

    • Amber

      Ah, so maybe Ten Faires aren’t essential for y’all because you have real castles! 😀 I only *wish* we had proper castles here.

      Oh my gosh, lay your knowledge down on me about home buying. We are seriously considering moving closer to where we work (we’re 87mi out) so that even though our rent would go up about 30%, we can bide our time better. It’s largely this horribly commute that has be itching to buy now. That and societal expectations lol. The market is so so bad in the area we want to buy right now that we could get a house the size of our apartment with no land for $250k… and I’m just not willing to do that. 🙁