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?
The Monthly Haul
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!
All the things I’ve been reading
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!
Magic and Mischief on the Blog
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 every weekend.
If you haven’t been around much this month, here’s my top post and most popular review!
What Have I been Scribbling?
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”.
Adventures in the real world!
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.
What’s Coming Next?
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!
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!