In Which It’s Too Hot, I Do Two Readathons, & I Bombard You With Reviews: The July Wrap Up!

Posted August 5, 2019 by Amber in Checking In / 2 Comments


Good morning everyone!

I’ll be completely honest, July didn’t go quite the way I was expecting in the book department!  That’s not a bad thing, but it was different!  I was planning to join with the Camp NaNoWriMo spirit and do a lot of writing and learning about writing, and instead I ended up participating in two readathons! It’s been fun but stressful.  It’s also been hot here in New England!  The heat waves have been coming by brutally, so it’s be a good time to read.

And the reading?  The reading was good this month.  I actually delayed this wrap up a week from when I originally intended to drop it because I wanted to spread out all my reviews at the end of the month a little better so there wasn’t so much review-spam.  Thank you / I’m sorry!

So, mes chers, lets talk books!


I did a little picking here and there this month, but overall, this is a lot better than last month!  I picked up The Light Fantastic and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making for the Reading Rush, both books that have been on my TBR for YEARS.  I’ve read a few different Discworld novels – that’s the beauty of Discworld, because each book more or less stands alone, so I’ve read some all over the universe.  No other Rincewind novels, though, so that was a fun buy.  Readathons have pushed a lot of my book choices this month as I’ve tried to get ahold of books to fit challenges.

Also – Spin the Dawn finally came!  Now that it’s out in the world, I hope you all are enjoying it!  Now I’m just waiting for House of Salt and Sorrows in August *glances knowingly at one of her subscription boxes*.


The month started out slow, so it was really the readathons that helped me dig into my TBR.  The Off-the-Grid Readathon halfway through the month helped make a dent in my stack of ARCs, so those aren’t reflected here, but it was great because I’ve been feeling a bit dragged down by them.  Don’t get me wrong – I genuinely appreciate my ARCs.  Many of them have been such good books!  But I have a whole bookcase full of wonderful books I’ve read and many I haven’t… I haven’t pulled anything from my TBR Jar in months.  All audiobooks and ARCs.

The Reading Rush was a great thing for me this year.  It broke the ARC cycle for me, even though one of my reads was an ARC.  That was really nice.  I intend to join in next year, and hopefully plan a little better beforehand.


House of Salt and Sorrows / ★★★★★ – I’m not incredibly familiar with Twelve Dancing Princesses, but I requested this ARC based on the hype and I felt like it held up beautifully.  The aesthetic is beautiful, and the depth of character in all the sisters was amazing.  If House of Salt and Sorrows isn’t on your TBR, it’s a great read!

11/22/63 / ★★★★ Having watched the miniseries a few years ago, I strongly suspected I was going to enjoy this book.  Stephen King is hit or miss for me, but outside of his Dark Tower series, 11/22/63 is my favorite.  King writes suspense well, and because there’s such a depth of history here and only one POV, I felt like it flowed better than some of his other work.  Really good.

Rebecca / ★★★★ – A classic book that flies under the radar these days… Rebecca was really, really good.  I’m a little hesitant about gothic fiction after because burned by the Brontes and Dickens, but this one is worth picking up even if you’ve had bad experiences in gothic lit.  The whole ending was defined by unexpected twists and I just LOVED it.

Also, Tess of the Road.  ALWAYS Tess of the Road.


Last month, I challenged myself to complete Margaret Atwood’s MasterClass about Creative writing.  While I didn’t actually finish the class in July, I think this was a very successful experiment.  Margaret Atwood has a wonderful way of teaching and she’s subtly funny and all in all a very wise woman.

There were two things that delayed my completion of the course:  I got stuck on a writing assignment, and I got waylaid by readathons.  The first was lesson three, where the homework was to pick three elements and write a story.  It took me two days to put anything down, and it was only a scene, barely related.  It felt like trying to run in the ocean.  It took me a week to acknowledge that particular assignment was one I would have to return to.  So about a week later, I did lesson four.  It went smooth, so I figured I was back on track.

Then the readathons came.  Having only a limited amount of time for hobbies, I gave that time to reading for the rest of the month.

I plan to continue with Margaret Atwood’s class.  I really enjoyed the classes I did take, and I’m looking forward to doing more through the rest of the summer.


In the last few days, I’ve gone back to Fate.  This book is my first love, one I’ve written and re-written since I was a kid.  My friend at work who is AMAZING finished her WIP and has agreed to be my CP and she’s wonderful and I’m terrified to give this book to her.  There’s some fundamental issues with passive voice, tense, and one super important aspect of the plot that I’m fixing chapter-by-chapter before I give it to her… but this is so exciting.  And really scary.


Favorite Post:  Where are all the Tamora Pierce Fans At? (+ My Ten Favorites) #TopTenTuesday

I’d been wanting to do a Tamora Pierce-centric post on this blog for a while, because as an author, she meant so much to me growing up.  Her heroines were everything.  This post is a bit Tamora Pierce-lite, but I’m still really glad to be seeing it doing so well.  It’s wonderful to connect with her other fans (seriously one of my favorite things) and also to have the opportunity to introduce others to her work.

Other Popular July Posts:  Fact: I am Terrible at Marketing My Blog (This is Not an Advice Post) & Dishonor on You, Dishonor on Your Cow, and Also HI! It’s the Disney Sidekick Tag!

Popular Old Posts This Month: Gumbo is the Queen of Delicious Soups (+ Recipe) & Magic Kingdom: Where The Magic Began (In Florida) (Disney Pt. 4)

Favorite Review:  House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

I’m super excited about the popularity of this review because I really loved this book!  I heard some great feedback from you guys about this book and how you were all excited to read it as well.  I’ll be out in the world TOMORROW so I hope you all stop by and tell me what you thought about it!!!

Other Popular July Reviews:  Dear Martin by Nic StoneRebecca by Daphne du Maurier


So July has been a lot.

Outside of reading stuff, there’s been another changeover at work and I’ve been trying to help a friend through some things.  With all the chaos and drama, I have to admit that my own mental health hasn’t been that good this month.  A lot of anxiety, and my mind feels like it’s been constantly churning.  It’s been difficult for me to level out.  I need to get away and wind down, but that’s not until late November, so I’m just going to have to make due for now.

Maybe I’ll take a mental health day sometime in August. *sigh*

We saw Spider-Man: Far From Home earlier in July and it was good, better than I was expecting.  I genuinely like Tom Holland, but I’m a bit burnt out on Marvel and very burnt out on Spider-Man.  Still, it’s worth seeing!  Now that SDCC is behind us and we know where the the MCU is heading sort of, it feels like this one is going to be instrumental in the next pivot.

Also, can we talk MCU for a second?  Is anyone else feeling like there’s going to be major Marvel burnout before the end of 2021?  I’m pumped for Thor 4 (love Lady Thor) and Black Panther 2 and the Loki TV show… but other than that?  I feel like the MCU is moving away from the light, humorous balance and into something darker and more dramatic with their upcoming line up.  Plus there are a lot of TV shows.  Too many simultaneous TV shows.  I may check out WandaVision just because I like the Scarlet Witch (but not Vision)… but otherwise, I’m not sold.  Except for Loki, obviously.

I dunno.  We’ll see.


And speaking of TV shows, I am taking my time and slowly ingesting Stranger Things, so no spoilers in this space!

Other movies worth noting?  Yesterday was SO GOOD and I love the Beatles and I love that it was sort of a dystopia situation?  It never tried to be a biopic and was just generally a far better story than I expected.  I really enjoyed it, more than I expected to.  One of my favorite movies this month!

Otherwise, lets see.  Matt saw Stuber and really liked it.  We both went to Once Upon a Time In Hollywood… and… okay so I feel like I’m not allowed to say anything bad about Quentin Tarantino films?  The acting was fantastic and the sets were breathtaking and the story… went absolutely nowhere.  I was so bored.  BUT.  I would never call myself a Tarantino fanatic and the more of his work I see, the less I enjoy.  Leonardo diCaprio and Brad Pitt were fantastic.  All three of Margot Robbie’s lines were well delivered?  Yeah, that’s about all I’ve got for you there.

We just saw Hobbs & Shaw this past weekend and it was what you’d expect from a buddy comedy / action flick.  I enjoy The Rock and was thus generally entertained.  Great cameos by Ryan Reynolds and Kevin Hart.  Worth a laugh, but ridiculously unrealistic and not in line with the usual Fast & Furious films (aside from the disregard for physics).


I don’t have a lot of particular plans for next month, but with only Foul is Fair remaining in my ARC TBR, I’m really excited to start bringing out some different books!  There’s still quite a few scheduled unboxings coming in August, but it’s flow-over from June and July.  I’m going to be cutting down on boxes in the future because I don’t plan to order so many, so that will clear up a bit. After OwlCrate and Illumicrate finish in September, I think we’re going to have better content into the winter months.  That’s my goal, anyway.

I’ve got tags coming in August, starting with a fun one by Loretta @ Laughin’ Listener that went terribly and horribly against me… so be sure to come back and laugh at my misfortune.  Lol.


How was your July?  I’m actually happy to be moving into August… I’m looking forward to what I hope will be an easier go at it, but I’m grateful for everything I have even when I’m a bit frazzled.  Tell me the good things about your month!

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2 responses to “In Which It’s Too Hot, I Do Two Readathons, & I Bombard You With Reviews: The July Wrap Up!

    • Amber

      AHHHH I AM SO EXCITED. I hope you love it. People tend to either love it or be really bored. One of my favorite books though. 💕💕💕💕💕