In Which I Actually Work on my WIP & Read Shakespeare Retellings: The August Wrap Up!

Posted August 26, 2019 by Amber in Checking In / 5 Comments


Hello beautiful people and welcome to the August wrap up!

Heyyy remember when I said last month that my mental health was fairly poor, so I wanted to take a step back and try and re-center myself, etc. etc.?  Well, that didn’t happen until about halfway through August once I tore myself out of the temptation of readathons and had a whole weekend without books.

It was pretty difficult for me, but I think it was needed.  I’d been reading so much that my escape was becoming a chore and I was going into overload.  You may not notice it because of the slew of book reviews in August, but really… those were mostly readathon books.  I’m trying to do a better job of taking care of myself, because I feel like I owe it to you guys to give you some good content.  And I don’t think I’ve written up a discussion post in a couple months.  Also just because… I owe it to myself?  It’s a lot easier to let my health deteriorate – mental and physical – than to build it back up again.  So I’m trying to do better.

Lets go over August, then I’ll tell you about my plans for September!


A little bit of an end-of-July haul snuck into August thanks to various shipping times, but other than that, I’m really happy with my haul for this month.  Readathon buys, that flow-over haul, and book boxes contribute to a lot of this, but otherwise?  I limited myself to one ARC and only one book.

So.  My one independent exciting book purchase this month was The Dragon Republic.  I preordered the special edition from Illumicrate months ago, and it finally came in!  I’ve got to be honest – I was absolutely floored by how thick it was.  I was expecting something sized closer to The Poppy War… but that just means this one will be twice as good?  Because it’s definitely twice as thick.

Also?  I’m stupid excited about The 10th Kingdom.  This is one of those flow-over haul books I mentioned, but I’ve been keeping an eye out for it for years.  Growing up, I absolutely fell in love with the mini-series, and I’ve watched it a couple times since.  I think the premise is still a really good retelling (especially for its time – they were a bit less rampant in 2000) and yeah I know it’s a TV tie-in, but I’m still looking forward to reading it. 🙂


I credit a lot of my reading this month to the eight books I devoured for Retelling-a-Thon.  While it was a fun experience, led me to some interesting books I would not have tried, and helped push forward a few of my TBR books… I’m happy to take a step back from readathons for a little while.  Losing is never an option for me, and I push myself too hard.


Outside of the readathon books, I actually picked up some I really enjoyed this month, and they’ve been on my TBR for an eternity.  I’ll highlight my favorites below, as always, but I do want to shout out to The Girl the Sea Gave Back for being so aesthetically pleasing (even when I didn’t love the story) and How to Be a Woman because it made me stifle so many giggles at work.  Neither makes my top three, but they’re worth mentioning!


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue / ★★★★★ – Yes yes yes I know.  Everyone has been shouting at me to read this since I started blogging and honestly?  I’ve always meant to.  But it hadn’t come up yet on my TBR until NOW and OH MY GOSH I loved it very much.  The humor and history are both amazing.  Looking forward to The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky and of course The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy.

How to Be a Woman / ★★★★ While fully admitting that I didn’t agree with everything, I’ve got to give How to Be a Woman a little bit of spotlight.  I absolutely adore Caitlin Moran’s writing style.  While I liked How to Build a Girl better, this one definitely madam laugh out loud.

Speak Easy, Speak Love / ★★★★ 1/2 – I heard whispers about this when it first came out, then it dropped off the face of the earth.  Still, you can’t hide a Much Ado About Nothing retelling from me forever.  Once I got into the flow of the story, I loved this one to pieces.  So many great characters and it did a great job honoring the play.  Um, plus the amazing 1920s stuff.  And Mackenzi Lee blurbed it, so I pretty much should have known it would be magnificent.


I’m actually really happy with my writing this month.  I haven’t been writing a lot, but I’ve been writing with fair consistency, and for me?  That’s a big deal.

I mentioned last month that I was giving a friend / now critique partner my first chapter of Fate.  This book is basically my child.  I’ve been working on it since I was in middle school and these characters have been with me longer than all my friends at this point… and yeah.  It was terrifying to give it to her.

&I got my critiques back last Friday and can I just say… they are amazingly helpful.  She gave me really good feedback on a few confusing plot issues and one of the character development thingsI was concerned about.  Literally every piece feedback I got was something I was not happy with, and she gave me some direction. It was awesome.  So I’ve got to do those edits, and I have some ideas.

I’ve also rewritten the whole beginning and middle of chapter two, because I wanted to do a little more development with characters we don’t see again until the end of the novel, so I’m writing some new content as well.  It’s all quite fun.  I really, truly love this story.


Favorite Post: The Identity Crisis Book Tag

I had an awful lot of fun writing this post, even though it took a small eternity and I hated most of my answers.  I felt like I got a lot of opportunities to flail helplessly as the internet assigned me character identities I didn’t like (except Blue Sargent! I had to win one….).  If y’all are looking to fill some blogging space or just want to try a wicked fun tag, I can’t recommend this one enough. Also, it was created by Loretta @ Laughin’ Listener, one of my favorite bloggers… so… um… you know… I’m not biased.

Also popular this month: The Song Request Book Tag and Authors Who Hooked Me With the First Book I Read (& I Am Forever Theirs).

Favorite Review:  Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

I get why this was a bit of a popular review, because I feel like this is one of those books that everyone has on their TBR, but isn’t necessarily motivated to read right now.  It’s something that we’re all curious about.  That, or people read it years ago and remember because it was unique and different.  I found it to be a really cool, creative concept… but the follow through didn’t really work for me.  C’est la vie!

Also popular this month: The Girl the Sea Gave Back and Speak Easy, Speak Love.


So as I mentioned earlier, the beginning of August was a bit of a wash for me.  I was doing readathons, yes, but also?  I was in a really low, depressive place.  It got so bad a few days that I just started crying for no reason… which is, you know, the best?  One day at work.  And I don’t talk a lot about my mental health here, because my blog is a bit of a safe zone.  But it was bad.  Really bad.

I’m okay, guys.  I always get through it.  My husband is such a strong support point, and I’ve had some unexpected allies and it’s been… it’s been okay.  Which means a lot.

About halfway through the month, I forced myself to keep a couple of appointments with friends – one because I’d blown her off because of another episode… months ago.  And the other because it was an annual thing and it was really important to them so I made the effort because I love them.  And you know what these two consecutive days did?  They lifted me up.

I always forget about the people who love me, because I convince myself that they don’t really exist.  That I am unlovable.  Being with them, even though it is sometimes a herculean effort, reminds me and they fill my heart with so much good.  I feel bad for zapping energy, but I also want them to know I appreciate the little things.  So Vil and Sarah, if you’re reading, thank you. <3


This month, I want to highlight a smaller blogger.  She’s a YA reviewer from Alaska with a beautiful winter aesthetic to her blog.  I stumbled across her blog when someone re-tweeted one of her posts about ARCs.  I thought it was well-written and interesting, and became a new follower myself!  Please head over to The Frozen Library and give Heather some love!

Not sure where to start?  Try these fantastic posts:


Cinda’s Bookstagram feed has been one of my favorites for a while.  I think one of the reasons is simply because she isn’t afraid to be a bookstagram account that doesn’t also put the books front and center. Also, there’s such a wide variety of books!  A lot of bookstagrammers feature the same books over and over again and while that’s fine I also like seeing different things.

I think @booksandpops gets my heart because she’s also got so many Disney Pops.  I’m a Disney girl through-and-through, so her photos just about always make my heart happy.  I I worked a bit harder on it, and actually followed through on trying to be an awesome bookstagrammer, I like to pretend my feed would look a little like hers.


Some important notes for myself next month is simply that… I’m taking myself out of readathons until the next Off-The-Grid Readathon in October.  I need to pace myself a bit slower so my brain doesn’t explode?  Y’all know how that goes.

I was wondering… would anyone be interested in more writing posts?  I very rarely do them these days, but if you scroll all the way back to 2011 (please don’t) those were my jam.  I was thinking that talking about my process and my characters could help keep my flighty heart invested in making progress, but I know this has mainly become a reading centric blog.  I may do it anyway depending on how I feel, but I am interested in input.  Are there any other writerly folk here?

September is going to be flush with reviews again and for this, I’m sorry.  I’m actually slowing down on my reading and letting myself savor more… but… all those ARCs I spoke about in June and July are dropping in September and October.  So, on the bright side, many books will be new and exciting!  But… there’s still going to be a decent amount of reviews.  I’m sorry!


What was your favorite book from August?  While this month was sort of a *meh* reading month, for me, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue really shone!  It was the one book I LOVED this month.  What about you?

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5 responses to “In Which I Actually Work on my WIP & Read Shakespeare Retellings: The August Wrap Up!

    • Amber

      😀 I just may! I admittedly haven’t been writing much the last couple weeks because work/life, but I think it would definitely help keep me accountable. 😛 I just don’t want to push away my followers. 🙂

  1. I’m sorry your mental health hasn’t been great. <3 I hope September is a better month for you!

    I'm also taking a step back from readathons. I participated in so many in July and read a lot of books, but now I'm a bit burnt out and barely reading. -_-

    • Amber

      Thank you so much< Kyra! I really hope it goes better, too! I just wanted to be honest about it, because I feel like we need to allow ourselves to be more vulnerable about our mental health? As a culture. 😛 I'm okay, just anxious mostly right now. <3 You're so sweet!