Checking In: September 2020

Fall is Here! And So Is My September Wrap Up!

Posted October 5, 2020 by Amber in Checking In / 0 Comments


Hello beautiful people, and happy September?  I LOVE this time of year!  Since we didn’t go on any vacations this year, I saved up my precious paid-time-off and put it all into the fall because there’s no time I’d rather sleep in and linger lazily outdoors.  Summer is a little too warm for my comfort – but autumn?  Autumn in New England is one of the most beautiful things.

And with the changing leaves and the smell of backyard campfires in the air, I’m doing my absolute best to remain positive.  The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hit me hard earlier in September, so I’ve been processing the future.  I’m also trying to broaden my horizons and be more conscientious of the world as a whole.  I saw a tweet a few weeks ago about how the foolish actions of the United States affect the rest of the world.  I knew we were egocentric, but it made me really stop and think about how foolish and selfish this country is and… I’m going to keep trying to do better.  I know the efforts of one person don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, but I don’t want to add to problems more than I must by simply existing.

Anyway, it’s the end of another month and the beginning of a new one, so lets look at what’s gone by and make plans for the future!

The Monthly Haul

I had no intention of hauling as many books as I did in September.  I opened a Little Free Library in my front lawn on Labor Day, and my town got… unexpectedly excited.  I don’t think a single person has taken a book yet, but people have been awfully generous donating books.  Which is cool.  I’d intended to continue self-curating, but now I’ve got a box and two bags of adult books in my dining room that I’ll try rotating in and out?  And I sorta figure, since I’m curating, I get first pick?  So I grabbed the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan, and Sing, Unburied, Sing.

This month was a good month for pre-orders, too!  I’ve been excited about The Silvered Serpents for a while (did y’all see by Happy Book Birthday post?)… but more than that.  MORE THAT THAT.

Solutions and Other Problems.

Let me be clear – I preordered this book in 2015 or something.  Maybe earlier.  It was preordered for a WHILE and then the order was cancelled, and I gave up on it because I thought it would never appear.  And I even REMOVED IT FROM MY TBR.

I was weak.

I failed.

It is here!

And it is swiftly encouraging me to push through all the books before it on my TBR because I must read it but I don’t want to cheat.  Without even cracking the cover I am 1000% sure that Solutions and Other Problems will make 2020 a little more bearable.

All the things I’ve been reading

September started off really strong and fizzled a bit at the end, because I picked up How To Be An Antiracist and I’m reading that really slowly and carefully.  Between that and me feeling more music than audiobooks, there wasn’t a lot of reading at the end of the month.

But the beginning started off really strong!  A lot of books I had little to no expectations for ended up to be some of my favorites this month, and I read the second book in the Goldseeker Trilogy and ! I ! loved ! it ! so ! much!  There’s something about finding a new series you love with all of your everything.  Sometimes I feel like I’m “too old” to discover anything that inspires my imagination, you know?  Like I’m this jaded crone.  But that BAM! out of nowhere something like Walk on Earth a Stranger and Like a River Glorious materializes and suddenly I remember why I love books so much. <3

13 books found




A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin


Carrie by Stephen King Paperback


D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose




Geekerella by Ashley Poston


Like a River Glorious Rae Carson cover


The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey





Like A River Glorious / ★★★★★ This should go without saying, but Like A River Glorious met and exceeded all my expectations from Walk on Earth a Stranger.  I just… I love this world and I love what Rae Carson has done with the characters to give them so much humanity and I like that the books make me angry and put me in my place and just !!! I liked it.  I really like this trilogy.

Geekrella / ★★★★★ The blogosphere over and over said this would be a wonderful book and HEY GUESS WHAT?  This was a wonderful book.  I never really know where I’m going with the hype train but this one was light and well-translated from fairytale to contemporary and it gave a big, warm hug to everything geek culture and I honestly couldn’t love it more.

The Silvered Serpents / ★★★★★ – I’ve already done a little extra shouting about this one, but Roshani Chokshi is now officially one of my favorite authors and I can shout about this book just a little bit more. 🙂  I love the heist feel of these books, the wonderful found family, and Rosh’s writing style is so beautiful.  I recommend reading The Gilded Wolves first, but then, for sure, read this one.

Readathons & Reading Challenges

Hahaha so.

You may have noticed that my Draco constellations is missing.

This is because my dear, sweet, and apparently “vintage” Macbook Air had to go to Apple for repair because alas, alack, after six years of daily use, the battery signed off permanently.  Fortunately, that’s the only thing that gave up and I’m told it’s otherwise in like-new continution so it and I can continue our love affair for a few years.  BUT.  All my PSD files live on it (well, and on iCloud) and I can’t grab them.  I thought I was fabulous and clever and uploaded all the images I needed before shipping it to the repair center, but it turned out I was cocky and wrong.


Despite the lack of pretty graphic, I did manage to read six hardcopy books this month – huzzah!  So I passed my monthly goal!  Yay!  Not gonna pass it in October at this rate, so I’m gonna take that win.

Unfortunately for my ever-filling bookcases, this month was not good ratio-wise because I am keeping four out of the six books I read this month.  And of course I hauled way more than two, just between pre-orders (hello September releases!) and you know… a couple of the books I bought back in June while everyone was buying hard from Black bookstores finally arrived (I still have two I’m waiting for).  So I had to move a bunch of candles off a previously empty shelf and I’ve started filling it with books.

4 books found





And it’s only going to get worse!  I went through my wishlist on Thriftbooks a few days ago and bought I think 11 books?  I love secondhand shops and sites – I have this To Buy list of the audiobooks I’ve read and LOVED and I go through from time to time and check for editions at a low price point in decent condition.  I have a lot of books, but 85% of them, I got secondhand.

2 books found



So I’m putting Empress of All Seasons and Everything I Thought I Knew into my Little Free Library.  I know.  Honestly, if I hadn’t enjoyed Spin The Dawn, then Unravel the Dusk would have been unloaded too, but it’s one of those things where it’s like “I’ve got book one, I might as well have the duology”.  Hopefully someone finds both those and takes them home!

Magic and Mischief on the Blog

Not a lot of big changes on the blog this month!

I’m still pushing new featured images and post formatting to old posts.  I think I have 125-ish pages left, so about 500 posts.  How in the world have I written so much over the years.  I’m hoping to do a really big push on that project at the end of the month as I have a few days off where a vacation was supposed to be and I just never retracted the PTO because… why not.

Things that have happened is I did some editing on my About Me page.  Very little, mind you.  This page needs a complete overhaul and I just haven’t had time with it, but I tweak a few things and removed a little to make it less wrong.

Otherwise, the big bit of magic and mischief on the blog has been the new header.  “New header?” you say.  “It looks just like the old one?”  And I would say yes, for the most part it really does.  EXCEPT.  I used to have my tagline in there and since that was lowkey promoting the Potterverse, I reached out to Kat @ Novels and Waffles WHO DESIGNED THE BEAUTIFUL BRANDING AND IMAGERY ON THIS BLOG SHE IS A GODDESS and she was so kind and made an updated header without the tagline and she also added five more spines for me of books I love.  I adore the whole thing so much and I recommend keeping an eye on Waffley Cute Designs for when she’s open for commissions because she does beautiful work.



    Book Love: Happy Book Birthday The Silvered Serpents

Inside the Treasure Chest: Scribbler Hook August 2020

What Have I been Scribbling?

September and October are still all about editing my friend’s manuscript, BUT I had a moment of weakness one day and I wrote a little bit of an intro scene for Poison Girls.  Basically, I’ve been playing and replaying this scene in my head of Eva and Adam in the car in December, driving from their home in Virginia to Massachusetts to get a procedure performed that’s illegal elsewhere.  The quiet and the snow and the tension… I’d played it in my head so many times that I just needed it on paper.  So I only wrote ~750 words because I did it at work and had limited time, but it felt good to get it out of my head and on to the page.

And despite the repetition in my head, it didn’t go according to plan?  I feel like my writing never does – it’s why I get so frustrated with outlines.

But in regards to my friend’s book – she and I have a writing and coffee date in October to discuss, so I’m on editing deadline!

Adventures in the real world!

Um.  Yeah, what did I do in September?

I feel like September went by in such a whirl.  I have plans for the beginning of October – autumn is my season… when I’m at my best.  I think I mostly just enjoyed September.  LIke I mentioned earlier, we put up the Little Free Library on Labor Day (Sept. 6th) and that was a whirlwind at the beginning of the month!  I set up a separate Instagram page for it just to help with book awareness and social distancing so it’s not as fancy as my other Instagram but it’s there.

And hey.  Someone came and borrowed a book!  I’m honestly a little frustrated so far but it’s in part my fault for opening it at the end of the summer instead of the beginning.  I just… I want to use it to get a great variety of YA out there because these small town libraries don’t have a lot for teens and also diverse books?  Like I have The Silence of Bones in the library and you would have to request that through the inter-library loan system from Boston otherwise.

It’ll get there, I think.  I hope.  A lot of people says it takes a year and the book that was borrowed was a adult romance book by a white lady and just *sigh*.  It’ll get there.

What’s Coming Next?

I’ve been working on a small thing for the continuing dumpster fire that it the Great Bookcase Crusade page!  It will be aesthetically pleasing and much less messy.  Especially because right now it doesn’t accurately reflect what was hardcopy and what’s not, and also most of the hardcopy from this year.  When I get my laptop back, I’ll tidy up the sections I’ve finished, I just need to get into Photoshop first!  I’ll probably unveil it half-done because that’s how I do, haha.

My upcoming TBR has a lot of fun stuff in it too, lots of TBR jar pulls because of the beginning of the month!

am currently reading How to Be an Antiracist and Solutions and Other Problems sorta interchangeably so I’m hoping I finish those two at least in October?  And then maybe I will be able to move on to Ghost Wood Song which is the next TBR book on the linear list.

Also, as we’re going into October, I’ve got a few spooky posts upcoming!  I love my small horror and Halloween posts in the month of October, so hopefully you do too!

In the meanwhile and if you’re able*, I hope you all get to take long walks in the crisp air, enjoy hot cider and fresh cider donuts, and breathe in the beauty that is my favorite month of the year – OCTOBER!

*If you’re in the southern hemisphere, or physically, mentally, emotionally or otherwise unable or disinclined to enjoy autumn, you are excused.  This is not intended to be uninclusive – I’m just very excited about fall.  I love fall.


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!

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