Here we are everyone, in the first days of August, the summer mostly over. I guess one of the good things about 2020 is that it’s really flying by. I didn’t really expect that because … well … we’re all stuck at home. Or at least, I am! The United States has honestly been atrocious with handling COVID-19. There are “guidelines” in place, but only about half the citizens I’ve seen out and about actually follow them. … It’s so basic y’all!
Still, a lot of positive movement this summer. Let’s just dig in and I’ll tell you all about the ups and downs of he last month!
The Monthly Haul
Most of my haul books this month were books I picked up for The Reading Rush! I actually really like that aspect of the Rush for me – using the challenge guidelines, I pick up copies of the books I plan to read off my TBR and it lets me cheat my electronic TBR… a little. This year, I was picking up a bunch of short books, like The Test and Night.
Additionally, I broke my resolute stance for the first time since January and requested a book on Netgalley. Well, okay, I requested a few books, but I could have requested a lot more! My goal this year was to cut down on ARCs because I don’t particularly need them, and I’m doubly trying to make sure I’m not requesting things that should really go to an #OwnVoices reviewer because it’s an issue book.
And luckily for me, this meant I could still request Fable.
Oh my word, I am so glad I did. The nautical vibes in this one are awesome and I’m just solidly enjoying it. I preordered it when I was only 30% in – it’s really good y’all. I’m excited for you to read it.
All the things I’ve been reading
My reading month started off really challenging, no lie. I was reading a few slow paced books, and I really struggle with those. It’s not that they’re bad, but I have a difficult time sitting down and focusing my attention when the story feels like it’s dragging. I do better when I listen to these as audiobooks – there’s something to be said for the ability to speed up the narration!
I spent most of my month on June Hur’s The Silence of Bones, and before that translates into me calling it a bad book, it is not. But the pacing was rather slow for my tastes, and the July heat and humidity already has a sluggish haze… it just took a little more effort than I had to expend last month.
Still, after that I really picked up the pace! … Mostly because of The Reading Rush. I chose very manageable books for the challenges this year because I knew what my availability would look like. I’m glad I did. Even if it felt a little like cheating.
The Test / ★★★★★ – This was far and away my standout book this month. It’s intense, it’s so telling about our culture and the path we are heading down, and the psychological aspects of it? Horrifying and fascinating. This is probably going to make my top 10 this year. It just left a really strong impression on me and I recommend it. I’m still thinking about it.
The Silence of Bones / ★★★★ – Even though this wasn’t a perfect fit for me, I was really impressed with June Hur’s debut and I’d like to encourage everyone to give it a try. It’s such a unique book for YA, a genre filled with a lot of the same themes and tropes. It was refreshing, and in that way, really good.
On Writing / ★★★★ 1/2 – If you’re even vaguely interested in writing, or Stephen King, I recommend this book highly. As I mentioned in my review, it’s a little outdated at the end, but as a whole this book is chock full of good advice and interesting tidbits that are a bit inspiring without really being over-the-top cheesy. Oy, I can’t imagine Stephen King ever being cheesy.
Readathons & Reading Challenges
I finished my third constellation this month! So excited – my sky is starting to seem full of stars! I’ve been thinking about taking these first three start constellations and putting them all together in a new combined star map while I continue to work through the challenge this year.
Honestly, there’s something so satisfying about putting stars on these charts. I think it plays back to my childhood love of sticker charts, if I’m being honest.
The Silence of Bones finally completed the Pegasus constellation for me in July, so the rest of the books went into my newest constellation… Leo!
I’m definitely keeping with the animal/mythical beast theme on these constellations. It works pretty well with my blog theme, and it gives me guidance as to which constellation I want to map next! I still want to do Draco… though it doesn’t fit in the square. I’ll figure something out, I’m sure.
Actually really good progress on this running challenge for me this month! I have The Reading Rush to thank for that. In all fairness, most of the hardcopy books this month were pretty short ones. By design, but still… they got read! Yay!
Overall, I’m really happy with my ratios this month – 50/50! I think that’s one of the best months I’ve had since starting this. Ultimately, there were some tough choices this month because I don’t think that any of the books were bad? They just weren’t for me! I really think all three of the books I’m unhauling are great books for the right person and I do recommend them. I just won’t read them again, so out they go!
Actually, the unhaul books are something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, as they’ve been piling up this year without the ability to donate them easily to a local nonprofit or library. I’ve actually recently come up with a solution for this and hopefully I will be sharing that next month? … SURPRISES ARE FUN. (It’s not a giveaway don’t get excited).
Magic and Mischief on the Blog
A few inspired small changes to formatting this month! Nothing really heavy, I was just trying to tie the colors together a little better, pulling in the turquoise, taking out the greens. There’s more layout stuff I want to work on, including some heavy editing of old posts (which I pick at as I can, when I have a little time to devote to the blog but not enough to pre-write a post).
I think the big thing in July was the readathon! Otherwise, I’m just here dropping a lot of reviews and a few more substantial posts. To be honest… I’ve shied away from discussions lately. I’m having a difficult to figuring out the best way to use my voice in that matter to be effective but making sure I’m being very respectful and staying in my lane. … So there’s that.
Anyway, if you’re just tuning in or if you’ve been away, here’s what you may have missed!
Adventures in the real world!
So, I mean, my big news is in the title of this post?
I FINALLY PASSED MY SECOND FNRA EXAM!
This means I’m now licensed to be an Operations Professional at the BD where I work. It also means that I can devote more time to me. To the things I love – reading, writing, blogging, self-care. I hope this means I’ll be reading more books, writing more, and working more on my friend’s manuscript which she has been so patient about. I’ve had this manuscript since the beginning of COVID-19 in the US… so basically forever.
Not much to say about this other than that I’m really pleased to be able to do something different with my mornings and evenings and reclaim some of that time without the guilt and pressure of this responsibility. 😀
What’s Coming Next?
Ummmmm so I have a fun post scheduled for this month that ties in Animal Crossing and I started working on it back in June and I’m sort of excited about it. It’s probably going to be one of those posts that I had a lot of fun writing that NOBODY cares about, but … lol, whatever, I am pleased about it. That’s my favorite upcoming post for August.
Otherwise, here’s my TBR as it stands today! Not in actual reading order, but still… look at all the EXCITING BOOKS.
I’m hitting that spot in my TBR again where there’s so many preorders that I haven’t pulled a book from my TBR Jar in a while… which makes my throwback-loving-self sad. I’d really like to read heavily in August and shorten the TBR, but we’ll see! I have a lot of pre-orders in September (by a lot, I mean, I think… three. Three or four) that will fill up my TBR and I’d also like to make a dent on some rereads and backlist? So those are my goals.
I am really, really looking forward to a more positive end of my year. I am constantly grateful for my privilege in so many ways – outside of my inborn privilege, I feel very lucky to still be employed and to have a house. Buying this house last year was, unknowingly, the best thing we could have done for ourselves considering the currently climate. I am so grateful, and now that I should have better control of my own excess time… I’m really looking forward to more reading and more gaming and writing and mundane, soul-fulfilling adventures.
What did everyone do this month? Did you get a lot of reading done? Did you start on a new WIP? How are you holding up in the current climate? I want to hear all about your experiences – let me know in the comments!