So Long Sweet Summer – My August Wrap Up

Posted September 7, 2020 by Amber in Checking In / 0 Comments

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I cannot tell you all how grateful I am that the heat has finally broken here in New England.  In line with the coming storm season, we’ve had either sunny days or massive thunderstorms and nothing in between, and I am LIVING for it.  I love thunderstorm season – there’s something to that electricity that makes me feel so alive.

Also, feeling grateful because a massive might-as-well-be-a-whole-tree branch missed falling on our house by about six feet.  With a little help from the wind we avoided some serious damage – the thing took down all the saplings in its wake from the top of the hill.  One of those moments where I’m counting my blessings.  I was joking around with my husband that we need that to happen on the forest line at the dee of the backyard.  We have some really lovely woods back there, but the brush and bushes are a bit thick along the line, making it difficult to access.  I’m a bit out of my element when it comes to landscaping, but maybe I’ll get a short sword and start hacking at the bushes or something*.  I want to get into the forest!

*I will not go about flailing sharp objects, don’t worry.

The Monthly Haul

So this month I tripped and fell into a bookstore.

Or, rather, I put on my mask and slipped out to a bookstore because I was having a bad week and wanted some new books.  BUT.  In my defense, what I’m showing here is only about 50% of my actual purchases.  The other half is going into my Little Free Library and we were seeking some children’s books.

Also, if I’m being really honest, Aru Shah and the End of Time was purchased with the Little Free Library specifically in mind.  But I love Roshani Chokshi’s writing so much, I struggled with relinquishing the book to the project just yet.  Maybe after I read it.  Maybe I’ll get another copy for the box? *hugs book tightly to chest*

All the things I’ve been reading

I think I had a pretty decent reading month this month.  There were full days where I didn’t even touch audiobooks, but I managed to fill out the month anyway.  I’m always amazed by how much reading I get done when I actually sit down and give myself 20 minutes on a timer to read.  I did half of The Giver in that time slot, which was immensely satisfying.

I spent the end of July and into August working on ARCs as well, which over the years is sort of … not… my favorite thing?  Don’t get me wrong, I am massively grateful for these books and for the most part, it’s really my own fault when I have them.  Except sometimes Wednesday Books sends me eARCs, which is nice because I tend to like their YA.  STILL.  There’s something about a due date that makes a book a little less satisfying?  I think I read 5 ARCs in the last couple months and I sorta want to read other things. 🙂

15 books found

★★★½

★★★½

★★★★★

★½

★★★★★

★★★★

★★★★½

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

★★★★

★★★★

★★★½

★★★½

★★★★

★★★★½

★★★★★

Highlights:

Fable / ★★★★★ I loved this book so, so much.  When I’m looking for world building aesthetics and I want to except not only into another story, but another world, Adrienne Young is where it’s at.  I loved Sky In the Deep, but Fable far and away surpasses it as far as personal tastes go.  I’ve been dying to go on an adventure of my own, but y’all know me, I love being at sea and anything pirate-adjacent.  Fable is a fabulous nautical adventure and I’ve already preordered it and ordered an extra copy for the LFL.

You Should See Me In a Crown / ★★★★★ If you haven’t already picked this up after all the hype in June, or after Reese Witherspoon announced it as the first book for her YA book club, well then.  Here’s yet another sign for you.  I loved so much that this was a story about more than just social justice and that we were able to celebrate Liz as a person and that her story was more real and less picture-perfect than so many YA contemporaries, especially about prom!?  There’s a lot to unpack in this one in so many ways and I positively adored it.

The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly / ★★★★ 1/2 – This book has been calling to me since I first time I read it’s name, so I was pretty she I’d like it.  Not only is Kit Sweetly an excellent book about a teen taking on the patriarchy (and the monarchy!) to fight for gender equality, but it’s more intersectional than any other YA feminism fiction book I’ve read, and that alone makes it worth a peek.

Readathons & Reading Challenges

Looooook I put all my year-to-date constellations into a single star chart! <3

From left to right, that’s The Phoenix, Leo, Pegasus, and Scorpio.

Start on Your Shelfathon Draco Partial Constellation

And using this longer format, I’ve now got a very large Draco constellation to fill up.  As I’ve said in previous months, this is one I’ve been wanting to do, and since I made the larger format for the rest of the constellations, I was able to make Draco fit as well!

Also, looking at these… the blue stars are for goals met and for me, that means I’ve read 4 hardcopy books a month.  Roughly, that averages to 1/week, and is actually something I’ve struggled with.  We’ve now completed eight months of the year, and I’m seeing 7 blue stars – that means I’ve hit my reading goal every month except one!  And isn’t that fabulous?  I’m pretty proud of myself.

I’m throwing the rundown of hardcopy books right into this section this month, because the graphics-heavily weight of this part of my wrap up drives me crazy.  Who needs to see my list of hardcopy books twice?  Not you folx!  So these are the five hardcopy books I read for both #StartOnYourShelfathon and The Great Bookcase Crusade this month, split into keep vs. donate.

5 books found

★★★★½

★★★½

★★★★

★★★★½

★★★★★

I gotta be honest, I didn’t do a very good job of unhauling books this month.  I kinda thought that would be the case, but you know, I kinda hope I’ll be a bit more selective about my library?  Still, I kept five books this month, all I enjoyed or at least was deeply interested in while reading, and would read again.  I wouldn’t say “no” to replacing my copy of The Giver, which is a mass mast paperback and the  size of those, I find, is a bit tricker to read… but all in all, I really liked all five of these books and am glad to keep them.

1 book found

★★★★

On the other hand, we have The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  And while I think it’s a good story to read, I think I’m just not its audience?  Which has nothing to do with the racism it calls out (and sometimes embodies… :/) and more to do with the fact it is a bit of a coming-of-age for teen boys and there’s a good amount about basketball and a lot of jokes about bodily functions etc. etc. and just now my taste.  But I think the story is worthwhile, despite its writer.

And getting rid of this one pains me a little because I’m horribly aware of the lack of Native presence on my shelves.  I’ve added so many indigenous fiction books to my TBR and I hope to remedy this.  But I really did not personally enjoy The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  Even though I feel it was worthwhile and to read.

Oh, hey, and while we’re here in the Reading Challenges section, I’d also like to share that I beat my 2020 Goodreads Challenge!  I set myself up for 100 books this year, the highest initial goal I’ve ever given myself.  While I’ve read more in previous years (so far) I’m really happy that A Wild Winter Swan pushed me over the edge.

Goodreads says it was Swamp Thing, but only because I wrote that review first, so what does Goodreads know….

Magic and Mischief on the Blog

Before I go into too much depth here in sharing the various memes and discussions from August, I just want to pop in and thank you all for your kind comments on my post The Short & Sweet Life of a Blogger.  That post has been in and out of my posting schedule for a while now, and something I’ve been struggling with all year.  I do want to say that I’m not leaving right now.  I have a lot of ideas and a lot of content (I’ve got ideas drafted through 2022) and I’m still trucking, but I’m definitely going to take your advice in hand and make sure I’m enjoying my content creation and balancing social media time.  Especially Twitter.

Very important small site adjustment:  we are now accessible.  Through the Userway icon on the top right of the screen, you should now be able to adjust things like font size and spacing, or even have my blog read to you.  Pretty cool, huh?

Okay, with that said, here’s some of the content you may have missed this month!  And for those of you who would like weekly reminders, I’ve finally got MailChimp up and running in my sidebar *points with great flourish to the right side of the screen*.  It’s just going to send a weekly wrap up so you can catch up on anything you may have missed, I promise not to be a pain!

  

 

  book talk on being a better blogger and reader

What Have I been Scribbling?

This is a short tidbit, but basically, I’m not allowing myself to write anything until I finish editing my friend’s manuscript.  It’s one of those things that I just need to sit down and focus on, and if I’m being honest, it’s a bit daunting.  I’ve never had a whole manuscript at once before, let alone an epic fantasy with somewhere about ~100k words.  I’m learning things about my editing style and about her writing style that are interesting to me.  Also, I’m learning what a first draft of someone’s heart’s story looks like from the other side of the page, and it’s making me more aware of my own writing and of the overall process.  It’s eye-opening, but in a good way.

What kills me the most about this, though, is that I’d love nothing more than to pull up at some quaint coffee shop and be able to talk about this book with her over chai lattes of something.  I feel like a whole part of the experience is missing.

I miss coffee shops, too.  I have one picked out, I think, for once it’s safe.  I’m looking forward to talking to her about her overall vision and her characters.  In person.

Adventures in the real world!

Oof, August.

August was a rollercoaster of emotions for me and filled with anger and frustration that fueled a lot of wasted time I’m still trying to get back.  One of those months where I really felt out of control, you know?  Fortunately for me, I took 5 PTO days this month that helped me rebalance, and I have a good amount of vacation time that I’ve peppered into the rest of the year to try and regain control of my happiness.

One of the really big things I’ve discovered this year is how much I miss travelling.  I’ve got a couple of travel-adjacent posts coming up in the next month that discusses this a little, but I’m at the point where I can’t watch YouTube updates on cruising without getting down and out.  I’m re-learning how to step away from work without stepping out of the country.  Or at least the state!

For me the biggest things of August have been building my Little Free Library (I’ll have pictures soon, and I’ll probably do a post all about it sometime over the gloomy winter) and planning adventures for the next couple years.  And coronavirus willing, there will be such adventures.

What’s Coming Next?

I have… wait for it… *drums on laptop* TRAVEL POSTS FOR YOU IN SEPTEMBER.

Well, sort of.  And one is technically in October, BUT it’s before the next wrap up.  So.

I’m excited for a little variety to my posting to be honest?  It’s just nice to have something different roll out for a change.  I’ve also got a Book vs. Movie coming that’s about one of my favorite movies, and you’d never guess what it is.

I’m really happy with the chunk of TBR I got through this month, and I’m feeling a bit refreshed and for the first time in a while, I pulled a book from the TBR Jar!  I have been missing that variety!  But September is upon us and I’ve got preorders that will be landing on this list (which you’ll see in the next wrap up) so I’m going to enjoy that variety while I can.  Some good books coming up, though.  And lots of diversity!  To be honest, though, I’m really looking forward to those juicy sequels (Unravel the Dusk and Court of Lions).

And that, as they say my friends, is that!  I will see you back with another massive update in September.  I’m hoping for sunny skies and happy days until then, but we’ll see.  Hope y’all had a marvelous month!

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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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