31 August 2009

Monthly Wrap Up: August 2009

Total Books and Current Status

Since January 1, I've read 70 books and left 4 books unfinished. I have posted 65 full reviews and 13 mini-reviews and I have 5 reviews left to write. I am currently reading Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie and listening to Mind Scrambler by Chris Grabenstein.

What Did I Read?

Here's what I read in August. Click on the link to see my review; the letter in parentheses is my rating.

Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart (A+)
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (A)
Albert the Fix-It Man by Janet Lord (A)
Patron Saint of Used Cars Mark Millhone (C+)
Death of a Travelling Man by M. C. Beaton (B)
Inventing Montana by Ted Leeson (B)

Also read in August, but reviews to come:

Testimony by Anita Shreve
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Willow by Julia Hoban
French Milk by Lucy Knisley

I had a great reading month but not a good month for writing reviews. I had a very heavy workload in August, which meant that I was not very interested in staying on the computer at night to write reviews.

All three YA books were simply excellent in my opinion, and I would have a hard time choosing among them because they were strong in different areas. The beauty of the language of Nothing but Ghosts is not to be missed. I liked The Forest of Hands and Teeth for some of the larger questions it addresses. The realism of Willow and the way Hoban puts the reader so fully into a teen's world impressed me (review and author interview scheduled for after Labor Day).

Mini Reviews and Spotlights

I posted three mini reviews of books I read before I started blogging; two of these as part of the new A-Z Wednesday meme.

Blizzard by Jim Murphy
Bleeding Kansas by Sara Paretsky
Cod by Mark Kurlansky

I posted one mini review of a book I didn't finish.

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll

I spotlighted one book for a blog tour.

Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey

Author Interviews and the Literary Road Trip

I had two entries this month in the Literary Road Trip and both involved interviews. First was My Friend Amy's fabulous interview with Beth Kephart and second was my interview with Janet Lord.

Guest Posts

I was pleased to welcome Pam Ripling as a guest on BFR. She wrote a fabulous post about the connection between photography and writing.

Did I Complete Any Challenges? Join Any New Ones?

I completed the Cozy Mystery Challenge.

I joined two new challenges: the Vampire Diaries and R.I.P. IV.

I dropped two challenges: There was no way I was going to finish the U.S. Civil War challenge, although I love books that take place in that era, I wasn't making progress. I also dropped the U.S. Presidents challenge. I love the idea of reading one nonfiction book about each president and may keep that as a personal goal, but I wasn't keeping up with the challenge.

There is still time to join the first challenge I've ever hosted: The Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge.

What's New and What's Coming in September

August saw a couple of new features on BFR. I wrote my first movie review, which was of Lost in Austen. I also joined the A-Z Wednesday meme as a way of spotlighting books I can recommend.

I also make changes to my Review Policy. I added an explanation of my rating system and explained why there are so few "C" books on this blog. I also added a blurb about the Literary Road Trip to that page.

September is the month for BBAW. I am really, really looking forward to it. I volunteered to help out and spent quite a bit of time in August working behind the scenes for the event. I want to take this time to thank everyone who nominated me for an awards category. I was incredibly flattered and astounded.

I have author interviews, guest posts, blog tours, and Literary Road Trip posts planned for September, so look for those.

The Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge is off to a great start and in just two months we have almost 100 reviews and 116 participants. Click on the "Sookie" tab under my banner photo to learn more about the challenge and to see the review links.

How was your August? Did you meet your reading goals? Are you caught up on your reviews? Are you making changes?


bermudaonion 8/31/09, 8:33 AM  

You have been busy! Congratulations on your nominations!

lilly 8/31/09, 10:25 AM  

Considering you had a big workload, you still had a quite busy and productive month in reading and blogging.

Sandy Nawrot 8/31/09, 1:43 PM  

Wow. You were crazy busy this month. Plus I got a good idea of what it is like to be a BBAW panelist...and you are doing three? I'm moving right along on my challenbges, but already know that I will not achieve my Outlander Reading Challenge. I only have a few more weeks, and am only on disc 30 (out of 47) on The Fiery Cross.

Dorte H 8/31/09, 1:44 PM  

I think you have had an amazing month, and I am so curious to see what you think about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

I haven´t counted, but the last week has been really good readingwise, partly because I found some fast, Scandinavian reads in the library.

Alyce 8/31/09, 1:54 PM  

Congratulations on getting so much accomplished in August, and on your BBAW nominations! To me August is always the hardest month to get things done because we take our vacation then.

Meghan 8/31/09, 3:01 PM  

I'm seriously behind on reviews and don't blame you at all for wanting to get off the computer after work! My first Sookie review for the challenge is coming up soon and I would agree that it's off to a terrific start!

Just Mom 8/31/09, 4:53 PM  

What you accomplish in a month is amazing! I'll look forward to seeing what you thought of Testimony - Anita Shreve is one of my favories...sometimes!

Melody 8/31/09, 7:29 PM  

Sounds like you've a busy month! Congrats on your nominations, Beth! They're all well-deserved!

Veens 8/31/09, 8:47 PM  

wow! August was great for you!!!!!!!!
Great, i might get Sookie's 1st book :D
Congrats 116 is great!

Julie P. 8/31/09, 9:30 PM  

Wow! I am dying to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!

Nise' 8/31/09, 10:43 PM  

Looking forward to your review of Girl with Dragon Tattoo. I had a good reading month too!

softdrink 8/31/09, 10:53 PM  

Whew...I'm exhausted just reading about all you accomplished in August!

hmsgofita 8/31/09, 11:13 PM  

Your August was very busy! Great job on keeping up with most of those challenges.

farmlanebooks 9/1/09, 4:37 AM  

Great summary!

I really should get round to finishing some challenges. I'm sure I must have done it, but haven't looked!

I look forward to your Testimony review. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Robin of My Two Blessings 9/1/09, 12:16 PM  

What a busy month and September is going to be even more busy. I am behind with my reviews and going to try and get caught up this week. Part of my problem is reading too fast.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 9/2/09, 10:53 AM  

I have a lot of reviews to write. What I've done to help is to schedule the post date on my blog calendar ... now I'm committed to writing the review in a timely manner.

I admire you for actually dropping the challenges. I have several that I know I won't finish, but I haven't let them go yet. I've learned a lot about what type of challenge works for me (the more tightly defined - across an author or subject, the better for me)

Here's to a great September!

Rebecca :) 9/7/09, 6:39 AM  

Wow, you've had a jam-packed August! I have yet to a monthly wrap up myself. One more thing I need to add to the list...

I have dropped a couple of challenges this year but didn't really mention it. I think that it is a good idea. Perhaps at this point I will wait until the end of the year.

I also joined the A-Z Wednesday meme, you know, after all that about dropping some of my memes...(rolling my eyes)

I have been listening to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on audio but have only been getting through about a disc a week since I only listened in the car. I was 3 discs away from finishing when my library informed me I couldn't renew because someone else had requested. Noooo! I must re-request it now because I have to know the ending!

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