August 2019 Wrap-Up & Best of the Bunch

September 2, 2019 Best of the Bunch, Monthly Recap 36

My Goings On in August:

  • I made a few changes on the blog. (In case you didn’t notice.) I asked your advice (in the comments and in the form of a poll) and ended up deciding to go for it. I was nervous about the change, but as many of you pointed out, it doesn’t have to be permanent if I decide I preferred the old look. But, I don’t think I’m going to regret it. My little fox girl is just a little bit more “me” now.  🙂
  • I went on vacation with my family to LA and then stuck around for the SCBWI LA Conference.
    • We went to Universal Studios! We’ve been there before (the one in Florida), but the kids weren’t really old enough to remember it well. My youngest listened to the Harry Potter Series in the past year, so he was especially excited to see the Wizarding World (and the Dark Arts show at night was pretty cool).
    • We spent lots of time on Venice Beach (since the place we were renting was just a block away). Definitely a whole different world over there (some very interesting people on the Boardwalk), but overall it was fantastic. (And nice to expand our cultural horizons a little.)
    • I wrote a whole post on the SCBWI Conference, so I won’t go into details here. Suffice it to say, it was great!
  • I saw the musical Come From Away with my mom and mother-in-law. It was so much better even than I expected!
  • Things I watched: 
    • Actually, I barely had time to watch TV in August. Between vacation and working on the deck, there hasn’t been time for much else!
    • BUT we did watch The Hunger Games as a family while we were on vacation. And we also watched Pokémon Detective Pikachu together last week (it was really cute!!).
    • And just this week, I finished up the current season of The 100!
  • We built a deck! Well, technically we finished it today, but since 99% of the work was done in August, I’m still writing it here. (Also, there is still one small piece that my husband has to cut for access to the hoses, which he ran under the deck, but I’m still calling it done.) Below are a couple of pics (the first is when it wasn’t quite done, but it’s a little better pic of the two-tone look; second pic is after it was finished).

Features & Discussions:

August 2019 Discussion Challenge Link-Up & Giveaway
July 2019 Wrap-Up & Best of the Bunch
That’s a Wrap! (My Wrap-Up of the SCBWI 2019 LA Summer Conference)
Updating the Blog (a Little) and I Need Your Opinions! Let’s Discuss.
August 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up & Make Me Read It Giveaway

My 2019 Reading Progress:

I’ve read 124 books so far this year, which puts me 25 books ahead of schedule.

August 2019 Reviews

  • Cape by Kate Hannigan| Review | Rating: Devoured It
  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly** | Review | Rating: Fed My Addiction
  • The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett | Review | Rating: Fed My Addiction
  • The Silence Between Us by Alison Gervais | Review | Rating: Devoured It
  • The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg | Review | Rating: Fed My Addiction
  • Sorry for Your Loss by Jessie Ann Foley | Review | Rating: Devoured It
  • Awesome Dog 5000 by Justin Dean | Review | Rating: Devoured It
  • The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm | Review | Rating: Fed My Addiction
  • The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm | Review | Rating: Fed My Addiction
  • A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold | Review | Rating: Devoured It

**A dual review with Danielle Hammelef

August Best of the Bunch:

(Best of the Bunch is hosted over at Cocoon of Books. We link up our favorite reads of the month!)

I made my MG choice hard on myself by posting all those MG reviews right at the end of the month. I was seriously considering choosing Awesome Dog 5000 as my favorite, just because it was SO much fun to read, but I landed on Cape. I adored the unique blend of genres, tropes and formats in this book: superhero historical fiction with graphic novel elements sprinkled throughout!

My YA choice was The Silence Between Us. I absolutely loved this character study of a Deaf girl attending a hearing school.


2019 Reading Challenges/Goals Progress:

Progress: 18/21-30 Discussions (Chatty Kathy)

I wrote two discussions this month (including my wrap-up of the conference). I’m on track!

That’s a Wrap! (My Wrap-Up of the SCBWI 2019 LA Summer Conference)
Updating the Blog (a Little) and I Need Your Opinions!
Bookish This or That Tags (x2!)
Goodreads’ YA Books Lists: 2019 Edition.
Why Don’t Illustrators (and Cover Artists) Get More Attention?
How Often Do You “Randomly” Visit New Blogs?
Bookish This or That Tags (x2!)
Goodreads’ YA Books Lists: 2019 Edition. Let’s Discuss.
Have Books Ruined Me for Movies?
“Other Stuff” I Like Reading About on Your Book Blog.
I Want to Post It NOW! (AKA One Reason I Almost Never Blog Ahead.)
I’m Addicted to Exclamation Points!!
The Challenge of Running a Successful Meme (or Challenge!)
How Much Is Too Much? Sometimes Life Is Stranger Than Fiction.
Why Audiobooks Are Important.
Bookworm Confession: Swag Isn’t My Thing.
Why I Love the Book Blog Discussion Challenge (Even When I Fail)
Things I Learned About Fairy Tales By Reading the Grimm’s Versions

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Feed Your Fiction Addiction & It Starts at Midnight


Progress: 3/12 Classics Read

This month I finished I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

19th Century Classic
20th Century Classic – Catcher in the Rye
Classic by a Woman Author – I Capture the Castle
Classic in Translation – Grimm’s Fairy Tales
Classic Comic Novel
Classic Tragic Novel
Very Long Classic
Classic Novella
Classic From the Americas (includes the Caribbean)
Classic From Africa, Asia, or Oceania (includes Australia)
Classic From a Place You’ve Lived
Classic Play

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Books and Chocolate


Progress: 46/48 Library Books Read

I’m almost there!! Four books from the library this month:

How to Worship a King: Prepare Your Heart. Prepare Your World. Prepare The Way. by Zach Neese (audio)
A Boy Called Bat
by Elana K. Arnold (audio)
White Hot Kiss
by Jennifer L. Armentrout (audio, reread)
Stone Cold Touch
 by Jennifer L. Armentrout (audio, reread)

Earlier books for this challenge:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Predators and Prey by Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, Steven S. DeKnight, Drew Z. Greenberg, Jim Krueger, Doug Petrie & Georges Jeanty
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Twilight
 by Joss Whedon, Brad Meltzer, & Georges Jeanty (reread)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Retreat by Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson & Georges Jeanty (reread)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Last Gleaming by Joss Whedon, Scott Allie & Georges Jeanty
Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien (audio)
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (audio)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: No Future for You by Joss Whedon, Brian K. Vaughan, & Georges Jeanty (reread)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Wolves at the Gate by Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, & Georges Jeanty (reread)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Time of Your Life by Joss Whedon, Jeph Loeb, & Georges Jeanty (reread)
Winter by Marissa Meyer (audio)
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer (audio)
Far From You by Lisa Schroeder
Rebound by Kwame Alexander
The Color of Lies by CJ Lyons (audio)
A Friendly Town That’s Almost Always by the Ocean! by Kir Fox
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (audio, reread)
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (audio, reread)
Cress by Marissa Meyer (audio, reread)
Fairest by Marissa Meyer (audio)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home by Joss Whedon & Georges Jeanty (reread)
The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story by Marie Kondō & Yuko Uramoto
We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan & Brian Conaghan
The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton
The Language Inside by Holly Thompson
Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels by J. Warner Wallace (audio & ebook)
Slayer by Kiersten White
Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout (audio)
Release by Patrick Ness (audio)
The Whispers by Greg Howard
Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd (audio)
Solo by Kwame Alexander & Mary Rand Hess
Educated by Tara Westover (audio)
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab (audio)
Finale by Stephanie Garber (audio)
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (audio)
George by Alex Gino (audio)
After Zero by Christina Collins (audio)
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli (audio)
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa (audio)
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan (audio)
Birthday by Meredith Russo

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures


Progress: 8 (~1 Connect 5 per month)

I won the quarterly giveaway for this challenge!! Woo hoo! I chose Wires and Nerve: Volume 2.  (Actually, at first I chose Volume 1 and then realized I already own it! Oops! Luckily Kathryn was able to switch it for me. Thank you, Kathryn!)

My August Theme: Ocean/Water

Mera: Tidebreaker – Mera comes from under the sea (and the whole graphic novel takes place either underwater or right on the shore).

A Friendly Town That’s Almost Always by the Ocean! – The title of this book pretty much explains the connection. This town is friendly but rather strange!

Shipwreckers: The Curse of the Cursed Temple of Curses – The main characters in this book find themselves in the middle of a daring adventure on the Amazon River!

The Forever Song – This one doesn’t seem to have an obvious connection to the theme, but a good portion of the end of the book (and the major climax of the book) all take place on a ship on Lake Michigan. The lake ends up being very important to the plot.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea – Um, do I really need to explain this one? This adorable graphic novel for the littler set follows the antics of a hyperactive narwhal and his best friend the jellyfish.

(NOTE: I haven’t reviewed Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea on the blog yet, but it’s a 2019 read!)

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Book Date


Progress: 5/12 Books Read

Uh oh. Another month where I didn’t read any of these. I think I’m in trouble…

  1. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (2016)
  2. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (2016)
  3. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (2017)
  4. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (2015)
  5. Winter by Marissa Meyer (2015)
  6. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (2015)
  7. UnBound by Neal Shusterman (2015)
  8. Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes (2016)
  9. Geekerella by Ashley Poston (2017)
  10. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (2017)
  11. Every Last Breath by Jennifer Armentrout (2015)
  12. Alienated by Melissa Landers (2014)

Alternates:

  1. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis (2016)
  2. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (1973)

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Roof Beam Reader


My bookish resolutions for 2019:

  • Write the first draft of new MG. I’ve actually switched to doing a bit more character building and worldbuilding before I jump back into the actual writing of the book, but I feel good about where I’m headed.
  • Read 1 review book for every 1 that I receive. Even though I STOPPED accepting/requesting review books after I left for vacation at the very beginning of the month, I still had some requests come through that I’d already made. So I still ended up getting 8 books for review this month. (One was a surprise.) Which means, so far in 2019 I’ve received 71 books for review. I read/reviewed 8 this month, putting me at 63 for the year, but I’m still 8 behind (8 seems to be the magic number). I’ve dedicated myself to NOT accepting any more review books until this number is even. 
  • Read at least 6 books on the craft of writing. Um, no. I’ve still only read 1. But I do read articles online and magazines, and I went to another conference in August … excuses, excuses.
  • Read at least 12 books written in verse. (Since I’m writing my next book in verse.) None this month, but 7 so far, so I’m still fine.
  • Query 50 agents. Or get an agent. 🙂 (I was a wimp and I only queried 12 agents in 2018. At that rate, I might get an agent in like 2050.) Crossed this one off in February when I signed with East/West Literary!! Will I leave it here, crossed-off, for the rest of the year? I just might.

Non-bookish resolution for 2019:
(This one doesn’t count for the challenge, but I’m putting it here so it’s with my other stuff and I’ll hopefully pay attention to it.)

  • Work out 3 times per week. Um … ahem … moving on…

(Though, in fairness, we did tear down a deck and rebuild it in August, so I was hauling wood, sawing, hammering, etc. I felt like I was getting plenty of exercise!)

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Because Challenges Make Reading More Fun


Wrap-Up Round-Up!

Don’t forget to link your August wrap-up posts up to the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up. And enter the giveaway!

 

36 Responses to “August 2019 Wrap-Up & Best of the Bunch”

  1. Megan Freeman

    I really enjoyed *I Capture the Castle*, and there’s a lovely movie version, too, with Bill Nighy.

  2. Danielle Hammelef

    Your new deck is gorgeous! I hope the weather holds out so you guys can use it this fall. The new purple hair is perfect.

  3. Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea

    How do you read so much?? Ahh, I’m so amazed!! Also, I’m so glad that you enjoyed L.A.! I actually went there ones with my family years ago, and I loved it so much! I really hope I can go back :((

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      It’s funny because I don’t feel like I read that much anymore—it used to be more! But everything is relative, right? I know that I read a lot more than many people (heck, I can barely get my husband to read a single book). I do love reading—if only we didn’t have to do anything else. Then we could just spend all our time on lovely books. 🙂

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yes, it’s definitely doable to do these types of things yourself, but I’ll confess that my husband has a lot more expertise about it than I do. (Though he says I thought of a few things that saved us from making a few big mistakes, so I get to take some credit!)

      I was surprised just how similar Universal California was to the Florida one—I think they might have been nearly identical besides the fact that you can go on the studio tour at the CA one? Still, it had been years since we went to Florida, so the experience still felt fresh and new!

  4. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    I LOVE your purple haired girl! It was definitely a good choice! And your vacation sounds AMAZING! I really want to go to California proper one of these days (I went once, just across the CA-NV border which is… not the same 😂) It sounds like the whole family had a great trip! Also I loved Lady Rogue (perhaps more than you did, tbh!) but I am glad you liked The Kingdom cause I want to read that one too. I also love how you watched ALL my favorite things this month! The deck looks awesome too, I am so impressed that you guys did that yourselves!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Have a Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl: Review & Giveaway!
    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I agree! It took a lot of work to get the shading to look natural (and watercolor-ish, like the rest of the header), but it was totally worth it. I think it looks great now that it’s up there and full size. Thanks for helping me make the decision!

  5. Jen

    Awwww Venice Beach….did you get to see Muscle Beach? I haven’t been there since the early 2000s but it still sticks out in my head. There were all kinds of different walks of life people, my college roommates and I got henna tattoos and we watched all of the body builders at muscle beach. Oh and bought some cute swimsuits from a local shop. Sounds like you had an interesting experience too lol! And a huge congratulations for finishing your deck, it turned out gorgeous!

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yes! Muscle Beach was really cool – my daughter ended up climbing the rope all the way to the top (after we watched some big brawny guy do it). Then we went to the Santa Monica Pier and saw them filming an episode of 911 there! And, yeah, some of the people along the boardwalk were interesting—one guy who sold us a piece of glass artwork talked about smoking pot the whole time we were looking. I think my daughter was a little uncomfortable about the whole interaction, but we laughed it off. 🙂

      • Jen

        Oh wow, that is amazing your daughter climbed the rope all the way to top, good for her! And that’s so awesome you got to see them filming an episode of 911! That’s the amazing thing about California, the odds are a lot of us have gotten to watch them film movies. My top two favorites I got to watch be filmed were Scream and Outbreak. 🙂 And AWKWARD lol! Some people just don’t know when to not talk about that kind of stuff lol! I’m glad you had such a fabulous trip!

  6. Chana @ Paper Procrastinators

    Ahh, the purple hair is so cute!! Very much you 😊

    It sounds like you had a great time in California! I love the Universal there, they have such fun rides! Also, the deck looks *amazing* congratulations on finishing it! Hope you have a great September!! 💕❤

  7. Danielle Hammelef

    Your August was awesome and one you will always remember. Going to the SCBWI conference is on my wishlist. And your deck is beautiful. I think I would also enjoy Cape.

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