Summer is over?! How did that happen??
Well, it doesn’t feel like summer is over, as it is still hot and muggy here. We had a glorious week of autumn weather – cool, dry, clear – and then rushed back into 90* and a billion percent humidity. It’s been good garden weather, though, and the tomatoes and other veggies are finally rolling in. I froze 12 quarts of tomato sauce yesterday, and will hopefully be able to can some more pickles this weekend. I’ve also been freezing peppers and onions – such fun!!
August’s big adventure was a trip to Wyoming, which was amazing. My aunt and uncle bought a cabin just outside a very, VERY small town called Centennial, about 30 miles west of Laramie. They were kind enough to loan the cabin to us for the week, and it was sooo relaxing and happy there. We spent the week hiking, exploring, and sitting around reading. It was the most restful vacation I think I have ever taken, and I read so many books while sitting on the front porch in perfect weather soaking up that thin mountain air (Centennial is at a little over 8000′) and watching the neighbors’ horses. We saw antelope, moose, fox, and jackrabbits. We almost didn’t come back…
But we did, and are back in the swing of things now. I’m working at the orchard again, and have spent the last few weeks sorting and selling peaches three days a week. It sounds silly, but the peach crowd is totally different from the apple crowd. I thoroughly enjoy it, even when it’s stupidly hot. The early apples are also coming in, so we’ve been grading apples in the afternoons and getting things geared up for fall. Hopefully I will start driving my delivery truck soon – we are pressing cider now!!
In the reading world, I have read a LOT of fluff books this month. I spent vacation luxuriating in reading books that were comprised completely of cotton-candy-like substance, and regret nothing! I’ve done a lot of minireviews this month – way more time for reading than reviewing!! I’m also going to fail my #20BooksofSummer challenge – more on that below – but I’m totally cool with it, so it’s all good. On the other hand, I’m crushing my Goodreads goal for the year – I’ve read an almost-embarrassing 218 books this year so far…
Favorite August Read:
Oh wow, hard to say yet again. I mean, it’s obviously Joy in the Morning by P.G. Wodehouse, but I hate to choose a reread! Honestly, my second-favorite was probably The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts. It’s unusual for a nonfiction book to grab the top spot, but this one was really well done, and I just thoroughly enjoyed learning about Snowman and his triumphs, and also about his owner and his whole background.
Most Disappointing August Read:
I didn’t read anything horrific this month, but I did find Holiday Wishes by Nora Roberts to be a bit more of a letdown than my other 3* reads, just because I have really enjoyed some of her other books in the past.
Other August Reads:
- Alpha Girl series by Aileen Erin – 4* – I enjoyed these way more than I should have – and as an aside, the entire series is on sale for September with the first two books free. So if you think you might like them, it’s a great time to try them out!!
- The Arm of the Starfish by Madeline L’Engle – 4* – a children’s spy book? Totally my cup of tea.
- Chasing Ravens by Jessica Paige – 3.5* – enjoyable and interesting, but somehow not magical.
- Chosen Child by Linda Huber – 3.5* – basically the reading equivalent of watching a train wreck (the story, not the writing).
- The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer – 4* – not my favorite Heyer tale, but still had plenty of funny moments.
- The Five-Minute Marriage by Joan Aiken – 4.5* – a rollicking good tale with a great heroine.
- Kilmeny of the Orchard by L.M. Montgomery – 3.5* – a nice little story, but not one of Montgomery’s best.
- Modern Conveniences series by Leah Atwood – 4* – plausible marriage-of-convenience tropes with likable characters.
- Mystery Over the Brick Wall by Helen Fuller Orton – 3* – a nice but rather boring children’s book.
- Rocky Mountain Heirs series by various authors – 3.5* – a collection of fun if slightly predictable stories.
- The Royal Treatment and The Royal Wedding by Melanie Summers – 3* – alright, but just not interesting enough for me to pursue the third book.
- The Temporary Wife by Jeannie Moon – 3* – a nice but basically unmemorable story.
- Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins – 4* – really enjoyable with a surprising amount of depth.
- Unwilling Bride by Marnie Ellingson – 4* – genuinely delightful little Regency romance.
- The Wedding Pact trilogy by Denise Grover Swank – 3.5* – funny and entertaining, but just a bit too much sex and swearing.
- When It’s Real by Erin Watt – 4* – fake relationship trope done very well.
- When Patty Went to College by Jean Webster – 4* – not exactly what I was expecting, but still enjoyable.
I was going through a major reading slump this time last year with a lot of very meh reads. However, I ended August strong with what became one of my favorite books of the year – Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I actually really want to reread it soon. I’m also excited because Novik just published another book, Spinning Silver. I haven’t gotten around to that one yet, but hopefully soon!!
So we all know that I read an absurd amount of books because of who I am as a person, so just simply reading twenty books this summer wasn’t actually a challenge. (I also always feel vaguely embarrassed by this, but I’m going to refrain from apologizing because it really is just the way my life works!) So instead I chose twenty of my own, personally-owned books, and wanted to try and read them while still keeping up with my regular reading schedule of books from tons of other sources. What with one thing and another I have NOT accomplished my goal, having only completed twelve of the twenty (full list here), but in some ways it’s still a win because I did read over twenty of my own, personally-owned books… just not the ones I originally picked!
The rest of the twenty are still in my queue for reading, so I should get to them this fall. The challenge was a mixed success for me this year, but it’s always tons of fun, and I quite enjoy finding other book blogs by checking out other people’s lists and reviews!
For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into five different tabs:
- Standalones: 858 (up five, but I am way behind on reading other people’s posts, so this number will probably jump yet again!)
- Nonfiction: 76 (down one!)
- Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…): 681 (down eight, and I can’t believe it isn’t more!)
- Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 234 (up four!)
- Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 108 (holding steady)
- Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – a decent read so far, but not one that has wowed me.
- Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey – the final book in this series, and I am anxious to see all the storylines wrapped up!!
- Riddle-Master: The Complete Trilogy by Patricia McKillup – so as the title says, this is actually three books in one, and I just started the second book. McKillup is a master of not explaining anything, which makes her writing both magical and aggravating all at the same time.
Approaching the Top of the Pile…
The probable next five reads:
- Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch (and then probably Frost Like Night as long as the series is worth it!)
- Gold of Kings by Davis Bunn – a library discard find
- The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola – I’ve heard mixed reviews, so we’ll see what it’s all about
- The Accident by Chris Pavone – I really liked The Travelers, even though I had some issues with it, so I thought I would give another of Pavone’s works a whirl
- Curse of the Thirteenth Fey by Jane Yolen – I can’t even remember why I added this one to the TBR, so a surprise read here!
That’s the update for now – Happy September!!