July 2017 Month in Review

August 1, 2017


I can’t believe we have already reached the end of July! Where has this summer gone? As you know from my June Month in Review post, I did quite a bit of traveling in July. I started my month in Croatia, which was AMAZING. You can see some details and photos in my …And We’re Back! post. I also traveled home for a week to do some wedding planning, and I went on my first camping trip. Yup– first ever. It was a ton of fun. While this is keeping me super busy you’ll find a couldn’t be happier. I feel like I’m really taking advantage of my summer for the first time in years.

Wedding planning is making steady progress. I’m starting with a lot of my least favorite sorts of tasks, honestly. Why? I hate project management and this should help alleviate stress as we get closer and closer to the wedding date. It’s been stressing me out some, but I think it will be worth it in the end.

My bookish life is starting to overwhelm me a bit. You’ll read more about that below when I talk about my goals. But, I am officially unable to keep up with my book clubs. It makes me sad since they are so important to me, but c’est la vie. It just means it’s time to stop, ask “Why”, and make a change. But, again, more on that below.



List of Reads

I read fewer books in July than any month this year. I’m not surprised! I only slept in my own bed 6 nights this month. Wow– I really have been traveling! But I still feel great about the books I did manage to read. Now, if only I could catch up on my reviews… Anyway. July was all over the place with 1 DNF, two 2-star books, and two 5-star books! Huge kudos to Amanda @ Cover2CoverMom — she recommended both Stella by Starlight and The Crystal Ribbon to me and I loved them both. Reviews to come in the future.

July Books:

Read – 8 total books



MUST READ this month:

Half a War – It’s really unfair for me to pick this book. Why? It’s the third and final installment in the Shattered Sea trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. Let me just tell you, I haven’t been this emotionally involved in a book in a long time. I cannot remember the last time I almost didn’t finish a book because I didn’t want it to end. I never wanted to leave this world, and now I am super sad. The Crystal Ribbon is also amazing, but it didn’t leave me with quite the same book hangover. Darn you, Joe Abercrombie!

Meh. I wasn’t into it this month:

The Other Einstein–  It had been a while since a quality DNF. Sadly, the DNF came back to rear its ugly head with The Other Einstein. I really need to write a DNF review for this book… Basically, the author didn’t convince me to invest my time and effort. The only reason I reached 45% is that I was traveling and had the time to burn. Mistakes were made.

Challenge Updates

I’m making slow by steady progress on my yearly reading challenges. We’re at the point where only the challenge books are left. Can anyone help me figure out the best way to locate a micropress book? I’d prefer to use a library system, but I’m open to other options.

  • Overall Reading Challenge: 82/110 (75%)
  • Listopia Challenge: 9/15 (60%)
  • PopSugar Reading Challenge: 32/52 (61%)
  • Read Harder Challenge: 17/24 (70%)


Tsundoku Life

It wouldn’t be tsundoku if I didn’t have a gigantic pile of books waiting for me!

TBR Countdown:

As most of you know, tsundoku means the act of leaving a book unread after acquiring it, typically piled up together with other unread books on shelves, floors, or nightstands. For the first half of the year, I’ve been focused on shrinking my TBR. This seems like a noble idea, but the effort has been fairly futile. I’m not giving up! But expect to see how I measure Tsundoku to change soon.

In June, my pile was 1,359 books. Now…


I’m still making progress! The question is: Is this something worth celebrating, or not?

August TBR:

  • Our Shared Shelf  – The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
  • Kids Lit – Any Dear America books by Various Authors
  • West Side Stories – The Perks of Being a Wallflower  by Stephen Chbosky
  • Brunch Books – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • VACB Book Club –TBD by TBD (book club Thursday)
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club: TBD  by TBD (Book club also Thursday)
  • Popsugar Challenge – Stuart Little by E. B. White
  • Read Harder Challenge – Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
  • Listopia Challenge – A Visit to William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard

This week I’ll have two book clubs simultaneously! It’s a shame I don’t have a time-turner. I read all the books, but I won’t be able to attend both sadly. I am also unable to keep up now, and that means…

2017 Goal Update:

You might have noticed last month that I didn’t get to a goal update. I’ve been prioritizing other things in my life, and I think that those priorities are the right focus for where I am and how busy I am. This doesn’t mean my goals are being thrown away. Not at all; it just means I am going to take some time this coming month and reflect on my goals. Why are they failing? What is preventing me from accomplishing them? And how can I tweak my goals/priorities in order to make this work more meaningful and less stressful? I haven’t allowed myself time to sit and ponder these things lately. Instead, I’ve only berated myself for not accomplishing what I’ve set out to do. Which is unacceptable. I deserve better and I know better.

Which means– Yup: There will be some Death by Tsundoku soul searching this month. Be prepared!


It’s hard to believe we’re closer to the end of the year than the beginning. I hope your summer has been filled with wondrous adventures and amazing books. Tell me all about them below!

Happy Reading,

Jackie B.

Jackie B Forman

What do you think?

  • Do you think shrinking the TBR is a good goal or not? Why?
  • Can you help me figure out what micropress book to read and perhaps even how to acquire it from a library?
  • How are you doing on your blogging/reading goals?
  • Have you ever re-evaluated and changed goals? What did you learn through that process?


  • Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks August 1, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I’m glad you got a chance to travel, as well as go camping. Sounds great! I was supposed to go stay by a lakeside for a week next week, but a shitstorm hit me and the result is: my birthday is cancelled, I can no longer go to my friend’s wedding, and my vacation is 90% probably cancelled. I am utterly devastated today.

    The Crystal Ribbon! Oh, I really want to read that one. I can see you liked it too.. Heard really good things about it. Morning star only 3 stars though? That’s sad! Not going to read your review though, I want to know absolutely NOTHING about it before I get to it!

    I can’t believe you’re almost done with your overall challenge! You can probably read so much faster than me, how are you even doing this? I’m still around 50-60. Grrr. At least I’ve caught up, but I’m just not seeing anything over 100 ever being possible o.o but hey, blog is at 227 followers now! I’ll think of that and go cry some more over everything else that happened today ;_; (that, and go work overtime, cause… that’s a thing too)

    Sorry about being so negative but you know ;_; everything!

    Also, Amazon decided to discount pretty much all my wishlist to 2$ so now I have some tough self-birthday-gift decisions to make, lol 😀

    • Jackie B August 1, 2017 at 11:52 am

      WHAT?! YOUR BIRTHDAY IS NOT ALLOWED TO BE CANCELLED. New plan: Everyone else is responsible for coordinating your birthday shindig. Delegate! Make this happen! You deserve to be celebrated and honored and loved and adored. FOR REALZ.

      Is this a work-related shitstorm? Those are the worst. And shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with vacation-fun-times. I wish I could help.

      I can’t wait to write my reviews for more-or-less all the books I read this month. I haven’t been really on top of my book reviewing this year (have you noticed my GR posts are all “Full review to follow”? SLACKER! I blame the change in how the app works for 100% complete books…), but these all need to be spoken about.

      I totally get not reading my review of Morning Star until you are done. Don’t let my 3-star review deceive you! The series is amazing. It’s just not the sort of books I am into. Pierce does a great job with world and character building. I think you’ll really dig it.

      Hahaha… I read a ton, but I struggle a ton at writing my reviews. You’re on top of that review stuff which is the biggest differential, I think. I am involved in FAR too many book clubs which has been hindering my review writing time. I am always finishing up a book at the LAST POSSIBLE second and have to pick up the next book immediately. It’s… challenging. You’ll see a post reflecting on this soonish.

      Your blog is AMAZING. I don’t know how you manage to keep up with all the posts, comments, and social media. You are crushing it. Don’t get down on yourself over that. I don’t have any IDEA how you manage that. Share your secrets! Tell me your ways!

      You are welcome to be negative and vent to me whenever. I will always be here to lift you back up. So there!

      • Evelina August 8, 2017 at 8:01 am

        Here I am again, my phone died on this comment yesterday. Copy paste half!

        Ha! I wish… nobody cares about my birthday xD actually, it was car related trouble. Mom’s car broke down and suddenly I had no way to go to my vacation spot, and all the far-away birthday plans got cancelled, and nobody really cares about my birthday because my best friend is getting married the next day and Bf is away working in the camp. But it turned out alright because me and mom just took a day off and spent the entire day out in the city, just eating pizza and stuff, ice cream, reading in the park etc. Turned out to be a good day. After all, it’s as much mom’s holiday as it is mine, if not more – she did all the work.

        And I did end up going on vacation. It just involved a complicated plan of throwing myself in the way of other people to pick me up xD but everything worked out. Although lol, things are still funny because today our lock broke, and well, I’ve been getting into our cabin room through the window xD but minor details, minor details.

        I don’t actually use the GR app xD I just don’t like it. Browser version all the way! I just keep all of those in tummy currently reading shelf! Which makes it ridiculously bloated, lol, but oh well. Either way, even if I wrote all of them at once, I can’t just post an inundation of book reviews 😀 so they are sitting on the shelf whether they’re written or not. So I don’t push myself as much 🙂

        Yeah, I think that’s the reason! I’ve always wondered at why you have so much book clubs going on. Why?! XD if I had book clubs, I sure as hell would not be able to blog at all! Are they real life, or internet based?
        I don’t know how I manage it either, I think I read blog posts fast is all xD and I do A LOT of it on the phone. I’m managing all my blog stuff from the phone during this vacation week. I almost always write and reply comments from the phone. That speeds things up for me. I’ve always been proficient in typing and texting on smaller devices xD
        And thank you for letting me vent! I might be sending you some vacation pics or vids soon 🙂 boyfriend is doing a good job in all the drama events. Filmed a little of the “camp eurovision” yesterday 😀

        • Jackie B August 11, 2017 at 9:32 am

          We are just having the WORST luck with technology! The same thing happened to me with this comment!!! WHAT!? Unacceptable, technology. Unacceptable.

          For the record: I care about your birthday, weddings or no. I wish I could be there to celebrate it with you!! I’m so sorry you had car problems. That’s the worst. But there is something really nice about spending a chill day with the people you love.

          I’m so glad you were able to make it on vacation! It has totally been worth “throwing [yourself] in the way of other people”, yes? I hope so. Even if your lock broke. That’s an amazing image in my head: You climbing through the window in the darkness with a flashlight between your teeth. 😉 I hope you guys don’t have to pay for the repairs! What happened to the door?

          I like the browser version of GR, but I like the app more when I’m on a phone/tablet. I just don’t think it’s well optimized for those devices. Plus, the app tends to be more responsive for me– *particularly* when I am somewhere with poor reception. Who knows why?! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I used to use your process where I left books on my Currently Reading shelf until I wrote the review. That helped motivate me. But now the app moves the book to the read shelf automatically when you mark a book at 100% or that you read all the pages. Hence my “Full review to follow” process I’ve discovered.

          Oh, it’s TOTALLY okay to inundate the world with reviews. In fact, that’s what I hope to do this weekend. Weekend schedule: Wake up. Have breakfast. Workout. Return home by 9:30 am. Read and write reviews all day. Repeat for Sunday. I hope that you get annoyed with all my GR/Twitter updates because it will mean I’m finally starting to catch up!

          I *adore* my book clubs. All of them are face-to-face in person book clubs. There is something about getting together with people passionate about books to chat which gives me a high. I know that sounds weird, but it’s one of the best feelings in the world. I look forward to them every single time. And when I miss them, I feel extra awful. I’m a weirdo, I know. I know.

          So your secrets are reading quickly and using your phone. Hm. I should consider that last one, at least. I haven’t found a great system for using the WP app yet. I don’t like how complicated it is for me to comment on posts from self-hosted friends, and not all my blogger friends are on WP. I also recently learned that WP only shows a finite number of comments in the Notifications queue! I couldn’t figure out for the longest time why I was missing comments. I just couldn’t keep up– so many were getting lost. The app should help with that, at least. In fact… do you use the app? Or other ways?

          You are always welcome to vent. PLS send vaca pics and videos! I would love to see what’s going on at Camp Eurovision! 😀

  • Annemieke August 1, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Shrinking the tbr is always a good thing. Are the 1300+ books all physical books you own? I’m working on getting my tbr lower as well. I have about 152 on my shelves unread at the moment and I wanted to get this below 100 but that is not happening, haha. So I updated my goal to 130 which seems slightly more managable now. So reflecting on your goals is always great anyway. Reflecting on them helps you learn to see what works for you and what doesn’t. If you are truly devoted to a goal or not and to see how realistic it really is. At least that is how it works for me.

    • Jackie B August 4, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Nope! The 1300+ books are on my Goodreads. I try to keep up with the books I own as well in the same way. I scan them into Goodreads when I acquire them. It helps me manage my load! Otherwise, as my blog implies, I would be drowning in books for sure.

      I totally agree! I often reflect on my goals and think, “Well, it will be a stretch, but I can totally do it!” Later I realize I *could* totally do it– if it was my only goal! Alas, often that’s not the case at all. Instead, I have far too many goals to get anything done. Oops!

  • Laila@BigReadingLife August 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Your TBR is a list, right? Not entirely books you own? My own TBR is my Goodreads list. Some I own and most I do not. I think “shrinking” the TBR is largely a myth, simply because new books keep coming out all the time, darn it! 🙂 But looking at one’s TBR and periodically evaluating what you no longer are interested in reading is definitely a valuable thing to do. Reading the books I own always make me feel good, though.

    I look forward to your reflection post about your goals. I think reevaluating what’s working/not working for you is always a good thing.

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a book from a micropress before. But I looked on Book Riot and found this article, which you may have seen:


    • Jackie B August 4, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Yes– my TBR is a Goodreads list. I do include all of my owned books on this list, however. I find it’s easier to keep track of my books that way. You have a good point about how shrinking the TBR really could be a myth… Perhaps I should think about it differently? I might take that into consideration for my goal reflections post. Sometimes, it’s so easy to get caught up in the moment that I forget about my goals and aspirations. I hope this sets me straight!

      Thanks for the research! That helps me a ton. And that;s *exactly* the book challenge I’m working on! Read Harder got a TON harder this year. O_o

  • KrystiYAandWine August 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    How on earth is it already time for monthly wrap ups?! This month went so fast! Way to go on all your challenges though. Looks like you had another good one. 🙂

    • Jackie B August 4, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Right?! I don’t know where all the time went. I feel like I was just writing my June in Review (well, which I was, since I wrote it mid-month due to my vacation… Right)!!! I had a great month for reading, but thinks certainly need to be realigned. Oops! We’ll all get there. That’s just the challenge of being an avid reader, I guess.

      • KrystiYAandWine August 4, 2017 at 3:02 pm

        It’s crazy. I can’t believe the summer is coming to an end so soon! Got get in all the outdoors reading I can this month! I definitely feel like I need to find some more balance as well, but it’s so hard!

        • Jackie B August 6, 2017 at 4:39 pm

          It really is– but that’s part of the fun of it sometimes to me. I like to see if I can figure out the puzzle of trying to fit in the day all the things I want to do. 😀 If I go to bed exhausted, I know I did it right.

  • Diana August 2, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Eight books is still impressive given how busy your schedule was.I am glad that you enjoyed some of the titles. I don’t have any reading goals this year. All the best with yours and the wedding plans.

    • Jackie B August 4, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      Thank you! Sometimes, I feel like perhaps setting no goals is the way to go. Is this standard for you that you don’t set goals? Or is this something new you are trying?

  • Anna @MyBookishDream August 2, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I’m glad to see that you had fun traveling this past month!! Traveling during the summer is always fun. 🙂
    It’s great that you still managed to read 8 books, despite how busy you were. I haven’t read anything by Joe Abercrombie yet, but I really want to as I have heard many amazing things about his books. I don’t know which series I will read first by him, either The Shattered Sea trilogy or his The First Law trilogy. We shall see! I’m glad to see that you enjoy his books as well! 😀

    • Jackie B August 4, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks, Anna! The Shattered Sea is classified by Abercombie himself as a “lower level read” and is often called YA by fantasy readers. That said, I think it firmly stands in the adult category. It’s just not as grimdark has Abercrombie’s other works. So, if you are looking for something darker and grittier, I’d suggest The First Law. But if you want something just as compelling and wonderful, but less dark, start with The Shattered Sea. Just my two cents. 😀

  • Novels And Nonfiction August 5, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for recommending Cover To Cover Mom! I’ve started following her 🙂 You know I can completely relate on the feeling that our bookish life is getting out of control or too much. So far so good on keeping up with my blogging, but sometimes there’s still this feeling of ‘I have to read’ rather than ‘I want to read’ just so I can finish something in time for a review. Still working on finding a good balance with that 🙂

    I also don’t know how I missed that you have over 1300 books you own that you haven’t read yet on your TBR! What’s the division between physical and ebook? Do you actually have a thousand physical books at your house just sitting somewhere? That would be incredibly amazing. I need a picture 🙂

    • Jackie B August 6, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad. Amanda is a wonderful and thoughtful blogger. My TBR grows so much from her reviews, I kid you not.

      OH MAN! I wish I had 1000+ physical books sitting around my house waiting to be read. That would be 100% happiness. I probably have around 450 physical books at home, and about 75 of them need to be read (I’m eyeballing my TBR shelf and estimating. I’m far too lazy at this moment to count, but I know I will soon! Now I am inspired…). That said, I list every book I own on Goodreads as well as other books friends have recommended. Since I’m such a mood reader, I often refer back to my Goodreads list and read from there instead of my shelves. Plus, I’m an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of woman. So, if I didn’t use something like GR I’d never read any of my ebooks. Seriously, I never think to scan past my first page on my Paperwhite. I just use the search functionality. O_o I think I have ~200 eBooks I own and need to read, as well. I have a lot to learn still when it comes to balancing my TBR. Perhaps I’ll start with adding “Owned” tags to the books on my shelves in GR…

      • Novels And Nonfiction August 6, 2017 at 10:49 pm

        Oh so the 1000 number is basically based on your Goodreads TBR? Okay now I get it. I’m starting to accumulate a lot more physical books than I’m used to so I’m trying to figure out how to lend/donate/swap them with people so I don’t get overwhelmed with books! 450 is a lot! You must have some great shelves

        • Jackie B August 8, 2017 at 3:51 pm

          I mostly have piles on the floor. In fact, I even have a study enough pile that it has become a night stand. Holds my phone, glasses, book, and a lamp!

          Do you have any Free Little Libraries around your area? I donate a lot of read books to those.

          • Novels And Nonfiction August 8, 2017 at 5:37 pm

            I do have one nearby. I always mean to leave books there and never do. Someday I’ll actually follow through on it 🙂 lol

            • Jackie B August 10, 2017 at 11:35 am

              Good luck to you! It took a while to start the habit, but now I do it once a quarter. 😀

      • Novels And Nonfiction August 7, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        I replied to this post but somehow it got lost I think… So 450 are physical and the rest on your kindle? That’s still very impressive 🙂 I wonder if I counted up all mine how many they would be… I think under 300 all together.

  • Resh Susan @ The Book Satchel August 6, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Yes, wedding planning can be quite hectic. Hope you don’t get stressed out so much. And wow, that is a huge TBR pile. Have you made a list of all the books that you own? Or have you put in the books that you want to read at some point? I hope you will be able to read through most of them. It is good that you have kept tackling it as a goal.

    • Jackie B August 6, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Thanks, Resh! This list is my Goodreads To Read list. I scan all my new books I own and make certain they get added, as well. So, it can be a bit confusing sometimes. I should tag the books I own, specifically as well. That’s a good idea I totally just got from reading your comment. Thanks for the idea!

  • theorangutanlibrarian August 13, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    I’m so excited for the shattered sea trilogy now!! And I think goals are worth reassessing at intervals, cos a year is a long time and plans change (that’s why I like mid year resolutions 😉 )

    • Jackie B August 15, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Ooooh– mid-year resolutions! I love that idea. Perhaps I’ll consider that for the future…

      The Shattered Sea is such a gripping trilogy. I really need to write my reviews– I love how each book focuses on two different key characters and their relationship, but all the character from the previous books are around and important. Plus, the setting is on point. I highly recommend the audiobooks!

      • theorangutanlibrarian August 15, 2017 at 4:29 pm

        Thanks!! It’s really good to do 😉

        Ah that’s good to know!! I look forward to them 😀 I’m really excited about it!!

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