The Looooong and the Short of It with a Giveaway: September 2020 Wrap-Up Post and What to Expect in October

Posted October 3, 2020 by Lisa Mandina in End of the month post, giveaway / 16 Comments

September, wow, kind of flew by, even while dragging a bit. Part of what dragged for me is that we still had a lot of hot summer weather, even after it was officially autumn! Also, we actually started school after Labor Day, although my district is still doing remote learning for this first quarter. As the librarian, we’ve always had a few students in for study hall that were part of our International Baccalaureate program. However for some reason this year, we ended up with a couple study halls over 20 students. So because of how the district is doing remote learning this year, I have to take attendance for those hours every day that I have them. Because of that, I now know how to run a Zoom meeting. Kind of. Before I’d only attended them.

I’ve been going in and working from my library 3-4 days of the week because I can get so much more done while I’m actually in the building. Plus I have been starting to work on our inventory, and I have to actually go through every single book sitting on the shelves for that to be accurate. Most teachers are working from home, and even our administrators have started taking turns working from home throughout the week. Some of our secretaries and other non-teacher employees have also been able to get laptops and work from home. Many districts around us though, have gone to hybrid models, where students are there some days and stay home others, while there are even districts with students able to go every day. My niece is in 3rd grade and she goes to school. Parents were still able to choose homeschooling if they wanted though.

October has started off nice and cool weather-wise and I’m so ready for it! My birthday is on the 22nd, and I’m actually taking a personal writing retreat right around that time. I have a friend who has a condo in Fort Collins, Colorado that she lets friends stay at if she’s not using it, and she has agreed to let me use it for a week at the end of October. I’ll actually be there on my birthday. I’m taking a friend with me, who is also a writer, and we plan/hope to get lots of writing done. Other than that I’ll be doing lots of work around my house and continuing to try to clear out my storage unit. I had to get one when I moved from my townhome with a basement to my house I live in now which does not have a basement. Here are some before and after pictures as I’ve been going through stuff.

Now September was a really good month for reading! 20 books I think, one was a reread, and only two were DNFs. I think part of the reason I got more is that with driving back and forth to work, I am getting more audiobook time.

September Reviews:

As usual, not all the books I read were reviewed this month, in fact I’m a bit behind on reviews as you can see. Part of it was because if I didn’t have something planned on a day, or a post got cancelled for some reason, I didn’t add a new one. I am still trying so hard to post only once a day if I can. And I did! I got down to only 35 posts in September! Which is much better than the over 40 posts from the months before. Now October looks like I have a lot planned, so my number of posts will probably go back up. But we’ll see. With my writing retreat at the end of the month, I was really trying not to schedule a bunch of posts or reviews for that week, but then a book or two that I really wanted to read got blog tours right around then and I couldn’t pass them up. I’ve continued with my comments on Saturday for the most part, one week I think I had to do a Sunday.


Still no new ones.


I’ve been doing some work on updating past reviews still. Slowly but surely. Like when I do a new review for part of a series or by an author I’ve read before, I’m trying to go back and fix the reviews for the rest of the series or that author so that they show up in my Review archives. I also set up a little menu at the top of my Reviews by Title and Reviews by Author pages so that you can click on the letter of the alphabet to skip down to those reviews. I still should set a goal for getting more of that done each week or something. I did really great with commenting on my Saturdays that I set aside this month. I have been keeping up with my Wednesday posts, and there were a lot of new books coming out in September:

Cleaning Up My TBR:

Still not doing this post anymore. I did go through a couple times and clear out some books. I was at 2804 on September 4th. And after a couple times this month of weeding out, but also adding new, I am currently at a total of 2716 books on my TBR on Goodreads. So it’s down almost 100 books, I think that’s good.


I’m back on track with my reading still, having finished 20 books this month! I dropped my Goodreads goal, so that I’d only be about 2 books behind, and now, I’m on track. For today, I mean if I don’t finish another book today, I’ll be behind again. One of these was a reread that I’d started a month or so ago. And since I’m driving more this month, I got more audiobooks finished.


As I mentioned last month, I reached back out to a published author who had looked at a couple chapters of my finished YA novel, and she looked at the problem I have with telling instead of showing in my writing. The two chapters she sent back to me are so good. Some of the things she did I was like, oh, why didn’t I think of that? Other things she changed made me think I’m never going to be good enough because it was totally stuff I would never have thought about. But I have to figure out if I want to try to redo the other chapters on my own and what I can learn from what she did. She has offered to talk to me on the phone for anything in case it is easier to explain that way.

I did a little self-promoting of my own self published novella, the only one so far. Offered it for free to buy on Amazon for one weekend last month. Again, if you’re interested in reading and reviewing, and have Kindle Unlimited, it is free. Here is a link again if you’re interested: Amazon. I would really love some reviews, I actually kind of want some that aren’t the glowing reviews that friends and family tend to give, so I know what I can work on! I’m so looking forward to the writing retreat for myself and a writer friend at the end of October at another friend’s condo in Fort Collins, Colorado. I am so ready to have that time away from all the distractions and just get some writing done! I just have to decide exactly what I’m working on. And I’ll still be doing my Zooming and other school stuff while I’m there, so it won’t be completely just working on writing.

What to Expect in October:

I got two more sections of inventory done in the library. It is still mostly me at school, which is fine. There were a couple people that they’d moved into an office they made when they took away part of my library storage, and they were coming in. But as soon as one of them found out he could now work from home, he is doing that most of the time now. Like I mentioned last month, I’ll probably stay home one day a week for sure, I’ve even started kind of doing two days.

I plan to continue doing the comments on Saturdays in October as it really successful for me. I am pretty caught up on ARCs or review books so far for this month, we’ll see if I can keep this up! I still need to get on my TBR piles!

Here is my proposed October TBR based on blog tours and ARCs that I have:

  1. Sunsets and Somedays by S.L. Sterling – I wasn’t sure if I’d end up reading this, because some of the others in this season of the series have disappointed me, but this one was a good story and my review is already posted.
  2. Eventide by Sarah Goodman – Just finished this ARC this past week and I need to write the review. Will probably post on the 4th.
  3. The Bookworm’s Guide to Dating by Emma Hart – Didn’t get done last month, but actually reading now and should be posting a review on the 7th.
  4. We Were Restless Things by Cole Nagamatsu – I got an ARC from the publisher, and I’m reading it right now. Plan to review on the 8th.
  5. One Way or Another by Kara McDowell – I think I’m reading and reviewing for a blog tour on the 10th, but not sure because I can’t find anything in my email from them, and am waiting to hear back!
  6. Come On In by Adi Alsaid – I’ve got an ARC to read of this. Plan to hopefully read and review on the 11th.
  7. I Promise You by Ilsa Madden-Mills – reading for a blog tour on the 12th.
  8. Pride and Papercuts by Staci Hart – reading for a blog tour review on the 13th.
  9. Officially Over It by Lani Lynn Vale – reading for a blog tour review on the 14th
  10. Grip by Lacey Black – so I tried one book in the new KB Worlds which K Bromberg is doing similar to how Penny Reid is doing with her SmartyPants Romance. This one grabbed my attention because one of the character is from Missouri. Fingers crossed I can get into it since the first book I tried in the KB Worlds I couldn’t finish. This is a different author though. Should be reviewing on either the 15th or 16th.
  11. Her Last Love by Marcie Shumway – reading as part of the 425 Madison Ave series blog tour, but may or may not read, depends on if I get into it. Supposed to review on the 16th.
  12. Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly – got an ARC of this and am reading for a blog tour review on the 17th.
  13. Take a Number by Amy Daws – reading as part of the author’s review team for a review on the 18th.
  14. Only One Chance by Natasha Madison – reading for a blog tour review on the 20th.
  15. Love Song by Kylie Scott – reading for a blog tour review on the 21st. Which is also the day I’m driving to Colorado, so need to be done before then so I can post it!
  16. The Brightest Night by Jennifer L. Armentrout – I’m so excited to get to be on the blog tour for this, and supposed to be getting a physical ARC to read, while it won’t match the other two ARCs in the series that I have, because they changed the covers, at least I’ll have the whole set of ARCs! 🙂 My review for the blog tour should be on the 24th.
  17. Forget About Me by Karen Grey – should be reading for a blog tour review on the 29th.
  18. Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer – since I requested this be available on Netgalley, and then got approved for it, I feel like I will go ahead and read the e-galley and post a review in November.
  19. Blue Skies by Alana Oxford – reading for a blog tour review the first week of November.
  20. Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer – now while I realize there are totally mixed reviews of this, I have a feeling I will love it. And I have seen some reviews that support my thoughts. I intend to schedule to read this while I am on my writing retreat, again as something easy, just one book to take and read right before bed, etc. But I hope to review it on Halloween!

Well, I don’t know if I’ll get through all of these, especially with my writing retreat for a week. It’d be different if I was on my writing retreat alone, but since I’ll have a fellow writer there, she will help me, I hope, to stay on track and do more writing than reading while I’m there and not busy with school stuff.

I’ve also put on my blogging calendar dates to do past due review posts, because I’m getting behind again. I’ve got two from August to review, and 7 from September. Plus I need to do a DNF post for the three between August and September.


I keep meaning to share some of my favorite Instagram photos from the past month to help me get more active with that. Of course I’ll only share ones that I did myself, not any of the promo posts that were pre-made. And if you’re not following me there yet, you can go HERE.

This was my ad that I made when my novella was free for a weekend! But it is always free with Kindle Unlimited.

So, how was your September? I hope everyone in your family is still safe and healthy, or that if you have anyone that has gotten sick, I hope they are recovering quickly.


Last month’s winner was Debra B. and she is an email follower of Lisa Loves Literature, and I think she has been for a while! So glad to be able to share a prize with her! She chose two books from my giveaway pile. I decided it was getting pretty big and so I needed to start being more generous.

Below are ARCs I’ve finished and also a finished copy of Autoboyography by Christina Lauren that is autographed. Somehow I ended up with two autographed copies! I will make the giveaway international in that you can pick a book for under $10 if The Book Depository ships to you. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below the picture.

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16 responses to “The Looooong and the Short of It with a Giveaway: September 2020 Wrap-Up Post and What to Expect in October

  1. I cannot believe your school is giving librarians a duty. I remember having to have my study hall in the library, but the librarian was not responsible for the students, I was. So odd. Your writing retreat in CO sounds wonderful. I hope it is very productive and good luck with the edits on your YA book.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Well, we have kids in the library when it is normal school for study hall, and we have to take attendance, so I guess it is sort of the same. It’s a state requirement I think that the students must be in school, even if it is a Zoom meeting, a certain percent of the day. But I’m not thrilled. However I guess it keeps me from completely feeling out of the loop like I did last spring. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Happy Birthday Month!! That’s so awesome you get to do a writing retreat/vacay at the end of the month. I hope you get lots of writing done. I’m slowly but surely trying to work on my own novel more. hah


    • Lisa Mandina

      You’d think we have all this extra time stuck at home to write, but I did my bet writing sitting at the library with no one to bother me. Oh well. Hoping a week away from my dogs will help. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Tammy V

    Pretty same as the rest of the year here. Staying in our little bubble. Cases going up steadily again since school started. My granddaughter is virtual so that makes me feel better. Since being home more I’ve started to want to downsize. Been trying to use up items (and not buying new) and getting items that go to each daughter to their houses. Very slow because of OCD it stresses me a bit but it is getting done.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I get it. Moving made me have to downsize, and I’m getting a lot better about throwing out things from the storage area. I refinanced my mortgage back in the spring, but I’m still paying as much since I’m paying monthly storage unit. So I need to get that taken care of! Thanks for visiting, hope you have a good October!

  4. Looks like you had a good September. I am now having fall weather, finally, and could not be happier. I was so sick of the heat sticking around some days and then it being the cool and beautiful fall day another day.

    Glad school is going well, sounds like you’re keeping busy, or at least the school is keeping you busy. Did you hear back from B&N?

    Looks like you got a lot of cleaning and reading done which is awesome! I hope October proves to be productive for you. Could not be more jealous of your writing retreat. I’m trying to tidy up my own book as I’m sending it to an editor in mid-November. Super stressed about it since I have so much going on in October and actually plan on taking a couple days off so I can spend time with my family.

    Love the Instagram shares! Have a great October!

    Reese’s @Reese’s Reviews

    • Lisa Mandina

      I hope that I actually get some stuff done on my writing retreat! I must be motivated! I still can’t decide what to work on. The weather here has been the same. In fact we are getting some days up to 80 again this week! School is definitely keeping me busy. I hope you are able to be productive this month as well. Thanks for visiting!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Thanks! I hope I either get some editing/fixing up done, or some writing done on a different project. Thanks for stopping by!

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