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

Posted November 1, 2020 by Lisa Mandina in End of the month post, giveaway / 12 Comments

October, did it go by fast? Or what? I just got back from a week long “writing” retreat, in which I got hardly any writing done. I got one chapter of a past work edited. Got some planning of characters and ideas of what to do for NaNoWriMo, but really, I didn’t get all the editing I wanted done, or completely ready for NaNo! Hopefully I’ll do that this weekend since Sunday is the first day and I want to start off strong. I did get reading done without having to let dogs out constantly. I got five almost completely uninterrupted nights of sleep. Got to watch full tv shows without having to pause and let two dogs out. And I did get some reading of writing craft books done. So it wasn’t a complete bust! Oh yeah, and the friend who went with me, well she’s really big into nutrition, and usually only eats once a day. So while I still needed about two meals a day, because I was not wanting to hear any comments about what I was eating, I did really good with food, and lost about 4 pounds! Of course being back home, who knows how long I’ll be able to keep that off. The little condo I stayed in was in Fort Collins, Colorado, and when we first arrived, the fires burning around there really turned the air red and dark and scary. My birthday was almost the worst of the scary sky days while we were there.

Just three days later we got 14 inches of snow while I was there. Which was actually enjoyable because I didn’t have to take dogs outside or go anywhere! Although my friend who was there with me did want to go out to the Mexican restaurant the day after we got all the snow. But she was driving, so I said okay!

And even more fun, on the way back to Missouri from Colorado, we stopped in Hays, Kansas at the Sternberg museum and got to see dinosaurs!

Before I headed to Colorado, I’d spent two or three days a week going in and working in my library, and the other 2-3 days of the week working from home. About halfway through October, the school district board where I work voted and decided we will stay having online school till at least January. Now, they’ve set up dates and plans for if we go back at that time to a hybrid model. But depending on rates of the COVID-19 infections, that can always change and we could stay online only. Many other districts in my town have gone to hybrid models this past month. And honestly, for the most part, I haven’t heard of any schools having any issues. The students still have the option to stay at home instead of going to school as well. It’s just a lot of work for the teachers. As a librarian I keep offering to help out in any way that I can. But I’m definitely extremely glad I’m no longer a classroom teacher.

I also talked last month about my storage space and how much I’d cleaned out. Let’s just say I’ve not gotten anything else out of it since then. Oh well. At least my bill will be about half of what it was from before!

Even with my days away though, my reading was not quite as good as I’d hoped. I think I had a couple books that were a little longer than planned, and the audiobook I’m listening to isn’t really blowing me away so Ididn’t finish it this month even though I should have. Only 16 finished, maybe 17 by the time this actually posts on the 1st.

October Reviews:

Obviously you can tell some of these were from past months, since there are more reviews than books that I actually read. I got caught up with most of my overdue reviews, except two YA books. I also planned to do a DNF post this past month, but just didn’t have time. Maybe in November, or December if I really get in the writing groove and don’t have extra time for that kind of post. But even with all the reviews I did this month, I do still have two books from this month that I haven’t posted reviews for yet. My number of posts was back up this month, probably why I didn’t get as much writing stuff done as I wanted. I had 45 this month, compared to the 35 I had in September.


It’s possible that I finished one book for this and started another this month. I’m not quite sure when I bought Pucked Under by Helena Hunting, but I started it in September and finished it this past month. Kept it in the bathroom and read a little at a time. LOL. Then I took a book on my writing retreat that I know I’ve had for a long time, Must Love Wieners by Casey Griffin, I bought back in 2018. It was pretty good, but then it was somewhat similar to the book I had to read for a review at the same time, Forget About Me by Karen Grey, so I had to put it aside. I plan to pick it back up every night before bed and read a little by a little.


Did a little more updating past reviews this month. I did really great with commenting on my Saturdays that I set aside this month, might have been one or two that were actually Sunday instead of Saturday, but I got it done. I have been keeping up with my Wednesday posts, although it seemed there were less books coming out towards the end of October, and beginning of November.

Cleaning Up My TBR:

So I only did one time this month that I could weed out some books on my Goodreads shelf. And then there were a couple days I added a bunch of new ones. I was at 2719 on October 8th. But I am currently at a total of 2615 books on my TBR on Goodreads. So it’s down almost 100 books, I think that’s good. Actually there were a few books I took off just because I’d been reading an author that turned out to be a DNF so I took the rest of their books off my TBR. I did go through and move a few from the plain old TBR to the list of books that I had downloaded as free e-books as a separate TBR. So that probably helped as well.


According to my Goodreads goal I am once again behind, but only by one book. For a time I was ahead because the third week of October I had a book review for a different book due every day just about that week, so I was reading about a book a day. Since I wasn’t enjoying my audiobook that much, there were a few days I just listened to music in my car instead of the book, and then since I didn’t drive by myself to Colorado for my retreat, that didn’t help me get any books read either.


Ugh. I wish I had more to say! I think I know what book I’m going to start writing for NaNoWriMo, and hopefully I’m starting it today! I took a really close look at the chapters I got back from the published author who helped me out, and I changed a few things she’d done because they didn’t fit my character the way he was in my head. And then I tried to take that and apply it to the third chapter in my book while I was on my writing retreat, but I just don’t know that I’ll ever be that good! So that will be a long work in progress I think. I thought I wanted to do a little outlining or plotting before NaNo this year, because I haven’t been as successful the past few years as I would have liked. And that was why I did some reading of writing books during my retreat. But still not sure how that is going.

Above is my official NaNoWriMo t-shirt for the year, along with two older books I have been using, and the two new ones I’m trying out this year.

After reaching out to a couple favorite authors on Facebook and getting them to actually answer my questions about how they outlined or not, which I’m so in awe that they took the time out to do that for me, I’m going to go with what I can!

Last month I got Sara Ney to write me a dating profile bio, this month I got a cool helpful comment from Meghan Quinn! Facebook has its good qualities!

Wish me luck! If you are participating in NaNoWriMo and want to be my buddy on the site for maybe some inspiration and encouragement for each other, my name is Buffywnabe on the website. I do have a “schedule” I’m going to to try to use to help me get the writing done that I need. A word counter. Both a physical copy and a Google sheet I think, so that should help me. I hope!

What to Expect in November:

Didn’t get any more inventory done in my library in October,hopefully I’ll get some done in November. It is still mostly me at school, which is fine. I’ll probably continue the 2-3 days there vs. the others working from home.

I plan to continue doing the comments on Saturdays in October as it really successful for me. I am really caught up on my ARC pile for reviews, only 4 physical ones sitting there right now, and two of them are for 2021!

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

  1. Blue Skies by Alana Oxford – didn’t get to it at the end of last month like I was supposed to. Oops! Should be posting a review of this on the 5th.
  2. To the Bone by J.R. Johansson – this is a favorite YA author of mine, one that I think is overlooked a lot, so excited for this new book by her. Must get it read and plan to review on the 8th.
  3. Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch – Got an ARC of this from the publisher, and they might send me some of the others by this author, but I’ll be reading this for a blog tour review post on the 10th.
  4. Soulswift by Megan Bannen – So I actually read this a couple months ago as part of an ARC tour that the author had going. But I postponed my review to coincide with the pub date, so I’ll be posting my review on the 11th.
  5. See Me After Class by Meghan Quinn – this was added in because I can’t pass up a book by this author, plan to review as part of blog tour on the 12th
  6. Game Winning Goal by Kay Gordon – this is the last in the 425 Madison Ave series, and I liked the other book by this author, so hoping this one will be just as good! Should be posting a review on the 13th.
  7. It’s Raining Men by Rich Amooi – Love this author, love that title. It got postponed, and at the time I was happy because I was really busy then, but now I’m wondering if I’ll get it done in time with NaNoWriMo this month! But supposed to be posting a review as part of a blog tour on the 14th.
  8. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – I’ve got an ARC from the publisher and I hope to read and post a review on the 15th.
  9. Rules of Engagement by Jessika Klide – This is another book as part of the K Bromberg worlds new series. So it is a new author to me. I’m supposed to post as part of a blog tour review on the 19th.
  10. Hard Love by Sara Ney – now, fingers crossed I really am on her ARC team for this third book! Although I’ll still have to buy a physical copy to match the first two either way! Hoping to post as part of a blog tour review also on the 19th.
  11. Little Lies by Helena Hunting – I’ve already got the e-galley, and hope to post my review on the 20th.
  12. So Wrong, It’s Wright by Amelia Kingston – actually started this one today. Couldn’t get another one loaded onto my Nook at first. But I should be reviewing as part of a blog tour on the 21st, although I am on this author’s ARC team, so I may post before if for some reason I don’t get on the blog tour.
  13. Dusk by Aleatha Romig – should be posting as part of a blog tour review on the 24th.
  14. Unwrapping the Best Man by Rachael Stewart – reading for a blog tour review on the 26th, I’ve read one other by this author that was good but also short and an easy read.
  15. A Curse of Roses by Diana Pinguicha – I got an ARC from the publisher, so I will either post a review on the 29th, or if I get selected for a blog tour by YA Bound Books, that review may not appear until December.
  16. Well Played by Jen DeLuca – I’m listening to the audiobook, so hopefully should finish this month. It’s not the best story for listening, a lot of extra stuff I would speed through reading in a book.
  17. Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes – a book to help me write, that I read in one day, well a very quick read through. But should post a review this month.

Hopefully I keep up with all of these and don’t add any others. I had planned to try to read Midnight Sun in October, but didn’t get to it. And I also had scheduled to read From Blood & Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout in November, but I’ve crossed that off so that I can focus on what I already have scheduled along with my writing.


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.

Even got a like and comment from the author of the book!
This is one I am guilty of buying based on a cover. The author I have followed for a while, but haven’t read her yet, but when she advertised this special cover, I had to order. She sent a bunch of cool swag with it!

So, how was your October? 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.


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

    • Lisa Mandina

      It was so nice to get away! Of course it only took one day back and my dogs were already making me nuts and wish I could get away again. It’d be different if going to sit at the library was still an option, but I know having to wear a mask while I sit there will keep me from concentrating. Oh well. Back home and here we go with NaNo! Thanks for stopping by!

  1. Danielle Hammelef

    That was awesome to read about your writing retreat. I hope November goes well for you with your writing. I submitted my picture book manuscript for a critique and hope I get excellent feedback to help me improve.

    • Lisa Mandina

      That’s awesome! Good luck with that! I have a picture book idea that I’d started the last time I went to Colorado, like four years ago, but I haven’t really worked on it since. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Love your photo for Yesterday is History. I’m so curious about that one. I’m glad you had a nice little getaway, even if you didn’t write nearly as much as you’d hoped!! I’m not officially doing NaNoWriMo, but I do hope to get writing more this month.


    • Lisa Mandina

      I already ordered my NaNoWriMo winner shirt, because I really like the design this year. But I am getting stalled on the story I chose to write. How most of my trying to write has gone since about March. 🙁 I might try picking up one of the stories I need to finish. But there are so many things calling to me to do instead of write that it’s hard this year. Good luck to you with your writing!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Oh no! Have you been sick? I hope you get better and are able to be healthy the rest of the year! Thank you for visiting me.

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