July 2014: A Month in Review

A Month in Review

 

Is it just me, or did July go by unusually fast?  These are the books that I read and reviewed this month:

In addition to writing reviews, I’ve been doing a lot of behind-the-scenes blog improvements.  Little things like setting up webmaster tools, setting up a plugin to tweet older reviews (but not in a spammy way), and making the font size in my blog posts bigger.

Graphics on my blog have always been one of my weak spots.  I’m not adept enough with GIMP/Photoshop/Paint/etc. to be able to make anything that looks good.  Then I discovered PicMonkey, and now I am hooked.  It’s very user-friendly.  I made myself a new blog header, and I’ve been playing with banners to make posts like this one more interesting.

I’ve noticed a trend in my month-in-review posts, which is that I usually take time to vent about how far behind I am at life in general, the resolve to play catch-up and be where I want to be with reading and reviewing.  Instead of doing that, I’m going to point to a discussion over at On Starships and Dragonwings about the difference between accepting books in exchange for a review and accepting books for review consideration.  It raises a lot of good points about both blogger and publisher attitudes, as it’s making me rethink some of the pressure that I put on myself when I fall behind on my reading.  I’ve started to tweak some of the language in my review policy and FTC disclaimers in the hopes that it will make me feel less obligated to post reviews, especially if there are time constraints.  For any bloggers who accept review copies, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

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8 comments

  1. I’m loving the new layout and that’s the second person I’ve heard mention PicMonkey this week! I’ll definitely have to check it out. I know what you mean about reviews/review consideration, but I guess I only ever request books I’m interested in and I review/respond to everything (for my own sake) 🙂 Have a great August!

    1. Thanks! I get a lot of review requests from publishers, and a lot of them are books that I am very very excited about. I try to be selective about accepting them, it’s just that life gets busy and I’m never as caught up as I’d like to be.

      Happy August!

  2. Well, the simple fact is you can only read and blog so much. I did discuss this on somebody else’s comments not long ago as she was feeling stressed with review copies – and it does take you away from books that you’ve bought and want to read after all. I usually try to do a different type of post – like, books recently acquired, or upcoming reads, etc, – and I put in the review books. Which isn’t to say I’m not going to read them – but, at least you’re showcasing them and giving them a bit of coverage. One of my friends literally gets sent books every week (she doesn’t request them!) probably about 10 – it’s just literally impossible to read that many – she would have to give up work and never socialise again!! She usually does a sort of ‘in my mail’ post and also she gives some of the books to other blogger friends and when they write a review she retweets it and copies the publisher in. The books are still getting read that way and reviewed.
    Love your new look – looking very good.
    Lynn 😀

    1. That’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m planning on making my New Acquisitions posts longer and putting in a blurb about each book so they do get some coverage. I do plan on reading them all eventually, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get caught up. I want reading and blogging to feel as non-stressful as possible. 🙂

      1. It’s so easy to get stressed about it. At the moment I’m trying to catch up with review copies which means I’m virtually reading none of my own books! Still, I’ll get there eventually!
        Lynn 😀

        1. Mhm. I’ve got a lot of review copies from conferences, and I feel like I’m perpetually behind. I’m trying to stop feeling guilty about it. I’ll get to them all eventually. 🙂