January 2020 Wrap-Up Post and Looking Forward to February

Posted January 31, 2020 by Lisa Mandina in End of the month post / 20 Comments

 January has been a long and crazy month! Especially with me having switched over to WordPress halfway through! I’m still getting the hang of this, so please continue to bear with me as my posts look a little off as I figure out how to do all of this. At some point I’d love to go back and add all my Reviews to my Review Index, but that will be a long time coming! I did make sure to update all of January however, so that I could do this wrap-up post, and of course from now on they’ll all show up just because of how I post them.

January in Missouri and Kansas, where I live and work, is often snowy, and we’ve had two snow days already. Not only that, but it’s been really exciting here because our Kansas City Chiefs have finally made it to the Superbowl for the first time in 50 years! This Sunday we will see if they get to win this year, fingers crossed! We love our team, and have such a great quarterback. I mean, not only is he a really good football player. But he’s such a nice guy, I mean how awesome is he in this video?

I don’t normally watch the Superbowl, and it’s bad luck for me to watch the first half of our games, so I won’t be tuning in until at least halftime on Sunday night. To keep myself from doing that, I’ve got tickets to go see one of the Oscar nominess – Parasite, right about the time the whole thing is supposed to start.

I am still working on my house. I’ve decided to not only have my bookcases make a library in the front room, but I’m going to turn it into a bit of a writing office for myself as well. I do still want a couch to sit and read on in there at some point also, so it will be a true library at home for me. But that’s way down the line, even if I did buy a new desk to put in there this month.

Oh yeah, I decided to take the assistant bowling coach position at my school so that has kept me really busy! I tried to go seasonal at the bookstore like I have the past few years at this time of the year, but was told they no longer do that. My manager says she can give me February off, and I should be done with bowling after that. But of course there will be so many things coming up, like spring break where I’m going out of town, and other school things, that we’ll see how it works, or if my time working at the bookstore is coming to a close.

Let’s start with my reading/reviewing stats so far this month/year. I set my Goodreads goal to be the same number as I read last year, 220. I’m currently at 19 books, 1 ahead of schedule, and actually, I may finish #20 today after I’ve already posted this wrap-up. Now a few of those were really short audiobooks, so I am not getting cocky about being one book ahead.

Using my fancy new blog extras, I was able to copy with one line in here to get all my reviews from this month posted. A couple may actually have been read last year, but these are all the reviews I posted this past month.

January Reviews:

So far this month I’ve done pretty good about reviewing everything I read, especially since most of it was for blog tours. I do have one ARC I need to post a review for, and I am behind on my audiobooks as usual, but I did get last month’s audiobooks reviewed and they are posted and listed above.

I want to continue to talk about my DNF books, maybe go into that a little more this year. In fact, I’m even trying to just know that I’m not going to read books or finish them if I start and don’t enjoy, and then I’m adding those titles to my giveaways on my Cleaning Up My TBR posts every week. This month I have two ARCs that for sure I am passing on, one that I tried reading a little bit more of, but am going to DNF as well. Those books are: What I Carry by Jennifer Longo, Wardens of Eternity by Courtney Allison Moulton, and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. I gave all three a couple chapters to grab me and keep me reading, but none of them did that for me. The last one kept me going more than the other two, but it’s just not what I’m in the mood for, so I’m going to pass it on through a giveaway for others. Two of these I got at the AASL convention back in November, the other was sent to me by the publisher unrequested, so I just don’t feel that I need to review if I’m not enjoying it.

I’m still working to get my number of posts down each month, and January was definitely better than I have been, with only 37 posts, compared to the over 40 posts I’ve had in past months. Part of it was I didn’t take on any extra stuff because I knew I was switching from Blogger to WordPress and knew it would be a learning as I go thing. We’ll see how I do in February. But I have been a lot better about not signing up for blog tours. I’ve even skipped signing up for authors that I adore and know I am probably going to cry that I don’t have time to read their books because I signed up for other reviews. Now, 15 of those 37 posts were reviews, so I think that is good! And one of those 15 was like 9 different books.


So, technically, I only did one, and actually, even though I own a physical copy of the book, I think I listened to the audiobook instead. So not sure if I will count that or not. There were a few other audiobook novellas that I got from Penny Reid that I listened to, but again, don’t know if I’d count them. So I might be behind on this one already. I did pull a book down from my TBR pile to get started on, and I started it, but haven’t gotten far yet.

This challenge has several parts to it, so I’ll separate each one below:

  1. Blogging – So obviously, if you’re here reading this, you see that I did finally make the big jump to WordPress. Also obviously, I’m still working on my images and how it looks. Still need to find someone to help me upgrade my header and maybe get me a background more personal than just a solid color or pattern. I do have to say that Ashley from NoseGraze is who I went with and she has been spectacularly easy and wonderful to work with. I am doing better as I mentioned above about not taking on more reviews than I can handle, although since January kind of got scheduled last year before I really dove into that goal, I did end up with quite a few this last week in January. Here are a list of my weekly posts:

Lisa’s Looking Forward To

Cleaning Up My TBR: Now I didn’t do these every week, one week since I was still getting the hang of WordPress I skipped, and one week I didn’t do the Rafflecopter.

2. So, for my reading goals I mentioned the Goodreads goal above. Also, in my original sign-up for this challenge, I said that I was going to work on reading the ARCs that I got at conventions and stuff. As I also mentioned above, I had three that I DNFed of those ARCs, so I feel like that is helping me out as well.

3. My writing goals included both getting a story ready to submit to the Penny Reid SmartyPants Romance world, and getting my short story/novella ready to self-publish. I’ve since set a timeline, at least for the second one, and that is to get it reread/edited/polished and ready by the end of February. I have actually read/edited about half of it, so I feel I am on track. As of tomorrow, I will not be working anymore at the bookstore for the month of February, so hopefully that will get me on track with writing again.

Those are my only challenges this year. I’m trying to take it easy, and so far while I have done that, I haven’t necessarily done that great on the first challenge I listed above.

Looking forward to in February:

Okay, here is my proposed TBR based on my blog tours and ARCs that I have:

  1. What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel – I have the ARC of this, got two at one point, but traded one for another ARC I had wanted. Not sure when I’ll get it read and reviewed, my original goal was to have it read by this Sunday.
  2. Feisty by Julia Kent – I got a request from the author to read this, it came out earlier this week, and I’m reading and almost finished as we speak. I think I’ll have the review posted this weekend probably.
  3. Frenemies by Emma Hart – so this came out this past week as well, but it was supposed to be out the week before and the author wanted to make sure it was how she wanted it before publishing it, so they knew we might be late posting our reviews. It is my next read.
  4. The Third Best Thing by Maya Hughes – another one I need to get read to post a review. The author asked if I wanted to read, and I did, because I liked the first two, but then I have been so overbooked this week, I got behind. I really need to read about a book a day this weekend.
  5. Dear Ava by Ilsa Madden-Mills – I think I already read this as part of one of the Team Player anthologies, but I could be wrong and maybe that was only part of the story in there? But I signed up for the blog tour and should post a review on February 6th.
  6. When Adam Met Evie by Giulia Skye – Reading for a blog tour, review on February 7th
  7. Malice by Pintip Dunn – part of a blog tour, post on February 8th
  8. Freaky in Fresno by Laurie Boyle Crompton – this was an ARC I received unsolicited, so if I do get around to it, I’ll try to post a review this month
  9. Right Kind of Wrong by Sara Rider – part of a blog tour, post on February 10th
  10. The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith – I got this ARC at AASL, hope to read and review by February 16th
  11. Always Yours by Kennedy Fox – hopefully doing a blog tour so I can find out what happened and posting on February 18th?
  12. The Life Below by Alexandra Monir – Loved the first book, reading this for a blog tour, post on February 21st
  13. When We Were Magic by Sarah Gailey – I received an ARC from the publisher, while I didn’t request, I did say they could send it to me, so I am going to try to read and review by February 23rd if possible.
  14. Sweet on You by K.C. Enders – So, last year there was this new series called the 425 Madison Series and I read several of them and enjoyed most of them that I read. This year an author that lived in my hometown until she moved at the end of last year is one of the new part of the series, and so I’m excited to read her story as part of the series for a blog tour, will post on February 24th
  15. Flame by Aleatha Romig – I read and loved the first book, Spark, so hopefully will get to read book 2 as part of the continued blog tour. If so, my review will post on February 25th
  16. Crazy Heifer by Lani Lynn Vale – so I’ve been loving the books by this author, and I adore the title and synopsis of this one. Should be reading for a blog tour, and posting on February 26th
  17. Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry – I read this in January, but haven’t reviewed yet, so should post sometime this month
  18. A Very Beardy Christmas by Penny Reid – listened to the audiobook in January, now just need to post a review
  19. New Orleans Rush by Kelly Siskind – another audiobook that I listened to in January and need to review
  20. Attraction by Penny Reid – a novella type of book that I listened to in January and need to review
  21. Heat by Penny Reid – the sequel novella to Attraction listed above and I’m listening to right now.
  22. Capture by Penny Reid – the finale to the trilogy of the novellas listed above. I assume I’ll probably start that audiobook after I finish the one above
  23. Then You Happened by K. Bromberg – So I didn’t have time to read the book because of all that I had scheduled already for the end of January, but when the offered the chance to listen to the audiobook for review, I hopped on that. However I haven’t heard back yet, so I don’t know for sure if I’ll get to. If I do, look for that review with the first week or two of February.
  24. When I Fall by J. Daniels – I started this in January, hoping that I can finish it and put it towards my Beat the Backlist Challenge!

So, the end of February looks to be really packed like the end of January was for reviews. I’ve got to stop letting that happen! Wish me luck!

How was your January?

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20 responses to “January 2020 Wrap-Up Post and Looking Forward to February

  1. That’s really cool about the bowling position, but I’m sorry you might not be doing the bookstore anymore since they don’t do seasonal. That’s so weird!! Sorry about the DNFs – but it’s always good to set things aside if they aren’t working for you. Way too many books to struggle through ones you aren’t enjoying!!


    • Lisa Mandina

      I should be going back to the bookstore in March, just worried about how flexible the manager will be when I get back. But yeah, you’re right about the DNFs. No time for books we aren’t enjoying! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. wow, you’v got a lot on your plate! How do you manage to read AND review so much, when there’s so much going on in your life? And I definitely want to see pictures of your own home library.
    And how has your experience been of switching to wordpress? are you also self-hosting now?

    • Lisa Mandina

      There have been a lot of late nights to keep up with the reviews for blogs! That’s what I’ve got to stop doing to myself. When I get my front room done with the desk and stuff, I’ll definitely take some pictures! So far WordPress has been a learning experience. I’m not self-hosting though, having Ashley at NoseGraze do it, so that is helping I think! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Ashley Montgomery

    Wow! You had a busy month! Congrats on all of your achievements!! I just got back into reading and I’m to have accomplished reading one book in the last three days. I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going because I really do miss reading. Here’s to another great month!!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Good luck on your getting back to reading. I think once you get back into it, you’ll just speed along! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lisa Mandina

      It’s definitely a learning experience, and even though it’s a bit harder because of that, there are a lot of things that are already going to be so much simpler I can tell. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Thanks, I am not really pleased with how I’ve got the background, but at least I am able to do more with it than I was before!

  4. I remember the pain of moving from free WP to self hosted, so I can only imagine your pain! But, it’ll be great once it’s all done!

    YAY CHIEFS! I can’t root for the 49ers due to a rivalry, so I am hoping your Chiefs pull through!

    • Lisa Mandina

      My Chiefs did it! So awesome! Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I’m working on the moving pains, but it’s worth it so far.

  5. I hope you will enjoy going to see Parasite, and I hope the moving in to the library and writing studio goes well. I can only dream of one day having a room like that, and you have me so excited for it now!! I love that. And I hope the coaching position is fun. I didn’t realise you worked in a bookshop DD: So cool.

    Olivia Roach recently posted: Americanah [Book Review]
    • Lisa Mandina

      Parasite was definitely interesting! Still working on my library/office. I want a little couch or reading seat in there some day as well! Yep, my life is pretty much all books all the time, and I love that!

  6. Danielle Hammelef

    I love the idea of your front room being a library as well as a writing space for you. I always enjoy how many posts you have during the month and I always learn about new books and authors from you.

  7. Sandy Klocinski

    The bowling coach thing sounds awesome! I usually finish a book if I start it even if it’s not exactly my cup of tea although I did have one last month that I just could not get into and didn’t finish. I’d love to have a library in my house. I do have a “reading room” with a couple of bookcases and some books but nothing major

    • Lisa Mandina

      I used to always finish every book I started no matter what. I now have too many books on my TBR bookcase as well as free ebooks, etc., to keep reading something that I’m not enjoying. But that’s a decision I’ve had to make! I’m working on my library/office room. But it’s been so nice this weekend I’ve actually been sitting out on my patio to read so my dogs can enjoy the back yard. Can’t wait for more spring and summer weather to do this! Thanks for stopping by!

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