The Long and the Short of It: February 2020 Wrap-Up Post and Looking Forward to March

March 3, 2020 End of the month post 12

Hey everyone, how do you like my new button I created for my wrap-up posts? I love it! Hope you do too! I’ve decided to make new personalized buttons for a few of my different regular posts, and started with this one. Now, on with actually wrapping up last month!

February has ended up being a chock full month for it’s only 29 days. It’s like it is Leap Year so everyone and everything tried to fit in all they could for that one extra day. I’m still working on learning all the things with WordPress, growing pains with that, while I’m getting a bit more familiar as well.

When I posted my January Wrap-Up, we were getting ready to see if my hometown NFL team could win the Super Bowl, and they did! My Kansas City Chiefs went all the way this year! So we had a special “snow day” in order for Kansas City to hold a parade in honor of our Chiefs just like we did when our baseball team won the World Series a few years ago. It was a cold, somewhat snowy day, so I chose to stay home and watch the parade from my warm couch where I could snuggle with my dogs and read while I waited for it all to start. We had one more actual snow day in February too.

Now my assistant bowling coach position got really busy because of all these snow days throughout January and February, and having to make up meets we’d canceled due to weather. Weather though has really changed at the end of February. The last two weekends have been great for sitting outside, which I’m loving doing at my new house with my fenced yard! Although I did learn that mud is not my friend. I’ve had to give one of my dogs several baths just from going outside because he wants to bark at the neighbors’ dog, and the mud is of course right by the fence.

I did have the month off from the bookstore, but did not get all the things i wanted to do done. My manager immediately set me up with hours for the very first weekend in March, this coming one. I work both Friday and Saturday nights for the next three weeks. KMN. I’m going to look at the positive and hope that we keep having the really nice weekends and I can sit outside during the day before going to work. Still really feel like I need to figure a way to stop working at the bookstore. But then this last paycheck of the month always kills me once I have to take out both my mortgage and student loan. I know, I know, I need to do better at budgeting.

Okay, on with my reading/reviewing stats. I only got 17 books read this month, things were a little slower with all my bowling meets and practices. Maybe next month. I am currently 2 books ahead of my goal according to Goodreads. Not all, the audiobooks mainly, were reviewed this month.

February Reviews:

As I mentioned above, I’ve mostly reviewed every book that I read. However I’m behind on audiobooks, including those in January, because I still haven’t posted reviews for them.

I am hoping to do a post about DNF books this month. I actually have somewhat cut back on the review books I’ve signed up for this month. I’m trying really hard for cutting back on blog posts as well. Two ARCs that I was sent without me requesting, but that I tried and couldn’t get into this past month were Freaky in Fresno by Laurie Boyle Compton and What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel. The last one I was very interested in, but it just wasn’t grabbing me the way it was done.

As I mentioned, I’m working on cutting back the number of posts, and I got down to 34 in February! So much closer to only one per day. Although, technically, there were less days in February than January, so maybe not as good as I thought. I’m at the point where if I don’t have anything scheduled, then I don’t stress over making up a post for that day. I take the time to read instead, or write.

Challenges:

This month I didn’t actually finish any books from my backlist, but I did DNF one that I’ve had sitting on my bookcase since I won a copy from the author in 2017. I loved the first two in the Alabama Summer series by J. Daniels, but just couldn’t get into When I Fall. I’ve pulled down a couple books from my shelves to read this month, we’ll see how far I get! I’m also working to get ahead on the ARCs I received and see if I can get them read or at least attempt and choose to DNF if I don’t enjoy.

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

  1. Blogging – Still learning WordPress, but getting better by the minute! While I still haven’t found anyone to do anything to help me update my blog itself, you can see from the image at the top that I am working on some things like buttons. I am also doing a lot better with not taking on too many reviews. I’m even having to pass on ones that I just know I can’t fit in. I’m especially working on that since the second round of the SmartyPants Romance series is coming out in the next few months and I want to read almost all of those. Here are a list of my weekly posts:

Lisa’s Looking Forward To:

Cleaning Up My TBR: Now, I’ve been pretty much just having the same people entering the giveaway every month for like a year now. So I may quit doing this one if it isn’t getting me new followers, because it takes a lot of time.

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. I’ve mentioned how I’m doing on those. Currently reading, about to finish one of those ARCs. I think I’ll be going to ALA’s Summer Convention again this year, so I’ll probably end up with a ton more ARCs! I feel like actually picking each ARC up and giving it a shot is helping me move through them. Just having them by my bed and reading a couple chapters before bed, trying to see if I like it or not. I feel like I’m giving myself some parameters on DNFing. Like I give it three times of reading and if I still can’t get into it, and don’t have to post a review on it (although sometimes I’ll still DNF a review book) then I give myself permission to DNF. Or if by 50 pages I’m still not enjoying it, I can be done. I also had to DNF an audiobook by one of my favorite authors, K Bromberg. I just wasn’t connecting to the characters.

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. My timeline was to get the short story ready by the end of February. I’m not quite there. As I mentioned before, I didn’t get as much writing time as I’d hoped. However I got a bunch more done the past two weekends and am really close! One of my beta readers/friends recommended adding another date into the story, so I did that, but it is rearranging or changing where two chapters were. Now I’m waiting on one more person to read that scene and I’m working on getting the rest all edited as much as possible. So I’ve extended that goal and made it by the end of March. Like I said, I’m back to the bookstore this weekend. But I work Friday and Saturday night. So as long as I’m not too tired Saturday, and it’s nice outside, I can take my laptop outside and work on it!

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 March:

March is looking fun because it is my spring break. I’m supposed to be traveling with my family to California to take my 8 year old niece and 2 year old nephew to Legoland. We’re supposed to stay in the Castle hotel, and it should be fun! A little nervous about the whole Coronavirus thing, but we’ll see! As I’ve mentioned above as well, hoping that the weather is going to continue to be nice and spring-like and that winter is really heading out for the season. My only negative this month is going back to the bookstore. Of course, I may decide soon that I am done. But I’d really like to have it for the summer to make some extra money.

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

  1. Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas – I’m actually reading this ARC right now.
  2. A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell – Got this at AASL in November and it’s next to read!
  3. Flawless Foundations by Lauren Helms – Another book in the 425 Madison Ave series that I’m scheduled to post a review as part of a blog tour on March 9th – I already started it last night in my effort to stay ahead of my review books this month.
  4. The Rich Boy by Kylie Scott – Hoping to read this one for a review blog tour on March 12th Edit: I didn’t qualify to get an ARC, so won’t be reading this one! Crazy that I didn’t qualify for one of my favorite authors. Oh well.
  5. The Trade by Meghan Quinn – Another one I should hopefully be reading for a review blog tour, and even though I told myself I wouldn’t do this anymore, it is for March 12th as well. I’ve missed too many of Meghan Quinn’s books lately because of trying not to overbook, and since I don’t have any tours really scheduled this first week, I’m trying to stay ahead!
  6. Girls with Razor Hearts by Suzanne Young – I got an ARC of this and plan to hopefully read and review by March 13th.
  7. Beef Cake by Jiffy Kate – I will be reading this for a blog tour, so excited for the next round of SmartyPants Romance to start, and I loved the title by this author in the first round. Review posted on March 17th!
  8. The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – I wrote to the publisher and was lucky to get an early copy, finished though, and so I hope to get it read and post a review on March 20th!
  9. Love Under Protection by Aubree Valentine – Another one in the 425 Madison Ave series that I’ll be reading for a blog tour and posting a review on March 23rd
  10. Between Burning Worlds by Jessica Brody – Very excited to read an e-galley of this one. I like the first one a lot! My review should be part of a tour posted on March 28th
  11. Attracting Aubrey by Avery Flynn – Should be reading and posting a review for a tour on March 31st
  12. Wet by Stacy Kestwick – One of my TBR pile books that I started this month.
  13. P.S. It’s Always Been You by Lauren Blakely – It’s a series on Audible Escapes that I am going to start listening to this week.
  14. Wicked As You Wish by Rin Chupeco – I got an ARC of this, but I didn’t like her other book that I tried, The Bone Witch, that I also got an ARC of. But I might try it. We’ll see.

So, there will probably be another audiobook or two thrown in, as well as some books from my TBR piles as I try to get through them. Even with my spring break in the middle of the month, since I’ll be with my family, I have a feeling I won’t get that much reading done on that trip. So it looks like I’ll be much more spaced out, and that’s a positive for me! Plus, I have overdue reviews to get posted, so I’m glad to be a bit lower on review tours as well!

I’m actually looking forward to March now! And with the cut back in the number of books for review/tours, I feel like my goal with my writing is actually feasible.

How was your February?

12 Responses to “The Long and the Short of It: February 2020 Wrap-Up Post and Looking Forward to March”

    • Lisa Mandina

      It’s actually kind of small compared to how it’s been past months. So hopefully this one will be completed! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lisa Mandina

      It was! But my Chiefs came back in the second half, as they always do! Thanks for visiting!

  1. Olivia Roach

    I am still so impressed that you get so much reading done with all the other things you have to do as well. I hope catching up on reviews of audiobooks goes well and that you will be able to cut back on spending and also on blog posts and reviews to write. It can be difficult, cutting back, but when I cut back on requesting and blog posts things became more manageable for me. I am starting to feel organised so maybe soon I can up my blog posts again.

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

      Hoping I get better with all those things. But just a little bit of improvement at a time is still good! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Ashley Montgomery

    Great reading month! According to GR I’m 1 ahead of schedule but I’m so behind in reviews. I thought I was okay until I looked the other day. *face palm*

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, my reviews are behind! My audiobook reviews for sure! Thanks for visiting!

  3. ShootingStarsMag

    Just fyi, your post’s title says looking forward to January. 😉

    Your trip for Spring Break sounds like fun! My college has spring break next week but unfortunately, I still have to work. For the bookstore- can you be a seasonal worker? Like just work the summers? Extra money is always nice though, I get that.

    -Lauren

    • Lisa Mandina

      LOL!!! You can tell I was in a hurry when I was working on it! Thanks for letting me know. I’ve fixed it now! I tried to go seasonal, that’s what I’ve done in the past, but they supposedly aren’t doing seasonal anymore according to my current manager. So that’s where I’m at. If I “quit” now, then I’d have to re-interview and start back at the starting salary which is like $3-4 less than I make now per hour. But money is always needed for fun things like trips! Thanks for stopping by!

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