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

Posted May 2, 2020 by Lisa Mandina in End of the month post, giveaway / 32 Comments

April went by so fast! But probably because every day was about the same. Spent at home. Trying to figure out what I could do as the librarian to help my teachers and students and show that my job is necessary. Honestly, I’m so worried that being home and the population at my school being more physical book users, is not doing me justice and all that. I’m in Missouri, and our state has decided to quite the stay-at-home as of May 4th, except for cities or counties that want to wait until May 15th at the moment. I teach/work in Kansas, and while they did the May 4th, the county where my school is decided to keep the stay-at-home order till the 15th, which means I still can’t get into my library to close up for the year.

I have still been fortunate enough to be enjoying pretty nice spring weather though, and I’m so grateful every day that I get to sit outside on my patio in my fenced yard and play with my dogs, or let them wander around. While I have a smaller fenced area just for them, occasionally I’ll let them run the whole yard, and one of my dogs just loves it! The joy on his face when he runs makes me so happy. Here’s a short clip of him running to me.

Now, I need to start working outside more, but I also need to put up some shade to work under so the sun doesn’t make it impossible to read my laptop screen. Although, the dogs have started wanting in and out instead of just enjoying being outside.

Okay, let’s get onto the book and blogging stuff, right? First off, I read 19 books last month, one of those I did actually finish at 12:30 am on May 1st, but I’m going to count it as an April book. I actually haven’t gotten all my reviews posted of those yet, so I’m a bit behind. And I’ve got four books I added to the DNF list too.

April Reviews:

I haven’t done a DNF post yet for the April books. I’ll either do it sometime in May, or wait till June and put two months together again. We’ll see.

As for doing less posts since I’m home now, I did end up with two less than last month, only 36 compared to 38 in March. But, one is because I waited to post a review when I found out the book isn’t going to be actually published now till later, like August. The publisher said I could go ahead and post a review if I wanted, so I may do that this month if I have some extra time. I am also still up to date on my current physical ARCs. I just finished the only May one I had and will be reviewing it on Sunday. The next one on my actual pile is for June, although I may jump in sooner rather than waiting! But I do have a bunch to get reviewed for tours that are e-galleys and I’m working on keeping up on those. A few of them the blog tour isn’t until a week or two after they are published, so I need to move up when I read so I can review on pub date even if my blog tour post is later. I’m two behind on that, but hope to get caught up this weekend. We’ll see.


I got two books done for this! Yay! It was the Water’s Edge series by Stacy Kestwick. I won them from her a year or so ago, and hadn’t gotten to them until now. They were really good, and when I finished the first one, it was a total cliffhanger, so it was good to be able to pick the second one up right away. Looking back at my goal of 2 per month, 24 for the year, I might be a bit behind!

  1. Blogging – Still working and learning about Word Press, but really getting to like it a lot! Except for adding html for blog tours. I can’t figure out how to fix or add something when I do that, so that is a bit of a pain. Oh well. At some point I’ll probably figure it out. Keeping up my planner, have even added in a spot to keep track of my DNF books. I have cut back on tours for the most part, except as I mentioned when set my goals, the next round of SmartyPants Romance books have arrived and they are all going on right now. So I’m reading about one or two of those a week along with a few others. Since I’ve been better about keeping ahead and have all this extra time for reading, I don’t feel as bad taking on more. Plus, I’ve been able to not miss out on some other favorite authors at the same time with surprise releases and the like. Commenting on other blogs, not doing as well as I would like. So I think I’ll make a better go at it in May. Maybe add a spot in my planner where I will keep track of how many I comment on a day. I’m good about going to the same ones I always do, or on Wednesday posts, but not always other times. Onto my weekly posts part of this goal.

Lisa’s Looking Forward To:

As you can see, I’m doing great on that one!

Cleaning Up My TBR:

I’ve given up on the Cleaning Up My TBR posts with giveaways each week. They take too long, and don’t get very many entries in the giveaway, the same 8-10 people over and over are winning. So for now, I am going to try to start in May by doing the cleaning up on Goodreads, but just keep track to talk about at the end of the month.

On the flip side, I’m thinking of just doing a weekend post like I the Stacking My Shelves or Sunday Post. Only I want to come up with a title that fits in with my own blog, like I’ve done with my Wednesday and Month end posts. Maybe Lisa’s Latest? Or the Latest from LLL? I don’t know. Still thinking. Any ideas or suggestions for one you think sounds good for me?

2. Reading – I’m on track for my Goodreads goal, 73 out of the 220 of my goal. Some books are getting read in a day, others taking two or three. Still way less than normal. Speaking of reading in a day, the one I finished barely on the last day? Well I’d only read like to page 68, 20%, by around 6 pm. I went to bed thinking I’d just read to about half way through the 350 pages, and I could not put it down! Had to keep reading to know what happened next. As I mentioned above as well, I’m ahead or on time with all my ARCs, and even the e-galleys. But the SmartyPants Romance ones I should have posted reviews for on Tuesday, but since I didn’t have their reviews till next week, and the week after, I haven’t yet. Need to do that!

3. Writing – I participated in a Airbnb class with an expert last week, it was a writing class with a published author. Her name is Katy Lee, and while I haven’t read any of her books, she had some great advice. Here is her Goodreads page: . It was a Zoom class, and since no one else signed up I got her all to myself! While a lot of what she talked about I already knew, I definitely got some suggestions on things that already gave me an idea how to move on in a story I was kind of stuck in. I also will check out her website for some future classes as well. Another thing is watched a YouTube or Facebook Live, I forget which, author panel, and got really inspired to get my YA novel that is completed finally polished and start sending it out to agents. Well, I got inspired, I haven’t actually done much yet.

Oh yeah, I told you last month that I submitted my novella, I learned it is too long to be a short story, to self-publish on Amazon and it’s now live! I set it up so that right now you can only get it on Amazon, but it’s only 99 cents, or free with Kindle Unlimited. I did also get the cover fixed for a paperback, so I can actually order and hold a physical copy. It is under my pen name, but if you want to check it out, I’d love if you did and gave me some reviews. Good or bad, a review is a review! Here is a link if you’re interested: Amazon. Warning, it is a very steamy romance, like I enjoy reading.

I completely failed at Camp NaNoWriMo. Not a single word written. 🙁

What to Expect in May:

I’m looking forward to more good weather, and lots more time to read. Hoping that things will slowly start getting a little closer to normal, although I know it will be a while before it is really anywhere close. Hopefully at the end my family will still take our trip to Branson, Missouri, about 4 hours away from where we live, on Memorial Day weekend. That part of the state hasn’t had much issue with the virus. Plus, Branson is a city that is all about entertainment, and I know that during the winter time a lot of families don’t have money and have to move away or else barely scrape by because of the lack of tourism. So we want to go support them if we can. Even if it is just staying in our cabin and ordering food to pick up, that is okay. But again, we’ll see how it goes.

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

  1. Batter of Wits by Karla Sorensen – Actually already finished this SmartyPants Romance, just posting the review as part of a tour on May 7th
  2. The Teaching Hours by Sara Ney – currently reading, but it isn’t new to me, as it was part of the Team Player 2 anthology, review as part of blog tour on May 6th
  3. Love Under Quarantine by Kylie Scott and Audrey Carlan – very excited to read this story kind of set in our current world of quarantine, and it will be a blog tour review on May 11th
  4. Carpentry and Cocktails by Nora Everly – I’ve actually already finished as part of my SmartyPants Romance reviews, but the actual blog tour review post isn’t until May 12th.
  5. May Contain Wine by Lani Lynn Vale – So I think I signed up to do a review of this one as part of a tour on May 13th, but don’t know that I’ve gotten it yet?
  6. A Secret for a Secret by Helena Hunting – I’ve already got the e-galley, just need to read and I think post a review as part of a blog tour on either May 13th or 14th, or I’m hoping it will wait till the 18th or 19th.
  7. The Modern Gentleman by Meghan Quinn – see what I mean about getting signed up for a ton of review blog tours again? But these are all authors I love and couldn’t pass up! This tour is on May 14th.
  8. Black Tangled Heart by Samantha Young – even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the second book in this series, I couldn’t pass up a chance to read on by this other favorite author of mine. Should be posting review on May 14th also.
  9. Just Another Silly Love Song by Rich Amooi – another author I’ve found and enjoyed, and to be fair, I signed up for this one a long time ago. Blog tour review on May 15th.
  10. The Two of Us by Kennedy Fox – Ah! I really did sign up for too many books in May! This one is also for a review tour on May 15th.
  11. Upsy Daisy by Chelsie Edwards – a SmartyPants Romance book, I’ll be posting a review as part of a blog tour on May 19th
  12. Hot Mess by Emma Hart – another favorite author that I couldn’t pass up. Posting my review on May 21st.
  13. Bad Boys Don’t Make Good Boyfriends by Melanie A. Smith – for a blog tour review post on May 22nd.
  14. The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska – an ARC I received from the publisher before all the craziness, I plan to read and post a review on May 24th.
  15. Love in Deed by L.B. Dunbar – another SmartyPants Romance, blog tour review post on May 28th.
  16. If We Were Us by K.L. Walther – an ARC I received from the publisher that I intend to read and post a review on May 31st.
  17. Stranger Ranger by Daisy Prescott – yet another SmartyPants Romance, and this blog tour doesn’t post till June 2nd, but I’ll need to read before then!
  18. Banking the Billionaire by Max Monroe – I got this at Book Bonanza last August and have already started reading. Hoping to finish in May and then it can be part of my Beat the Backlist Challenge.
  19. Real Dirty by Meghan March – I’m listening to this audiobook, checked out from my library digitally. Hope to finish it this month, but with my lack of driving to and from work I don’t do a lot of audiobook listening these days. I even cancelled my Audible Escape subscription for next month because of this.

I read 19 books last month, and technically 3 of those I listed above are either finished or almost finished, so I can surely do it this month too, right? Wish me luck on overbooking myself once again!

How was your April? What are you looking forward to in May? Are you still doing okay with this craziness? I’ve also begun getting really sucked into my Animal Crossing game, so that takes away some time that I should be reading, or even takes away from my Netflix time.


Since I’ve quit doing my CUTBR giveaways weekly, I’m going to do a giveaway with my month-end post I think. And if I do start weekly wrap-up posts, I’ll remind everyone about it each week. I’m going to give the same choices as before. 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 it international in that you can pick a book for under $10 if The Book Depository ships to you. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below.

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32 responses to “The Looooong and the Short of It with a Giveaway: April 2020 Wrap-Up Post and What to Expect in May

  1. Bev

    I am so looking forward to getting outside more in May and reading outside as well.Great list of books and reviews!

  2. Look at all those stellar April reviews! Nineteen books in a month is impressive. I thought I would read more with the state of things, but I find myself reaching for alternative means of entertainment. Whatever gets you through the day. I hope you have a good May <3

    • Lisa Mandina

      Well, without much to do at home, I’m getting lots of reading done! Which is good since I’ve signed up for so many tours. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lisa Mandina

      I’ve got to quit signing up for tours, but my favorite authors keep putting lots of books out! What a problem to have, right? Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Danielle Hammelef

    Thanks for the short video–so cute! And thank you for updating us about MO–it helps me when I talk to my parents who also live there. April did go by quickly and I think you’re right about why–every day was basically the same routine here too. Exercise, chores, meals, puzzle, reading, homework. We are starting off May with bad news for my in-laws as my FIL’s lung disease has exponentially worsened and needs his kids 24/7 to care for him. No hospice bed available right now, but that would also mean the kids would never see him again with no visitation allowed. Glad you have warm weather to enjoy your backyard.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Oh no! I’m sorry to hear about your FIL. He probably doesn’t want to be near any sick people with his lung disease anyway. I think it is worse for people dealing with those kind of health issues. I’ll keep your family in my prayers! Thanks for visiting!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Ah, my mom and sister had April birthdays much different than normal of course. Hopefully you get nice weather in soon. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Lisa

    I work in a school as well, and this is such a crazy end to the year. We are on lockdown through the end of May, but they have set up a rotating schedule for us to pack up our rooms for the year. And….your dog is the cutest 🙂

    • Lisa Mandina

      Aw! Thanks! My boy is a sweetie! His sister is pretty cute too, but she’s not as much of a runner. She just kind of walks along and sniffs everything. Hoping to get in after May 15th to work in my library and get it shut down. We’ll see. Thanks for visiting!

    • Lisa Mandina

      There were some really good ones! I need to do a catch up on what rating I give or something. He’s a cutie, but a brat at other times. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. shooting

    Woah, so many books to read this month! You can do it though. I hope that the trip to Branson works out for you. I was supposed to go to Gatlinburg sometime this Fall, but we might have to wait until next year. Just not sure how open things will be even then.


    • Lisa Mandina

      I think we’ll be at least able to go and hang out in the cabin and order food or cook in the kitchen there. Kind of like we did at the beginning of all this craziness. I hope you’re able to go on your trip this fall, but who knows how things will go, since they’re saying a second wave maybe this fall. Thanks for visiting!

  6. Hi Lisa, Wow, your blog title is appropriate! Your love of books really comes through in this post, and also from those impressive numbers of books read and posts written. I feel like a slacker now 🙂 It’s great that you can still take a trip for Memorial Day weekend. Hope that part of the country stays clear of the virus for a nice long time. Happy reading in May! Stay safe!

    Andrew Blackman recently posted: April 2020 Reading Roundup
    • Lisa Mandina

      Thanks! My life is pretty much about books, even my paying jobs are book related. Nah, don’t feel like a slacker, everyone reads at their own pace, or has their own lives that take up what time they have. It looks like my trip will be on, the resort is opening up next week, a week before we go. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Candice

    You got an impressive amount of books read. I spent most of the month struggling through a very tedious book, Catherine House, which I do not recommend. Catherine House has very misleading synopsis. I like the video of your cute dog. I have two long-haired dachshunds and they prefer napping on laps. For your blog, you could try Lisa’s Lucky Finds where you show deals on books or bookish things.

    • Lisa Mandina

      My reading has slowed down this May, so guessing I won’t have quite as long of a list this time around. But we’ll see. I wish my two dachshunds were more napping dogs. Although my two don’t really play, just are very needy with attention. I love that idea! Thanks for sharing it. And thanks for stopping by!

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