February 2017 in Review

March 1, 2017

Newsworthy

It’s hard to believe February has already come and gone! This was a great but busy month.

  • The Annual Harry Potter Movie Marathon with my girlfriends was great. I put together an exercise game for us, and we ate, drank, worked out, and enjoyed watching all eight films from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. It was wonderful to rewatch them and reminisce about the first time we read the books.
  • I only published 9 posts this month, but that means I’m still meeting my goal of two posts a week! 6 books reviews, one Top Ten Tuesday, and a Building Better Book Clubs series post. I have hope to expand my Book Club series next month, along with a few other series posts I have in mind.
  • I WENT TO MY FIRST AUTHOR EVENT! It was AMAZING meeting Brittany Cavallaro, author of A Study in Charlotte. A HUGE shout out to my friend Kelsey for helping me actually find local author events! We went together and it was awesome. Post to come in March.

While it was a great month for reading, it wasn’t a great month for work. I have some major projects due in March, so I expect my blog hopping will slow down. I don’t want my blogging momentum to stop, however! Sorry friends, gotta look out for Number 1 first. 😀 But I’ll do my best to be a visible presence in the community this month. Here’s hoping March is easier than it looks to be!

List of Reads

I had a surprisingly solid reading month. I read three diverse books, but one was a novella… I feel I can do better (That’s right, Naz! You’re an inspiration)! I read zero non-fiction (I totally meant to, Ottavia!), but I did read science fiction (I am aiming for more in the future, Liis) AND fantasy (nothing on your list, Drew, but I’m taking baby steps) AND poetry (That’s all your fault, Gretchen. I love it). It’s starting to be incredibly obvious to me where my book community is influencing me. I couldn’t be happier. And you should all check out their blogs. Because they are great.

February Books:

Read 11 total books, 1 DNF

 

MUST READ this month:

A Gathering of Shadows– HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK. I read it for book club in anticipation of the final book in Shades of Magic being released I finally real A Gathering of Shadows. I KNOW. I know. I’m behind the times. But I don’t like waiting for series books to be published. But this book. Amazing new characters, brilliant character development, fantastic and witty banter, shocks and surprises all around– and that cliffhanger!!!! Good thing I will be immediately picking up the final book.

DANGER! Avoid this month:
The Fortress at the End of Time – A shorter hard science fiction book focusing on philosophy rather than science, I thought this book might really be up my alley. As I was reading it for a book club, I also thought I could get through it. Unfortunately, I ran into unlikable, non-evolving characters with no plot. I was bored and DNF’d this book. Definitely not recommended.

 

Tsundoku Life

It wouldn’t be tsundoku if I didn’t have a gigantic pile of books waiting for me!

As most of you know, tsundoku means the act of leaving a book unread after acquiring it, typically piled up together with other unread books on shelves, floors, or nightstandsIn my case, I get most of my books from the library. But, having 30 books checked out and waiting to be read can be overwhelming. I interpret my tsundoku as a combination of the physical books waiting to be read, but also the gigantic TBR I have listed. My goal? SHRINK THE TBR.

This month I acquired 5 new books! Not too bad, considering my track record.  That said, I didn’t really make a dent so much as grow my pile. Oops! In January, my pile was 1,789 books. Now…

WHAT? How did I end up adding 24 books to my TBR? Ugh. I am so disappointed. I marked 12 off of there, and still managed to increase my TBR by 12? That means I added 36 books to my TBR this month. Oy. I seriously have a problem. Only 4 are ARCs, though, so I feel like that’s an improvement. Someone host me an intervention.

I am still super excited about my Building Better Book Clubs series. I currently only have two posts written (February’s post is here!), but I have twelve more in draft! I can’t wait for some weekend when I can just sit down and crank them all out. I hope you all are as excited as me!

I also have the honor of being the judge of a writing group’s writing competition this month. They have spent all quarter working on short stories, and I get to read and review them! I couldn’t be more excited. But also… super anxious. That’s a lot of pressure! I don’t want to shoot down any amateur’s dreams! What suggestions do you have for me in this experience?

 

March TBR:

  • Our Shared Shelf- Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
  • Kids Lit – Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins; Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
  • West Side Stories – 1984 by George Orwell
  • Brunch Books – A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab
  • VACB Book Club – TBD
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Club: The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
  • Popsugar Challenge – Eloise by Kay Thompson
  • Read Harder Challenge – Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  • Listopia Challenge – Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

Compared to last month, this TBR is really intimidating. Thankfully, Our Shared Shelf and the VACB book clubs don’t meet each month, so I have extra time to crank through those. That said, I doubt there will be time for a ton of pleasure reading this month. Yikes.

 

2017 Goal Update:

  • Never have a backlog of more than 5 books which need to be reviewed:
    • Hm. I might need to reassess this. I have 16 books to review still. Apparently, I am not into book reviews this year.
  • Spend 5 minutes a day blog hopping:
    • This has been pretty good! I haven’t done it daily, but about every other day at this point. And when I do make time for it, I spend 10-60 minutes blog hopping. I feel on top of this.
  • Expand the book discussion question database by at least one book a month:
    • Things aren’t looking good for our heroine. No new questions, but at least she updated the Discussion Questions page… <sigh> I will get more questions up there.
  • Maintain posting twice a week:
    • NAILED IT
  • Participate in 5 cross-post style events:
    •  Top Ten Tuesday and Naz’s Read Diverse Books are things I have been participating in, but I won’t count it until I do more with these. They don’t feel like they are truly in the spirit of my goal. I’m hoping that I get the opportunity to do some guest posts soon!!
  • Make the Thanksgiving Readathon with Ottavia a real thing!
    • This is something we’ll chat about closer to Thanksgiving. Probably early Q3.
  • Expand my non-book review posts:

A lot more happened in February than I thought! I’m glad that these Month in Review posts exists, if only to keep me honest! March will be a rough month for reading, but I’m hoping I can get some more posts in here. Who knows? Perhaps March will be a really great month for me?

Happy Reading,

Jackie B.

Jackie B Forman


What do you think?

  • What advice do you have about my writing competition judging? Any and all suggestions are welcome!
  • How do you manage your ever growing TBR? Do you even keep track of it?
  • Any guest post opportunities you can think of? Help me get to my goal for the year!

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35 Comments

  • Amber Elise @ Du Livre March 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    The hubs and I tried rewatching the HP movies and I think we made it to movie four before passing out, it sounds like you guys created a lot of fun activities around it!I REALLY need to read AGOS. I had a giftcard to BN that I was going to use it for, but that was right when BN stopped carrying it in hardcover AND MY COLLECTION MUST BE HARDCOVER.

    I also adore the Falconer series!!

    • Jackie B March 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      It is definitely a long slog getting through all 8 films, but it was totally worth it. Making a weekend out of it really helps. 🙂

      I completely agree!! Hardcovers are the way to go. I love it when all my books all match. So pretty…

      Hey! You’re the first person I’ve heard mention this series! Yay! I’m glad I’m not alone. I found it completely by accident. I’m so glad I did. 🙂

  • ChicNerdReads March 1, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    you had an awesome February and I’m super happy that you’re reading poetry books =)
    I’m currently reading A Darker Shade of Magic and I am really enjoying it. I wish I had more time for it but so far so good. I have faith in this series lol, Schwab is one of my favorite writers. I have The Falconer on my TBR and I’m excited for that one. eeeeeek!
    I hope you have a great March despite the work project =)

    • Jackie B March 1, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      I’m certain March will be just fine in the end as long as I’m patient with myself. But thank you!

      Oh man. The Shades of Magic books are the first books by Schwab I’ve read. I definitely need to seek out more of her works! I love her characters– they are so vibrant and real. <3 Lila. Obviously.

  • Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek March 1, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    Lol some terrible influences then, think you forgot the word ‘bad’ in front of influence where I’m concerned!

    Glad I’m not the only one not into writing reviews either!

    • Jackie B March 1, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Soooo many terrible influences. But really– I’m thinking of returning to adult fantasy with some Robin Hobb. But Joe Abercrombie sounds good too… where to start? I’ve really only read Tolkien and Robert Jordan. Plus, my current delving into Sanderson YA. What do you suggest?

      (Here’s to slacking on reviews!)

      • Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek March 2, 2017 at 7:28 am

        Hobb and Abercrombie are completely different. Hobb for the Farseer trilogy (the first to read) writes in a first person PoV then switches to a third person PoV for the liveship traders trilogy before going back to the first person for the tawny man.

        Abercrombie writes in a third person PoV and is referred to by many fantasy fans as Lord Grimdark as he writes dark and gory stuff.

        Hobb is perhaps the more accessible for a first foray back into adult fantasy as Abercrombie is dark but also very very good, I don’t know which to recommend first as I’m in the camp of both are awesome! 🙂

        • Jackie B March 2, 2017 at 8:02 am

          Then I’ll go with whatever is first available in the library. 🙂 I do love the title Lord Grimdark. I hope that was fan-imposed.

  • Laila@BigReadingLife March 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Wow – I thought *my* TBR was huge! Now I don’t feel quite so bad. 😉 I also count my TBR as not only unread books I own but also my Goodreads to-read list. I get most of my books from the library. I go through my list semi-regularly and cull ones that I am not feeling anymore. It makes me feel better to get rid of a few, because I’m always adding some!

    • Jackie B March 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      Oooh– the culling is a good idea. My entire TBR is on Goodreads. But it never occurred to me to go back and try to take some off the list. I don’t know why. I’m certain there are some books which need to be removed. Perhaps I add that as a goal for the future?

      Thanks for the idea, Laila!

  • Books, Vertigo and Tea March 2, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    I am so far behind with everything right now.. just looking at all you have accomplished has me green with envy! I am really looking forward to discussing book clubs with you some more! Pros and cons I am currently trying to read Game of Shadows and a few GNs I picked up. I just need something light right now.. sigh.

    • Jackie B March 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Accomplishment is totally in the eye of the beholder. I look at all the reviews I still need to write and I feel a bit sick. O_o I am also looking forward to book club posts! I keep putting off writing my reviews for that, I think. This makes sense.

      Oh! I just picked up Magic Knight Rayearth. Why? Because you reminded me that there are many manga series I never read/finished. And I’m on it now. Look at you. Being all inspiring. 😀

      • Books, Vertigo and Tea March 4, 2017 at 2:54 pm

        Haha I am happy to oblige. I am not familiar with the manga. I will be searching now to see what it is about 😉

  • Diana March 3, 2017 at 2:47 am

    Your February was great. I like the idea of a movie marathon. I have only done one for Pirates of the Caribbean. I plan on having another one for Lord of the Rings. I have never read HP books but I am definitely interested in the movies. It seems like y’all had fun though.

    I really like your book-club series and I can’t wait to read your future posts. All the best with all your goals for March. Have a wonderful new month.

    • Jackie B March 3, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks, Diana! Are you interested in reading Harry Potter or only seeing the films? They are two very different experiences, that’s for sure. Either way, I hope you enjoy your eventual experience with them!

      I look forward to chatting with you more about book clubs; I know your March will be great!

  • AvalinahsBooks March 3, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    That is a lot of posts! I only have like two drafts at the moment. Twice a week seems logical too, but then I look at my stats and get disappointed that nobody’s reading them and then the days just go somewhere xD

    I actually have a meme/tag ready and you shall be tagged. Don’t tell anyone.

    Also, I’m glad you’ve got 16 on the backburner, because I have 3 and I was thinking that’s extreme 😀 but then, like we talked, a lot of mine that are not even on the backburner yet are like 600-800 pages long and whoaaah when am I ever going to be done with those xD

    Also. Math does not compute xD how did you only get 5 books but added 24? 😀

    • Jackie B March 3, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      I don’t write my most of my blog posts for other people. I really enjoy the conversation, and it makes me feel good to have comments and interact with everyone, but the book reviews are just for me. I want to keep track of all my opinions. I can’t keep track of it all in my head! I don’t have space for that. 🙂 The discussion posts, like my book club series, are meant to interact with others, though. So, I can relate to the silence being intimidating! Just focus on what makes you happy. 🙂
      I personally think that memes/tags and mini reviews are a great way to jump start a rut, too! You’re on the right track.

      Haha– I acquired 5 new physical books which I own, but thanks to the library, book clubs, and my Goodreads To Read list I added 24 in total. It’s all those places where I can mark a book for reading at a future time which mucks the whole thing up. But, Laila have me some great advice. I’m going to try a purging this month. That will probably help my sanity some. O_o

  • Cait @ Paper Fury March 3, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I need someone to host me an intervention too. Although to be honest, I’d just ignore it anyway AND KEEP COLLECTING MORE BOOKS. I’m pretty sure I collected over double what I read this month. *facepalm* But in my defence most of them are ARCs and library books so I haven’t spent money haha. (Ok that’s no excuse.)

    Yay that you loved A Gathering of Shadows though!! THAT SERIES IS MY LIFE AND THE FINALE IS 10000% PERFECTION. <3 I just finished it and promptly wanted to reread. *sobs with love for it*

    • Jackie B March 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm

      Not spending money on books is a totally acceptable excuse! I love it! There are just soooo many good books to read and so little time. It’s not fair! SOMEONE PAY ME MY CURRENT SALARY TO READ 100% OF THE TIME! … … No? No one? Well. Darn. I guess I’ll keep my day job.

      YAY! I cannot WAIT to start A Conjuring of Light! I told myself I had to finish my next book club book first. It means I’m flying through it, too. Mwahaha! Come to me, V.E. Schwab!

  • theorangutanlibrarian March 3, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Ahh I’m always struggling with my TBR. And I always have so many reviews backlogged- I’m trying to just be a month behind so that I’m reviewing the books I want to review a month after and no later- it… sometimes works 😉 So glad you loved Gathering of Darkness!

    • Jackie B March 3, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      I’m glad that I’m not alone in figuring this out. Perhaps someday we will catch up with our reviews someday? Maybe? We can hope… O_o Baby steps. For now it’s nice to know it’s not a BILLION reviews to catch up on. A month isn’t too bad…

      • theorangutanlibrarian March 4, 2017 at 5:48 pm

        ahh yes maybe one day- I hoped that I’d manage to start on a clean slate for 2017… that didn’t happen 😉 I don’t even review all the books I read, so it’s more a selection of the books I read from the month before 😉 haha still it’s nice that it’s not a billion 😉

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom March 3, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I JUST finished AGOS this week and it knocked my socks off! I had been putting it off until closer to the release date of ACOL and it was worth the wait. It is going to be bitter sweet reading the conclusion to this series… Have you read any of her other books? Vicious? Or any of her YA books? I cannot wait to see what she comes out with in the future.

    • Jackie B March 8, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      I haven’t read any other Victoria Schwab books yet. I’ve heard hit or miss things about Vicious, but I have been told I’ll adore This Savage Song. I will have to check it out sometime, for sure. It’s on the ever-expanding TBR. 🙂
      I can’t WAIT to read ACOL. I have had it for about a week now, but I’ve been waiting until this weekend when I can sit down and properly devour it. I don’t want to be distracted with the book all week at work. I can’t wait to hear what you think of these books!

  • Julia March 3, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    I can definitely relate – I had to get a whole separate shelf for my library books! Lol. I can’t wait to read A Gathering of Shadows, the first book was amazing!! Happy reading!

    • Jackie B March 8, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Yay! I am so happy I’m not alone with my library book addiction. I should definitely consider a shelf for library books. They would look prettier there, anyway, instead of in a pile by my bed I kick over every morning as I stumble out of bed… O_o

  • Kelly | Kelly's Rambles March 4, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Looks like an amazing February!! I’m glad you enjoyed AGOS, I read ACOL last month and it is an INCREDIBLE end to the series!!

    • Jackie B March 8, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      !! I CANNOT WAIT TO READ ACOL! I have been putting it off until this coming weekend. I know that books can distract me from my daily work. I don’t want to accidentally play hooky because I was up all night reading…. I need my paycheck to feed my book addiction, after all. 😉

  • Jasmine March 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Harry Potter movie marathon sounds so good! I really need to re-watch it again. I saw the first movie many times but would love to watch them all again. I’m glad you had a good reading month! You can check out 30 books from the library? but, that is wow! That’s a lot and I’m surprised there’s no limit on your library card. I currently have 3 books checked out with one of them renewed like 4 times because there is just not enough time to read! hehe.. How do you know how many books you have read? is that total on your Goodreads account?

    • Jackie B March 8, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      My TBR list is definitely from Goodreads. I use Goodreads as my personal digital library/book-data system. Everything I am considering is on Goodreads. That said, I’ll have to take Laila’s recommendation to do a culling to heart. The TBR is a bit overwhelming!

  • Adoptabookaus March 13, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    I love all your goals at the end of this post it’s a really good way to stay on track. YAY to you read AGOS I loved miss Lila in it she’s such a badass pirate and she’s one of the characters that went to my faves so fast. Ugh to you aquiring more books then you would have liked, I’ve been doing really well with my TBR and book buying this year but it’s my birthday at the end of this month so I guess we’ll see how big of a hole I end up digging myself 0.0
    I use goodreads to track all my reading and have all my TBR books on 2 shelves at home so I don’t forget they exist, this way I’ll always know I have to grab a book from there any stop putting it off.

    • Jackie B March 15, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Thank you~! I appreciate getting feedback on the format. 🙂 I feel like adding the goals adds quite a bit of length, but that’s more for me than my readership, I guess. I’ve got to stay on target somehow! (And THANK YOU, Casey, for posting mid-month! You reminded me I *still* need to make some progress on these goals)

      I have been using Goodreads to track my TBR, but I love the idea of a TBR shelf! I should implement that as a way to visualize what I still need to read before adding more. That’s a great pro-tip! Now, to stop adding to my Goodreads TBR…

  • Deepika @BookHearts Forever March 18, 2017 at 1:35 am

    I loved the falconer so much.I haven’t read Vanishing throne because I was terrified of waiting for a year for the release of third book.It’s releasing this June so I will soon read the second book.But it looks like you had an amazing month,Jackie 🙂

    • Jackie B March 20, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      EXACTLY! I’m so glad that I’m not alone with that. I tend to binge read series because I can’t remember all the important details leading up to the finale. So, that means I don’t start read any* series until they are complete. I received the third book through NetGalley, so I immediately acquired the other two from the library. I can’t wait to review them all!

      *Well, maybe once in a while I’ll cheat. Maybe.

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