Skip to main content

February 2020: A Month In Review


It's already been another month! If you're new to the blog, every month, it's my resolution to write a reflection about my reading, writing, and blogging activities for the past few weeks. I'm also going to link every post that came out this month so you can easily catch up on anything you missed over the course of the month. If you want to make sure you don't miss a single post, don't forget to give the social media accounts a follow: @readwriteandme on Twitter and @readingwritingandme on Instagram.  And if you haven't already, check out my other blog Music, Musings, and Me and podcast The Empathy Factor for more content.
I want to start off this post by thanking all of you and telling you how amazed I am at this months blog stats. They're some of the best I've seen in my almost three years of blogging. While stats are by far not the most important part of the blog, it does warm my heart and inspire me to keep putting more of myself into the blog. It's amazing to see that my words really do reach so many of you from around the world. I also find it extra encouraging coming after the restructuring I'd been working on through January. Shifting the content and changing the schedule made me nervous about losing some of you, but it has only bolstered the relative success of the site. I'm glad that you're enjoying the content, and if there's anything you'd like to see post wise, feel free to email in suggestion to readingwritingandme@gmail.com or leaving a comment.
As far as my reading this month, it's not the amazing quantity it used to be, but my life is also very different now. I'm slowly learning that five books I genuinely loved makes just as successful of a reading month as fifteen books I mildly enjoyed. I think my whole mission for this year is to focus on quality over quantity. This seems to be working because out of the nine books I've finished this year, I've given all but three genuine five star reviews, and I like to think I keep a very high standard for five star books. I finished six books this month, which is two better than last month, in a wide array of genres. I read two YA books, Layoverland and The Gravity of Us, that I absolutely loved. I've been much choosier with what YA I read, and I think that paired with reading less fiction overall has helped me fall back in love with YA. It's still the category of fiction that I fit into best, but I am growing out of a good portion of it. Realizing I don't have to read every new release has definitely improved my outlook on the category. Beyond the YA I read, I mixed in a variety of nonfiction offerings from Ronan Farrow's explosive book, Catch and Kill, to a book on nutrition, How Not to Die, to a celebrity memoir from Jessica Simpson, and a history in Drift by Rachel Maddow. Reading books on a wide variety of different topics has definitely made it easier to keep up my reading. I get less tired of it when I'm constantly shifting through topics and genres.
Another major part of my reading this month was listening to audiobooks. I did more travel this month than usual and while I have a hard time concentrating on print books in airports, I love listening to an audiobook. I wrote a post about their advantages this month, and they were definitely reflected in my overall books completed. I finished two long books in a weekend without feeling like I did any reading at all. I fall in and out of love with audiobooks, but, right now, they seem to be just what I need. In accordance with my book buying goal, my only purchase was one of the audiobooks. I'm going to say that I met my goal as the audiobooks don't require shipping and don't take up space. I'm kinda bending it so that I can give myself a check mark, but I realized going into this that there was no way I'd get away with not buying any books.
As for posting, I feel like I've found a good schedule with it. I've naturally started to generally post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with book reviews coming on Mondays or Fridays and discussion posts on Wednesdays or as needed. These were the two most popular kinds of posts from the surveys, so I want to give you what you want. If you have anything book community related (or possibly not if the topic seems relevant) you want me to discuss, please feel free to comment it or email it in. There are only so many ideas I have for those on my own. I'm excited I've been able to comfortably post so much lately. I'm such a perfectionist that finally releasing myself from expectation has seemed to be the key to allowing me to create more content and better content.
I want to add in a quick moment to say some quick things about the podcast as well. This month has been incredible on the podcast too. While I've struggled a bit with deciding how I want to structure that posting schedule and content as well, it's continuing to grow. It's such a small, new platform for me that I notice every time someone takes the time to download and listen to an episode, and, if you're a listener, I appreciate you so much. Both The Empathy Factor and Music, Musings, and Me are tiny ventures that I started as a personal outlet, and it means a lot to me that some of you have taken notice now that I post updates about them on the Twitter. I'll post links to this month's episodes and extra posts beneath the new blog posts so you can easily check those out if you're new.
Finally, to wrap up this month, I want to set goals for next month. It'll be my busiest month in my personal life in a while, so we'll see how my reading will work out, but I'm hoping to keep it consistent with the last two months. Also, I'm hoping to keep up my regular three times a week posting schedule. To see how that's going, make sure you follow on Instagram where I'll keep you up to date on what posts are coming for the week. If you want to see more about what I'm reading at the moment or special behind the scenes shelf tours or project updates, all of those are uploaded through my InstaStories. Towards the end of March will also be my three year blogging anniversary. Three years both feels so short and like such a long time. I'm working on coming up with fun posts to celebrate, but I also want them to be helpful. If you have any questions about book blogging, being a teen blogger, book stuff or anything else, please feel free to send them to me so I can compile them for the anniversary post!

Everything on the Blog February 2020

Empathy Factor Episodes 
On Music, Musings, and Me

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

All Our Worst Ideas YA Book Review

All Our Worst Ideas by Vicky SkinnerOverview: Amy has her life all laid out. She's going to be valedictorian, get the Keller Scholarship, and go to Stanford. Easy. Oliver doesn't quite know where he's headed yet. Taking his gap year has just confirmed that he doesn't want to go to college. No one in his life knows that yet. Amy and Oliver are thrust together when Amy gets a job at Spirits, the record store where Oliver works. They both live and breathe music, and that connects them even though their lives couldn't be more different. Amy and Oliver are a true example of the power of music to unite people. Overall: 4.5Characters: 5 I loved Amy and Oliver. I related to Amy so much. She loves music and uses it to get her through her intense academics and the heavy expectations from her family. She feels pressure to do well that mostly comes from herself, and her drive keeps her pushing to win valedictorian. While everyone knows how smart Amy is, her mom always talks ab…

Spotify Book Tag

Today, I'm doing a book tag. I haven't done a ton of these yet, but I came across this one on Twitter when Santana shared their version of it, and I got inspired to do the tag! Santana found the tag from the original creator, Sarah @ Book Hooked Nook. Here's the original tag and here's Santana's take on it. I borrowed Sanata's twist and added music choices along with books that fit the prompt, and at the bottom, I complied all the songs into a Spotify playlist so you can listen to that while you read! I also made a special list on my Bookshop featuring all the books if you want to get any of them! Find that here. I hope you discover more books and music to love! If you want more music content, check out my music blog, Music, Musings, and Me. Also, make sure you don't miss Friday's YouTube video that perfectly fits with this tag: Spotlighting Books With Musical Main Characters.

1. Hit Rewind: a book you go back to again and again? 
I don't tend to rere…

Badlands Book Tag (from Antari Reads)

School has been so stressful that I just wanted to have fun for today's post. I stumbled upon the Badlands Book Tag on Twitter made by Alison from Antari Reads and knew I had to do it. I get so excited every time I meet another Halsey fan/YA book lover. Halsey has been at the top of my mind lately, so this tag felt like bringing this Badlands era revival full circle. If you really want to get into the music with me, I made a reaction to Badlands for the 5th anniversary of the album. You can click the link here or watch it embedded down below. I'll also leave links to all my recent Halsey related posts so you can read about my Manic book pairings, Halsey's new role in a YA book adaption TV series, and her life Badlands album. I've also included links to Bookshop in this post. Just click Get a Copy to visit the book's affiliate page and grab one. Shopping these links means I might get a small commission, and part of the sale goes to benefit indie bookstores. It's…

Into YA with Laura Silverman: Part 2

Today, I'm chatting with Laura Silverman again to celebrate the upcoming release of her book, RecommendedFor You as part of the blog tour! If you haven't heard about this swoony, holiday set romance in a bookstore, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to read the book's official description and Laura's bio. Otherwise, you can check out my review here. I'm so happy to support Laura's new book, and if you want to hear about her past books, I'll link to my review below. If you're excited about Recommended For You, you're in luck because it is out in the world today! If you want to order a copy while supporting indie bookstores and the blog, you can purchase the book here with my link*. Thank you to Laura for taking the time to talk with me!

1. Recommended For You is mostly set in an indie bookstore during the holiday rush. What made you decide on that setting? I spent a year working at a bookstore and fielded many of the same strange requests Shosh…

Spotlight New Releases: Sunshine Is Forever

Hello, everyone! Today's is a very special post for me as I am reviewing my first ARC (more on that at the bottom). I was intrigued by the summary of Sunshine Is Forever from the second I read it, and I am now so excited to get to share my review of this amazing view into depression and the motives behind self harm and suicide. The impactful story is one I place up with many of my favorite books that tackle mental illness. It also features a male protagonist with a great voice, which we honestly don't see enough of in YA. Anyway, without further ado, to celebrate Sunshine Is Forever's publication, I am bringing you my full review of this new YA mental health fiction novel from a new author to the world of YA.



Sunshine Is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan
*Trigger warning specifically for self harm and suicide*
Overview: Hunter suffers from depression. While he's dealt with it his whole life through ineffective therapy and medication, his condition is worsened by the Incident which…

Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands From NKOTB to BTS Book Review

Larger Than Life by Maria Sherman
Get a Copy!
Overall:  5
I don't think I've ever anticipated a book longer than Larger Than Life. I'd heard Maria on a couple music criticism podcasts whenever they'd launched into the confusing world of the boy band, and she always mentioned the book would be coming soon. Well, it's finally out, and it makes me incredibly happy.
As I already knew, Maria is a boy band expert as well as a true fan. Her joy and enthusiasm really does make the book. I also love that boy bands are finally getting their full and comprehensive due. I wouldn't say that I'm particularly a boy band fan (outside of the Jonas Brothers and One Direction (though I guess those are just the boy bands of my generation so many I am)), but I find how they're looked at culturally to be fascinating. Boy bands tie back to feminism and how society constructs their views around things liked by teens/girls/women/LGBTQIA people. Maria doesn't shy away from tha…

August Wrap Up 2020- Reflecting and Getting Excited For What's To Come

I didn't think I would ever say this, but August does not seem like it's been nearly long enough! I feel like the end of summer came in the blink of an eye, and now I'm writing this on my second day as a college student. Considering I started this blog as the 8th grader, I've come a really long way. This school year is extra weird. I wasn't prepared to start school online like I had been in years past. I was anticipating moving to New York. I had an entire New York City themed visuals flip for the blog to honor the new era of my life. Alas, I'm still in the mountains and those plans are on hold. At least August is the last of the losing. I didn't have many plans beyond this month, so all the new days should get less painful. They just are instead of being a "should have been". If you're starting a major milestone this year (especially if you're starting college like I am), my heart goes out to you. We're in this together, and I think …

The Summer of Everything YA Book Review

The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters Want a Copy Right Now? Use my Bookshop link to support the blog! Here.Overview: Wes doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He has an acceptance letter to UCLA, but he's not sure what he wants to do with that. He loves working at Once Upon a Page, the indie bookstore he's worked at for a number of years. It's the perfect chill job where he's surrounded by comic books and all his friends. When it seems like Once Upon is going to close and his best friend/crush Nico is getting ready to move all the way to Stanford, Wes feels like his entire life is falling apart. He doesn't know what the next step is, but he's going to fight to keep the bookstore (and a bit of his childhood) alive for as long as possible. Overall: 4Characters: 4 Wes isn't totally lost. He loves what he's doing right now, but he's realizing that can't be forever. He's scared of making the wrong move for his future, so he fi…

War and Speech YA Book Review

War and Speech by Don Zolidis 
Overview: Sydney's life is a bit like a tornado. After her dad heading to prison wrecked her first semester of Junior year, she transfers schools with her walls up high and her tongue extra sharp. Sydney is deeply sarcastic, speaks her mind maybe too often, and is happy to join conspiracies to take down the school. She finds them in a group of outcasts tormented by the speech and debate team. She ends up joining down with an eye towards taking them all down and getting the coach fired. While she goes in with one mission, she finds a lot more than she bargained for on the team. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 5 I love, love, love Sydney. She's so cynical and sarcastic and completely hilarious. She says a lot of the things that I think, so it was a joy to see the world through her eyes. It's nice to see a YA character in high school who plays into it as a complete outsider in the sense that she doesn't even want to play the game or be a part of tho…

Harry Styles Book Tag (Inspired by Bookish Bits)

As you can probably tell, I've started doing a lot of tags since I've started school. Honestly, I haven't been in the most creative space lately, and school has been making me really tired, so tags have been calling my name. Since I found ones for Taylor Swift and Halsey, I thought I'd go looking for a tag for another of my favorite artist, Harry Styles. I was excited to discover that one does already exist, created by Lainy at Bookish Bits. You can read her version of the tag here. If you also like Harry Styles and books, consider yourself tagged. Also, if you're curious about any of the books mentioned below, just click the title to get to my review. 1. Kiwi: Abookwithatitlethathasnothingtodowiththebook.I feel like every title has some connection to the book. Some are just more obvious than others. I'll go with The Way You Make Me Feel here since it's one of the most abstract titles 2. Signofthetimes: Asad/emotionalbookwithahappy/hopefulending.Clap When Y…