Happy 4th of July to all in the US and Happy Monday to everyone else in other parts of the world! Welcome to my first monthly wrap up post since I started blogging last Sept. I decided to put this one together to share what has perhaps been my best reading month in terms of the number of books I’ve read (13) BUT the worst reading month for me in terms of the most amount of average to below average reads (5), DNF’s (Did Not Finish) (2) and just plain struggles with my picky mood reading kicking into high gear. Along with my reading struggles I’ve had some blogging ones as well which I’ll share with you at the end. With regards to reading, I’m not sure if I’ve just had too many new releases that didn’t hit the mark for me and had I been able to read a writing sample on Netgalley I wouldn’t have requested them, but I’ve had better luck this month with older books I’ve featured on my TBT post and one surprise book a publisher sent that I probably wouldn’t have requested but ended up absolutely loving!

flowers& plants


Trophy Son  By Douglas Brunt ( A 5 star surprise that ended up being a page turner)

The Marsh King’s Daughter By Karen Dionne ( Loved by so many others, this fell very                  short for me and was one of my 2 star reads this month)

The Last Place You Look By Kristen Lepionka ( A solid, well-written debut mystery with a likable main character, 4 stars)

It Happens In the Hamptons by Holly Peterson ( My book club’s pick for June, other than the setting there wasn’t much I enjoyed about this debut, 2 stars)

Favorite Sons By Robin Yocum ( An enjoyable coming of age mystery by one of my new favorite authors, 4 Stars)

Wolves in the Dark By Gunnar Staaleson ( Another great Orenda book, I enjoyed more of Varg Veum and the stellar mystery that I couldn’t solve, 4 stars)

My Sunshine Away By M.O Walsh ( A TBT older pick, I loved the 80s time period, the coming of age plot and the mystery, 4.5 stars)

Final Girls By Riley Sager ( Another one getting rave reviews that just didn’t work for me. I found the plot unbelievable and the characters unlikeable, 2 Stars)

The Bright Hour By Nina Riggs ( My first 5 star memoir this year, I loved everything about this book)

The Weight of Lies By Emily Carpenter ( This was an ok read for me, I couldn’t connect that well with the main character and I had trouble with the alternating timeframes,  3 stars)

The Salt House By Lisa Duffy (Another average read, I expected to like this more than I did. I wasn’t crazy about the characters or the way the plot played out, 3 Stars)

Let the Dead Speak By Jane Casey (I loved this latest Maeve and Josh mystery, as always Jane Casey is a stellar writer and I was stumped by the mystery. Love this series SO much, 4 Stars)

Match Me if You Can By Susan Elizabeth Phillips (This was a fun, witty, romantic comedy with excellent dialogue and characters, loved it, 4 stars)


The Fourth Monkey By J.D. Barker (This is probably my most disappointing DNF ever because I couldn’t wait to read this, however, it was too over the top in the graphic violence for me and I decided to put it down)

The Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon ( I thought the pace was slow and I didn’t care for the diary flashbacks, gave up at 22%)



** The Bright Hour is a super close second for favorite of June**

So there you have it, my first wrap up! I’d love to hear your thoughts, do any of these make your favorite lists this month? Is anyone else having reading struggles or issues with your mood dictating your reading? I’d love to know how you handle this.


If you’re still with me, I’d like to take a quick minute and share with you my recent blogging struggles before I finish this post.  Since I started blogging last Sept, I have thoroughly enjoyed finding so many awesome blogs to follow and I’ve loved reading everyone’s posts and reviews, sharing, and commenting every day of the week for the most part. What I’ve found lately, however, is that I can no longer keep up the pace of reading, sharing, commenting on blog posts, and then social media on top of that…and I’m not even on Facebook!  For me, if I’m going to share a review, I want to read it first and that often leads to me commenting because the number one thing I love about blogging is chatting with fellow readers. So, what I’ve discovered is that I’m often spending 2-3 hours a day (sometimes more) reading, sharing, and commenting on just blog posts then add twitter and instagram on top of that and what I’ve discovered is that my reading is suffering greatly as my days have gotten busier overall. After much thought, I’ve decided that, for me, commenting and interacting is the most important part of blogging and my favorite thing to do, so with that being said, I’m going to be focusing mostly on doing that in the future while still occasionally sharing posts just not on a daily basis. I apologize if I miss sharing posts that I normally would’ve shared in the past, I just hope you all know it’s not personal, I just need a new plan that works for me so I can avoid the dreaded “blogger burnout” and also get back to more reading so I can continue to shout about the great books I come across. Thanks for sticking with this super long post!! I’ve noticed there’s others out there possibly experiencing the same feelings and struggles I am and I’d love to hear how you’re handling it…please leave me a comment and let’s discuss!!





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  1. First, I love the idea of a monthly wrap up, including the hits and misses.

    As for the reading and blogging, my issues are a little different, but I relate just the same. I’ve been feeling like I need to be more active on my blog and in the community itself. Up to now, I’ve had a policy of following those who follow me, but the problem is, my feed gets really full and overwhelming, and then I have a hard time scrolling through and just finding those bloggers that I love so that I can read and comment. And I spend so much of my limited free time reading, that I don’t also have time to blog as much as I’d like. So I end up only posting reviews, but not much that’s reflective of “me”, if that makes sense. And on top of all of that, I’ve been both short on time and short on reading motivation – such that I didn’t finish a single book in June. I’m getting back into a groove, but…my long-winded point is, I get it. It can be hard to find balance that works for everyone, but ultimately it matters most that it works for you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and I can very much appreciate the full feed that starts to feel overwhelming. There’s just not enough time to do it all when it comes to blogging and reading. I hope you have a much better July with lots of awesome reads!


  2. It’s hard finding that balance, isn’t it? Between blogging and social media, by the time I sit down to read it’s usually gone 4pm.

    I still have to read The Marsh King’s Daughter and The Fourth Monkey. I’m sorry they didn’t quite work for you

    I’m not necessarily struggling. I just wish I’d taken on less blog tours. 😄. But I do understand the mood reading. When I’m tired and reading a slow book, it doesn’t seem to grab me. But if I pick up that same book a few days later, odds are I’ll race through it. Why not just stick to older stuff on your TBR? You’ve enjoyed most of those. Maybe you just need a break from the recent releases. Or a shift in genre? That sometimes helps for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Dee, it really is hard to find the right balance for blogging and as far as reading, I’ll definitely be shaking things up with different types of reads and I’m getting close to being caught up with my Netgalley reads so I’ll focus on more of my tbr wants:) I’ll be interested in your thoughts about The Marsh King and 4th Monkey, I’m pretty sure I’ll remain in the minority in terms of not liking them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry that you’ve not had a great reading month! I’ve been having a bit of a reading slump myself, at least partly driven by feeling that I have to read a certain book because I’ve been sent a book to review. Whilst I love getting review copies, I do sometimes struggle to keep up with them and trying to post a review around the publication date. I think I’ve got to the point where I can alternate between review copies and my own books again now, so hopefully it’ll improve. Anyway, I hope that July brings you better books!
    In terms of blog sharing, it does take time. I always want to share everyone’s great reviews, but I have to give myself a couple of days off a week – I just don’t have the time to do it everyday. I’m always appreciative of shares, but I hope that no one feels obliged to share my own posts, and I love our little chats, so do stop by from time to time 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Jo, I’m slowly getting through my net galley review books and I haven’t requested anymore so I can focus more on books I want to read. Lesson learned in terms of net galley requesting:) I like your idea of taking a couple days off a week, that seems very doable and I would get a lot more reading done I’m sure. I’ll definitely keep stopping by and commenting on your blog, I enjoy your review so much!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow what a mixed month for you! I’m glad you had some winners but sorry about the not so great ones. I’m reading Final Girls now and liking it so far. But I loved 4MK so clearly sick and twisted is my thing? 😂

    As for sharing, I think your game plan is great!! I would hate to see you get burnt out so I think it’s a smart move. I would never expect anyone to share all of my posts, I’m just grateful they get shared at all and that anyone cares to read my posts!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Not yet but I tried it last week and the short choppy sentence structure was bothering me so I put it down…I’m telling you my mood is just ridiculous lately because I know you loved it as well as Sam…I’ll pick it up again in a week or 2 and give it another try.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve got Fitness Junkie ready to go and my book club just picked Slightly South of Simple for our July read so I’m very excited I have that one from your giveaway. Plus I downloaded samples of a lot of the recent chick lit 5 stars you’ve reviewed lately. And I agree, that usually does give me a restart:)

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Social media is for me the best feature and the worst feature of blogging. Best for the enjoyable interactions, worst for the enormous amount of time it eats up. We all strive for balance and keeping the enjoyment, so whatever works for you – as long as you don’t start to think of blogging as a chore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said and lately I’ve started to feel a little like it was a chore and I don’t want to feel like that because I really enjoy it. Social media is definitely something that can be a time sucker if we allow it to be


  6. Hope your reads pick up next month Renee. I hear you with social media, as you know I had my own stand back to think about it. I’m back but not to the same degree. I’m not sharing everything and restricting it largely to reviews, and reviews of titles I’m comfortable with. Extracts and cover reveals etc tell me nothing other than what the publisher/ author wants and I’ve decided to pass on those for the minute. You have to do what works for you and don’t worry about it. We all like to be supportive, but that shouldn’t be to the detriment of our blogging and reading because we don’t have time. Enjoy your reading and look forward to seeing what you’ve got in store xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jill, I really appreciate what you said and hearing what changes you’ve made makes me feel like I’m on the right track with mine as well:) I totally agree with you about cover reveals and excerpts!


  7. Wow! I have so much to say to you. First, I had no idea you’d only been blogging since September. I though you’d been at it much longer, certainly longer than me! (My one year anniversary is in a few days.)

    I so agree that the talking about books and commenting on one’s you’ve read is one of the best reasons to blog. That interaction about books is what I longed for before I started blogging.

    Social media is overwhelming! I don’t do nearly as much as other people and I’ve had to make myself be okay with that. I work full time and do the blog, so something has to go.

    The biggest chore for me has actually turned out to be writing the reviews. I used to love it and still like the end product, but have been working on a way to streamline the process for me. I’m going to be rolling out a new format next week. I’m hoping this will keep the blogging blues at bay!

    I think whatever works for you IS the right way to go. Oh, and by the way, I love the way you covered the books you’ve read. That little bit about your thoughts is perfect. I may have to copy it for my next Wrapping It Up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Susie, I really appreciate you saying that about my blog, I feel like I’m still learning and have to say I look to yours for your fantastic layouts, pictures and reviews. Do you use Canva for all you picture layouts? I’m sorry to hear about your review writing slump, I’ve been there myself and I’ve tried to incorporate more mini reviews and bullet point highlighting to help me spend less time writing reviews. I’m very excited to see your new format and hope it helps

      I love interacting and chatting about books and I love that we read so many of the same books! I’m glad you enjoyed my little added thoughts on each book, I was inspired to add that after liking how Amy at Novel Gossip always adds a couple of descriptive words to her wrap ups so you should totally copy it!


  8. I totally get where you are coming from I had to get rid of all emails because my inbox was filling up with too many good posts and it was getting stressful trying to catch up, now I just drop in when I can and share when I feel like it. It definitely saves a lot of time and saves me from the dreaded burnout 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great advice and it sounds like you found exactly what works for you! I really like the idea of sharing when I feel like it or when inspired by a review rather than feeling like I have to visit lots of blogs all in one day. Blogging should never be stressful that’s for sure

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh I so feel you on this. I spend far more time blog hopping, liking and commenting than I spend on my own posts! It’s a bit of a chore sometimes. Maybe that’s not the right word actually – more like it’s overwhelming. When you follow so many blogs and have so many things to look at, it can take 2, 3, or more hours just looking at other blogs. I’ve severely cut down on the amount of reading I do in a week because of this. The struggle is real! And I haven’t found the perfect balance yet myself 😞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shanah your blogging routine sounds just like mine and you’re right it can start to feel overwhelming because there are so many fantastic blogs and reviews to read and share daily that it’s hard to pass any by. But spending more time reading and maybe coming up with some fun discussion posts is what I’m going to try to do moving forward. I’ll still comment though, just on a lesser scale:) I hope you find the balance that works best for you as well!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, but I can see the social media thing getting busier and busier, I can only imagine how busy it must keep you. Like Jo, I take a day or so off a week or at the very least share less that day. Sometimes, when I’m short on time, I share what speaks to me, not everything.
    Hope your have a fantastic reading month!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tina, I really feel that I’ll have a better July. I’ve cleared many review books and I’m focusing on reading mainly what hits me:) I love that you said you share what speaks to you….I’m going to definitely be doing more of that. I’m really enjoying your reviews and your blog and have passed along your blog name to several friends:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh that made me smile! Thank you Renee, I’m enjoying your blog too. I just love the book blogging community, not everyone understands the love of reading we have. It’s like I found a new home 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Renee, you gotta do what works for you! Share or don’t share, comment or don’t comment, I still luv you and your blog!!! And sorry you’ve been reading some less than average books lately! I hope July is a much better reading month. I’m going to give you one piece of advice – DO NOT READ: Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy – biggest disappointment of the year, 1⭐️ (and that because I finished it) avoid at all costs lol!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janel you’re the best, thanks for saying that and I hope you know I feel the same about you! You’re one of the amazing friends that blogging has brought to me and I love our chats:) Thanks for that Do Not Read recommendation, I actually had it from the library but saw some really bad reviews on goodreads so I returned it…sounds like I made a wise decision!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Glad to see your first wrap-up post.Sorry about the misses this month.I’m currently reading 4th Monkey.It hasn’t gotten graphic yet,just too many rats lol but I like the serial killer narration.Will see how it goes.A change of genre for a while maybe good for you.Perhaps the darkones are becoming too much.

    As for blogging,just do what you can.I’ve struggled with commenting in the past especially since I was following too many blogs at some point.I learned to take it easy though.Nowadays I even skip days and have limited interactions to those who usually interact back and perhaps reviews of books I’m interested in.Slow down,don’t be too hard on yourself and just do what you can.It shall be well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do think I’m not into most serial killer books lately, I think Ragdoll has been the only one I’ve liked. Yes, if they’re too graphically violent I tend to stop reading. I remember when you were struggling a few months ago and I’m glad you’ve found the right balance. I do think I’ll start taking a day or 2 off completely which should increase my reading time. Thanks Diana, I enjoy our interactions for sure:)


  13. I can only echo what everyone else has said. If it’s getting to be a chore changes need to be made, blogging is meant to be fun after all! Social media does take up so much time, I’m trying to limit myself time wise although it’s not so easy 🙂 Good luck with everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m so sorry to hear The Fourth Monkey was a bit too graphic for you (it really was but that didn’t bother me and the one I read before that, Deceived, made me more uncomfortable really because the horrific acts were not put into the context, there was no real setting). I hope you’ll get through the reader’s dip, I think a change of genre or just not reading for a few days could help. I really hear you about how much time is spent on the sharing and commenting.. it’s a difficult line to walk and we all struggle with it. I’ve cut back on blog tours (with reviews), I have almost no Netgalleys, I’m just trying to not have too much on my plate. It is very time-consuming to comment and share! Never feel guilty though, just do what is right for you :-).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Inge! I’m on a blog tour break as of July and I’m also getting my Netgalley books down and then not requesting so I think once I start reading whatever I want from different genres more that will help the reading slump. I’ve discovered I really need to read a sample first unless it’s an auto buy author like Bolton or Casey. I appreciate your support and advice:)

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Blogging/reading balance is hard. I’ve taken a break from blogging myself for the past month. Burnout happens a few times a year for me, so I just take a much needed break to focus on reading. I think a break will be just what you need! You have to do what is right for you – reading and blogging is supposed to be fun not a chore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wondered if you were taking a blogging break Brandie but I did see on instagram you’re still reading:) I’ll try cutting back first which I think will help recharge me but if I need a little break I’ll take one, reading is my stress relief and me time so I want to make sure I’m getting that in:)

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this post, Renee! I’m also sorry to hear about The Fourth Monkey. I read it last week, and it’s actually one of my favorites of 2017 thus far. But, you know me, the more demented, the better. I agree with some of the other advice you’ve been given….try a light-hearted chic-lit and maybe that will help. That’s what I have to do or it all just gets too heavy!

    As for sharing posts, you do what is right for you! I am in the same boat…I was feeling so overwhelmed with sharing, etc. I’ve also taken a step back and only share about once or twice a week. It’s just too time consuming, and like you, I want to spend the time actually reading the blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kristin, it sounds like you and several others who’ve taken steps back and narrowed down how much sharing and blog hopping you’re doing are feeling much better about blogging so I think that’s advice I’ll be using! Isn’t it interesting how books like The 4th Monkey impact us all differently!? That’s the great thing about reading and connecting with other book lovers.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I was wondering if I was the only one to wonder how social media eats up so much of my time and how other bloggers manage it whilst still being able to go to work and having a life! Whilst I love that aspect too, it’s amazing how time just seems to disappear.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. At the top of the year, I will hit the ten year mark for blogging and that is amazing to me. I’ve had lots of ups and downs but as you said, the commenting and the interaction I have with bloggers is what matters most. I’ve never adhered to a schedule though besides Sunday posts. Everything else has always been on my time schedule and largely dependent on how I am feeling at that moment. I’ve never apologized for it and I think most people get it. I think you are doing just fine. Whatever works for YOU. That’s what matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, 10 years! What a blogging milestone. I’m sure you’ve been through many changes in your blogging journey. I’m curious to know how you think the blogging world has changed over the years? Thanks for your support:)


  19. I definitely agree with you on Final Girls and The Weight of Lies. And I see do whatever you want with your blog. I have some days when I get home from work and don’t even want to turn on my computer, so I might miss a day or two of posts and social media stuff. At the end of the day this is a hobby and if you force yourself to do things you will start to resent it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Renee, I really enjoyed your post! I am a newbie to blogging and just trying to have fun! I also don’t read/enjoy graphic violence or gory books. I just don’t enjoy it and I don’t want those thoughts!! So I am glad I am not the only one! I see a lot of popular books that I really don’t attempt because it, but I am always on the hunt for a page-turning thriller!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Wow! 13 books in one month IS a good reading month! Kudos to you. Despite the fact you had a few low ratings & 2 DNFs, you still read some good ones too! Sometimes you have to wade through the bad to get to the good lol

    I completely understand (and relate) to your need to slow down on your blog hopping/sharing. As your blog grows, and you follow more and more bloggers, it starts to become overwhelming. I wouldn’t feel guilty about it since we are all in the same boat. Just remember that you need time to read & blog as well 🙂

    Happy reading for the rest of July!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda and I’m feeling like things are becoming more manageable since I’ve tried to spend less time blog hopping. Although I’ve hit a little reading slump so that’s never good! Happy reading to you as well!!


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