As my January was pretty good, I had a bunch of expectations for February. All of them died pretty soon.

February was just one of those months, you know? One thing didn't go well and another thing which hasn't been going well became worse which put a damper on almost all of my days. Even the things that were going well became stagnant.

I'm not looking forward to recapping my month but I want to do it because it is important to accept that not all months are good, productive, and motivating.

words on books

Since it worked out well in January, I set a TBR for February with 6 books. I read only 2 of them before I stumbled into a reading slump. As most of them were "big brain books", they wouldn't help me get out of my slump. So I fell back into mood reading with relief. The TBR run was good while it lasted.

I read 12 books in February, 7 of which were in the last week of the month. 2 paperbacks, 8 ebooks, and 1 audiobook. 3 of them were rereads and 6 of them were romance books. (You read that right, romance made a comeback!) I didn't read any non-fiction or classic books. Here's a summary of them (except my rereads):

The Bangalore Detectives Club by Harini Nagendra. Oh, the joy of reading a book set in my city for the first time. Oh, the joy of opening it and finding a map of my beloved city on the first page, with roads and places familiar to me, including a road that my office and bookstores are on 🫶 It wasn't a great book but I cherished reading a suspense set in 1940s Bangalore with Kannadiga characters and my state's food described with such love.

The Book of Everlasting Things by Aanchal Malhotra. I was planning to read In The Language of Remembering which I was super excited for when a friend hyped this up and insisted that I read it first. So I did. And unfortunately, I didn't like it. It took me a week to read and put me in a slump where I didn't want to read anything for another few days. Click here to read my full review.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman. This is one of Naemi's favourite books and she doesn't stop talking about it so I picked it up. It starts a little oddly which intrigued me. It was slow-paced and mellow but really nice. I didn't love it but I loved many parts of it. Backman captured the best and worst parts of hockey (& sports in general) in an unassuming but hard-hitting way.

Fast forward 10 days during which I read nothing because my slump worsened. In the last week of February, I fell sick and I always feel like reading comfort books and romance books when I'm sick. So, I went through Sil's Twitter feed and grabbed a bunch of romance book recommendations.

Curveball by E. J. Blaise was so nice. It's an accidental pregnancy romance with a single mom and a lost baseball player at the end of his career, filled with soft moments and laughter and lovely supporting characters. I woke up this morning with one of the scenes from the book in my mind which filled me with warmth and it made me love the book even more.

Ashes of You by Catherine Cowles. This was my best book of the month and probably the book that brought me out of my slump. I subscribed to Kindle Unlimited again to read this and it was so worth it. I loved it so much that I reread it from page 1 the day after I read it for the first time. What a book, y'all. What a book. Romance, family, friendship, mystery, suspense—it has everything.

Shadows of You by Catherine Cowles. I tried another book from the series since Ashes of You was so good. While this was nice, it was nowhere close to the same level.

P. S. You're Intolerable by Julia Wolf. This is probably the only book with workplace romance that I've rated 5 stars. Again, what a book. A slow burn romance that kept me hooked and characters that I loved instantly. The postscripts they wrote to each other and Elliot's daily morning notes to her were 🫶 I loved this romance.

Sincerely, Your Inconvenient Wife by Julia Wolf. Since I loved the above book, I tried another from the series. While I didn't love this as much, it was still nice. The romance was good and there was character growth. However, it felt like something was missing.

As I was sick and didn't feel like doing anything except read, I read the above 5 books in 2 days. It was brilliant. I loved poring over my Kindle while in my bed, reading over the kitchen counter, and reading during all 3 meals.

The Last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson. I heard the audiobook on throughout the month during commutes and chores. It was interesting to read about a woman in her 80s trying to move on after she lost her husband of 60+ years and looking for her best friend from her 20s. It dragged in the middle but otherwise was a pleasant read.

illustration of 5 books kept standing next to each other and a cup on the right

words on the blog

Going into February, I had one goal. To stay 2 posts ahead and maybe try for 3-4 posts ahead. I am currently 0 posts ahead 🙂

As I said in my January wrap-up, it's all about grabbing 30 minutes to an hour for a few days every week to blog. As my mornings are usually taken up by working out and rushing to the office, I only have the nights. However, I come home drained from work on most days and don't feel like using my brain any longer.

I've got a few blog post ideas but blogging takes time, especially when I write such long posts. Theoretically, 30 minutes at once sounds doable. But when I'm too drained to even consider opening my laptop, it's like climbing up a mountain. I'll need to come up with a better routine or strategy to blog consistently. (I'm open to suggestions 🥲)

I posted 4 times in February only because 2 of them were written in January. But hey, at least I posted 4 times. In case you missed them:

I considered doing something to mark 3 years of but I was so occupied by life things that the date passed by before I realized it.

My blog stats went to a new low in February. I'm still trying to ignore it. On most days, I forget about it. But on some days, when I notice the graph, it is disappointing.

While trying to figure out something, I noticed that the SHE Media ads that I added to my site are causing several backend errors and slowing down my site significantly. My traffic picked back up within a few days of disabling ads, which is concerning. Since I'm under a contract with the ad network, I have to resolve it with them or figure out how to terminate the contract. Sigh.

Overall, February was not a good blogging month but it wasn't too bad because I was ahead on posts. Going into March, I hope that I post at least twice, lol.

illustration of a typewriter with paper loaded in it.

In other news...

Although I haven't been reading blogs much, whenever I have, I am filled with a sense of pride for what bloggers are doing and the content that they post 🫶

words on my 2024 goals

Well. I forgot I had to be working on these.

My goal to read 100 books is going well. I'm currently at 26/100.

I spent 2 weeks in February trying out new running shoes so I couldn't run much. The first day I ran with new shoes, I beat my previous record. The new shoes are giving me hope for my 10k goal.

More than running, I played badminton in February. I played with tons of random people and had a few not-so-good encounters due to which I'm going to reduce it now. It's time to get back to running.

The blog post goal is going okay since this is my 11th post of the year out of my goal of 25. Until halfway through February, motivation kept me going. The truly hard part is from now since my motivation steam has run out.

Let's not talk about my other goals 🙂

words on life & other stuff

Soon after February started, I installed Snapchat again. It had been six months since I last used it. I installed it mainly because I missed my friends. We don't meet often enough and I miss meets sometimes because of work or other plans. I missed seeing random updates from them and sharing mine. So yeah, I installed it again.

Did you know that Snapchat deletes unopened snaps after a month? I expected to return to tons of snaps that I missed but I only had ones from the last month from friends who diligently kept sending me snaps. My first snap after returning was a picture of my friends on Discord voice channel while playing with the caption "kingdoms may rise and fall but I will always see people on discord" 😂

I'm still off other social media platforms though. Some days, I forget about Snapchat even though it's on my phone because I'm used to not having it. I forgot how much I hate receiving blank snaps though and am lowkey planning to unfriend people if I get them again.

My best friend made a big deal of how we haven't met this year yet (he said that being together when 2024 began doesn't count) so we spent a day together chatting, eating, and playing a board game. I also met my college friends a couple of times as a group.

As we do every month, I met my book club friends to have good food and talk about books and life. We went to a Japanese & Korean restaurant because I wanted to eat rameyon after over a year. It was my reward for hitting my 5k goal. The food was great and the company was even better. Time with friends is always healing <3

On one of the Sundays, I spontaneously went to a concert alone. I saw that one of my favourite bands Masala Coffee was performing and wanted to experience their live performance again (I've been once before) so I grabbed a ticket. I wasn't sure which friend would come with me and honestly didn't mind going alone, so I did.

The performance was brilliant! They sang their signature songs and did a few covers too. I loved that the songs spanned 7 languages and it felt seamless (peak South India tbh because we use multiple languages daily). The vibe was too good. I had so much fun dancing and singing and screaming. By the end, my throat was sore and my legs hurt and it felt great. I felt alone only until the band started performing. After that, it didn't matter. I'm so glad that I went.

illustration of a cafe storefront decorated with foliage and a chalkboard on the front saying "coffee is your best friend"

I journaled for 15/29 days. I missed many days because I was busy in the mornings and tired at night. Most of my journal entries are of me ranting and explaining why I'm tired and uncertain. Many days, it felt like journalling was the only thing that helped me calm down and move on.

A few days ago, I brought out my old journals for a blog post. As I flipped through them, I was struck by how different my journalling and life is now and I suddenly missed the old days. I used to bullet journal then so every small thing was captured and I got lost in memories for a while.

I had so much happening outside of obligations like academia. I had proper to-do lists every day! I stopped making to-do lists a couple of years back because I had barely one thing a day outside of work. Looking at my old journals made me miss having a full life every day.

Plus, my bullet journal pages were so pretty! I used to have so much fun decorating pages and making them look good. I made entire spreads for my Spotify wrapped or the month's memories. One day, I described a situation completely to a friend and didn't want to write it all over again in my journal so I copied it into Word, PRINTED it, and stuck it in my journal.

It amazes me how much a person and life can change in a few years, especially since it's me. I lowkey want to go back to bullet journalling but I know that it won't work for me anymore. Besides, in a few years, I might be looking back at this year's journal entries with the same nostalgia.

Moving on!

Bangalore went from being mildly cold to hot in one day. Summer arrived out of nowhere without a grace period of spring. What a climate change. With summer, came my most hated insect: mosquitoes. They're honestly not that much in number but somehow, they always prefer me compared to whoever I'm with so it's very annoying. If vampires existed, I'd be popular amongst them too.

In the last week of February, I fell sick. Usually, I fall sick because of my mistakes—like getting drenched in the rain and having something cold—but this time, it was purely because of a bug going around in office. As soon as I felt a tickle in my throat, I had warm water with honey and made sure to sip hot water all day. It helped my throat so my throat wasn't too bad this time. But my cold was so bad. I think I barely managed to avoid a fever. I need a trick to help nip my cold in the bud next time.

Coincidentally, I had a couple of days off after the weekend as compensation for working weekends in December which was useful for recovering at home. It was absolutely annoying to have a cold in the summer but at least it helped me get out of my reading slump.

During my slump, I watched Haikyu!! for the fourth time. That anime is simply too good and it never stops motivating me. I noticed more similarities between it and The Foxhole Court series and realized why, despite those similarities, they're opposites. During this rewatch, I noticed and appreciated directional and writing choices. The next movie has already been released in Japan, I'm eagerly waiting for it to come here.

In March, I don't have any big events happening. Hopefully, I can balance running and badminton. Hopefully, I figure out how to blog regularly without going into burnout. If nothing else, hopefully, my March wrap-up is happier than this one.

illustration of a coffee mug placed on top of an open book

chat with me!

This wrap-up was far more chatty about life than I intended it to be but oh well. In return, I'd love to hear updates from your life.

How was your February? What did you do? What did you read? Did anything exciting happen? What are you looking forward to in March?

photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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  • Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts says:

    You're truly braver than me with recapping your month when it's not great because I have definitely been the type to have skipped instead. 😂 (In my defense, though, it's been like a year of nothing interesting and I just sound "depresso expresso," to quote one of my friends.)

    I definitely feel you on feeling too drained to open up the laptop and feeling like climbing a mountain - I'm in the same boat of trying to come up with a better routine as well! Here's to hoping we both get back into our blogging game soon. But hey, you did great with posting 4 times in the month!

    Happy blogging anniversary! I'm so proud of you and all you've accomplished over the years - here's to many more! I'm sorry you got sick near the end of the month; hopefully you're feeling better now and that March is being good to you. <3

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      surprise surprise, the routine did not get set yet but i somehow managed to keep posting. at this point, i'm deciding to just wing it.
      thank you! i hope you March has been great as well 🙂
      (also, what if you sound "depresso expresso", your blog is the best place to rant 😤)

      Reply ➔
  • Charvi Koul says:

    Honestly, my February was as much a damper as yours which is why I'm procrastinating on writing it. But I guess it was good reading wise...
    I'm glad you got to go out and meet your friend, sometimes it's the only thing that keeps us sane.
    Here's hoping for a better March for both of us <3

    Reply ➔
  • Sophie @ Me & Ink says:

    I'm sorry to hear February was a rough month and I hope March is better for you 🥰 I admire you for going to a concert alone, I see artists touring nearby but never go as not everyone I know likes the same music as me, I guess I'm a little nervous to go solo, but I will give it serious thought next time one comes up now! ✨

    I struggle with blogging consistently. Most of the time I am on top of my content is after a hiatus when I have a build-up of content. I have been wanting to try to split the nights of the week into different blogging activities, e.g. write on Monday and edit on Thursday, so it doesn't take up all my free time and I stop feeling guilty when I am not putting work into my blog. I haven't been able to put it into action yet! Sending you luck with your routine!

    Thank you so much for sharing my post! ❤️

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      thank you, Sophie! do think of going to concerts whether or not you have company! you might miss the best chance to see them performing, and i find that there’s a different joy in going to performances alone.

      i was planning to spent 30mins at least on different nights of the week but this week has almost gone by with nothing done by me 😂 i think i’ll end up accepting that weekends are my only blogging time and do it in bulk then.

      Reply ➔
  • Yesha says:

    Ashes of you sounds good. Sure going to add it to my next KU read. And it's series so I will start from the beginning.
    My journaling also includes ranting but mostly about my in-laws and arguments I had with my husband. But writing them feels like at least there is one thing willing to listen my age old issues even though that one thing is inanimate object!
    I would love to see how you decorate your journal. Mine looks soo dull.
    I hope you're feeling well now and I hope you can blog and read as much or more in March. Happy reading and wish you amazing March.

    Reply ➔
    • abookowlscorner says:

      I'm sorry your February didn't turn out as great as you'd been hoping! However, what I often like about writing wrap-ups is that you're led to reflect on the fact that, even in not-so-great months, there were also good parts - and it definitely sounds like you had those as well, between all of the books you read, meeting up with friends, bullet journaling, and that concert! It sounds so epic, and, nope, I'm definitely not jealous xD

      Anyway, fingers crossed March will bring a whole lot more of the good moments, and that you're speedily recovering from that annoying bug. I'm writing this as I'm sniffling in bed with a pile of tissues next to me, so I'm starting to think weird colds are a current international thing we just have to deal with...

      Also, you read Beartown!! 🥰 Even if you didn't love if as much as I did, it means so much to me that you picked it up. I just love how it examines the characters and their relationships, and the writing style just wasn't something I'd seen done before. I haven't read ant of the other books you mentioned, but I'm glad you managed to find a new romance favorite!

      As for your blogging conundrum - I relate SO hard. Ever since I started working, I have never been more than 0 posts ahead on my writing schedule, and that feeling of just being too tired to write after an exhausting work day is basically my life... I'm afraid I don't have a solution for you, either, though, since my way of handling the stress was to just go on a bunch of impromptu haituses whenever I couldn't keep up... 😅 So if you happen to find the perfect strategy, just let me know! In the meantime, I guess the most important part to remember is that this is a hobby and we're supposed to have fun with it - so it's okay to take a step back when we're feeling overwhelmed and need some time to ourselves! 💙

      Reply ➔
      • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

        i agree, there’s a joy in writing wrap-ups and finding that the month was not so bad after all! haha concerts can be so fun when it’s a band 😂

        oh yeah i noticed that many people mentioned falling sick in february no matter which country and i’m surprised. i thought it was a local thing but apparently not? was it a less-impact virus? what’s going on lol.

        i agree, Beartown has a unique way of exploring characters and relationships! i’m still annoyed that a certain justice wasn’t served even at the end but ok 😂

        i think i’m going to accept that weekends are the only blogging time and try to do it in bulk then 😂 i wanted to blog this work week but it did nooot happen. that’s true though!

        Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      Hope you enjoy the series! I’ve read only one of the other books but didn’t enjoy it so I’m surprised I loved Ashes of You haha.
      i agree! my journal is like a non-judgmental and patient best friend whom i can say anything to and is always there for me.

      i actually don’t decorate my journal at all, it’s just dates and freehand journalling from page 1. there’s a certain beauty in a book filled with only words, though, so i like it.

      hope you have a great march as well!

      Reply ➔