Hesitation: Why it took me So long to start reading romance.

I remember the day I decided to (finally) take the plunge and read a romance novel. I was watching a Hallmark Christmas romance and the little voice in my head that kept whispering, “Why do you watch these holiday romances every year and have never actually read a romance novel?” started getting louder and louder (with some sass to her voice). So I did what any 30 something would do when we don’t know where to start with something: I turned to google and typed in “romance author who writes the best Christmas romances.” In a matter of days I devoured three Debbie Macomber holiday novels and haven’t looked back.

It’s been a long weekend for those of us here in the States and between a sale at Half Price Books and a online order through Thrift Books  I have hauled a couple different romance novels and I sit back in complete astonishment as I watch my shelves dedicated to romances grow. Secretly for the past two years I have wanted to give the romance genre a try–I started listening to romance podcasts, obsessing over romance readers on Youtube and seeking bloggers who review romance. I don’t think I ever lost my excitement for reading but I have felt this crazy feeling of excitement now that I’ve started reading romance. It’s that excitement that comes with discovering something new for me. Last night, as I clicked submit order on Thrift Books, that little voice (yes, her again!) whispered “What took you so long?”

 

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  1. No one in my family reads romance: I love the podcast Smart Podcast, Trashy Books and one thing I have heard on different interviews the host Sarah Wendell has done is that a lot of romance readers discovered romance pretty young and it was usually thanks to a family member. Some guests have talked about their mother’s having tons of romances and passing them their way–or an aunt who knowing their niece’s Mom wouldn’t approve but knew their nieces interest in the genre, would hand off romances to them secretly. I have a handful of readers in my family but unfortunately, none of them romance readers.
  2. Cringe-worthy covers: Let’s be honest with ourselves Friends, we have all either present day whilst browsing the shelves at your local bookstore or back in the day when you were younger took notice of the cringe worthy covers that tend to be on the face of romance novels. I’m going to just put it out there that the few embarrassingly horrible romance covers I’ve seen was the top reason why I swore the genre off as a whole for so long.
  3. Commitment Issues: I am a very loyal person Friends and once I’m in something, I am in for the long haul…but all of that can be a little iffy when it comes to book series. I have always preferred my standalones. There are series with 20+ books which seriously makes me want to pour a whole glass of wine when I think about it. Thinking smaller than that–a trilogy for instance, nothing about reading two more books involving the same characters or same world was appealing to me. One and done baby that was good enough for me!
  4. Too much Sex for Me: One assumption I had with the romance genre, is that they all had certain things they had to have in their stories–the main thing being sex. Yes, I assumed they all contained sex and that most of them would probably have too much sexy time for me! Now I don’t mind sex in books but I don’t need or necessarily want tons of it unless it’s written in a way where it’s not slapping me in the face with details (no pun intended).
  5. Ew, Mass Market Paperbacks!: Another hesitation I had with reading romance is that a big chunk of what I saw when I started browsing books is that a lot of them are published in Mass Market Paperbacks. I do feel now, that I was being a bit of a book snob about this. We all have our preferences but I was dead set against reading a mass market. I assumed weirdly it would be uncomfortable to hold a book that small and just knew I’d get a headache trying to read those tiny words. And I mean, come on, how would those tiny mass markets look on my shelves with my beautiful hardbacks and paperbacks?
  6. Weak Female Characters: I really had it made up in my mind that all female characters in romances were going to be these damsels in distress whose lives are completely in shambles until their knight in shining armor arrives, fixes everything and saves the day. I assumed the female protagonist’s would have nothing else going on in their lives and their main focus in the story would be the love interest, and although I love a good love story, I need my female character to have substance.
  7. Going to be Boring: I can watch a romance film just as easily as the next person. I love them! When I thought of reading a romance novel however, I truly thought I’d get bored. I kept telling myself that once you meet the main character and love interest in the beginning, shortly after you’ll read an entire book of angst and that sounded completely boring to me. What sounds appealing about reading a 300 page book that could be cut down to 100 if the characters just communicated? I really thought this would drive me crazy.

 

So those Friends, are the reasons I hesitated for so long to finally start reading romance. It has been such an incredible journey so far–and the cool thing about the romance genre is,  it is so huge! I have tons of exploring to do and can’t wait to see what’s in store for me!

Let me know what your favorite genre is. Was there a specific book that changed the game for you and made you want to read more from that genre? I hope all is well and you had an incredible weekend!  xoxo, Bree

Book Review: The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Mira; April 27, 2003

My Rating: 5/5

 

Hello Friends! I finished The Shop on Blossom Street and as expected, Debbie Macomber had my emotions completely heightened and all over the place. I checked the audio version of this book out from my library via Overdrive and the last two chapters had me crying so hard while driving that I had to pull over and get myself together.

 

Plot Summary:

Bestselling romance author and ardent knitter Debbie Macomber combines both her skills in this novel about a newly opened Seattle yarn shop and the knitting class that brings four women together to make baby blankets. The owner of the shop and her three students produce more than blankets, knitting together bonds of solidarity, friendship, love, hope, and renewal. The book even includes the pattern for the blanket, which was created by premier knitting designer Ann Norling.

When Lydia Hoffman, a cancer survivor and owner of A Good Yarn, starts a knitting class for her patrons, she forms a special friendship and bond with three extraordinary women–Jacqueline, Carol, and Alix–and together they share laughter, heartbreak, and dreams.

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Friday Reflections/May 25.2018

Happy Friday Friends! This week is a blur now that it’s coming to an end. It went by so fast. It is, for some a long weekend here in the states with the upcoming holiday–so if that’s the case for you, enjoy your down time-have fun, relax and be safe. I will be off for four days and am very much looking forward to some relaxation. It is my daughter and I this weekend so it’s going to be some much needed girl time (and quiet time with my boys being out of town) So let me reflect on this week.

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  • What I’ve Been Reading: Currently my main read is Redemption Bay by Raeanne Thayne  which is book two in the Haven Point series and I am loving it. I read book one, Snow Angel Cove a few months ago and have been so antsy to get back into the series.  I am speaking it into existence that Raeanne Thayne is going to become one of my favorite authors. After only one book I was very impressed and happy with her way of creating this cozy small town feel with such a proud sense of community with characters who are very realistic–and book two is not disappointing.  I have also started listening on audio thanks to Overdrive, The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber  which is book one in the Blossom Street series and so far I am really enjoying it as well. I love how Macomber’s female characters are very real women with real problems. The main character in this one is a two time cancer survivor who opens a yarn store in Seattle–with a father who passed away, a sick mother and a sister who resents her.  Debbie Macomber’s novels thus far for me have been not too heavy on the romance but shatter my heart before piecing it back together again with how hope inspiring they are, so I am bracing myself with The Shop on Blossom Street because I know it’s coming.
  • What I’ve Been Listening To: In the car I mostly listen to either Podcasts or whatever audiobook I have checked out from the library or via audible–so my radio listening is very rare sad to say which leaves me out of the loop with new, good music. I am always late with discovering artists. One I recently found while searching for songs to save on my Apple playlists is Maren Morris. I have in particular been listening to her album Hero and what I am liking about her, is I can’t really put her in a box. Some songs are hard core country while some are pop with some hip-hop inspiration. The song that I am most in love with is, I Could Use A Love Song    which is a slower one, but oh my goodness the lyrics! It starts off, “Usually a drink will do the trick/Take the edge off quick, sitting in the dark/With a shared cigarette/Seeing eye-to-eye, and heart to heart/But maybe I’m just getting old/Used to work but now it don’t/ A Long gone drive/ You know the kind where you take a turn and you don’t know why/But it clears your mind, a surefire cure/I need something stronger/That’ll last a little longer.”–I am such  sucker for lyrics that sound like something 17 year old me would have written in my composition notebook full of poetry and each song on her album has made me reminisce in some way.
  • What I’ve Been Watching: I didn’t watch any movies this week and not much television but my friend Ashley, from AshHeartBooks on Youtube posted Historical Romance Recs-Part 2 which I loved! I am still trying to find my way with historical romances so I just watch and gush as she shares some of her favorites. Go check her out!
  • Moving Forward: Okay, I took the plunge. I was sitting in my bath tub Tuesday night and sent my sister a text message telling her to log into my Facebook, change the password and not give it to me until August 1st (if I even ask for it!).  I don’t want the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to be checking Facebook, or what I do when I get a moment to myself. It is a big part of my wanting to put my phone down more. I have felt like I need to be logged in to see what is going on in other people’s lives–which is fine but I want it to be an every so often thing. Seriously, if an emergency happens, someone will call me! I don’t need to be on Facebook for it. So I have been without it these past few days and you know what…it hasn’t driven me crazy to not be logged in. I have actually gotten a ton of reading done, started a new art journal and felt a tad more present. The summer is less than a month away and I want Summer 2018 to be one to remember, so I think actually being present in the moment will be a huge part of that!

 

So those are my reflections for this week Friends. Share with me yours if you have any! Did you read any good books this week? Watch anything cool that you’d recommend? Let me know..and Happy Friday!

Book Review: Hate To Want You by Alisha Rai

 

Hate To Want You by Alisha Rai

Avon; July 2017

My Rating: 4/5

 

So I am going to be honest here–I have picked this book up at my local book store probably ten times and each time have talked myself out of buying it. I have a crazy tendency to stay where I’m comfortable and I expected this novel to take me WAY out of my comfort zone. Needless to say Friends.. that is exactly what it did. And it felt so good..I loved it!

 

Plot Summary:

“I believe you love me. I just don’t know if you’ll be able to stay with me. Out there, in the real world. And I—I deserve that.” As she said the words, she felt them lifting her spirits and her self-confidence. “I deserve that,” she repeated. “When shit goes down, storybook princes are unreliable. I need a man who’s going to stand by my side in the cold light of day. I can’t be someone’s secret anymore. I can’t carry the emotional load all by myself.”

Friday Reflections/May 18. 2018

Friday Reflection 18 May

 

Happy Friday Friends! One thing I want to do on my blog is Friday Reflections where I reflect back on the past week. It is ridiculous sometimes how busy we all are. The hustle and bustle can get so hectic and stressful that when Friday comes or whatever your schedule may be–when you know your down time is coming it is such a relief! I am very slowly learning (thanks to my therapist) that taking a moment and reflecting is a good thing.

  • What I’ve been Reading:  I have been reading multiple things this past week. I am currently in the middle of two buddy reads–Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell & The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport which are both FANTASTIC! And my current romance read is Hate To Want You by Alisha Rai. I am at about the halfway point with Hate To Want You and it is SO. GOOD. I have it checked out from the library and am reading it digitally so I have been carrying my iPad around everywhere to sneak and read a few pages here and there throughout my day and let’s just say I hope no one looked over my shoulder today when they walked past me as I sat in the doctor’s waiting room. I was totally in the wrong place to be reading this book but it is so ADDICTING I can’t put it down.
  • What I’ve Been Listening To: I am a big fan of Podcasts and recently discovered The Heaving Bosoms Podcast thanks to two different book tube friends. I have become obsessed with this podcast. I haven’t listened to an episode yet that didn’t have me laughing hysterically in my car. The podcast is hosted by two in real life best friends and in each episode they review and discuss a different romance novel. It’s perfect for a new romance reader like myself. This week I also created yet another playlist on Apple Music titled Be Happy mixed with songs recommended by friends and old favorites of mine. When I feel myself getting stressed out, stuck in traffic or just in a bad mood I go to it, put it on shuffle and blast it! I can already tell the difference since making it–having feel good, happy music truly is a mood changer.
  • What I’ve Been Watching:  This week I went on Amazon and rented “He’s Just Not That Into You,” which is an old favorite that I haven’t seen in years and I honestly forgot how good of a movie it is. If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy (that also happens to be based off of a book!) If rom-com isn’t your thing I recommend revisiting old favorites. (I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have rewatched Sleepless In Seattle!) 
  • Moving Forward: I have got to do better at putting my phone down more and being in the moment. Every weekend I tell myself, “it’s going to be a cellphone free weekend,” and before I know it, I have spent all of Saturday morning scrolling the explorer button on Instagram and have watched hours of youtube. The books I wanted to read didn’t get read, the journaling I wanted to do didn’t get done, the run I wanted to go on didn’t happen and each of these things could have happened, but I just wasted minutes..hours on my phone and playing on the internet. It is hard to truly give your attention to something if you are so wrapped up in your phone. So I am definitely going to continue working on this. I feel so good when I dedicate time to something and actually accomplish it. If I leave my phone in my bedroom and go into the living room and dedicate an hour to reading a book , that genuinely feels good! And I want more of that so I need to make the time for these things a priority and leave the phone out of it!

 

So these are my Reflections from this week heading into the weekend Friends! Let me know what you are currently reading, if you watched anything cool this week or a favorite podcast you listen to. If you created a Be Happy playlist, what is one song that comes to mind that you’d immediately put on there? And moving forward, what is something you could do better at? I hope all is well with you! Have a wonderful weekend!! xoxo Bree

 

Here is a link to The Heaving Bosoms Podcast if interested! If you check it out, let me know what you think!

The Heaving Bosoms Podcast

Book Review: Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

Simon & Schuster Canada; April 2018

My Rating: 3/5

 

It was about four years ago that I discovered the force that is Susanna Kearsley, friends. I had recently moved to Texas from Georgia and was very slowly getting back into reading after about 5 years of hardly ever picking a book up. I spent about a year reading predominantly young adult novels and one day heard someone mention historical fiction. As someone who loves history, I needed to investigate and find out more about this genre– so I went onto Pinterest (as I do with most things) and typed in historical fiction authors and one of the top authors I discovered was Susanna Kearsley. I read her novel Mariana and my reading life began to change..

Plot Summary:

Some houses want to hold their secrets.

It’s 1759 and the world is at war, pulling the North American colonies held by Britain and France into the conflict.

When captured French officers are brought to Long Island to be billeted in private homes, it upends the lives of the Wilde family, deeply fractured by war. Lydia Wilde, struggling to keep the peace in her family, has little time or kindness to spare for her unwanted guests. Jean-Philippe de Sabran–a French Canadian lieutenant–has little desire to be held there. But by war’s end, they’ll both learn love, honor, and duty can form tangled bonds that aren’t easily broken.

Their doomed romance becomes a local legend, told and retold through the years until present day, when conflict of a different kind brings Charley Van Hoek to Long Island as a curator of the Wilde House Museum. Charley doesn’t believe in ghosts. But as she delves into the history of Lydia and her French officer, it becomes clear that the Wilde House holds more than just secrets, and Charley discovers the legend might not tell the whole story..or the whole truth.

 

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I went back and forth deciding whether I wanted to post a review of this book on the blog for the simple fact that there are so many readers who consider SK a romance author, however I discovered her while seeking historical fiction authors to read. Her name is continuously mentioned as a romance writer. When I start reading a novel by Susanna Kearsley, I automatically assume and think that the book is going to be GREAT!

Does anyone else have that “issue”? Do you feel as if your favorite author  just can’t write a bad book? That is me, with SK.

This book isn’t bad, it is just very slow. Now, when reading a novel by SK, you can expect it to be slow moving in the beginning. I remember reading The Firebird, which is over 500 pages, thinking “OH MY GOODNESS this is slow”, but then all of a sudden it just started getting good. I was holding out for that moment with this book and sadly, even though it had it’s moments, that “moment,” never really came for me. It was just okay.dd

I liked that SK stepped outside of her norm and this book took place solely in America. To some, I am sure it seems repetitive but I love that she sticks with the storyline of having two women whose stories intertwine in some kind of way but are separated by time. In this story, we get 3 POV’s, Lydia and Jean Philippe in year 1759 and Charley who is our modern day character. I appreciated getting both Lydia and Jean Philippe’s perspective; its like a scene would happen and you got to see from both of their points of views how each of them “saw” it and get their perspective–but I also think in a way this made the book drag out a bit. I don’t think it was necessarily needed the entire time. I liked how in true SK fashion she put a paranormal twist into this book–I think she always finds a way to throw a ghost into her story and it is someone your heart goes out to–you actually don’t mind the ghost being around. The family dynamic in this story was wonderful–both past and present. Lydia’s mother has recently passed away so it is just her father, brothers, and herself.  She steps up to the plate  and takes care of them. Her Father is doing his best to hold things together–he’s such a kind man. In present day, Charley is the guardian of her niece due to her brother recently passing away. The New England setting was so cozy in this book–and it took place in the fall which just sounded absolutely dreamy.

I was really rooting for this book. It had so much going on that I enjoyed but at the same I got kind of bored with it. I didn’t feel myself getting lost and sucked into the story. I had this feeling of CAN SOMETHING HAPPEN ALREADY. Reading this book for the love story, I was left disappointed. I was over halfway through this book and Lydia and Jean Philippe had barely spoken and most of the time didn’t even acknowledge each other.

Now that I have finished it, I have been pondering on, did I read this book at the wrong time? Maybe spring wasn’t the right for me to consume this book…but when you see that your favorite author is putting  out a new book, how can you resist pre-ordering it and starting it right away!? Overall, I think whether I read it now or waited until maybe the fall I still would feel that it was just entirely too slow moving for me. My fingers are crossed and I’ll be hoping everyday that her next novel is better. In the meantime, I think it’s time for a reread of her novels that did leave me spellbound!

 

I ordered my copy of this book from amazon Canada. It releases in the United States August 7th! Bellewether on Amazon

 

Hello Friends & Welcome

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*Takes a deep breath,* Hello Friends and welcome to Falling for Romance. I am Bree. I am a 31 year old married mother of three, currently serving in the United States Military and I have been in a love affair with reading since I was a little girl. Reading has been such a constant companion of mine and really one of the things that keeps me grounded and sane a lot of days. Ahhh the joy of leaving your reality and slipping into a a good story! Creating a blog has been on my mind a lot these past few months. I recently fell in love with the romance genre. Now, my favorite author, THE Mrs. Susanna Kearsley by some is considered a romance author but I find it one, hard to put her in a genre box at all and two, I discovered her when I was new to the world of historical fiction. I didn’t read what I consider a legit romance until the fall of 2017. Like a lot of women across the world, I know that on November 1st, Hallmark is going to start playing their holiday romances. And on November 1st, I was sitting on my couch with a glass of wine in hand ready for them to begin but as I started watching I asked myself why I faithfully watched these holiday romance movies but had yet to pick up a romance novel. Fast forward to now and here I am. Up to this point Friends, I have read a few romance novels. I have barely scratched the surface with Debbie Macomber’s Christmas novels. I have fallen head over heels after one book with the way Raeanne Thayne writes her small town love stories..and Alyssa Cole had me swooning over a Caucasian spy during the Civil War. I still have so far to go! I haven’t stepped into the ocean that is NORA ROBERTS. I haven’t time traveled yet with Julia Quinn or THE Beverly freaking Jenkins! I have so far to go and my journey through the romance genre starts here. Join me, please! Encourage me! Give me suggestions! Have a glass of wine with me! I am so excited to finally be calling it what it is..I have truly begun falling for romance.