Sunday Coffee

“I’m learning to become all the space I need.”- Danez Smith

Hello Friends, and Happy first Sunday of April.  It is Sunday morning and I already know tomorrow I am going to miss is. I need more days of relaxation. Life has been go go go so much lately. Life of a working Mother. Life of a Mother, period. I need a getaway. Just one night, in a hotel room all to myself. Phone cut off, no obligations. I don’t want to kick this off though in my feelings and complaining. Grab your Sunday drink of choice and let’s catch up.

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This past week was a slow reading week for me. My main focus was finishing The Girl He  Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves which released April 2nd. If not reading that, I had the audio version of A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber, which I’m still making my way through. I am really enjoying it, and have missed Debbie Macomber’s writing so much. This story in particular feels so special to me for some reason. I love a good moving on/starting over romance and the friendship between the two main characters and their loyalty to one another and commitment to moving on is written so well.

One I started later in the week is, California Girls by Susan Mallery.

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This is my first Susan Mallery novel, and wow, it is good! In California Girls we follow three sisters who within a matter of days, are all dumped by the men they’ve been seeing. In the beginning I’d convinced myself that something would make this story unbelievable but I was totally wrong. I love that Mallery has us following three different perspectives but it is so easy to keep up with who is who and what they’re going through. I also like how I don’t necessarily prefer one storyline over another. Each perspective holds its own. I know there are some crummy sister relationships out there, but it’s always refreshing and delightful to read sister stories where the women actually get along.

I came home Friday after work to book mail that made my disastrous week totally worth it. My girl Stephanie from Steph’s Romance Book Talk on Youtube sent me a big box of books and bookish swag she hauled at her recent trip to ApollyCon. I need to make attending bookish events a priority and stick with it. I want to go to stuff so bad, meet friends, see authors and pay my respects. The box she sent to me was such a joy and reminder of why I love the romance community.  Stephanie is an O.G. when it comes to romance reading. I get so many recommendations from her and I love how she goes hard for the genre she loves.

This week was kind of weird. A rapper that I honestly didn’t really listen to was killed out in L.A. and it’s one of those situations that surprisingly broke my heart. I love, love. This rapper, Nipsey Hussle was the husband of an actress I’ve followed and admired for a while now, Lauren London. She’s beautiful, with the most adorable dimples, cool girl next door vibes with a slight sass to her while also being sunshine can chill vibes. When the news that he got killed hit the world, my heart broke for her. I can’t imagine getting the phone call that you’ll never see the love of your life alive again. Since his passing I’ve been watching videos and listening to interviews and this guy truly was a Legend. He had touched so many lives in a positive way. He gave back so much to his community. Although I never met the guy, I am grateful for the positive things he was able to accomplish in his short time here in the world. I feel like a lot lately, we are getting reminders that tomorrow isn’t promised. Tell your loved ones that you love them and don’t take a single moment for granted.

“The end isn’t coming soon, just what’s next.”-Neil Hilborn

I’ve been making my way through poetry collections, slowly but surely this month. I finished my first Danez Smith and am making my way through Neil Hilborn’s, The Future. I’d love to get through as many collections in the month of April as I can.

This past week was another overwhelming, chaotic, hot mess. I don’t mind being busy, but I hate being overwhelmed. I don’t like early days which turn into another day of getting in your car 30 minutes after your shift is technically over, still behind. It wouldn’t be so bad if I spent my days doing something I love doing. I’m at the point in my life where I don’t want to waste anymore Time. Keep your fingers crossed for me because your girl might be on the right path..only time will tell.

Anyway, I hope you had a great week and a relaxing weekend. If you’re reading anything that you’d like to suggest, let me know. Take care of yourself and until next time, xo.

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I asked Friends for Book Recommendations.

Hello Friends! I recently went on Twitter and asked friends what the last book they read that made them happy was, or their last five star read. Life is tough. You never know what demons someone is battling. The smallest thing can easily change the course of someone’s day. As someone diagnosed with chronic depression, I am constantly seeking ways to brighten my day and reading has never let me down. I hope this post reaches someone who needs it. I screenshot the actual message from everyone so you can see who it came from and give them a follow if it appears you read the same kind of books. They are all absolutely wonderful people and I am so grateful for their responses.

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Sunday Coffee

Hey Friends! I hope all is well with you and that you had an awesome week. Let’s chat about what’s been going on with me, and I hope you’ll share with me how you’ve been doing.

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Currently I am in one of my moods where I want to rewatch some of my favorite films. Last night, I watched The House on Haunted Hill last night and am currently watching 13 Ghosts. I think I am just very much getting in the mood for fall.

This past week I had an appointment with my psychologist and I feel like we are finally on the same page and I am headed in the right direction to be able to focus on getting better without the stressors of rushing to get better for professional reasons. I know I have a long road ahead of me but it feels good to know that she is on my side and wants what is safe for me.

Surprisingly I usually have an audiobook going on, but I have chilled a bit and have been showing love to the Podcasts I am subscribed to. I highly recommend listening to The Heaving Bosoms Podcast review of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I was driving in my car, laughing hysterically at the two hosts Melody and Erin. They are always just what I need whether I’m listening at 4:30 in the morning on my way to work or after a long 12 hour shift.

Reading wise, I have been making my way through Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas.  This is a buddy read I have been doing with Kate from BeyondBookish and I am really enjoying it.  I’ll have to give a few more historical romances a read, but while reading this one, I get the sense that I have really allowed historical romances to intimidate me for no real reason other than I just didn’t think I’d understand what was going on. I have about 100 pages left and it has been very easy to read, has a likeable heroine, an awesome friendship between the heroine and three other young women and a very cute romance.

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Lastly, this month I want to start the process of taking better care of my body. I am doing a No Soda August where I begin eliminating soda. This is tough! I have been addicted to Coca-Cola and dark sodas for a ridiculously long time. I can only imagine how good this will be for my skin, my teeth, weight and energy level. I have don’t this before, about four years ago and did great! I honestly should have kept it up, but literally a week into September, I took my first sip of Pepsi and never looked back. I also have my excitement back for running. With my work schedule, there isn’t really an excuse, but at the same time there is always something that comes up that causes a change of plans. I hoping I can stick with it though and keep it as a priority and fit running into my schedule somehow.

So what is new with you Friends? What have you been reading? Are you a Podcast listener? Have any recommendations for me? xx

 

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July in Review

Hey Friends! I hope all is well with you. Another month has passed us by in what feels like the blink of an eye. As I look back at what I read in July, I am realizing how good of a reading month it was for me. Not necessarily just thinking about how much I read, but in terms of what. I read some really feel good books and read a couple with friends which is always a fun way for me to tackle a book.

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I read The Inn At Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber which I have written a review for. I listened to this via Overdrive and also followed along, which I highly recommend doing if you are interested in starting this series. The narrator, Lorelei King, is fantastic and it is just one of those stories that feels good to have someone read aloud to you. This read as the first book in a series should. As I was reading it, I felt like there was more to come while at the same time, introducing me to the main character and what I can expect from the rest of the series. Jo Marie is the main character, a war widow who moves to Cedar Cove and purchases an Inn. Moving and buying the Inn eventually helps her begin to heal from the loss of her husband and she slowly realizes, that is what she wants the Inn to sort of represent for everyone who stops there; a place for healing.

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Once I finished The Inn At Rose Harbor, I couldn’t resist, and immediately jumped into the second book in the series, Rose Harbor in Bloom. This too, I followed along with the audio book via Overdrive. This was another well crafted story with a cast of characters all healing from something. Annie Newton arrives at the Inn in the midst of coordinating her grandparents fiftieth wedding anniversary while healing from her broken engagement.  With all of the chaos of planning going on and her grandparents not seeming to be able to get along, she is forced to face and be around Oliver Sutton, who, growing up always teased her. We also meet Mary Smith, a business woman who comes to the Inn after being diagnosed with a serious illness. While there, she comes face to face with a lingering regret; the love of her life whom she let go of nineteen years ago. Where I felt like the first book was a great introduction story, Rose Harbor in Bloom jumped right into my heart and shredded it into pieces before bit by bit piecing it together again.

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Next, I read Love Letters which is book three in the Rose Harbor series. In this book, a slight twist happened that I expected but at the same time didn’t expect. Jo Marie has a handy man named Mark who is difficult at times, rough around the edges, but is a good friend to her. But Jo Marie knows nothing about Mark and it is starting to bother her. In this novel, she begins to realize she has been thinking about him a lot more than willing to admit. It was the guests of the Inn though that really tugged at my heartstrings. We meet Ellie, a 23 year old woman taking a leap of faith by traveling to Cedar Cove to meet a guy named Tom whom she’s been corresponding with for months but has never actually met in person and we also meet Maggie and Roy. Maggie and Roy are a married couple who are taking their first vacation together since their children were born. Both have made mistakes in their marriage and they are hoping this vacation will help rekindle the spark in their relationship. I love how vulnerable the characters in this novel had to be. We see them all really have to open themselves up to possibilities. It was great.

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I could’ve totally binged the Rose Harbor Inn series, but I had to keep in mind that I have also been making my way through another series, the Haven Point series by Raeanne Thayne. So I picked up the next book in the series for me, Snowfall on Haven Point. This one follows Andrea Montgomery, a single Mother of two whose police officer husband died in the line of duty. Andrea comes to Haven Point trying to escape a fellow officer and friend of her husband who took advantage of her after her husband passed. We are first introduced to Andrea in the previous book, Riverbend Road when she meets and becomes friends with Wyn Bailey. In Snowfall on Haven Point, Wyn asks Andrea to keep an eye on her brother, Sheriff Marshall Bailey, who was recently injured in a hit and run vehicle accident. Marshall doesn’t like feeling helpless at all, and is not excited to have someone looking after him but the more and more he spends time with Andrea and her kids, his mind starts to change.

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I read another Debbie Macomber novel, her newest release, Cottage by the Sea. I took my time with this one and enjoyed it so much. I read half of it in physical copy and actually listened to the second half with my current free subscription to Scribd. In this story, we follow Annie Marlow who in the blink of an eye’s entire life is rocked by tragedy. As expected, she grieves for a long time, until encouraged to return to somewhere she remembers being happy. Annie returns to Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest and rents the cottage her family used to spend summers in.  It is in Oceanside that Annie begins to restore her spirit. She gradually makes friends with Mellie, her landlord who is a total recluse, Britt who works at a local coffee shop and Keaton, who she’s most drawn to. Keaton is a big strong guy but at the same time quiet and peaceful and the two grow close. As they grow closer though, the chance of a life time lands in Annie’s lap and she’s torn between feeling safe in Oceanside and Keaton’s arms, or this chance toward continued success. Debbie Macomber hasn’t ceased to amaze me yet. I feel like I know what to expect when I pick up one of her novels but she has such an incredible way of creating these characters you care about and these locations that sound so cozy and dreamy, you don’t want to leave.

 

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My last book of July was Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels Explained by Maya Rodale which I buddy read with Becky from Beck’s Books on Youtube. I enjoyed this book so much. In the beginning it felt as though Rodale was hitting points that weren’t anything new, so I became a bit nervous but it started to really get good. I think this book is a must read for romance readers and would be a great conversation started if you were able to convince a non romance reader to read it.

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Share with me what you read in the month of July!! I hope all is well with you, take care of yourselves and until next time, xx

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Sunday Coffee

Hello Friend, how are you this morning? How was your week? I have had quite a bit on my mind this week. I’ve been gradually reevaluating some things, and just want to share some of my thoughts with you. I hope you have a nice cup of coffee or tea, let’s chat.

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I have been thinking about the online book community and specifically my place in it a lot lately. When it comes to my small presence I question what am I doing it for? Am I satisfied with what I am putting into this community? Am I satisfied with what I am getting out of it? These are some of the main questions I have been meditating on.

I discovered the online book community back in 2014 when I first moved to Texas. I remember setting up a new twitter account and following the R&B singer, Amerie, and she shared a link to a Youtube video. Up to that point, I had not been one to watch Youtube but I loved her and her music so I clicked the link which took me to a channel she created. I was shocked when I saw that on this channel, she was discussing books. I watched the book side of Youtube for about two years before getting the guts to start my own channel which I have had now for over three years.

I remember how excited I was when I created my channel. I loved hauling books and sharing them with followers. I looked forward to discussing all the books I read during the month as the month came to a close. I enjoyed the different tags that were created as a different way to inspire you to talk about books.  I was such a fan of the community I had become part of.  So, I guess another question I have been pondering on is, do I still have that excitement that I felt when I first joined the online book community?

The good thing about the online book community, is how many different platforms there are. You can do Youtube, you can blog, you can create a podcast and/or you can create an Instagram dedicated to book content. If you want to share your love of reading online, there are ways to do it.  Joining Youtube, in the beginning was the route that I chose. At this moment, if I had to answer the question in regards to if the excitement is still there or not, I’d have to say No.

Life has changed for me in the matter of just a few months and in reality, I don’t have the time to dedicate to creating the content that I want. At first I was okay with filming when I could film, but eventually it started to feel like a job or a chore. I have had to make peace with not allowing Youtube to be yet another thing that stresses me out. It is hard though. You see other creators and how often they post and how big their channels are getting and how quickly they’re growing. Paying attention to stuff like that can really take a toll if you let it. So for a while, even though it felt like a job, I continued putting content out there, because I felt like I needed to keep up. I think I have held on too because I have built some amazing friendships with other content creators and subscribers–but I’ve realized, those friendships are going to be there regardless of if I am making vides or not.  Sometimes the hardest part of walking away from something, is taking those first few steps, but I told myself in the beginning, when it is no longer fun, I’ll be done. And at this moment, it is no longer fun.

I am happy I discovered the blogging world and right now it feels good with the way my life is going. I also am really enjoying putting more focus into Instagram and sharing books I am excited about through that platform. Reading is something I have always done for fun. It is basically a lifelong companion. It has been there through the darkest moments and the brightest days. I never want to turn my love for it into something that turns long it into anything negative. I want to be reading for fun, I want to be reading because I love doing it, and not because I found a community and feel like I need to keep up with what everyone else is doing.

I am a big advocate of being kind to yourself and I need to practice more of what I preach. I think part of being kinder to myself is not beating myself up about having to cut the cord with things that once upon a time meant the world to me. Things change and there comes a time when you have to move on. I’m so excited to root for my friends still creating and cheering them on..but as just a viewer. I am ticking this off of my list of stressors. It is definitely time for me to move on from creating content on Youtube and focus on sharing my love for reading on the other platforms I’ve discovered I love.

Whew! That was a lot, and I appreciate you hearing me out. Share with me what has been going on with you and please be kind to yourself today. Until our next chat, take care of yourself. xoxo

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Romance Chat With Friends

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Hello Friends! I am back with another Romance Chat With Friends post and I am so excited to share today’s friend with you all. Today on the blog I have my girl Stephanie. I found Stephanie on Youtube shortly after I started reading romance, and I can’t even being to describe how happy I am to have found her channel.  When I decided I want to occasionally do these romance chats, Stephanie immediately came to mind. She is a busy woman who still finds time to read and not only does she find the time to read, but she reads ALOT. I highly recommend checking out her Youtube channel which you can find her at Stephs Rom Book Talk So without further ado, let’s get into the chat.

 

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Falling For Romance: To kick off, I am always fascinated with what I like to call the ‘origin story’ for romance readers. I want to know how they got into reading the genre. Share your romance “origin story.” How did you come across and read your first romance novel?

Stephanie:  When I was working the night shift during Hurricane Sandy and finishing up my Master’s Degree I needed something to fill my nights so I started to read the Fifty Shades Trilogy. I devoured them and then I read as many books as I could that was compared to this trilogy.

Falling For Romance: You’re a Booktuber who reads romance which unfortunately isn’t the most popular genre on Booktube. Were you ever hesitant to start your channel? And what keeps you excited about posting videos?

StephanieI actually started my channel because my “friends” and co-workers were tired of me talking about all these books that they needed to read. One of them suggested that I start a channel, so I did and the rest is history. I found that talking to the camera to post on the internet about books that excite me is a great outlet. During that first year I was a little hurt that I wasn’t getting views on my channel but I just kept at it. I even had a time where I thought of quitting but then some of my major viewers and favorite authors let me know they really enjoyed my videos and it changed my mind. In turn I let go of comparing subscribers to success.

Falling For Romance:  Who are 3 authors and any books in particular by them that you wish more people would read?

Stephanie:

The Grip Series by Kennedy Ryan 
Dear Life by Meghan Quinn
Red Lights, Black Hearts by Fabiola Francisco

Falling For Romance:  What is one trope in romance you’ll never be tired of reading?

StephanieQuick breeding, instalove stories, and if they are interracial but not stereotypical, even better!

Falling For Romance:  What is something you want to see more of or done differently in romance?

StephanieSince I read so many indie authors many of them already give me so much variety that as of now I have the perfect balance in the books I am reading.

Falling For Romance: As I read romance novels, I’m always imagining them being made into films. What is one recent read you’d love to see have a film adaptation?

Stephanie: Mercy by Debra Anastasia – It has romance, action, darkness, and such a unique storyline that I think it could really transfer well.

Falling For Romance: What are you currently reading that you’d recommend and are there any upcoming releases you’re excited for?

Stephanie: Dear Martin by Nic Stone rocked my world recently. Anticipated release I am looking forward to is Blood Cure by KA Linde the third book in the Blood Type Series.

Falling For Romance: Lastly, are there any other Romance reading  Youtubers or Bloggers you’d like for more people to check out and subscribe to?

Stephanie:

I hope you all enjoyed this romance chat with Stephanie. Be sure to check out her Youtube channel and the other ladies she recommends. Be sure to be kind to yourself today, and I’ll chat with you in my next post. xoxo.
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Reading As A Busy Mom

Hello Friends! One question I get asked often is how I juggle reading with working full time and being a Mom of three.  My husband and I are both active duty military in a career field that doesn’t work your typical Monday through Friday 8-5.  There are a lot of 12-14 hour days and long work weekends.  Add on having three young kids who demand quite a bit of attention, wanting to blog, wanting to take photos and post to Instagram and Youtube, I can understand the question of, “How do you juggle it all?” So I wanted to share some of my tips, or things I do to squeeze reading into my already busy life.

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  1. I posted the above photo because it was around the time that I read The Wedding Date, that I became serious about the advice I’ve heard from so many online friends to, “Always have a book with you.” I have found this piece of advice very helpful. If I know I have a doctors appointment or will be somewhere with some down time..even if as a family we are driving somewhere, I always have a book with me for those moments I’m able to read a few pages.
  2. Continuing on with always having a book with me, I highly recommend downloading the Kindle App to your phone if you are a Kindle user. I have the app on my Ipad and IPhone. Having the app on your phone is so convenient.  For those days when I can’t bring a physical book with me, I still have all my ebooks on my phone thanks to the Kindle app which comes in handy for those few moments throughout the day I am able to squeeze in some reading.
  3. One word: Audiobooks. I know there are still a lot of people who don’t really vibe with audiobooks. I thought for the longest that I was one of those people. I think what helped me was before I read my first audiobook, I had already spent about a year listening to Podcasts. So I was already used to listening to people talk. I have friends who read 6,7,8 books a week sometimes thanks to audiobooks. I usually listen to mine on 2x speed and depending on what I have going on, can usually finish one in 2 to 3 days. Now, where do I listen to them? My commute to work is only about 10 minutes. Regardless though, I listen while driving to and from work. Depending on what I’m doing at the gym, I occasionally listen while there. I listen while prepping and cooking meals. I have a speaker I purchased from Walmart so  I’m able to listen while taking a shower or sitting in the bath. While putting awa laundry I’m listening, while cleaning the house, I’m listening. I pretty much listen whenever and wherever I can.
  4. I find ways to keep myself excited about reading. I find the more I keep myself excited about reading, the more I stay motivated to incorporate it as much as I can into my day to day. To keep myself excited, I’ll read blog posts by friends to see what they’re excited about. I may listen to one of the bookish Podcasts I listen to or watch one of my favorite Youtubers who talk about books. I think excitement and happiness can be contagious. Seeing someone else excited about something they read definitely inspires me to continue reading and find the next thing that excites me.
  5. Try reading more than one book at a time. I used to be a one book at a time kind of girl. I admire people who can focus on one book at a time, but I have grown into one who reads multiple books at once. Sometimes you’re just not in the mood for the one book you may have set aside to read. If you’re not in the mood for it, but still want to read, pick up something else. I have found in a strange way, this keeps me interested in everything I am reading and has upped the amount of books I have been able to read a year.
  6. Do buddy reads. If you’re already part of a real life book club, that’s great and pretty much the same thing but if not, find a friend and let them know you’re interested in reading something with them. All of the buddy reads I have done have been with online friends and we share our thoughts via the Voxer App. I love buddy reads. Even though you’re reading the same book, everyone interprets things differently. It is always cool to see how someone else viewed a situation. Buddy reads have really helped me read books that I probably would have not finished or maybe not even started had I went at it alone. Usually with buddy reads you set a page count or chapter count for the day and to keep up it kind of forces you to make time to read so you can share your thoughts with everyone. And they are just so much fun, especially if you’re reading a really fun book or one that causes a lot of discussion.

 

I hope these little pieces of advice help. They are just some of the main things I have done to help balance being a full time working mom of three with my love of reading. When it all comes down to it, incorporate reading any way you can into your everyday life. Whether listening to an audiobook while cooking dinner or having a book in your bag to read while waiting for your doctor’s appointment to start, make the time to read what you can when you find the moments to do so.

Until next time Friends, take care of yourselves. xoxo.signature