Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up

Happy Sunday Friends. I hope your week has been amazing. This past week was my last week in my current two courses. Last week I had a research paper due for each class and this week was *sigh* final exam week. I won’t get into specifics of how bad it sucked, but I will leave you with this: I’m glad it’s over. 

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I am currently in the middle of 2 audiobooks and loving them both despite the fact that I have been too busy to listen to them these past few days. I did manage to read one book this week, and that was Low Country Christmas by Lee Tobin McClain. I rated this holiday romance 4/5 stars. It was may first romance by the author, and I really enjoyed it. I began reading this while participating in TisTheSeasonAthon and finished it up this week.

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The only thing I listened to this week was one episode of the Fated Mates podcast, where hosts Jen and Sarah chatted about their favorite romances of 2019. You can find that episode here.

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Last night, I introduced my daughter to the beloved holiday family film, The Santa Clause. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I watched that movie but I had obviously blanked at some point on how hilarious it is. It was so good, I am so glad after all this time, I finally rewatched it! And my daughter Loved it!

Over on Youtube, Vlogmas is in full effect! I am patting myself (tiredly) on the back because your girl has posted a video everyday in the month of December. I don’t want December to go, but..Vlogmas is exhausting! It’s fun, but exhausting. It definitely challenges you creatively. I may do a post about it at some point, but yes, fun and exhausting!

One of my favorites to keep up with during Vlogmas is my friend Michael, from the channel Michael Reads. I am always so interested in seeing what he’s reading, especially his short story collections, he has the cutest niece  and I love his coffee shop visits!

I just wanted to pop in and say Hey this morning. I hope your December has been amazing so far.

*for more content, make sure if you are a YouTube fan, you hit the subscribe button on my channel. I’ll leave one of my latest videos here!

Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up

November came and went so quickly, and I can’t believe it. I literally still feel the excitement over knowing Halloween was coming followed by the excitement of knowing November was coming along with my birthday.

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I literally only read one book this week and that was Little Miss Perfect by Julia Kent which is a novella. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. It is the 0.5 in the Fluffy series which I have the audiobook for the next book on audible escape. I really can’t wait to read it!

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This week I mostly listened to Podcasts, in particular, the Fated Mates podcast. The episode I want to highlight is their most recent episode which is where Sarah and Jen discuss The Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. I have not read this historical romance and probably would have never even considered it, but hearing what these ladies have to say about it, has me very intrigued!

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This week I watched a few Hallmark movies, and really loved them. If you haven’t watched A Christmas Duet, I highly recommend that one and last night I watched Christmas In Rome which was so, so good! I love a good destination Christmas romance.

It is December and over on Youtube, I will be participating in vlogmas!! My first video is up!

That’s all from me friends, I will chat with you later!

 

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WWW Wednesday: 20 November 2019

WWW

Every Wednesday, we participate in a blog post known as ‘WWW Wednesdays.’ This was originally hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm before moving to Taking on a World of Words. 

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading two books.

F*ck and Fall In Love by Nicole Falls which is a novella. I am a girl who loves a story where the heroine travels to another city for whatever reason (typically work) and while there finds herself growing feelings for someone. In this case, our heroine travels to NYC and finds herself to Nigel, who works at the hotel she works out. Things get pretty hot and intense pretty quickly. I was reading last night completely hypnotized! Nigel’s charms were completely rubbing off on me!

My other current read is The Corner of Holly and Ivy by Debbie Mason which I am reading for my holiday romance binge. This is my first ever Debbie Mason romance and so far I am really enjoying it. I will definitely have to backtrack and read the previous books in the series because there are a few things that have been mentioned in this book that I’d like more clarity on, but so far, so good.

For what I recently finished,

I recently posted a holiday decor haul/wrap up video over on my Youtube channel which I will leave here. Towards the end of the video, I wrap up my most recent five reads.

 

What I plan to read next

This weekend I am participating in the weekend edition of ContemporaryAThon hosted by Chelseadollingreads and Julie from Pages and Pens over on Youtube. I will leave my to be read video for that here:

 

That’s what’s up with me today reading wise! Let me know what you are currently reading or plan to read next. There are a ton of readathons happening in December, do you plan to participate in any?

xx

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My Experience with Being Black. A Reader & Online.

The online book community can be so stressful at times. Every time you look up it feels like there is some sort of drama. Amidst the pettiness and downright stupidity that tends to surface here and there, there are also important discussions at times that definitely provide necessary tools and room for growth.

Recently an article was posted which interviewed four black women Booktubers and I couldn’t have been more happy that, finally! Finally someone was giving a voice to a select few who can share the experiences felt by so many in a community that is constantly preaching diversity and acceptance and everyone is welcome here. You can click here to check the article out for yourself. I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

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In the beginning, there were a lot of things I simply didn’t pay attention to. I can also be naive when it comes to certain things as well. When I first discovered the online book community it was through a woman of color. The R&B singer, Amerie. I created a twitter account and due to her being one of my favorite artists, she was one of the first people I followed and I noticed she posted a link to her Youtube channel. Confession: this was also my gateway into Youtube in general. Up to this point, in mid 2014, I had never watched Youtube. So I subscribed to her channel and began getting the Booktube Welcome Package thrown in my face of all the huge book tubers. I didn’t know any better so I just subscribed left and right.

Fast forward to 2 years and me starting my own channel and finding my groove. I fell into a lot of the traps that are easy to fall into on book tube. There were some months I hauled 20+ books just to have a big stack of books for a book haul. Some months I had two haul videos.  I was checking all the boxes, trying to keep up with everyone else but my channel wasn’t really going anywhere. Eventually two bigger booktubers, Jen and Katie shouted my channel out and I saw a significant spike but even that only got me so far. This is when I started paying attention.

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Here we are now and though I’m no longer doing Youtube, I am still very much part of the online book community. I have my blog, still chat on Twitter and am an avid Instagram user. I don’t always like to look at all of my platforms as a hustle, but it feels that way. As a black reader who is also putting herself out there in this community, it feels like I have to hustle 10% harder than my white counterparts. This community is big on aesthetic. Call it what you want, but if a person doesn’t look a certain way or their photos don’t look a certain way, people are more than likely going to keep scrolling. Not even give them the chance to hear or see what it is they have to say. This goes for people of color and white people as well. I have white friends who are in the same boat. Because they aren’t acting obnoxious *no shade, but whatever*, reading YA heavy or look a certain way, they aren’t seeing the growth they deserve.

To be real, it’s exhausting. Sometimes I question if that is what is wanted. Maybe she’ll just give up one day. I’ll use Instagram for example. I could 100% duplicate a photo of someone else’s who has 3K likes on it and mine will barely get 200. I know there are other factors to be considered such as the algorithm but I refuse to allow that to be the excuse every single time. As a woman of color I can’t not question how much my lack of growth has to do with the fact that I’m a woman of color. 

Opportunities have slowly, very slowly, began to present themselves. There are a few, very few, publishers I work with and am very grateful for. The really huge ones though? I don’t even waste my Time. Jasmine Guillory’s new romance is releasing soon *will probably be out by the time this posts* and I have yet to see a woman of color in my feed with an arc. I understand wanting to send early copies to people with the numbers but again, I don’t need to get into how hard it is for people of color to even get those numbers..but not seeing anyone who looks like the author with the book, reading it early, feels like a missed opportunity.

I love what I do. Blogging and Instagramming gets me out of the house. I get to enjoy a bit of alone time and put my content out into the world, raving about what I’ve been reading but it is also work. We all put so much work into our platforms. For me though, as a black woman..it feels like if I go too long without a blog post coming out or a photo on IG being posted, I may come back and have lost 3 or 4 followers. It’s like you always have to be on your game. There’s no coming up for air. There are no breaks and it is exhausting. It’s not fair. I think we have become so accustomed to having to work so hard for what we have though, that it just is what it is to us at this point. We go through it with a smile and keep it moving, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it sucks to be putting in just as much work as the next person and not getting the same recognition or opportunities.

Going forward to the young black girl at home right now trying to decide if this is for her or not: don’t let anyone persuade you that it isn’t. It is not going to be easy, but nothing ever is. If reading is your passion and you want to share that passion with the world, 100% go for it and know there are others like you out there. Find your tribe of people. The friends you make totally make up for all the crap that is probably going on around you. Support them and they’ll support you. You may have to work a bit harder and it may take way more time than someone else, but keep going. Things will come. I just posted my first article to my favorite website thanks to them reaching out to me..and I’ve been trying to figure this all out since 2014. Go for it, be passionate, authentic and in love with what you do..regardless.

xo.

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Why I Left Booktube

My stint on Youtube doing Booktube was nice while it lasted. I remember I made the decision to start creating videos of my own because I wanted to be part of the conversation. Well eventually I hit this space where it felt like being part of the conversation was only adding to my already too high to avoid stress levels and I had to do something about it.

OVER IT

 

I have to say, I have had a few people reach out and ask why I left. Some have said they miss my videos and hope I come back, and honestly that is AMAZING. I never planned on that, never thought I’d have any kind of reach to be able to experience that. I’m so grateful for those who tuned into my very inconsistent, not well edited thrown together on my iPhone chatter.

Why I left though:

I am the first to tell people, if something is no longer bringing you joy, it’s time to cut ties. I went back and forth for weeks on keeping my channel or not. I thought, oh I can keep it up and just take a break, but I know the way my brain works. Had I kept my channel up and just taken a break, there wouldn’t have been a break and the cycle I was in at the time would’ve continued. I wasn’t happy anymore making videos.

Time played a big factor into me letting it go. When I first started my channel my kids were in daycare. My oldest two would get picked up and taken to daycare by a few of the teachers and my baby stayed there all day. There were a lot of days I would go into work early which allowed me to get off early. I would use that few hour window to film, edit and upload. Last year we moved across town and hired an in home sitter so regardless of when I get off work, someone is always at home. Newsflash! Trying to film with kids is hard! So I began making it a priority to film something on the weekends but even that began to feel like a chore. When I should be relaxing because everyone is chilling, doing their own thing..I was getting dressed, throwing on make up, doing my hair to film. It worked fine for a while but I didn’t like the feeling that Booktube had become another task on a to do list. I didn’t like the pressure I had put on myself of every week at least something needs to be posted on the channel.

I also feel like I set myself up for failure in a few ways. That’s probably not the best wording but it’s what I’m going with. It should come as no surprise, but the online book community is a very 18 to early 20s, white girl reading Young Adult/Fantasy space. I fit none of those descriptions so I always had it in the back of my mind that I’d probably only make it so far.. Then your girl began reading romance. Surprise Surprise! Book snobbery is a real thing and for whatever reason the romance genre is the genre everyone chooses to intentionally hate on. Once I got heavy into the genre and started making romance focused videos my channel became real stagnant. I wasn’t losing too many subscribers but I also wasn’t gaining many either. People will tell you don’t focus on subscriber numbers and all that but when you see people join the community and within 6 months surpass you it’s hard not to start questioning what it is you’re not doing that they are. And if it’s something totally out of your control in the first place? I don’t like being a woman of color, being the reason I think why..because I have white friends who have been on for years before me whose channels haven’t really grown at all.  I think the Book corner of Youtube wants a specific look and for you to act a certain way and be a certain way. That wasn’t me from the beginning and I got to the point where I was over trying to insert myself.

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I started my blog months ago when I was began toying with the idea of stopping Youtube. I actually stopped blogging instead to focus more on Youtube, but here we are.. I love the no pressure vibes I feel with blogging. I can sit in sweats and a tee shirt, I can blog at a coffee shop..All I need is my laptop.

I’m for real rooting for all my friends still sitting in front of their camera and creating content for Youtube. I think it’s a great platform which provides you the opportunity to reach so many people. After almost 3 years for me, I realized I wasn’t happy with it and I don’t regret my decision to leave. I am refusing to give energy to anything that stresses me out so I had to let it go. The pressure I once felt is gone. I haven’t been hauling books like crazy when backed by the pressure to want to have so many books for a haul..I’m not stressing because I didn’t have the time to film when I wanted to. I am happy with my decision to move on. xo.

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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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