Sunday Coffee

I wish you sidewalk pennies on bad days and the unfailing sense that things are just going to work out.

Happy Sunday friends. Grab your morning drink of choice and let’s catch up.

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I can’t believe we are already over the halfway mark of May. This month has been a month of better choices and good reading. I have been cutting coca-cola from my diet during the work day and doing really good with it. This isn’t my first attempt at staying away from soda though so I’m a little nervous but I want to push myself to have the discipline needed to stay away from it. It is getting easier as days go by. I may have a few sips later on in the day once I’m home, but I’m not craving it. I don’t like craving something I know isn’t good for me which is why I really want to phase it out of my life.

This upcoming week should be (*fingers crossed*) a short week, and I am so looking forward to it. I have a stack of physical books and a handful of ebooks I really want to get to so a long weekend will be perfect. I’ll be honest, I have been reading so many wonderful books this year and I owe being so close to my reading goal for the year to audiobooks, but I really miss the love I used to have for physical books. Audiobooks are fantastic, a big help for my hectic lifestyle. They really are lifesavers, but I want to retrain my mind to also want that urge to pick up physical books again and just read them. A lot of the times now, I will have both the physical book and audiobook going to follow along with. I miss the enjoyment of making my way through a story on my own and the pride I felt after having completed a book on my own. Is this weird?

I had some cool book mail come arrive this week:

The Key To Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo which I ordered for myself. It is a new release, romance but also focuses on the relationship between three sisters.

From Book Depository, my order of Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane arrived. It releases in the states this fall but impatiently, I couldn’t wait!

I’ve been in the mood for a memoir so I ordered a copy of The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick.

Thanks to Entangled Publishing, I received a copy of Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madisen which releases May 28th.

Barefoot Beach by Debbie Mason arrived which has an adorable cover and came with some sweet beach theme gems.

And fulfilling my cowboy cover loving heart, Justified by Jay Crownover arrived and I’m in love with it.

This past week was a really good reading week for me. May in general *knock on wood* has been a great reading month so far. I hope the momentum continues. I think it helps when you’re at peace with parting ways with a book when it’s not doing it for you. At this point, I know within the first 50 pages if a book has the thing I need to motivate me to continue on reading it or not, and if it doesn’t then I move on from it. I have so many other books I want to read/need to read, there’s no time for books I’m not feeling. I haven’t read anything terrible this month. For the most part it’s been fun, perfect for spring reads. With two weeks left in the month, I am excited to see what else I can make time for.

Pretty uneventful week this past week was. My life literally was work and home so if anything exciting in your world happened, please share it with me. Until next time, take care of yourselves. xo.

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Sunday Coffee

Yay, we have made it to another Sunday. This past week was one for the books. There’s quite a bit to share. Grab your drink of choice and let’s catch up.

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First things first, I (finally) went to Dallas, Texas! On trips home to Missouri I have driven through Dallas, and it is intimidating as hell. The reason for the trip was to attend my first ever author event. I got to sit front row at Half Price Books and listen to, and ask questions to Chanel Cleeton!

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The event was completely free, I just had to get myself to Dallas and pay for a place to stay. It was a nice, during the week getaway. It was very interesting to hear Chanel speak about some of her family history and the motivations behind both When We Left Cuba and Next Year in Havana. I loved hearing a bit about her background, having studied international relations and attending law school. It made so much sense while reading Beatriz’s story in When We Left Cuba. 

What I found interesting, which I typically do, is to learn that she had no “formal training,” in writing when she became a writer. I think that is so fascinating and definitely inspirational. I’ve had a few story ideas floating in my head for a while but always use the excuse that I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve heard a few authors say this but I think hearing it in person from an actual author, whose book I was holding in my hand made it seem more real life for me.

We also chatted a bit about what is to come from her, and I’m so excited. There will be 2 more books that follow the Perez family and both sound wonderful. Cleeton is definitely an author who I believe in what she’s doing. I’m fascinated by the time periods and history she is bringing back to life.

After the event, I was browsing books as I waited for my husband and Kids to pick me up when another attendee and I started chatting. I literally felt like I met my new best friend. Georgia and I found out that we are both Missouri girls living here in Texas. We are both romance readers. She is actually putting the finishing touches to two books she’s been working on and attends quite a few book conventions. It was so nice. The event itself was great, and then meeting and chatting with her was the icing on the cake.

Reading wise, I am currently in the middle of a couple of things. I looked on Goodreads and was surprised to see that I dwindled my currently reading shelf down to one book, which is a poetry collection by Andrea Gibson called Lord of the ButterfliesThis isnt my favorite collection of Gibson’s.. honestly at times I find myself a bit bored but I keep going because there are some truly powerful, hard hitting poems in it at the same time. I’ll share a few passages I’ve highlighted:

“Do you ever feel like the best of you is something you’re still hoping to grow into?”

“what I want most is to live the rest of my life desperately wanting to live it. I want to give that to you. I want it to find you in the nothing at all. I want it to be something.”

One thing that is irking me just a bit too with this collection is some of the poetry is a tad long for my liking. It’s a preference thing. I don’t necessarily want to read a poem that is over two pages long. More than likely, halfway through my attention is gone and the ending didn’t stand a chance.

Aside from that, I started listening to That Month In Tuscany by Inglath Cooper. I was in the mood for something with travel in it, and both the audiobook and ebook have just been sitting untouched for an embarrassingly long time so I gave it a go. I have about five hours of listening time and it’s not a bad book. It does feel a bit too set up, too trope heavy I guess you could call it. It follows Lizzy whose marriage has gone to crap. Her husband is the inattentive husband who spends too much time at work and cancels on her when it’s time to take their anniversary trip to Italy. Lizzy decides screw it, she’ll go by herself because for entirely too long, she’s put aside things she wanted to do for her husband. Insert Ren! Ren is a rockstar that Lizzie doesn’t recognize initially on their plane ride over to Italy. The two end up hanging out when they get over there. Ren just wanting to be normal and Lizzie wanting to enjoy the moments and being in Italy. Oh and let me not forget Lizzie snot nose daughter who I already can’t stand. Cooper thus far has done a wonderful job of creating a cast of side characters who are complete jerks to have me rooting for Lizzie and what she’s doing. We’ll see where this journey takes us.

Let me know what’s going on in your corner of the world. Do something nice for yourself  and be kind to yourself. Until we chat again, xo.

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Sunday Coffee

Hello Friends, Happy Sunday. I hope this past week was a good one and that you’ve enjoyed your weekend. Let’s catch up.

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This past week was a pretty chill week for me. I was supposed to be in Florida for BookNetFest but that didn’t happen, so to not allow my mind to go into a funk, I’ve been reading like crazy to keep my mind occupied. I read six books this week which is insane but, THE POWER OF AUDIOBOOKS Friends! I’ve been focusing on getting books that I’ve had on my shelf read, and even more specifically, books I set aside for fall reading. It has been a mixture of romance and cozy mysteries mostly and I am thoroughly enjoying what I’ve been picking up.

I am planning to participate in #Blogoween next month which sounds super exciting. I think I put myself down to post everyday for 13 days, I have to double check. So I am looking forward to that. With planning to do that though, I am trying to figure out what posts I want to have for September. I will definitely have these catch up posts, but the reviews I have been typing, I’ve been scheduling for October.

I recently learned about the rapper Mac Miller passing away and for some reason, his death is weighing heavy on my heart. Like many, I really began paying attention to him while he and Ariana Grande were dating but I never really listened to his music. I decided to go for a drive to give some of his music a listen and wow, he was so talented.  Another young life gone so soon.  I think his death just has me thinking about how I need to do better at expressing to the people I love, just how much I love them, how I need to do better at picking up the phone and calling them. You seriously don’t know if the last time you saw someone, is going to be the last time you see them.

I made my first meatloaf Friends, and I am here to officially say, I should NEVER attempt it again.  I found a recipe on Pinterest that looked easy and that I already had a majority of the ingredients for. It was nice because my husband and I actually prepared it together. We followed the instructions but in the end it didn’t turn out how I remember a meatloaf tasting. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll give it another go but as of right now, this will be my first and last meatloaf.

I recently came across a Youtube channel that is such the breath of sunshine. The channel is Alexandra Roselyn and her channel focuses on writing and reading.  She is just so warm and sweet. She is one of those people who immediately after the first video I clicked on began, I thought “I want to be friends with this person!” I have been very interested lately in subscribing to Authortube channels. As a reader, I think it only makes sense to get glimpses into the process of writing. I am thrilled that Alexandra is a writer and has created this space to share her journey with us.

Really that is all from me for this week. I hope to get more reading done over the next couple of days and knock off some of these books that have been stagnant on my to be read pile.  I found a quote on Pinterest that I want to leave you with. Take care of yourself Friends, and seriously if you see someone around you having a hard time, reach out to them. Small gestures go a long way.

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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.

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Sunday Coffee

Hello Friends and Happy Sunday! I’d like to catch up and just chat over a cup of coffee about what’s been going on, what I’ve been thinking about, reading, listening to, watching..whatever is on my mind.  I hope you have a cup of whatever you tend to drink in the morning. Let’s catch up!

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Recently my work schedule changed. It’s not too bad, because I have a lot of time off, but every other weekend I work 12 hour shifts Friday through Sunday. Not trying to sound crazy, but I feel like I’m getting too old for long shifts! I’m not 19 anymore when I used to be able to pull it off with no problems. The change though really makes me appreciate my down time.

These past few days have been amazing and relaxing. I finished a Debbie Macomber novel, The Inn At Rose Harbor and loved it. I checked out the audiobooks for the first 3 books in the Rose Harbor Inn Series, so I immediately jumped into book two. Once upon a time I would’ve told you I’m not a series person, but I am learning how, if written well, it is so easy to fall in love with one. You are fascinated by the setting, fall in love with the characters and something in you just isn’t ready to let go yet.

My little family and I got out of the house a bit this weekend. First we visited this local site called the Japanese Tea Garden.

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It’s ridiculous how I have lived in San Antonio for over four years now and am still finding cool places to visit. The Tea Garden was so beautiful, so peaceful. There were different little ponds with beautiful fish, a waterfall and pretty flowers. We walked the trails that take you around it before the heat became too much and really enjoyed ourselves. And you know the best part of it? It was free.

That wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to explore some more, so we literally went on google and found other outdoor sites near us and drove an hour to a town called Bandera down in the Texas Hill Country.

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When entering Bandera, Texas the population sign states there are 978 people. Coming from constantly growing San Antonio, I immediately fell in love with the small town vibe. Not only is Bandera what you imagine when you think of a small town, but it’s “downtown,” area literally looks like a place trapped somewhere in time. It has all of these little shops with cool names. You see people walking up and down the sidewalk. The smell from the local steakhouse fills the air, and if you roll your window down you can hear the river flowing in the background.

We made our way another 11 miles outside of Bandera and were surrounded by some of the Texas Hills.  I always wondered what in the world people were talking about when they mentioned this place, and was mesmerized when I saw it for myself. It was unexplainable and it’s hard to believe something so unique and almost magical is only an hours drive from home.  All throughout the hills are ranches sprawled out amongst the land. Big gates with family names on the front of them and these big mansion looking homes in the back, some built up on the hills themselves. It felt like a whole other world.

So for today, I plan to catch up on the rest of my Christmas in July Hallmark movies on DVR and later we are going to a friend’s for dinner. Usually on my days off I am totally all about sitting on the couch and not moving but I am glad these past few days have consisted of getting out of the house and seeing new things, creating new memories.

So, what’s new with you? When was the last time you tried something new?

 

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