2021 Monthly Status Update: September

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My favorite time of the year is here. Fall is the best – between the cooler weather and my birthday and all the Halloween decorations, I just love this time of year. This past month was my last month of maternity leave and I read A LOT! I won’t be able to continue at this pace going forward as I’m starting back at work but I am hoping to still read some great books next month too. So! Here is my reading progress for September:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 15
# pages read this month: 4,808
# books read year-to-date: 90
# pages read year-to-date: 30,949

Other Posts this month:

Nothing to report from this past month!

Favorite books from this month:

Beach Read by Emily Henry – 4.75 stars
It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey – 4.5 stars

Next Month TBR List:

For October, I don’t have any scheduled reads but I wanted to do some spooky/witchy reads! So I’m going to be reading a mix of things from my backlog and my library that fit into my “theme” for this month:

  • The Ex Hex
  • Witches of East End
  • Witches of Eastwick
  • Sorrow
  • Look for Me
  • The Witchfinder’s Sister
  • The Vanishing Season
  • A Heart of Blood and Ashes

I’m back to work this month but hoping to ease in slowly so I just need to find a balance between work and family first and then I’ll be able to figure out where I can fit in more reading!

Happy reading everyone and hope you all have a spooky October!

2021 Monthly Status Update: August

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What a great month August was! I have been spending lots of time with my new baby at home and have been reading A LOT. Plus we’ve been getting out and starting to do things as a family, like going to events and a local country fair. It’s been so exciting to go on adventures as a new family of three! During all this I read some awesome books, so here is my reading progress for August:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 14
# pages read this month: 5,068
# books read year-to-date: 75
# pages read year-to-date: 26,141

Other Posts this month:

Nothing to report from this past month!

Favorite books from this month:

Runaway Girl by Tessa Bailey – 4.75 stars
You Were Always Mine by Nicole Baart – 4.75 stars
Beach Read by Emily Henry – 4.75 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

September is one of my favorite months of the year, and this year especially I have a lot to look forward to! My mom and I both have our birthdays in September and we have a series of events planned. And with the new addition to our family this year we have even more to celebrate! I will still be on leave for the next month so there will continue to be some additional time for reading. I’ve been making great headway with my backlogs from prior years and I’ll hopefully continue to make progress with this.

Happy reading everyone!

2021 Monthly Status Update: July

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July was a busy month – we had a baby! With all the late night feedings I’ve been getting a lot of reading done still this month. Anyways, here is my progress for reading in July:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 13
# pages read this month: 4,207
# books read year-to-date: 61
# pages read year-to-date: 21,073

Other Posts this month:

Nothing to report from this past month!

Favorite books from this month:

Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt – 4.50 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • Nothing on the TBR List for July!

Like I mentioned, I’m not sure what the next couple months will bring exactly so I purposefully didn’t commit to any reviews for August and only one in late September. I’ll still be trying to work on my backlog for the next couple months and also read something each month from my library. Other than that I’m just planning to wing it and see how things go!

Happy reading everyone!

2021 Monthly Status Update: June (& Blog Hiatus for July/August/September)

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June was a busy month for me outside of reading. I hadn’t mentioned it yet but my husband and I have been expecting! Our son was just born earlier this week, so there was a whirlwind of activity in June to finish getting ready – between our baby shower, trying to get everything in order at work, setting up the nursery and just general life – it was hard to find time to read in June! And since this is our first child, I’m not sure what to expect exactly over the next few months so I’ll be taking a hiatus for a couple months on the site and won’t be posting as much (if at all)! Anyways, here is my progress for reading in June:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 7
# pages read this month: 2,197
# books read year-to-date: 48
# pages read year-to-date: 16,866

Other Posts this month:

Nothing to report from this past month!

Favorite books from this month:

Getaway Girl by Tessa Bailey – 4.50 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • Nothing on the TBR List for July!

Like I mentioned, I’m not sure what the next couple months will bring exactly so I purposefully didn’t commit to any reviews for July and August (and only one in late September). I’ll still be trying to work on my backlog for the next couple months and also read something each month from my library. Other than that I’m just planning to wing it and see how things go!

Happy reading everyone!

2021 Monthly Status Update: May

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May was quite the busy month! Lots of work to be done but I’ve also been getting lots of rest and doing some reading. We went on a weekend trip to Boston and had a great time. Memorial Day weekend was a quiet one since it was cold and rainy all weekend. Anyways, here is my progress for reading in May:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 9
# pages read this month: 3,317
# books read year-to-date: 41
# pages read year-to-date: 14,669

Other Posts this month:

Nothing to report from this past month!

Favorite books from this month:

Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan – 4.75 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • The Turnout by Megan Abbott
  • Neon Gods by Katee Robert
  • A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

I’ll also be trying to continue working on my backlog for June and read something from my library. June will be a very busy month – we have a big arrival coming for our family at the end of June / early July and I’ll be taking it easy after that and may not be posting as much for a couple months. I’ll be sure to catch up everyone when I’m able to though!

Happy reading everyone!

2021 Monthly Status Update: April

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April has brought its ups and downs. There is still (as always) lots of work to do. But I was able to get off some time at the end of the month and that was a great break from reality. Spent a lot of that time watching TV but I was also able to fit in some time for reading! Anyways, here is my progress for reading in April:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 9
# pages read this month: 3,386
# books read year-to-date: 32
# pages read year-to-date: 11,352

Other Posts this month:

A look into the different Romance Genres

Favorite books from this month:

The Invited by Jennifer McMahon – 4.75 stars

Next Month TBR List:

  • The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
  • Heartbreak for Hire by Sonia Hartl (not out til July but I’ll be busy then so I’m reading a little early!)

I don’t have a lot on the list for this month but I will be trying to get a lot done with both work and my personal life so I’m ok with a light list this month! We have a lot of house projects this month that we’ll be having to deal with and the preparation related to those will I think take up a good amount of my free time. I’m trying to decide whether or not to participate in the Bout of Books read-a-thon in a week or so.

Happy reading everyone!

A look into the different Romance Genres

I started reading romance when I was 12 or 13 years old. I was an avid reader prior to (and after) that and a regular library patron, and when I found the romance paperback section it was a whole new world that opened for me. The young adult books that I had read before – I was always drawn to any books that included a romance sub-plot or a love story. Finding out there were books based entirely around the romance piece was eye opening. I’ve read a lot of different types of fiction over the years, both before and after I discovered romance. But I am drawn back to romance novels time and time again because I love that the novels always have a happy ending, and that they’re always bringing a message of hope for those that are searching for true love. The stories, even though they’re not always realistic, give readers examples of true love and happiness. I think they also have some great lessons hidden in their plots – your partner should always treat you with kindness and respect being the foremost, but there are so many others that delve into other types relationships as part of their sub-plots, including familial relationships and friendships.

Romance is one of the highest-selling genres in the book industry, with sales consistently exceeding $1billion per year. It’s evident from the sales that romance novels are a wide-spread phenomenon that appeals to many groups of people. Even with that though, there is a stigma attached to the genre that has it labeled as “trashy”, “smut”, or “garbage.” There’s an assumption by many other readers that anyone who enjoys the romance genre is a “lesser-class” of reader. But I have found through my experience over the last few years that romance readers are some of the best community of people. They’re so supportive of new authors, of other readers, and of the overall fan base. And they are all such avid readers! These romance novels get devoured by readers, and they’re still always looking for the next great read. And the demand has started to make it’s way onto the big screen, with productions like The Bridgertons being such a huge success, as well as the increase in productions on upcoming releases, like The Hating Game and The Kiss Quotient.

Over the years I’ve read many romance novels across all different types of genres, and while there are some I like more than others, I like that the romance genre has something for everyone in the different types of novels that are produced. Even as a person changes through their different life stages and goes through different phases over time, there are so many choices that the romance genre can grow and change with the reader. So I thought for this month I’d do a feature post about the different genres and tropes and everything romance! I’ve been looking for a good poster that really illustrates the different branches of the romance tree. I haven’t found a good example yet, though there are some good resources online to learn more about the different genres.

To start with – romance is really a wide-spread genre that covers many different age groups and interests. Just like any other genre there are many different topics that can be covered and different fan groups to be a part of. Below is a picture of different genres under the general fiction umbrella, including the romance genre and examples of some of the subgenres:

Harlequin has some great guides of the subgenres with lots of examples of reads that you can pick up should there be a particular interest that catches your eye. RWA also has a great listing which would be a handy reference for those looking for additional information on both subgenres and some stats on the romance genre as a whole.

Romance as a genre appeals to multiple age groups, people are drawn to love stories no matter what their age is. The main age groups that books can fall into with romance included would be young adult, new age, and adult. New Age is a newer subgenre that has gained in popularity in the last few years I think that really focuses on adults in more of a college age group. Young adult usually is around 15 to 18 or 19, I’d say New Age is around 19 to 24ish, and then everything over that really is the adult group.

Beyond age groups, there are many subgenres of topics. Some tend to fall into a timeline in terms of years. I’ll get into some of the subgenres and even some specific tropes. There’s another romance blog that did a post on this topic also – All the Kissing did a post on the 7 Different Types of Romance Subgenres. They did a great summary so I’d recommend reading their post also if you’re interested in the topic. Beyond the types of subgenres too there’s stand alone novels and then there’s category romances. Harlequin is always the first thing I think of when it comes to category romance as they have different title series including Desire, Inspiration, Intrigue, etc that give the reader exactly what they’re looking for.

The subgenres that I consider to be the main ones are Contemporary, Historical, Erotic, Religious/Inspirational, Romantic Suspense, and Paranormal. These are fairly general labels for subgenres and really are somewhat subjective. As an example, I’ve heard many times on the Fated Mates podcast a discussion around whether or not Priest by Sierra Simone is really an inspirational novel because of the role that God plays in the book. There’s not necessary one right answer – some love the book and could agree with the assessment that it’s an inspirational novel, some really don’t like the novel and call it blasphemy. But the point is – there’s something for everyone! There are more beyond this too – either with less popular subgenres or kind of hybrids: chick-lit and gothic being two that I can think of.

I’ve included a list below with the 4 main subgenres that I tend to read and what I think are some great recommendation / examples for each:

Under these subgenres there even more layers, some having more defined sublayers than others. Historical romance for example, has multiple subgenres for different time periods – Regency during 1811-1820(ish), Gilded Age, Vikings/early Middle Ages, etc. Paranormal romance can delve into different subtopics: aliens, vampire, time travel, ghosts, etc. Inspirational separates into some of the different religious sects. I’ve found that with contemporary romance there aren’t necessarily too many sublayers, but within this subgenre there are many different tropes that can be featured.

Beyond the subgenres and their multiple subtopics beyond that, there’s also different tropes. Tropes can present themselves in any of the genres, although some are more popular in certain niches than others. Some examples include: forced proximity, arranged marriages, enemies to lovers, secret baby, kidnapping, first love, forbidden love, military, damsel in distress, brooding hero, and so so many more. This article has a list of over 100 romance tropes and I’m sure they haven’t even covered everything that’s out there.

And that’s some information for my readers out there on the romance genre! I’d love to be able to find an aesthetically pleasing poster that focuses on the Romance fiction genre as a whole, mapping out all the subgenres and the branches under the romance umbrella. I haven’t found one yet but if anyone knows of a good one, please let me know!

Happy reading everyone!!

2021 Monthly Status Update: March

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My traditional “busy” season at work is finally drawing to a close (maybe) and I’m hoping some of my time will start to free up for more reading! Time has flown by so far this year and we’re already to April, I’m just looking forward for July to get here! Anyways, here is my progress for reading in March:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 7
# pages read this month: 2,456
# books read year-to-date: 23
# pages read year-to-date: 7,966

Other Posts this month:

Girl scout cookie, wine and book pairings!

Favorite books from this month:

Nothing amazing this month, had some solid reads but nothing I’d say was a favorite!

Next Month TBR List:

  • The Drowning Kind by Jennifer McMahon
  • Twin Games in Music City by Jules Bennett
  • Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian
  • How to Train Your Earl by Amelia Grey

I have a good mix of books for this month, which I’m looking forward to. I want to try and fit in a couple backlog books still since I’ve been doing pretty well with that lately. I have some vacation time coming up at the end of April and no where to go so I’m hoping to get a bunch of reading done!

Happy reading everyone!

Girl Scout cookie, wine and book pairings!

It’s that time of year again! I always think of March when I think of girl scout cookies since that is when they usually come in and get delivered to us. This year is a little different since you could get them delivered to your house as early as last month I think, but I still think of the start of spring as Girl Scout cookie season. In that line of thinking I thought it would be fun to do a Girl Scout cookie pairing! And obviously we need to have a book pairing, but I wanted to throw in a wine pairing too just because I’m not able to drink wine right now and I can’t wait to be able to have some again (in a few months).

Cookie: Samoas
Flavor profile: coconut, chocolate, caramel, weird combo but works for some people (does NOT work for me personally, but this tends to be a popular cookie so I’m including it)
Wine pairing: Sauternes, hands down
Book pairing: Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa – this was somewhat of an opposites attract while also having a lot of tension, drama, and sweetness.

Cookie: Do-si-do’s
Flavor profile: classic peanut butter flavor, crunchy, nutty, next best peanut butter cookie (after Tagalongs)
Wine pairing: Lambrusco – it’s a sweet and bubbly red and I think it would be interesting with the do-si-do flavor
Book pairing: Either the Undead series by MaryJanice Davidson or the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole – I like the idea of the cookie and wine pairing with either of these series, it’s a little different but its some great material you can really sink your teeth into (ha)

Cookie: Trefoils
Flavor profile: classic, shortbread, not too sweet, easy to eat, not overly addictive so they last longer on your shelf
Wine pairing: I’d go with Riesling on this one – I’d be interested to try it with both a sweet and a dry Riesling too!
Book pairing: Now You See Her by Linda Howard – staying in the realm of “classics”, this is one of my all-time favorite books and one that I can leave on the shelf and pick up when I need it.

Cookie: Smores cookies
Flavor profile: chocolate, graham cracker, marshmallow, reminiscent of a campfire, sweet, delicious
Wine pairing: I would try these with a port, I’d also be interested to see how it pairs with maybe a buttery Chardonnay
Book pairing: One Night at the Lake by Bethany Chase – mostly because they have campfires outside and it seems like a great book to pair with a smores cookie!

Cookie: Thin Mints
Flavor profile: Minty, refreshing, crispy, thin, chocolatey, not-overpowering, could eat a whole sleeve
Wine pairing: I would try these with either a Moscato or a Zinfandel
Book pairing: Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden – set in Russia, this book really transports you to a magical (and often snowy) world. It was so refreshing and I really enjoyed the whole series.

Cookie: Tagalongs
Flavor profile: Nutty, smooth, creamy, delicious! (these are my favorite!)
Wine pairing: I think this could actually pair with a variety but I’d try it with either a Pinot Noir or a Tawny Port
Book pairing: Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey – She’s a little nutty, he’s a stable cookie that helps support the whole thing, and together they find the perfect balance and are a perfect match! Plus this one was one of my FAVORITE reads from recent times, so it fits that it would pair with my favorite cookie.

I’d love to hear from you readers, what cookie/wine pairings or cookie/book pairings are you tempted to try? Or any other suggestions for good pairings you have?

Happy reading and hope you all get to enjoy some Girl Scout cookies soon!

2021 Monthly Status Update: February

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The months fly by during my traditional “busy season” and here we are already into March. It’s been almost a year now since the world basically turned upside down – and things finally seem to be getting back to normal. People are starting to get the vaccine, things are opening up more again. I expect I’ll still be working from home most of the rest of the year but I kind of like working from home. I’m looking forward to some warmer spring weather in March and getting some home projects done after April 15th! Anyways, here is my progress for reading in February:

Monthly Stats:
# books read this month: 6
# pages read this month: 1,784
# books read year-to-date: 16
# pages read year-to-date: 5,510

Other Posts this month:

February Spotlight: Valentine’s Day

Favorite books from this month:

Nothing amazing this month, had some solid reads but nothing I’d say was a favorite!

Next Month TBR List:

I don’t have any scheduled reads for March. I did this kind of on purpose as March is one of my busiest months for work and I am not sure how much reading I’ll actually be able to get done. I am still planning to read a backlog book and one from my library to keep up with my goals for this year but other than that we’ll see where the month leads me! Happy reading everyone!