Good-bye August, welcome September!

The end of August is always bittersweet for me. I am both enormously relieved and somewhat sad to see Read-A-Romance Month come to an end.

My wedding anniversary is at the end of July and my birthday is at the beginning of September, sandwiching RARM and making me a little tired when I celebrate those special moments. This year was especially complicated because my family is going through some unexpected difficulties, so juggling family issues, everything I had to do for the month, plus all my regular deadlines as well as some tie-ins has made it a very interesting and busy summer.

And even those things contributed to the bittersweetness of Summer 2016!

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When I was at the RT convention last spring, I had the joy of meeting a number of the reviewers from Scandalicious Book Reviews and they were awesome. (Their site is great. You should check it out!) So in the middle of RARM, site founder Scandie herself contacted me to say she loved RARM and asked if she could do an interview. We talked for three hours (!!!) one Saturday about all the wonderful things we loved about romance novels and the romance community (so much to love!) and Scandie managed to write it up in a fun, relatively succinct — considering the sprawling conversation! — piece you can find here.

At the end of the month, the senior editor of RT Book Reviews asked if I wanted to do a quick overview of August & RARM — umm, yes, please! You can find that here. (Though I think you have to subscribe to their VIP Salon to access it.) However, in looking for that one, I also re-discovered the recap interview that RT did after the first RARM (2013), and I loved it all over again.

Kendrick Thanks so much, RT!

As part of their Romance Novel Awareness Month, Bustle did a lovely shout-out to Read-A-Romance Month, calling the RARM calendar “dreamy” and inviting readers to use it to find their new favorite authors. (And if you haven’t been following the Bustle coverage, I highly recommend it. It’s terrific.)

Thank you again, Bustle.

I also did a tie-in with The Kitchn. Are you familiar with the site? It’s a foodie/lifestyle site I just love. They have a lot of fun and interesting book & cooking coverage, and I was so excited for the opportunity to link up with them for Read-A-Romance Month. I recommended four books:

Debbie Macomber’s Sweet Tomorrows - A shout-out to Debbie’s last book in her uber-popular Rose Harbor Inn series. (with secondary rec’s for Destiny Unleashed by Sherryl Woods, Daughters of the Bride by Susan Mallery, and Riverbend Road by RaeAnne Thayne)

Beth Kendrick’s Once Upon A Wine - I adore author Beth Kendrick’s Black Dog Bay series! (with secondary rec’s for Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen, Just Kiss Me by Rachel Gibson, and Wedding Girl by Stacey Ballis)

 Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci - Rome and a sexy ex-lover - second chance at love? Yum! (with secondary rec’s Close To You: A Fusion Novel by Kristen Proby, Don’t Tempt Me by Lori Foster, and The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon)

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - I know, you’ve heard about this one a lot this summer; what can I say, I love SEP… (with secondary rec’s for Family Tree by Susan Wiggs, Swept Away by Robyn Carr, and Tantalizing in Stilettos by Nana Malone)

RomanFantastic in so many ways!

But the bittersweet part? Maybe you can guess: those graphics. I love the content, but the graphics…

{sigh}

I suppose I should have been a little more pro-active, and asked what they were going to do. I guess I just expected they’d use the books’ covers. (Goodness, the Sweet Tomorrows cover is gorgeous! And my guess is Debbie Macomber isn’t a huge fan of Old School Fabio-inspired art.)

{sigh}

In the end, it just seemed like perfect punctuation for my semi-sweet summer, and in my roller coaster crusade for gaining more respect for romance novels. I have four years’ worth of amazing content as to why romance novels are amazing and worthy of respect, and then I tie-in with a terrific food & lifestyle site I love, and co-create awesome content, and yet kind of cringe at the graphics.

Graphics that are certainly fun and quirky, but also are throw-backs to the kind of representation that typically garners contempt rather than respect.

Ah well.

(You should still read those fun links, and keep up with The Kitchn, especially their cool book coverage. The site is truly yummy. And this great link - A Book, A Snack and a Hammock, But No Phone - hooks up to some of their recent best.)

I think 2016 is a whole bundle of bittersweet for me, for so many reasons. I’m an HEA kind of girl, and I know that even this year will have an HEA ending — I have faith in that — even though it’s been a plot-twist kind of summer and year, with some crazy highs and lows.

But we’ll get there.  And romance novels will help.

#HappyReading #ReadARomance