May is nearly over, people! Can you believe it? The second most jam-packed month of the year is almost done. School will be out soon, vacations are being planned, and the weather is finally warming up after the eternal winter we had this year. Can you tell I’m excited?!
I don’t know if you have kids at home or not, but I have three girls all in the throes of tween and teen hormonal chaos. Add in all the family birthdays and Mother’s Day, graduations, baby showers and weddings, field trips and finals…whew! It’s enough to make a girl long for her cozy corner, some coffee, and an invisibility cloak so she can just read until everything settles back down.
Even if that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, you’ve still got all summer to get in some quality reading time. Whether you’re staying home, playing hometown tourist, or gearing up for a big vacation, I have some suggestions for enjoying a nice summer bookcation. It’s the perfect time to change up your reading habits and discover something new.
I’d like to challenge you, dear Inspy Romance reader, to spend some time outside this summer–outside of your comfort zone, that is! There’s a whole bookish world out there, just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Here’s my list of ideas to get you going:
- Pick up a novella. Novellas are often overlooked by serious readers. I’ve heard all the reasons, believe me. But I have to tell you, novellas have come a long way. Most of our Inspy authors here and quite a number of other authors have put out some excellent titles with well-developed characters and storylines. Roughly 20-40,000 words or 75-140 pages, give or take, novellas are perfect for a summer afternoon when you want to finish a book in one sitting without taking all day (or all night!) to do it.
- Try a new trope. What is a trope? It’s that basic story idea that sucks you in every time. Think friends-to-more, second chances, secret baby, or marriage-of-convenience for example. Whatever your reason for avoiding a specific kind (I get it, secret babies are so not my thing), give one a chance this summer! You might just enjoy the frivolity of that handsome undercover billionaire who falls for his old sweetheart again after she shows up in their small town with a kid he never knew about. (I’m totally winking here.)
- Discover a new-to-you author. This should be a no-brainer, but it’s easy to get comfortable with the handful of favorites you usually reach for. And I get it. It’s a scary world out there with a whole lot of unfamiliar names–taking a chance when time and budgets are limited is a risk. But here at Inspy Romance, we’ve got over two dozen authors and I’m sure you haven’t read everyone just yet (we’ve had a lot of new faces come since April, including me!). To find some other good options, check out the many Inspirational or Christian Romance reader groups on social media (like ours HERE).
- Explore a slightly different genre. Clearly, if you’re here, you enjoy contemporary romance. But did you know some of our authors also write historical? Or romantic suspense? Have you considered cozy mysteries? What about exploring young adult fiction? And with that one, if you find a clean, inspirational YA fiction you really enjoyed, please, PLEASE send me a message. I’ve got three readers with a long summer ahead of me and I’d love to recommend books that are *safe* and worthwhile.
- Read in a different format. If you just LOVE paper, give an eBook a chance. If that’s your usual, pick up a paper copy! It’s a little odd at first, getting used to the nuances of a different format, but in doing so you might just re-discover why you fell in love with reading in the first place. Maybe the paper satisfies your nostalgia. Or you’ll find the e-reader makes packing books for your next trip a whole lot lighter (more room for souvenirs!).
- Give Kindle Unlimited a free trial. No one here is officially endorsing KU or receiving a kickback for mentioning it. I discovered it a few years ago and haven’t looked back. Nearly all of my favorite authors have at least one book enrolled. With an internet connection and your device, getting books is easy (up to 10 at a time). It’s not for everyone, but it’s all the perks of a library card with even more choices. And free 30-day trial? Yes, please!
- Revisit your local library. You might practically live there, but I, for one, have trouble getting over to the library during the school year. It’s always a special treat to take the kids and let them choose books or participate in summer activities there while I get to look around, too!
- Make reading a social thing. Join a book club or start one with some girlfriends. Or go on social media and join some avid reader groups. Swap books with a friend, your teenager, or grown child. Even introverts enjoy talking books with other people sometimes.
- Cozy up in a new spot. Yeah, I know. That chair you love is so snuggly and the light is just right. But what about those summer days as a kid, leaned up against a tree? Or next to the pool while the kiddies are watched by a lifeguard? And the backyard sounds pretty nice for a morning retreat, listening to the birdies, right? The world’s a great big place, which means the possibilities are endless. Ah, sigh. I can’t wait!
Have more ideas for enjoying your summer bookcation this year? Comment below! I’d love to hear them, and I’m sure our other readers would, too.
And to help you get started with a new-to-you author, I’d like to offer a free eBook of my latest novel, What Makes a Home. One winner will be chosen at random and announced during the next Sunday edition!