Monday, January 22, 2018

All About Love + February's Reading Challenge

Romance. Love. Valentines.

February is the month in which we celebrate the passionate side of life. It's when we're more in tune to those we love and the hints they give out for what will bring them joy. We love to get a little sneaky and plan a few happy surprises for our closest loved ones.

As you may have figured out by some of my previous articles, I am single, which means Valentine's Day is bittersweet for me. Honestly, it's usually just another day on the calendar, another day of work if it doesn't fall on a weekend, and another chance to work on a book or read a book or watch a few movies if it does happen to be on a Saturday or Sunday.

However, I have my own way of celebrating the love I carry within me. This love is for my future husband, wherever and whoever he may be, but it's also a fountain of love for my God. He is my first Love, and it is important to me to remember, celebrate, and apply the love for Him He has given me. He pours His love into my heart so that I may pour it right back into His. It's an exquisite circle of love that I have been exploring more and more in recent months. I plan to delve even deeper into it in the years He may continue to provide for me.

As for how I celebrate this love, I'll let you in on my secrets. The first thing I like to do is soak up some divine love, so I dive into the Word of God, typically reading the very romantic book of Ruth on Valentine's Day. Hers is a story I often go to when I'm feeling "left out" of human love. In her story, I am reminded not only of God's plan to provide my needs and gift me with extra blessings than I expect, but also that His love for me is not hampered by any tragedy or alone-ness I may face, and He tends to the intricate details of my life, including my human love story.

After that, I like to find some chocolate to go with my breakfast. I usually have Kit Kats, Snickers, or Milky Ways around the house (among other candies). And of course, hot chocolate! It doesn't matter what flavor -- as long as it does not involve cinnamon, since I'm highly allergic to that spice. It is my go-to drink especially on Valentine's Day, but even all year round it's scrumptious.

A great book or a movie (sometimes both) is a great thing to add into my Valentine's Day celebration. I particularly like choosing a clean romance when I opt for a book during this romantic day. This year, I may even pull out my copies of Carrie Turansky's Edwardian Brides series, as they are sweet romances with deep story lines and memorable characters. If I go for the movie option, I like romantic comedies on Valentine's Day, such as Leap Year or Letters to Juliet.

How do YOU celebrate Valentine's Day?

What is your favorite Valentine's Day surprise from years past?

How do you celebrate God's love for you?

Whether you're married, dating, or single, the reading challenge we'll be doing in the second month of the year is for you.

February Reading Challenge:

In February, we are featuring those romance books. If the story contains a thread of romance, it counts. So pull out your romance, romantic suspense, romantic thriller, or romantic comedy books and add them to February's reading list.

This month, library books and books purchased in 2018 count. (Remember, they did not count last month, because we were doing the to-be-read challenge, which were books we owned prior to the start of this year.)

Once you read your romance books (remembering to finish them in February and not this final week of January), please come back here and share them with us in the comment section. As always, I'll add a picture and link in the right-hand sidebar for your convenience.

What books with a romance thread are you most excited about this year?

Which authors are your go-to for your romance fix?
(Looking for recommendations!)

Join the conversation!
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The TBR Extravaganza challenge is open through January 31. Share the books you read for it over on this page.


Caitlyn Santi said...

What a great idea, Andrea! As I too am single, I don't usually do anything special on Valentine's Day, but your idea here of spending the day focusing on God's love for each of us totally inspired me! I've already picked some special Valentine's Day Bible reading that I'm really excited about, and I am also starting to think about taking the opportunity to reread/watch some of my favorite romantic books/movies! I wish you a happy Valentine's Day, and thanks so much for the inspiration! :)

Andrea Cox said...

Caitlyn, bless your heart! I am so grateful God has inspired you through my writing. Hearing that makes it worth all the time and effort I pour into this passion God has given me. Thank YOU for sharing your thoughts with me today. I appreciate you! Have a happy Valentine's Day yourself, as you celebrate God's love for you and those folks who hold special places in your life.

Andrea Cox said...

All About Love challenge -- my books:
1. Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke 4 stars 2/7/18
Romantic love, God's love for people, sisterly love, motherly love
2. The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel 4 stars 2/7/18
Romantic love, sisterly love, God's love for people

Hannah Gridley said...

All about love challenge:
1. No Less Days by Amanda Stevens, 4 stars, 2/7/18
romantic love, brotherly love, God's love
2. Hearts Entwined by Witemeyer, Connealy, Jennings, and Jagears, 5 stars, 2/8/18
romantic love stories
3. Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin, 5 stars, 2/12/18
God's love, brotherly love, romantic love

Andrea Cox said...

Well done, Hannah. Sounds like you've found some winners that feature love this month.

Dawn Cox said...

All About Love Challenge:
The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson

Andrea Cox said...

Wonderful work! I'm really looking forward to reading that one sometime. I would say "this year," but you know my reading list: three miles long and growing by the minute.

Andrea Cox said...

3. Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky, 4 stars, 2/12/18
historical romance
4. Falling for the Farmer by Narelle Atkins, 1 star, 2/14/18
contemporary romance
5. Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren, 2 stars, 2/19/18
historical romance
6. The Gift of Twins by Gabrielle Meyer, 1 star, 2/22/18
historical romance
7. Love by the Letter by Melissa Jagears, 3 stars, 2/26/18
historical romance novella

I have one more I'm working on, hoping to finish it no later than 11:59 tomorrow night. Sticking my nose back in it now! :)

Rebekah said...

Okay, now that February is over–Wait! Over? Let me go change my calendar.
Now I'm ready to give you my list. Ready?

1. Marrying Mandy by Melanie D. Snitker
2. My Sister Mike by Amelia Elizabeth Walden
3. Blueberry Summer by Elisabeth Ogilvie
4. Double Date by Rosamond du Jardin
5. Double Feature by Rosamond du Jardin
6. Showboat Summer by Rosamond du Jardin
7. Double Wedding by Rosamond du Jardin
8. Songs in Our Memories by R. A. Rooney
9. Friends and Enemies by Terri Wangard

Well, that was interesting. I read 9 books last month and 9 this month. Will I get 9 for March? I don't know. I'm having a hard time coming up with books that I'm interested in reading that were made into movies. I'll keep thinking though. :)

Andrea Cox said...

Rebekah, you've done so well! Thanks for participating.

Andrea Cox said...

I got my final book last night.

8. The Illusionist's Apprentice by Kristy Cambron, 2/28/18, 4 stars
historical romance/mystery