Romancetagram Real-Talk with @readaholic19

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Tej was in her early twenties when she first picked up her first romance book, and has never looked back. She runs the romancestagram account @readaholic19. When she’s not reading, she’s momming to two young kiddos, working as a pharmacist, or binge-watching Netflix. 

What got you into romance? What made you decide to start a romancestagram account?

I think my love for reading (beyond what was required in class) started in high school when I would pick up thrillers. But I would always look for the romance (and steamy scenes) in them. I had NO IDEA there was a specific genre just for romance lovers until I started undergrad. A co-worker at the job I was working at let me borrow her copy of The Reef by Nora Roberts and I was hooked. I’ve been reading the genre ever since! 

I started my romancestagram after I had been reading ARC’s for a few months. I wanted a place to share my love of books and reviews. I don’t have a lot of friends who read romance, and I wasn’t able to share my recommendations or excitement with them. When I started my bookstagram, I had no idea that there were so many romance loving bookstagrammers too! It’s been so much fun connecting and making friends with other romancestagrammers. 

Not only are you a super-genius pharmacist, but you also have two precious children and seem like a great mother. How do you balance your reading with all of those responsibilities? You also do an incredible job consistently posting, do you plan out your posts ahead of time, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?

Over the years, my reading has definitely changed based on what was going on in my life. For example, in grad school I really didn’t read much at all because I was so overwhelmed with school work. And after I had both of my kids, my reading also slowed down because I was sleep deprived and tired like all the time. So, I think my reading habits change based on what is happening around me at the moment. 

After I had my son, I was fortunate enough to stay at home and work part time when the need fit my schedule. So, I really posted whenever I felt like it and didn’t really schedule my posts at all. I’ve recently gone back to work full time and I find that I have no time during the day to take pictures and write posts, so now I try to do as much as possible during the weekends when I have time to devote to my bookstagram posts. 

You review a great mix of both historical romances and contemporaries on your page. If you had to pick a top three for each subgenre, what would they be and why?

Such a tough question!!!!! 

Historical:

Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah Maclean. I feel like no one writes better angst than Sara MacLean and I absolutely LOVED this book. It was my first from her, but definitely not my last. 

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. My first ever Lisa Kleypas was actually Devil in Spring and then I went back and read the Wallflower series. I kind of hated St Vincent and wasn’t even sure I would like his book. Oh, how I was wrong. This was my favorite book in the series and I loved it so so much! 

The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare. I had never read a Tessa Dare book until I started the Girl Meets Duke series, but I love her style of writing. She incorporates the perfect amount of sweet, sexy, and funny and I loved this book in the series so much! The witty banter was just so much fun!

Contemporary:

The Deal by Elle Kennedy. This book was my foray into New Adult romance and I was hesitant to pick it up but I loved it so much! Fake dating, hockey romance, and super sweet and sexy scenes – yes please! 

It Happened One Wedding by Julie James. This whole series (FBI/US Attorney) by Julie James is amazing, but this book was just perfect. I have re-read it so many times and never get tired of it. Hero and heroine meet and immediately hate each other then find out that they’re going to be best man and best woman in the same wedding! Lots of funny shenanigans, but also sweet and sexy moments too.

Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen. I discovered Sarina Bowen last year and just can’t get enough of her books! Brooklynaire is the sweetest friends-to-lovers romance (in a fictional hockey universe) and I loved it so much. I’ve read it and listened to it on audio as well. Definitely a favorite re-read.

What is your review process like? Do you review every book you read or do you prefer to only review the ones you like?

I never reviewed books, until I started following authors on bookstagram/Facebook a few years ago. When authors implore you to leave a review, even if it’s just a few sentences, you start to listen to them. I’ve been on GoodReads since 2011 I think, but I started leaving reviews probably in 2017ish for books I was reading. Then when I started my NetGalley account, I started to leave more elaborate reviews and it really helped me become a better writer because of that. Last year (2019) I literally left a review for every single book that I read!

I typically like to write my review as soon as I read my current book because all of the thoughts are still fresh in my mind. After I review on GoodReads I will go back and follow up on sites like: Amazon, B&N, BookBub as well my blog Readaholic Book Reviews and Instagram/Twitter. 

What has been your favorite part of running a bookstagram? Least favorite and/or pet-peeves? 

My favorite part has been the amazing connections to other bookstagrammers that I have made. It’s amazing how many sweet and caring people there are on this platform. I can honestly say that anytime I have been going through something in my life, whether it’s been something insignificant or something major, my bookstagram friends have always been there for me! 

Least favorite: people bashing a certain genre (like romance) or authors because they didn’t like a certain book. There are respectful ways of saying you didn’t like the current book that you were reading instead of tagging the author and telling them how much you hated their book. In the same way, there’s no need for you to say “I typically hate romance, but this book was so good!” That’s still basically saying you hate romance, but there was this one particular book that you liked. 

You also run a blog! How do you compare blogging to romancestagram? Are there aspects you like about one of the other?

Blogging is very different compared to romancestagram in my opinion. I like that I can be more creative with what I put out there on my blog and there’s no limit to my word count or what content I put up. But at the same time, I don’t necessarily get as much traffic on my blog as I do on romancestagram.

The hardest thing about running a blog was to get it running! There’s so many ways that you can customize it and it was a bit overwhelming when I first started it. It took me a good month of slowly working on it, until I decided to publish it. 

What is your biggest piece of advice for people starting off their own pages?

My biggest advice is that if you’re even thinking about it – go for it! It’s so rewarding when you finally have your blog up! It’s just such a fun way to be creative. I’m still learning on how to manage it and how to get my audience to go view my blog posts, but it’s been a lot of fun. And if for some reason your romancestagram account is gone tomorrow, at least you can still fall back on your blog! 

YOU CAN ONLY PICK ONE *evil laughter* Who/what is your:

Favorite author: Helena Hunting

Favorite heroine: Dr Garrett Gibson from Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Favorite hero: Joshua from The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Favorite trope: enemies-to-lovers

What releases are you most looking forward to this year? What has been your favorite book of 2020 thus far?

I’m excited for a few releases in 2020 including:

A Secret for a Secret by Helena Hunting

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

The Bride Bet by Tessa Dare

The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez

My favorite read of 2020 was Stay by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen (although it was an older release). 

What does the romance genre mean to you?

For me it’s always been a way to escape and get away from the real world for a minute. As the genre has progressed, I’ve come to love the value of a strong woman and great female friendships. It shows me that as women, we have to be strong and confident and stand up for one another. I’ve also loved how the genre has evolved and there are more diverse romances. Whether that’s m/m, m/f, f/f or romances feature multi-cultural characters in them – I love where the genre is going! 

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