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Let’s Chat: a Monthly Wrap Up for July
Hello again, friends!
Today I’m introducing a new series to the blog. The Monthly Books and Blog Chat Sesh series will be a wrap up of the books I’ve read and what’s new on the blog and in my life.
You might’ve seen some similar end-of-the-month type posts on other blogs and I’m hoping to make this a regular staple on my blog, so let me know if you’re into it!
And now, here’s my wrap up for July:
Reading Wrap Up
I usually try to read about one book a week, but sometimes I read more or less depending on how the month looks. This month, I read a total of 4 books – two of which were audio-books since I was traveling (and unfortunately, I get massive car sickness so I can’t actually read in the car.)
Related Read: Best Books to Read This Summer
The Siren • Katherine St. John
I actually downloaded this one as an audio book and listened to it on my recent vacation, and going into it, I didn’t really know what to expect (yes, I judged it by the cover – so sue me!)
Billed as a thriller, it’s part suspense, part juicy Hollywood gossip. Both topics interest me, but I honestly felt like the Hollywood gossip part was more intriguing than the thriller part, which felt a little predictable to me.
Of all the books I read this month, this one was my least favorite. I liked the writing style, but the plot felt overly formulaic and unsurprising, so I only gave it 2 1/2 stars.
But, I will say that it was easy to read and entertaining, and if you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll probably really enjoy this one.
Purchase The Siren here
The Family Next Door • Sally Hepworth
I’m a HUGE fan of Sally Hepworth and I’ve read a whole bunch of her books. And, as expected, this one lived up to my expectations.
As with her other reads, there is an element of mystery to this domestic drama, but it goes much deeper than that. Complex issues of marriage, fidelity, family, and morals are brought up in an entertaining and thought provoking way.
Purchase The Family Next Door here
The End of Her • Shari Lapena
Stephanie is a new mother with a seemingly perfect life. But when a stranger shows up claiming to know sordid details about her husband’s past, she starts to question how well she really knows him.
Personally, I love a good female anti-hero! If you’re the same way, definitely check out this book by Shari Lapena.
Like her other books, this one is also a fast-paced read and you’ll probably finish it rather quickly.
Purchase The End of Her here
A Special Place for Women • Laura Hankin
Hands down, the best from my July reads, this is also one of my favorite books so far this year. And Laura Hankin is quickly becoming one of my top authors.
(Read my recent post on the best books to read this summer.)
There’s wealthy women with secrets, an exclusive and mysterious club for the elite, elements of astrology and tarot, and a lot of heart.
If there’s only one book you read from this list, let it be this one.
Purchase A Special Place for Women here
Blogging Wrap Up
This month, I’ve made quite a few changes to the blog – I’ve expanded my niche, added more services, and created a whole host of new freebies!
When I first started blogging, I wanted to write about dating and relationships. But I’ve since realized that there are a myriad of other topics I love and want to talk about on here. So, in late June, I created a new Lifestyle category on the blog.
It seems like my Relationship-based posts get more engagement, but I’m hoping that’s because readers are still getting used to the new addition (as am I.) Personally, I’m really enjoying branching out a little so I’m definitely going to continue.
Lifestyle Blog Posts from July:
☆ Vacation Essentials: The ABC’s of Packing so You Never Forget Anything Important
☆ My New Favorite Amazon Skin Care Essentials
This month, I decided to take a little break from my second blog, The Tarot Bitch, and focus solely on this one. I don’t get as much traffic or interest on that blog, so it sometimes felt meaningless for me to post there.
I’ve actually felt really good about stepping back, so I’ll probably continue this hiatus for the time being.
But, for those who are interested, I do still offer Tarot readings on my Ko-Fi site.
I’ve recently created a new Library of Freebies which is a password protected page for email subscribers.
I’m planning to add new printables all the time, and this month, I added a new 30-Day Self-Love Challenge, Reading Log, Love Language Worksheet, and Vacation Planning Packet to the library.
New Service – Advertising
One of my biggest goals has been to eventually try and monetize my blog. While I don’t expect to get rich or use blogging as my full source of income, I do put a lot of time and energy into it.
So, this month, I started working towards that goal by introducing a new service – Advertising for other bloggers.
Blog Advertising is something I’ve been wanting to do since I first started The Dating Bitch. I was always so hesitant, though, because I wasn’t sure if I had enough clout for anyone to want to advertise with me.
But, I decided to go ahead and add it to my blog anyway – I’m hoping to continue growing and gaining more credibility in the blogging community.
To determine the price, I looked at other blogs, but since my blog is so much newer, I also decided to give a major discount to subscribers. As I’m also trying to grow my email list, I figured this would be a good way to kill 2 birds with one stone.
Finally, as a way of promoting the new service and getting the word out there, I decided to do a Giveaway on Twitter for my first advertiser!
Kayleigh Zara of kayleighzaraa.com is my first advertiser now! She’s a fantastic lifestyle blogger who shares tips on blogging, making money, beauty, fashion, and overall wellness.
Here are a few of her recent posts you should check out:
• Benefits of Hiring an Academic Coach
• 10 Simple Ways to Beat Procrastination Today
• 4 Post-Lockdown Dating Tips You Need
Personal Chat – A Wrap Up of My Month
This month, I was lucky enough to go on three different vacation’s – a huge highlight of my summer.
For our first trip as a couple, John and I went on a weekend getaway to a nearby city. Then, we went out of town to visit some of my relatives. Finally, we took a long, six-day vacation with my parents and little one (and John held his own with my crazy family, so kudos to him!)
But, this month, I also faced a major disappointment.
One of my biggest passions in life is creative writing, and I finally achieved my lifelong goal of writing a novel. It was under consideration with an agent, but they chose to pass. I’m sure some of you out there are thinking that this isn’t such a big deal, but it’s been hard on me. Even though rejection is par for the course in writing, I’m still nursing my wounds, so I’m not quite ready to wrap up that particular let-down with any sort of eloquent life lesson.
Who knows, maybe soon enough I’ll be able to write a whole post on it. For now, though, I’ll continue to push myself and hope for the best going forward.
☆ ☆ ☆
That’s a Wrap!
My biggest takeaway this month has been not to stress as much about blog stats and traffic – I’m going to continue to post what I think readers will be interested in and hope that I can start monetizing, but if not, I’m not going to let it bum me out.
Anyway, thanks so much for reading.
What was your biggest accomplishment this month? Can you relate to my creative disappointment? Let me know in the comments!
Ahh, I cannot believe I missed this! Thanks for the mention. I am very excited that you are doing this series and I look forward to reading more of it.
The books seem interesting. The Family Next Door sounds the most appealing to me and I added it to my reading list just now. I am proud of you for how much your blog has grown lately. You have made some wonderful changes and I can tell you are headed in the right direction! I am happy to hear about your vacation, but I am sorry about the bit with your novel. That is disappointing, although, everything happens for a reason so I am sure there is success in your future. I loved this post, great work!
Of course! I was very inspired by your Coffee Date series!
The Family Next Door was fantastic, if you’re into domestic thrillers it’ll probably be right up your alley. And, yeah, the book thing was disappointing but I’m just going to keep pushing forward.
I haven’t read these or heard of these books before, but the special place for women does sound good and the family next door.Ill defo give these a try. Thank you ♥
Both are fantastic reads! I hope you enjoy!
It sounds like you had a great month aside from the agent rejection. As someone whose been trying to publish a book for years, I know how much it hurts. I got a rejection in October that completely dwindled my love for my book. Definitely take the time you need but I hope you can get back in it 🙂
Thank you! It can be really difficult at times. I took some time to sulk and I’ll be querying again soon.
The Family Next Door and A Special place for women both sound like interesting reads!
I also just expanded a little more into the lifestyle niche. I try to keep it somewhat connected to my other niches like education and beauty, and they tend to do a little better than say a very random lifestyle post. Thanks for sharing!
Yeah, that’s probably true – at least until people get used to the new content
Pretty interesting list! Not sure I would be able to check all of then out but I’m quite interested now! Thanks for bringing this to us, Katie!
Thanks so much!
the girl next door sounds so good! i’m glad you enjoyed it.
The Family Next Door? It was really good – but I love all her books honestly.
I’ve been trying to reach my goal of 2 books a month. I was looking for some books this month so thank you for this list!
Glad to help! Let me know if you end up reading one of these and what you think!
I don’t really know much about lifestyle bloggers, but wouldn’t dating and relationship advice fall under the lifestyle category?
I should really think about offering a subscribers only bonus subscribing at some point, thanks for reminding me
That’s a good point – I think it definitely falls into the Lifestyle category, but that was my sole niche previously and I wanted to shake it up and talk about books and blogging and other interesting topics.
I havent read these books but The Family Next Door looks good!
And congrats on changing things up on your blog. I also have two blogs and it’s so difficult to give them both as much attention without burning out. Best of luck woth your new goal of monetizing your blog!
Ah, thank you! I’ll see how it plays out – I figure it might be nice to have some side money but I’m not going to expect much from it.
ooh these books seem interesting! i’ll have to check those out. i love that you’ve expanded your niche to lifestyle! all your posts are entertaining and i enjoy getting to know you better through these more casual posts.
have you considered making videos pertaining to your tarot readings? that could be something you could do with your second channel or even like reels on IG! …just a thought.
I’ve thought about it, but I haven’t figured out reels yet lol. And I’m not super comfortable in front of the camera anyway – obviously since I stay anonymous ?