Nov 21, 2014

Posted by in Miscellaneous | 53 Comments

One of the Toughtest Decisions I Have Ever Made (a.k.a. Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks’ Final Week)

Thank-YouYes, you read correctly. I am retiring my blog.

Next Friday will be the last time I post something on Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks. It may seem like a bit of a surprise for you guys but, to tell you the truth, this is a decision I have been struggling with for the better part of a year. I KNOW this is the best decision for me, my health, my sanity and my family.

But that doesn’t mean that the decision to retire my blog was an easy one.

In fact, just last week, I received an email telling me how much the sender enjoyed my blog. She went on to say that she discovered so many new and wonderful authors through my and Anne’s reviews. I am lucky enough to receive letters like that on a regular basis and letters like THAT kept me going and made blogging worthwhile. But letters like that are also what turned this decision into such a heart wrenching one.

Why am I retiring the blog? It has just become too much. I run a daycare and the kids (two 1 year olds and 2 three year olds) need my full-time attention. I no longer have time to ‘sneak a read’ while they are here as this particular group (and my last one) seem to require more attention). Also, my own children are now 6 and 9 and they too require more of mommy’s attention – something I am happy to give but find myself struggling to find. I am also responsible for my local Girl Guide Spark unit (for girls aged 5 and 6) and that takes up tons of my time…but I adore it. Blogging used to be what I did for me but lately I feel like Sparks is what I do for me, even though it also involves a group of young and energetic girls. My weekends are swamped. My evenings are swamped. I am finding I no longer have the reading time or the writing or editing time I once had. Reading has now gone from something I look forward to doing to something I feel stressed that I’m not doing enough because ‘this review is due such and such a day and I haven’t even started the book yet!’. And I hate that. Reading is meant to be enjoyed.

On top of that, I feel my blog has not been looked after as well as I like over the last year. I don’t have time to reply to all my comments anymore and that really frustrates me. You take the time to comment, the least I should be able to do it respond. But I blink and it’s two hours past and I blink again and it’s supper time. Days blur by and time just keeps getting away from me.

I started noticing that my reading time diminished considerably over a year ago but kept hoping it would get better. I mean, I didn’t even successfully finish my Goodreads reading challenge that I set out for myself last year! A solution I decided to try was to bring someone on to help with the reading and reviewing load would help. That’s where Anne comes in.

Anne has truly been a lifesaver. She’s been with Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks for just over a year now. She is the sweetest person you could ever meet and her love of reading and all things books is infectious and genuine. She helped keep me sane this past year and without her, I don’t know what I would have done.

But it turns out that even having a super-reader helper wasn’t enough. If I can’t read enough and if I have to struggle to find time to edit and write posts, even an amazing woman sending me great reviews won’t fix things.

I started Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks in May of 2010. I don’t think you can ever fully understand what blogging has meant to me. Before blogging, I was a wife and mother. I didn’t do much for myself at all and I had actually lost who I was as a person. Blogging and reading reminded me that everyone NEEDS something that is THEIRS and everyone deserves to have time for themselves – mothers and wives included.

I think that is why it was so hard to make this decision. I just needed to remind myself that even though I will not be blogging, nothing else will go away. I will still read – I’ll just won’t get books ahead of time and I’ll do it at my own pace and enjoy it even more. I will still be me…just without a blog. I will be able to focus my efforts where they are most needed without feeling as though I am letting you, my amazing readers, down.

I’ve finally come to the full realization that I am not losing the books or the readers or the authors by retiring. You all will still be there to chat. Authors will still be there too. And reading will always be there and so will the ‘me’ time they provide me.

I will not be gone completely though. I will still be on Goodreads with reviews there (just not as many) and I will still keep my Facebook page active. I hope to be able to talk books and book related stuff there, share some images that made me giggle and share book news as I learn it. I will also be on twitter – hopefully a bit more than I am now but that’s iffy. So you see, I am not disappearing, I am just not going to be here at the blog.

Words cannot express my gratitude to all of you. Every author I have had the honor of reading or dealing with, every blogger and every reader. I am a better person for having ‘met’ you and I will never forget this time with you all.

As a Thank You for following and supporting me over the past four and a half years, I am offering one final kick ass giveaway. Below is the collage from Goodreads of all of my favorite books. Okay, most of them. I notice that some are not there but the series is represented and that’s good enough for me. I will give any five of these books to two winners. As long as the book is available via The Book Depository and it ships to your country, you may enter. If you want an eBook that is not available at BD, let me know and I’ll see what I can do πŸ™‚Β  To enter, just leave a comment before Friday, November 28th 2014 11:59pm EST. So look at my favorites, pick five books from that list (or at least from the series, and yes, you can mix and match) and write your picks in your comment. I will contact the winners by next Sunday.

Thanks again for everything. Enjoy this final week on the blog. xoxo

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  1. JULIE!!! I know how hard it was for you to make this decision, I also know you been considering for a long time, but you are doing the right thing. You have a lot in your plate; you are a superwoman and as I told you many times, I really don’t know how you find the time to do everything you do.
    We met thanks to your blog and that’s something I’ll be always be grateful for. You are an awesome woman and I’m honored to be your friend. I’m sure we will continue talking about books and I’m also sure you will enjoy reading more because you won’t have the pressure you have been having lately. Reading should be something we enjoy, not a chore.
    You know where to find me and I’ll be always be here for you.
    Many hugs!!

  2. Oh dear.

    Well, I am glad you explained, because if you hadn’t I’d have thought my (maybe too candid) comment on your earlier post about erotic tropes had driven you off the net. πŸ˜‰

    And while you might miss doing YMKAC, you certainly won’t lack for things to fill your precious 24/7s. I often wish that I had made different choices when my family was younger and I was trying to do too much. It’s rough to wonder years later how doing things differently might have worked out.

    So, thanks for the great site, with its heart, its laughs, its great tips and insight. Best wishes for you and your family, and always try to leave time to read!

  3. Christine Maria Rose says:

    I only discovered your blog this year (like many other blogs) and I’ve enjoyed it very much. Thanks for all your hard work! I started doing book reviews this year, but I never started a blog and I know I don’t have time for one – I work full time and have 2 young children as well. It’s enough to keep up with reading and reviewing as it is! Wishing you all the best, and looking forward to keeping in touch on social media πŸ™‚

  4. Oh Julie… I can only imagine how tough this has been for you. I have enjoyed your blog over the past four years and will miss it greatly. I had noticed the less frequent posts and that you stopped commenting over the past year, but I always hoped you’d be back again.

    With that said, you are what makes your blog such a joy and I hope that I will continue to see you on Twitter (since I don’t frequent FB all that often). You have been a wonderful online friend, and I so enjoyed hanging out with you and Marcela in NOLA.

    Keep doing what brings you joy and in time, you’ll find your way back to reading and such. xo

  5. Sorry to see you go but I understand. I’ve been on the fence about continuing too.

    As kids get older they need more of your time and family should come first.

    I’ll still stalk you on Goodreads and Twitter.

  6. That truly was a difficult decision, but I’m glad that you’ve found a way to balance your needs and wants in a fashion that best suits who you are now. I had similar issues when I was a writer/review/gamer and I finally realized that something had to give.

    Thank you for all you’ve done before and thank you for letting us know where you’re going. So many blogs just drop off the face of the internet without word or warning.

    Looking over at your collage, it seems that we share a lot of likes, so I’m pretty excited to look up the authors I hadn’t encountered before to see if I’d like them.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear that. I understand completely. I’ll still stalk you on Goodreads.

  8. Oh I am so going to miss you!! You were the first blogger I found on twitter!! Thank you so much for all the great reviews! Being a mom and wife I sure know where you are coming from. Maybe someday you can begin again, like when the kids leave home lol I’m going to miss you!!

  9. I’m definitely going to miss your blog! But I do understand why you are closing it down. Good luck in the future! and thank you for the final giveaway!

  10. I understand…. i will miss you dearly as i really love your blog and i did discover so much thanks to you … i regret i have not commented as much as i would have wanted ( even if i know it would not have changed things)… thankfully i can still follow you on goodreads ( because i ‘m not on facebook) as i trust your opinion even even if it’s a few review a year i will be happy to read your opinion

    Perhaps when the children gets older you will feel like coming back… we will see becaus eit’s not teh priority now just never forget that you are appreciated even far away and that you are more than a mother yes you a fabulous an wonderful caring person!

    thank you for all these years, all theses posts made with care and love. thank you for everything

    You gave me so many favourites along teh years that i least now i can say that i did read a few of them^^ so the choice was a little easier^^

    Hell bent by Devon monk
    Murder of Crows
    Written in Red
    Along come a spider by Kate Serine
    Archangel’s Legion ( that one i will perhaps exchange to another in the series i’m not sure but it will be one by nalini singh for sure)

    I wish you all teh best Julie

    thank you

  11. Oh no, I’m so sad to see this! You definitely need a break with all those kids, though! Good luck with everything!

  12. Oh no, not you too Julie :/
    Though I totally support it, blogging does take a lot of time and effort.
    But still so sad to see you go πŸ™

    I will miss your blog!

    ( Magic Breaks, Night Broken, Seventh Grave, Generation V, Any Shalvis book really)

  13. Northwoman says:

    This was the first blog I started reading when I stopped reading mystery exclusively. I wanted to read everything you did. Thanks so much for sharing this last year with me. Of course, we will still be in touch! Anne

  14. Julie…im sorry to see u go but blogging takes a huge amount of time so i can totally understand!

    thank u for all ur great blogs…and ur hubbies! and thanks for getting me addicted to Mousehunt! πŸ˜‰

  15. Totally understand how you feel Julie! I stopped doing my blog for many of the same reasons as you. It was fun while it lasted but I just couldn’t keep it up. Hope to still see you around Twitter.

  16. I love your blog and I’ll miss you. I totally understand how things change. Change is probably the only constant.

    How long will you keep this site live? Or will you delete this?

    Kate Serine books, Magic Breaks, Anne Bishop books

  17. Don’t ever apologize or feel guilty for putting yourself and your family first. While I totally love your blog and look forward to each new post, I won’t begrudge your want and need to live in the now of the real world πŸ™‚ Do what brings you joy and don’t look back! Best of luck to you and I only wish you the best. Thanks for all of the hard work and fun and awesome author spotlights. The time and effort you’ve put into this blog has been much appreciated and noticed, I hope you know!!!

  18. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that you are shutting down, but it’s understandable. A blog is just so much work. Also, I can totally see how it could take the enjoyment out of reading. One reason I’ve never started one myself is that I never want to feel like I’m “forced” to read a particular book at a particular time – I have my book club for that LOL.

    I could always count on your blog for a fun review, a thought provoking question, or just for some giggles. We seem to have pretty similar tastes, so I always enjoyed seeing what you were reading. Best wishes for the future. I’ll miss you!

  19. I’m going to miss your posts, especially those that showcased your sense of humour and gave me a laugh. Yours was one of the first blogs I started following – thank you for four years of reviews news and laughs and enjoy your new me time.

    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

    Night Broken, Magic Breaks, Hunted, Shattered, Third Grave Dead Ahead

  20. I am sorry to see you go. I will miss reading your posts and reviews. I started helping a friend run her blog while she went back to school and found out how time consuming it really is, so I understand your decision.
    All the best to you and thanks for the last giveaway.

    Ilona Andrews:
    Magic Breaks
    Magic Rises
    Magic Bleeds
    Magic Slays
    City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

  21. Julie…I totally get it. I don’t have any kids and it’s hard for me to keep up with my blog. I’m sorry to see you retire your blog but I’ll keep up with you thru Goodreads. Good luck and I hope that not doing the blog makes things easier and frees up more of your time for you and your family.

    Lover Reborn, Lover At Last, The King, Gunmetal Magic and Up From The Grave.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway. πŸ™‚

  22. NOOOOOOO!

    But seriously, I can’t blame you. I can’t imagine doing what you do, and I’m single with no kids!

    Thanks for all the years of great reviews and much amusement. Yours has been one of my favorite book blogs.

    Thea Harrison
    -Night’s Honor

    Kate Serine
    -The Better to See You
    -Along Came a Spider
    -Ever After

    Kelly Meding
    -Requiem for the Dead

  23. I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve enjoyed your blog and will miss it, especially your questions of the week. But we all need to take time for ourselves. Take care and good luck!

  24. Thanks for all of the great reviews, quirks and silly stuff. We’ll miss your posts, but life comes first. There are so many temptting books on your list, but I’d go with Devon Monk’s Hell Bent and Stone Cold, ML Brennan’s Generation V, and Sierra Dean’s Something Secret and A Bloody Good Secret. Thanks for the great giveaway and all the best!

  25. While I completely understand the reasons, I’m going to miss you and your blog. I actually have one of your reviews–Dweller on the Threshold–printed and pinned to the wall by my desk. It’s there with a couple of others and they remind me that no matter how hard this business is or how many bad reviews I do get, there are readers who had a blast with my work. That is priceless. πŸ™‚

  26. If I needed proof that your blog was one of the ones I connected with most, it was looking over your books and realizing that there were barely 5 that I didn’t already have! I have it sent to my work email (if only they knew:) so it was a frequent bright spot at the beginning of the day. Good luck and enjoy the kids. And the books!

    Written in Red
    Generation V
    Binding the Shadows
    Cold Hard Secret
    Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

  27. HI Julie, I don’t often comment, I’m more of a silent appreciative blog follower but let me say that it has been a real pleasure following your blog the past couple years. I completely understand your decision, life evolves and us along with it. I ran a guide or Scout unit for 12 years until my eldest was 1 and I couldn’t manage it with a job as well so I take my hat off to you. Now it’s all I can do to juggle job, 3 kids and fitting in my much appreciated reading time! Good luck with what your future brings and a very big thank you.

    My book picks would be ones I haven’t yet read but mean to! They are Written in Red, Grim Shadows, Generation V, Three Days to Dead and Hounded.

  28. Before blogging, I was a wife and mother. I didn’t do much for myself at all and I had actually lost who I was as a person. Blogging and reading reminded me that everyone NEEDS something that is THEIRS and everyone deserves to have time for themselves – mothers and wives included.

    <– THIS. Totally this.

    Your reasons are almost identical to why I quit my blog. I just couldn't keep up and it was affecting my home life. I was lucky in that Parajunkee was looking for a romance reviewer and now I'm still blogging but it's just one book a week, and I don't have to keep up with all the 'housekeeping' required to run a blog.

    I'm sorry to see you go, but I'm glad you found something else that makes you happy. It was nice to (briefly) meet you while you were here in NOLA.

    (Fifth Grave, Sixth Grave, Seventh Grave, Chasing Magic, and Uncharted)

  29. Barbara Elness says:

    So sorry to see your blog go, but I understand what a huge job keeping it up has been. Thanks for all of the good times, and hope to see you around the internet. πŸ˜€
    My picks would be: Magic Breaks, Tainted Blood, Shattered, Requiem for the Dead, Hell Bent.

  30. I’ll definitely sad to see the end of the blog, but I understand you need to do what’s best for you! Thanks for always having such wonderful reviews and hilarious posts. You’ll be missed!

    (banishing the dark, binding the shadows, a murder of crows, written in red, some girls bite)

  31. Dear Julie, Though I am sorry that the blog will no longer be updated, I am hoping that you will leave it up as there are a number of books that I still want to read and your recommendations have been really helpful to me. Thank you for doing the giveaway and I hope that one day you’ll be in a place to write for a blog even if it is not your own. The books that are on your list that I would like to read (really all of them!) include City of Glass, Head Rush, Pitch Perfect, Another Kind of Dead and Sweet as Sin.

  32. Sad to see the end of your blog, I always enjoy getting your posts in my inbox. Wishing you all the best at finding new balance in your life!

    Against the Dawn-Amanda Bonilla
    And from Jenn Bennett:
    Binding the Shadows
    Banishing the Dark
    Summoning the Night
    Grim Shadows

  33. Julie!!
    Aw, I feel kind of like we grew up together in the book world, and you know I’ve loved your blog, and your unique voice, and the spirit of fun you have added to the community. Also, your support of my books meant the world to me.

    Good for you for seeing your way clear to go forward like this, though. This seems like a smart decision, one made from the gut, and what fun it will be for you to spend more time with your kids and read whatever book you want whenever you please! I’ll look forward to seeing you around all the usual places.

  34. Readsalot81 says:

    Hey Julie,

    I wish you all the best and would like to thank you so much for contributing to our community w/ your blog. I’ve been delighted to read your reviews and realize we share a lot of the same favorites ;

    I can understand how much blogging can feel like work when you’ve got a million other things on your plate, but you’ve done a remarkable job for the past 4 years.

    I certainly hope to see you on GR and Twitter because I’ll definitely give you a poke πŸ˜‰

    Thanks again for everything! Take care of yourself!

    (my picks would be the Secret books by Sierra Dean or ML Brennan)

  35. Oh Julie, so sorry to hear that. On the other hand I SO understand you. Things have changed in my life as well in the past year, and I neglected blogging. I keep hoping I’ll find a healthy balance between a very busy real life, relationship and blogging, but so far my reading has been quasi non-existent.

    I am sad to see your blog end, it feels as we started and grew up together as bloggers, but I hope to see you on Twitter/Goodreads πŸ™‚

    Take care and be happy!!! πŸ™‚

    ps. I think I’d choose the Nora Roberts quartet and Jill Shalvis series, I have read some books in those series and loved them! And I think maybe with such heartwarming romances I could get back into reading during the holiday season. πŸ™‚

  36. Marie-Claude says:

    I’m going to miss your blog a lot !!!!

    -Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep
    -Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
    -First Grave On The Right by Darynda Jones
    -Unholly Ghost by Stacia Kane
    -Shaedes of Grey by Amanda Bonilla

  37. Julie! Dude! I’m so bummed to hear this, but I totally understand. Honestly, I can’t for the life of me fathom how you’ve juggled everything all these years. You’ve made the rest of us look like slackers! But seriously, thank you so much for your wit and charm and all your support of not only my books, but ALL books. Now I’m going to double check that I’m stalking you on Goodreads and Facebook, because a life without Julie is not acceptable. *gigantic smooshy bear hug*

  38. It really sucks that you have to call it quits, but I think you made the right decision. 5+ days a week for 4.5 years is a great accomplishment, and you should be super proud! There comes a point in every blogger’s life where they need to move on, and whenever blogging starts to feel like a job, something needs to give. You’re one of the people who helped get me into this hobby, and I can’t thank you enough for that. Best of luck with your future endeavors! I will miss your posts, but we’ll still chat lots on Twitter & Facebook. πŸ™‚

  39. Oh, I’ll be sorry to see you go, I’ve always enjoyed your reviews and posts, but your decision is completely understandable. Thank you for all the great recommendations and take care!

    (Iron Night, Tainted Blood, Binding the Shadows, Banishing the Dark, Summoning the Night)

  40. Thank you all SO much for your kind words. You guys are making me cry! lol To answer your question, no the blog will not vanish. It will still be up so you can still come back to ‘reference’ it. There just won’t be any new material posted.

  41. I, like everyone else, am disappointed, but I completely understand. It is one of the reasons I never wanted to start blogging was that I was afraid I would have less time to enjoy reading.

    But I have really loved your blog ever since I found it and the style with which you write. It was also really nice having a Canadian Blogger to follow (yay Canada!), there have been quite a few series that I have discovered through your recommendations. I as well had read many of the ones you listed above.

    One of those series would be the Secret McQueen one. I read the first 2 books from the library and absolutely loved them, but they don’t have any of the others in the series, so those would be the 5 I would be interested in.

    – Sierra Dean :1) Deep Dark Secret 2) Keeping Secret 3) Grave Secret 4) Secret Unleashed 5) Cold Hard Secret

  42. Oh Julie, your blog had been one of my favorite places on the internet since I first discovered it. I have it as my very first browser shortcut, right at the top of my Internet Explorer, to be checked several times a week. That being said, I completely understand your decision, and admire you for making it. You said it best:

    β€œBlogging and reading reminded me that everyone NEEDS something that is THEIRS and everyone deserves to have time for themselves – mothers and wives included.”

    This is something you decided to do for yourself back in 2010, and your decision to end it is just as completely yours. You are claiming you own happiness, by putting aside something that may have become more of a chore and less of a joy. Writing reviews and maintaining a blog is a lot of work. More so than I ever expected, and I was just posting reviews on Goodreads. I stopped writing reviews almost a year ago, because it started to feel like more of a job than something I did for fun.

    As adults, I swear life just keeps getting more and more hectic. The makes our personal time precious. What you choose to fill those stolen moments with should be something that is amazingly fun for you, something life affirming, and relaxing. And that β€œlife affirming” pursuit might change over the years. I know this decision wasn’t easy for you, but I am proud of you for making it.

    I truly wish you nothing buy joy and all happiness in this life, and I look forward to seeing more of you on other social networking sites. : )

  43. Amy Medeiros says:

    I’m sorry to see you go but I totally understand and wish you nothing but the best.

    1. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
    2. Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper
    3. First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
    4. Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep
    5. Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep

  44. been a follower for about 18 months now and will miss the blog, but reading should be fun. That’s why I’ve never started a blog despite my reading addiction.

    Also, I’m a lazy person, and all your daily/weekly activities made me tired just reading them.

    No books for me. I’ve already worked my way through your favorites list (90% anyway, haven’t read ALL your romance novels)

  45. We’ll miss you julie . All the best in IRL life ^_^

  46. I usually only came over when linked as I don’t read much Romance, but I do read some of the same UF as you. Hate to see a good blogger go, but would hate even more to see one hang on when it isn’t working.

    Were I to win I would love Generation V, Iron Night, and Tainted Blood from Brennen. Also the first Stacia Kane and Gunmetal Magic.

  47. I’m so sorry for this I understand this pressure to read even I don’t have a blog,it’s like I have a obligation to someone to say if the book was good or no! I hope you can find time to do what you like!

    1- Fire Study – Maria V Snyder
    2- Summoning The Night – Jenn Bennett
    3/4 – Murder of Crowns and Written in Red by Anne Bishop
    5- Against The Dawn by Amanda Bonilla

  48. I’m sorry to hear that you have to give it up, but blogging should be fun and not stressful. I’m glad you’ve made this hard decision to concentrate on what’s really important.

    Such great books! I think I’d pick:
    Generation V
    Iron Night
    City of Glass
    Hounded
    Poison Study

  49. Julie, I don’t usually comment but I loved your blog. I thought of a million things to say but really it came down to was THANK YOU! . I wish all the best.

  50. Thank you. I really enjoyed your blog.

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