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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Cline Barton

Summer Reads—Step Out of Your #GenreZone

This summer as I’m writing my third book, my #TBR reading list is stepping way outside my cozy mystery genre box (and in some instances I’m stepping way off the planet into worlds I didn’t even know existed). I’ve been able to see and read clips of the works of so many talented writers on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads, it inspired me to read (and review, please don’t forget to review) books and short stories that are out of my usual comfort/genre zone. Variety is the spice of life, right? By reading books and short stories in other genres, I get exposed to the interactions of characters in good circumstances and bad and downright horrifying, which are very helpful to me as a mystery writer. For this post, I’ll share some of the new #GenreZones I’m entering this summer and why.

genre romance


Who doesn’t love a little romance in your reading? I love the upbeat, feel good love story books where you pretty much know after a bit of turbulence and heartbreak, the hero (or heroine) sweeps in and voila, all is good in the end. These books are a great read for me and keep me in the happy zone–great for trips and poolside reading (IMO—and I love the ones that are made into movies). Romance in another land is another of my favorites—-who doesn’t love those Tuscan and Provence love stories? I keep reading these for the travel experience as well as the love tale. I’ll even be traveling back to my southern roots—you just can’t take the southern girl out of me, even after all these years 🙂 .

I’m also venturing into some period romance stories that don’t necessarily have the upbeat ambiance and endings, but tell of enduring love through hard times and circumstances—-I’ve read some great ones to date and have a few more on my summer #TBR list. These are the romance stories that make your heart ache more than a little for the characters and their circumstances—a different read, but ones I like to read at night when it’s quiet, letting me think, reflect, and absorb, and maybe be just a little sad.

On the Romance+ side, I’ve ventured a bit into the romance erotica zone—enjoying short stories and books that enter the steamier or darker side of romance. Here you see the more desperate side of how humans try and find love in any form when they’re hurting or unsure of what they want. The details are more graphic and explicit, but you as a reader get to feel the pain, strain, and rationale for why a person elects to do what they do. These books aren’t going to be for everyone—but I find their venture into the more unspoken side of romance reveals deep human natures and feelings, and I appreciate and respect that.

genre horror


Horror stories intrigue me (and I know my sugar skulls and blinged out skulls in the pic above may not be horrifying, but they’re what I like). I’m not talking about the mass serial killer type books that slash and gash in full  living blood baths (we see enough of this in real life). I’m reading horror stories and books that take me to scary land with ghosts, demons, and just a hint of insanity. Stories that I read with the lights on—but relish their taking me to the edge of terror. I’ve read some good ones so far and I know for some this is an acquired area of reading. I guess as I’ve grown older I’m a bit more tolerant to terror—I’d rather read about scary houses, pits of doom, psycho characters and even teeth gnashing clowns than some of the real life horrors and terror we see everyday.

I have vampires, zombies, ghosts, and witches coming up in my #TBR list and I’m excited to read these as well. I try and look for the humanity (or inhumanity) actions and feelings of these characters as they traverse their human or not so human lands. These characters give me lots of plot twists and turns and useful insights and I can’t wait to get to them.

genre mindful health spiituality

Mindful Health/Spirituality/Self-Help

Summer is a great time to re-tune and refresh yourself. I always try and work a few of these books in my reads. It’s important for me to take some time to reflect on my spiritual and mental health and make any needed adjustments. I like investing in these books–they’re great to read over and over again, and a great resource whenever you need a mental or spiritual tune-up.

genre christmas

Christmas Anything

I know Christmas isn’t a genre per se, but I can’t help being in love with any book be it mystery, love story, travel, decorating, or cookbook that features Christmas. Even in the middle of summer, I’m ready for Christmas. For me, Christmas is a state of mind, and I’ll take it in any book form.

genre cookbooks


I love collecting cookbooks not only to learn new recipes and cooking techniques, but to experience the culture and food experiences of other lands. For my mystery series, they provide a ton of inspiration as I describe Chef Karl’s delectable meals. I just picked up a new one from my trip to Biltmore House that features sweet and savory recipes using different types of honeys (I am amazed there are so many flavors, who knew?). I’ve also got a list of cocktail books to read through and perhaps experiment with—-my mystery stories need lots of cocktails to help catch the ne’er do wells 🙂 .

So these are just a few of the new genres I’m reading this summer (am going to try and  add Sci Fi, some dragons on Twitter are calling my name). Are you ready to step out of your #GenreZone?

Crowns and Kisses,


P.S. I will be glad to give you a list of any of the books I’m reading–just send me a comment. I am reviewing all the books on Amazon, and I tweet my reviews as well. Gemma would approve 🙂

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