It’s my one-year anniversary: I’m answering questions and doing an international giveaway!

I have been blogging about something or other for the last fifteen or so years of my life. I’ve been blogging about books since 2013. But, most importantly, today is the one-year anniversary of moving this blog to WordPress! I’m not even exaggerating when I say that it was one of the best decisions of my life.

One year ago, I never would have believed that my little book blog would be nearing 2,000 followers. I never would have believed that I’d have made so many friends. My life is so different than it was one year ago today and I have this website and some of the people I’ve met here to thank.

First things first, I want to say thank you to my followers, both new and old, for supporting me. I honestly never thought that so many people would like and comment on and care about my rambling thoughts on the books I read! To say thank you, I’m doing an international giveaway. The details are at the bottom of the post. ❀

But before we get to that, I was so surprised by the number of questions I got! Every single question made my day so much. Thank you to everyone who asked a question!


SOME FAST FACTS…


Q&A TIME!

from Smudged:

How do you choose the books you read and review? I typically choose books I think will make me feel or think or those that are just a great thriller.

Way back when, I used to download any books that were free for Kindle in the hopes of someday reading them. A lot of those turn into my snarky one- and two-star reviews. These days, I mostly choose books that I’ve seen getting good reviews or that sound really interesting to me. I’ve also been known to pick up a book because it has a great cover.

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from Bibi:

How do you organise your blog posts? Do you have a set number per week? Or do you just go with the flow?

I organize all of my posts in a big planner that I keep next to my bed. I do one post per day and sometimes add in a tag if I have time.

Do you plan your posts ahead of time?

Yes! I plan my posts really far in advance. I usually have an idea of what I’ll be posting about at least a month ahead of time and sometimes even more than that.

Do you ever buddy read? Or do you prefer to read by yourself at your own pace?

I have done a few buddy reads!

⭐ Nevernight by Jay Kristoff | buddy read with Leslie
⭐ Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff | buddy read with Leslie
⭐ The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger | buddy (re-)read with Daniel
⭐ Scythe by Neal Shusterman | buddy read with Kelly

The buddy reads have been a lot of fun, but I feel like I’ve been in an extended slump for the last several months of my life and it’s probably not the ideal time for a buddy read. Sometimes I surprise myself by reading an entire book in a day, and other times it takes me a month to finish something that’s 200 pages. I don’t want my buddy to have to put up with that!

When will you share more pictures of your fur baby?

Right now! ❀ I’ll take any excuse to share pictures of my cat.

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from Jackie Holmes:

Have you ever thought about writing a book? Or would you ever like to? What kind of genre would you consider writing?

So I don’t really consider myself a writer at all. I don’t have trouble with the writing part, but I do have trouble with the idea part. That said, you’ve just reminded me about a project that I hadn’t thought about in a while! If I were ever to write something, it would probably be romance since that’s my favorite. πŸ™‚

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from Laura Beth:

Is there a single book that made you fall in love with reading?

I don’t think there’s one single book, but my grandma used to read me a pile of Golden Books every time she’d babysit me, and I think that has a lot to do with my love of reading. πŸ™‚

How did you get into the world of book reviews?

I’ve been blogging about one thing or another since I was in middle school. I think I even briefly had a book review blog when I was like 13 years old! (I cringe to think about what might be on there… thankfully, I remember absolutely nothing about this brief venture.) My book reviewing really started when I moved from Wisconsin to New Jersey several years ago.

In what some might consider a silly decision, I decided to pack up and move myself halfway across the country to be closer to the guy I was dating at the time. I was 22 and figured that if there was any time in my life to make a decision like that, it was right then, after finishing college and before finding my first “real job.” Honestly, I’m not sure where I’d be in my life right now if I hadn’t made that decision, so I can’t really be too mad at myself about it.

That said, in the process of moving a thousand miles away, I left behind a lot of friends and family that I’d been able to talk to about books. Since I didn’t know anybody (except my then-boyfriend) in New Jersey, I started reading about ten times more books than before, and I just needed somewhere to talk about them! I started my book blog on Tumblr in 2013 and after five years of shouting about books into the void, I moved to WordPress in 2018. The rest is history!

If you could meet three authors, who would you pick, and why?

  • Jenn Bennett, because she just seems so great.
  • Jay Kristoff, because I bet he’s hilarious.
  • R.S. Grey, because I want to ask her how she consistently writes such amazing books.

Do you have a book or novel that you dream of reading?

I dream of someday reading every single book that I’ve bought for myself over the years! I don’t know if I can really get more specific than that since there are so many books that I’m so excited to read.

If you could travel anywhere in the world to spend 48 hours lost in books, where would you go?

One of the most relaxing places I’ve been is Playa Hermosa in Costa Rica. There’s not a ton of stuff to do there other than sit on the beach and relax, so I wouldn’t feel too guilty about “wasting” my vacation.

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from AJ:

If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which book would it be?

I think at one point, I would’ve said The Hating Game, but today I’m really feeling like Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey. I love that book so much and it has so much of what I love in a romance novel! It’s funny, it has great characters, there’s great sexual tension, and it’s just steamy enough without being over-the-top.

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from doubticanpaint:

Do you like taking part in big readathons? What are the main pros and cons with whatever your answer is. xx

You know, I’ve never done a readathon! I think it would be a lot of fun if I had a day off and nothing else to do (like a day where my job closes because of the weather) but I think if I tried to fit it into my normal schedule, I’d just end up stressing myself out.

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from Jordz:

How do you motivate yourself to read when you’re super busy/in a reading slump? πŸ™‚

Great question! In the past, I’ve turned to audiobooks, but lately, graphic novels have been my go-to! They’re usually really quick reads, so I can finish them in one or two sittings even if I’m super busy or if I just don’t feel like reading. Usually I’ll feel like reading something else after successfully completing a few graphic novels.

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from GoodeyReads:

How did you grow your followers/blog?

I think there are two reasons that my blog/followers grew as quickly as they did.

First, I post really consistently. It took me years of trial and error to get to this point, but I think I’ve finally found a system that works for me! I’ve had at least one post a day since I moved to WordPress.

Second, I try really hard to set aside time every day for interaction. (This is often while I’m bored at work.) I read, like, and comment on as many posts I can from blogs I follow. If there’s time left, I try to do the same for blogs I don’t follow!

I really have a hard time believing that my blog has grown as much as it has. In my mind, it’s still a tiny little blog that nobody read!

What made you start blogging?

Expanding on what I said in my answer to Laura Beth’s question, another big reason I started my blog was that I’d won a book in a Goodreads giveaway and I wanted a place to post my review!

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from Susan Crosby:

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the first year?

Honestly, I think my biggest accomplishment has been the connections I’ve made! I really stepped out of my comfort zone to start interacting with other bloggers (and some publishers!) and it’s made all the difference in the world.

What do you see being your biggest accomplishment in year two?

Oh goodness. I guess I’m hoping to continue to build those relationships. I’d like to step out of my comfort zone even more to do some collaborations with other bloggers and maybe get more involved with publishers.

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from Laurel:

Did you know about the book blogging community before you started blogging?

I knew that a book blogging community existed since I followed some book blogs like Perpetual Page Turner and Cuddlebuggery before I started my own blog. I never knew that the book blogging community was this amazing, though, until I moved over to WordPress!

Have you ever second-guessed what you do blog-wise?

Yes, absolutely! I definitely get in moods where I second-guess everything that I’m doing and wonder why I spend so much of my time talking about books on the internet. I also deal with impostor syndrome all the time.

What are your blogging goals?

Like I said in the answer to Susan’s question, I would love to do some collaborations with other bloggers or even authors and publishers. Other goals are just to keep posting at least once per day and interact and blog hop as much as I can.

Do you see yourself blogging when you’re 80? ^_^

Haha, probably! The idea of not blogging anymore makes me kind of sad. Who knows what the blogging world will be like in 2070, though!

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from bibliogyan:

What have you learned in the one year you have been blogging?

I love that you asked this question because I was thinking about including a list of things I’d learned in this post! I’ve learned a ton of things in my first year on WordPress, but here are my top three:

  • Interact as much as you can: I don’t even know how many times I’ve mentioned this in the answers on this post, but I can’t say it enough. Like, comment, participate in tags, just get your name out there. It’ll help you grow your following and it’ll also help you build great relationships.
  • Remember it’s just a hobby: If something about your blog is stressing you out, just take a step back. This is your hobby, not your life. Maybe you’re worried that you’re not putting enough posts out. You’re doing just fine. Maybe you see other bloggers doing these amazing discussion posts and you think, “hey, should I be doing that?” Well, the answer is “only if you feel like it.” Or maybe you’re like me and the sheer amount of notifications you get on your phone is making you anxious. TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS. I swear, it’s one of the best things I’ve done. Blogging should be fun. If it’s turning into a hassle, then something has to change. ❀
  • Pingbacks are so important: Okay, so let me start this by saying that over on Tumblr, where I first started my blog, pingbacks were not a thing. When I moved to WordPress and found the wondrous world of book tags, I wondered why nobody was responding when I tagged them! Turns out I had no idea how pingbacks work. If you want another blogger to see that you’ve tagged them, link to a specific post on their blog (not their main page and not a link from the WP reader) and they’ll get a notification letting them know. Personally, I love seeing pingbacks in my notifications. πŸ™‚

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from Paige:

How do you plan your posts, like the topic, when to post it, etc?

I did a big post about how I plan out my blog posts, but here are the basics:

  • I keep a planner next to my bed where I write down any posts, reviews, Top Ten Tuesdays, etc. that I want to do. I write them on sticky notes so that I can move them around if I need to!
  • I try to write as many blog posts in advance as I can. I think right now I have 22 posts scheduled. I like to have at least one post a day, so if something happens and I don’t get to whatever I had planned, I can really easily take a post that was originally for a later date and post it right away.
  • I’ve experimented a lot with the timing of my blog posts, but I’ve found that I get the most interaction when I post reviews at 7am EST and tags/discussions at 1pm EST.
  • If I get an idea for a post, even if it’s nothing other than a title or just a vague topic, I’ll create a draft so I don’t forget about it.
  • This is only semi-related to your question, but I also email myself anything I’ve been tagged in so I don’t forget about it, and I also email myself posts that I really enjoyed reading to put in the blog hopping section of my Weekly Updates.

How do you do your book reviews (I need tips because I’m struggling so much here)?

For the formatting of my reviews, I use the same standard HTML in all of them. It took me a while to figure out how to do this the easiest way with the new WP editor, but I do a custom HTML block and just end up making a copy of my last review so that I don’t have to find this HTML every time.

<div class="entry-content">
<img class="alignleft" src="IMAGEURL" width="188" height="300" />
<div style="border: none; width: 95%; padding: 1px; text-align: left;"><strong>TITLE BY AUTHOR</strong>
Series: <em>Series #__</em>
Rating: β˜…β˜†
Links: <a href="AMAZONURL">Amazon</a> β€’ <a href="TBDURL">TBD</a> β€’ <a href="GOODREADSURL">Goodreads</a>
Publication Date: DATE
Source: ARC/Purchased/Library</div>
<div style="max-width: 80%; margin: 20px auto; padding: 12px 25px; background-color: #f3f3f3; -webkit-border-radius: 20px; -moz-border-radius: 20px; border-radius: 20px; text-align: justify;">
<p style="margin-top: 5px;">SYNOPSIS</p>
</div>

As for writing the actual reviews, I’m kind of all over the place. Sometimes I write my thoughts on sticky notes as I’m reading. Sometimes I type thoughts into a draft on WP. Sometimes I just read and hope I remember what I thought about everything when I’m done.

& pictures of your fur baby please!

If you insist! πŸ˜‰


FINALLY, THE GIVEAWAY!

As a thank you for all of your support, I’d love to buy you a book! You can click here to go to the Rafflecopter website.

The rules:

  • If you’re under 18, please make sure that you have your parents’ permission to share your mailing address!
  • The giveaway opens on March 19, 2019 and closes on March 31, 2019. I’ll draw the winner on April 1, 2019 and they’ll be notified via email.
  • One follower will win one book of their choice (up to $20 USD) from The Book Depository. The giveaway is open internationally as long as TBD ships to you!

Good luck! ❀


Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

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102 thoughts on “It’s my one-year anniversary: I’m answering questions and doing an international giveaway!

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