Announcements

Exciting announcement!

Good evening folks! I am posting a quick announcement to let you all know that I have been contacted by Cathy over at Kittling: Books to be featured on Scene of the Blog. I will post another announcement when the date gets closer so you can go check out what I have to say and what her blog is all about!!

Announcements

Something I’ve Been Pondering

When I first began this blog back in 2008 I kept seeing all kinds of more professional looking blogs that were receiving wonderful books from publishers/authors/publicists for review. I wanted to be one of those people SO BAD. So I moved my blog over to WordPress thinking that I would be able to set up my blog more to my liking (and I accomplished that).

I finally got my break with my first review book, The Chemist by Janson Mancheski at the start of 2009. Since then I haven’t necessarily been bombarded by offers (I probably receive 1 offer a week), but I have declined way more than I have accepted. I am very particular about what books I take on for review. I accepted a few early on that I really didn’t enjoy. I didn’t want to feel trapped in a book I didn’t like, so what did I do? I became more cautious – I did more research when a book was originally pitched. I gave most of the people who contacted me regularly more detailed likes and dislikes. And I learned that it was okay to say no. That started to work out wonderfully for me, I got some really good books that I really enjoyed, and a lot of them were books that I never would have picked up in a bookstore or library. 

So what happened next? I got burned out. I never accepted/reviewed that many review books. In fact, if you look at my category list, I only have 11 listed, but I know for a fact that I have reviewed more than that, and when I look back at my nearly 500 posts from the past 3 years, I count 22 review books total on this site, with 2 more reviews pending for future blog tours. That’s 24 total books – books that could have come off of my personal shelves. And trust me, if you ever saw the true depth of my TBR shelves … well, those 24 books coming off my shelves might not make a dent, but they couldn’t have hurt anything.

Now I’m starting to get email pitches from people who I honestly wonder if they have even ever see my blog. I have a relatively clearly stated preference list on my blog under “Review Policy”. I am very particular. I have to be – there are too many books out there for me to waste my time reading books I don’t enjoy. So what happens? Now I’m beginning to do something that I never wanted to do – I have been hitting the “delete” button before the “reply” button to people who obviously do not care what my blog focuses on. If it’s someone who I am familiar with from past dealings, I always reply. But if it’s someone who is obviously sending out a mass email without having visited my blog – they’re not getting a response from me. And I hate that. I hate being that person that never replies.

So what does this all add up to? I am seriously considering getting out of the review loop. I don’t like to have to schedule my reading. I want to read what I want when I want. And yeah, I still have most of that freedom seeing as how I’m not taking on too many books. But it’s really starting to lose its appeal to me. I will be completely honest, I don’t have a very big blog; I don’t have a lot of readers. The impact of my reviews are not nearly as impressive as some other more well-established bloggers out there. I almost feel bad for accepting books that I know won’t get the publicity from my blog that they truly deserve. I feel as if I am taking away from another blogger who could do more for the book in the long run as far as pimping it out.

Recently I have noticed that more and more people are kind of stepping away from review books for 3-6 months. I will probably be doing this in the near future. I feel guilty accepting review books. I have a huge supply of books here at the house. I have a pretty much unlimited budget when it comes to purchasing books (even though I’m too cheap to buy books new). I have a grandmother who reads just as voraciously as I do (who does buy books new, though only paperbacks). I have a great local library. I am constantly on PBS. It seems a little silly for me to accept books for review anyway.

I feel a little guilty about having to make this decision. But I honestly feel as if it’s the right move for me. I need to read my books. I need to free up my reading. I need to get back to what I love the most. And if that means giving up something that I wanted so bad in the beginning, then so be it.

Announcements

New Blog Design

So I finally took the plunge. I activated a new design today. Feel free to give me any feedback on what you all think of the new design. I find it to be a lot cleaner. I’m still working on the custom menu options, so those will probably change in the near future. But I’m still trying to get the hang of the new design. Hope you all like it!

Announcements, Book Giveaway, Book Giveaway Winners

Winners of Holiday Giveaway

Well, I didn’t have quite the participation that I had hoped to have had in my holiday giveaway. But, I used random.org and chose the winners.

MOONSWORD won When No One is Watching by Joseph Hayes

CAROL WONG won The Alexandria Letter by George R. Honig

JHS won City in Shadow by Evan Marshall

Congratulations and thank you for participating! I will be contacting each of the winners through email shortly for their addresses. Please come back in the future because I hope to be able to host more giveaways 🙂

Announcements

Yep, I Got One :)

I am pleased to announce that I am the very proud owner of the new Nook Color!!! My parents gave this to me for Christmas and they let me have it early 🙂 Mom got one too, so we have linked our Nooks to the same B&N account so that we can share books without having to use the Lend Me feature. I have already finished one book on my Nook and am working on my second book. I was able to sign up with netgalley.com and I can request e-Books to review from there. I am such a lucky gal. I was on the fence about an e-reader for a really long time, and I was probably a little premature simply because I have GAZILLIONS of books on my TBR shelves. But I’m pleased with my gift and look forward to many, many future hours reading with it 🙂

Announcements, Life

2010 Reading Challenges – Already?!

Seriously, where has this year gone?! It’s like I woke up and it’s November already. I’ve been watching new challenge information come through on my Google Reader as well as through the ANovelChallenge Yahoo group. I can’t believe that its here already. 2008 was my first year doing challenges, and I went a little crazy with them. It got to the point where I was having to choose my books in order to fit certain requirements just to finish challenges. In 2009 I backed off somewhat and managed to sign up only for the challenges that I knew I would have no problem fulfilling (although I’m not going to make 100 books read for the 100+ Reading Challenge that J. Kaye hosts).

So I’ve been thinking about how I want to address 2010. I know that a lot of different bloggers out there have been posting about needing to make some changes in regards to challenges and their reading. I have been considering this a lot lately as well and feel that I need to do some things differently too. I have been receiving some emails about getting more books to review. I have been very selective from the beginning as to what books to even accept for review. So luckily, I only have a backlog of three right now. (And two of them I have had forever and they need to get read, now!) So I don’t feel as if I need to change anything in regards to review books, but it’s really the challenges that are going to need to change. A few months back I kind of “gave up” on my challenges. Not necessarily gave up, but just kind of let myself relax in regards to them so that I could read what I wanted to! Now there’s a shocker in the book blogosphere! So when I begin to think about the 2010 reading challenges that are starting to pop up everywhere, I realize that I’m probably only going to be interested in a select few.

I don’t think that you will see me signing up for a lot of challenges in 2010. And what you do see me sign up for, I think, will be pretty open challenges. By this I mean that I’m not going to be signing up for challenges like the “What’s in a Name” challenge where you have to choose books based on certain criteria (I’m STILL having trouble coming up with a book whose title has a building in it!). You will probably see me gravitating a little more towards challenges that are rather open ended and are more geared towards getting these books off of my shelves. I have an amazing amount of books that I have on my TBR MOUNTAIN! Here in the last few weeks I have been going through my books and really weeding them out. I posted probably 25 books on PBS and Frugal Reader that were from my TBR pile but that just weren’t that interesting to me. And trust me: Life is too short to read bad books! So I will probably want to sign up for challenges more like the 100+ Reading Challenge as well as ones like the Random Reading Challenge and the Read Your Own Books Challenge. Now, the question becomes, will these challenges be hosted again? I really don’t know yet, I haven’t done enough research. I’m pretty sure J. Kaye is hosting 100+ again. And the Random challenge runs into 2010. The RYOB challenge, I could do that one on my own (although it’s not as easy to do I find, lol).

But there are also other things that I am wanting to do with my reading. First of all, I was a history major in college. And I have noticed that since I graduated college in 2007, I really haven’t done much reading in terms of historical books. At first I was simply burned out on history, but now I want to get into history a little bit more. I would like to start reading about the Presidents for one. I have seen perpetual challenges out there where you read a book on every President. That’s something I would like to get into. I also enjoy true crime, I’ve let that fall by the wayside as well. There are just numerous directions that I can go in terms of my reading. But I think that the main thing that I want to get back into (and this is a theme that I have seen on a lot of other blogs as well) the actual spontaneity of reading! I want to just be able to go upstairs and choose a book and not have to worry if it’s going to fulfill a challenge requirement because I need to finish such-and-such challenge before such-and-such date. I want to get back into reading for fun. I have noticed myself slumping something awful this year. Maybe it was because 2008 was such a prolific year for me, maybe it was because of the challenges and their requirements, maybe it was because we bought a house and got a dog. I really don’t know. I probably will never know. But the fact of the matter is that I need to get back into enjoying reading and enjoying what I’m reading.

Another thing that I have been incredibly guilty of this year is suffering through books that I simply hate. Just yesterday I put down a book that I was 43 pages into because I hadn’t paid a bit of attention to it because I simply did not like where it was going. I didn’t want to take half of the month of November to get through that book, which is exactly what I would have done. So I did what I always said I would not do: I put it down. I gave up. I decided it wasn’t worth the effort. If a book doesn’t grab me in at least the first 20 chapters, it probably won’t ever grab me. Why waste my time reading it? Why have to write a mediocre review at best? Why have to suffer through it when I have what seems like a gazillion other books up on my shelves?

2010, for me, is really going to be a year that I get back into reading. I’m going to read what I want, when I want to. I’m going to read what interests me. I’m going to read what entertains me. I’m going to read what spooks me out a little bit. And I’m going to enjoy every bit of it. Will I miss the structure of book challenges? Probably. Will it kill me? Not really; they’ll still be around in 2011 (I hope!). This is just something that I need to do for myself because I really want to get back into the spontaneity and enjoyment of reading.