Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm Two!

So Becky's Book Reviews turns two today. Which is exciting and a bit daunting all at the same time. Daunting only because it makes me contemplative--thinking back on what my expectations and hopes were when I started. Why I started this blog. What I hoped to gain from it. What I needed to put into it. To be honest, on that very first day, in my wildest dreams my audience might have one day--if I was lucky--consisted of a dozen people. And as far as the rest, I just wanted to put my heart and soul into it. Me being me chatting casually but thoughtfully about books.

Of course, as I realized (with some amount of shock) that my blog had an audience...I began to post about myself and my goals. I wrote my review policy. I wrote my post on why I blog. I wrote my 5 W's. And just a few months ago, I updated both with my reflections on blogging. And I'm rather fond of this little post about why I read.

I also began to post more and more (and more). In 2006, I had 130 posts. In 2007, I had 818. And so far this year in 2008, I've got 760. It doesn't really *feel* like I post that often. But I suppose, blogger couldn't lie about that. But if it helps, I do *try* to post only the good stuff, the important stuff. (Of course those terms could be too subjective.)

How much do numbers mean to me? Am I doing a little happy dance when I notice I've had over 175,000 visitors since March 2007? A little. And yes. I'm not a slave to Technorati. I don't get my self-worth from that little authority number. I like knowing that I've got an audience out there somewhere in the world. And truth be told interacting with those readers through comments is one of my favorite things to do. I love comments. I encourage comments. But my reviews are pretty much the same as they've always been. My goals are the same as they've always been. And my habits are pretty similar as well. Mostly. I spend just as much time reading other people's blogs and participating in yahoo groups and such as I do on my own. I love the community aspect of blogging. Blogging does in a way interfere slightly (at times) with the amount of books I can read in a day. But still, I don't think many people would argue that I read too little.

I'm writing about this because I do want to mark the occasion. But I don't want to be too rambling either. This blog isn't me blogging about me, me, me. Really. It isn't. It's about the books most of the time. And that's the important part. The books. The authors. The challenges.

I'd like to thank the readers--especially those that comment--if you've been lurking, I thank you too....but I'd like to encourage you to start chatting :) I'd definitely like to thank the authors and publishers who have been awesome enough to keep me supplied with books this past year. (My floor thanks you too!) And I am also a big fan of the whole challenge community. It's a mutual enabling society for the insane. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Some of the highlights

Year One, Month One:
My first review is New Moon by Stephenie Meyer.
Year One, Month Two:
I introduce the concept of the worst-best book/best-worst book with my review of Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Year One, Month Three:
I review my first Barry Lyga (his first novel) The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. I remember feeling so wonderfully happy when he emailed me soon after!!! My first (I think so anyway) author email.
Year One, Month Four:
My review of Life As We Knew It. I know it's wrong to have favorites probably. But I just love this review. I know it's stupid. But anyway, this is one of my favorite, favorite novels. And I'm so *thrilled* that I've encouraged other bloggers to pick this one up this past year.
Year One, Month Five:
My review of Rash. I know I can't *force* people to read books. But I wish people would trust me on this one and read it. I know so many people who would love it if only they'd give it a go. They don't know what they're missing.
Year One, Month Six:
Favorite book of the month? Simple. Shug.
Year One, Month Seven:
This was a great month. Seriously. But my pick is Home And Other Big Fat Lies. I need to keep this one in mind for the next Wicked Cool Overlooked Books feature.
Year One, Month Eight:
This month it seemed to be all about series. I was introduced to the Sisters Grimm series. And the Bartimaeus trilogy.
Year One, Month Nine:
While maybe not my favorite, favorite read of that month. In Search of Mockingbird is important because it was the first book I'd received from an author for review.
Year One, Month Ten:
This was a giddy-making month. I read many great YA romances including Elizabeth Scott's Bloom which I just adored.
Year One, Month Eleven:
My favorite book this month was without a doubt Miss Spitfire. Little did I know then how awesome Sarah Miller really is. :)
Year One, Month Twelve:
I loved one of my first baby reviewing posts, Peek-a-Zoo. I still see SugarCookie now and then, but he's much too old (almost two) to have sit still (on a lap) and entertain with a book when there is the option of run, go, play. I think it's a different story when it's Grandma (Grandma Pooh) or his mom reading to him.
Year Two, Month One:
This one is fun and very different from my usual. Gallery of Regrettable Food.
Year Two, Month Two:
Dracula was an unexpected wow book for me.
Year Two, Month Three:
A Crooked Kind of Perfect. The only book (in my memory) that I had to reread right then and there because it was just so wonderfully perfect.
Year Two, Month Four:
This walk down memory lane is about more than picking favorite books. I'm choosing this one because it's a lesson in humility. Mostly. How I could go from hating a book to loving a book just like that. True Meaning of Smek Day.
Year Two, Month Five:
This one is for taking chances and being more than pleasantly surprised. Christmas On Deery Street.
Year Two, Month Six:
Because sometimes you just have to do what your mother tells you. Swiss Family Robinson. I'm actually really surprised at how often this one is visited. Oddly enough, in this I'll-read-your-favorite if you'll-read-mine exchange with my mom, she still hasn't read my favorite book, Frankenstein. Just saying :)
Year Two, Month Seven:
The rather controversial Little House on the Prairie review. The controversy isn't necessarily in my review, but in my comments.
Year Two, Month Eight:
Blogging is about the community, and reading books you might not have read otherwise. I, Claudius.
Year Two, Month Nine:
The Three Musketeers. Giving in and rereading favorite books.
Year Two, Month Ten:
Don't Know Where, Don't Know When. About not judging a book by its cover.
Year Two, Month Eleven:
The Underneath. About going to uncomfortable places and learning it's okay.
Year Two, Month Twelve:
Starcross. About not judging series books by the first book alone.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anna 9:22 AM  

Happy 2nd Blog Birthday!!

--Anna (Diary of an Eccentric)

Anonymous,  9:22 AM  

Happy Bloggy-Birthday!

Confuzzled Shannon 11:10 AM  

Happy Anniversary!

Lezlie 11:31 AM  

Congratulations on two years! Here's to many, many more!


Anonymous,  11:56 AM  

Congrats Becky! I don't know how you do it. I wrote you in as the most prolific blogger for the BBAW awards. I don't know how you find time to read and post so much. It sometimes takes me hours to construct a book review and I struggle to get up one post a day. I want to be just like you when I grow up!

Jen Robinson 12:07 PM  

Happy Blog Birthday, Becky (nice alliteration, too). I love that you used this post to celebrate your book reviews.

Ana S. 1:43 PM  

Congratulations, Becky :) May you stick around for many more. Like Natasha, I'm in awe of your ability to read and blog so much!

Josette 1:40 AM  

Congratulations! May you continue reading and blogging more and more!

Anonymous,  7:12 AM  

Congrats. That is quite an accomplishment - I had no idea at the number of posts you have done. Keep it up!

Sarah Miller 9:41 AM  

I wanted to leave you a pretty birthday-cupcake picture, but Blogger won't let me. Phooey on them.

Unknown 12:43 PM  

Congrats on your anniversary! If you do consider my Electronic Book Challenge, PLEASE leave your name, e-mail address and your blog address. I just can't get the hang of Mr Linky. Thanks! Judy

Sharon 1:00 PM  

Happy Birthday...and many more!

Dewey 7:24 PM  

Happy blogiversary!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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