ONE YEAR BLOG BIRTHDAY

NO FREAKING WAY.

NO seriously, y’all know I have no willpower, I just can’t believe I actually stuck to my resolution of keeping this blog for a year. Case in point? my blogiversary was really February 4th so um yeah, commitments and deadlines are not really my thang.

I NEVER keep my resolutions, my diets don’t last longer than 2 days, I can’t close a really good book even if it’s 2am on a work night, and I never push myself to run just one more minute. In fact I haven’t been able to make myself work out since my wedding 1.5 years ago.

Anyways, back on topic. THE BLOG! The blog world! You! I love it all, blogging has been a blast, even though recent 60 hour work weeks have derailed any regular posting (the monthly post numbers on my archives list on the side bar <—— are so sad), I plan to keep it up, sporadically for now and hopefully full swing again in the future. Not putting any deadlines on myself though ;)

I’ve been ruminating on what to cover in this post for a while (*ahem* maybe since my actual blogiversay in February *shameface*) and I knew I wanted to cover three things:

  1. My blog stats
  2. Favorite posts/ annual wrap up
  3. GIVEAWAY *throws celebration confetti* (details at the end, international contestants welcome)

So let’s head backstage, folks *sweeping aside blog curtain* and chat about my stats!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I didn’t set any goals and tried not to have any expectations for blog stats, followers, etc. I knew it would just be a let down if I worried too much about them. Also I don’t really know how to read them. Sorry but the WordPress dashboard, page views v.s. individual visitor, Stat Counter, charts, graphs, # of clicks…etc. etc. etc. all baffle me a little bit.

If I’m reading my Google Reader stats right I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice round number for my followers. When I took this screencap back in February it was at 101, what a perfect number to celebrate a One Year Blog Birthday with over 100 followers! Did I read this right? Is that what this means:


Now it’s at 123 subscribers, so HELLO ALL 123 of you! *big grin and wave!* I don’t think I “know” half of you since I definitely don’t get that many comments, but thanks so much for following me! I don’t know if anyone follows me any other way, through other feeds, or email, or what have you, but I’m sure you’re out there *joking creepy voice* So hi to you too!

I myself subscribe to 67 blogs and am looking to add more! A lot of people, especially my 20-something-bloggers and DC peeps have started posting less so I’d love to add some new ones! Obvi I’m guilty of that myself, and we’re probably all facing some of the same variables: work, going back to school, new serious relationships, growing up in general, and also the shiny-exciting-newness of blogging did wear off a bit for me, maybe it has for others too.

My most read posts are a mix between ones that are most googled, or from other, very popular people linking to me:

– The Numba One most read post also comes with The Most Drama. I woke up one morning to find my inbox filled with new comments to approve and when looking at my dashboard I’d had over FIVE THOUSAND page views. I knew Something Big had happened. And that was skater Rob Dyrdek of MTV’s Rob & Big fame tweeting a link to a post I wrote about his show. Man were some people mad! And I had written the post totally in jest! The sad thing about it all is that I have a huge crush on him, he’s adorable and super funny, I just want to put him in my pocket and pet him.

– My most googled posts are for Michael Grant’s YA fantasy/horror GONE series. I get the most hits on my reviews for the first two books in the series: Gone review and Hunger review. If you check those out you’ll see lots of little teenyboppers still like to comment on them, they’re so cute ;)

– Also everyone just LOVES an emo picture I found for a post in which I was feeling particularly…well…emo! Every week it comes up at the top of the list for most viewed posts, I’m assuming from google image searches.

– I also get a lot of hits from the lovely Jessica of Read React Review from a meme she hosted and linked to me on for our Top 16 Favorite Romances in honor of Kathleen Windsor. I’m really glad people find me through that, since obviously it’s very representative of this blog!

The other main place you can find me online is Twitter and TwitPic. I’m usually on there a few times a day, talking about books, tv, movies, and life in DC. Here are my stats there:

Now I won’t be an ungrateful brat, but it woulda been nice to have a round number of followers (hint hint y’all). Just kidding! But really, I can’t belive I’ve written 2,624 tweets. Especially since I usually get in trouble for it at home, it goes something like this:

Hubby: “Since you’re watching the TV show you want (usually any trashy reality TV show), can I have the computer?”

Moi: “No I’m talking to my friends on twitter about the how scary Franken-Heidi’s new face is and how Bethenny should punch Jill with her huge new ring!”

Hubby: “Well why don’t you give me the computer and then talk to me in person about the show?”

Moi: *distracted typing about how Kenny is way hotter than Wes* “Nice try, but no.”

Hubs: “Ok then, I insist” *serious face*

Moi: *huffy sigh* “Fine!”

And now, moving on to the main stage *closing blog stats backstage curtain* of some of the highlights of my blogging year!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Without a doubt the biggest highlight of the past year in my blogging life was meeting the fabulous people behind the blogs I love, turning internet friends into real life friends! The Event Of The Year was surely attending the Romance Writers of America conference, held right here in my backyard of downtown DC last summer. My wrap up post on the literacy signing the first day covers the tons of books I bought (ok it only felt like tons in my shoulder bag and in my credit card bill but still) and the wonderful authors I met! The second day (recap here) was way more social with a big blogger and author dinner that turned into me staying late for drinks afterwards even though I split my skirt, had work the next day, and I promised hubby I’d be home early.

I met bloggers I’d been following for months from all over, California, Canada, NYC, Jersey, you name it, some of my faves were there, and I met lots of new-to-me bloggers too! I’ve kept in touch with a lot of these ladies, in fact I’m looking forward to spending this coming weekend with Kati of Katidom, Katiebabs, and Smexy Mandi. Can’t wait to see y’all soon!

Outside of the book blogging world the 20-something and DC bloggers were an awesome group to get to know too. Thanks to Super Blogger Lilu we had lots of great get togethers over the past year here in our fair nation’s capital, I don’t even know where to begin to link to for all our happy hours, but trust me, fun times were had and it was great connecting with a bunch of my peers that I never would have met otherwise!

Granted I still HAVE YET to meet another 20something who reads romance novels, but I’m not giving up yet. (Some of them did confess to reading erotica YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE [not that there’s anything wrong with that]) Just having this blog at all is so awesome that I can FINALLY talk to others about my reading obsession, previously it was strictly a solitary hobby for me.

Also this is the first time I’ve ever kept track of my reading, so I was super excited to write my End of Year post and see that I read 156 books last year! Although I also tracked all the bookstores and libraries I find my books here in DC (and I’m very proud of the map I made) I still wish I kept more detailed stats about my reading. I whipped up this book sources list in like 15 minutes in a Word document just from memory for only 6 months worth of books, but for my next annual wrap up  I really hope to have better stats next year in terms of year book was published, genre/sub-genre, etc. (yes it’s dangerous for me to hint there may be another year of lusty blogging in the works, i have NO idea if i’ll keep it up!)

One thing I can put down in writing that I’m 100% sure I’ll stick to is my previous post saying that I will NOT be using an e-reader of any kind any time soon. Still have minus-zero interest, even though I can get into trouble with physical books by accidentally burning them, I’m not ready to give them up anytime soon!

In my personal life I celebrated many milestones, including our one year wedding anniversay, becoming better at dealing with crazy candidates at work, and buying our first home! It’s been a whirlwind and while sometimes I wish I could go back to my low-rent apartment with no responsibilities and just take a nap, at least I can always escape in a good book!

*wiping sweat off brow* Phew y’all! Now you see why it took me so long to write this post? There was a lot I wanted to cover!

For any new Lusty Reader readers I hope I gave you enough links to get a feel for things around this here lusty reading den!

And now for the grand finale *trumpets blare from orchestra pit as stage lights brighten* THE GIVEAWAY!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To enter my blog-birthday giveaway leave a comment on this post before midnight EST Wednesday May 5th stating when you found my blog: today? last month? last year? last minute? No favoritism will be given to those who loved me longer I swear, you’ll just get secret brownie-bloggie-points ;)

One lucky commenter will win a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.com!

 Open to national and international contestants (assuming i can do amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk, amazon.de etc.), winner will be selected in a random drawing and posted on May 6th, I am in no way shape or form affiliated with amazon, no duplicate entries. <otherusualrulesenteredhere>

So THANK YOU ALL for visiting, commenting, finding me through emo image searches, and making it so fun for me to actually have kept up this blog. Trust me there is NO WAY I would have kept doing it without you. Even you lurkers (that i’m assuming i have). Blogging has opened up a whole new world of conversations, friends, technology, and books I never knew were out there, and it’s been a blast so far!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Library Loot: surprising contemporary kick

I don’t like contemporary romance novels. There I said it. I have some weird bias, prejudice, or something so that 90% of contemporary romances do not work for me. I’m missing an enzyme.

Chick lit I’m ok with, but I don’t rush out to buy the next Devil Wears Prada or The Nanny Diaries etc.

On a guess, because I don’t keep detailed stats, looking at my past reading list I’d say I read about 75% historically set books, certainly all the historically set ones tend to be nearer the top of my grading scale. BUT for some reason a week or so ago something clicked in my brain and if I read another word about Hyde Park, pandering to a monarch, anything about Napoleon, Almack’s, kid slippers, or being compromised and forced to marry due to scandal I would just scream! I just got to the point I was totally saturated in historical romance, my pores were overflowing with it. I needed a break.

So check out all my contemporary set library loot, I brought an extra bag to work with me since I knew I’d be getting quite a haul from the library on my lunch break!

1. Too Good to be True, by Kristan Higgins: recommended to me by some of my Twitter friends, I don’t love romance novels set in the first person because I like to see both sides falling in love, what they think of each other, and why they have reservations or go for each other, but I just started reading it and am LOVING it so far. Super, super, super “meet cute.” I LOVE a good meet cute. Grace finds a suspicious person outside her neighbor’s and beans him with her field hockey stick, only to discover he is her new neighbor with a name that is later described as almost orgasm inducing: Callaghan O’Shea.

2. The Girl with the Mermaid Hair, by Delia Ephron: this is a pretty deep YA novel about Sukie, a high school girl with a very superficially perfect family that starts cracking apart, and Sukie starts to crack too. I got goosebumps reading The Booksmuggler’s review, so if a review affected me that much I can’t wait to read the book!

3. The Undomestic Goddess, by Sophie Kinsella: I really liked her first two Shopaholic books (you couldn’t pay me to read the ones after that), and adored Can You Keep a Secret but this was one I hadn’t read yet!

4. Welcome to Temptation, by Jennifer Cruise: I read a few of hers before but was underwhelmed, see! Like I said! For some reason contemporary books that everyone else loves fall into a “m’eh” category for me. But I’m giving her another try now that I’m in a contemporary mindset!

5. The Crowing Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, by Rebecca Wells: this was on the new releases shelf, and although I loved Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood when I read it in 8th grade, but I barely remember it and have no idea if it would still work for me. But I love books set in the south and I had positive association with the author, so why not?

6. Deep Dish, by Mary Kay Andrews: again – set in the south, and again – love the author!

7. Sweet Liar, by Jude Deveraux: this is an old standby, one of the first romance novels I ever read, so this was a “just in case” grab at the library…just in case any of my hopeful new books above didn’t work out I would have this oldie but goodie waiting. Written during and set in the early 90’s uptight Samantha goes to close up her recently passed father’s apartment in NYC, but sexy building owner Mike is determined to coax her out of her shell and solve a 1920’s mobster mystery!

Library loot is a weekly meme hosted by Eva and Marg.

March 2010 lusty reading list

Hey peeps, yes I DO exist! Now don’t faint like little red in that M&M commercial, I’m no Santa, but my existence has similarly been called into question recently.

This will be brief but COME BACK TOMORROW FOR A BIGGER ONE (twss). What with the 60 hour work weeks I haven’t written any posts or commented on any of your blogs but I’ve been working on a few comeback posts in bits and pieces and will be dedicating some time to cleaning out my Google Reader, so look for all that on the flip side.

In the mean time, busy as I’ve been, I at least didn’t slack on the reading front!

March 2010

Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson A (highly recommend, occasionally read more like a news article and there was room for improvement, but one of the best non-fiction books I’ve read in a LONG TIME)

Honor’s Splendour, Julia Garwood A- (really not the greatest book, but the old skool writing and plot line, the extra scenes making it a longer read, and over-the-top-without-apologizing-fot-it alpha hero impervious to pain, cold, hunger etc really tickled my fancy.)

In for a Penny, Rose Lerner A- (pretty much lived up to the hype. I loved this book, but didn’t LOVE love it.)

The Rogue, Celeste Bradley re-read (VERY racy sex scenes, forgot about that, but the love story didn’t quite work as well for me.)

Sunshine, Robin McKinley B- (in terms of unique characters, plot and worldbuilding Sunshine gets an A, but for pacing, plot holes, hanging threads, and narrative style it was a C- for meeting my personal preferences. I was frustrated a lot.)

Heart Of Stone, Jill Marie Landis B- (my full review here)

Suddenly You, Lisa Kleypas C+ (I’m usually a slave for Kleypas historicals, and the premise and first scenes of this book were so amazing, but went downhill from there for me.)

This Heart of Mine, SEP C+ (ew, a few quirks really turned me off. I still love SEP and the book as a whole was fun, but little bits that I can’t share without spoilers squicked me out)

Ashes in the Wind, Kathleen Woodiwiss C- (the romance started way too late for me, the Hero spent the first half of the book married to the Heroines cousin and living in the same house with her whole family!)