Tag Archives: looking back

Coming and Going


Well two days ago I wrote a post about the last year on this blog and what has been popular. Today (which is the actual day of my blogiversary) I want to look at the new things that have happened this year, and what I’m hoping to see happen next year.

I’d love to know if there’s anything you guys have enjoyed this year, anything you’d like to see more of, or even see some of!

So what has happened this year? (In chronological order, most recent last)

  • I’ve started using Amazon Associates on my blog with the idea of getting money together for giveaways, and hopefully for paying for a self-hosted blog. I’ve made a little bit but no really significant amount. If you fancy supporting me through amazon however you can click any link to amazon and anything you buy on there will give me a small percentage of revenue. It doesn’t have to be the thing you click the link for.
  • I got a Kindle! I was still unsure about reading from what is basically a computer, and imagined I would only really use it outside the house but I was quite positive about the idea. In reality? I liked it more than I expected. I find I read faster on it, or at least seem to. It’s easy to carry around- being fairly small and light. I can get cheaper books for it, and lots of (mainly indie author) books are avaliable only as e-books. I still prefer the experience of reading from a paper book. Owning an e-book seems like less of a possession, I don’t treasure it the same. I feel more like I’ve achieved something from seeing all the paper books I’ve read than from looking at a list of kindle titles. Sometimes the formatting can be a bit off on the kindle too.
  • I took part in my first Bloggiesta and got a lot done! I really enjoyed it and am already looking forward to the next one in September.
  • I set up a facebook page as a new way for readers to follow my blog. My twitter is certainly more active but my number of likes is certainly going up too.
  • I’ve changed my banner again, and again, and again. Still not satisfied though.
  • I started using netgalley. Great site for free review books which I can now use easily because of my kindle. This has meant a lot more review books.
  • I started a new feature, Children’s Hour, where I review children’s picture books which I’ve read to the kids at work. This is probably my favourite new thing I’ve done on the blog this year.
  • I joined in with the occasional Top 10 Tuesdays meme. I’m not a big meme fan, I prefer original content and often memes seem like making a post for the sake of it, but I was always quite fond of reading Top Ten Tuesday posts so thought I would have a go at writing some.

So what next…?

  • Another new header. Hopefully one I like this time. I’m looking into getting it done for me because I have next to no knowledge of graphics (if you can recommend someone that would be awesome).
  • I’d like to take part in a read-a-thon although most seem to happen while I’m at work.
  • Hopefully more musing posts, I don’t feel I’ve been posting many recently.
  • More reviews!

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Most Popular Posts


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It’s Blogiversary Time so that’s a great time for looking back, right?

A perfect opportunity to see which the most read posts have been on my blog have been this year.

So without further-ado here are the Top 10 Posts to be read on this blog over the last year. I’ve taken out giveaways and Page posts as these are popular for reasons other than themselves.

1) When God was a Rabbit– This was one of my first ever requested review. It’s a book I really enjoyed and it gets a lot of traffic from search engines.

2) Harry Potter Merchandise– I loved making this post for Harry Potter Week. It’s lots of different Harry Potter related items you can buy- mainly from etsy.

3) About a Boy– I went through a bit of a Nick Hornby phase (set off by the Rory List). This review is interesting because I do a lot of comparison to the film. Usually I write film reviews and compare them to the books, not the other way around.

4) Film Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 2)- Personally I like this post just for the troll comment, however it’s also probably one of my more extensive film reviews.

5) How Winning the Lottery Changed my Life–  I’m not particularly fond of this review, possibly because I was less than impressed by the book. I think it’s the title that gives me the hits.

6) The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts– I’m glad this is a popular post. It’s one of my favourite books, and I’m quite happy with the review too. I imagine a lot of the hits have to do with me giving it away (twice),  naming it as one of the best books I have read since starting this blog and it being my book of the year last year

7) Sputnik Sweetheart– Another favourite author, although this is not my favourite Murakami. No idea why this particular post is popular actually.

8) Half Blood Blues– This is a book which was nominated for a few awards which explains why people could be interested in a review. The post has a couple of pingbacks too which helps. Not my favourite book but the review is quite good I think for a book I wasn’t bowled over by.

9) 50 Shades of Grey and Decency– I think that this is quite a recent post and the only musings post in this top 10 really says something about how people feel about 50 Shades of Grey. I love all the debate on this post too.

10) The Whereabout of Enea’s McNulty– The only reason I could see for this post being popular is because of the popularity of The Secret Scripture which this is a prequel of.

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Looking back, teenage reading


I have been meaning to write this post for a while but I seem to be so busy recently I’ve barely had time to even think about it! If it were a few weeks ago I would have written it at the boyfriend’s house but his computer is broken so I left it.

Anyway on topic. Reading and reviewing Million Dollar Mates the other week got me thinking about the books I read when I was a teenager. I mentioned a little in my review about the other books by the author of Million Dollar Mates, Cathy Hopkins, but really the main reason I liked them at the time was that the main character was called Lucy. I do remember quite vividly a scene with an inflatable bra in one of the stories, but I remember little else about them.

Of course most regular readers of my blog will know about my Harry Potter obsession, and that was a big part of my time as a teenager, but I don’t want to talk about that I want to talk about the books aimed at teenagers which I still remember now.

 

Image from Goodreads

Jacqueline Wilson’s ‘Girls’ series

Jacqueline Wilson was my favourite author for a while while I was in Primary school (about aged 9/10) and I read all her books that were out then. I even remember writing to her and getting a lovely handwritten letter in return. I loved Jacqueline Wilson before it was the norm. The first Girls book, Girls in Love was release in paperback my first year in secondary school (11/12) and seemed a bit more mature for me to read as a teenager. I enjoyed it enough to buy the next, Girls Under Pressure, in hardback (which I rarely buy). And I remember liking Girls Out Late best. By the time Girls in Tears came out I had started reading more adult fiction (I think it was the chick-lit years) but my little sister was reading Jacqueline Wilson and she bought it. I couldn’t quite resist finding out what had happened with my 3 favourite girls, although I remember little of the story now. I must admit there is still a small part of my that wants to be Nadine, but I’m certainly more of an Ellie, and happy with that!

 

 

 

Linda Newberry’s Shouting Wind Trilogy

Image from Goodreads

 

 

This series of books were my favourite for years and years. The first book, The Shouting Wind follows a young woman during the second world war. Kay joins the WAAF and most of the book is focussed around what it was like to be a WAAF girl, although ultimately the book is a coming of age story. The next book, The Cliff Path, follows Abigail, Kay’s daughter and the story of her running away from home with her boyfriend. The third and final book, A Fear of Heights, follows Abigail’s daughter Tamsin as she leaves for university. The trilogy is basically a coming of age tale which follows three generations of the same family, while still keeping up with the generations from previous books. My favourite has always been The Shouting Wind, which is a fantastic story set around WW2, which was the main reason I picked it up. Unfortunately the series now seem to be out of print, it’s a real shame as I never had my own copies (I borrowed them from the library) and would love to own them. I read quite a few other Linda Newberry novels after these but never found anything quite as good, although her adult novel Set in Stone is well worth a read.

Image from goodreads

Ann Brashares’ Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants series

How much did I love the girls in these series. They seemed to be so much that I was and so much I wanted to be all at the same time. As far as teenage issues these are probably a bit less believable than the Girls series, but that’s ok. I enjoyed all the different issues I could get my teeth into. I remember especially liking Tibby, although it probably helped that her storyline was the most moving. This is another series I finished off when I was too old for it and my sister was reading it which got me wondering. I’ve never seen the film but I would be interested in seeing how the adaptation goes.

 

Image from Amazon

Anything by Paula Danziger or Judy Blume

Image from goodreads

 

Need I say more? Both genii when it comes to teenage fiction. Every possible teenage issue covered. When it came to Judy Blume I started off with the Fudge series (which was made into a TV series when I was a child which I loved). I remember especially loving Deenie because there was so much that spoke to me personally, and Tiger Eyes was the first book made me cry. As for Paula Danziger I loved her books with Anne M. Martin, P.S Longer Letter Later and Snail Mail No More. I remember being disappointed when I found out that Anne M. Martin was the author of The Babysitter’s Club which I couldn’t imagine reading at all.I also remember really liking The Pistachio Prescription and It’s an Aardvark Eat Turtle World

While writing this I found out Paula Danziger died in 2004. I don’t know how this passed me by for so long. Can honestly say I am shocked. What a sad loss.

 

Image from Goodreads

Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson Series

These books are what I imagined life as a teenager should be (but mine wasn’t). There was a certain element of me living vicariously by reading them. I must admit Georgia could be very annoying, but I also found the books hilarious so I put up with it. I think these are still being written, at the very least lots of them have come out since I stopped reading them, and even since my sister stopped. One of my overuling memories of this book is talking about ‘It’s okay I’m Wearing Really Big Knickers’ with my best friend and laughing when my Mum came in just as we were saying the title. I’ve never seen the film of this one either but I hear it’s not a good adaptation.

Peter Dickinson’s Eva

Image from amazon

When I talk about my love of books that make me think I always mention this one. It’s the first book I can remember that really made me think. Absolutely fantastic book I would recommend to anyone. When Eva is involved in a horrific accident she is saved by having her brain transplanted into a chimp’s body. Inside Eva is the same but outside is completely different. This novel challenges views on animal rights, and scientific progress. How far would anyone go to save the life of a person they love? I can only find a copy of this on The Book Depository so am unsure if it is still in print or not.

 

Special mentions go to The Teenage Worrier Books, Speak, The Point Teen Books (which I can’t find any information on but I read lots of).

 

Where possible the editions I read have been used as images in this post. The books may be avaliable with different covers.

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Looking Back: Best books of 2009


So my first year of blogging, my first review of the year. Looking back it was a bit of a sloppy couple of posts but still did what I intended, as in talking about my favourite books of the year. I picked two that year, so looking back do I still remember them fondly.

Winner 1: Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult

I don’t think my memory will ever stop loving this book. It’s not just that I love Jod Picoult’s books, although that is part of it, it’s how it connected to me personally. This personal connection means I will never forget this book, and probably never stop loving it.

Winner 2: For One More Day- Mitch Alborn

Err I do not remember this book at all. Only that I enjoyed it! I wasn’t even sure of the title when I needed to write it for this post, despite having read it a few minutes before. Maybe it wasn’t so great after all!

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Looking back: Musings


Again as part of my blogiversary week I wanted to look back at something from my blog. Today I’m going to look at a past musing.

One of my most commented on posts is a post about how the popularity of a book may effect a reader’s perceptions of it.

Well I have a little personal slant to add to it. I don’t want to re-hash old ground seeing as my thoughts are still pretty much the same as they were when I wrote the original post, so you may as well just go back and look at that particular post.

I wanted however to talk about a particular series of books because it is a time when I have been on the outside, or so it would seem. You may have heard of these books The Hunger Games trilogy. They are certainly well known. Lots of bloggers have read them, lots of bloggers have loved them. It’s got to the point where I am cheering to see bloggers saying that they haven’t read them because it means that it is not just me!

Well lets put it blankly. I first heard of these books (may even have been book at that point) before I noticed any big popularity thing going on around them. I can’t honestly say I was interested. Maybe there was something there but the idea just reminded me of Battle Royale, which just makes it a little unoriginal, especially as Battle Royale has such a cult following, it’s not as if it’s a bit of inspiration taken from a generally unknown story. I haven’t read Battle Royale, in case you were wondering. I’ve seen the film (and yes I know as well as anybody that there is rarely any real comparison there), which is pretty horrific in a kind of you don’t want to see but can’t look away sense.

Anyway back to the point. I wasn’t very interested in this book but gradually I was seeing more and more rave reviews of the books, and people who could not wait for the release of Mockingjay.It made me begin to think that possibly I was missing out on something. Maybe it was more that just a calmed version of a gruesome cult classic for a younger generation? So far I have stuck to my guns, but who knows how long. I’m been tempted a few times but not jumped. What if it ends up like Twilight? With a need to keep reading but a hatred of what I was reading?

So there you go, popularity can be seductive. But sometimes it makes you want to resist.

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Looking back: First Review


As part of my blogiversary celebrations I wanted to look back at some of my previous posts and see how my opinions have changed and what memories I have of the books.

I’m going to be starting off by looking at my first review, December by Elizabeth H. Winthrop

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Eleven-year-old Isabelle hasn’t spoken in nine months, and as December begins the situation is getting desperate. Her mother has stopped work to devote herself to her daughter’s care. Four psychiatrists have already given up on her, and her school will not take her back in the New Year. Her parents are frantically trying to understand what has happened so they can help their child, but they cannot escape the thought of darker possibilities. What if Isabelle is damaged beyond their reach? Will she never speak again? Is it their fault? As they spiral around Isabelle’s impenetrable silence, she herself emerges as a bright young girl in need of help yet too terrified to ask for it.

Memories of the book

I remember very little about this book. I remember that it felt similar to the sort of novels Jodi Picoult writes. I can remember not liking it as much as Picoult’s books, but maybe that is just because I discovered Picoult first, it makes Winthrop look unoriginal.

Original review

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a while. I just didn’t feel compeled to read it for some reason. I’m not sure why, it sounded interesting enough.

In the end it reminded me quite a bit of Jodi Picoult books, a similar style. In a way this was good because well I like Jodi Picoult books, but at the same time it made it seem unoriginal. All the same I enjoyed it, in particular I liked Isabelle, and the psychologist in me was really interested in why she wasn’t speaking.

Highlight below for spoiler

In fact the psychologist in me didn’t like that we never found out for sure. I guessed and I think as a reader I was meant to guess but I would have liked to know if my suspicions were right

3.5/5

Thoughts on review.

That was simple wasn’t it?! I think I would still be annoyed about the spoiler thing if I read it again, but I can’t remember my theory now!

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Oh How Far We Have Come!


Today is my blogiversary. Can you believe it? Lucybird’s Book Blog has been going for two whole years! I would not think when I started that thread (which is still there by the way) on The Bookclub Forum over 2 years ago that it would come to this. Never had I imagined the amazing blogs and bloggers I would find, the visitors who would stop by, the authors who would actually give me free books just for my review!

Yes a lot has changed, my reading has gone up, my postings have gone up, my visitor count has gone up, I’ve even joined twitter,  but I think this blog still as the same ideals that I set it up with; to write simple reviews of books I had read which people would enjoy (or at least I hope you all enjoy them). And to write about book related topics which interest me (and hopefully again interest my readers). I’m still proud that I don’t take part in two tons on memes, just The Book Blogger Hop. I still don’t really like memes, they just seem like filler to me, or a way to get people to visit your blog. Not that it’s bad to get people to visit your blog, just it seem a bit like a popularity contest.

What is still to come? Well only the future will really tell, but I have a few plans. I have a reading challenge in the pipeline for the new year, and a possibility of re-launching the Out the Comfort Zone Hop along with it. I have a few little things I want to change (like writing a proper review policy). I’m considering the possibility of setting up a fan page for facebook, as just another way for readers to connect with the blog. I also want to write a sort of blog guide for new visitors.

Watch out over the next week for more Blogiversary posts, including a giveaway with a twist!

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