Small Changes and New Features Coming to the Blog

time for change-graphic

If you’ve come by for a visit over the last few days, you’ll have noticed a slightly different look around here. I’ve done a lot of theme changing in the past year, only to return to one I’ve used in the past. (The “Twenty Sixteen” theme, in case anyone is curious.) The banner got a makeover, which will be tweaked just slightly when I find the time to do it.

In the sidebar, I’ve added a Google Translate widget near the top; near the bottom, I added a copyright notice. I’ve seen one on many blogs, and it seemed like something I ought to have on mine, as well. I’ve refined my categories list (again) which will hopefully make it easier for you all to find what you’re looking for… and if not, you can use the handy-dandy search bar at the top of the sidebar!

The main menu at the top has been condensed a bit. The Meet the Geek (formerly About) menu item now has a sub-menu where you will find Contact and DisclosuresReview Request is now a sub-menu under Review Policy. The final addition is the sub-menu below Blogging Resources… which brings me to the new features I’m adding: Blogging Tips and WordPress.Com Tips!

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One of my favorite things to do, after I’ve learned something, is to share that knowledge with others. I’ve learned a lot in the past year that I think will be useful for other bloggers and wordpress.com users. The Blogging Resources page was a good start, but a single page isn’t nearly enough space to share all the things I’ve learned.

I especially wanted to add wordpress.com tips as a feature, because I gave myself LOTS of headaches looking for sites that specifically talked about wordpress.com. Pretty much everything I found was geared towards wordpress.org, covering things that didn’t apply to me and my specific .com issues, leaving me to learn mostly by trial and error. The help I did find came from awesome Twitter users who didn’t mind taking the time to instruct me on what was wrong, and how to fix it. (And I will be forever grateful for their help!)

The blogging tips will, naturally, be aimed at helping other book bloggers like myself, but there will also be things that any blogger can make use of, as well.

I’m REALLY excited to get started on these new features, and I hope y’all will find the tips useful. Now all I have to do is start writing them!

Looking Back on My First Year of Book Blogging

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It was almost exactly a year ago that I thought about starting a blog… again. I’ve had several blogs over the years. None of them survived past three or four halfhearted posts because I could never decide what  my blog would be about. I’m not a social butterfly, and I live a fairly simple (and boring) life, so writing about myself wasn’t going to gain even a tiny following. So—as far as blogging was concerned—it was a repetitive cycle of starting a blog, making a few unremarkable posts, and deleting the whole thing only to try again (with the same results) later on down the road. So it was no shocker that I felt the urge to try again.

What made this time different is the decision I made, not long after starting this blog, to write reviews of every book I read. It was something I rarely did at the time… I usually just rated them on Goodreads and moved on to a new book. Once I decided to review every book I read, it seemed an easy way to have content for my blog, as well. This was also the last time “reviewing books” and “easy” found themselves together in my thoughts, because if the past year has taught me anything at all, it’s that reviewing books is hard! Worth the time and effort, of course, but still… it’s hard.

I’ve learned a lot in the past year. The wisdom shared by established bloggers in their “how-to” articles guided me, and alerted me to mistakes I was making. They taught me about FTC disclaimers (and why book bloggers had to use them), the dangers of using copyright protected images, and the value of a properly written “About” page. Book bloggers taught me the importance of having a review policy, and introduced me to the wonders of Netgalley. I learned how to use Twitter (mostly) and even set up a Facebook page and Instagram.

The best discovery by far, however, is the book blogging community itself. It’s filled with warm, welcoming people of all ages who have shown time and again how gracious and helpful they are to others. Their collective intelligence, their carefully considered and persuasive reviews, and their enthusiasm for promoting books and authors is a constant source of inspiration for me. I am honored to be among you.

Last, but certainly not least, is the amazing opportunity  of being able to connect with authors directly. Authors are my rock stars, and I will be forever in awe that I’m able to tell them how much I loved their book(s), and that they will respond to me. I have a lifetime of reading behind me, where my fondest wish was to be able to do that very thing… and now I can?! The nerdy little girl that still lives inside me squeals with utter joy every single time I have a chat with an author.

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It’s been a fantastic year, no doubt about it!

To my readers: Y’all ROCK! Thank you so much for being here and reading my blog. Without you, having this blog would not be a fraction as much fun as it has been. I love reading your comments, and nothing makes me happier than hearing my review has made you want to read a book I loved.

To my blogger friends: It’s the best feeling in the world to gush about a book I loved, or am waiting impatiently to read, and hear y’all chiming in with the same amount of enthusiasm. For someone who spent most of my life having no one to chat books with, there are no words to describe how amazing that feels. Thank you for helping me discover new books and authors thanks to your awesome reviews, and for accepting me as one of you.

To the authors: Thank you for the opportunity to read your books and share my thoughts about them. It has been an honor and a privilege to help promote your work. To chat with you on Twitter and/or email is a wonderful experience for me, and I’m truly grateful for every kind word and compliment. It means a lot to me. Truly.

And, of course…

To the people at Netgalley (and the publishers/indie authors who list their books there): Thank you for feeding my reading addiction! It’s been a VERY good year in books for me, and you helped make that possible!

I wonder what the next year will bring?

It’s Time for Change!

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I’ve been unhappy with the name of my blog for a while. When I first thought of it, I liked it a lot, but now… not so much. I gave it some serious thought one day, and realized it didn’t make any sense. Even I don’t know what it means, and I’m the one who named it. Clearly, it was time for change—a name change, to be precise.

I’ve spent the last several weeks trying to figure out what the new name should be.  It had to be something that not only made sense, but also felt like me. Something that would give new visitors to my blog a clear sense of what it’s about, without having to think too hard. (I’m betting that more than one person out there was a bit puzzled by the meaning of ‘Bookish Regards’.)

Late last night, in the wee hours of the morning, I thought of something that fulfilled all three of those requirements—and I love it! 💜

I’ll be working on getting the change started tonight. The easy part is changing the name (that only takes a minute). Notifying authors I’m doing reviews for, changing names on social media, notifying book blogger list websites, working on the new banner… all of these things (and more) are going to take a bit more time. I will not be taking my blog offline during this transition,so please bear with me in the meantime.

If you’re already following my blog, no worries! You’ll still be following me. If you only stop by from time to time and don’t follow me? Now might be a good time to do so, otherwise you may not be able to find me for a while.

The next time I post, it will be under my new name! Stay tuned to see what it is. 😊

Updating Review Policy, Etc.

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I’ve temporarily taken down my Review Policy page. I’m in the process of updating my review policy to better clarify some points, and to make a few additions. This will benefit not only me as a reviewer, but also the authors seeking reviews of their work. Hopefully, it will be back up in a couple of hours.

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Monthly Wrap-Up: September ’16

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September was a whirlwind month for me, and it feels like it was no sooner here, than it was gone.Summer is gone, and autumn arrived with a welcomed respite from the heat. So what did I accomplish in September? otb3I changed the theme of my blog (more than once), and I’m very pleased with the way it looks at the moment. It’s in my nature to change things up regularly, so this isn’t likely to be the last time I do it.

I was recently listed on the Book Review Directory and The Book Blogger List. I wasn’t prepared the flood of requests that poured in! I had to temporarily close requests to give myself a chance to catch up.

Books I Read

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 Did you miss my review? Clicking the cover will take you to it.

Book Haul

Purchases:

Jacques Pepin New Complete Techniques Saving Sophie The House Girl The Memory Box

Click the covers for more info.

With all the books I’m reading from Netgalley, I rarely buy books anymore. Thanks to winning an Amazon gift card from a Facebook group I belong to, I had the perfect excuse to indulge myself a little. I’ve been seeing a lot of buzz from bookbloggers about the three novels listed above, so it was a no-brainer that I HAD to have them.

I’m most excited about getting the Jacques Pépin book, though. After I  started watching his series More Fast Food My Way on PBS, he quickly became my cooking guru, and I’ve wanted this book for a long time. When I found the Kindle edition on Amazon for $1.99, I was thrilled! I still plan to get the hardcover version at some point, but this will do nicely for now.

Netgalley ARCs:

Le Chateau by Sarah Ridout ewwcb_ee 31489055 27419654
30753832 29508185 A Mother's Confession by Kelly Rimmer The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Click the covers for more info.

Review Copies:

Justice Unknown by Patty Richmond A Smile in One Eye: a Tear in the Other by Ralph Webster Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt The Other Side of Courage: The Saga of Elizabeth Blackwell by Robert Nordmeyer

Click the covers for more info.

Blog Tours

 

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Click the covers for more info.

I was delighted to participate in the tour for Simon Laffy’s Seed of Satan at the end of September, and I’m hoping my review persuaded others to read it.

I recently signed up to take part in the blog tour for Leslie DJ’s That Girl. I’m currently reading this book, and enjoying it quite a bit! My stop on the tour is set for Tuesday, October 25th, so stay tuned for my review!

Beyond the Blog

My favorite part about September is summed up nicely here:

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Yeaaaaah, baby! The season seven premier of The Walking Dead is nigh upon us, and it’s been an excruciating wait. I’m deeply invested in all these characters, particularly the Atlanta Five. As badly as I want to know who Negan “Lucille’d”, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be emotionally traumatic to watch it. I’m excited for the show to start up again, but I’m dreading it, as well.

Meanwhile, a couple of my favorites have already begun airing new episodes, and I’ve started watching a new series, as well.

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Blacklist (NBC)

Blindspot

Blindspot (NBC)

Designated Survivor

Blacklist (NBC)

Quantico

Quantico (ABC)

It’s a bit early to say for sure, but Designated Survivor has an excellent shot at being my favorite new series of the year.

I’m also looking forward to watching:

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)

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The Flash (CW)

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Supergirl (CW)

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Supernatural (CW)

 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has already begun, but I keep forgetting to watch it.

Well, that wraps it up for the month of September. Until next time…

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