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Dec 19, 2012

It's a Wrap! Watch out 2013, here I come!

I recently published my Best of 2012 Picks, and I was starting to go off on a tangent with what I expected from 2013 based on 2012, so I figured I may as well do a new post and go all out insane with it. To wrap it up, 2012 was a good year for me reading wise. I was able to cut down considerably on the review requests as I updated my review policy and made sure potential requesters knew I would not be honoring their requests in the not so shortest/nicest/normal sort of way.

At first, my review policy was worded in that professional blogger politically correct polite way and asked authors to consider if their book really fit in with what I reviewed, but that seemed too much to ask. And then I told them I probably would not respond to their request ever, yet I still got lots of out-of-my-league requests. So then, after a long hard day and seeing some blogger type of drama full force, I got uppity and explained all sorts of crap I'd seen going on in the blogosphere and I basically said I hate you all, so go away.. lol.. and that worked!! No more cold call type of requests cuz I was such a brat.

{maybe I was a good girl...}
This way, I was able to pick and choose from the publicity groups that I knew I would be most interested in at the time. (LitFuse is awesome for Christian historical!) I had started this selective policy in 2011 but it didn't finally take hold until mid 2012 when I posted my ranting review 'policy' where I said you need to pay me to review your book. (Changing my contact page and turning that into another rant was also a great deterrent!). It just got to a point where I started feeling like reviewing books became a headache, a chore, and my life was centered around what book I was 'supposed' to read next. This is not fun, folks. Sounds like a job rather than a hobby, right? And then when you see fellow bloggers getting bashed for their reviews, it just goes beyond the pale for me and my witchy ways come out in defense of the lowly book blogger like me.

Being that lowly book blogger, I published 81 reviews during the calendar year of 2012. I separate out my reviews by sub-genre so that you can easily locate what floats your boat, and I post my rating next to the titles so you can find the true goodies. Find that master list of reviews here.This is linked to that button called Reviews in the top right corner under the header.

I did see that definite increase in Christian Historicals this year as predicted, as I moved away from the standard Tudor fare that used to populate the blog. Even though I did read a few of the Tudor and Wars of the Roses era, I have really had enough of the same old stories and I look forward to 2013 to be able to show me what made me fell in love with historical fiction in the first place. I have signed up for a TBR Pile Challenge for 2013, where I have picked some of the books that have been waiting for me for at least a year. I hope I get to complete that challenge, there are some goodies on that list- like Jean Plaidy, Geraldine Brooks and Daphne DuMaurier!

For 2012, I beat my Goodreads challenge goal of 50 books fairly easy so I increased it to 75 and I recently beat the 75 books goal as well.

Since 2012 isn't over, these numbers are only for mid December but are still a pretty good idea of where I'll end up at the end of the year, and a good comparison from last year to this year.

Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge:

Last year (2011) I had only read 51 books, so I am happy to have surpassed that by a great deal. You can check out my master reviews list to find all the books reviewed per year. And if you are my friend on goodreads you can click the challenge link and check it out directly on Goodreads.

2012: 78 books read, 30,049 pages read
2011: 51 books read, 19,753 pages read

I like looking at the page counts much more than the number of books, especially when there are now so many novellas and more young adult books out there. The page count feature gives me a better gauge of what I've really read, since I know that there are some books I read were right around 300 pages and there was one young adult read in there as well.

For 2013, while also reading various historicals, I am going to spend the first half of the year studying the bible. I hope to conclude it in May 2013, and then go back and re-read my favorite parts, starting with Genesis! So while for 2012 my current bible reading is not reflected in those Goodreads challenge totals above, if I finish that bible in 2013 I'll get to add 2300 pages to the 2013 totals, yeehaw!

And since the version of the bible I am reading is 2300 pages, giving myself a goal of 50 books is enough for 2013. If I happen to find time to increase the challenge by the time summer is over, I will, but I think 50 at this time is enough of a challenge for me. I remember thinking that I would read tons of books by the pool this past summer of 2012, but nope that was a pipe dream and I am reminding myself to not fall for that trap again.

I also want to finish the books that I have not been able to finish this year- Wolf Hall I'm looking at YOU you horrid thing... (I cannot understand why I do not love it as so many others have, but as I said, I am ready to set fire to all things Tudor related and roast marshmallows and have hot chocolate at the same time).

I'll be reading the books on the TBR Challenge Stack, and maybe not quite so many Christian historicals but more of a mix of biblical, Christian historical, American historical, British historical and even some of the more popular literary fiction to get my juices flowing. Titles such as Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan are now on my radar, which in the last four years would not have been there. After loving the young adult genre release titled Code Name Verity, I am learning that just because people have gushed about it doesn't mean I have to ignore it. (But  then I look at Wolf Hall and all the lovers of that book, and I scratch my head). I look forward to 2013 with an open mind and to the changes I foresee in my reading tastes!

Finally, this year I can stop reading every new release that catches my eye, and feed off of my own collection of books that I have been stockpiling for years. I have finally cut the leash to the Must Review On This Date and I will be very selective in the review reads and pick only favorites, so that I force myself to read my own dusty books. My four year blogging anniversary is in a week or so, and that's how long I've been neglecting my books. Out with the NEW and in with the OLD! (Must ignore the blog posts from my fellow bloggers that tout the beautiful covers of new releases).

I also want to read Charles Dickens, where should I begin? I loved the Masterpiece Special on Great Expectations, but I have A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield (which I think I read twenty-plus years ago). On the TBR Pile I chose a book by Gaynor Arnold which is loosely related to Dickens. And you know how Jean Plaidy has other pseudonyms? (who is Jean Plaidy, you ask? Go HERE). She has a Daughters of England series under Philippa Carr that I have ALL twenty of the books.. so who wants to read along with me? I went ahead and put book one on the 2013 TBR Pile list so I know I'll get to it sooner rather than later.

Oh wait... I suck at read alongs, so forget I mentioned it. One thing I learned in 2012 is that I either read ahead of the "group" (using the term loosely) or no one is there to participate (zero comments on my Here Be Dragons discussion posts). And then there was that mysterious case of  the much applauded Wolf Hall which I attempted to read along and it was I who had to give up. And then there was the one where I masterminded a fantastic read along for another much applauded author and they didn't even thank me for all that publicity or my review... I'll stop now ....

NO MORE READ ALONGS... oh, and no more acting like a publicity person for authors, no matter how much I love them or hate them.. No more of this professional book blogger term that I've seen thrown about.. 2013 will be about me, hopefully reading lots from already dead authors (I had to reword this horrible sentence so it didn't sound like I was wishing death on still living authors), and reading what I want, when I want.. and the bible. I look forward to more blog hopping and developing relationships with fellow bloggers if they'll have me, and less critically thinking or politically correct reviews and more just plain old winging it for the love of the book and much less for the hope of being quoted. Don't you hate it when you read reviews and you're like, damn they TOTALLY put that whole sentence in there cuz THAT's the one the agents will want to use as a blurb..

Hats off to a great 2012, and it is with eagerness that I await 2013 as I peruse my personal library of many reads to choose from!
Here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a FANTASTIC Book filled New Year!

*This post was written before the 12/14/2012 Tragedy, as I was really composing most of my thoughts on the Best of 2012 List but decided to create a new home for it and space out my posts.....

Similar to how all of you feel, everything seems so stupid, lame and trivial compared to the grief that is really going on around the country this holiday season. Words cannot express our fears for our children, our future, our country, our livelihoods... Somehow, we will persevere. Somehow. Despite the heavy losses we feel, I still wish the best for everyone's holiday celebrations, perhaps hug everyone a little bit tighter. Forever in our hearts are the victims, and just like 9-11, we will never forget. Blessings and continued prayers to Connecticut.