If you missed it, check out Part 1 here ➔ Happy 8th Birthday, Blog!!! Let’s Reminisce… Part 1
Eight years of book-heaven, and still going strong!!! Here we are, all of my best book buds, laughing, reading, crying together. And we’ve experienced all sorts of stuff, from book-related reactions, to real-life reactions, and your “blog” questions, and blog memories of when you first arrived here, have me reminiscing (and smiling… and even tearing up) BIG time.
Our Facebook crew has been with us for years, too…
Maryse: You guys. YOU. GUYS. OMG. My book blog is going to be 8 years old on February 28th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *thud* EIGHT. YEARS. OLD!!!!!!! *snuggles my blog and all of the books* My blog was almost a leap year baby!!! By ONE day!!!!!
Rebecca: Congrats! You were the first blogger I ever followed!
Sharon: First one for me too. Led there by our lives the BDB! Your posts and recs are fantastic and have mostly let to my full bookshelves and devices!
Natasha: Congratulations, Maryse!!! Thank you for paving the way for so many of us, for your friendship, and for being a true role model in the blogging world. Love you to pieces!!
Maryse: Awwwww!!! I’m just so glad the whole gang of us, all of us bloggers and book-lovers and authors are a whole HUGE book club!!!!
Natasha: Yes we are!!!
Angie: Congrats! You were my first book blog too. I googled what to read after Hopeless and found your list. I read almost everything on the list, too! lol
Sali: This has blown my mind!!! Aaawww now I’m reminiscing about the good old days! All the chats we had on the blog!!!! So many friendships started on your blog.
Tiffany: Congrats!! You were my first book blog also!! Thank you for all your book stuff!
Danette: Wow! Congratulations!.. first (and only) blog I follow and looks like I found you at the beginning!.. follower since July 2008! …I remember well cuz I just bought my first house (a fixer upper) & was trying to recover from my Twilight hangover.. I found your blog with all your great recommendations.. needless to say I didn’t sleep for months!
Jennifer: Congratulations you are the reason I got back into reading many years ago love following your blog.
Christine: Congratulations! That is a great accomplishment! I’ve been following religiously for years. Maybe 6 or so. I can’t remember. Either way, I check in with your blog and fb page 2-3x a week. I always find smart, witty recommendations and a group that is just filled with great people. I don’t think that I have ever seen any grumpy responses, ever. I’m sticking with you and I hope you have many more years!
Ruthie: You are still my one and only! I think I have been with you for 6 yrs. I’m not sure…When did your guy get all your book boyfriends to write you and wish you a Merry Christmas?
Maryse: LOL!!!! I think that was in 2011. Or 2012 at the latest. I shall look it up. HERE IT IS!!!
Teri: I didn’t realize it when I first read this post cuz time flies-but I’ve been following your blog for 7 years! I really didn’t even think about book blogs at the time. I had just quit my job and had a lot of time on my hands so I read a little paperback called New Moon! And got all caught up in the Twilight craze and then a paranormal romance phase. That is how I found your blog. Right after that I moved to South Africa and maryse’s book blog saved me from homesickness and insanity! So thanks!
Penelope Ward: It’s an amazing blog, one I followed from the moment I started reading this genre before I even wrote my first word. Congrats Maryse and thank you for all you do!
Thank you guys SO much. <3 My heart is so full of happiness. I would be thrilled for another 8 years of this awesomeness!!! I love you guys so much and I’m thrilled to have you guys as part of my book-buddy crew. We have so much fun together!
SO I have more fun reader-blog questions to answer!! I had such a blast yesterday answering the, but I’m so darn wordy, that post would have gone on for hours. LOL!!
Q: MichelleS: My question for you is, what’s your favorite book cover ever??? I’m still a sucker for pretty covers.
A. Maryse: Hrmmm… wow that is a hard one. I think I’m going to say Twilight (The Twilight Saga Book 1). So intriguing, so tempting… possibly so sinful. Gah I LOVED it. Such a pure yet enticing image. It says so much. And I love all of the covers in this series (also that ribbon one).
BUT!! There are SO many that I love for various reasons, and I tend to prefer “subtle”. A message conveyed via the cover, enticingly… yet subtly.
There are some that attract me because they seem so deep… as if the story inside will be life-changing (Comfort Food, for example). So much dark emotion. For some reason I’m terribly drawn to both “Tampa: A Novel” (<— I haven’t read it yet, because *gasp* that blurb!!! But OMG that cover is so… *ahem* dirty, but in an innocent way. Tee hee. It’s so overt, without being obnoxious. And yet it is TOTALLY obnoxious. Clever.) and “Hausfrau: A Novel” (<— It’s not my favorite cover, but there’s something about it that kept me staring at it… it up in my TBR list and guess what? I LOVED IT!!).
I LOVE some creepy looking ones because OMG what am I in for?? You know? BUT!!! Subtly creepy. Eerie and intriguing. Like the original version of “You: A Novel“. And for sure, Bad Mommy (again, most of Tarryn Fisher’s book covers appeal to me). They are gorgeous and instill a sense of panic and anticipation in me. Of course I love some that have that perfect cover model, in the perfect pose without too much… er… exposure. Like Dirty Doctor: A Novella. Classy, and yet SO sexy. Just enough to know exactly what he looks like, yet not too much to ruin it for me. Again, subtle but sexy is the keyword here. For hot cover models, though, there was a time these were my favorites: Something Wicked and Night Embrace (<— This one has Paul Marron on the cover, who I spoke of in Part 1 of this Book Blog Birthday feature).
And of course a few “originals” simply due to my sentimental attachment to them. Realizing that I may sound like a broken record here, one of my favorite book covers ever (it attracted me immediately and after reading the blurb I one-clicked it SO hard) was the original “Beautiful Disaster“. I love the new one (it’s beautiful, too), but there was something so bad-ass, and chaotic about that first one.
Q: MichelleS: And is your book husband still Travis? After all these years? Because mine is still Rhage!!! Or Jamie Fraser. Have read so many books, with so many great male leads, but haven’t changed my mind on that.
A. Maryse: Absolutely!!!! Nobody has taken his place yet. Although… Zsadist would be my only other. And in a way, he was my first. It was almost as if Travis (in my head) was the human version of Z. Oh boy. Iif I could be transported into either of their book worlds to “become” the heroine, I would have a TERRIBLE time choosing which. I think it would be impossible to choose. But I think it would be Z. *gasp*!!!! I can’t believe I just said that (but I will say it’s ’cause Z is the ultimate bad-ass of all bad-asses and will live forever so…). Ummm… can I have TWO book husbands?
Q: Fabi: I want to know what you’re genre progression has been over the years. I know you’re blog started as PNR. Did you read read/prefer another genre before that? After PNR, did you go to mostly NA, or to CR indie? I think you a short m/m phase and now you’re really into psych thrillers. So, give us a timeline of the evolution of Maryse’s reading tastes. I know we all read a little if everything, but we tend to prefer one genre for short periods of time. What were your preferences since you started blogging?
A: M: Oh fun question!!! My preferences when I started blogging was Paranormal Romance. Or Urban Fantasy as LONG as there was a love story (even if it took the whole series to finally get there). There was (IS) nothing better than love, for me, and pining for it for a while - even with all the heartbreaking drama and shock moments – is so addicting and makes it so much more worth it!
But my reading history? When I was in my teens, I read mostly horror (Stephen King and Dean Koontz were my favorites) and autobiographies, with the occasional Danielle Steele or Sweet Valley High or Judy Blume book. My weekends were in my room, devouring books, and I read like a fiend. My mom too (so that’s where I get it from – although she was mostly Harlequin romance and Danielle Steele).
As an adult, I stuck with horror but switched to ROCK STAR autobiographies!!! I only read maybe 3 books a year at the most (and it was that way for years). I can’t believe I went from being a book-devouring teen to an occasional reader. *sigh* Although, the occasional Nora Roberts book snuck in (and my very first “fictional” book love was from one of hers. I had NEVER fallen in love, reading a romance book, but this one did me in). It was Born in Ice: The Born In Trilogy #2 and holy moly, HE started my love for brooding, reclusive, no-nonsense jack-asses. LOL!
That’s when I became curious with romance books, but it never really took form until my mom called me one day, demanding I read TWILIGHT IMMEDIATELY! I was hesitant. A teenager series about vampires? No thanks, mom. I won’t. I have nothing in common with that, and I don’t even like vampire horror! And she said… NO MARYSE!!!!! This is romance, and you will fall in LOVE with the vampire, I promise you!!! NOBODY can read this book without falling in love. It’s impossible.
2008. Challenge accepted!!! And so she sent me the series for Christmas and I read them back to back (faster, stronger and harder than ANY book I had ever read before). I had NEVER been so addicted to a story or characters in my life. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I was in a perpetual love fog, and that was it. That was the start. Now all I WANTED were paranormal men. Human men couldn’t hold a candle to these immortal bad-asses that could protect and love you like no other. Sure… it was all a bit too intense and too bossy, and too alpha-male dominating (and sure, in real life, this would be hard to deal with) but in my book life? THIS was all I wanted. EVER. ALWAYS. NON-STOP. I read every single paranormal series I could get my hands on that promised I would fall in love hard.
2009 to 2011 - I think it went like this: Twilight Series (2008), Sookie Stackhouse series, Anita Blake series, Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Dark Hunter series, Vampire Academy, Night Huntress, and so on and so on… (eventually delving into the more super-romance paranormals that were funny, too – like Lynsay Sands and Kerrelyn Sparks).
2011 - Then, my paranormal needs slowed down significantly. It felt as if I was in a different book, but the same dark alley, you know? Over and over again, they all started running into each other, and I had lost that loving feeling. I was so sad. I wasn’t done reading, I was just done reading the same thing. That’s when I came across a free book on Amazon (Backstage Pass) that was about a girl touring with a famous rock band, and falling for one of ‘em. OMG. I LOVED rock stars!!! Surely he’d not be as good as a paranormal hero (stupid mortal boys ) *snort*, but rock stars are larger then life in their own right. God-like. Hard to get, hard to love, and hard to be loved by. I WAS IN!!! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
2011 – 2017 And OMG!!! I caught the love-bug again, and while I wasn’t specific to rock stars, I certainly wanted bad boys that needed nobody, and that everybody wanted. Hard to get, and when they set their sites on the heroine, that SHE was good enough for HIM… holy moly my heart. I was addicted. Brian and then Travis and then Kellan (these three had me almost as HARD in love as I was with Edward, and Zsadist and Eric), and the rest is history.
2016 – 2017… and yes. I’m venturing into different genres now. At times it does feel like a lot of these romance stories are sounding alike… running into each other again. BUT!! That loving feeling is still there, mind you, for some of these epic love stories. The more unique ones. The ones that “go there” but written so well, as if it’s real, detailed just so. LIVING it out instead of rushing it out. There are still plenty of those, and they are still my #1 read-need.
But I can tell I’m needing more. Something else. I’m still searching for that reading adrenaline rush. That breath taking moment. That story that I dream about, all night after I close the book. That book that puts me in that delicious love fog that has me walking around with a dreamy smile on my face. Ahhhh there is NOTHING better than that. That sense of satisfaction and needing to shout to the world from the rooftops that I found our next AWESOME READ, and then wanting to bite everyone’s head off for daring to love (and claim!!!) MY new book boyfriend. MINE!!!! LOL!!!!
And so far, my antidote is to mix it up until I find him again. Read a scary horror that will have my heart racing and my senses on edge. If it has me sleeping with the lights on, that’s fun!! Or read a crazy-psycho love story that makes me so relieved it’s not me. Hey, we can learn from these scary books. Kind of a “how-to” or a “how-NOT-to” cautionary tale. LOL! Or to read a psych-thriller that has me guessing the entire way through, and then pulls the rug right out from underneath me with a so-clever twist. These are SO much fun my friends. And then… apparently I’ve just discovered my love of certain sci-fi/techno-thrillers types. But what makes me happy? Is that I’m enjoying SO many other stories now. I’m branching out. From epic YA LIFE stories, to scary thrillers, to my beloved love stories, I’m at a stage where there’s so much more for me to choose from now that I realize I’m enjoying other genres. The book world is my oyster.
Q: Cristina: Adding on to Fabi’s question regarding genre progression, have you noticed a difference between your 5 star reviews from then until now? To elaborate, is it tougher to get a 5 star review from you now vs. back then? Do you notice any common book themes/characteristics in your 5 star reviews?
A: Maryse: Hrmm… I honestly don’t know, and I’ll tell you why. There were some stories back then that I 5-starred (or gave a high rating for) that I might not 5 star today (but back then, I was SO excited about it). And yet, I see some stories that I 4-starred back then, that I would TOTALLY 5-star today, because it has stayed with me after all of these years, and because I’ve read SO much, it’s almost as if in the grand repertoire of my reading history, I “know” better now because I have so much to compare to.
But you know what? It’s so hard to gauge, because my book-interests change over the years, and when something is fresh, new and exciting, and I can barely put it down, to me that is highly indicative of a 5-star rating from me. Of course I factor in writing and story flow, but much of my rating has to do with a combination of how a book makes me feel on the spot as I’m reading (all the way to the end – most important), and then how I feel when I’ve finish the book. And maybe even how I think back on it, a few days (or even weeks, or years) after. I’ve read some wonderfully written books, with impressive detail and research, that didn’t make me feel much of anything, other than curiosity. I read some as an outsider looking in. And I want to feel as if I’m a part of the story. I’m LIVING it with the characters. I AM the characters. I read to feel good (or bad) as long as it’s entertaining or absorbing. But especially I read to feel. Once I factor in how it made me feel, I can give it an honest rating (and if it made me feel ecstatic, excited, and/or addicted… it’s very likely to be a 5-star read!).
Q: Cristina: I’m curious on how do choose which books to review? Is it random or do you have a system?
A. Maryse: It’s more random than anything. I’d say 80% random and 20% planned (and it’s usually something I really want to read anyway, if I’ve specifically “scheduled it” into my reading week). But no real “system”. I’m a spontaneous reader and blogger (well… mostly, since I do have weekly posts that correspond with a certain day each week). LOL!!! I choose my next read depending on my mood, so that I can enjoy myself every single time I read. I read because I love it, and it entertains me so much, and it’s my “special time” just for me. If it’s a good book and I’m into it, I can live there for a whole day or more! It’s what inspires me to write more “fun” or “I’m SO excited!!!” reviews, and those are my favorite to write.
But if I’m feeling obligated to read something (and occasionally it happens, if I’ve promised to give it a go), but the story isn’t catching me, or I’m just not in the mood for the genre, my heart might not be in it either. Then I’m bummed, instead of excited. Yep. I have to be in the mood for it. However I have been known to specifically read some because it was by an author I love and many are highly anticipating it (so I suppose that’s “mood” also, because I’m always in the mood for my favorite authors).
Q. R: I have one!! I want to know how many books a month you DNF that we never hear about! And do authors always know when you’re reading them or do you just pick something up and then quietly DNF if it doesn’t work?
A. M: Yes. I do DNF books. Life is too short, and there are just SO MANY books that I want to read. How many in a month? At least four. Probably double that. Sometimes it’s just because it’s not what I’m in the mood for, or something that I’m DYING to read has come my way. Mostly, I give it a good “first quarter” of the book read (unless it’s obvious from the start that it’s not for me), and then I either continue, or I move on to something else. And I’ve DNF’d later on, even after the first quarter. *blushes* I try not to let an author know I’m reading their book unless I’m feeling like I’m truly into it. At times they do know, because something has blurb-jolted me, I’ve started it, and well, I occasionally announce it to everyone, so… yeah. But I prefer alleviating stress for everyone and just going crazy for it publicly once I really know.
There will be a FUN FUN FUN part three tomorrow. I answer more questions, + some of our book crew’s very first “comments” here (that they’re dying to re-read, LOL!), some of the funniest moments on the blog (so many!!), and my perfect reading day.
Check out each part of our “8th Birthday Blog Reminiscing + Q& A” trilogy” here: