Tuesday 19 March 2019

Tenth Bloggerversary: What Blogging Means to Me, My Favourite Book from Each Year!

Tenth Bloggerversary: What Blogging Means to Me, My Favourite Book from Each Year & Giveaway!

Ad: Titles with an asterisk (*) were gifted to me by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Today is my 10th Bloggerverary! I can't believe it's been a whole ten years! I just wanted to take a moment to talk about how much blogging means to me.

I'm the kind of person, who - when it comes to hobbies and interests - flits from thing to shiny new thing. I'm kind of a creative person, but I do lose interest quite if the creating takes too long, or if I'm not automatically brilliant at it. I've tried my hand at painting, drawing, sewing, mail art, handmade cards, handmade jewellery... When it comes to interests, I can easily become distracted by something else. In the past year I have researched into mermaids, witch hunts, the Tudors. I have bought books, written lists of books to buy, and bookmarked articles. And then I'll come across something else that interests me, and the previous thing will be all but forgotten.

So the fact that I've been book blogging for ten years may seem kind of surprising. To commit so many hours, days, weeks, months, years to something when I normally lose interest quite quickly is quite an achievement. But the difference with blogging is that it's never the same, there's always something new. New and different books to read and review. New authors. New favourites. New bookish things to talk about (though if you told me a few years back that I would end up managing to come up with quite a few discussion posts, I would have laughed at you - I used to find it so hard). New blogs to read. New friends. It might take a few hours to write a format a post, but the writing never gets boring for me, I simply adore it. Blogging never gets old.

And while Once Upon a Bookcase is still a relatively small blog for someone who has been blogging for ten years, it's not something I've ever seriously considered giving up. I could have no readers at all, and I would still be blogging. It brings me so much joy, the reading and the raving and the writing. Though saying that, while I couldn't imagine my life without blogging, nor could I imagine it without all of you guys. So thank you to every blog reader, to everyone I have ever interacted with - reader, blogger, author, publicist - and the YA community as a whole for making being a blogger such an amazing experience.

When you've been blogging for ten years, it can be a little difficult to think about what to write about to celebrate, especially when you've covered all the major hits in the past - How Blogging Has Changed Me, How Blogging Has Changed My Reading, Reasons I Love to Blog, and I answered my own questions in Questions to Ask Book Bloggers - so a huge thank you to Cait Marie of Functionally Fictional, who answered my call out on Twitter for something that I could write about to celebrate. I'm going to share with you my favourite book from each of the past ten years of blogging.


Halfway to the Grave by Jeanine FrostHalfway to the Grave by Jeanine Frost

Flirting with the Grave...
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father - the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner - are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.
From Goodreads.

Halfway to the Grave is the first in the Night Huntress series, and it is incredible! So much action! Such clever plots! One of my first urban fantasy reads, and I absolutely love this series!


A Little Wanting Song by Cath CrowleyA Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

A summer of friendship, romance, and songs in major chords. . .

CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she's good at it. But she only sings when she's alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus's Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie's mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she's visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She's got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she's not entirely unspectacular.

ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie's grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can't wait to leave their small country town. And she's figured out a way: she's won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose's ticket out.

Told in alternating voices and filled with music, friendship, and romance, Charlie and Rose's "little wanting song" is about the kind of longing that begins as a heavy ache but ultimately makes us feel hopeful and wonderfully alive.
From Goodreads.

This was my first Cath Crowley novel, and it was simply gorgeous. Heart breaking, but completely beautiful, and deeply moving. The writing is stunning, as is Crowley's trademark. To be honest, it's been so long that I don't remember too much about the story, accept how it left me feeling: that it was so, so beautiful, and I needed more of Crowley's writing.


Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini TaylorDaughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor*

"Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came."

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
From Goodreads.

2011 was the best and most agonising reading year! I got to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone months before other bloggers, because I was on work experience at Hodder & Stoughton at the time. So it meant I had to wait months before I could talk to anyone about how amazing this book was. The world building, the characters, the story, and, mate, the writing! It was just incredible! It took just this one book, and now I'll read anything Taylor writes.


Storm by Brigid KemmererStorm by Brigid Kemmerer

Earth, Fire, Air, Water – they have more power than you dream.

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys—all the ones she doesn't want. Then she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water—just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death.

And now that she knows the truth, so is Becca.

Secrets are hard to keep when your life’s at stake. When Hunter, the mysterious new kid around school, turns up with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time, Becca thinks she can trust him. But then Hunter goes head-to-head with Chris, and Becca wonders who’s hiding the most dangerous truth of all.

The storm is coming . . .
From Goodreads.

The first book in the incredible Elementals series, this book is so good! Elemental powers, a group of brothers who felt so real, romance with major chemistry, danger and excitement! Mate, I loved these books! And I love Chris. And his brothers. I definitely need to reread these books. They just don't do YA urban fantasy like this any more.


All Our Yesterdays by Cristin TerrillAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill*

Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn't happened yet.

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture - being kept apart, overhearing each other's anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There's no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It's from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that's about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future.
From Goodreads.

Mate, this was an absolutely incredible time-travel novel! So clever and so exciting! I was sitting on the edge of my seat while reading. Just such a wonderful novel! Even though it's sci-fi, it felt so much like an urban fantasy. I do miss that genre.


Only Ever Yours by Louise O'NeillOnly Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill*

Freida and Isabel have been best friends their whole lives.

Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions—wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative—life as a concubine—is too horrible to contemplate.

But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty—her only asset—in peril.

And then, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future—even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known...
From Goodreads.

This book was such a massive game changer for me. This is the book that made me a feminist. It really opened my eyes to the patriarchal world we live in. It changed my life, and I think I'm a much better person for it.


Fool's Assassin by Robin HobbFool's Assassin by Robin Hobb

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.

But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more…

On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone of a man, a wolf and a fool. Once, these three were inseparable friends: Fitz, Nighteyes and the Fool. But one is long dead, and one long-missing.

Then one Winterfest night a messenger arrives to seek out Fitz, but mysteriously disappears, leaving nothing but a blood-trail. What was the message? Who was the sender? And what has happened to the messenger?

Suddenly Fitz's violent old life erupts into the peace of his new world, and nothing and no one is safe.
From Goodreads.

Aah, the first book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, the last trilogy set in the Realm of the Elderlings world. Back with Fitz and the Fool! I love these characters and I love these stories, and it was just so amazing to have a brand new story with these guys. Though also upsetting thinking it might be the beginning of the end of stories set in this world.


The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi HeiligThe Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig*

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.
From Goodreads.

Mate, I absolutely loved this book! It was so, so good! Time-travel and adventure, a diverse cast, a complicated storyline. Oh my god, it was just amazing! And Heilig is now one of my most favourite authors!


Naondel by Maria TurtschaninoffNaondel by Maria Turtschaninoff*

In the opulent palace of Ohaddin, women have one purpose - to obey. Some were brought here as girls, captured and enslaved; some as servants; some as wives. All of them must do what the Master tells them, for he wields a deadly and secret power. But the women have powers too. One is a healer. One can control dreams. One is a warrior. One can see everything that is coming. In their golden prison, the women wait. They plan. They write down their stories. They dream of a refuge, a safe place where girls can be free. And, finally, when the moon glows red, they will have their revenge. From Goodreads.

Technically, this would be Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, but I've already mentioned a book by her, so I'm going for something else. Noandel is a prequel to Maresi, and it is so harrowing and hard-hitting, but so, so powerful! Mate, it's such a difficult read, but it's also so wonderful. It has such an incredible ending, and says so much about sisterhood; women supporting women. It's just incredible. Trigger warning for sexual and domestic violence.


Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha NganGirls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan*

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king.

It's the highest honor they could hope for...and the most cruel.

But this year, there's a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she's made of fire.

Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back, and this time it's Lei they're after - the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king's interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king's consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable - she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world's entire way of life and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she's willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.
From Goodreads.

Again, technically, this should be Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor, so I'm choosing something else, and going for Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. I absolutely adored this book. The world building, the characters, the plot, the romance! It was just incredible! It's a difficult read, but also so beautiful, and my god, I can't wait for the sequel!

Over to you graphic

If you're a blogger, what do you enjoy most about blogging? What does it mean to you? What have been some of your favourite books over the last few years? Have you read any of the books above? Any you're now going to pick up? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. HAPPY BLOGVESARY!! 10 years is absolutely AMAZING and you run such a thoughtful and amazing blog...! I'm so happy for you and that this brings you so much joy. 💛💛I think it's easy to get disenchanted with blogging, so extra amazing for everyone who sticks with it. *sends you cake* I also loved the look back at your favourites throughout these last 10 years 😍

    1. Thank you, Cait! I'm so excited! And thank you so much for your kind words! :D

  2. Happy blogoversary! 10 years is so fab <3 <3
    My fave thing aboput Once Upon a Bookcase is your personality for sure. I love reading about what you think about books.
    Thank you for the giveaway - I think I'd pick Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and Ash by Malinda Lo :)

    1. Thank you, and for the kind words! Thanks for entering the giveaway, and good luck!

  3. Congrats I would choose fools assasin and Daughter of a smoke and Bone. I'm a follower, I love your range of taste in books. I read widely in genres too.

    1. Sorry, but those books aren't part of the giveaway. The books you can enter to win are listed directly above the rules of the giveaway - the last eight books pictured.

  4. Congrats on blogging for 10 years! I've been doing it for about 11 1/2 years now and I do love it. It's crazy that it's been so long!! :-)


  5. Congrats! I'd LOVE Naondel, and I've been meaning to read the Girl from Everywhere for a while now.

  6. Wow! A decade of blogging. That's amazing! Congratulations!

  7. Congratulations on this exciting milestone! What an accomplishment :) This feature is a fun idea - maybe I'll remember to try it for my 5th anniversary :P I also like your idea for the giveaway. It's wild to see authors like Malinda Lo and AS King and think they debuted just 10 years ago, or already 10 years ago, depending on your perspective.