Can you believe it’s been three whole years?
That’s right! Today is Hail & Well Read’s 3rd blogiversary, and it’s so exciting! If you’d asked me three years ago where I thought my blog would be, I wouldn’t have possibly guessed here. And yet, that’s exactly where we are, and I couldn’t be more delighted!
And even better, today is for celebrating. I’ll be answering your questions from the post I set up a couple weeks ago, just for this purpose, and I’ll be revealing the winner of my giveaway! How much more exciting can it get?
(The answer is very, provided you are excited about bunnies. 👀)
The A’s to your Q’s!
None of you asked for my deepest, darkest secrets, so now that I don’t have to reveal my plans for world domination, we can move onto the fun things! I’ve answered every question I got, and had a blast doing it. Hopefully, it gives you a laugh, or maybe a better understanding of the blogger behind the screen. Either way works!
From bn100: Favorite dessert?
Easy answer, believe it or not! I will never turn down one of those cookie skillets. You know, the big chocolate chip cookies baked in a skillet and served still warm with a big scoop of ice cream on top and lots of hot fudge drizzled all over?
Literally, this is the only thing I miss about restaurants right now. I do not have the capacity to make my own cookie skillet, and I would pay good money for one. 🤤
From Kelsey @ There’s Something About KM: Which blog post from the past three years was your favorite to write? Or two blog posts…or category of blog posts? 😛
Oh my god, I can answer this in a heartbeat: Snail & Well Read! I wrote it for April Fool’s Day, and since I don’t like mean tricks and do enjoy silly puns and poor Photoshop, it felt like the perfect mood booster to share as we were really starting to feel the growing impact of COVID and the associated lockdowns. Also, it’s outrageously entertaining to just. Slap snails onto book covers. Serious props to cover designers for the gorgeous work they do, but sometimes, you just have to badly Photoshop a snail on top for the sake of a joke. 🐌
As for my favorite category, though, I actually love my Tower Talks series. It’s probably my least viewed category of posts, but it’s a chance for me to share my non-bookish interests, and I have a great time recapping games and shows that I’ve recently devoured!
From Caroline @ Caroline Schlegel: What’s your favorite book cover (or covers!) from the past three years?
My dear friend: how could you come into my blog, my home, and pose such a difficult question? Today, on the day of my 3rd blogiversary?
But for real, as tough as that is to answer, I have a major soft spot for Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth (I can’t wait for Alecto the Ninth to completely destroy me!), Gravemaidens (sooooo pretty!), and the entire series of covers for the Age of Darkness series (full of sneaky details)!
From Sahi @ My World of Books: Were there any special books or book bloggers which/who were your inspiration to start a blog three years ago? And how have you been enjoying your experience so far ?
Actually, my best friend was the one who encouraged me to make the leap and start blogging! She used to have a book blog, which she no longer updates, but she gave me the nudge I needed to dive in. Plus, we had so much fun talking about books that it seemed only natural to want to share that joy with other people!
And of course, I’ve loved it so far. Every now and again, sure, something frustrating comes up (tbh I’m mostly talking about Book Twitter having some seriously bad takes), but for the most part, it’s a joy. I get to share my love of books with people who just get it, and I also get to broaden my horizons thanks to all the brilliant reviews and lists and cover reveals book bloggers put out there!
I wish sometimes that I felt more part of the community, but I’ll also admit that’s somewhat my own doing. I’m always spinning lots of plates, so blog hopping and really connecting with other bloggers sometimes tumbles a little ways down my priority list, simply for lack of time and lack of energy in concert with unpredictable mental health. BUT, it’s also something I want to make more time for this year, something I want to improve. We’re all here to love books, so why not do it together?
From Jen Blum-Tatara: What fantasy world do you think you’d thrive in?
Barring the whole issue with demons and possible apocalyptic scenarios, I think the only sensible answer is the world of Sorcery of Thorns! I could absolutely handle being a librarian for magical books, especially if I just get to sit and learn at my own pace some days. And if I get to make friends with the books!
Just don’t ask me to pick up a sword and start swinging. That will end poorly for me, and not so poorly from the person I’m supposed to be swinging at.
From Sav @ Booked on a Feeling: Question #1: Can we see the bunnies please??? Question #2: What book or book series would you like to see turned into a video game? Question #3: What are some goals of yours for the present & future of your blog?
Answer #1: Ask and ye shall receive! They were surprisingly good for their family picture! No one ran off, and Dusty hit us with all his best angles, handsome lad that he is. Can you believe Moo and Dusty are almost ten years old, and teeny bean Squirt in the middle there is turning seven this fall? 🥺
From left to right: Moo, Squirt, and Dusty!
Answer #2: MY KINGDOM FOR AN OPEN-WORLD, BOTW STYLE WITCHLANDS GAME! Seriously, I would so much love a way to explore the Witchlands, especially if it were set long before the series actually starts, when the world’s magic was still thriving!
That said, it could be super fun to have a game based on the Lockwood and Co. series. I’ll take charming ghost busting games! After all, the Luigi’s Mansion series is one of my all-time favorites!
Answer #3: Oh my gosh, I somehow feel like I have ALL THE GOALS but also can’t articulate a single one of them. Like I mentioned in answer to Sahi’s question, I do want to blog hop more and actually feel closer to the community. I seem to get around to it in fits and starts, and want to find some real consistency there. And while numbers don’t strictly matter, it would be pretty cool to break 500 followers at some point in the next year.
As for goals that are less full of nervous longing, and more full of excitement, I want to start hosting author interviews more often, and maybe even cover reveals! Those are always such fun, exciting posts, and I want to have a hand in that, especially for authors I love.
And I’m also hoping to get back to making book sleeves. I suppose this one is blog adjacent, but because of my work schedule with retail, I actually had to set this goal on hold. Retail was just too unforgiving, too draining, for me to handle the extra work. Now, though, my new job leaves me with more energy and less stress, and I’m starting to feel ready to return to some of the things I had to set aside!
From Reese: Has the way you read (the things you notice, the things that engage you, etc) changed since you started blogging?
Oh, absolutely! For one, I’m much more conscious of which book I pick up next. I used to be such a mood reader, grabbing whatever I felt like. Now, I take release dates into consideration when reviewing ARCs, try to pay more attention to big events I might be able to connect to a series of reads (e.g. queer reads for LGBTQIA+ History Month), and also if the author is, you know, a huge jerk and I don’t want to give them any free publicity if I don’t have to.
But more specific to books, I feel like I’m paying attention to character arcs so much more closely, and really digging into how the plot comes together. I’ve always been a guesser (it drives my friends and family up the wall, since I’m really good at figuring out plot twists early), but on top of that, I’m just paying more attention to how complete things feel, how satisfied I am with the course of the story.
And on top of that, I take notes while I read now! A lot less forgetting character names and places and the like, and a lot more marking down fun quotes, serious guesses, and gut reactions to big, dramatic moments.
In some ways, it occasionally reminds me of homework. Finish a book and write about before a due date, and make sure you take notes. But I don’t have to follow some dull essay structure, and I get to explore my knee-jerk reactions with enthusiasm and joy (or disgust, if it’s a terrible read lol)!
TL;DR: It’s changed a good bit, but I think it’s changed for the better, and made me a more attentive, thoughtful reader!
And that’s that on Q&A business! You all rock at asking questions, and I feel like I might have to do one of these again sometimes!
But I know what you’re really waiting for.
Congrats to Jen Blum-Tatara, the winner of my giveaway! I’ve sent an email your way to iron out the details, so keep an eye out for that. 😉
And thank you all so much!
It really is surreal to be at my 3rd blogiversary. All jokes aside, I’m so delighted to be here, and incredibly grateful to all of you who’ve supported me along the way, whether we’ve spoken before or not. I meant it when I said I wouldn’t have pictured myself here three years ago. Back then, I didn’t know if this would be a real commitment, or something I tried and failed to embrace, then gave up on.
I’m still here. H&WR is still here. And with any luck, that’ll be true for years to come.
So here’s to three years so far, and to all of you, for helping me get here! 💛