Has it really been a year? (and a giveaway!)

August 25, 2009 at 5:00 am 52 comments

Yes! It has. Actually, yesterday was my year anniversary, but after being in vacation mode last week, I didn’t have my act together enough for this post. My first post was titled “Trying to figure this thing out” which seems like what I’ve been doing all year. 😛

I’ve made lots of wonderful friends, read some amazing books, and been able to get back in touch with the writing muscles I’ve neglected since college. Here are some of the high points over the last year:

So Cal Bloggers cropped
So Cal Bloggers

A few of my favorite posts have included :

  • My Top 5 posts: they’ve allowed me to really think about my favorite books, and what is it about them that makes them my favorite. (See sidebar on right for links to all of my Top 5 posts.)
  • Reviews for Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale, A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear, and To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt. I haven’t been reviewing much, lately, but these are the ones of which I’m most proud.
  • ETA: Fantasy Casting: the men. How could I leave this out! I had so much fun picking the men and the pics! 😛

In the coming year, I’m really looking forward to:

  • A super-sekrit project with Carolyn from The Thrillionth Page
  • A couple of buddy reviews with Nath
  • Reading and sharing some more great books
  • More get-togethers with the So Cal Bloggers, including (hopefully!) one with soon-to-be honorary So Cal gal, Nath, and (hopefully!) the return of honorary So Cal gal Lisabea.

And so, on to . . .

The Giveaway

I had a great time putting together my giveaway a few months ago, where I let the winner choose from a selection of books and I want to do another similar giveaway. So, here’s the deal:

Using my Top 5 posts (not including the audiobook post), the winner will receive their choice of TWO books, in either paperback or ebook format. E-books are available through Fictionwise (I can gift a specific book at this site), with a couple noted exceptions.Scandal by Carolyn Jewel

Top 5 Historical Romances
  • To Seduce a Sinner (The Legend of the Four Soldiers series, book 2) by Elizabeth Hoyt
  • Devil’s Bride (Cynster series, book 1) by Stephanie Laurens
  • The Devil in Winter (Wallflowers series, book 3) by Lisa Kleypas
  • Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
  • Scandal by Carolyn Jewel

Top 5 Urban Fantasy seriesBitten-print

  • Moon Called (Mercy Thompson series, book 1) by Patricia Briggs
  • Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampires series/Sookie Stackhouse series, book 1) by Charlaine Harris
  • Storm Front (Dresden Files, book 1) by Jim Butcher
  • Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows series, book 1) by Kim Harrison
  • Bitten (Otherworld series, book 1) by Kelley Armstrong

Top 5 Paranormal RomancesAngels' Blood by Nalini Singh

  • Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling series, book 1) by Nalini Singh
  • Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunter series, book 1) by Nalini Singh
  • My Wicked Enemy (My series, book 1) by Carolyn Jewel
  • Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood series, book 1) by JR Ward
  • Without Reservations (With or Without series, book 1) by JL Langley (M/M)—paperback, ebook is not available at Fictionwise, but you will receive a gift certificate from MBAB for the amount of the ebook.

Top 5 YA books & seriesUglies by Scott Westerfeld

  • Wicked Lovely (Faery Court series, book 1) by Melissa Marr
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman—paperback will be the international edition
  • Uglies (Uglies series, book 1) by Scott Westerfeld
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins—paperback only
  • Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires series, book 1) by Rachel Caine


Top 5 Contemporary RomancesNatural Born Charmer

  • Sugar Daddy (Travis family series, book 1) by Lisa Kleypas
  • Blue-Eyed Devil (Travis family series, book 2) by Lisa Kleypas
  • Flat-Out Sexy (Fast Track series, book 1) by Erin McCarthy
  • Just One of the Guys by Kristan Higgins
  • Natural Born Charmer (Chicago Stars series) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

All you need to do is comment with your choice of TWO books, and the format in which you’d like to receive them—print or ebook. This contest is open to everyone. (International print books will be sent through The Book Depository.)

Comment by midnight PST, on Monday, August 31, 2009. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on September 1st.


Good luck everybody!

Entry filed under: Contest/Giveaway, cool blog stuff. Tags: .

Back into the swing of things . . . My Top 5 . . . Contemporary Romances


  • 1. KatiDancy  |  August 25, 2009 at 5:31 am

    Happy Blogiversary, darlin’! It’s been such fun reading (and um, stealing from) your posts.

    Here’s to another year of fun and antics!

  • 2. Amanda  |  August 25, 2009 at 6:20 am

    OMG a year!! You lucky thing, Happy anniversary!!

    I love reading your top 5 posts and I had a hard time choosing so I’m going to go for, Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harison and Angels Blood Nalini Singh both in print!

    Thanks so much for the FANTABULOUS conest!!

    And here is to another great blogging year!

  • 3. Carolyn Crane  |  August 25, 2009 at 6:35 am

    HEY!!!! Congratulations! It has been so fun to get to know you this year, and have I said lately how much I love your blog? And I am so looking forward to our sekrit project.

  • 4. Teresa W  |  August 25, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Congrats and Happy anniversary! My picks would be Dark Lover and Dead Witch Walking as I’m a big fan of the Paranormal!

  • 5. Anna  |  August 25, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Congrats on your Anniversary! This year has gone by so fast. My picks would be: Uglies and The Hunger Games.

  • 6. Lusty Reader  |  August 25, 2009 at 9:59 am

    oooooh Reneeee, i am laughing and shaking my head over here at the same time. i own or have read 98% of your Top 5 books, see *that* is why i love your blog, we both have such great taste 😉

    so it was hard to pick what i’d like to win…but i think:
    Devil’s Bride and
    My Wicked Enemy
    would be my top choices

    Congrats on your 1 year anniversary!

  • 7. Barbara  |  August 25, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Happy Blog Anniversary, Renee!!! 😀

    I love your picks for Top Historicals. Since I have those, I would chose:
    Without Reservations
    My Wicked Enemy

  • 8. Lori  |  August 25, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Happy Blogiversary!!! Isn’t it fun? Can’t wait to see you in a few weeks!!

    No need to enter me….

  • 9. Crystal B.  |  August 25, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Happy Blogoversary! My picks would be: Moon Called and Dead Witch Walking in print format.

  • 10. Hilcia  |  August 25, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Happy Blogiversary to YOU! I’m coming back for those Contemps later on, lol!

    Lovely, lovely blog! Renee…

  • 11. Renee  |  August 25, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Kati: lol. Thanks! Anytime, Kati. Mi casa es su casa! 😉

    Amanda: Thanks! Excellent choices! 🙂

    CC/CJ: TY! Me, too.

    Teresa W: Thanks! Both choices are the start of great series!

    Anna: Thank you! They are great YA books.

    Lusty Reader: LOL. Great minds . . . I love both those books! 🙂 Thanks!

    Barbara: Thanks, Barbara! Oh, JL Langley and Carolyn Jewel are such great writers, and Without Reservations is great M/M shifter-y goodness!

    Lori: Thanks! Looking forward to it! 😀

    Crystal B: Excellent choices!

    Hilcia: Thanks! I’m hoping they’ll be up tomorrow! ::fingers crossed::

  • 12. bookdaze  |  August 25, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Happy blogiversary – time flies!

    I’m with Lusty Reader, I probably own 99% of your picks 🙂 Err though I haven’t actually gotten around to reading quite a few.

    Umm I would choose both the Carolyn Jewels, I actually didn’t realise she wrote in both genres.

  • 13. Tracy  |  August 25, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Happy Blog Anniversary! I love your blog and hope that you keep up the wonderfulness that is you! 🙂 I’m so happy that I got to meet you this year and look forward to many more so cal blog get togethers!

    Ok – I can’t pass up a contest so I’d love Moon Called by Briggs and Devil’s Bride by Laurens. And I’ll take either format – whichever is cheapest! lol I’ll even take used. I’m easy. (Don’t let that get out)

  • 14. Sarai  |  August 25, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    OMG happy anniversay how cool is that!!! I wish I lived closer to CA so I could join in on all the fun instead I’m hanging out in the midwest of KS YUCK~~ Well if your every passing through or in town let me know!

    Happy anniversay again!

  • 15. Wendy  |  August 25, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Wow – you’ve only been around for a year? That’s truly amazing!

    No need to enter me in the contest. I seriously do not need anymore books. One good earthquake and My Man and I will probably be smothered to death by a cascade of falling western romances 😉

    Happy, happy blogiversary!

  • 16. nath  |  August 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Happy bloganniversary, Renee!!

    Seriously, it’s hard to believe that you’re only one! It seems like you’ve been around forever!!

    Love your blog, so long life to it!!

  • 17. Christine  |  August 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Wow! Happy Blog Anniversary, Renee!

    You have amazing taste in books. I should know because it’s very close to mine! LOL!

    My picks would be Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison and Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas. 🙂

  • 18. orannia  |  August 25, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Happy Anniversay Renee! Here’s *raising glass* to another wonderful year! I’m so rapt that I found your blog – IIRC I think it was because of an Iron Kissed (Patricia Briggs) giveaway 🙂

    Hmmm….I love your lists of favourites. Since I have to pick just two *thinks* I’d love Dreaming of You* (which I still haven’t read) *ducks* and I’m keen on Angels’ Blood but….I might wait to see your top five contemporaries if I may please?


  • 19. willaful  |  August 25, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Congrats! Oh my, what fabulous lists! I also have all the historicals already so am going to make the same two picks: Without Reservations (which I have never heard of, so it intrigues me) and My Wicked Enemy (had no idea Jewel wrote paranormalls either.)

  • 20. willaful  |  August 25, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Oh, forgot to note, print versions.

  • 21. Donna S  |  August 25, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Happy Blogiversary. I am glad I found your blog earlier this year and have enjoyed reading it. Heres to another great year!!

    I would choose Angels’ Blood and The Hunger Games – print versions.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  • 22. Llehn  |  August 25, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Happy blogiversary! I would love to play for the print versions of Bitten by Kelly Armstrong and Dead Until Dark.


  • 23. Jeanette Juan  |  August 26, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Congrats on the one year! I would love to read My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel and Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

  • 24. Jessica  |  August 26, 2009 at 2:39 am

    Wow, I had no idea you and I started blogging the same month. I totally agree with you — how steep the learning curve is. Happy anniversary and may you have many more! (no need to enter me in the contest, but thanks for having it!)

  • 25. Maija P.  |  August 26, 2009 at 4:17 am

    Happy Blogiversary!

    I’d love to win print versions of: 1) The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas, 2) Scandal by Carolyn Jewel.

  • 26. Elie N  |  August 26, 2009 at 5:49 am

    Congrats on one year, it goes fast doesn’t it! If I won I would choose…
    Storm Front (Dresden Files, book 1) by Jim Butcher

    My Wicked Enemy (My series, book 1) by Carolyn Jewel

  • 27. Jen D.  |  August 26, 2009 at 6:42 am


    My picks would be: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. (Both in print format).

    Thanks for the great contest!

  • 28. Wanda  |  August 26, 2009 at 7:38 am

    The two books I would prefer are:
    Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
    Scandal by Carolyn Jewel
    I would prefer print format.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

  • 29. elaing8  |  August 26, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Congrats on your Anniversary

    The 2 books I’d chose are
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins-print

    Moon Called by Patricia Briggs-print

  • 30. Raelena  |  August 26, 2009 at 8:46 am

    I would love print versions of Bitten and Hunger Games
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  • 31. Jody F.  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Wow, that year flew by quick! Congrats on all the fun you’ve had and the fun yet to come.

    The books I’d like are….

    Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

    To Seduce a Sinner by Elizabeth Hoyt

    Both in print

    joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

  • 32. Bella  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Wow! Happy Anniversary and thanks for the awesome giveaway! I would love to have print copies of Wicker Lovely and Moon called.


  • 33. Eva S  |  August 26, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Congrats on your Anniversary!
    So many great books, I’d love to read My Wicked Enemy and Without Reservations in print.

  • 34. Danielle  |  August 26, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Thanks for running a contest! Love the historicals so my 2 picks would be To Seduce a Sinner and Scandal (the only 2 from the list I haven’t read!!).

  • 35. Martha Lawson  |  August 26, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Congratulations on your anniversary! i’m going with the ya category so i can pass them on to my granddaughter when I finish them!! She is an avid reader, also!!So, If I’m lucky enough to be picked, I’d like Wicked Lovely & Glass Houses. Thanks for such a great contest and generosity.

  • 36. KristieJ  |  August 26, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    No need to enter me – of the ones you are offering that I would like to read – I have them *wry grin*
    But I still have to say Happy Blogiversary!! I’m so glad you joined the ‘community’

  • 37. Mariee  |  August 26, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    Congrats and happy anniversary!

    If I win I’d love to get:
    Scandal by Carolyn Jewel
    Dreaming Of You by Lisa Kleypas

  • 38. bridget3420  |  August 26, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Moon Called and Dark Lover would be my choices. I would prefer print books. Thanks:)

  • 39. Renee  |  August 26, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Wow! thank you everybody for all your kind wishes!
    I’m loving seeing everybody’s choices. It looks like Carolyn Jewel is an author many are interested in checking out. I also like seeing all the YA readers!

    Can’t wait for Monday! 🙂

  • 40. Kate A  |  August 26, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Awesome contest! And congratulations on the anniversary 🙂

    I would love to read The Graveyard Book and Flat-Out Sexy in print books.


  • 41. Shaymless Aymless  |  August 26, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Happy Blogoversary!

    Dead Witch Walking (my copy walked off somewhere) and Uglies (because it sounds fascinating). I like paper so print form for me.

  • 42. Terri W.  |  August 26, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Happy Blogoversary!

    What an awesome giveway and congrats on one year!

    I would love to read “Scandal” and “My Wicked Enemy” both by Carolyn Jewel in print books.


  • […] Comments My Top 5 . . . Conte… on October’s Best Read…Terri W. on Has it really been a year? (an…Shaymless Aymless on Has it really been a year? (an…Kate A on Has it really been a year? […]

  • 44. AmyC  |  August 27, 2009 at 7:57 am

    I don’t know why, but i thought for sure you were blogging long before me! I love your blog, your posts and I think you are just a wonderful person!

    Thank you for thinking our joint discussion of The Shadow Queen was a major highlight for you! I really would love to do that again with Shalador’s Lady, if you’re up for it :D!

    May you have another awesome and rewarding year of blogging!

  • 45. Jen  |  August 27, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Storm Front (Dresden Files, book 1) by Jim Butcher and Angels’ Blood (Guild Hunter series, book 1) by Nalini Singh

    Preferred Format: print, please

    Congratulations on your anniversary!!!

  • 46. kh  |  August 27, 2009 at 11:52 am

    nice thanks
    erin mccarthy print
    just one o f the guys – kristin print paper back


  • 47. Christine  |  August 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I love your contemporary picks, Renee. I especially love Lisa Kleypas’ Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil. They both hit me hard and are still with me, so to speak.

    I’m also a fan of Kristan Higgins. Well, I’ve read two of her four novels and in fact just ordered Just One of the Guys yesterday. They don’t disappoint… they’re perfectly dosed with good humor, normal family struggles, and good old fashioned feel-good romance.

    If my name gets drawn… I may just have to change my picks! The SEP and McCarthy both sound so good! ^_^

  • 48. Jacqueline L.  |  August 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Happy blog anniversary!

    Great Top 5 lists! I would love a chance at getting my hands on Moon Called by Patricia Briggs and Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh, both in print.

  • 49. Fedora  |  August 27, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Those are terrific lists, Renee! Happy blogversary! If I’m so fortunate, I’d love Scandal and Flat Out Sexy in print!

  • […] on My Top 5 . . . Contemporary…nath on My Top 5 . . . Contemporary…Has it really been a… on Fantasy Casting: the menShaymless Aymless on My Top 5 . . . Contemporary…Mandi on My […]

  • 51. Kay  |  August 29, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I have loved your Top 5 entries – I share a lot of your favourites, which made the books I had not heard of all the more appealing!

    As for the awesome contest, I’d love the first books from the With or Without series by JL Langley and the My series by Carolyn Jewel!

    Oh, and congrats on a year of book blogging! *throws confetti*

  • 52. Lisette  |  August 29, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Happy blogaversary! and thanks so much for the GREAT opportunity! 😀

    My pics are The Hunger Games and Uglies. I have pretties but not the first and can’t start reading the series yet 😦 hehe

    *crosses fingers*

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