Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy Blogiversary To Me, First Book of the Year + A Giveaway!!


I can't believe it has already been a year since I start this little blog, my own happy little place in the world to share my love of all things bookish with anyone who felt like listening! I have enjoyed every single second of it, and have been amazed at the kindness and support I've found amongst other readers like me as well as all the lovely authors I've come into contact with. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone who has taken the time to reach out to me, give me tips and suggestions on this wild world of blogging, read my reviews, guest posts, interviews, etc., entered my giveaways and left me lovely comments. I really appreciate it!


Now, enough of the mushy stuff. I wanted to take this opportunity to share just what A Literary Vacation accomplished in 2015, as well as share the first book I'm reading to begin 2016. And, because I wasn't quite done with the mushy stuff yet, I want to give one of you lovely followers the chance to pick one of my "Top 11" Books of 2015 (open to US only; you can see the books to choose from HERE). Just leave a comment on this post telling me one of your favorite books of 2015 or what will be your first read for 2016, let me know in your comment one way you follow A Literary Vacation and leave your email address so I can contact you if you are my winner. That's it!  I'll pick a winner on January 8th and the winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email with their US mailing address and the title of the book they've selected.

So, without further ado....


Just the facts, ma'am



I think one of the things that has surprised me the most is just how much I've posted this year. I thought I would occasionally get a review up, maybe be lucky enough to have an author provide me with a guest post, that sort of thing. But when I tally up everything I've done this year, I'm absolutely amazed! This is my 175th post of 2015 and that is just shocking to me! All this posting has cut back on my reading time a little bit, but I'm hoping now that I've got the hang of formatting posts it will become somewhat easier.  Here's some statistics for 2015:


Reviews


I reviewed a total of 53 books this  year, 8 for the other blog I contribute to, Luxury Reading, and the rest for A Literary Vacation. 40 of the books were Historical Fiction books, which isn't surprising as that is my favorite genre. I reviewed 18 books for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and 9 for TLC Book Tours, both book tour companies I'm very excited to continue to work with in 2016. 


Author Interactions



I was lucky enough to share 30 different posts from the wonderful authors I've interacted with. Of that 30, 18 were guest posts and 12 were Q & A/Interviews. This was one of my favorite types of posts as it allowed me to get inside the heads of some of my favorite authors and see how they tick.


Spotlights/Book Blasts



I found running Spotlight and Book Blast posts was a great way to get the word out about an author's work quickly when I just didn't have the time to read the books (although I really wanted to read just about every book that was offered to me, I'm just not that fast of a reader!). In 2015 I posted 72 spotlights and 13 book blasts...I'm still reeling slightly from those numbers and am very excited to see if I can beat them next year.


Giveaways



The way I discovered this world of book blogging in the first place was when I found a giveaway for a book I really wanted to read. I entered, won and was hooked for life! Loving to enter giveaways as much as I do, I knew when I started my blog I wanted to host giveaways whenever possible. This year I have run 26 giveaways where I have selected the winner as well as joined blog tours that offered tour wide giveaways. That number wasn't as high as I thought it would be so I really hope to beat it next year!



My First Book of 2016



The lovely Sheila at Book Journey is hosting the First Book of the Year event on her blog and when I saw this I knew I wanted to participate! She suggested picking a long coveted book, guilty pleasure, or anything you might have not gotten to yet that you really wanted to read, so I decided to go with a book I've had on my shelves for awhile. This book is part of one of my favorite historical fiction series and I actually thought I had already read this installment and had planned to read the newest book in the series when I discovered this one still unread (*gasp*). So, my first book of the year is......




Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
Pages: 306



For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent is a gripping new mystery featuring intrepid spy and code breaker Maggie Hope. And this time, the fallout of a deadly plot comes straight to her own front door.



World War II rages on across Europe, but Maggie Hope has finally found a moment of rest on the pastoral coast of western Scotland. Home from an undercover mission in Berlin, she settles down to teach at her old spy training camp, and to heal from scars on both her body and heart. Yet instead of enjoying the quieter pace of life, Maggie is quickly drawn into another web of danger and intrigue. When three ballerinas fall strangely ill in Glasgow—including one of Maggie’s dearest friends—Maggie partners with MI-5 to uncover the truth behind their unusual symptoms. What she finds points to a series of poisonings that may expose shocking government secrets and put countless British lives at stake. But it’s the fight brewing in the Pacific that will forever change the course of the war—and indelibly shape Maggie’s fate.







So tell me folks....what book will be your first book of the year? Don't forget to leave a comment that includes your email address and one way you follow A Literary Vacation for a chance to win one of my favorite books of 2015. And thank you again for coming along with me on my many literary vacations!!!





62 comments:

  1. I just won "ROOM" and have just started it. They say it's a movie. So far, so strange.

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    1. I've had Room on my shelves for a few years now and just haven't had the chance to read it yet. I really want to as I try to read the book (if there is one) before seeing the movie but we'll see if there is time :). I've heard it's really good if a little odd. Thanks for the suggestion!

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  2. Forgot my email. jozywails@gmail.com I follow all ways possible. Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin', Pinterest, Google+, email, Goodreads. Fan and admirer, not a stalker. Don't have time to stalk anyone. I work a lot.

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    1. Oh, Misty, you just cracked me up so thank you :)! I'm honored you like my blog and really appreciate all the follows!

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    2. Congrats on your year of blogging. Wishing you lots more.Happy New Year. I love Susan Meissner's books so I'd love to read Stars Over Sunset Boulevard.
      Carol L
      Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    3. Thank you, Carol, and Happy New Year!!

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  3. I finished The Silver Suitcase by Terrie Todd this morning so I guess it is my first book of the year. I'm still reading The Photographer's Wife by Suzanne Joinson and The Violinist of Venice: A Story of Vivaldi by Alyssa Palombo, but I think the first book I'll actually start in 2016 will be Hanging Mary by Susan Higginbotham.

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    1. You are a reading machine, Erin! I can't wait to read your reviews of the novels above. I've had my eyes on Hanging Mary so am particularly curious to see what you think.

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  4. Happy Blogiversary, Colleen! I had a hard time picking my first book of 2016 (late last night!). I finally wound up with The Language of Sisters by Amy Hatvany, and so far, I am very intrigued by it. I am like Misty and follow you all ways possible I think. GoodReads, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, email. My email is Tarheelfit1 @ gmail. :) Hope your new year is filled with lots of great books!

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    1. Thank you so much! I haven't read The Language of Sisters but it sounds really good. I hope your year is filled up with great books as well!

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  5. Happy New Year! And Happy Blogiversary! Hope you enjoy your first read of 2016.

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  6. My first book of 2016 will be The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth. I am an e-mail subscriber. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh I just finished The Things We Keep a few weeks ago and loved it! I hope you love it as well! Happy New Year!

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  7. Looks like a great first book. Happy blogiversary!

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  8. Happy Blogiversary, sweet. Here's to many more.

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  9. I have been wanting to start this series. I love the time period and the covers are gorgeous!

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    1. Aren't the covers just beautiful?! This really is one my my favorite series so I hope you love them as much as I do :)!

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  10. Your novel choice is an exceptional and wonderful one which interests me greatly for the era and the story. I would love to read as my first book for this year Moonlight Over Paris. I am an e-mail subscriber. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Oh, Moonlight Over Paris does sound wonderful! I have that one on my wish list.

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  11. You had a great first year as a new blogger! Congrats on your one year blogoversary. I'm in my 8th year of blogging and still enjoying it. Love your first book of the year!

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    1. Thank you so much, Laura, I had a blast in 2015! Congrats on the eight years of blogging...that is quite the accomplishment and I really hope I am still loving it when I get there. Thanks for coming by and commenting :)!!

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  12. Sounds like a good choice. Happy Blog-a-versary and New Year!

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  13. I hope you love your first book. I chose a favorite author's new book :)

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  14. Hau'oli Makahiki Hou. Enjoy your read!

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  15. That looks like a great book...I may have to look into it!

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    1. Oh you should start with book #1 in the series: Mr. Churchill's Secretary. You don't have to read the earlier books in the series to read this one, but they are really good so I would recommend doing so :)!

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  16. There are several books on your top 11 reads that I'd be interested in. I'm a fan of Jacqueline Winspear; so, I think I would like The Prime Minister's Secret Agent. I'm in the middle of a book right now; so, the first book I'm reading in 2016 would be The Flood Girls (ARC). I follow your blog, follow you on facebook and twitter and google+. bluedawn95864@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you, Bonnie! I haven't heard of The Flood Girls but I'll check it out. Happy New Year!

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  17. I love the historical fiction genre, I hope you are enjoying this one in the series as well. I also love cozy mysteries, so I chose a cozy mystery for my first book of 2016. I hope you have a Happy Reading Year in 2016.

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  18. You had an amazing first year of blogging, Happy Blogoversary! I'm intrigued by your first read of 2016 -- I love mysteries & stories set during WWII. Hope you love it!

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    1. Thank you so much, Diana, I really appreciate it :)!

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  19. My favorite read of 2015 was THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah and my first read of 2016 is IN THE SHADOW OF THE STORM by Anna Belfrage. One of the ways I follow is by email and love your blog. Happy New Year!

    tmrtini at gmail) dot) com)

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    1. Oh, I have The Nightingale but haven't had the chance to read it yet. Everyone raves about it so I know I need to read it ASAP :)! In the Shadow of the Storm sounds awesome as well, I need to read Anna Belfrage's novels already! Happy New Year and thank you so much for the kind words : )!

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  20. Happy blogoversary and Happy New Year. I was immediately attracted by the cover and title of this book when I entered your blog. Sounds great, so good to know a good series you like. My first book is a new author to me.

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  21. Happy New Year Colleen! I'm reading Dawn Crandall's THE HESITANT HEIRESS.

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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    1. Oh, I haven't heard of The Hesitant Heiress! I'll need to check that one out. Thanks Caryl!

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  22. My favorite genre to read. This sounds like a great book. I've been following your blog for a few months now by email and love it! Congrats on a good 2015!! I'm finishing up The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor, a very good book, and my first read started in this new year is The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman. Here's wishing you a great 2016!!! lpblanchard@yahoo.com

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    1. Hey Letty!!! I have The Hours Count and actually got to meet Jillian Cantor and have her sign it at a book event she had. I was so dorked out to meet her :). Here's wishing you a great 2016 as well!!

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  23. I've read a few of your 2015 faves and liked them too. I'm not familiar with your first book but happy reading :) And happy blogiversary!

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  24. Gorgeous blog.

    Happy Blogiversary!!

    Great on the review of 53 books. That is outstanding.

    I love the looks of your first book of the year.

    Keep up the good work on your blog. It is such fun, isn't it?

    Here's to another great year for your blog.

    I like how you got into blogging. :)

    Happy New Year!!

    Elizabeth
    Silver’s Reviews
    My First Book Of The Year

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  25. Congratulations on a year. It went very quickly. My first reads of the year are some that I started a few days ago. They include Fates and Furies and The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster. I follow on Facebook. k3kdpv at gmail dot com

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    1. Oh, both of those are on my wish list! I hope you love them!

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  26. I just finished The Japanese Lover and it was very good. I see your comment about THe Nightingale--read it! It's very good! Have a great new year! meredithfl at gmail dot com Bloglovin follower

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    1. I haven't read too much about the Japanese Lover, I'll check it out! I promise to read The Nightingale...at this point I think I'm the last person to read it :)!

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    2. Oh no you aren't. :)

      I haven't read it. :)

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    3. Ha ha...well good, I don't feel so bad now ;)!

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  27. Hello! Thx for the giveaway and happy new year. The book I'm currently reading is Silber 3 by Kerstin Gier, it isn't that great but I guess I have to finish it now...

    Thank you so much!

    email : grabs64(at)gmail (dot) com

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    1. Oh no, sorry you're not enjoying your book, Gaby! But I'm with you, I have the hardest time not finishing a book...what happens if it eventually gets better :)? Thanks for stopping by!!

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  28. I'm pretty sure my first book of 2016 will be Come Away With Me by Karma Brown! I follow you via your like page A Literary Vacation on Facebook, follow you on Twitter.

    My email is: fishiegirl22@yahoo.com

    Thanks for the chance! :)

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    1. Hailey, Come Away with Me blew me out of the water when I read it last year. It was so touching...be prepared to cry a little bit by the ending :). Thanks for stopping by!

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  29. Hello everyone and Happy Friday!! I've been excitedly waiting to pick my winner for this giveaway! Using a random number generator I've discovered my winner is....Letty B!! Congratulations Letty!! I'm off to email you now to get your selection of one of my best of books of 2015 and your mailing address!

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