Saturday, October 10, 2015

Blog Friends Forever Blog Hop (+Giveaway)

I am super excited to be participating in this blog hop hosted by Fiction Fare and Swoony Boys Podcast! When I first heard about it, I'd been really lost with blogging and in such a negative place with it, so this sounded perfect. A hop to spread positivity by talking about friendships, underrated or newbie bloggers, and why we love doing this? I WAS SO IN. And I'm very happy I'm a part of this!

But when I first learned of my topic, I was a bit hesitant. Not because I didn't want to do it, but because how was I supposed to put into words how much I love being a book blogger, how much it means to me? I wasn't sure I could do it justice, but I hope I did. And I hope it resonates in some way with you all.

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Why I Love Being a Blogger
At its core, I just love sharing books I’ve read with other people who “get” it. All my life, I’ve always been the bookish friend. The nerd. The dork who would rather stay at home and read than go to a friend’s house. I’ve never had people to talk to about books. At least, not without being teased. I have bookish relatives, but mostly they read Christian fiction. I’m starting to talk to one of my cousins about YA and books a lot more NOW, so there’s that. I also made a friend freshman year in college who is a bookworm as well. But when I was in middle and high school, not many people were reading as much as me. And I wish I’d had an outlet like this back then. Something to tell me that I wasn’t the anomaly; I just hadn’t found my people quite yet.

Little did I know it would take me another two years after I graduate high school to find my people. When I turned this into a book blog in late 2012/early 2013, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I spent the first year doing whatever; writing reviews, joining a wonderful street team, reading A LOT of self-published books. It wasn’t until my second year that I really started to interact with people. Once I joined Twitter, it was like I’d finally found the place where I belonged (and I still do feel this way). Finding this community was like seeing my house again after a long vacation away; that feeling of home that hits me right in the chest, and of familiarity and comfort. It was super easy (once I got over being ridiculously shy and self-conscious) to fall into conversations and make friends. I’ve never made, or kept, friendships this easily.

Because of all of that, I’ve become more confident in socializing. The interaction with other bloggers, authors, and publishing people is the BEST part of the community. The actual best. It is what has kept me going when I’ve felt like quitting. It has been an escape when IRL was too much. And I’ve made true friendships throughout the last year, with people who know me more personally than others. Also authors are NOT actually mysterious beings who write books and are then untouchable. I can actually socialize with them! WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT. :p I mean, they’re still kinda intimidating, but at least they’re approachable. And they don’t think you’re crazy when you fangirl hard when meeting them IRL. Speaking of meeting authors IRL, I never would have gone to New York by myself this summer had it not been for a slight push from friends and the overwhelming desire to go to BEA. Talk about conquering some fears! I love that blogging has helped me grow as a person.

And quite simply put: I love being a blogger, a BOOK blogger, because I can’t imagine not being one. I love being a blogger because sharing my favorite reads and pushing them onto others is what I like doing. I love being a blogger because this community is truly something special, even when it has its problems. I love doing this, even when I feel down about it or let the stats become too important. I love fangirling over books and ships and typing out ASDFJKL; too much, and I have no one else who wouldn’t give me a weird look if I did it to them. I love ranting about reads I wish I’d never given my time and attention to, even if it means I end up being a black sheep. I love how easy it is to open up on here, to share personal shit, something I always attributed to the anonymity. But after BEA, and making friends, I know it’s not that anymore. It’s because most people are so welcoming and kind and amazing, and they give you advice and answer your tweets when you ask questions and make you feel like you’re part of something so great.

I mean, I could go on and on all day about how much this community, and blogging, mean to me. How awesome the people are, how incredible the opportunities are in working with publishers and authors. How much more confident I feel in my writing, how I don't feel as scared now about my author aspirations. How blogging helped me find my love for YA books again. How it’s challenged me to become a better person, to call out problems and also root for the books that can change lives. How it’s changed my life. But then this post would end up being really long and I’d probably go round and round in circles talking about the same things. So to sum it up: I love being a blogger because I’ve never been more passionate about anything else in my life.

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And now I have TWO giveaways for y'all! The first is being provided by some of the wonderful bloggers on this hop. "There will be 3 winners. We are giving away $75, $50, and $25 gift cards to the winner's choice of book retailer."

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

And the second one is being provided by myself, and it's for a book of choice from the image below. Since this hop is all about friendships, I decided to pick a selection of books that have some of my FAVORITE fictional friendships ever. And YOU get to win one of them!! 
Daughter of Smoke and Bone*
The Art of Lainey
The Start of Me and You + Open Road Summer
The Raven Cycle*
The Remnant Chronicles*
Play On
The Infernal Devices*
I'll Meet You There

*If it's a series, you may pick whichever book in it you want (except if it's a pre-order; for instance, don't ask for The Raven King or The Beauty of Darkness). Also I WAS going to put HP on the list (obviously for the best trio of friendship ever), but I wanted to stick with the theme of this hop. So I went with books I don't know if I ever would have found had it not been for blogging. :)

***THIS IS INTERNATIONAL!!!***
So long as The Book Depository ships to your country! Also be sure to read the fine print before entering below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And be sure to check out the other stops for today's date! :D
Literary, Etc – Blogger RAK
Bibliobeth – Blogger Interview
Carpe Librum – Blog Besties

11 comments:

  1. Katniss is my fictional BFF!

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  2. Fun hop and great post. Always great hearing why blogging is important to different people. My favourite friendship is the one in Just Visiting, which releases next month. The friendship is gorgeous yet flawed and it's just lovely! Highly recommend the book, too!

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  3. I loved this, Holly. I'm only 4-5 months into blogging, but I already feel many similar things as you. It's such a great community. I feel like I've know some people for years. A great group of friends I love is Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf and Kai from The Lunar Chronicles :D.

    Sarah @ The Reading Petal

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  4. I didn't know you'd been blogging for so long! I have several favorite bookish friendships. Harry and Hermione from Harry Potter, Percy and Annabeth from Percy Jackson, and Kauru and Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I like your choices too.

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  5. URGH!! I just accidentally deleted my comment before I posted it!
    *cries*
    *resigns self to rewriting comment*

    I totally get what you mean about being the only bookish person you know irl!!
    The closest thing I ever got to bookish conversations in school was during the Twilight craze (which was year 9 for me), when some of the other girls in the class were reading Twilight.
    The other girls (who weren't reading it) still called us nerds and pretty much teased us for reading, but it was nice to not be the only one for a change.
    But seriously, they called us nerds...for reading Twilight.
    I found it rather amusing.

    Hmm...favourite bookish friendships...well, there's the obvious (Harry Potter), and I love all the friendships in Percy Jackson. There's The Raven Boys, and Rose and Lissa from Vampire Academy. There's Sophie and Jenna from Hex Hall. Emma and Angelique from Spellbound.
    And I'm sure there's more, I just can't think of them right now...

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  6. Harry and Hermione from Harry Potter, they have that sibling like relationship. Bex, Cammie, Liz and Macey from the Gallagher girls because they have each other' back. And Hale and Kat from Heist Society, because they are friends and something more, unlike Harry and Hermione they do have a romantic relationship, but they also support each other, and Hale is always there for Kat. Even when he is mad at her. And Simon and Clary and Alec and Jace from the mortal instruments.

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  7. Harry and Hermione, hands down, is one of the best friendships in books!!

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  8. I really enjoyed the friendship between Lia and Pauline from The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I also loved that book. Thank you so much for participating in this hop.

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  9. Awww this post is perfection!! Authors are not scary, elusive, mysteries. They are funny and sweet and kind individuals who genuinely want to interact with you. I love all the friendships I've made and the people I've met. I can't imagine not being a blogger either, oh the horrors!!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

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  10. Great post! My favorite fictional friendship is Duce and Stalker in the Enclave series! They worked so well together! Thank you so much for this chance!

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Comments always make me smile. :) Seriously. Even if you comment on the post weeks or months later, it makes my day! So don't hesitate to leave your thoughts even if it's been a long time since the post was published. I'll try to reply to you, especially if you ask a question, but sometimes life happens. But I do read and appreciate every single one of them because I know how hard it can be to find the time or energy to comment. So a heartfelt THANK YOU for brightening my day when you do. <3