Saturday, May 9, 2015

Impressions Turns Six! The long version. . .

Yesterday, May 8th, Impressions of a Reader had a birthday. I've been blogging at my small space for six years. My overall experience has been positive.

This last year was stressful. My personal life took a hit when my husband of 34 years took ill at the beginning of last year and passed away in October. That stress is reflected on the blog's content for late 2014 and 2015. However, although reading became almost impossible due to lack of concentration and blogging became an almost insurmountable challenge, I doggedly continued trying because reading is a part of me, and blogging has become an act of sharing I thoroughly enjoy.

I was away from the blogging community for months. When I finally returned, it quickly became clear that both the Romance and the SFF blogging communities were badly shaken and experiencing major ongoing controversies, changes, and challenges. It can be downright disheartening to witness such turmoil. And, just. . .  damn, life is too short! But we need do what we love and love what we do. Fight for our beliefs and do it with heart. There are bloggers out there doing just that. . . from different perspectives, but all with conviction. Kudos to you!

Impressions of a Reader is a small reader's blog, a speck in the blogging universe. It is my belief that small reader blogs are the heart of different blogging communities -- Romance, LGBT, SFF, Fiction. But many small blogs are closing down. Today, I am going to play advocate for small reader blogs because it is up to readers like you and me to keep them around. Why? Large publisher backed, multi-reviewer blogs have much to offer. Some are downright fantastic and I follow a few them. They offer the latest news, show the latest releases, and showcase reviews by multiple bloggers (authors & readers alike). However, going by personal experience, nothing compares with the intimacy, candor, enthusiasm, and comfortable environment found in small reader blogs.

These are the places I seek out when I want to participate in a healthy book discussion or just want to read a review. I love the honesty with which bloggers express their pleasure or disappointment in a book. Additionally, once I get to know a blogger, it no longer matters to me whether our points of view match on a particular book because in the end I still respect his or her opinion. So, check out some small reader blogs, find a few places where you feel comfortable, where you can read honest reviews by bloggers with the same, or differing, points of view from your own. A place where you feel comfortable discussing books or heck just lurking and reading the reviews!

Okay, that is done. So what's next for me?
  • For the rest of 2015 my plan is to continue reading and blogging as often as I am able. My reading pace has improved within the last couple of months. That's a step forward. 
  • I am not accepting ARCs until further notice (See Disclosure Page). 
  • I haven't been consistent in grading my reviews this past year, although I am still posting grades along with my end-of-month recaps. 
  • All of the above will be reassessed by the end of 2015. All will be updated by January 2016. 
I would like to thank everyone who drops by Impressions of Reader - the Romance, Literary Fiction, SFF, & LGBT reading communities. Your support is greatly appreciated and never taken for granted.

Top overall posts/reviews, listed by category

Literary FictionDrown by Junot Diaz (#1 overall)
SFFBook Discussion: Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (Parts III & IV)
  Overview: The Expanse by James S.A. Corey (Leviathan Wakes #1, Caliban's War #2) 
  Overview: Old Man's War Series by John Scalzi (Old Man's War #1, The Ghost Brigades #2) - Picked up under References by Wikipedia (See #10 & #11)
Mystery/FictionTV vs. Books: A&E's Longmire vs. Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson
Urban FantasyShadowfever (Fever, Book #5) by Karen Marie Moning
RomanceThe Witness by Nora Roberts
  The Endearment by Lavyrle Spencer
  A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
LGBTFrom Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction ed. Charles Rice-González & Charlie Vázquez


  1. I love your thoughts on this!! Congrats on six years though...that is quite a accomplishment. I am one of those smaller blogs, and even though I occasionally visit the large ones, I prefer bonding the with the smaller ones because they are more personal. I actually trust their reviews and opinions way more than the larger ones.

    1. Thanks Renee. It's a great way to get involved and to share our love for books. Keep on blogging! :)

  2. Happy 6th Birthday! I agree we need to support small blogs more. I will visit, but rarely comment, maybe I need to change that. You're a strong one, Hils and an admirable one. Love that you're still blogging.

    1. Mariana! I appreciate your support, always. Thank you my friend.

  3. Happy blogiversary, Hils! I echo Mariana in saying you're an incredibly strong woman, it's been a tough year for you and I'm (selfishly) glad you're finding your blogging rhythm again.

    Great thoughts on the small reader blog - I think there's definitely space for all kinds of blogs out there, blogging isn't a zero sum game!


    1. Hey Li! Thank you. And yeah... there's room for everyone. Yours is one of my favorite places to visit. :)

  4. Congrats on hitting six years! I also had my sixth year blogoversary but mine was in March (and I'm celebrating it a bit late but...oh well, lol).

    I'm so sorry to hear about your husband...although I must agree with Bookdaze and Mariana in that you're a very strong person! I hope the rest of 2015 treats you well both blogging-wise and in real life<3

    I kept nodding my head as I read your post...I'm in a frame of mind where I'm re-examining my blog and assessing what's best for me as a blogger. I also agree that smaller blogs tend to be more personal and more honest...not that bigger blogs aren't honest but the space (whether it's a vlog or a blog) feels different.

    1. Hi Sandy! Thanks and congratulations to you too! It's never too late to celebrate your accomplishments. :)

      Reassessing after a while is a good thing, it keeps us on our toes! Right? What really attracts me to a reader's blog is the blogger's love of sharing books and the comfortable environment that comes from that.

  5. Hilcia, congratulations on your blog!!
    I enjoyed reading your words and yes, small blogs can offer wonderful hidden suggestions-gems and that's why I like them too, even when I only lurk there.
    Thank you for being there despite everything. I hope you'll never go away...


    1. Sonia, thank you for all your support and great book discussions. Hopefully, I will be sticking around for a while.


  6. It's amazing how fast the time goes by, doesn't it? I'm so happy you've been able to find your way back to blogging after the upheaval and loss you experienced last year. I agree, while the big blogs do have a lot to offer, there's an intimacy and a "voice" to a lot of the quirkier, smaller blogs that I enjoy. I haven't seen KristieJ "in person" in almost 2 years, but when I see her in July I know it will feel like no time has passed at all - and that's the feeling the smaller blogs give me. I'd hate to lose that forever.

    1. Wendy, times flies! Thank you for all your support. Reading has been a constant in my life, no matter the circumstances, I don't believe that will ever change. Blogging about it is still a pleasure I don't want to abandon. As I say above, it has been a positive experience for me.

      Anyway, re: small blogs. Your last blog post had me thinking about the possibility of losing so many of my favorite small blogs. They are all unique. Too many are gone already and I miss them. And PS: I'm so glad Kristie is back, it's like she never went away.

  7. Happy belated Blogiversary Hils!! It's crazy how time flies! I'm so glad that we all started blogging, that we found each other through our love of reading.

    Guess I really should keep going :P

    1. Thanks you Nath! Tell me about it. . . time is relentless. I so glad we found each other too! I can't tell you how much. :) I can't thank you enough.

      And yes, come back.... I miss you!!!!!

  8. A very Happy belated 6th Anniversary my friend! I know how difficult the last year has been for you personally and in respect of your reading and reviewing. But you're still here doing what you love and that means everything!!! Here's to another 6+++ years.

    Big hug,


    1. Indie, thank you for your steadfast personal support this last year, and throughout the past years. You know how I feel about you.

      I'm reading again and that makes me happy. The battle now resides in finding the words, time, and energy. Slowly but surely, I will get back on track.

      Hugs my friend.


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