Two Years of Book Smuggling…

When we started this blog two years ago, we had no idea where it would lead us. We had no real expectations to have actual readers (other than close friends and family members), nor did we expect publishers and authors to contact us (or to reply to us when contacted), and we definitely did not expect it to become such a huge part of our lives. Last year when we celebrated our first anniversary, we talked about how The Book Smugglers began, but this year we thought we could do something different. For our second year of Book Smuggling, we’d like to celebrate by taking a retrospective look at the past year, month by month, to revisit what we loved about blogging this year.

Don’t get us wrong, we do love everything about blogging and running The Book Smugglers: the reading, the thinking about books, the books that get a “10” rating, the books that get a “1” rating, the chats with authors, the guest bloggers, the events, the comments, the lurkers. But there are also those truly special moments that remind us why we got started in this consuming hobby to begin with – and we are going to take a look at those such events, closest to our hearts…


  • January 7th, we celebate our first anniversary with a Big Move: we move our blog from Blogspot to WordPress and unveil our new blog design (the one that you are seeing right now)
  • Soon after the Big Move, what we have come to call the “Grand Statistical Collapse” happens and almost sends Ana (a.k.a. the stats whore) to an early grave. With the move, our Google Page Rank plummeted and our RSS Feed went AWOL – feed subscribers fell from more than 300 to a meager 45. We basically have to rebuild our readership almost from scratch. But it’s ok, we love a challenge!
  • While Ana freaks out about a loss of showy statistics, Thea tears out her hair trying to fix the myriad problems that are inevitable when switching from a public platform to a (more) private web host. Thea nearly goes certifiably insane trying to consolidate RSS Feeds, setting up 401-redirects, switching and archiving posts/images/comments from Google’s Blogger platform to the shiny new WordPress platform, installing the new web design, and manipulating HTML/CSS code, amongst other headaches
  • We have our first Official Event of 2009 with Manga Appreciation Week (January 12 – 16)
  • Ana (finally) reads her first Juliet Marillier novel on a Dare from Thea, tackling Ms. Marillier’s first Sevenwaters book, Daughter of the Forest. Ana promptly falls in love with this author.


  • For the release of Bone Crossed we are offered the opportunity to interview Patricia Briggs, one of Thea’s favorite authors since middle school, IN PERSON. We are still wondering how Thea managed to survive the experience.
  • Thea somehow manages to convince Ana to allow and participate in our second Official Event of 2009 with Zombie Appreciation Week (February 22 – 28)…and Ana actually likes it.
  • We make the Preditors and Editors Top 10 Review Sites of 2008 list, thanks to all that voted for us!


  • One of our favorite Official Events of 2009 happens when the movie adaptation of Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons’s classic comic, Watchmen comes out in theaters. To celebrate the on-screen debut of what is commonly hailed as the best graphic novel ever written, we Book Smugglers hold our official Watchmen Long Weekend – a crazy weekend event during which we went all out by analyzing the book and reviewing the movie. Basically the post went unread (the only two comments for our dissertation of a post are our own). But hey, “Remembering The Watchmen” remains one of our favorite posts EVER. We just love geeking out like that.
  • We participate in our first Blog Tour of 2009 with an author guest post/giveaway and joint review of Ann Aguirre’s Blue Diablo.
  • We take part in an internet-spanning event hosted by the good folks at Alert Nerd (who – since this first, serendipitous meeting – have become one of our essential ‘go to’ websites and blogging buddies) with our “That’s Our Scott and Jean” post (in which we finally came out as the Great Geeks that we are to basically moan about Jack from Lost)


  • Ana reviews fantasy novel The Painted Man by Petter Brett, which sparks a great discussion about Rape in Fiction, which leads to another great discussion concerning whether an author’s comments in reviews (especially in less-than-favorable reviews) are welcome or not
  • In honor of the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine in theaters, we hold our official Wolverine Weekend – in which we geek out over our own X-Men reading origins, our love for Wolvie, culminating in our review of the movie on May 3rd.


  • We learn that Joel A. Sutherland’s debut horror novel Frozen Blood makes the final ballot for a 2009 Bram Stoker Award! Since Joel is the first author to ever have contacted The Book Smugglers for a review, we are very excited for him…
  • The Name of the Wind Incident occurs – in which Ana goes rogue and reads the book before Thea does (and Thea had the book and had been dying to read it for much longer than Ana). To inflame matters, Ana falls desperatly in love with Patrick Rothfuss and his writing and cannot shut up about how wonderful The Name of the Wind is. Thea is not pleased.
  • Thea geeks-out hard core in anticipation for the 2009 adaptation of Star Trek with a countdown of her Original Series favorite episodes.
  • Ana goes apoplectic when she learns that “Patrick Rothfuss Loves Ana” back
  • Thea reads Flood and finds Stephen Baxter – a hard science fiction author that has since become one of her favorite writers.
  • After months of anticipation and hype, Thea watches Terminator: Salvation and is devastated by how terrible the movie is. But, she IS impressed with Aussie newcomer, Sam Worthington (whose name you might want to remember…)


  • We review our shared Worst Read of 2009: Night’s Rose by Annaliese Evans. The review sparks another great discussion about genre mis-marketing.
  • One of Thea’s favorite authors of all time, fantasy novelist Jacquelie Carey, agrees to write a guest post for us. This, naturally, causes Thea to hyperventilate for two hours.
  • Thea drives out to the Dark Delicacies signing in Burbank to meet author Joel Sutherland, who is in town for the Stoker Awards. Thea embarrasses herself by becoming a starstruck, babbling buffoon in the presence of all the heavy-hitter authors of the horror genre.


  • Our very first Young Adult Appreciation Month lasts over 5 weeks (July 15 – August 22) and marks a turning point for The Book Smugglers. Thea already had been reading loads of YA novels prior to this event, but Ana is a newbie to the genre and falls in love with the spectrum of YA reads. The blog is now more eclectic than ever. Great authors and bloggers stop by for guest posts, and the event is a resounding success (at least, it’s a huge success in Thea’s mind since she can now say to Ana: “I told you so.”)
  • Total Numbers for Young Adult Appreciation month are as follows: 49 Books Reviewed (31 by Thea, 13 by Ana, 5 Joint Reviews). Insanity.


  • It’s 2009’s annual Book Blogger Apreciation Week (September 14 – 18) takes place, and more than 1000 blogs participate. We devote hours to blogging for the week and become award judge panelists for Best Thriller/Mystery Blog and Best Diversity Blog. We then learn that we have been nominated for 16 awards, and we win 2: Best Collaborative Blog and Best Graphic Novel Blog!
  • On the curtails of our victory, we write our Website Manifesto and make our sinister blogging agenda known to the world (mmmwahammmuwahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHA!). In the words of Dexter Morgan, “Presto Manifesto.”
  • We participate in another Blog Tour with a guest post/giveaway from Kristin Cashore and a review of her new release, the Young Adult fantasy novel Fire


  • The Revised FTC Guidelines, with new blogger culpability/regulations are officially released – and they cause D-R-A-M-A! We put up the requisite disclaimers, but make our own position on the matter very clear.
  • Ana reads Hush, Hush and hates it with a passion. The post is one that still gets many comments. A common theme amongst these comments are that Ana must be old and therefore should not be readng these books. Ahem.
  • Thea reads Ark – her favorite flippin’ book of 2009 and her first (one of only TWO) 10 rated book of the year. Her obsession with the science fiction of Stephen Baxter reaches new highs.
  • Halloween Week 2009 takes place and Thea makes Ana submit to Horror-genre torture once again in the form of anthology reading and movie marathons. Amongst our favorite highlights of the week include authors Diana Peterfreund & Carrie Ryan’s guest post (a.k.a. fangirl love-fest) about Christopher Pike, Thea’s favorite sci-fi/horror films post, and Ana’s Alien/Aliens movie marathon (in which she FINALLY discovers the wonder that is Ellen Ripley).
  • Ana is invited to attend the Gollancz Autumn Party where she mingles with awesome authors (where she did NOT do any of the following: attack Alex Bell because she loved Jasmyn so much; make a fool of herself in front of Sam Sykes; make Mark Chadbourn take a Book Smuggler business card or else; have an anxiety attack when standing next to Joe Abercombrie; attack the waitress when she came around with those wonderful mini-burgers. These are vicious lies spread by our enemies!). She did have an amazing, unforgettable time and loved meeting everybody and spending time with cool bloggers such as Graeme, Gav, Liz, and Mark. (Meanwhile, Thea sat at home turning puke green with envy)


  • Thea is invited to an early press screening of New Moon three weeks prior to the official release date – and boy, was that a comical experience! (The review explains all)
  • We are officialy invited to become bloggers for the amazing THAT email causes both of us to go catatonic.


  • Our official month-long year-end celebration, Smugglivus 2009 begins with all its ensuing MADNESS! Smugglivus this year includes more than 60 guest authors and bloggers, multiple reviews, myriad giveaways, and, most importantly, loads of fun.
  • The Hacker Situation occurs. Repeatedly. Someone continues to hack our WordPress (probably via some plugin, or maybe it has something to do with the recent crappy WordPress Version 2.9 upgrade) and our feed becomes repeatedly spammed. Thea gets a month-long headache and must manually fix the feed on a daily basis, and she comes to dread the inevitable email from Ana every other morning informing her that the feed problem is back. We change passwords, email our hosting provider, but so far no solution is in sight and Thea resorts to manually fixing the feed code every day (an aside: IF anyone has a similar problem or knows how to fix this, permanently, PLEASE HELP!).

So that’s our month-by-month recap of 2009! In addition to these highs (and lows), we also initiated a ton of new Smuggler Features last year, including: Inspirations and Influences, in which authors talk about the ideas/inspirations/influences behind their books; On the Boob Tube, because we are such couch potatoes and we love to share the love for our favorite TV shows every week (in addition, Ana started her insanely long, caps-ridden Lost Recaps every weekend too); On the Smugglers’ Radar, in which we pimp upcoming books we are dying to read; and finally, What She Said, in which we read & review books that the other Smuggler has already reviewed (this came after the fallout surrounding The Name of the Wind Incident back in May).

Phew. 2009 was undoubtably a busy year. But we feel like we’ve only just started! And so, to our 1200+ daily visitors, to our 930 feed subscribers, to the publishers and authors that support us, to all of our friends, acquaintances, regular commenters, and lurkers, we say THANK YOU! Book Smuggling wouldn’t be half as fun without you all.

And with that we declare Smugglivus officially finished! Until next year, we remain…

~ Ana and Thea, your friendly neighborhood Book Smugglers

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  • Karen Mahoney
    January 7, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Aw… I got a little teary-eyed reading all this. You’ve had a great year, ladies, and the blogsophere would NOT be the same without you. In fact… the WORLD wouldn’t be the same without you! 🙂

    You complete me.


  • Ladybug
    January 7, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Congratulations on your blogoversary 😀 I’m looking forward to continue following The Book Smugglers in 2010. Now I really have to go study(exam on Monday!), have been reading and following links on this post and my how time flies.

  • Mandi
    January 7, 2010 at 5:24 am

    Congrats on two years…I loved your recap too!

  • Jamie
    January 7, 2010 at 6:25 am

    My personal fave was dystopian month. I still go back and refer to your posts about it for new books to read. Congrats on a fab two years and keep up the fantastic work! :mrgreen:

  • Sandy Williams
    January 7, 2010 at 7:04 am

    I think Karen Mahoney told me about your site about a year ago. I’ve been visiting ever since and I absolutely love it. This is definitely my favorite book review blog.

    Keep up the good work.

    And so sorry to hear about the hacker thing. I hate a-holes. 👿

  • Carolyn Crane (CJ)
    January 7, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Hey! Happy anniversary! You guys have built an empire. Oh, I had no idea on that hacker thing. have you tried going to the forums and posting the question??

  • simon
    January 7, 2010 at 8:39 am

    Thanks for all your support and enthusiasm. Here’s to more excitement in 2010.

  • azteclady
    January 7, 2010 at 8:40 am

    😮 It’s only been two years??? Really?

    Well, you should know, after all, but it seems you’ve been around forever, ladies, you are such a fixture around blogland.

    Here’s raising my coffee to your continued success and enjoyment during 2010 (and many more years after)

  • Amber
    January 7, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Congrats on two years!

  • Diana Peterfreund
    January 7, 2010 at 8:41 am

    What a great year! Also, Thea, had you heard that Ann Aguire and another writer have teamed up together to write female-focused SF under the name Ellen Connor, after Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley, which just makes the fangirl in me swoon?

    Also, I know you are having problems with your site but it won’t load for me anymore when I go to It’s just light gray text against a dark green outline. If I look at individual posts, the white box is there, but not on the homepage. Just thought you should know.

  • Jen D.
    January 7, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Happy Blogoversary!! Congratulations on another great year. Wishing you continued success!


  • david
    January 7, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Congratulations on two wonderful years, I wish you many more spreading the good word about the books you love.

  • AnimeJune
    January 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Congratulations on another awesome year!

    I also managed to convert someone else to the Smugglers – I noticed that the books my sister Katie tended to read and love were all books that had, at one point or another, been recommending by your site (she likes quality YA).

    Now she’s hooked – ha!

  • KMont
    January 7, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Here’s lookin’ at you, Smugglers. 😉 Can’t believe it’s been another year, but it was a great one while checking out all the shenanigans over here. Looking forward to all you two have to say in 2010.

  • MaryK
    January 7, 2010 at 10:08 am

    You guys do a great job. The variety on this blog is amazing, and I love your chatty review style; it conveys the feel of books in a way more formal reviews don’t.

    Happy Anniversary! 😀

  • AnimeJune
    January 7, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Also – how could I forget to mention? Thank you for the Guest Dare!

  • katiebabs
    January 7, 2010 at 11:38 am

    CHEERS!! Here’s to another great year and more awesome reviews from one of the best review sites around.

  • Lustyreader
    January 7, 2010 at 11:50 am

    *breaking out the champers* what? it’s 5 o’clock somewhere! cheers to you ladies, i absolutely adore your blog and you two are the funniest and best book pimpers around, here is to a fabulous year three *raises glass and drinks deeply followed by dazed smile*

    yall are awesome

  • Leonard Desir Jr
    January 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Just stumbled upon your blog and will definitely be back to see what posts you have made about interesting books out there. Congratulations on two years of success.

  • Helen
    January 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    What an impressive summary! Congratulations! How do you keep track of all that?

  • Adrienne
    January 7, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    That’s funny, you called Ana a whore (stats whore, not a hoora whore)..that totally made me laugh and this has been the shittiest day. Ana-you are not old you just have good taste and Hush Hush was a frakken horrible book-thank you Twilight (grrrrrrrr) 👿

    Thank you again for all that you do for us readers that are afraid to buy a book only to be bitterly disappointed (cream, anyone?)

    Here is to 2010 with so many books and so little time! 😆

  • Nikki @ Bookizzle
    January 7, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Cheers to 2 years and an awesome 2010! The Book Smugglers is one of my absolute favorites around the blogosphere. You guys do such a wonderful job keeping us updated with fantastic reviews and spotlighting the latest-and-greatest!

    Thanks for all your hard work and congratulations!

  • Ana
    January 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm


  • Danielle
    January 7, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Hopefully one day the rest of us pions will have half as impressive a year as you to 🙂

    And, yay for Smugglivius!

  • Li
    January 7, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Loved the wrap-up of 2009! Excellent highlights.

    I have noticed your feed hasn’t been appearing promptly in my feed reader, but put that down to the fact I really need to switch to a better reader. Hope you get the feed issues sorted out soon!

  • Thea
    January 7, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you EVERYONE for the well-wishes and congratulations! I cannot believe it has been two whole years of book smuggling wonderfulness :mrgreen: And it totally would not have been possible without all of you readers – so THANK YOU!

    And to answer the hacker 👿 feed questions – we *think* the problem has been resolved. I was able to find some hidden files in our database and eradicated those evil things. Hopefully everyone’s feeds should be ok now!

    And Diana – wow, really? Hmm, I wonder if anyone else is having this loading problem? I’ve checked out the site on a few different computers and it seems to be ok, so perhaps it’s a slow internet connection or a setting on your computer? I’ll try cleaning up some code and getting rid of the goodreads flash plugin and hopefully that will help some. Please let us know if you have any other problems!

  • Kristen
    January 7, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Congrats and happy blog anniversary! This is definitely one of my very top blogs and I’m looking forward to reading much more this year. 🙂

  • Tiah B
    January 7, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Happy Anniversary Smugglers! I have read so many amazing books based on your reviews. I thank you, my wallet does not.

  • Kati
    January 7, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Congratulations, Smugglers! I’ve enjoyed every single moment of this year with you both. And, as always, I am in awe of you both for the superior content you generate on a daily basis.

    Ana continues to be my reviewing idol!

    Big hugs!


  • Marie
    January 7, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Congrats on your anniversary! You’ve introduced me to so many new books/authors, I’m in your debt!

    Here’s to many more anniversarys to come!!


  • Christine
    January 7, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Congratulations and best wishes for continued success. I echo Carolyn’s sentiment that you two have built an empire! It’s obvious you both work very hard at making the Book Smugglers the awesomeness that it is … and very importantly, it’s obvious it is a labor of love for you. Have fun and don’t forget the little people! LOL 😉


  • Veronica F.
    January 8, 2010 at 5:32 am

    happy anniversary guys!
    I stumbled upon ur site almost 2 years ago and was one of those lurkers, lol. it took me about half a year to finally post but boy am i glad i did,cuz its been fun. didnt always agree with ur reviews but Ive always liked them for their honesty and great breakdown. thanks for all ur hard work 🙂

  • Cindy
    January 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Happy (late) birthday, ladies ! And since it was also my birthday, a double slice of cake ! I stumbled upon your site one month ago and I was in paradise. I really enjoy your reviews, challenges and all the so cool innovations. Thank you for that invaluable work. I wish you a long and happy booksmuggling !

  • orannia
    January 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you both for an amazing year! I am so looking forward to 2010 (in which I WILL read Name of the Wind 🙂 ).

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  • Greg
    January 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Congratulations on 2 years – and thanks for putting that recap of the past year together – very insightful.

  • Chachic
    January 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Happy Anniv, Smugglers! 😀 I love your reviews and features. I was just wondering if you guys have a Livejournal feed? I have an LJ and it would be easier for me if I could add your feed to my friends list.

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