Five Years of Book Smuggling…

Well, folks, it is official: it has been FIVE YEARS since we started The Book Smugglers. Five freaking years! We have officially outlived the lifespan of several television shows. We could have gone through a whole cycle of high school or college for an undergraduate degree (or a graduate degree – that actually happened)! If we were both alpacas, we’d be THIS big:

Klarice & Tebogo (5 year old alpacas)

That old adage about time flying when you’re having fun? Apparently that is 100% true, because we have been having a blast and it sure doesn’t feel like it has been long at all.

This year, instead of doing the retrospective month-by-month thing that we’ve done in the past to celebrate Smugglivus Proper, we’ve decided to highlight The BIG Moments over the past five years: our favorites, our firsts, our worsts, our triumphant, and most infuriating Fives!

Our 5 Most Memorable Posts:
In which we name our 5 favorite, most memorable posts of all time

Sisters Red liar

1. Cover Matters: On Whitewashing – an essay on the whitewashing of book covers (2/26/2010)
2. Harry Potter and The Book Smugglers – our tearful farewell to Harry and crew (7/15/2011)
3. Sisters Red Book Discussion – and ensuing shitshow in the comments and following Bitch-Media-Gate (7/10/2010-2/6/2011)
4. Book Blogger Con 2011 & 2012 Recaps – regarding the treatment of bloggers and relationship between bloggers and publishers
5. Hush, Hush Book Review – and ensuing insanity in the comments section (10/12/2009)

The 5 Most “Popular” Posts:
In which we reveal the surprisingly highest frequented posts since 2008 (according to Google analytics)

The Maze Runner the-absolutely-true-diary-of-a-part-time-indian-by-sherman-alexie

1. Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner (11/12/2009)
2. The Half-Year Mark: Best Books of 2012 (so far) (7/2/2012)
3. From the Page to the Screen: Hugo (12/12/2011)
4. Book Review: The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (7/28/2010)
5. Book Review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (7/31/2009)

Yep, the list surprised the crap outta us, too.

Our 5 Favorite Books/Reviews:
In which we grapple with our many, many reviews and try to narrow down an impossible list

Heir to Sevenwaters (US) Hero by Perry Moore

1. Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier (Fantasy, Rated 9, 11/12/2008)
2. Ark by Stephen Baxter (Science Fiction, Rated 10, 10/1/2009)
3. Hero by Perry Moore (SFF/YA/LGBT, Rated 10, 5/28/2010)
4. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness (YA Science Fiction/Dystopia, Rated 8/9/8, 1/21/2009)
5. Life as we Knew it & The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer (YA, Apocalypse/Dystopa, Rated 10/9, 12/8/2010)

The Queen of Attolia Fly by Night

1. The Queen’s Thief Series by Megan Whalen Turner (Fantasy, YA, Rated a Million, 7/29/2009)
2. The Dorothy L. Sayer’s Peter Wimsey books (starting with Strong Poison) (Crime Fiction, Rated 9, 12/26/2012)
3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E Wein (Historical Fiction, Rated 10, 2/10/2012)
4. Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge (Fantasy, MG, Rated 9, 7/12/2012)
5. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (Fantasy, Rated 9, 1/14/2011)

Our 5 Favorite Joint Reviews:
In which we name our 5 favorite collaborative book reviews

The Killing Moon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland

1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Fantasy; Ana 10/Thea 10; 7/4/2008)
2. Gullstruck Island by Frances Hardinge (MG/YA Fantasy; Ana 10/Thea 9; 8/16/2012)
3. The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (MG Fantasy; Ana 10/Thea 10; 5/13/2011)
4. The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson (Fantasy; Ana 9/8/8; Thea 8/7/8; 9/4/2009)
5. The Dreamblood Duology by N.K. Jemisin (Fantasy; Ana 9/10; Thea 9/8; 5/3/2012)

AND now it is nostalgia time – we take a look at our five BIG first moments (and last ones, too) on The Book Smugglers.

5 Major Firsts:
In which we take a look at our biggest first milestones

the-time-travelers-wife-book-cover Good Omens

1. First Reviews:
Ana: The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt (Romance, Rated 5, 1/7/2008)
Thea: Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (Horror/Fantasy Graphic Novel, Rated 9, 1/7/2008)

2. First Author Interview: Joel A. Southerland, editor of Fried! Fast Food, Slow Deaths (2/8/2008)

3. First Joint Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (Romance/SF/Literary, 1/18/2008)
Thea’s Rating: 4 – Bad, but not without some merit
Ana’s Rating: 5 – Take it or leave it

4. First Giveaway: Your Scandalous Ways by Loretta Chase

5. First Perfect 10!
Ana: Lord of the Fading Lands by C.J. Wilson (Romance/Fantasy, 2/29/2008)
Thea: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Sir Terry Pratchett (Fantasy/Comedy, 7/1/2008)

5 Lasts:
In which we allow a moment of silence to some old features that have gone the way of the dinosaur

On the Boob Tube

1. Appreciation/Feature Weeks – We used to do these week-long bonanzas dedicated to a certain theme! Some of our past favorites: Western Week, Steampunk Week and Manga Appreciation Week
2. The Boob Tube – We are TV junkies and used to have a weekend feature in which we would talk about our favorite shows of the week (we quickly realized this was an insane plan)
3. The Guest Dare – a formerly monthly endeavor in which we invite an unsuspecting victim to read a book totally outside of their comfort zone
4. From the Dungeons – in which we’d unearth (or drag out from the cobwebbed corners of our memory dungeons) some of our most favorite books/films/geekery and share with the world. Past entries include Thea’s love for Christopher Pike, Thea’s tween/teen obsession with Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, Ana’s Bollywood faves, etc…
5. From the Page to the Screen – in which we review films derived from books (examples: Kick-Ass, ‘Salem’s Lot, I Am Legend)

Now that we’re sufficiently bummed out over our lack of follow-through with these features, let’s look to awesome accomplishments and the future, shall we?!

5 Accomplishments of 2012:
In which we take a moment to bask in the glow of accomplishment


1. Our Smugglerific Newsletter – we’ve faithfully sent this out once a month over the full year of 2012, and plan to keep it going, baby!
2. All-time Reading Highs – in 2012, both Ana and Thea acheived personal bests in the number of books read and reviewed (154 and 155 reviews respectively)
3. Kirkus – this year, we were invited to write a regular Friday column over on Kirkus’ Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog
4. VPS Optimization & Advertising – one of our big goals for 2012 was to make sure our server migration was finalized and optimized, and to finally start seriously supporting affiliate links and advertising. And, by golly, we did it.
5. 3 million visitors – we hit and surpassed the big 3,000,000…and counting!

5 Goals for 2013:
In which we set lofty goals for ourselves in the coming year

1. Old School Wednesdays – Kinda inspired by our “From the Dungeons” defunct feature, with a dash of inspiration from Angieville’s Retro Fridays, we will attempt to review an oldie (published more than 5 years ago) every Wednesday this year.
2. More Frequent What She Saids – Yeah, yeah, we know we promised it before but we really mean it this time! The goal is to do one of these a month.
3. Bring the Dare Back – We’re disappointed in ourselves for letting the Dare slide last year. In 2013, we vow to Dare eachother on a much more frequent basis.
4. Super Secret Project (that is not ready to be announced yet) – Muwahahaha!
5. Bring Back the Feature Weeks – We are bringing them back because they are SO much fun. It all starts in February with our Crime & Mystery Appreciation Week!

PHEW. It has been quite a ride – thanks to all of YOU for reading, encouraging, and helping us through these past five years. Now here’s to another five great ones!


And with that we declare Smugglivus officially finished! Thank you so much to all of our guests (authors, publishers and bloggers) who made it all possible.

And as usual, we remain…

Ana Smuggler 2013 Thea Smuggler 2013

~ Ana and Thea, your friendly neighborhood Book Smugglers

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  • Amy @ My Friend Amy
    January 7, 2013 at 12:08 am

    congrats on five years! You constantly amaze me.

  • jenmitch
    January 7, 2013 at 12:53 am

    i loved this post! i was feeling very nostalgic about how long i’ve been getting (awesome) reviews from you gals.

    keep up the great work, and don’t let the haters get you down! (i was reading some of the vitriol in the comments sections from the controversial posts you mentioned — and to quote george takei: ohh my).

    also, is that thea (?) at the strand? best place to feed a smuggling addiction…

  • Andrea
    January 7, 2013 at 1:49 am

    Hope the next five are just as much fun!

  • Jennifer
    January 7, 2013 at 2:14 am

    Congratulations for these five years and thank you for sharing with us your passion for books.

  • Cindy
    January 7, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Congratulations to you both ! Reading your posts is a daily ray of sunshine, so keep up the good work ! And I can’t wait for your (secret) projects

  • Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin)
    January 7, 2013 at 4:23 am

    Happy Birthday!

  • KT Grant
    January 7, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Happy 5 years alpaca smuggles! ;P

  • Susan Jane Bigelow
    January 7, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Yay! Congrats on five years!!!

  • Karen Mahoney
    January 7, 2013 at 6:24 am

    I adore you both. Please, please keep going! Forever!!


    p.s. I am ridiculously happy to see that Ana included Strong Poison in her Top 5 reviews of the year. Not because I was involved or anything… *shifty*

  • Andria Buchanan
    January 7, 2013 at 6:41 am


  • lulufrances
    January 7, 2013 at 6:44 am

    wow five years, that’s long! congratulations πŸ™‚ to many more books and posts!

  • Amy @ Turn the Page
    January 7, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Congrats guys! You deserve it – The Book Smugglers is one of my favourite book blogs to stalk πŸ˜‰

    I’m constantly amazed and in awe (and jealous!) at how you guys consistently have in-depth reviews up almost every day, have the whole week planned in advance, a newsletter, giveaways and lots of guest posts! Seriously. HOW DO YOU DO IT!?

    Best of luck for 2013! πŸ˜€

    Btw: The comments on your Hush Hush review were crazy and hilarious/worrying!

  • AnimeJune
    January 7, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Happy blogaversary!

    Yes! DO bring back Guest Dares! I loved those things!

  • Martha Wells
    January 7, 2013 at 7:05 am


  • Victoria Hooper
    January 7, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Wow, five years! Congrats πŸ˜€

  • Thea
    January 7, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Thanks for the love, everyone!!!! We can’t believe it has been FIVE WHOLE YEARS. Where does the time go!?

    @Jenmitch – YEP, that’s me (Thea) at The Strand! I practically live there (the ridiculous amount of stuff I buy at that store constitutes rent, right?).

  • Sarah
    January 7, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Happy Blog Birthday! I’m so glad you guys are out there writing & reviewing

  • hapax
    January 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Congratulations on your blogversary!

    And THANK YOU for bringing back the Dares!

  • Bookgazing
    January 7, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Super accomplishment – well done ladies πŸ™‚

  • MarieC
    January 7, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Congrats! What a milestone!

  • Gerd D.
    January 7, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Congrats on doing a fine job for that long already.

    Oh, and I see we got a shot of Thea in her secret Bookcave… or was it just taken in a not so secret bookstore? πŸ˜€

  • April Books & Wine
    January 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Happy five year blogoversary — I remember quite a few of the posts listed and am totally looking forward to what you ladies come up with in the next few years. πŸ™‚

  • Limecello
    January 7, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Congratulations on five fabulous years of blogging – here’s to five (and many) more! \o/

  • Angie
    January 7, 2013 at 10:56 am

    What a rollercoaster five years it’s been. Congrats, you two! *hugs*

  • Axie
    January 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Congrats to my all time favorite blog!!! Here’s to another 5 years and then FOREVER!!!

  • Li
    January 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Congrats on five full-on years – loved this post!

  • Gabriela
    January 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Congratulations on those five years! Ana and Thea, I hope you know how much your work is appreciated. Thanks for keeping me adding more great stories to read.
    Ana, The QueenΒ΄s Thief Series might just be my favorite books of 2012 (IΒ΄ve just discovered them back then).
    Thea, thanks for loving Mara, Daughter of the Nile. Also a new favorite. ItΒ΄s awesome you have finished your dissertation.

  • Heidi
    January 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Ah!!! I love you ladies. Seriously, congratulations because 5 years is a HUGE accomplishment. That’s half a decade! I love everything you ladies have done with your blog, you constantly inspire me to read new books and remind me of important issues that are far too easy to brush aside when reading. Super excited to see theme weeks come back, check out Old School Wednesdays, and am waiting with some impatience to find out the super secret. Enjoy it, Ana and Thea! Hope the next 5 years are just as grand. πŸ™‚

  • Kristen
    January 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Congratulations on 5 years of blogging! You two constantly amaze me with all your awesome reviews and thoughtful, well-stated posts. Here’s to 2013 and many more years of blogging!

  • Ashley
    January 7, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Congrats on 5 years – I can’t remember when I officially started reading, but I think it was around year 2? My debit card says thanks! πŸ™‚

    Truly love this blog, it’s one of the very few that I read religiously. Outstanding Smugglivus 2012. Here’s to a fantastic 2013.

  • Ashleigh
    January 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Congrats on 5 years!! I’m very new to this site and a novice book smuggler myself πŸ˜€ I really enjoy your reviews, guest posts and so much more! I look forward to a great 2013 along with many more years of blogging! HAPPY 2013!

  • raych
    January 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm


    Way to keep up the production levels around here. So many blogs are dribbling off into nothing (or more casual somethings) but you two keep kicking nass and taking ames. Nope, I’m leaving that typo in there.

    Standing in awe of your brains, always.

    (Kiss me, Hardy! Kiss me, quickly!)

  • Lisa the Nerd
    January 7, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    WAY TO GO on five years! Wooooo!

  • Liz
    January 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Congrats on five years! What an awesome milestone.

  • Andrea
    January 7, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    @Thea – Just stumbled across a piece of artwork on Tumblr which matched your picture above! . Though you need a cat. πŸ™‚

  • erinf1
    January 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Congrats on the fabulous blogoversary! Here’s wishing you many many more πŸ™‚ Kudos ladies on such a fun and fabulous blog. I feel like I haunt it daily and I look forward to each new post!

  • Eliza
    January 8, 2013 at 3:11 am

    Congratulations on your anniversary. You have something to celebrate but I think it’s the readers that come out ahead. You do all the hard work and we get to enjoy your reviews, articles, and the fabulously entertaining Smugglivus. What I love most about your reviews is that you’re complete honesty but not mean or personal in your opinions. You don’t hesitate to compliment or call shenanigans when warranted. I’m looking forward to another great year of entertaining reading and seeing what the super secret special project will be.

  • Gabriella
    January 8, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Eeps Congrats! I only started reading your book reviews a month and a half ago- but it’s now my FAVORITE website, and I have it as one of my opening tabs πŸ™‚ You guys are my favorite bloggers, and I’ll always be checking the Book Smugglers daily for updates πŸ™‚ You guys are the best!

  • mclicious
    January 8, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Wooo! Themed weeks are something I’ll definitely look forward to!

  • GoddessCarlie
    January 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Congrats on the five years, and here’s to the future! This is my favourite book review site, always a joy to read. Loving the sound of the themed weeks πŸ˜€

  • Lisa @ Read.Breathe.Relax.
    January 21, 2013 at 10:59 am

    As one of the very first book blogs I ever read, The Book Smugglers have stayed at the top of my fave blogs list. Congrats to you guys! Staying true to yourselves and blogging is not an easy thing. You guys inspire me!

    Thanks for being excellent to each other and to us! πŸ˜€

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