Armchair BEA: Blog Development and Favorite Books by Genre

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armchair bea
Design credit: Sarah of Puss Reboots

Armchair BEA is challenging us today to think about defining our blog’s development. To me, blog development is how my blog has improved or changed over the year and where I see it going. My blog started as focusing on my small victories of my life and motherhood, whether it’s a delicious recipe my family loves or a captivating book I read. In 2013, I signed up for lots of reading challenges and quickly have become a reading challenge addict.

With my focus lately more on books, here are my top 3 goals I’ve accomplished to develop my blog over the past year.

1. Joined blogging networks. I am a member of The SITS Girls whose motto is “The Secret to Success is Support.” It’s free to join, they have regular blogging tips and provide valuable resources to newbies and veterans alike. I love their forums where members can ask questions about any blogging topic. While SITS is not specifically for book bloggers, any blogger can join and get the support of other women bloggers, a community of 40,000 strong. I am also a member of the Mom Bloggers Club which is similar to SITS.

2. Be more active in Google +. I didn’t know much about Google + but knew that Facebook was driving me crazy with their shenanigans, like limiting the number of people who can see my posts. While I still chat on Facebook, I jumped ship to Google + and have really enjoyed interaction I find there with the Book Bloggers Do It Better Community and the Love of Reading Community. Google+ is quickly becoming my preferred network because of these communities, and signing up for Google authorship helps my SEO.

3. Participated in Bloggiesta and Biannual Blogathon Bashes. These blogging marathons, Bloggiesta which is dedicated to book bloggers and the Biannual Blogathon Bash which is for all bloggers, are instrumental in teaching me ways to improve my blog while dedicating a weekend to accomplish my growing to-do list.



Here are my additional goals to help develop my blog over the next year:

1. Partnering with another blogger to give each other constructive feedback, brainstorm blog post ideas and find other ways to support one another. I’m happy to have found another blogger to bounce ideas off of and look forward to what we can come up together.

2. Sending in my blog’s information to be the featured blogger on The SITS Girls and Book Bloggers International.


3. Be more active in promoting my blog locally, get involved in my local Mom Bloggers Group, make blog business cards, bookmarks or a stamp.

4. Get and give guest posts. I love reading features with blogger interviews and confessions. Hoping I can round up some guest bloggers to feature and have post on my blog. Think we have similar taste in books or want to do a guest post? Shoot me an email to tanya{at}momssmallvictories{dot}com and let me know!

5. Get more involved in Bloggiesta, I am hoping to host a mini-challenge in the next mini-Bloggiesta coming up July 20-21, 2013. Stay tuned!

What has helped you develop your blog and grow your readership? Any Google+ Communities or Facebook Groups that you enjoy? Do you belong to any book blogger networks or have your site registered in a book blogger directory?Β 


*****Favorite Books by Genre*****

In addition to blog development, we’re discussing our favorite genre fiction (and I’m adding non-fiction). I have been trying to read outside my mainstream fiction and chick lit paperback comfort zone this year and I must say I’ve enjoyed branching out in both the genres and format of books I’ve read. Β Here are my favorite books I have read by genre:

Favorite Classic: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Persuasion by Jane Austen

Favorite Young Adult Dystopian Novels: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica

Other Favorite Young Adult: The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #1) by Michael Scott

Favorite Vampire Novel: Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Favorite Audiobook: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, narrated by Sissy Spacek

Favorite Laugh Out Loud Funny Non-Fiction: Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster and I Just Want to Pee Alone by “Kick-Ass Mom Bloggers”

Other Favorite Non-Fiction: The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the World’s Happiest Places by Eric Weiner

Favorite World/Cultural Fiction: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (China), The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar and Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (India) and The Book Thief (Germany)

Favorite Historical Fiction: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana deRosnay and The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Favorite Creepy Thriller: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Favorite Imagery: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Favorite Kid’s Picture Books: Are You Grumpy, Santa by Greg Spiridellis and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Sciezka

What genre of books do you typically enjoy? What genres are outside of your comfort zone but you are wanting to try? What are your favorite books of 2013? Leave me a comment and let me know! As always, happy reading!Β 



  1. I think it’s terrific that you’ve listed down your accomplishments and goals! Good luck!

    I just finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Loved it. Moving onto The Fault In Our Stars by John Green next!

  2. Oh my gosh, the book I abandoned ‘The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ for was Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It is one of the best fiction books I’ve ever read. Guess I made the right choice.

  3. Best wishes as you work to make your blog what you want it to be. What a great thing to put time and effort into. I hope it pays off!

    Happy Sharefest. I hope you have a lovely weekend.

  4. I haven’t gotten into Google + yet but it sounds like it would be a better place to interact with bloggers than Facebook. I kind of prefer to keep Facebook for family and friends; seems I share enough of my own life on my blog! I’ll have to check it out.

  5. Thanks for the wonderful links to those challenges. I like doing those as well and get new followers each time. Plus, I find some wonderful sites that was somehow hidden from view.

    Facebook: I totally agree with you. Sometimes I cannot even find people or family I know have an account. Why do they not give complete results on a search Now they are doing some new kind of featured page but it is by invitation only. What is that? There is too much change and limiting posts and who can see them is frustrating.

    I too changed to Google + but have not had enough time to get involved like I want to. Thanks gain for the links to the Google + Boo groups. That will help.

  6. Hi! I have been meaning to do Bloggiesta for so long but every time it comes up I am swamped with other things. πŸ™ I really hope to do the next one though. *fingers crossed*

    I don’t really read classics but Persuasion is one I want to check out so it makes me happy to see it is one of your favorites. And yay for Divergent! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for stopping by my post!

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

  7. I’ve tried figuring out Google+, but I haven’t made much progress with it. I really need to dedicate some more time to working with it because everyone seems to be using it.

    Persuasion is my favorite novel ever. I could read it over and over again and never, ever get tired of it.

  8. I love that you’re partnering with another blogger to give each other constructive criticism and to bounce ideas off of…that’s a great idea. I need to create some business cards too. I definitely use Google+ but not more than Facebook–though I completely understand your reasons for switching over. Nice post!

  9. I really loved The Hunger Games. It was what got me into YA in the firs place. I think it had a huge role in making the dystopian genre more popular. I wish I had local blogger blubs like you, but I know few bloggers form the same country, so we chat whenever we get the chance, but we’re really few.

    Great post!

  10. Wow, all those things you mentioned are things I really want to do as well! I have been blogging for a year now, but really want to do more guest posts and everything. I still have yet to get a hang of Google + but thanks for letting me know about those groups on there! πŸ™‚

    Leanne @ Escaping With Books

  11. I have a Google+ account but I haven’t managed to get into it yet. I think I just need to spend a few days really working out how it works and how to get the best out of it. Twitter is definitely my go to for blogging though, I love the chats I have with other bloggers and authors on there.

    Your goals are so great, espcially number 1. I sort of did something similar earlier this year when I met a bunch of Australian bloggers. We got to chat about what we liked, what our issues were, how we handle authors etc. It’s the sort of thing you just can’t discuss with your regular friends, so it was nice to meet people who actually understood!

  12. Great post, I am also a member of SITS and don’t really use the site as much as I should! The same for Google+ although I always share my posts and have a few circles. I will investigate the book bloggers international & I am a new follower!

  13. I really enjoyed Bloggiesta, but I’ve only done it once. I’m hoping to do it again the next time. I love your favorites list, so many good books listed!! There a few I still need to try and read as well, so I’ll have to write them down to remember.

  14. Oh, I am completely amazed at everything you do to branch out with your blog! Some of it sounds like fun, but others would be a little too much for me.

    I love how you added a favorite book for all these different genres, I found a couple to add to my TBR πŸ™‚

    Thanks for stopping by over at my blog earlier. It’s really nice to get to know you!

  15. Hi! thanks for dropping by my site I followed you back πŸ˜€
    I’ll try to check out the site you mention.
    and here’s to celebrating small victories \_/ \_/ cheers! keep up the good work and keep moving forward! ^_^

  16. I’m not really into Google +. I use facebook and twitter and have a hard enough time staying somewhat caught up with them. I’m not sure I’ll ever get into Google +.

    Also, I would love to do an interview or guest post for your blog some time! I’ll try to remember to email you soon! πŸ™‚

  17. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog, it’s so great to connect with you again. You have a new follower in me as well!
    You have amazing taste in book- every one you have said is either on my to read list or I’ve read and loved! Look forward to chatting with you more!!! πŸ™‚

  18. I love to see how your blog as evolved, that’s awesome (and so are reading challenges)!

    I am not planning on joining google + anytime soon, but I’m so glad it’s working for you. I really just don’t want to learn how to use anything new (though I will agree that facebook changing the posts feed sucked).

    Bloggiesta is one of my favorite things I was so bummed I couldn’t participate last time. I look forward to seeing what your challenge is!

  19. Wow I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for all the good ideas and sharing how you developed your blog πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely check out the communities you linked.

  20. Firstly thank you for your comment on my blog. Are you by this time a little confused where you have been and which blogs you left comments on! I am!

    I have been thinking about Google+, google almost drives you into there if you use google things like I do. I have ignored Google+ but it is probably something I should join in with.

    I love Little Women books when I was growing up. Have also read Hunger Games trilogy and To Kill a Mockingbird. You sure read widely!
    Kathryn from Book Date.

  21. Wow, what a great list of favorite books in so many genres! I’ve enjoyed many of those, too, and others I still need to get to.

    I am impressed by all your blogging goals. I don’t have the time (or energy) to do much more right now, though I have been considering Google +. I’ve had the window open in my browser all week! Problem is that I am already overwhelmed and have trouble keeping up (which is why I haven’t tried Pinterest or Twitter yet either!) Not sure I want another networking tool to keep track of. Still thinking about it…I guess I need to better understand how it works and what it does.

    You have a local Mom Bloggers’ Group?? How cool! How did you find out about that?

    I’m doing Armchair BEA, too, so stop by. I also kicked off my annual summer challenge this week, so join in the fun!


    Book By Book

    Big Book Summer Challenge

  22. I’m not very good at Google+. I do have a Facebook page for my blog, but I don’t use it much. It’s mostly there so friends and family who don’t know how to use RSS feeds can still see what I’m blogging. I love using Twitter though, and have had some great discussions there.

  23. I am a reading challenge addict too! However, this year I scaled way back since my daughter is getting married in July. I will have way more time in August!

  24. You have really great and helpful development tips! As a new blogger, I really appreciate reading about blog development!

  25. I love how your blog started. That is so awesome! I’ll have to check out SITS and I want to participate in Blogiesta too. I’ve been wanting to interview other bloggers on my blog, so when I finally get around to doing that, maybe you can guest post for me! I love your genre list. So many amazing books.

  26. I am going to check out some of those links you posted. I used (still am just not actively) a member of SITS and Mom Bloggers Club. They are great groups, I just limit my online time so I don’t really visit them anymore. Thanks for sharing.

  27. I really like Bloggiesta! It was such a great help when I first started to blog. I don’t use Google + or facebook for my blog, but I might start to explore Google + more with all the stuff that is going on about GFC..

  28. We have GOT to master Google+. It is totally on our list for the summer. We just don’t get it. At all. Thanks for mentioning our book! πŸ™‚ Bitter Is The New Black is LAUGH OUT LOUD funny!-The Dose Girls

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