When I created my blog, picked the basic template and filled my profile with interesting tidbits about me I never knew it would take me about 4-5 months to actually make it my home. This is why I have picked the date of my actual first post of HOME SWEET HOME as my blogoversary date. I can still remember the victorious feeling I had that I had conquered everything HTML…which kicked my butt various times later on proving me wrong. Between that post and now many things has changed; the content and look of my blog, the friends I have found in Blogoverse, I have opened my Beefcake club and found me some hunk bartenders.
Leontine ‘The Romance Reader’…and that’s when it struck me. The very first moment I read a romance novel was when I was thirteen. My parents had subscribed themselves to a map folder full of magazines and there was also a romance story included, one that included a handful of kisses and the oh so familiar “the next morning” sentence. How my hormone raging body and my romantic beating heart fell for those stories. I was thirteen years old and a world opened itself for me…and this year I turned thirty-three. Unknowingly I almost passed by on another anniversary; The one where I have been a romance reader for twenty years. So let me take you on a journey through my years;
1989; Via our Dutch school system I was a freshman in highschool, LOOK WHO’S TALKING was one of the movies I loved that year and I put up my first Patrick Swayze poster, I considered myself officially a fan. Music of Paula Abdul – Rick Astley – Milli Vanilli – Roxette etc filled my room at night and my romance world existed solely out of that one romance novel from the map and it contained a handful of kisses and the oh so familiar “the next morning” sentence.
1990; THE year I completely, head-over-heels, fell in love with the bad boy from the class, he was set back a year, he had a “fuck-you-all” attitude and could kiss like nobody’s business. I saw Ghost and cried a bucket of tears at the ending. I also got a bit of money by working on the side, got my first perm and that is when my romance world took a leap with the Candlelight Historical Romance line from AUDAX Publisher. I did some grocery shopping for my mother and saw this cover:
I instantly fell for the rock hard and muscled thighs and his abs gave me butterfly feelings in belly, even then I was a junior cover hussy ;) In those days FABIO ruled as a cover model, he never got me all that hot and bothered though. It is also the year where I read my first Bertrice Small, that was quite the experience I will never forget. I think I was flustered throughout the entire book.
1991; Bad-boy and I were still a set and he was setting my world ablaze. It’s also the year I was pissed at prime-minister Kok for a reason I can’t remember anymore and my father encouraged me to send him a letter. I did and lo and behold I got a letter back…what did it say; Thank you for your interest in this matter. Prime-minister Kok always appreciates the involvement and opinions bla bla bla, at that moment I was flabbergasted. Now I know it’s just about a standard reply as they can come.
1992; I was a book junkie and discovered a variety of authors like Jude Deveraux and Johanna Lindsey. I saw the movie SISTER ACT I actually had 2 shelves in my closet where I put all my Candlelight Historicals, even then I loved the sight. It was THE year I broke up with bad-boy (cried myself a river full of tears) the year I had a school trip to London and we resurrected our “relationship” it still didn’t work and on the trip home I flirted and danced with a guy from a football team. Little did I know because how was I supposed to have recognized the name; Manchester United?!
1994; I turned eighteen, made new friends at my new school, danced, flirted, studied. I was on top of the world and life was good. It was the year I watched THE LION KING. Ever since my sister got the video of THE LITTLE MERMAID we were hooked on the DISNEY vids and in the winter there were many Sunday afternoons where we watched them. It was the golden era of DISNEY and I have all my favorites on DVD now. I still read of course but somehow it took a bit of the backseat.
1995; I remember having an assignment for class where we had to read 5 books in each of the 8 different age categories and while fellow students had to work their ass off I already read a lot, made book reports and aced it. I had an internship as a neonatal nurse and I absolutely loved it. By that time reading was a second nature and re-read many favorites, I loved my thrillers and mysteries as well along with my first attempts in the Fantasy genre. BTW, I still was a Patrick Swayze fan and watched TOO WONG FOO, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING JULIE NEWMAR. Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo were a couple of drag queens, hi-la-rious!
1997; Hubby and I got ourselves an apartment and I made the big move from my large and noisy family to a two peeps household. My parents saw the original wallpaper in my room again after a handful of years and they were shocked. To say I had to adjust was an understatement, I cooked in quantities that could feed us for the whole week. I got my membership card of our local library and each Saturday I scoured the shelves for books I might not have read. If I couldn’t find something new then the golden oldies I read a dozen times before would do too. My first shih-tzu Romy was born in December of ’97 she walked into my heart and never left.
1998; I loved my job. Hubby and I had passionate disagreements and we made up in just the same way. I discovered Stephanie Laurens with Devil’s Bride and my shih-tzu Esmé looked at me and I was sold. I had two pups to take care of. At the end of the summer my parents went to a breeder in Belgium and shih-tzu number three Jasmijn peed all over hubby, he said: “She’s mine.”
1999; I watched TV series like Profiler – the X-Files – Millennium - HERCULES: the legendary journeys - XENA: warrior princess etc. Then one day I did grocery shopping and I noticed a paperback in the super market, it turned out to be BORN IN FIRE, book one in the Concannon Sisters Trilogy. When I bought it I sealed my fate and became an utter Nora Roberts junky and read it all. From the Stanislaski Family - Donovan Legacy – MacGregor family - Three Sisters Island to her suspense novels. Two Alpha’s walked in to my life; Luka and Eros, both shih-tzu’s and I had my first litter of pups. Nothing beats seeing those little pups squirm and grow and play and I loved every second of those 9-12 weeks they were with me.
2000; OMG, the earth did not stop, crash or any apocalypse happened at the turn of the century so we all could sleep peacefully again. I discovered Reiki, Tarot cards and Rune stones…I was intrigued. I discovered Lynn Kurland at my library and Susan Carroll with THE NIGHT DRIFTER, loved the supernatural elements in them and they still sit on my shelves.
2002; Due to a new law couples could get a license that made them official partners or they could get married, yet it was going to be one or the other. Hubby and I discussed it and he said he asked me to marry him so many years ago, he was old fashioned, he wanted me to carry his name. So we got married on 4-2-2002, it was a small affair with just parents and siblings and after the ceremony I bowled in my wedding dress and had dinner. The shoes were to die for and so incredibly hawt underneath my dress, it was hilarious to see. I still read in my spare hours and discovered Anne Rice’s Mayfair Witch’s trilogy. I think I was succumbed to that story for about a week, I could not get enough of this world, plot and characters.
2003; My love for the genres started shift as I read Katherine Neville’s THE EIGHT and Juliet Marillier’s Seven Waters series.
2004; I became an Aunt for the first time of a nephew. I was getting interested in internet and entered some chatrooms, change was coming.
2005; I quit my job to focus on IVF procedures, I got myself a computer and hooked myself on to the World Wide Web. I found a message board crawling with ladies like me and that is where I met Marissa and Pearl. A new world opened itself to me, I wasn’t some nerd who loved to read romance and I don’t want to count the times I said; “you too!” I felt at home and when a fellow reader talked about Sherrilyn Kenyon I hooked myself up with the www and found the Dark-hunter creed. I was sold at the spot and my love for the paranormal genre was born. I actually received the books of Karen Marie Moning sooner and when I read THE IMMORTAL HIGHLANDER I had to rave about it…little did I know I wrote a “review”. Old habits die hard and I had to infect my sister with the Dark-Hunter virus LOL
2007; The addiction got worse, I got me all the books I wanted but I was discovering much more, it was so different from when I was just reading the Dutch releases. I had an ocean of authors to pick from. Something new entered my world too, ARC reading, I didn’t have a clue what it was in the beginning but ROOB got some ARC’s and I loved it, loved reviewing a book and getting my opinion out there.
2008; In the early fall of that year I created my blog and started to dig in to all things HTML. I read as much as I could; Nalini Singh, Elizabeth Vaughan, Jennifer Donnelly, Paulina Simmons, Anna Campbell, Kathryne Kennedy and so many more. My father also build me my floor to ceiling bookcases and I can tell you #2 is already in the making. I really thought it would take time to fill it but my inner book-addict proved me wrong.
2009; I am thirty-three now, I have a TBR pile of approximately 600 dead tree books, I’ve written about 225 reviews and I have held five beefcake nights. My first erotica novel was Shayla Black’s WICKED TIES and I was oh so reluctant to read in the genre but found amazing reads I would’ve missed otherwise. My first commenter on my blog was Mieke. My first author commenting on my blog was Alyssa Day, If I knew she would be coming I would’ve rolled out the red carpet because I was going something like this; “OMG OMG, an author actually commented on my blog, this is sooooo uber kewl!” My first blog interview was at Erotic Horizon’s place and she opened my erotic horizon even further with her blog ;) My first header of my blog looked like this:
My top 10 search words – everybody has the weirdest things coming up but I’m so vanilla LOL
1. a highlander Christmas, sophie renwick, review
2. shadowfever release date
3. tairen soul
4. the notebook movie
5. geoffrey knight the riddle of the sands
6. anne rice sleeping beauty
7. cl wilson tairen soul book 5
8. karen moning shadowfever release date
9. movie the notebook
10. karen moning highlander series
My top 10 visited pages:
1. / <- whatever that entails is beyond me but it does tickly the curiosity.
Twenty years of romance, going from a kiss and “the next morning” to reading M/M romance and man having wrist thick cocks and women actually “swallow”. Times sure have changed as have I and my shelves will reflect that, from the early Bertrice Small’s and Jude Deveraux’s to the newly found authors like Joey W Hill, Lauren Dane and Ilona Andrews.
I love to celebrate my blogoversary and being a romance reader for twenty years so I’m going to pay it forward with an awesome 20-book swag giveaway for the followers of my blog (if you’re not you’re one click away from joining :) I have decided to give the winner a choice; I can ship you the 20 books or the winner can pick his/her own books at bookdepository.co.uk / bookdepository.com (if it ships to your country for free) for the amount of 25 euro or 35 american dollars. I'll pick a winner on December 5th.
1. Sherrilyn Kenyon – One Silent Knight
2. Sherrilyn Kenyon – Dream Warrior
3. Meljean Brook – Demon Night
4. Christine Feehan – Wild Rain
5. Christine Feehan – Ocean’s Of Fire
6. Chistine Feehan – Twilight Before Christmas
7. Charlaine Harris – Dead Until Dark
8. Annette Blair – My Favorite Witch
9. Gena Showalter – Heart Of The Dragon
10. Jeanne Adams – Dark And Dangerous
11. Donna Kauffman – The Legend Of MacKinnon
12. Melanie Jackson – The Selkie
13. Brenda Joyce – A Dangerous Love
14. Margaret Mallory – Knight Of Desire
15. Jennifer Ashley – Penelope And Prince Charming
16. Delilah Marvelle – Lord Of Pleasure
17. Melissa Marr – Wickedly Lovely
18. Jaid Black – Deep, Dark And Dangerous
19. Lora Leigh – Menage A Magick
20. Lili Feisty – Bound To Please
Aidan has dressed up and I'd say; Grab a champagne flute and a piece of cake and tell me, do you remember your very first romance novel you’ve ever read?