Today I have an extra-special guest blog: One by a fellow book blogger, Book Chic! Oh, and before I forget, a winner of Love, Meg (last week’s guest blog giveaway). And the winner is….(imagine the drumroll here)…girljordyn! Jordyn, please email me your mailing address to claim your prize. This week, we’ll have but not one but two winners, thanks to Book Chic! The prizes will be copies of Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling. I’ve decided to make this contest a little harder than the others. One winner will be chosen at random, and the other winner will be the best comment–the most thoughtful or thought-provoking or funny or interesting or creative…Whatever you like. But relevant, please, something about your life with books or YA books. And now, without further ado, Book Chic:

When I first agreed to do this guest blog, for a very short second, I thought to myself “This will be so much fun! I can write about whatever I want, and it’ll be great! People will bow down before me when they read all about my wisdomosity!”. Then it all came crashing down when I realized that I suck at coming up with my own topics, let alone actually writing about said topic. This is exactly why I decided to do an interview for Harmony Book Reviews rather than the other option, which was a guest blog. See, questions I can handle because all I have to do is answer someone else’s thoughts and I’m good at that. Coming up with my own stuff is a bit harder, although if you’ve noticed, I’ve got a whole paragraph now! Rambling really works, and that’s pretty much all that you will get from me.

But I decided to bite the bullet and do a guest blog when I saw that the lovely, amazing, and smart Jocelyn had TONS of guest blog spots open during the summer months. I felt like I needed to help her out, so I agreed (to myself-she had no idea of this yet) to do it. Now, I’m not a drinker or druggie of any sort, but I’m starting to think that I must have been on something when I voluntarily (key word there- I actually INITIATED this whole situation) said that I would write a guest blog for her site. She seemed very excited about it though, so hopefully I met her expectations of guest blogs.

Now, I’m supposed to talk about something book-related, which I suppose I will, should my rambling take me in that direction. And that direction starts now: Reading has always been a part of my life. My parents read to me when I was little, I read books on my own, and-I always loved to do this and actually still do, haha-I would even read books to my parents. Usually, it would be Dave Barry for my dad and Terry Pratchett for my mom whenever I’d be in the car with them. They fostered this love of books and reading in me, as well as the inclination to be completely surrounded and overflowing with books. Almost every room in our house has books in it. When my sister left for college, my dad moved a bunch of his books into her room, taking up her bookshelves that had been used for other things when she was there. So it’s really no surprise that I ended up running my own site dedicated to reviewing books and talking about them. However, it probably might not have happened if it weren’t for one thing.

As I got older, like into the 8th grade or so, I lost touch with books. I wasn’t like shunning them by any means, but I read very little. And then when someone recommended a book to me, like my friend Tyler did with Terry Pratchett’s books, I ended up focusing on that one author and reading nothing else. I did this for a couple years with Terry Pratchett and V.C. Andrews. Then, in late summer of 2001, the Princess Diaries movie came out and, being the total gay boy that I am, I absolutely LOVED it. I found out a bit later that it was based on a book and so I started reading the series (starting with the second book because I thought, for some reason, that the first book was written in straight prose rather than diary format and that it would be exactly the same as the movie, which I’d already seen, so why bother reading the same thing?), which I also loved. Meg Cabot became my newest author fad, creating this fun little trifecta thing.

Now, it wasn’t just the Princess Diaries movie that immediately spurred on my love of all things YA. It just led me to Meg, who fostered my love of YA and chicklit. I started reading all of her books shortly after reading all the Princess Diaries books that were out at the time. But it still took several years before I even thought about other authors. When Meg started up her book club in 2004, I started branching out to read other authors that Meg was having as her Book of the Month. Because if Meg liked it, it obviously must be very awesome. I started reading these books to participate in the monthly chats with Meg and the author of the monthly book. Then, it actually happened- I started reading other YA books that Meg had NOT recommended, and finding other books on my own that looked interesting. I devoured them all, loving each story, paragraph, and word.

I was so excited because it was like I’d finally found my niche-the section of the library or bookstore where I could just keep finding amazing books to read. Several years later, I ended up turning that unconditional and immense love for all things YA into a fun and informative book site, which I’ve been running now for just a little over a year. It’s fantastic to be working on the site and chatting with YA authors and other YA readers about not just books, but anything that comes up in conversation. It’s such a great community, and I’m glad that I can be a part of it.

So, here’s the condensed and numerically ordered version of my guest blog (i.e. what you should have learned while reading it):

1) Rambling is good- go with it, embrace it, take it out to dinner, play around in the hot tub with it, etc. It gave me almost two pages for a guest blog-you can’t beat those results (but feel free to slightly maim them)!

2) You never know what event will trigger a series of future events to put you where you are today. It’s actually kind of fun to think about too, and imagine a “If this didn’t happen to me, then I wouldn’t be doing or thinking about <insert fun new thing you wouldn’t be doing or thinking about if it hadn’t been for that one past event>.”

3) YA books rock and are made of awesome, but if you’re here on this site reading this guest blog, then you know this already (I hope).

4) I have no idea how to really end a guest blog, but I can’t really ramble on because this is already long enough as is, so I will try the patented, wonderfully effective plan of just randomly stopping in the middle of the sente-.