I’m doing this post a few days early, but I’m so excited to announce that this week we are celebrating our 6 year blogoversary! I can’t believe it’s been 6 years already, blogging has become such a big part of my life and I couldn’t imagine life without it! Thank you to all our readers, fellow bloggers and publishers who have helped us come so far, we wouldn’t be doing this without you! And of course, a big thank you to my fellow co-bloggers who I also call some of my best friends – Aila and Jenna. You guys are amazing and I’m honoured to have gone through so many of life’s milestones with you both.
To celebrate, we put out a Q&A on Twitter which we’ll be answering down below! Thank you to everyone who contributed! Not only that, but we’ll be continuing the week long celebration on the blog with some fun recommendation and discussion posts planned for you guys. Stay tuned!
1. What is your fave thing about blogging? @sprinkledpages
Jeann: Definitely all the people that I’ve met through blogging who I can call my friends! Before I started blogging, I felt like I was so isolated without people to shout about and share in my passion. Now I have a whole heap of fellow bloggers – in the blogging community and in real life to talk about books, but also life about and it’s definitely changed my life. Of course, I love being able to receive review copies of books before they’re released as well, and finding out about the latest books before they come is pretty cool too.
Jenna: I definitely agree with Jeann that the other bloggers I’ve met and developed friendships with is the best part about blogging. When I moved to Toronto this time last year, my dad had been hospitalised for a TBI and I was feeling really homesick, jetlagged and sick from the flu. But luckily I had the friendship of Jesse @ Books at Dawn and Joey @ Thoughts and Afterthoughts to get me through.
Aila: The community and the perks we get! I love seeing insider information on the publishing industry and how the marketing is handled, as well as collaborating with people across the country and world to share our love, passion, and joy of reading, as well as the books we hold close to our hearts. It’s tough for me to find people in my everyday life who enjoy reading as much as I do, and the connection I get with people via blogging fills that void inside of me.
2. How has the blogger community changed throughout the years? @isthatchami @HKAlyssa
Jeann: This is such a hard one! When I first started out, I had to form my own community of bloggers (especially those in Australia) but these days, there are so many more people blogging, youtubing about books and with a bookstagram as well. I feel like it’s a lot easier now to blog/micro-blog using these different platforms and there are many people who are part of the community who don’t blog as well. It’s much easier to find fellow bookworms nowadays I think. I also think there’s a huge focus on diversity and equality of books and in the publishing industry – there are so many passionate voices and advocates which is fantastic.
Aila: Jeann wrapped it up perfectly! I see a lot of readers popping up on Instagram and Youtube, which are social media platforms that I had no idea held so much weight and value. I’ve recently started up my Bookstagram account again, and honestly it’s quite amazing how influential just one picture or vlog can be, and especially to readers who aren’t even in the blogging community. I feel like it’s also easier to make connections that way too, which is wonderful.
3. What blogging moment/memory are you most proud of? @earlgreybooks / What would be your best memories/moments/stories as a blogger? @chasingfaes / Greatest Blogging highlight so far? @maisie_dickson
Jeann: This is so hard because there have been so many stories and memories that have come out of blogging! For me, it would have to be when I visited Sydney Writer’s Festival for the first time and finally met my co-blogger Jenna along with heaps of other fellow bloggers who I’d been chatting with for a long time. As for a moment/memory and blogging highlight that I’m proud of, definitely this year when I had the honour of hosting Jay Kristoff’s Lifel1k3 launch in Brisbane!
Jenna: Again, I have the same answer as Jeann! My favourite memories are definitely getting to meet Jeann for the first time at SWF and also Aila in Florida! Aila took me to the Dali Museum and then the best Mexican place EVER! Both were such great days! Also, one of the biggest highlights for me so far (I’m not sure if this is a ‘blogging’ highlight) was the message that Patrick Ness wrote for me in one of my books where he called me ‘Almost Dr Jenna’ and wished me luck on finishing my thesis.
Aila: Meeting Jenna when she came to visit was so amazing. (Although I still have to meet Jeann!) My best memories would be our Happy Indulgence group chats and the book events I’ve had the privilege of going to as a blogger and media outlet. This includes ALA 2016, ALA Midwinter 2017, and BEA/BookCon this year (you can check out my recaps for BEA here and here!). I’ve gained incredible experiences, friendships, and lessons through all of the events listed above, and I treasure these memories in my heart.
4. If you could go back in time is there any advice you’d give your past selves? @wildheartreads
Jeann: Maybe to chill out a bit more and not take things too seriously because life is short. Every moment should be appreciated because before you know it, life would have moved on.
Jenna: I would definitely tell myself to take full advantage of those reading at full force moods… because I’m really missing them now that I’ve been in a reading slump for such a long time.
Aila: Stay true to your feelings and try not to get swayed by the mob. I feel like when I was younger (in comparison to the almost not-teen I am now), I was more hesitant with my views when a book made me uncomfortable or when I thought it was problematic. I thought myself too uneducated to say something, but I now know that no matter what experience, my opinions are valid and important – especially at that time as a younger, marginalized teen.
5. How did you decide on a name for your blog? @OT_Precisely
Jeann: Happy Indulgence started out being a place where I shared my passion with others, so I could happily indulge in the things that I loved without judgement! It started out being about perfume reviews, books and gaming, but I narrowed it down to books after a while. The name just stuck out to me as something that was unique and fun.
Aila: I love how Happy Indulgence sounds so light, welcoming, and effervescent! <3 Thank you Jeann for such a lovely blog name.
6. Do you ever get bored of blogging? @VirtuallyShanti
Jeann: Blogging is so ingrained in my life now that I can’t say I get bored of it, but I can say I wouldn’t still be doing it if I didn’t love it!
Jenna: I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever been bored of blogging but I’ve definitely gone through blogging slumps, which were mainly just due to my reading slumps.
Aila: I’ve gotten blogging slumps as well, but would never get bored! With the constantly moving industry and books being published practically every day, there’s always something new to blog, discuss, and rant about. 😛
7. What’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned in the the years running a blog? @acethirtynine
Jeann: That everyone is on a different stage in their blogging journey and it’s going to constantly change because of this – that people will come and go in the blogging community, that friends that you were close to will move on, that not everyone is as into things as you are. I’ve learnt just to ride the wave as things are constantly moving and changing.
8. How do you keep the fire of blogging alive when you have been doing it for so long? What new ideas help you keep it fresh? @bookishlybeauty
Jeann: I try to space out my content on different platforms including instagram and youtube. Otherwise when I’m getting a bit slumpy, I think taking a creative break and doing things other than any form of blogging can be really refreshing! I always encourage taking a hiatus when life gets too busy.
Aila: Read. Read other people’s posts (and comment), read books for fun, read books that are out of my comfort zone. With all those options and backgrounds, there are numerous new possibilities and ideas that can pop up.
9. How (or if!) blogging has changed your reading habits (like how much you read or the genres or what makes you pick up a book now)? @PaperFury
Jeann: Blogging definitely keeps me accountable for making me keep up with my TBR and the newest releases! I feel like I not only read so much more now, but I also read so much more of what I love. I have a much more developed sense of taste now that I know that YA fantasy is my jam and I’ve also found my trusted bloggers who I can always count on to recommend me a book that I’ll love. It’s a win win really!
Jenna: I think I definitely read more contemporaries because Aila and Jeann tend to review the SFF titles, so the bulk of what I read are YA contemporaries in the hope of finding something good to review. Hopefully once I’ve finished my thesis and have time to revive my own blog, I’ll start to pick up more fantasy titles again.
Aila: I think I started to read less contemporaries! Or at least, I’ve gotten exceptionally pick at them. These days, I tend to gravitate towards trusted authors or marginalized, diverse authors. I want to support them as much as I can, and the influx of YA releases of all genres with these voices is definitely fueling these habits!
10. Sometimes blogging can get a bit too much, what do you do to refresh your mind apart from reading a book? @cjmitra
Jeann: When I’m not blogging or reading, I like to plan out my week using my Erin Cronden planner, play with my dog Toby, waste time on social media seeing what everyone else is up to! Watching booktube is a fun pastime of mine or online shopping.
Jenna: I tend to binge Netflix or Youtube videos when I’m not reading but have a little bit of time to myself. I also still play Pokemon Go so I like to get out and about and catch ’em all.
Aila: I like to plan as well, although recently I started a bullet journal. It’s quite calming. Taking photos of books for Bookstagram, recently, has been a nice escape as well. It’s appreciation of the book and aesthetics, but without the words and nuances of blogging.
11. Jeann, how was the transitioning content from a blog to bookvlog (booktube) for you? @maisie_dickson
Jeann: Booktube was really daunting for me initially, it took a long time for me to get comfortable in front of the camera and to really fall into the groove of developing content for my channel. Originally, I used booktube to film monthly wrap ups, but I’ve expanded it a lot to include discussions, book hauls, book recommendations and vlogs. To me, the hardest part is finding time for both blogging and youtubing and also scheduling content on both platforms to keep things fresh and interesting. It’s been a lot of fun – but it’s also a lot of time and effort!
12. Tell us about the books that have shaped you as a person and/or as a blogger. @SimDupavillon
Jeann: The Babysitter’s Club as the first series that I was obsessed with when I was young, Twilight for getting me back into reading YA, and of course Harry Potter for keeping the magic alive throughout the book community and my life really.
Jenna: I read a lot of Enid Blyton when I was in my preteen years and then of course Harry Potter. When I was about 14, I started reading Sarra Manning’s books and they got me into reading more contemporary YA novels. In terms of what got me to start blogging, it was actually after I had read All the Light We Cannot See, a book that was truly life-changing for me and made me want to write down my thoughts for others to read.
Aila: I was introduced to Percy Jackson in fifth grade, and I never looked back. From then, I started devouring my library books. A lot of older middle grade books have definitely shaped my reading habits, though, such as Wendy Mass’s magical contemporaries, ED Baker and Gail Carson Levine’s exciting fantasies, and the mysteries solved by the Boxcar Children. (Wow, I haven’t thought of these authors/titles in ages!)
13. If you were each stranded on an island and only had one book, which book would it be? @NunuKz
Jeann: Probably Gemina, I’ve already read it 4 times but I could read it over and over again. It would also remind me that things could be WAY worse.
Jenna: Definitely All the Light We Cannot See. Not only is it my favourite book of all time, but I feel like my survival skills would improve a lot since the book is set during WWII and focuses on two teenagers who are just trying to survive.
14. If you could live the lives of one fictional character for a day who would it be and why? @georgiasbooks
Jenna: I would want to be Simon Snow from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell for a day! It seems like a world that isn’t super dangerous (because even though I’d totally love to be Inej from the Six of Crows duology… that’s too much danger for me) and it would be cool to try out magic. I also think the magic system in that world is hilarious and it would just be loads of fun. Also I’d get to spend time with Baz!
15. What’s your favourite fictional world? @ingeswonderland / Which fictional world/s do you wish you could visit and why? @stefgalvin / What fictional place would you like to visit? @cafe_manon
Jeann: The magical world of Weep in Strange the Dreamer, because it’s a place filled with legends, magic and Gods! I would be in so much awe of a world so different to our own.
Jenna: I, of course, love the world of Harry Potter, but for this question I would choose Ketterdam from Six of Crows. I just love the whole Dutch Republic vibe of the world and I would love to take a peek into what it was like.
Aila: I’d go visit the world of The Reader by Traci Chee! I can’t imagine a world without reading and books, but I’d definitely find my way onto a pirate ship and eventually meet Sefia to help bring reading back into the world.
16. What was the first book you love love loved and why? @kathglasgow
Jenna: The first book that I absolutely loved was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because it was the most magical one of the series at the time that I read it. I loved the whole idea of the Time Turner and totally wanted one for myself. The first book that I read in my adult life that I love love loved was All the Light We Cannot See because I just felt like a completely new person after I had read it.
Aila: I really had to dig down into my memories to get this, but the farthest back I can reach is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. At that point, I already loved her famous The Tale of Despereaux, but for some reason this story about a china rabbit made me bawl my eyes out. It was a Sunshine State book that year (in Florida, USA, these books are chosen for students to read every year) and I came into it dubious because of the lackluster cover. But what followed was a grand adventure and sometimes bittersweet narrative that broke and reformed my little heart.
17. What book/s do you think everyone should read and why? @stefgalvin
Jenna: Sounding like a broken record here but… All the Light We Cannot See! I also really love The Infernal Devices trilogy and thinks everyone should read it. It’s far more superior than The Mortal Instruments and you can read TDI even if you haven’t read TMI. Clockwork Princess absolutely broke my heart and this trilogy is one of my favourite series of all time because of the wonderful relationships between all of the characters.
18. Tips for reading faster? @Gracereserved
Jeann: I bring a book with me everyone I go, and pull it out whenever I can instead of browsing through my phone! You’d be surprised by how much time we waste on our phone.
Jenna: I find that I can read books faster when they’re in ebook form rather than physical form. But for me, I like to just take advantage of the moments when I really feel like reading, and try to power through before I get distracted by something else.
Aila: Reading sprints with friends! I mean, I do these by myself but like Jenna, I get powered up and just want to keep going. Picking up a book you really get into is also helpful for reading faster. If you find yourself slowing down when reading because of a book’s story, that’s a sure sign to perhaps put it down.
19. What underrated book do you think deserves more attention? @OT_Precisely
Jeann: The Poppy War by Rebecca Kuang – I’m almost done reading it at the moment and it is a Chinese military fantasy to die for! It reminds me a lot of Nevernight as a grimdark fantasy with a lot of blood and brutality, but I am loving it so much that I’m declaring it my favourite book of 2018. There’s such a huge focus on Rin breaking out of her heritage as a poor villager and kicking ass with royalty like the rest of them. I love the fighting and the strategising and the characters, it’s sooo good.
Jenna: I really love Isabel Greenberg’s graphic novels: The Encyclopedia of Early Earth and The One Hundred Nights of Hero. They’re both wonderfully illustrated and the story is absolutely beautiful and feminist!
Aila: Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee. This fun superhero story is full of a diverse cast and awesome characters. I feel like with superhero books, many people are wary of them because there’s only so much you can do with the topic, but CB Lee writes with such zest and fun that you can’t help but fall in love with the characters.
20. What was the book that made you decide that you wanted to start reviewing books on your blog? @underthebkcover
Jeann: Fifty Shades of Grey because I saw all the 5 star reviews on Goodreads and was absolutely appalled that everyone was hyping it up for such a poor quality of writing while romanticising the abusive behaviour. I wanted my own platform where I could freely share my thoughts and opinions about it.
Jenna: I’d been reviewing books on Goodreads for a few months before I decided to start my own blog, but the book that made me want to create a blog was All the Light We Cannot See. This was also around the time that I had finished The Infernal Devices and I just wanted to share my love for these books with people who might not use Goodreads.
Aila: This is honestly so random, but my first review on the blog was Of Poseidon by Anna Banks. It wasn’t even a book I particularly enjoyed. But when the author (who was really nice!) and others came to my high school on tour and talked about their books, I was really pumped and wanted to interact with more people about this kind of stuff. Thus began my blog, starting with those authors’ books.
21. Also Jenna, do you schedule your reading time? @Gracereserved
Jenna: I don’t really schedule my reading time but try to just read whenever I feel like it, especially during my reading slumps. Now that I’m super busy with my PhD thesis, I haven’t had much time to read so I try to make an effort to listen to audiobooks on my commute to and from the office. I typically listen to around 2 hours a day while driving and that makes me feel like I’m making a dent in my TBR!
22. Which book did you love/hate that you expected/hoped to have the opposite opinion of? @reidwriting
Jeann: I was really disappointed with Renegades by Marissa Meyer, after reading and loving the Lunar Chronicles series, I thought I was going to love this one as well.
Jenna: I was super duper disappointed with Heartless by Marissa Meyer. It was just really underwhelming and I thought the romance was very lacklustre.
Aila: I’m DYING of laughter right now, because of how Marissa Meyer’s books after The Lunar Chronicles have let Jeann and Jenna down. It’s so funny right now because I’m answering this question after they wrote their answers, so seeing Meyer’s name back to back is hilarious. 😀
I was desperate to read Caraval by Stephanie Garber and ended up really not liking it. And the more I think about it, the more I want to lower my 3 star rating. The hype really got to me (past Aila, ya gotta stay true to yourself!), but I really didn’t like the way assault was handled in the book, the blatant deus ex machina that undermined the whole point of making it “only a game,” and the way suicide was used as a plot device. I have to say, they did an excellent job promoting it, anyhow.
23. For all three: what is your favourite co-blogger moment or memory? @artfromafriend
Jeann: Definitely having Jenna stay with me in Brisbane and then skyping Aila together!
Jenna: Meeting Aila and Jeann (even though it was separately!) within a week of each other
Aila: Meeting Jenna and that one hangout session we had when I was in China last year where we just talked for hours. GOOD TIMES. <3
24. Ideal holiday destination for a Happy Indulgence trio IRL reunion? @readatmidnight
Jeann: For me it would definitely be somewhere like New York for BEA or San Diego Comic Con because I feel like I’ll be with my people, and it would be a dream come true!
Jenna: Harry Potter world!
Aila: Anywhere in Australia because I haven’t been, and Jeann and Jenna know the place so well, living there!
25. What book review makes you doubt your co-bloggers’ sanity? @reidwriting
Jenna: I honestly can’t really think of one since we usually place a lot of trust into each other’s opinions. But I guess I was a bit shocked by Jeann’s 5 star review of They Both Die at the End because I found it to be really meh. I can see why other people love it though so I definitely don’t think Jeann’s crazy for liking it.
Aila: Honestly none? There hasn’t been a book that I’ve felt so passionately about that made me shocked after seeing Jeann and Jenna’s review. I really value, trust, and respect their opinions, so I don’t think this would happen.
26. What is one book the three of you feel very differently about? @VirtuallyShanti
Jeann: I’m going to pick Tower of Dawn, I actually really enjoyed reading about Chaol, Jenna will probably skip it because she’s not a Chaol fan, and Aila will continue avoiding the series lol.
Jenna: I don’t think Aila has read it yet, but Jeann and I definitely disagree about The Thousandth Floor. I thought the world building was amazing and that the writing was really sophisticated, but Jeann was turned off by a relationship between stepsiblings (which I totally understand as well!).
Aila: LMAO THANK GOD that good old me stays away from books that Jeann and Jenna have differing opinions on. 😀 I don’t have to pick a side, hehe. I think I would pick The Infernal Devices series? Jenna adores the book, I think Jeann will get to it one day, but mostly I’m scared to read it because some of that fan art is just heartbreaking, okay. (SORRY JENNA <3 I WILL OVERCOME MY FEARS ONE DAY.)
27. For each of you: a book the other two forced on you that you love. A book the other two forced on you that you disliked? @readatmidnight
Jeann: Because we know each other’s tastes so well, I think we’re usually pretty good at picking what each other would like! I loved The Knife of Never Letting Go and the Miss Peregrine’s series that Jenna pushed into me. The only book that I’ve disliked recommended by my co-bloggers was A Thousandth Floor, which Jenna explained above lol. Aila also wrote a post about this last year about the successful books pushed by my co-bloggers.
Aila: Those were successful books, but I don’t think I’ve gotten a book forced on me that I didn’t enjoy! Jeann, Jenna, and I don’t have the exact same tastes, but we know what the others like in their books, so I think that’s why their recommendations are always so successful. 😀
A very big thank you to everyone who asked us a question! We had lots of fun answering them.
Giveaway – Win a book that we’ve reviewed this year up to $30AU!
To celebrate, we are giving our readers the chance to win a book that we have reviewed on the blog in 2018! Check out the extensive list here of all the books we’ve reviewed this year.
To enter, fill in the rafflecopter form below (verified entries only – no cheating). Giveaway ends 6 August 2018 and winner will be notified by email. The prize will be shipped from The Book Depository or Booktopia, so only those who can receive books from these stores will be eligible. We take no responsibility for lost or stolen packages.