For the longest of times, I have considered myself a reviewer rather than a writer. As I’ve spoken about it, it’s reviewing that introduced me to genre and its authors. I have roots in reviewing and the people I have interacted with still remain dear friends. I will perhaps remember my days as a reviewer with the awe I felt every time I saw what The Book Smugglers did with their blog. The dynamic duo stars Ana Grilo and Thea James (technically two women, but you don’t talk about the individual components of a deity, now do you) who have been the most industrious reviewers on the scene.
I recall being a young reviewer (not that I’m that much older, but five years are five years) and a great deal of what I did was admire the people who have already been doing this for a while. The Book Smugglers seemed like a pretty good blog to admire, because it was and still is a pristine, well-oiled mechanism. Even before the two redesigns and the countless features, Ana and Thea ran their blog without a hitch. I’m not sure how many books they read in advance to achieve the desired effect, because I could never replicate this.
As an obsessive scheduler, I can certainly appreciate the beauty of their superior organizational skills and through the years, their blog has grown and evolved as a portal for diversified reading with an emphasis on YA fiction. Reviewer blogs come and go. It’s something you get to see, just stay put for a year or so and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Withstanding the Internet’s test of time, now that’s something to brag about. Not to mention the speed at which these two devour books. I barely make thirty books (I take my time, sue me), so the general output I see weekly by Ana and Thea is highly motivating.
If people can read so much and lead lives functional enough to support their book habits, then I most certainly can do the same. But it goes beyond the mere motivation. Ana and Thea are some of the nicest and most generous with their time and friendship people I know (I say that a lot and I often feel blessed with the people I have befriended). They even allowed me to become one of their flock and write a monthly column – “A Dude Reads PNR”, which boasted some interest and was a fun thing to try as a challenge to read outside my comfort zone (I’m not one for PNR).
What I absolutely love about Ana Grilo and Thea James is their evolution within genre and the lessons I have learned from their success. They’ve grown as reviewers and taste makers in their niche to the point they contribute to one of the oldest review institutions – Kirkus Reviews. Hard work, passion and tenacity do pay off and it’s a beautiful sight to see. May they continue to grow and conquer genre.