The Terrible Twos!

It’s my birthday!


Yes, today (or thereabouts) my blog turns two. Teething and colic are behind me, I’m getting pretty spiffy at that whole walking business, and I’ve mastered the most important words in the English language – Chocolate Cake!

And now that I’m two, I’m practising my tantrums, so you’d better bring a handy supply of sweets when you come visit this year!

Have a bit of (calorie-free) virtual cake while I give you some ever-so-exciting statistics…

According to Goodreads, in 2014 I read 130 books with a total of 42,798 pages – roughly 117 pages per day. Slightly down on the previous year’s figure of 120 pages a day, but still ridiculously high. I abandoned 5 books at too early a stage to review or rate.

The rating breakdown was:

5 star                                       62
4 star                                       44
3 star                                       12
2 star                                        6
1 star                                        6

So my reputation for being hugely critical doesn’t really stack up, does it? Odd…

* * * * *

The split of genres (bearing in mind that some books fall into more than one category)

Crime                                                         57

Literary/Contemporary Fiction                      36

Factual                                                      20

Sci-Fi/Fantasy                                           15

Horror                                                         7

Way down on factual compared with 2013, slightly down on crime, and a big increase in sci-fi/fantasy and horror. Quite happy with that split overall.

* * * * *

It’s a funny old business this blogging, you know. The posts that take the least time and effort and yet bring in by far the most views from searches are the Tuesday Terrors! And most surprisingly the one that gets viewed from somewhere in the world nearly every day is Thrawn Janet. Can anyone explain why someone in, f’rinstance, Japan would be searching for a story written in old Scots? (And they do seem to be genuinely looking for it, ‘cos they often click through to the reading on youtube.)

Thrawn Janet by William Strang 1899

The 10 most viewed posts of the last year are

1.  Thrawn Janet – a Tuesday Terror! post
2.  Pride and Prejudice – the manga version
3.  The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains – a graphic novel
4,  Carmilla: A Critical Edition (which was in last year’s top 5 too!) – more horror
5.  The Child – an audio dramatisation
6.  The Mysterious Affair of Styles – a tennis post
7.  Bet Your Life by Jane Casey – a book review – hurrah!
8.  Silence: A Fable – more Tuesday Terror!
9.  The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah – a ripping review
10. Shock News! – an announcement that I was taking a blogging break

So what does this little lot tell us? Well, mainly, that my ‘proper’ book reviews seem to be my least popular posts! Which would be a worry if it didn’t make me laugh so much…

* * * * *

(Special info for Lady Fancifull’s benefit – Rafa’s shorts have slipped down badly this year. The league tables, that is!)


* * * * *

Thanks to all of you who’ve visited, liked, commented, e-mailed, tweeted and facebooked over the last year. I appreciate every one of you – it’s you who make the blog fun and who inspire me on those nights when I realise it’s 2 a.m. and I haven’t written the next day’s post. Keep up the good work! 😉

* * * * *

And I’ll leave you with my favourite spam message of the year. This is genuine, and to make matters worse it came from a website calling itself

What I wouldnt give to have a debate with you about this. You just say so many things that come from nowhere that Im quite sure Id have a fair shot. Your blog is great visually, I mean people wont be bored. But others who can see past the videos and the layout wont be so impressed together with your generic understanding of this topic.

Well, gee! Thanks! Just to cheer myself up after that damning critique…

Aah, that's better!
Aaaaah! The perfect birthday gift…


Here’s to next year!

110 thoughts on “The Terrible Twos!

  1. Happy Blog Birthday, FictionFan!!! I love your reviews and your other poss – yours is one of my must-visit blog stops. Of course, those are also those pictures of Mr. Darcy to look forward to… ;-). I wish you many more years of great blogging!


  2. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to yoooooou! Congratulations on two years of blogging 🙂 It is very odd looking back at site stats, isn’t it? And I understand the frustration of certain posts that have been slaved over and thought about so carefully not doing as well as the more ‘throw-away’ ones (not that ANY of your posts could actually pass as throw away, of course). I am most impressed at your reading rate of 117 pages a day – goodness! Sometimes I do well to read 117 words a day -ha! You are an inspiration to us all and I hope you continue bringing us reviews and laughs (and wonderful pictures of cuteness – chaps and animals alike!) for many, many years to come. I shall raise a glass of birthday wine to you this evening 🙂


  3. What a morning shock! Rafa and Darb. Whoever Rafa is looking at, he wants them to die bad. Same with Darb. Bet he’s looking at Lizio! Anyway.

    117 pages a day! Now the interest here is…how many hours do you read a day? I think I’d have to read all day to get 117 pages finished!

    That’s easy: the Old Scots post was cool. You should do another! Only this time…you should read it!

    *laughing lots* That was a funny critique you got. Even funnier who it’s from!

    Happy Birthday, FEF! And thanks for all the laughs and hours of entertainment you’ve given me this past year! How time flies. I feel so old the sudden.


    • I just included this pics for you! I know how much you enjoy them. Doesn’t Rafa look gloriously mean in that one? *swoons more than ever before (except when she first saw the Prof, of course)*

      Probably only about 2-3 hours – my reading speed varies depending on the book so I can read crime at about four times the speed of factual.

      No, you should! You should do that for Valentine’s Day – read one of Burns’ love poems. Oooh, I love that thought!!! I might get up a petition!

      bellyfatcombat, indeed! What were they doing hanging round my blog?!? (This is a rhetorical question – no answer is required!)

      Thanks, C-W-W! And you know I wouldn’t enjoy blogging half so much if it wasn’t for you! *smiles biggestly* It’s amazing that I’ve been blogging for two years and yet I’m still 21, eh? I must have mastered that whole space/time continuum thingie…


      • Well, thank you, madam! They made my morning. *gags.* I wish I could look that mean… *tries it*

        That’s a rather long time, for sure, I think. Like you’ll be reading 5th wave a lot faster.

        Well, I might try…if you got a petition. I might. Probably couldn’t pronounce an ounce of it, though. I’d get Schwarz and Barkoush to help me out.

        *laughs* You should send them to Darby’s house. Lizio might have problems.

        I think you have! *listening to Kenny G*


        • I bet you could! But you’d need to wear a sleeveless shirt… *grabs smelling salts in preparation*

          I’m abandoning my current read so The 5th Wave gets ever nearer – next week maybe…

          Oooh! You didn’t say no!! I shall indeed get up a petition – the response will be overwhelming, especially since I sahll sign it a hundred times! I think you should read Green Grow the Rashes, and Schwarzy could do the chorus! *imagines poor C-W-W changing his name and fleeing the country in horror – and chuckles meanly*

          Soooo sexist! Maybe Darby has the problem! *flounces on Lizio’s behalf*

          Voluntarily? *puzzled expression*


          • You mean a muscle man shirt? I love those things.

            *taps both feet and both hands impatiently* Must move faster!

            *laughs* Well, you’ll only count for a vote. Let me look at this… *laughs* That’s not as bad as I anticipated. Would still be difficult, though!

            Oh, that’s taken for granted. Darby has the real problem, yes. Nearing good old Vince’s size!

            *angry face* Yeah! His new album is doing well. I should get it. Bet you don’t know who Stan Getz is!


            • Is that what a muscle man shirt is? I’ve often wondered. *swoons a bit, but whether at the thought of Rafa or the Professor is unclear*

              I’m going as quick as I can…!!!

              I picked one of the easier and least soppy ones – aren’t I kind? But it’s really a song rather than a poem, of course… *tries subliminally to put ideas in the Professor’s head*

              But which Vince?

              You shouldn’t! *shakes head decisively* I didn’t, but I youtubed – now he plays with his heart! (It’s the 7th Feb by the way…)


            • Yes, over here at least. Definitely Rafa. Definitely.

              Just making sure, dadblameit!

              *laughs* He sings funny… Schwarz couldn’t do that.

              Very funny!!! The only Vince, of course. *holds ears*

              Why not?! *shocked* (So?)


            • I’m not sure… The Professor is marginally cuter, after all…

              Two days, maybe three…

              Oh, you always underestimate my Schwarzy! He does sing funny but there’s something very appealing about his voice nonetheless… my favourite performance of it is by a female though, the queen of Burns songs, Eddi Reader.

              *chuckles wickedly*

              Because I say so! *nods imperiously* (Well, it’s the 8th now, and I’m just reminding you because you promised… )


            • Am not! The things you get me debating.

              That’s not too bad. *big smile*

              Ah, she is rather good. So, I suppose she’s Scottish?

              *huffs and maybe rampages* Poor Kenny. (What did I promise?!)


            • *laughs* You should just agree with me then…

              Maybe tomorrow…though I might try to finish Dickens first. I feel they could clash horribly…

              She is! She’s the one who had the nice Scottish speaking voice…

              Never mind – he has his hair to console him! (It’s the 9th now. You mean you don’t remember? *waits patiently by youtube with a sad little woebegone face*)


            • Easy – just repeat ‘Yes, FEF, whatever you say’ a hundred times each morning, and it’ll soon become second nature…


              Awww! That’s pretty good, for a duck…

              No! The Professor said their would be music videos in February – it’s the 10th now… (*laughing* Are you really going to do the poem? You don’t have to, you know, you know, poor Prof. I was only being wicked – I never expected you to agree…or Schwarzy! Though it would be fun…)


            • But that’s not a safe practice, I fear.

              *gulps* I did forget it was first person present tense! Really!!!

              I think you look more like Tuppence at the moment.

              Oh! *sigh of relief* Yes, I’m working on those right now. I’ve just got the list together, you should know.


            • You don’t trust me, do you?

              Whaaaaaaaaattttttttt?!????? How could you do this to me? Read the first few chapters last night – it’s quite…

              Yes, I must get rid of the black nose.

              Well, work faster! Some of us are waiting, you know, you know… “List” sounds good though – implies several *smiles anticipatorily*


            • Well, I do…but…okay. *says it*

              Quite?! What a horrid place to leave off!

              Just means you were playing in the soot is all.

              Yeah, there’s a whole bunch… But I bet you won’t know them…


            • I like that! But I know you’ll just go off on your own wicked way again soon…

              I’m about a quarter of the way through now. It’s rather…

              *laughs* That makes me sound cute!

              I might not now, but I will soon! *beams* They’re not all Led Zeppelin, are they…?


            • That’s possible…but I doubt it. Of course, it depends on what you say.

              *laughs* Now this just isn’t fair. But I’m figuring if you’re a quarter of the way through…

              *tries not to laugh* Well, okay… You might have a point.

              No classic rock, actually!


  4. Happy birthday – I love your summing up of the pleasures and tribulations of a blogger! Thank you for all the humour, occasional tantrums and chocolate cake that you bring to your readers!


  5. Happy Birthday!!! Aren’t the stats interesting ? I just had a peak at mine – I read a few more books than you last year but I think your read larger tomes and provide such fun in depth reviews and pics /props – don’t stop. PS re blog posts – my top posts have been Happy Birthday Angela/ Rachel -some times I do wonder… 🙂


    • Thanks, Carol! Yes, I love the stats – both Goodreads and WP. I seem to have reduced the factuals without really trying to but there have been so many huge fictional books in the last year something had to give, I suppose. Haha! I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets more traffic for the non-bookie posts! 😀


  6. Happy birthday – to you and your blog. It’s difficult figuring out why and why not when blogging. I don’t really worry about it much unless I lose my blog for awhile.


  7. Phwoar………you can keep Darcy. I’ve boosted Rafa’s shorts a bit (sorry) and had a little play of that enchanting video.

    Time to lie down with a calming cup of chamomile tea after dancing around to room to the catchy beat of Vamos Rafa.

    But what we all want to know, is why you haven’t been baking and baking and sent us all exquisite slices of chocolate cake. And if you think that reading 117 pages a day is a good enough excuse. Nada!

    Very very happy bloggy birthday FF

    And as for the critical spam poster………..they are clearly worried that your posting of pictures of chocolate cake means that potential customers are going to say I’d rather stuff my belly than post cheesy videos of bellyfatcombat. Books, Rafa, Darcy and you, we’d all rather hang out here than there!


    • It’s been viewed 27 times this year – was it you every time?? It’s Martina Navratilova that still brings people into the tennis dress post – odd!

      Now, you know very well my baking is only suitable to be sent to my deadliest enemies! A particularly cruel form of poisoning…

      Thank you so much! I look forward to your own birthday post in the not too distant future! At least I actually posted on my birthday this year instead of three weeks late!

      I’m most offended at bellyfatcombat hanging around here! What have they heard?!?


  8. Happy blogoversary! I do love your critical reviews, as they’re always VERY funny, though I really don’t think you’re too mean at all, judging by your stats…I must confess to loving Thrash Janet, but who’d have thought it would be THE most popular post?! Anyway, do enjoy your chocolate cake, and here’s to many more successful blogging years to come…!


    • Thanks, crimeworm! Haha! See, my theory is that people prefer my rips and that’s why they think I do so many of them! But I’m really very nice to most books… 😉

      I know – it’s weird that that post should get so many visits! Maybe secretly ancient Scots are infiltrating the internet prior to a mass uprising….


  9. Happy Birthday !! 🙂 And you are some kind of machine ! Who reads so much ? Its crazy ! And 5 stars to 62 books ? I was quite surprised by that.
    Stats are always funny that way but my review posts get the least views too. Its the generic ones that always show a burst in stats.
    For a spam comment, thats actually quite well-phrased ! The ones I get are so silly 😀 This one can almost pass off as original (the web address is the let-down)


    • Thank you! 😀 Haha! I know – it’s ridiculous! I keep meaning to get a life… See, everybody thinks I’m really mean to books, but most of the time I’m actuallly quite nice! 😉

      Yes, I must admit that while I enjoy reading other people’s book reviews, I always love when they do something a bit different too, so we might all be the in the same boat. And then ones where the author tweets the review always get a surge too…

      I know – typical of my luck that the insulting one should make most sense! 😉


  10. Happy Birthday to you, FF! I love cake in the morning. However, surely your prolific reading appetite leaves no room for cake?! Blogging is a weird thing, I agree. It is endlessly amusing… Thank you for your great reviews! I have added new books on my TBR list and will never see the light day again. Which is fine by me. Now I’m off to slice me a piece of that virtual cake . . . hmmm


    • Thanks, desertdweller – most kind, and I hope you enjoy the books! I’m a skilled multi-tasker – I have mastered the art of reading and eating cake at the same time, and on a good day I can even drink cappuccino too! The Kindle’s great for that – any little crumbs can be simply wiped clean. It’s a tough old job, but I don’t mind making these sacrifices… 😉


  11. Happy B B-day! Janet beats Pride! The horror! The horror! 😀

    Do you have any stats on the Rafa pic posts? or Darcy’s? I’ll bet views on those days “spike.”

    Wouldn’t it be hilarious to write a blog post filled with spam comments? No? Well, never mind. I often have bad ideas…


    • Thank you! 😀

      I know! Who’d have thought so many people were fluent in old Scots? There must be a conspiracy – I wish they’d invited me to join it!

      Haha! Any time Rafa’s doing well in a tournament I get a small rush of people searching on ‘rafa’s shorts’. It cheers me to know I’m not alone in my shallowness…

      Funnily enough, the reason I could quote that one is ‘cos I thought at one time that I might do a post on funny spam comments! Unfortunately there hasn’t been another humorous one since… though I did get an email from someone who thought that I’d just love the opportunity to review her new colon cleanser…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy Birthday!! And I love the “improper” posts! I had no idea you’d been around for two years—you have so many reviews that I thought you’d been at it much longer.

    The most popular on my site is “So Bad, I Read It For You: Inferno”. (The Dan Brown book, not Dante’s work. Ha.) One more round of school papers and “To Kill a Mockingbird” will overtake it (if not sooner, courtesy of its sudden place in the headlines). I love the search queries that lead to both and it’s a bummer that fewer are visible now that Google is working to encrypt them.

    Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy makes everything better.


    • Thanks! 😀 Ah well I’ve been reviewing on Amazon for over four years, so I put loads of my old reviews in the blog when I started.

      Haha! Where would be without cheatin’ students? My Carmilla post is always at the top because it’s obviously become a textbook on some syllabus. I often think of putting a bit at the bottom of it asking the students to come back and let me know what grade I got!



  13. Congratulations!! I’m glad you did your stats because as you know I do love them! I beat you by about 6,000 pages in the end! I nearly fell off my chair with your number of 5 star reviews – I thought I’d been generous!!! and that spam message is brilliant. Thank you for blogging and cheering me up with all your reviews and even the tennis posts, I love visiting and seeing what you’re reading, thinking and today there is a bonus with the chocolate cake. Here’s to a year of tantrums 😉


    • Woo! I’d have thought you’d have beaten me by miles more than that! It must be ‘cos of the factuals, but you always seem to read about twice as many books as me! Haha! I know! Everybody thinks I’m really mean and hard to please, and actually I’m lovely!! Honest, I am! But my occasional rips seem to stick in people’s minds far more than my frequent raves… it’s not my fault!

      Aww, thank you, Cleo! Much appreciated! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Happy blog anniversary! That chocolate cake looks amazing. I’ve read on the net a while back a saying that went along these lines: “if you eat dessert and nobody sees you it has no calories”. I wish! 🙂
    May you have many more years of blogging ahead. You definitely manage to read a lot and blog a lot. I don’t know how you do it.


    • Thanks, Delia! 😀 I know – I wish I had the actual cake rather than just the picture! Hmm…I think I might choose to believe that!

      My secret is plenty of coffee, plenty of cake and a supreme ability to ignore housework etc! 😉


  15. Happy HAPPY to (you and) your blog! This is a fabulous site, and I am grateful for all the good reviews and nice writing. Though I do feel terribly un-erudite and vastly under read! I so enjoy your reviews, FF! 🙂


    • Thanks, LR! Much appreciated! 😀 But I think that’s how we all feel. Every day I read everybody else’s reviews and wonder how they pack them all in… so many books in the world!


  16. The happiest of blog birthdays to you! I’m off to read your review of The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, which I must have missed when it posted (and which, coincidentally, I reread this morning in Neil’s new collection!).

    Also, much thanks for sharing your cake. 🙂


    • Thanks, Kelly! 😀 Hope you enjoyed the cake!

      Ooh, I’ve just downloaded the Audible version of the new collection – everybody says he’s great at narrating his own stories so I thought I’d try it this way…


      • The cake was delicious! 🙂

        Yes, it’s wonderful to listen to Neil read. I’ve heard him read enough of his work that I occasionally hear his voice in my head instead of my own when reading the print versions. There are worse problems to have!


        • That happens to me with series that have been televised – Ken Stott has become Rebus for me and I can see and hear him as I read! I’ll be starting the audiobook tonight… 🙂


  17. Happy Birthday FictionFan!
    Thanks for sharing the spam story, I got a nasty one in my second week of blogging and felt terrible, nearly gave up then and there. Realising that it is generic and that everyone gets them was a relief…
    I’m already looking forward to next year’s Mr Darcy picture, Rose


    • Thanks, Rose! 😀

      Oh dear! I’m glad you didn’t give up! It can be really off-putting when they’re written in a way that makes them look real – most of them of course are obviously spam but sometimes it can be quite convincing. I don’t know why even a spammer would send a rude message though – it doesn’t make any sense to me.

      Haha! You can be sure Darcy will turn up here long before next year… ! 😉


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