Has it really been five years? I can’t believe I have been at this for that long, on the other hand, I can’t imagine a life with our UTC in it. And when I say UTC, I don’t just mean our URL, our collection of reviews, interviews, videos and posts. I mean my girls, Francesca, Angela and Annie, we started this journey together 5 years ago this month, and now I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t message the group at 3am, bitching about what one of my favourite characters done, and them responding knowing that at that moment, that hero or heroine is as real to me as they are. Crazy I know; however, as romance readers, I know you get my kind of crazy!
So, as a celebration of reaching this 5 year milestone, we have a tonne of things going on here at UTC this week. First, we are introducing a new feature called BLOG IT OUT. This is going to be a fortnightly post, either by video on our YouTube channel or a post here on UTC, where we will be talking about blogging. I hesitate to say advice giving, as we change the way we do things all the time and there is always something new to learn. However, we will be telling you some of the things that we do, what we have found has worked and what we have found doesn’t.
We also have a load of giveaways going on, there will be a new one posting daily here on the blog, and there’s a MASSIVE one running that you’ll be able to enter in every post this week. We literally have a crate of books we want to give to you guys! These are all open internationally. Also, don’t forget to check out our Facebook page this week as we’ve planned some surprises for you there as well. 😉
To round off the week, we are doing a video of all of us, giving you our favourite moments from the last 5 years. But to start the week off, each of us is going to say hello below!
THE UTC TEAM
Hi guys! So it’s me again from the intro. I’m the only Brit on the team, which probably explains why, when I do those aforementioned 3am messages to the girls, that I always get replies; time zones can be a beautiful thing. And it isn’t just the girls I love about blogging, although they are a big part of it. Over the last 5 years UTC has shown me a lot, I feel like I have become a better writer, a better reader and have a bigger appreciation for the romance community. It has also given me a chance to pick up and read things, that in the normal course of things I would never have picked up, so if anyone asks you if you want to start a blog, or you are thinking of starting one, my advice? Hell yeah, go for it.
If you told me this was where we’d be five years ago when we started the blog, I wouldn’t believe it. Never in a million years would I ever think that we’d still be here. But we’ve been so lucky to see our blog grow.
And yet, UTC isn’t the only thing that has grown over the years. We have too. Our look has changed (Did you see our throwback pic on Instagram of our old blog?) and our reading tastes have changed as well. (I’ve discovered a new love for Mysteries and Angela has even read M/M! Can you believe it?) But that’s the beauty of this reading community. We all encourage each other to try something different, and we discover books and authors we normally wouldn’t if on our own.
Being a blogger and reviewer has opened so many doors for me, and I’ve made some life-long friends because of it. Sometimes, I feel like you guys understand me better than my “real life” friends. Now I can’t see my life without UTC and my girls.
Angela, Suzanne and Francesca are the bestest friends a girl could ask for. Even when it’s not even blog related, these girls have my back and I’m so happy to have them in my life. Despite the fact that we all live in different countries, we chat DAILY. It’s amazing to see how our love for books has brought us together.
I wish I could personally thank all the readers, fellow bloggers, authors, and publishers out there who have worked with us over the years, but instead I hope you see this and realize how amazing you’ve made this experience for me. Five years! Wow! Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me.
Five years! It’s mind boggling. I still remember the hesitant way in which we made the decision to start blogging because we weren’t sure we were ready for that time commitment. But once the decision was made, it was never a question of how much of ourselves we would put into it. Going full force ahead and striving to be the best was the only option. Over the past five years, UTC has been an important part of my life, it’s helped forge a strong bond of friendship between all of us girls. This would never be the same if we couldn’t do it together. Really. It’s so much fun to be able to rant and rave together, and they are as much a part of my every day life as the people around me in “real life”. It’s nice to reminisce in times like this, and when I look back I see how much we’ve changed and grown. Our reading tastes have changed some throughout the years, we’ve gotten better at understanding what our brand is as a blog and what we want to put out. We’ve learned the importance of staying true to ourselves in a constantly changing book and blogging community. We’ve made friends along the way with wonderful publishers, bloggers, authors and readers. This experience wouldn’t be the same without every single one of you and we want to thank you for being part of this journey with us.
Looking back at my adventure the past five years here at UTC, I realized that UTC has taken me to places beyond my expectation. I have learned so much. Anywhere from how to blog, how to critique/review, read faster, read outside my genre to learning to DNF a book when it warrants. I’ve made acquaintances all over the world and met favorite authors. I can’t even begin to tell you what I gained outside the blogging world. I don’t think there’s anything the girls haven’t mentioned that I want to say. But what I love the most is the friendship we all have forged. I think a lot of you who were there from the beginning, know how we all came about and if you follow us, you may have witnessed how tight we all are. We have seen each other at our worst emotionally and even in our not-so-pretty picture texts. Oh, if you can only see our group messages. We’re definitely not afraid to call each other out when needed, but we also praise each other. With these girls, I’ve even learned to love and appreciate myself a little more.
With all of that said, I couldn’t be happier for the five years we all have spent together as a group and I am most appreciative of all of you who have been with us from the start!
Now are you ready to get these giveaways started?
One winner will take home:
I THEE WED by Celeste Bradley
TAKING IT ALL by Maya Banks (Signed)
CROSSTOWN CRUSH by Cara McKenna
HIS FIRST AND LAST by Terri Osburn
4 Winners, each will get a massive bundle of books!
Winners will be randomly picked from the Rafflecopter below.
DARE TO RUN by Jen McLaughlin
SPIDER GAME by Christine Feehan
DANGEROUSLY BROKEN by Eden Bradley
EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID by M. O’Keefe
NEVER TEAR US APART by Monica Murphy (ARC paperback version)
PERFECT BETRAYAL by Season Vining
BAD ROMEO by Leisa Rayven (Signed)
THE BEAUTIFUL ASHES by Jeaniene Frost (Signed)
THE ART OF TAMING A RAKE by Nicole Jordan
DARING IN A BLUE DRESS by Katie MacAlister
THE GIRL IN 6E by A.R. Torre
DO NOT DISTURB by A.R. Torre
JUST THIS NIGHT by Mari Madison (ARC paperback version)
DOMINATED by Maya Banks (ARC paperback version)
THE EXHIBITIONIST by Tara Sue Me
TOUGH ENOUGH by M. Leighton
DARKNESS by Karen Robards
SWEET RUIN by Kresley Cole
LAST MILE by Katie Ashley
MINE by HelenKay Dimon
UP IN FLAMES by Abbi Glines (ARC paperback version)
EXPOSED by Brighton Walsh
LOVE OF THE GAME by Lori Wilde
RIDE HARD by Laura Kaye
FILTHY RICH by Virna DePaul
A LADY BY MIDNIGHT by Tessa Dare (Signed)
BROKEDOWN COWBOY by Maisey Yates
THE MASTER by Tara Sue Me
THE SHADOW by Sylvain Reynard
SWEET AS SIN by J.T. Geissinger (Signed)
THE UNTAMED EARL by Valerie Bowman (ARC paperback version)
RIVAL FORCES by D.D. Ayres (ARC paperback version)
DARK PROMISES by Christine Feehan