About the Book Review Sisters
Hello! We are The Book Review Sisters!
We are Aussies, Jessica and Helen Wakefield. Born and bred in country NSW, we are humbled and honoured to be followers of Jesus and are keen to use our gifts and skills for his glory.
We are also proud to be of Aussie-Filipino descent, but not too keen on terminologies such as “mixed race” or “eurasian”. We’re still trying to find a more appealing expression.
In terms of reading, we love all things Christian fiction, but most especially Christian romance fiction.
We actively ran the Book Review Sisters blog for 4 years before moving on to focus on our individual pursuits.
And no, that’s not a euphemism for a sordid, behind the scenes falling out. In fact, our individual pursuits were, and still are, intrinsically linked in a complimentary way. We still “work” together in ways that isn’t as obvious, but God willing, this will become more evident in time.
We have lived in separate locations, hours apart, for some 22 years now (even while running the blog), but remain as close as ever. We are blessed with amazing husbands, 5 children between us of similar age (but hugely diverse personalities and colouring!), and at one stage we each had a maltese dog – and they were sisters!
We both love tennis, cricket, crocheting, Gilmore Girls and Grey’s Anatomy. But we are also very different. It’s amusing that our cooking styles have evolved since childhood in uniquely and vastly different ways. Even with reading, though we both love Christian romance, we each have distinct tastes and different favourite authors.
The Story of the Book Review Sisters Blog
In the beginning …
The Book Review Sisters began in April 2011. At the time, we sisters, Helen and Jessica Wakefield, were stay-at-home mums to 3 children between us – aged 2, 11 months and 5 months. Pre-children, Helen had worked a high-paced IT job and Jessica had been wrangling high school students in scripture classes.
At this point in our lives we were going mentally stir crazy. We devoured books when we had a moment to ourselves and decided: why not share the awesome books we read with others?
And so, the Book Review Sisters was born.
How the blog evolved …
Originally we had intended on carrying out the BBC’s Big Read Best Loved Novels challenge.
But we were soon distracted from this challenge in favour of books more in line with our tastes.
Eventually we officially decided we didn’t have to read books we weren’t enjoying, just because they were on some list. What was the point in that?? Despite being top English students in school (and Jessica being a qualified high school English teacher), we’d never been one for the literary type books. And so what if some people were going to look down on us for that.
The focus of the blog and reviews soon settled into the Christian fiction genre, with romance fiction emerging as the dominant subgenre.
What can we say? We love a good romance.
At it’s peak …
We never imagined just where the Book Review Sisters blog would take us. Before long we were doing interviews with authors, and hosting book give-aways and guest bloggers. Within 3 years we were seeing 40k+ hits a month on the blog.
We also launched the Book Review Sisters Facebook Page and fielded many requests by authors to read and review their books.
A season for everything …
The Book Review Sisters was an amazing adventure for us. It gave us so many opportunities, connected us with awesome readers and authors, and facilitated pathways to new careers.
By 2015, Helen had one child in school, and the other in preschool. It was time to focus on establishing her book editing business, which she had been working towards for a couple of years. This new career path – something very different from her IT career! – came about as a direct result of running the Book Review Sisters blog.
Jessica also had a 5 year old in preschool and was ready to devote her spare time to her writing career. She has a dedicated passion to write and publish in the Christian romance genre.
The Book Review Sisters posted their last book review in April 2015. With nearly 400 posts, 180 of which were book reviews, they have kept the site up for the benefit of readers who can still use the site for book recommendations.
New life in 2020 …
We gave the blog a new home and new look in 2020, migrating it from its Blogger platform to a hosted WordPress site. We wanted a way for our readers to reconnect with us and our current endeavours.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and suddenly, most people were now having to stay at home. We’ve expidited the release of the new blog design, and have plans to return to doing book reviews – at least for a little while!