Thursday, May 30, 2013

Colette from ABG Reads Book Tours

ABG Reads Book Tours

Blog tours are a great way to discover new authors! I have a passion for books in all genres. I started the blog A Buckeye Girl Reads 3 years ago, and through that blog have worked with many authors. I discovered much to my surprise, that I loved helping them get their book noticed by as many people as possible.

Blog tours are a lot like matchmaking-it’s hard to find the perfect blog for the tour you are organizing. One of the most fun tours I did was for Lauren Clark with her book Stardust Summer. It was a month long tour, and did themed top ten lists that went along with setting in her book. My favorite top ten list she did was top ten list of drinks that all had summer/beach themes at Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Books.

The great thing about organizing tours are the bloggers I’ve been able to meet. Two that have been instrumental in helping me out are Forget The Housework I’m Reading and Amys Booket List. Both have become friends and it’s been fun to watch their blogs grow. 

ABG Reads book tours specializes in Urban Fantasy, Romance, Chick Lit, and Young Adult genres. Authors I’ve been able to work with include Lauren Clark, author of Dancing Naked In Dixie, (Chick Lit) Amber Polo, author of The Shapeshifters Library Series, (Urban Fantasy) Dina Rae, author of Halo Of The Damned, (Horror) and Ellis Drake author of Tweet The Police. (Mystery) Blog tours are just a fun way to connect with new authors and new blogs! 

If you're interested in taking part in a blog tour, we're organizing a tour for The Letter by Sandra Owens, a Regency Romance about a betrayal that wasn’t that tore two lovers a part for eleven years.  We are looking for bloggers to host reviews, guest posts, author q/a, and excerpts. The tour is from July 29-August 15th. To join,  please go here.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

REMINDER: Armchair BEA is NOW!!

Design credit: Nina of Nina Reads

Last month, I shared a little bit about Armchair BEA with you, but I am back today to tell you that it is happening right NOW!!!  (Disclaimer:  I come to you as a co-founder and organizer of this event, so I may be a bit biased on the awesomeness of this online convention!)

Over at Armchair BEA Central, you will find a large number of discussions going on, both on blogging and on books!  Twitter parties are starting tomorrow and going through Saturday night. We have guest articles from professionals in the field.  We have sneak peeks from Book Expo America courtesy of our on-site correspondents.  We even have a new feature of an Instagram Challenge.  And, I cannot forget to mention the more than 300 giveaways thanks to our amazing sponsors!!

It may all seem a bit overwhelming!  The exponential growth of this event, even from a planner's eyes is beyond believable at times!  Therefore, I leave you with a few pieces of advice . . .

  1. Participate in as much or as little as you would like!  Maybe a Twitter party is all that you have time for.  Or, you would rather just connect on the bookish chatter via the genre daily topics.  Do what you can.  It is simply impossible to do it ALL! (Just remember that you must be a registered participant to be eligible for the giveaways!)
  2. Remember, this is an online convention.  All the information, the discussions, and the links will still be there in the future.  We want you to use this as a resource all year long; not just during the week of the event.
  3. HAVE FUN!  If it begins feeling like a chore, take a day to breath, and come back for more later! (See #2)

Now, head on over to Armchair BEA Central and check out all the excitement.  If you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to share them in the comments or contact me directly at tiftalksbooks (at) gmail (dot) com.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Andi from Estella's Revenge

andi from estella's revenge

Andi from Estella's Revenge here! If we haven't met, it's a pleasure. If we have, "Hi, y'all!"

Please note: I am not really a pirate. Swearsies.  

I've been blogging for a little over eight years at my current location. While the blog started out as a catch-all of emotion and angst in graduate school, it eventually evolved to mostly books and reading with a hefty dose of other stuff I like: cooking, decor and home improvement, and anything else that strikes my fancy. Oh, and lots of pics of my child. 

I snagged my blog's name from one of my favorite novels, which I read at a formative age, Great Expectations. I tend to be a little on the sassy side, and Estella seemed like a good fit. As she mellowed over the years in the novel, I have, too. 

When it comes to books, my choices tend to vary. Contemporary fiction? Sure! Memoir? Why not! Pop science? Yes, please!

In general, I find that deadlines suck my soul away, so I've sloughed off most reading-related obligations in the last few years. I don't accept ARCs except in rare circumstances, I don't do blog tours, I don't set deadlines. However, I do wholeheartedly believe in and relish the blogging community. My buddy Heather and I founded the Estella Society, which has existed in multiple formats for nearly eight years. We also host Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon in April and October. 

And now that you're thoroughly asleep-falling...some offbeat questions. 

1. My earliest memory of reading...
When I was growing up, I stayed with my grandparents during the day while my mom was at work. My grandmother read to me before nap time every day, and I will be forever indebted to her for introducing me to a love of books and for never complaining (too much) about reading She-Ra books over and over and over and over again. 

2. My bookshelves are...
Full of unread books!!! I recently culled quite a bit. I have three bookcases in my house. One for books I would keep, re-read, or teach. And the other two are full of unread books. The ratio is not promising!

the golems of gotham cover

3. A book I like that no one else seems to...
This is one of those instances when others don't seem to dislike the book, they've just never heard of it!!! 

The Golems of Gotham, by Thane Rosenbaum, is offbeat and beautifully written. 
This is the story of Oliver Levin, a mainstream mystery writer who suddenly finds himself navigating a massive case of writer's block. His concerned 14-year-old daughter takes it upon herself to summon her grandparents back from the dead. They were Holocaust survivors who committed suicide, and Ariel's experiment calling forth the "Golems" unwittingly produces 8 ghosts--her grandparents, along with some of the most famous atrocity writers of all time....Primo Levi, Jean Amery, Paul Celan, Piotr Rawicz, Jerzy Kosinski, andTadeusz Borowski. What results is the chronicle of Oliver's attempt at navigating life as an inheritor of the Holocaust experience via his parents and his crippling fear of loss as a result of their suicide (and some other stuff that would ruin the book for you, so I'll stop there).
Thanks for having me here at Book Bloggers International! I hope to see you soon!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shannon from River City Reading

shannon from river city reading

Please welcome Shannon N., who blogs at River City Reading. Shannon's blog is know for literary fiction and non-fiction reviews.


1.      NAME OF MY BOOK BLOG(S): River City Reading

2.      I HAVE BEEN BLOGGING SINCE: February, 2013 - I'm just a wee babe.

3.      GENRES COVERED MOST ON MY BLOG: I tend to focus on contemporary literary fiction, with the occasional bit of non-fiction. 

4.      FIRST BOOK I READ OVER AND OVER: Other than endlessly reading the Berenstain Bears books with my parents, the first book I remember really falling in love with was Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. Looking back, it's also one of the first books I can recall recommending to friends, likely with the same geeky fervor I sometimes have today.

5.      MY FAVORITE PLACE TO READ: My husband and I bought a great old house a few summers ago and have been working on getting it back to it's 1914 glory. The best part of it is the big front porch that looks out on the neighborhood; it's absolutely perfect for putting your feet up on the railing and spending time with a book.

6.      MY BOOKSHELVES ARE: Sad. This great old house did not come with great old built in bookshelves and does not lend itself well to configuration with modern bookcases. We're pretty limited to the two we have and they are overflowing, especially since I started the blog. Taking a peek at the top half of one shelf should give you a pretty accurate view of this sorry situation.

7.   A BOOK I LIKE THAT NO ONE ELSE SEEMS TO: I know that not everyone disliked it, but after a while it started to feel like I was the only person who enjoyed Herman Koch's The DInner. I can definitely see why it divided readers, though, it needs a very specific audience.

8.   A BOOK I DON’T LIKE THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO LOVE: I had a very hard time with Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I sobbed along with the best of us, but felt a bit manipulated by the novel in a way I haven't been able to properly put into words. 

9.   A BOOK THAT INTIMIDATES ME: Though I'm not sure if it's intimidation or not, I hate the fact that I have started Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall four times and never made it more than a third of the way through. Everything about the book points to me being head over heels in love with it and the fact that I can't finish it, when I very rarely leave books unfinished, drives me absolutely insane. 

10.   MY FAVORITE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION: Though it's TV and not a movie, I'm so impressed by how well the Song of Ice and Fire series has been adapted to Game of Thrones so far. It's such a huge undertaking and could have gone so horribly wrong. Luckily, it's one of those cases where most of the changes have actually improved, or at least been necessary for, the TV series.

11.   MY BOOK BLOG STANDS OUT FROM THE CROWD BECAUSE: Though I claim literary fiction as my main genre, I have pretty eclectic reading tastes and I'm most happy when I'm exploring as much as I can of what's being published. I think my blog offers a good mix, whether it's gushing about Game of Thrones or being upset no one told me about James Salter until I was 28.

Thank you for joining us today, Shannon! Remember to check out Shannon's blog and leave a comment or question.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Writing a Review Policy

A review policy is something you should consider having whether you accept review copies of books or not; but if you do accept them, a review policy is MANDATORY, especially in light of the FTC's new policies regarding online reviews and disclosure.

First of all, what is a review policy? It's simply a statement of where and how you get the books—or other items, if applicable—you review on your blog, and how you treat them. It can also include a statement for publicists on what you're accepting or not. Like giveaway policies, once this is posted you're legally obligated to follow it; but it's really easy to change, so just make sure your review policy is always up to date.

What should your review policy include? It must state whether or not you accept copies of books for review, how you disclose if a copy was provided, and what you do with the copies once you're finished with them (common opinion is that selling ARCs or even keeping them after you've reviewed them isn't kosher—you don't want to give the impression you're accepting payment for reviews). 

What else might a review policy include? Any additional information is more for the benefit of publicists, blog tour organizers, etc., who might be looking to send you a copy of a book. Some things you might want to mention: 
  • What format of books will you accept? Only print or also eBooks? And if eBooks, what file types?
  • What genres do you like to read? Anything you rabidly dislike?
  • Can the person pitching their book 100% expect to see a review on your blog if you accept their book? If yes, in what time period?
  • Are you going to be nice in your review if you dislike the book? If not, better say so. You should also mention if you don't review books you don't like.
  • What's the best way to contact you?
  • Do you respond to every review request, even if you're not interested?
  • If you schedule reviews for specific dates, how much time do you need from when you receive the book to the time of the review? If you don't get the book in time, will you reschedule?
  • Are you going to write about the book anywhere else? GoodReads, Amazon, another blog?

This really helps establish the tone of your relationship with people pitching books as well as their expectations, so you want to make sure you can do what you say you will in the review policy.

This may seem like a lot to think about it (and it is), but you can write short and sweet review policies that cover everything in one or two paragraphs. Here are some sample review policies if you want to see how other book bloggers approach them:

And that's it! Pretty simple, right? Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

John Mutford from Book Mine Set

john mutford from book mine set

Please welcome John, who blogs at Book Mine Set. John's blog is know for Canadian literature!


1.      NAME OF MY BOOK BLOG(S): The Book Mine Set


3.      GENRES COVERED MOST ON MY BLOG: I cover every genre close to equally I would say, but I tend to read mostly Canadian books.

4.      MY EARLIEST MEMORY OF READING: A local grocery store offered a weekly edition of the Charlie Brown's 'Cylopedias. Peanuts comics and science and social studies facts. What wasn't to love? I couldn't wait for the next week to come. I think they might still be somewhere in my parents' house.

5.      FIRST BOOK I READ OVER AND OVER: Charlotte's Web

6.      THE BOOK I HAVE RE-READ THE MOST TIMES: Bunnicula (as a child, parent and teacher)

7.      MY FAVORITE PLACE TO READ: It changes, but right now is my recliner in front of the book shelf (before anyone else wakes up).

8.      MY MUST-HAVE READING ACCESSORIES: Does a Kobo count as an accessory? It's a must have for traveling and for reading on the elliptical. Otherwise I just read real books, no accessories.

9.      MY BOOKSHELVES ARE: Colour coded. Almost enough to make me want to stay in this home forever. The one physical thing I own that would be hardest to give up.

10.   MY TBR LIST/PILE IS: Impossible to finish in this lifetime. For every book crossed off, I can easily fill it with 2 more.

11.   A BOOK THAT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE IN SOME WAY: The Very Hungry Caterpillar turned me on to reading in the first place. Stephen King's Christine introduced me more mature reading in grade 7. 

12.   A BOOK I LIKE THAT NO ONE ELSE SEEMS TO: Tough question. I enjoyed David Bergen's The Age of Hope recently. I'm sure many others have as well, but when it competed in CBC Radio's Canada Reads contest earlier this year, I seemed to be the odd man out amongst the shows fans in defending that title. 

13.   A BOOK I DON’T LIKE THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO LOVE: Ami McKay's The Birth House. (Though I could list many others. This is a much easier question than the one before.)

14.   A BOOK THAT INTIMIDATES ME: Canterbury Tales.

15.   IF I COULD GO TO ANY LITERARY DESTINATION I WOULD CHOOSE: Russia. I went through a russian lit phase and it's intrigued me ever since. Though most of it was quite dated titles and I'm sure Russia today looks nothing like it was described in those books. Still, what a legacy!


17.   MY FAVORITE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION: Lord of the Rings. Wasn't a huge fan of the books, but what I didn't like Peter Jackson removed!

18.   MY BOOK BLOG STANDS OUT FROM THE CROWD BECAUSE: It's somewhat Canadian obsessed. Very eclectic tastes. 

19.   MY MUST-READ BLOGS (PLEASE LIMIT TO 3): Chrisbookarama The Eye of Loni's Storm An Adventure in Reading 

20.   MY READING PERSONALITY ( IS: Eclectic Reader! (Which is hilariously accurate— I answered question #18 before doing the quiz.

Thank you for joining us today, John! Remember to check out John's blog and leave a comment or question.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Net Galley: How to Best Utilize This Resource

Net Galley is a website whose purpose is to promote and publicize upcoming titles.  It does that by offering e-book galleys to those who love to read and recommend books, including book bloggers. 

Signing up and keeping an account are completely free.  The galleys are also completely free as long as you share feedback with publishers.  You request a book that interests you.  If the publisher selects you, you download the galley right from Net Galley’s website onto your Kindle or to your computer. Here is information on how to transfer a download onto your reading device if you don't use a Kindle.

I personally download adult and YA titles to my Kindle and children’s books to my computer.  My Kindle is a Paperwhite and I need to look at the color illustrations in the picture books.  Plus I kind of like keeping them separate.  A few books won’t have downloads straight to Kindle, especially the some of the smaller publishers, but I haven’t run into that very often.

Net Galley offers a ton of books from all kinds of publishers.  Mysteries, romance, young adult, craft & hobbies, health & body, cooking & wine, politics, arts & photography, literary fiction, comics & graphic novels, history, travel, and more. 

This is the catalog on Net Galley.  I tried to do a screen shot but it didn't work
out so I just took a photo of my screen. :P

The publishers that utilize Net Galley range from the big six to small presses.  Examples:
Algonquin Books
Bloomsbury USA
Chicago Review Press
Wisdom Publications

The bigger publishing houses have all of their imprints on there, too.  So no matter if you prefer to grab the latest & greatest from Random House or offer your review services to indie presses, Net Galley has a wide variety.  You can even search by publisher and see what each has to offer.

Net Galley simply offers the service.  Getting selected to review a galley is strictly up to the publishers themselves.  I have heard from several bloggers, including long-standing bloggers, that they don’t often get selected.  Here are my tips and tricks to better your chances:

1.  PROFILE: Take a look at your profile.  Do you have all the information filled out?  Do you have a way for publishers to contact you?  Now read your bio.  You need to include specific info in it:

·        Where you review
·        How long you’ve been reviewing
·        What types of books you review
·        How many people your blog reaches, so include your number of subscriptions/followers on your blog, as well as on Twitter, and your blog’s FB page, if you have one.
·        If you are wanting to review for more than one blog, you need to include stats for each of them.
·        Finally, if you are active in the blogging community, tell them that.  They want to know how much influence you have on others, so tell them exactly how influential you are.  It’s okay to brag a little. 

2. PHOTO: If you were Random House, would you give a galley to Blogger A who has the above information plus a recent photo of themselves, or would you give it to Blogger B who has barely any info and no photo?  If you answered Blogger A, ding ding ding! You win!  Publishers want to be able to connect with you as much as your readers do.  Let them see who is writing those amazing reviews on your blog.  Give them something to remember.  A photo of your blog name is better than no photo, but a personal picture of yourself is the best.  No one can see it but the publishers and Net Galley staff.  Other members of Net Galley don’t have access to your profile.  It’s not a social network. 

3. FEEDBACK: Publishers check and see if you are giving feedback for the galleys you receive.  If you have received 50 galleys and have given feedback on 8, they aren’t going to waste their time with you more than likely.  The better your galley to feedback ratio, the more you will be selected as a reviewer.  

  Now, feedback consists of two things ideally: 

  One, you review it on your blog, and two, you submit the link to your review and any other comments to the publisher via Net Galley’s feedback form, which they provide for you.  It’s easy to find.  There is a button linking to the form right beside the buttons to download the books.  It’s easy-peasy.  You’re already submitting your review to Goodreads and Amazon and wherever else, so it’s just one more place to copy and paste it.  Plus, this one gets you even more advanced copies of titles.  It’s a win-win, really.

4. TIME MANAGEMENT:  I’m as bad as anyone for requesting more books than I really have any business doing.  Look at the publishing dates.  Often that will give you some idea of when they want their book reviewed by.  Net Galley will archive books at some point.  If you download a book into, say, Adobe Reader, you have a certain number of days to read it.  I think it is 55 days.  Different books will archive at different times, depending on how long the publisher wants to offer the book to reviewers. 

  Some books don’t have an archive date set, which is good because you have more time to read it and get your feedback in to the publishers.  Don’t request more books than you can review within the next month or so.  Go with optimism just in case they all say yes you can review our book.  You don’t want to have gone over just in case they say no and then end up with way too many on your plate.  Better to lowball it.

5. COUNTRY AVAILABILITY: Some publishers and imprints are looking for readers in specific countries.  If this is the case, it will say so at the top of the request page for the book. I, myself, have not noticed this before and requested a book that was only for U.K. or Australian readers and of course my request was denied because I didn’t read the thing like I should have.  So check this and make sure you aren’t requesting books that are not available to you simply based on geographic location.

6. APPROVAL PREFERENCES: In addition, some publishers have other specific approval preferences.  You can check these preferences on their publisher’s page, which you can reach via Browse Publishers.  Click on the name and it will give you the info.  Then you can search their titles if you fit their criteria.  This is especially good to do if you find yourself getting turned down by the same publisher a couple of times.

7.  DON’T STRESS: At the time of writing this, I have downloaded 99 galleys and given feedback on 65.  I have between 15 and 25 galleys that have recently been approved, including children’s books, which is why it is kind of high.  So I have a good ratio.  I have a fairly good size readership and I’m big into the blogging community.  Yet, sometimes I get turned down for books, too.  It happens.  They’ve fulfilled their quota.  I didn’t realize the book was for U.K. residents only.  So don’t stress out.  Just do these things listed above and the galleys will soon come rolling in.

If this is all kind of overwhelming or you would like some additional tips and tricks, Net Galley is actually offering a new program called the Net Galley Wellness Challenge.  It’s a 9-week challenge that started May 13th that will help you improve the “wellness” of your Net Galley experience, including free webinars.  I’m considering taking it just because you’re eligible for prizes. :D  I don’t know what it will be like but hey, it couldn’t hurt.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Adam of Roof Beam Reader

Please welcome Adam, who blogs at Roof Beam Reader. Adam's blog is particularly known for his review of the classics, but you can find just about any genre there.

Roof Beam Reader 

Well, I have been blogging for years and years! I think I started around 2000 or 2001? But my first book blog (pre-Roof Beam Reader) was started around 2007. Roof Beam Reader came into existence in 2009 and has been going strong ever since. 

My reading (and reviewing) is pretty eclectic. I read everything from fantasy and science fiction to non-fiction (history, biography), young adult, gay fiction and critical theory. I would say, though, that my primary reads are literary fiction and the classics. I spend most of my time reading great works of American and British literature, so that tends to be what is most reviewed on my blog; however, I’m not exclusive by any means! You’ll definitely see a lot of different kinds of books read & reviewed at Roof Beam Reader. 

The first books that I can remember reading are the Goosebumps books that we used to get from Scholastic “book days,” back when we would order books once a month or so, in grammar school. But, the first books I vividly remember reading and enjoying are The Giver by Lois Lowry and And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. We read both in 7th grade, and I have read both many times since. They remain two of my favorites – and they are the books that first made me realize that reading could actually be fun! 

Harry Potter. All of them. When I was young, one of my good friends was my next-door neighbor, whose mother was a librarian. She introduced me to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone just before book four (Goblet of Fire) was published. Needless to say, I read the first three books before Goblet’s release date, and then read that one. I re-read every book in the series leading up to each new release (and then again before the release of each movie. Finally, a year or so ago, I re-read the entire series in order to review the books, which I had never done before. All in all, I must have read the entire series at least seven times. And I still crave them once a year (though I no longer have time to read them that often). 

Outrageous. I have a few thousand books on my TBR list, some of which I own and many of which I don’t. There is added ridiculousness in the fact that I already own thousands of books (you should see my bookshelves – and my closets – and my storage unit!) but many of these books aren’t even on my list (I use Goodreads to add books to a “to read” list, but those are mostly books I haven’t purchased yet, and I often forget to add the ones that I do buy until I finally read them). So, yeah, it’s pretty ridiculous. Somebody stop me! 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I read it when I was college, which made me a bit older than the likely intended audience (the characters in the book were primarily high school students headed to college), but it was exactly the right time for me. The book spoke to me on many levels, but especially in terms of personal issues I was dealing with and also in regards to my sense of self as a writer. Aside from Harry Potter, it is the book that I have re-read most often, and I only just forced myself to review it last year. I had been too intimidated to put down my thoughts on such a personal reading experience, but I’m glad I finally decided to do it. 

Well, I know I’m probably going to get some grief for this one – but I really didn’t enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it a few years ago and, while I appreciated it, I just didn’t find it as brilliant or affecting as most people seem to; however, I do think I will be re-reading it in the not-too-distant future, because I think I might have missed something, or perhaps been in the wrong frame of mind when I read it. 

There are three, actually. I have tried (and failed) to read all three, and they are: Clarissa; or, The History of a Young Lady by Samuel Richardson; The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe; and Ulysses by James Joyce. I think I’m in good company with the first and third books, as many people try and fail at these (Clarissa is one of the longest books written in the English language, and it is rather boring and repetitive; Ulysses is, well, it’s Ulysses!). As far as the Radcliffe – I do think I would enjoy it if I could get through it, but I need a lot of uninterrupted quiet time to be able to do so, and that’s not a luxury I have right now. It is wordy, romantic, flowery… not really my style. But I do think it will be a good read, someday! 

I would really like to go the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore, Maryland. Also, someday, I hope to see a play at the Globe Theatre – even though this is technically the third Globe (the first burned down in 1613 and the second was closed in 1642), I have heard that it is true to Shakespeare’s original and is only about 800 feet from where the first stood. 

This is so tough! Most film adaptations, of course, do not live up to the original book, but there are some that I enjoyed. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which released last year, was an excellent adaptation, probably because the author was involved in everything from writing the screenplay, to casting, to selecting the music. 

Hm. Let’s see. The ones I go to most often are ones that not only read and review great literature, but also relate much of their reading to life experiences. They, like me, are on a journey of sorts – a quest, even. And it’s both entertaining and fulfilling to check-in with them and see how they’re getting along. They teach me a lot about myself by inspiring me to ask questions I may not have thought to ask: 

O Delaisse 
Maple and a Quill 
A Literary Odyssey 

HAH! Well, apparently I am an “Eclectic Reader.” That’s no shock to me (see Question 3 above!).

Thank you for joining us today, Adam! Remember to check out Adam's blog, Roof Beam Reader, and leave a comment or question.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Suey at It's All About Books

Please welcome Suey, who blogs at It's All About Books. Suey's blog is known for her passion of the author Markus Zusak and the music of Josh Groban.


I have been blogging about books on It’s All About Books since March of 2007, which means just over six years now. When I started, I also had a personal blog, so this new blog was truly going to be “all about books.” Of course the other blog died and I find it way too hard to not post personal type things so my “all about books” blog is now “all about everything!” 

I read all sorts of genres so don’t try and pin me down! I especially love fantasy, classics and historical fiction. Every time I manage to fit in a non-fiction, I love that too! And I will read anything YA. Oh, and of course anything considered literary fiction. I even will read a western now and then because...cowboys? I love them! I’m learning to even get into the mild horror type books! The one genre I’m not too fond of is mysteries. I just don’t get ‘em. I really don't’ get chick lit either actually. So there’s that too. 

One of my earliest book memories is having a babysitter come over and bring with her a book called Mr. Pine’s Mixed Up Signs. I LOVED that thing! I begged her to bring it every time. Finally, I got a hold of my very own copy. Yes! Sadly, it was after all my kids were past this stage. Grandkids maybe? :) 

My bookshelves are a mess and so is my TBR pile. I got new bookshelves several years ago and made a library corner in my basement. It was awesome! It was organized! But now, I’ve added stacks and stacks piled here and there and the organization I started with is long gone. Sad. I need another library corner. 

There are so many book to movie adaptations that I love. Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version) does stand out. But some others I love: Lord of the Rings, Holes, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Forsyte Saga.... 

Probably the book I’ve read the most times now is Pride and Prejudice, I’ve lost count... maybe four or five? But I am starting to work on the third time around now with all the Markus Zusak books. You must know, (and you do if you’ve read my blog and you will if you plan to read it,) that I’m a bit of an MZ fan. Maybe even a bit over the top of a fan? A fanatic fan? A rabid fan? Come hang out for awhile and you'll see... 

When I’m not reading I’m probably trying to keep up on some TV shows, or dragging family members to the movies, or doing all sorts of boring mom stuff, or planning our next big trip, or stalking authors at the many launch parties/ author signing events we have around here, or blasting music in the car, probably Josh Groban, but it could easily be Muse or Silversun Pickups or Gotye too. I love music and would rather play music then listen to an audio book... which is why I have a hard time with audio books. In between all that I spend a lot of time worrying... about kids, about exercising, about just doing whatever needs doing. 

And what makes my blog stand out? Hmmm.... good question. I like to think it stands out because of it’s “down to earthness” and the chatty informal setting I feel I have going there. Maybe it stands out because I have lots of lists there and it’s a good resource for people. Maybe it stands out because of my passion for supporting our lovely local Utah authors, of which we have many. Maybe it stands out because I’ve been around awhile and am really quite consistent with the posting. I don’t know. But hopefully, it stands out somehow because WOW there are a lot of us out there! 

Finally, and this may give you the biggest clue as to the type of blogger and reader I am, I took the little reader personality quiz at Guess what it says? “You fit in all categories!” Yes, I guess I am equal parts involved, exacting, serial and eclectic! I hope you come say hi!


Thank you for joining us today, Suey! Remember to check out Suey's blog, It's All About Books, and leave a comment or question.  You can also find Suey throughout the web at the following locations:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Michelle of That's What She Read

Please welcome Michelle, who blogs at That's What She Read

NAME OF MY BOOK BLOG(S): That's What She Read 


GENRES COVERED MOST ON MY BLOG:  Everything and anything, although I have somehow avoided erotica. 

I remember reading Little Women the most, although I know I read other, easier books before then. For some reason, I always consider that my first official book. 

I think it was the entire Little House series. I read them so many times, the covers are falling off and now that my daughter is reading them, the bindings are falling apart too. Those are some well-loved books. 

Tough one. In my lifetime, it's probably a tie between Gone With the Wind and Dracula

My bed. But now that it is spring, my recliner in my screened-in porch. There is something so peaceful about reading while being able to be surrounded by nature and its soothing sounds. 

Nothing. I'm a purist and just prefer to read without food or even drink. I enjoy having my dog on my lap or a cup of coffee at my side, but neither of those are must-have accessories. 

Filled to overflowing. I need more but know I can't even begin to mention it to my husband. 

Too big and growing larger every day. At last count, I own/have a review copy of over 600 books. Embarrassing. 

Atlas Shrugged was the first book that made me feel empowered, that I didn't have to work for a collective good but could do my best for me. It probably isn't the message Ayn Rand was trying to share, but that's how it made me feel. 

I can't think of any; I'm sure they exist, but I've probably blocked them from my mind. 

This list is way too long. In recent months, Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver are the two biggest books that left me feeling very flat but about which others still gush. 

Ulysses - and it takes a LOT for me to be intimidated by a book. 

My dream has always been to travel to Prince Edward Island and do the whole Anne tour. Me and millions of other women who love the story. Lately, I want to go back to Budapest and really explore it for its literary history. Books like The Historian make that city come alive in a way I completely missed when I visited it so many years ago. That and London. As much as I love Dickens, I really need to hit London. 

Cooking. I love to cook almost as much as I love to read, but given a choice between the two, I'd rather read. Which is why my day-to-day cooking is so drab. 

Gone With the Wind; I have always loved that movie. 

I really don't think it does, given my small group of followers. However, if I must answer it, I'd say because I am honest but fair. I try to keep all reviews professional and explain why something does or does not please me based on my personal experiences without trashing a novel or an author completely. I can only react to a book based on my past, and I try to make sure others recognize that. 

Devourer of Books - because she has a toddler and twin babies and still manages to read more than I do, The Pioneer Woman - because she is all kinds of awesome, and Fizzy Thoughts - because Fizzy Jill is also all sorts of awesome and I really need to meet her. 

(How's this for confusing?) Your responses showed you fitting equally into all four reading personalities: 
Involved Reader: You don't just love to read books, you love to read about books. For you, half the fun of reading is the thrill of the chase - discovering new books and authors, and discussing your finds with others. 
Exacting Reader: You love books but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like - so you're very particular about the books you choose. 
Serial Reader: Once you discover a favorite writer you tend to stick with him/her through thick and thin. 
Eclectic Reader: You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.

Thank you for joining us today, Michelle! Remember to check out Michelle's blog, That's What She Read, and leave a comment or question.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Online Resource: FictFact for Series Reading

Are you a fan of reading books in a series?  Do you attempt to keep track of them in any way?  Do you know when new books in the series are released?  If you are a series reader, I have got the greatest resource for you that I just discovered thanks to Bryan of Still Unfinished!

FictFact is a FREE online resource, designed specifically to keep track of your series reading.  You can track where you are in a series, the order of the books in a series, and even get the latest news of the series books that have yet to be released.  You can search for series by author or by series title.  You can view a book release calendar or find new-to-you series by searching by most popular.

Personally, I am in the midst of so many different series that I have lost track.  I use Goodreads for my own personal collection as well as books that I am interested in reading.  However, I do not feel it is convenient in keeping track of where I am in a series.  I have only recently signed up for my own personal account at FictFact, but I am so very excited to finally get organized and caught up on some of my series reading!  I think this is the website to help me do just that!

Have you discovered FictFact yet?  Are you a series reader?  How do you track your series?  What book-ish websites do you use to keep organized or track your reading?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jeanne of Necromancy Never Pays

Please welcome Jeanne, who blogs at Necromancy Never Pays

Necromancy Never Pays. I started on Blogger and am now at Wordpress. There’s also a Necromancy Never Pays on Tumblr, but it’s less about books and more about Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock (Superwholock).  I can also be found on Twitter.
February 2008, when I had my knee replaced and my family played a game of  "Would You Rather." When one of us got a card asking whether we'd rather have three questions answered or be able to resurrect someone, the kids and I immediately went for the three questions, but Ron was hesitating over resurrection. "Oh come on," I said, "necromancy never pays; literature shows us this over and over."

"Oh yeah," Ron said, "The Monkey's Paw."

And then we went on to the next card. Some things are just clear, once you remember all the stuff you've read about them.

The Wordpress version of NNP has been less of a commonplace book—a place to write down all the stuff a person has read—and more of a series of essays and meditations on literature.  Like any blogger who has been at it for more than five years, I’m looking for a new direction. I think it must be a little like writing a second novel—all the stuff I most wanted to write about, I have written about already, so there’s less sense of urgency.

Poetry, science fiction and fantasy, literary fiction. The blogger version had a lot of YA reviews, but as my kids have grown up, I’m not reading as much YA.  Some of it is splendid, but we feel ready to discuss bigger issues with larger vocabularies.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. It was one of the only books I had with me the summer I turned 11, the summer we spent on Oahu while my parents were taking classes at the University of Hawaii.  Another book I read over and over was the book I kept in the car for reading on trips the summer I turned 13, Gone With the Wind.  Since then I’ve been continuously re-reading Lord Of the Rings, Harry Potter, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I often find myself re-reading Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (Anne Tyler) because I’m thinking of a phrase from it and have to go back and read the whole thing.

I don’t know if it’s The Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkien) or The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Douglas Adams).  I do tend to bounce back and forth from the sublime to the ridiculous.

I have to use reading glasses now, and the good part of that is that it creates a little world for the book; I don’t try to look up and notice what’s going on around me as much (and with four inside/outside cats, there’s always something going on around me).  The bad part of that is I can’t read as much in odd moments, because I not only have to pull a book out, I have to pull the glasses out, too.

Restored (after the flood of March 2012), in a new order that I don’t know as well, and mostly double-stacked.

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway; I could never read the same way again after finding out the secrets of this book.

The moon of Robert Heinlein’s “The Menace from Earth” and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.  I’ve made several literary pilgrimages to England--on the most recent, we visited Oxford, Stratford, the Lake District, Haworth and the moor, and then, of course—because as Samuel Johnson says, if you’re tired of it, you’re tired of life--London.

I used to spend a lot of time captioning pictures in photo albums, and now do something similar on Tumblr. I will swim anywhere there’s a body of water both bigger and only slightly cooler than I am. Most of all, I love traveling to fictional places—we went to Hill Valley on a tour of Universal Studios, and to Hogwarts via the Orlando facsimile.  We wanted to go to New Zealand while some of the LOTR and Hobbit tours were still being offered, but it is beyond the means of a family of four with two in college and the other two working at one.

Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. They’re not perfect adaptations (the portrayal of Faramir and Denethor makes me particularly angry), but it was wonderful to see them on screen, and to see so many people discover the story.  Same with the Harry Potter movies—things had to be left out, but it was fun to see some of the details, and to see more people get pulled into reading the books. 

One of the movies made from a book that I love the most is The Princess Bride—the movie is good in a different way from the book. 

I like both the book and the movie of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and visited the house where the events took place when we went through Savannah last summer.

Not that you asked, but the movie I like the least that is made from a book I love is To Kill a Mockingbird. I know a lot of people really like Gregory Peck as Atticus, but the movie pretty much left me cold when I saw it in my forties, after three decades of reading and re-reading the book.

I’ve seen a few movies that I thought were as good or better than the book--Cloud Atlas was at least as good, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower was better.

Thank you for joining us today, Jeanne! Remember to check out Jeanne's blog, Necromancy Never Pays, and leave a comment or question.