Archive for July, 2012

Summer Hiatus

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Blog Nuts and Bolts

On the beach!Hi everyone! Just a quick note to let everyone know I’m going on a short summer hiatus. I’ve been getting a little overwhelmed with trying to juggle blogging, work and everything else, and to top it all off, I’ll be house-sitting for my parents for 10 days starting tomorrow (which means a TON of extra work, because my dad keeps a garden, meaning constant attention to that, and no time for anything else!) Besides that, I have quite a few other hobbies that have been neglected because I’ve been so involved in blogging, and I’m finding I miss them more than I thought I would. I’ll be taking this time to catch up on my TV watching, music research, transcription, and, and, AND to build myself a new set of bookshelves! Not to worry though! I’ll be back with lots of interesting discussions, and plenty of reviews before you know it.

So, while I’m wishing I was on the beach somewhere, why don’t you grab a book and have some fun? You deserve it!

Outlander Read-Along: Week 6

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review, Community Events

Outlander Read-Along Button

Last week of the Outlander Read-along! While I enjoyed discussing with everyone else, I can honestly say I’m glad I’m done with the book. I probably will not be reading the rest of the series – there were so many things that disappointed me, and while I’m curious about the rest of the storyline, reading the synopsis’ of the rest of the books has been enough information for me. You can find the rest of the posts here.

1. Jaime has the worst case of seasickness. Do you get seasickness or motion sickness? If not, is there something else that makes your stomach a bit queasy?

I am very lucky to not have a single bit of motion-sickness! My family goes on road trips a lot, and I love it because I’m able to just sit in the back seat and race my way through several novels. I don’t know how I would survive the road trips without being able to read.  As for things that make me queasy – well, blood I suppose. I’m okay with the sight of my own usually, and I’m mostly okay with other peoples blood in real life, but if I have to have blood drawn for anything I invariably almost pass out. I don’t particularly like blood in films either because I tend to imagine the pain worse than it actually would be.

2. How did you handle reading the details of Jamie’s torture at the hands of Randall? Did you blame Jamie for anything that happened during the encounter with the captain? If you were Claire, how do you think you would have taken hearing about the abuse from your husband? What did you think of Claire’s method’s to get Jamie to start healing psychologically from his wounds from Randall (when she filled his room with opium and simulated another attack by the Captain)?

I think the torture was sickening, and I wouldn’t blame Jamie for a bit of it. I’m unsure how you could blame him… other than blaming him for being captured I guess? I don’t know. I’m pretty good about detaching myself from situations, so while I’d have been sad about it, I would also understand his need to tell someone, so I don’t think I’d have a problem hearing about the abuse. Since I don’t have any training in psychology, I just sort of assumed her method was the logical one. Those of you who do know, is there something wrong with that?

3. This cover: “history, warfare, medicine, sex, violence, spirituality, honor, betrayal, vengeance, hope and despair, relationships, the building and destruction of families and societies, time travel, moral ambiguity, swords, herbs, horses, gambling (with cards, dice, and lives), voyages of daring, journeys of both body and soul…you know the usual stuff of literature.”

Which of the above elements of Outlander were you most looking forward to? Which did you enjoy the most while reading? Which did you enjoy the least while reading? Which did you just not care about? Any of these do you which there were more of? Or less of?

I was actually most looking forward to the time travel part and I was highly disappointed that it wasn’t dealt with better! I love time travel stories, and in this one it was pretty much just a device to start off the story! I enjoyed the exploration of relationships and learning more about that time period in history. I didn’t realize how primitive life still was in Scotland – it read to me like a medieval piece, when it was actually in the mid-1700’s. Enjoy least? Um, well, I’m not sure. There wasn’t anything I particularly disliked, or liked really well for that matter. The book was sort of ho-hum for me, I didn’t feel strongly either way. I don’t really want to sound like a prude, but the sex got a little gratuitous for me – I don’t mind sex scenes, as long as they have a purpose and after a while it felt a little like “oh everything else is getting boring, let’s put in a sex scene!” They were all… um… well-written, and enjoyable to read. I just felt a little dirty like I was reading porn, because some of them just didn’t have a purpose that I could see.

4. Share with us your overall thoughts on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Your favorite quotes, scenes, and/or your favorite words that had you searching for a dictionary. If you haven’t been marking your favorite quotes/passages, you can find Outlander quotes on Goodreads.

As I said in the last question, I didn’t have any strong feelings either way. I did rather enjoy the monk quote – “I said I was a virgin, not a monk” from Jamie. Nothing else really stuck out to me. Even reading through the Outlander quotes on GoodReads (I don’t generally save quotes from books I read) nothing jumped at me.


5. Are you going to continue with the series or are you done after Outlander? For those of us who are new readers of this series, any predictions? Do you think participating in the read-along helped or hindered your experience with the story? For those of you who’ve already read Outlander and books beyond, how much did you enjoy (or not enjoy) this re-read?

Probably not. I just didn’t enjoy it the way I thought I would, and I feel like the ending was good enough to be the end of the series for me. Unfortunately that means I don’t have any predictions either – I usually only have predictions when I really am interested in what happens next, and surprisingly enough, I’m not. I think participating in the read-along was good for me, though, because otherwise I might not have finished the book – not because I disliked it but because I would just set it down one day and not ever pick it back up.

I hate to be so negative about the book, because I know there are some of you that really loved it! It just fell flat for me, maybe because of high-expectations, maybe just because it wasn’t what I’m used to. Heck, maybe it’s because I just wasn’t in the mood! But whatever it was, I am glad I read it, because now I know my opinion of it, and I can honestly say I’ve tried it.

Thanks to all the hosts for organizing, and hope to see you all around!

Book Review: Insurgent

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Insurgent book cover Title: Insurgent (Divergent #2)

Author: Veronica Roth

Summary: [from GoodReads]

One choice can transform you–or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Review: The wait for this book seemed like forever didn’t it? There was so much left unanswered at the end of Divergent that it felt like I was literally throwing myself off a cliff.

It’s immediately clear that Insurgent is a much quieter book. The conflict, for Tris, has become almost completely internal as she deals with having shot and killed one of her best friends. I really can’t relate but the psychological trauma feels real and important, Tris struggles with what she could have done differently and what people will think of her when they find out. And while that’s all very angsty, I think it’s also very realistic.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the way we get to see how some of the other factions live. In fact, by the end of the book, Tris has spent a little time living in each one. We get to see the inner workings of their traditions, and we sit in on the mass meetings of Amity and Candor. We even get to meet the Factionless, at least a little. That’s rare in books that set up opposing sides. Usually the division is so straong there’s no way to let us see the other side – even in Harry Potter besides Gryffindor, we only see the Slytherin common room, until the last book. I found the inner workings of each faction fascinating enough that I barely missed the heart-pounding action from the previous book.

Even if you’re not the kind of person who likes the slower, psychological conflict centered novels, I’d recommend reading this one all the way through to the end. A part of me feels like I should have seen the twists coming, while another part could barely believe what had happened. So many of the questions from the last book are answered, but they raise so many more. I have no clue where she’ll be taking this next but I’m very excited to find out!

Book Review: Hush Money

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Hush Money book cover Title:Hush Money (Talent Chronicles #1)

Author: Susan Bischoff

Summary: [from GoodReads]

They call their abilities Talents, and that’s what they call themselves as well. Talents are people born with supernatural powers, feared by the population at large. Possession of an “unregistered ability” has become illegal, and those who are discovered are forcibly removed to government-run research facilities. For Talents, keeping their secret is the most important thing in their lives. For some, that need for secrecy begins to define who they are.

That’s how it is for Joss, a high school girl who does everything in her power to go unnoticed. She’s incredibly bright, but strives to maintain grades that are good yet not too good. She doesn’t participate in school activities, keeps quiet in class, eats by herself. Despite her longtime crush on Dylan, she wouldn’t even think about trying to talk to him. Joss doesn’t make friends of any kind, because friends can draw attention, friends can make you slip up, friends can make things complicated.

When new girl, Kat, steps in to rescue Joss from an uncomfortable situation with Marco, the class jerk, she doesn’t realize what she’s getting into, and it blows up in her face. Joss finds herself torn between a desire to do the right thing, to find some way to help a girl who was kind to her; and her need to mind her own business and fade into. For the first time, Joss begins to question the way she operates, and starts to long for connections with other people–especially a connection with Dylan, who’s finally starting to talk to her.

But what’s up with Dylan’s sudden interest? As Marco’s best friend, can he be trusted at all?

It’s bad enough when a girl’s got to worry about friends, boys, over-protective dads, and shoes that pinch, but when you throw in blackmail, government agents with guns, and really annoying little sisters…that’s just about too much to handle, even for a girl with an ass-kicking superpower.

My Review: In general, I don’t do indie or self-pubbed novels without strong recommendations from multiple sources that I trust. I’ve been burned far too many times by books with great summaries or amazing premises that were so awful they made my teeth itch! I wasn’t interested in putting in the effort to track down what seemed like the minority – the few gems among the rocks.

This book may very well change that. I forget who exactly brought it to my attention, but it wasn’t even a recommendation – more like a bargain books round-up. But it was cheap and the summary intrigued me, so I bought it. And I was absolutely blown away by it. It was well written, devoid of the technical mistakes I’d come to expect from indie/self-pubbed works, and it drew me into a beautifully imagined world where evil was very real.

I loved Joss as a character (once I got over my insistence that “Joss” is a boys‘ name, right? Nope, this time it’s short for Jocelyn). She’s quiet and intentionally tries not to draw attention to herself, but she still has such a strong personality. Her snarky inner commentary made the book twice as fun.

Dylan’s storyline was almost more intriguing though, like a superhero story crossed with mob boss problems. I hated the situations Mike put them in, and I strained to think of something to fix it, but I couldn’t. The two plot lines together made for a truly riveting story.

My only real complaint? It felt too short. There were lots of things that could have been expanded on, but mostly I felt like I was stopping right in the middle! Luckily there’s 2 more books in the series out, and I’ll be reading them as soon as I can!

Outlander Read-Along: Week 5

15 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review, Community Events

Outlander Read-Along Button

Can you believe the read-along is almost over? I’m tempted to just finish the book now, so I can be done with it lol. You can find the rest of the posts, and this week’s questions here.

1. We are now settled into life at Lallybroch. What are your impressions of this place, and Ian and Jenny Murray? How do the stories of Jamie’s life here growing up shape your feelings toward him?

I love the idea of living at Lallybroch, and I almost wish the majority of the book were set here. Something about period dramas just grabs me, I guess. I love to think that I would do well living in that time period, and maybe someday I’ll get around to doing a reenactment or something – it would be so much fun! The stories of Jamie’s childhood mostly just gave me more reasons to believe him being the way he is – it doesn’t really change the way I feel about him, just makes me understand why he feels justified. I feel like if I met him in real life now, I could at least agree to disagree on most things, instead of feeling like I needed to do something about it, you know?


2. What do you think of the story of what really happened between Jenny and Jack Randall? Could you have been as bold as Jenny? Does this change your understanding of Randall?

I honestly don’t know if I could do what Jenny did. I hate the idea of high-stress situations, but at the same time, I tend to keep a cool head, and be pretty reliable when they do happen. I’ve never been in such an awful situation as that though, so I don’t know what I would do. I wouldn’t say it changed my understanding of Randall – I always saw him as a petty, disgusting little sh*t, and he still is.

3. For the second time, we see Claire warning a Fraser about future events. Do you think this is wise? Or does this mess with history/the space-time continuum/the natural order of things?

NO! This is definitely NOT wise! Unless she knows for sure the Frasers survive (which she doesn’t) she shouldn’t be altering events at all! And THANK YOU for bringing it up, because we haven’t even talked about what happens now because she has changed so much! If this were a Weeping Angel kind of thing where you get zapped into the past and there is no possible way to get back, I could understand Claire’s actions, but she continually hopes to get back, and yet still does things that could change the future, meaning there may not be a future to get back to! As Heidi pointed out in the comments last week, H.G. Wells publishedThe Time Machine in 1888 (thanks for the date there, I didn’t know it, but I wondered if it was pre-Claire’s present!) and it was all the rage at the time, so even if Claire hadn’t read it, she should know the premise, and some basic details on the theory of time travel! And yet, she trots around the past all LA-DI-DA I DON’T CARE! and it bugs the heck out of me!

Sorry. Endrant now lol.

4. Do you consider Claire brave or foolish for going after Jamie? Would you be courageous enough to go into enemy territory to try and save the man you love?

I think it was very brave of Claire to try, and I think she had some chances of succeeding simply because she is from the future, knows a bit more about the world in general, and has a much more forward view of what women can do than most of the men guarding the prison – act a little silly and bat your eyelashes at them, and in that time they’d probably do whatever you wanted. I’d like to think I’d do the same, but I really don’t know. That’s another situation that you don’t know until you’re in it what you’re really made of, I think.


5. Jamie makes a gut-wrenching decision in Chapter 35. Do you blame Claire for putting him in that position? What kinds of repurcussions do you expect?

I think it was a stupid decision, but I don’t blame Claire. I think she did what she thought was best and that’s all we can possibly do in any situation. I expect if she ever does manage to break him out (which I’m sure she will) instead of thanking her for it, he’ll just beat her again, and I’ll hate him even more for not understanding. I don’t have much faith in him at this point, after the last beating over a misunderstanding, and I expect instead of being grateful, he’ll wish she’d never butted in and just let him hang. Silly stupid man!


There we are! One more week!

Reminder: The Book Sessions!

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The Book Sessions Button

Just a quick reminder that TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO SIGN UP FOR THIS FALL’S BOOK SESSION! Please check out  the original post for full details and the form to sign up.

What is The Book Sessions you say? I am so glad you asked! The Book Sessions, hosted by Alissa from The Grammarian’s Reviews and Anne from Creativity’s Corner, are a cross between a Read-Along and a Book Club.

Each session will feature 2-5 books of a specific genre or theme that we will be both reading and discussing over the course of several months. The discussions are intended to provide connections between involved readers and spark discussions that go beyond book reviewing and blogging.

Still confused? Check out the sample session below (just click on the titles to check out a description):

August 1-31 – Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

OPTIONAL August 24 – Sept 15 – The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky (Alissa and Anne will be reading this together in preparation to see the movie, coming out the 15th. Please let us know if you’d like to join in!)

September 1-14 – What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

September 15 – Oct 7 – Catching Jordan by Miranda Keannally

Oct 7 – Nov 7 – My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

All dates for discussions will be decided once participant availability is known. Participants will be chosen and announced in mid-July, leaving you two weeks to find copies of the books, before the session officially starts.


Today we have Alissa, from The Grammarian’s Reviews with us. Alissa is one of my newer friends, but we seem to have EVERYTHING in common (down to blog birthdays – her 2 yrs is coming up in a few weeks, be sure to wish her a good one!). She happens to also be my partner in crime on our newest project The Book Sessions – reminder, tomorrow is the last day to sign up! Oh and she’s awesome. Did I forget to mention that? Cause she is!


1)    One of your regular features is Whip it up Mondays. Why do you like
cooking so much, and what is your all time favorite recipe to make?


I like love cooking because I love food. That’s what it ultimately boils down to. When I tell people I love food, their immediate thoughts are that I love eating food. Which, while true, isn’t the right answer. I love learning about food. Most days you can catch me watching either Food Network or Cooking Channel, for hours on end. And if you talk to me long enough, you’ll hear me spew random food/cooking facts into everyday conversation. So, actually, I love cooking because I love learning.

Now isn’t that the nerdy sort of answer you never expected?

It’s a bit hard to pinpoint a favorite recipe, because I enjoy making them all. But, if we’re going by “to make,” then I’ll say wontons. There’s nothing like making your own, with your very own wonton wrappers. It’s a long, slow process. But worth it!

2) You’re a self-proclaimed grammarian – what’s your biggest pet peeve
grammar rule?

Contractions/Possessions. Specifically, its versus it’s. Your/You’re also bothers me, but its/it’s hurts me down deep. I’ve seen its/it’s used incorrectly on the most official of websites, magazines, newspapers, etc.


(Also: spelling. Specifically the spelling of “definitely.” Because it’s sure not “definately.”)

3) If you could travel to one Literary Location, where would it be and why?

Stratford-upon-Avon, for the more literal approach.


Hogwarts for the bookish approach.

4) Describe your “perfect” book – that one book you wish somebody would
write because you just KNOW you’d love it!

Not to call JKR out or anything, but…


The “perfect” book for me would detail either Draco Malfoy’s life, or Tom Riddle’s. Perhaps both? I can’t get enough of the two of them. I’m all for getting a behind-the-scenes look at the “bad boys.”


Although I also love contemporaries with a horror twist. So if someone could write one scary enough that I’d be afraid to turn the lights out, that’d be awesome. ‘Cause they’re just never scary enough.

5) Tell us one thing that the blogosphere doesn’t know about you?

I’m a Spelling Bee winner. And proud of it.

And a list of some favorites to round it out:
Favorite book to promote?


The Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin.

Favorite non-blog/reading thing to do?


Cook! Drink coffee!

Favorite advice to give to other bloggers?


You’ll never know if you don’t try. Don’t be afraid to start something new, even if it flops.

Favorite post on your blog?


Dear bloggers,

An open love letter to the community for all of our hard work.

Favorite part of the book blogging community?


The people and the love for reading.

Thank you so much, Alissa, for stopping by!

Say “Hi” to Julie from That’s Swell!

3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Guest Post
Today’s blogiversary post is celebrating one of my best blogging friends, Julie from That’s Swell! Julie has been with me though all the ups and downs of blogging – always at the other end of the internet to encourage me or talk me through whatever problems I’m having.
1. Your blog has such an interesting retro theme! What got you interested in that time period and what is your favorite thing about it?
Thank you! I’ve always been interested in different time periods, particularly the 1940s. This probably stems from the fact that my grandparents were in their 20s during this time and it would have been cool to know them, then! My grandmother and two friends visited Europe during the summer of 1939 and came face-to-face with Hitler. My grandfather served in the Pacific Theater. I’m a big WWII buff. Aside from this, I love the clothes, the movies, and the HomeFront effort, but these were also troubling times — at home and abroad — which makes it fascinating to me.
2. You have an internship with an agent — can you tell us a little about it?
Sure! I’m a remote intern for Sara Crowe with Harvey Klinger. I read adult and YA manuscripts that are submitted via queries she’s already accepted. I’ve read some really cool YA stories! I hope some of them get published! But I’ve passed on a few, as well.
3. You don’t talk about it much on your blog but you have a strong interest in television — where did that come from? Care to recommend a few favorites?
I love television — more than movies! I’ve always enjoyed dramas, but I became more and more interested in television when I decided to become a screenwriter. I first wanted to write feature films, but once I took a class in How to Write the Television Drama…everything changed. Most of the scripts I write are for TV, even if it’s a miniseries. I mostly watch cable television, and a few shows on network channels. My faves are: The Vampire Diaries, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, White Collar, Hawaii Five-O, Downton Abby, and Homeland. Lately, I’ve been watching Desperate Housewives on Hulu and Weeds on HBOGo. I rarely watch comedies, but I do like Episodes. I’d say my fave show of all time is Sex and the City.
4. You review a lot of different genres that are very diverse — is there any one kind of book you prefer over others? Why?
I read a variety of books because I’m a mood reader and become easily bored. I enjoy reading YA books the most. As of late, my blog has been a mixed gambit, but it’s going to go back to being strictly YA. I’ll review a mixture of genres on my HuffPost blog. I love YA because so many stories are out of this world — literally and figuratively. I think some of the YA books are better than what’s out there in the adult fiction market.
5. Where do you see your blog in a couple of years? Anything you hope to change?
Wow! I have no idea. That’s a tough question. I hope to continue putting out solid reviews and author interviews.

1. Favorite book to promote?
Eeek! I have so many favorite books. But for…2010: Beautiful Creatures and Fallen; 2011: Divergent and Switched; 2012: Something Strange & Deadly…and the year isn’t over yet!
2. Favorite non-blogging/non-reading activity?
Watching TV (obviously), playing golf (but it’s too hot right now), cooking Giada DeLaurentiis and the Barefoot Contessa recipes, going out to eat, and going on vacation.
3. Favorite advice to give other bloggers?
Just be yourself! Read and review the books you want to. But I think it’s extremely important when writing a negative review to be constructively critical and not nasty. We have too much nastiness in our world now, we don’t need it on our blogs! Also, don’t be afraid to contact authors for interviews and publishers for ARCs (if you want them). The publishers I’ve connected with are extremely nice and giving.
4. Favorite post?
Interviewing Amanda Hocking and my Halloween posts with Yvonne Woon and Lia Habel because I asked them crazy questions!
5. Favorite part of the book blogging community?
I’m thankful for all the friends I’ve made (like you, Anne) and meeting authors, connecting with publishers, lit and publicity agents. I just interviewed Susan Dennard via Skype. It was such a blast. I’m a huge fan of her book, so it was like meeting J.K. Rowling, to me. Of course, I enjoy receiving books, but I just love to write. Writing reviews is another outlet for my creativity. I wouldn’t be reviewing books on the HuffPost, Common Sense and a local magazine if it wasn’t for my blog! I know for most people blogging is a hobby, but for me it’s part of my writing career. My goal is to one day review books for The New York Times Book Review and NPR.
Thanks for having me on Creativity’s Corner!

Thank YOU for joining me, and thank you for all the wonderful things you’ve done for me over the past few years!

We’re having a birthday!

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Blog Nuts and Bolts

Two years ago today, I was bored. I was house-sitting for a family on vacation, waiting until August so I could fly home from a year’s study abroad trip. To pass the time, I decided that it would be a really great idea to keep a blog of all the books I read. I was sure I was the first one to think of such a thing – blogs were so over (I was, at the time, more a part of the Nerdfighter community than I am now, and vlogs were all the rage) so I wasn’t likely to get too many subscribers but if I had a few people to talk about books with, it would definitely be an improvement over what I already had, right?

Fast-forward a few years. Boy was I wrong about just about everything! I have learned so much in the past few years and met so many awesome people! I still have tons to learn, I know, but I thought I would pass along a few of the things I wish I’d known early on.

1) THERE’S A BOOK BLOGGING COMMUNITY! Okay, so if you’re here, you probably already know that. But it’s true, I didn’t even know it existed when I started, and once I found out I had no idea what to do with it. Figure that out, friends, and you’re set for the rest of your blogging life – they’re your support system, your best friends, and so much more!

2) Blogging is about you. So maybe I started out thinking I was all alone, but once I figured out there were other people out there I started worrying that I wasn’t good enough, that I didn’t post enough, or about the right kind of books. I worried that I wasn’t into social media enough, that I was too snarky, had the wrong kind of humor, didn’t attract enough of a following and the list goes on and on. But what it comes down to, really, is you are blogging for you, and if somebody doesn’t like it, TOUGH. They can unsubscribe if it bothers them so much. I’ll admit, I’ve only recently gotten myself out of that particular downward spiral. I still have bad days. But, if you’re going through the same thing, here are a few things that helped me:

  • Write a mission statement, and read it when you’re feeling down. Decide why you’re here, what exactly you want from your blog and put it in writing (even if you never publish it – I decided to put mine in the About the Reviewer tab, if you’re curious). Next time someone complains (or you worry) that you don’t do “X” you read that, and remind yourself why.
  • Hide your stats/followers counters if you can – This really only works for me because I decided my goals are discussion oriented, but it really helps me focus on what’s important to me rather than those numbers that can just get really depressing. (This can really backfire if you’re trying to court publishing houses for ARCs/author interviews etc. – It works for me, but like I say, it may not work for you.)
  • Find a blogger you can be buddies with, so you can rant, complain and tear your hair out when you need to. Trust me, it helps :)

3) To go with number 2, just because bloggers X, Y, & Z are doing ______ doesn’t mean you have to too. I went through this with ARCs, giveaways, memes – just about anything you can think of. You’ll probably notice I don’t do too much of any of that, because I decided that that’s not what’s important to me.

4) You don’t have to review everything. The number 1 cause of burn-out for me is trying to review EVERY BOOK I READ, EVER. I’ve had to take some time off more than once because I tried and I couldn’t handle it. Read for yourself every once in a while, just to remember you can.

And finally 5) Blogging should be fun. It’s that simple!

Thank you all for sticking with me for two whole years (GAH! It doesn’t feel that long, does it?) and here’s to more awesome years to come!

Say “Hi” to Amanda from On a Book Bender

13 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Guest Post

Guess what everyone?! Creativity’s Corner turns 2 this week! In celebration, I’m devoting a week to some “favorites” from the past 2 years. Today, I’m interviewing one of my favorite bloggers, Amanda from On a Book Bender! She has been a huge role model for me – I hope someday when I “grow up” as a blogger I can be like her. Seriously, she is THAT COOL. So, without further ado:

1) One of the things I really admired about you and your blog from the time I first met you is the way you make everything about encouraging the community. Why do you feel the community is so important and what made you decide to focus on that?

As a teacher, establishing a community in the classroom is essential to having a class that is enjoyable to be a part of both as a teacher and a student, and that functions smoothly.  I’ve really taken all of that into blogging.  When I started book blogging, I wanted a place where people could have discussions about books and just connect and develop relationships with one another.  We aren’t book blog islands.  We’re interconnected, and I think focusing on the community aspect allows us to celebrate those connections, and unite ourselves rather than divide.  I want to have real relationships with my readers, not just surface “You comment on my blog, so I comment on yours” relationships.

2) You seem to have lots of projects going on – between posting regularly on the blog, hosting Bout of Books, spending time on Twitter, plus your IRL work, how on earth do you find time to read?

Honestly, when I’m in the middle of a semester of teaching, I don’t read much.  It’s not that I don’t have the time (I can still manage to squeeze a couple books into weekends if I try, and I listen to audiobooks during my 10 hour/week commute), it’s that I am generally so mentally exhausted that all I really have the capacity for at the end of the day is causing shenanigans on Twitter or filling out my Clock Rewinders post.  But I am extremely organized, so I’m always ahead with posting, and this allows me the freedom to do what I can for the blog when I can.  Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal also acts as my associate reviewer and tosses two or three reviews my way every month, which takes a ton of pressure off me when I don’t have a lot to time to read.  And Bout of Books is generally planned around my teaching schedule so that it runs during a week when I’m not teaching.  I couldn’t manage otherwise.

3) If you could choose one author to meet (that you haven’t already) who would it be and what is the first thing you’d ask them?

I’d ask Thea Harrison, “Can I live in your head?”  I have so much love for the Elder Races world that I have to admit that Thea Harrison’s imagination would be a pretty cool place to be.

4) Do you or have you ever considered quitting blogging? If so how did you handle it?

Blogging fulfills a certain social need in my life, and if I weren’t book blogging, I would be blogging in another capacity.  I think book blogging is about the only blogging community I have consistently stayed in and have actually gained momentum as time passes, so I plan on sticking around for a long time.

5) In real life you’re an English as a Second Language teacher and you provide copy-editing services. Do you think that affects your reading and reviewing process? If so, how?

It most certainly does affect my reading and reviewing process!  As a teacher and copy-editor, my job is to catch mistakes and find ways to phrase or word something so that it is clearer or flows better.  I assure you that am very good at this.  While I can tune out that side of my brain, it is impossible to turn it off completely.  I have found myself stopping while reading and debating the merits of how the sentence is phrased.  Sometimes it’s even as simple as catching a typo and I get pulled out of the story to exclaim, “TYPO!”  And any time that I get pulled out of the story means that I am probably going to view the book as less favorable.  Really good books help me tune out my inner teacher and editor.

Since this is a celebration of favorites, a set of faves to round out the questions:
1) Favorite book to bully people into promote?

Depends on the person, really, but I do recommend Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison a lot.

2) Favorite non-blog/non-reading activity?

Does Twitter count?  Because definitely that.  If I can’t count Twitter, then I choose spending time with my boyfriend.

3) Favorite advice to give other bloggers?

Be yourself.  Do what is right for you.  Interact.  Don’t be afraid to reach out.

4) Favorite post on your blog?

That’s like asking me to choose a favorite child!  I think I’d have to go with my open letter to the book blogging community.  I got such a great response and it ended up being a lot more popular than I anticipated.

5) Favorite part of the book blogging community?

The people!

Thank you so much for joining me today Amanda! I really appreciate all you do for the community, and I hope all you readers out there will go check out her awesome blog, On a Book Bender (if you haven’t already, of course). Stick around for more blogiversary shenanigans the rest of the week!

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