Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Julie's Review: Night Road

Night Road Summary: For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them. On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive. Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, NIGHT ROAD raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love. ~amazon.com

Review: You know what I love about getting an ARC? They don't always include a summary of the novel, so you go in with a vague recollection of what the book is about. I knew that Night Road was a family drama but I couldn't remember the exact plot. Kristin Hannah definitely knows how to tell a family drama. The Farraday's are a seemingly perfect family. Jude, is a pulled together stay at home mom, who's kids are the center of her world. Popular Zach, is a level headed boy, who always tries to do the right thing. Mia, is a shy, introverted, self-proclaimed nerd who wants to go to USC for theater. Enter, Lexi, the new girl in town who befriends Mia on her first day at school. The two are inseparable from that point forward. Lexi, is taken in by the Farraday family and treated like one of their own.

Things start to change senior year of high school. The pressure of getting into USC and all the other functions start stressing out Jude. She starts expecting more out of Zach and Mia. Meanwhile, they just want to enjoy their friends and their last year of high school. Things also change between Zach and Lexi; they begin to date and fall in love. The three of them band together to protect each other and are as close as ever. Then one fateful night, all of that changes. Some one dies, someone is convicted and nothing ever remains the same.

Night Road is a story about love, loss, parenting, forgiveness and moving on. I did cry at several different points in the book. I'm old enough to remember my high school days with fondness and as a mother I am in fear of my kids high school years. Good kids can make bad choices and not realize the consequences until it's too late.

Being a mother is never easy. Every age has it's pros and cons. We as parents do the best we can and hope for the best. I don't know how I'll handle those teenage years because let's face it, the probably won't listen any way. You pray that every thing you told them sticks during these years.

I liked Jude but I think I felt more for her husband Miles. He was trying his best to try to help her and she kept refusing.

There were a couple twists I didn't see coming and then some plot points that I could. Even though I figured some out, it didn't take away from the story for me.

I have several Kristin Hannah books in my huge TBR pile. I always buy them when they come out but haven't read them. I'm looking forward to reading both Winter Garden and True Colors. My first experience with Ms. Hannah's writing was Firefly Lane and while I didn't love it; it did make me want to read more of her writing. At some point I'm sure I'll go back at read all of her previously published books.

If you are looking for a great family drama in the form of a novel, then go out and buy Night Road.

Final Take: 4.25/5

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC of the book.


Monday, May 30, 2011

2011 Armchair BEA Interview with Jenn

This interview was given by Jenn to Chey at The Chey Show for Armchair BEA 2011

You work with three other people on your blog. How did this start? Have you all known each other for very long? Do you ever disagree on reviews or posts?

What a perfect question ...and it's an unusual story.

Once upon a time there was a TV show called ALIAS. I was obsessed. So much so that I decided to seek out an online support group. There a small dedicated group of followers discussed the show, theories, our love of books, and our lives. We soon became a close knit group of friends who had never met. When the show and discussion board folded, a steadfast group of us remained friends via email.

Then in 2007 Lisa (NYC) mentioned that she wanted to start a book blog and asked if any of us were interested in participating. Julie (Chicago) and I (Buffalo) hopped on board at once and Alice (Jersey) joined us this past year.

I finally met Lisa a little over three and a half years ago, when she had a brief layover in Buffalo. She's incredibly busy right now and I miss her. I met Alice this year and had a great chat, like old friends, over coffee. However, to this day, Julie and I have never met face to face, though I consider her a close friend. We've talked on the phone, sent emails, texted... One of these days we will meet.

As for disagreements, we're all still friends because we're fairly congenial online communicators ...though every once in a while I forget to think before I type (usually due to a lack of coffee).

Do you and your partners ever make two reviews about the same book because more than one of you wants to read it? What do you do if more than one person wants to read the same book?

If we aren't reading them at the same time, we will do two separate reviews. If I'm the second reader I try not to read our other review before I write mine so as not to be influenced, but I'll read it before I post and add references. Plus, there will always be a link to the other blogger's review.

If we are close to reading them at the same time we do a group review, which are actually some of my favorite reviews to do. I think some of our best reviews are when we completely disagree about a book (like Alice & I regarding Hunger Games).

Do you hold a firm stance when it comes to blogging every day no matter what, or do you only post when you have something really worth sharing?

It's lucky there are four of us, because otherwise we'd have folded long ago. We post as often as we're able. There are some weeks or months when one of us won't have time to read and blog, but there are always three other bloggers to pick up the slack.

Lately, we've been really productive in the reading and blogging department. Our best problem is having to work out a posting schedule because we have too much content.

I see that you give away several books and hold a lot of author interviews. How often would you say you contact authors for interviews, giveaways, or other things of that nature? Do they contact you? Have you ever formed a close relationship with any of them?

Though some of our interviews are arranged though publicists or publishers, a growing number are those we've arranged ourselves. If an author we're reading is accessible, we contact them. Most authors love an opportunity to publicize their books. Occasionally an author will contact us to send us books too. I received one of my new favorite YA series that way.

I would love to say that I have a bunch of authors as my 'best-ies', but as often as I communicate with some of them, I still get giddy when they respond.

What is the book that made you fall in love with books? If you don't have one, how did your passion for books begin?

Growing up, there weren't a lot of kids my age in my neighborhood. I remember starting to learn to read and how enthralled I was with the fact that I could disappear into stories all by myself. When I'd gone through all the books in the children's section of my local library, the librarian started to save the new arrivals for me and ask me my opinion of them when I returned them. Apparently, I've been reviewing books for a long time.

When I was young my mother would read Trixie Belden mysteries to me. I think we read almost the entire series together. From there I moved on to the Nancy Drew Case Files on my own. But the first book I ever really connected with on a personal level was Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock. I truly understood Polly and her plight. I will re-read it usually once a year. I also fell in love with the magical realism in DWJ's writing and I have adored her books, and magical realism, ever since.

Do you finish every book you read, or do you put it down if you don't like it?

A few years ago, I would have been able to say yes. Even if I had to put it down and come back to it, I'd always finish it. But that's when I was selecting my own books. In the past few years, however, I've had publishers and authors send me things and a few of them, I just couldn't get through. It's rare, but every once in a while, I have to say, "I'm sorry, this book's not for me."

You all write very well and make great reviews. Have you ever considered becoming an actual author and writing your own books?

Thanks, we're glad you think so!

I've fantasized about it on occasion. I think I even wrote a 'book' in middle school. But a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and mine usually only have two out of three. Though Shannon Delany says that everyone has a story to tell, I'm not sure mine is worth hearing. In the end, I think I make a better editor than a writer.

(Being an editor is actually one of my dream jobs.)

Who are your favorite authors?

In no particular order, Sarah Addison Allen, Meg Gardiner, Kathy Reichs, Diana Wynne Jones, JK Rowling, Amanda Hawking, Heather Webber, Wendy Raven McNair, Shannon Delany, James Patterson, Tess Gerritsen... I'm probably leaving out a bunch. (I read a lot of female authors don't I?)

What are 3 books you can honestly say are the best you've ever read?

To quote one of my favorite movies, "I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens."

How about my three favorite books so far in 2011?

-The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
-The Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hawking
- The Lucy Valentine series by Heather Webber

...see even there, I managed to sneak more than 3 in and I still want to mention the Stieg Larsson trilogy, and Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter, and Bargains & Betrayals, and...

When you are not reading or blogging, what's your favorite pastime?

I love to sing and I love to paint but I haven't had much time for either of those things in the past few years. When I'm not playing with three year old daughter, or playing chauffeur for her, I like to experiment with recipes and bake bread.

I'm also a television junkie. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I'm a huge fan of Chuck, Castle, Bones, Burn Notice, White Collar, Leverage... Ok, you get the picture. I love a good story. Be it in a book or on the screen, I just can't get enough.


Jenn's Review: The Dust of 100 Dogs

The Dust of 100 DogsSummary:  In the late seventeenth century, famed teenage pirate Emer Morrisey was on the cusp of escaping the pirate life with her one true love and unfathomable riches when she was slain and cursed with "the dust of one hundred dogs," dooming her to one hundred lives as a dog before returning to a human body-with her memories intact.

Now she's a contemporary American teenager and all she needs is a shovel and a ride to Jamaica.  ~ product description

Review:  From the moment I listened to A.S. King speak at Rochester Teen Book Festival, I knew I had to read her work.  I really wanted to be enthralled by this book.  Was it compelling and original?  Absolutely.  Were there things I loved about it?  Definitely.  But there were also things that disturbed me.  Not that that is necessarily a bad thing.

This book is not all about swashbuckling fun and rollicking dogs -not that there isn't some of those things in there, but not to the degree one might expect from the title and description.  While this book is not quite what I expected when I initially picked it up, once I moved beyond that I was able to appreciate it for what it was.

Emery's story was amazing and heartbreaking.  I loved the time period and the research in this back story.  However, I did not love what happened to her.  Having heard Ms. King speak to teens about abuse, I'm not surprised that it figures prominently in the story -first in the form of child abuse and, later, rape.  Though not graphic, the author does not sugar coat anything and it's not easy to read in places.

There are several other story lines that also made me uncomfortable, firstly the insight into the lecherous, disturbed, psychologically imbalanced mind of the old man who's path will cross with Saffron.  Secondly is the amount of animal abuse, carried out by the afore mentioned individual.  I know that it's supposed to be uncomfortable, and it's brilliant that the author can make me squirm so much, but I don't like that feeling, and it made it hard for me to engage with the book.

I do love the concept for this book, though.  I love books that flirt with fate and karma.  The fact that Saffron is wise for her years due to Emer's memories is completely plausible for me.  I wish we could have spent a little more time with Saffron.  Especially at the denouement which seemed a little abrupt, but was cohesive with the feel of the book.  It was interesting the way the two women, a few centuries apart interacted.

Would I have liked more lighthearted stories from her dog years in between?  Yes, but the little lessons from the dog's perspective that are interspersed between chapters give a poignant social commentary on human behavior and interaction.  Although some of them are a little graphic and violent as well.

I've been pondering this book and how to review it for over a week.  If a book can make you think that long about it, it must have merit.  I'm just not sure to whom I'd recommend it.  It is a fascinating study of fate and human interaction, full of life lessons.  It's also full of hardships.  I hate to leave my review in such an ambiguous place, but after reading this, that's where I am.

So, after all that, would I read another novel by A.S. King? Yes, I would.

Final Take:  3.5/5.0


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Children's Corner: Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I Don't)

Miss Brooks Loves Books (And I Don't)
Review:  We picked this one up completely by chance at the library a few weeks ago and fell in love.

Missy is just a little put off by the librarian who is an exuberant woman that does story time.  Miss Brooks becomes the characters and dresses in costume.  But Missy just doesn't understand what all the fuss is about, especially because she doesn't like any of the books. They're either “Too flowery, too furry, too clickety, too yippity.” ~too cute.

But Book Week is here and each student must pick a book to share -in costume, no less.  Missy is mortified.  "I'll never love a book like you do," she tells the librarian. But Miss Brooks isn't so sure about that and sends home half the library with Missy so her mother can help her find a book that isn't " ...too kissy. Too pink. And too silly."  Finally, they stumble upon William Steig’s Shrek!  And Missy falls in love with book for the first time.  (I get misty-eyed just typing that.)  Suddenly she is full of boundless enthusiasm.

While this is the perfect anecdote for the little non-reader in every house, and it works just as well for the little book enthusiast too.  I'm lucky to have a little girl that adores books, and she loves reading this book just to investigate all the choices Missy explores before she finds her book.  It's great way to talk about how everyone has different tastes in books, music, clothes ...life! And that it's okay to be different.  Not every little girl has to love princesses, not every little boy has to love monsters.

I think this one may go on our to be purchased list, because we've read it every night since it came home from the library and I can see that it will get much more use over the years.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

And the winner is...

If You Were Here: A NovelCongratulations to Teresa for winning an autographed copy of Jen Lancaster's new novel If You Were Here

Please contact Alice with you mailing address so she can mail that to you.

Girls Just Reading uses Random.org to choose our winner.

Armchair BEA: So Long, Farewell...

What a whirlwind week!  I can't believe it's over ~and still there are so many other posts and blogs to visit and read.  Last year this time we were so envious of everyone visiting NYC ...and all those books!!!  *swoon*

This year, well, we're still envious, but we had Armchair BEA to help alleviate some of the sting.  We want to thank the organizers of Armchair BEA for finding a way to include all of us in the fun.  We've met new bloggers and blogs, investigated new books, and pondered our blogging.  For me, it was a nice change of pace to be writing something other than reviews this week.  We used to do a Random Musings about books more often and we've gotten away from that.  It's nice to add a little human interest sometimes.

So here are our posts from this week:

N.B. Armchair BEA is a blog event for
book bloggers who can't attend Book
Expo America in NYC this week

I hope you enjoyed visiting us too!  We love to share our love of books, but, then again, that's why we're all here, aren't we?

 "So Long and Thanks For all the Fish"  ~Douglas Adams, The HitchHiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy"


And the winner is...

In Search of Lucy: A Journey of Love and Self-DiscoverCongratulations SpadesHigh!  You have won a digital copy of Lia Fairchild's In Search of Lucy.

Please email Alice your information so we can get the novel to you.

As always, Girls Just Reading uses Random.org to choose our winners.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Armchair BEA: Blogging About Blogging

Negative Reviews: What do you do when you don't like a book?

For today's Blogging about Blogging I wanted to discuss a topic that is sensitive for bloggers and authors alike, Negative Reviews.  Actually, I dislike the term negative reviews.  It connotes that the reviewer is being negative, attacking the author and his/her work, which is exactly the type of review that hurts everyone.

I remember in my AP English class senior year of high school we were to read a book and instead of doing a report, we were allowed to write an opinion essay.  We could tell our teacher we didn't like the book but we had to back up our position with solid why.  I was positively giddy at the thought of disagreeing with the establishment and turned in a negative review of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  (Yes, the irony of the situation is not lost on me.)  I think that I was prouder of that A than any I ever earned.  Not only did it teach me a valuable lesson in constructive criticism, I felt like it validated my right to have an opinion about literature.  

N.B. Armchair BEA is a blog event for
book bloggers who can't attend Book
Expo America in NYC this week
But the question stands, what do you do when you don't like a book?  Many bloggers just don't review them, saying that there are so many good things out there, they don't want to spend time on things they don't enjoy.  While I respect that, I don't know that I necessarily agree with it.  I became a book blogger to share my feelings about what I am reading, because a lot of my friends aren't readers or are readers who don't take time to read anymore.  If I only share with you my warm fuzzy reads, I think we'll have a rather shallow relationship (blogger/blog reader).  Some books make you think, some make you angry, some make you sad, ~that's why we read.  If I'm omitting the books I don't like, I feel like I'm not being honest with the readers of the blog.

Not every book is for everyone.  I can't count the number of times I've picked up a book because the very thing someone else disliked about it is what draws me in ~and vice versa.  Differing opinions about books opens a dialogue, and I love that about books.   Some of my favorite reviews are our group reviews where we are of opposite opinions on a book.  (Our review of Hunger Games or our review of Before You Know Kindness are a prime examples.)

Of course reviewing a book you don't like has to be done constructively and as objectively as possible.  Here at Girls Just Reading, we strive for honesty.  We can only tell you how the book makes us feel and where we felt there were issues, if any.  If the book I'm reading is out of my normal scope, I'll tell you that so you have a frame of reference for what my thoughts are.  (My integrity with blog readers is important to me.)

Reading is personal and so are our reviews.  As long as everyone remembers that this is just one person's opinion, all is well.

Julie's Review: The Uncoupling

The Uncoupling Summary: The latest from Wolitzer (The Ten Year Nap) is a plodding story with a killer hook: will the women of Stellar Plains, N.J., ever have sex again? After new high school drama teacher Fran Heller begins rehearsals for Lysistrata (in which the women of Greece refuse to have sex until the men end the Peloponnesian War), every girl and woman in the community is overcome by a "spell" that causes them to lose all desire for sex. No one is immune, not Dory Lang and her husband, Robby, the most popular English teachers at Eleanor Roosevelt High School; not Leanne Bannerjee, the beautiful school psychologist; or the overweight college counselor Bev Cutler, shackled to a callous hedge-fund manager husband. The Langs' teenaged daughter, Willa, who eventually lands the lead in the play, is also afflicted, wreaking havoc on her relationship with Fran's son, Eli. Despite the great premise and Wolitzer's confident prose, the story never really picks up any momentum, and the questions posed—about parenthood, sacrifice, expectations, and the viability of long-term relationships in the age of Twitter—are intriguing but lack wallop. -amazon.com

Review: Well this one has been getting a lot of buzz, but being that I wasn't a fan of Meg Wolitzer's book The Ten Year Nap, I was hesitant about reading it. Then I won it from Library Thing's Early Reviewers and gave it a whirl. The Uncoupling is a unique and intersting look at human nature; specifically the nature of sex in our relationships. What would happen if the women in your town all the sudden had a spell come over them that stopped them from wanting any kind of intimacy with their partner? How would they react? How would their partners react?

Meg Wolitzer explores just this in her new book and more. We are introduced to the town of Stellar Plains, NJ and to the teachers at Elenor Roosevelt High School. These end up being the central characters to the book, in addition to new drama teacher Frann Heller and her son Eli. The spell comes over each women at different times and effects them in different ways but essentially effects their sex lives.

Sure, the book examines the sex lives of couples. From those who have it quite frequently, those who haven't had it regularly in years, and those who have it but it's not satisfying. Ms. Wolitzer even examines the sex lives of several teenagers in the book, which might make some readers uncomfortable but it's the reality.

I won't say there were any favorite characters in the book. For me, the book was more a study on sex/intimacy in relationships and the characters were those portals for the examination.

What always strikes me is how sex is viewed so differently between men and women. For women, sure at times it's about the act of sex but more often than not it's about the intimacy it brings to a relationship. This isn't the case for all women either but it tends to be the majority. It was interesting to read how having sex taken away affected the men. Some withdrew, some became hostile, some heartbroken/downtrodden and some confused. Regardless, it changes their relationship with the women in their lives dramatically; for good or for bad.

Can these couples find their way back to each other? Can they overcome the changes in their relationship? Should it change how they relate to each other?

In the end there is a good twist, that was alluded to during the novel but seemed extremely fitting in the end. The story was wrapped up in a satisfying manner for this reader.

Final Take: 4.25/5


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Armchair BEA: Nurturing Relationships

N.B. Armchair BEA is a blog event for
book bloggers who can't attend Book
Expo America in NYC this week
Hi, Julie here. I thought I'd take over for Jenn today since she's been so kind to take the lead on these Armchair BEA posts.

To be honest, I didn't get into book blogging for the free books; I initially did it to remember the books I read and to share my love of reading. Now, I'm not going to lie and say that free books aren't a nice perk; it is, but I'm still pretty picky about what I want to read and of course time is a limit as well. I can't possibly read everything.

When I receive something from an author or publisher I typically ask them when they'd like the review up and then I manage my TBR pile based on their request. If they don't have a preference, then I try to post it based on publication date.

I like to think I have a couple good relationships with a few people at publishing houses. I feel that I can email them my requests and typically I get them. Sure, some books are going to be harder to come by but what's the worst they can say; no. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

I love developing relationships with authors. Are some authors more accessible than others? Of course, it's like any profession. Twitter is an excellent way to develop relationships with your favorite author. It seems to work better with authors than let's say rock stars. ;) Facebook is another fantastic medium for following what your favorites are up to.

All of us have developed relationships with a lot of independent authors. Authors who came to us to read their books via email by finding our blog.

I will cite a personal example of mine. A couple years ago author Mark Rosendorf contacted me to read his novel The Rasner Effect. It was a action/thriller novel which I do enjoy. I agreed. Since then I've read and reviewed all three books in the series. They always ended up being some of my favorite reads for that year.

No matter what the source is for your book, I feel it's best to be honest in your review. Your blog readers rely on you to give them good advice about what to possibly read next. You don't have to like or love the book that you review. Some books sound great and don't end up being so good. That's books!

Basically, you have the power to develop your relationships with publishers and authors. You can develop as many as you want. They key is to keep them up and not always ask for books but to take some of the books they offer you as well.

Good luck and Happy Relationship building!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Julie's Review: The Sandalwood Tree

The Sandalwood Tree: A Novel Summary: A sweeping novel that brings to life two love stories, ninety years apart, set against the rich backdrop of war-torn India. In 1947, American historian and veteran of WWII, Martin Mitchell, wins a Fulbright Fellowship to document the end of British rule in India. His wife, Evie, convinces him to take her and their young son along, hoping a shared adventure will mend their marriage, which has been strained by war. But other places, other wars. Martin and Evie find themselves stranded in a colonial bungalow in the Himalayas due to violence surrounding the partition of India between Hindus and Muslims. In that house, hidden behind a brick wall, Evie discovers a packet of old letters, which tell a strange and compelling story of love and war involving two young Englishwomen who lived in the same house in 1857. Drawn to their story, Evie embarks on a mission to piece together her Victorian mystery. Her search leads her through the bazaars and temples of India as well as the dying society of the British Raj. Along the way, Martin’s dark secret is exposed, unleashing a new wedge between Evie and him. As India struggles toward Independence, Evie struggles to save her marriage, pursuing her Victorian ghosts for answers. Bursting with lavish detail and vivid imagery of Calcutta and beyond, The Sandalwood Tree is a powerful story about betrayal, forgiveness, fate, and love. ~amazon.com

Review: Have I mentioned I love historical fiction? Have I mentioned I love historical fiction that has two separate and then connected plots going on? I'm sure I have, if not well I have now. Elle Newmark does exactly this in The Sandalwood Tree. It's an amazing story that tells the history of two significant events in India through the eyes of the women living through them. We first meet Evie as she is moving to India to live there while her husband, Martin, a historian researches the locals on their thoughts on the up coming Partition. Evie discovers a set of letters while she is cleaning the kitchen, as they are hidden in a brick. The story of Felicity and Adela starts to pull Evie into their lives. She starts to research them to see if there was anything noted in the local registry.

It is the story of Felicity and Adela that I found most interesting and intriguing. It was their story that I wanted to get lost in, much like Evie. I hungered for more. More letters, more information, more anything about them. I loved how their story was told through correspondence, a journal and then a mysterious book. I loved hearing about how two women lived together in the hills of India. How they were ahead of their time and could take care of themselves. Of course, with a handsome annuity from Felicity's family.

I wanted to know how their stories ended. Was it happy? Was it sad? I wanted to know all the things Evie did. Did Adela ever really adapt to life in India? Did Felicity and Adela always live together?

Of course, I wanted Martin and Evie to work out their problems. I wanted Martin to let go of the guilt and anger from the war. I wanted them to move on and be a family. Evie does well figuring out India on her own, even in the midst of turmoil within her marriage and within the country.

Ms. Newmark does an excellent job of weaving the two stories together and alternating the voices. Felicity, Adela and Evie are all distinct in personalities and in their storytelling. All three are women ahead of their time in how they live their lives.

She does an excellent job of describing India in both periods of historical significance. I could smell the smells and feel the dirt while I was reading the story. I've always thought of India as an exotic location and this book cemented that thought for me.

If you are looking for a great read of historical fiction that has a few twists thrown in, then you should definitely pick up The Sandalwood Tree.

Final Take: 4.5/5

Thank you to Tracee from Pump Up Your Book Promotion for including me on the book tour!


Armchair BEA Blogger Interview: Cheyenne of The Chey Show

It's always nice to meet fellow bloggers and even though we didn't make it to NYC for Book Expo America, we can still make new book blogging friends through Armchair BEA.

We'd like to introduce you to the blog The Chey Show run by Cheyenne, a 17 year old book blogger from Pennsylvania. So without further ado...

Jenn of GJR:   How long have you been a blogger?  What inspired you to become a book blogger?

Cheyenne:  I've been a blogger since the end of March 2011, so about 2 months now. I don't think I made a real conscious decision to become a blogger. I just created a blog one day and thought I would see how it went. Once I got the hang of it, I didn't want to stop! Now I couldn't imagine myself NOT blogging.

GJR:  As someone who is interested in computers & technology, your firm stance on the tree-book side of the e-book vs. tree-book debate came as a bit of a surprise to me.  I am a firm believer in e-books AND tree-books. Have you ever tried, or would you ever try, an e-reader?

C:  I have tried using an e-reader before, but I just don't enjoy it. While I do read books on my computer, I'm much happier with my physical copy. I love going into my room and seeing my too-full bookshelves. I wouldn't have that novelty with an e-reader. I could have 2000 books with an e-reader, but still only see a small piece of electronic equipment. It doesn't give me that sense of satisfaction that 2000 tree-books would give me. I'd rather pay a little extra for the physical copy. I can't see myself ever turning to e-books.

GJR:   I asked because I thought I'd hate an e-reader, especially because I hated reading them on my computer, but I am a Nook owner now and I love it.  I have an aversion to paperbacks, and am running out of room (and funds) when it comes to hard covers, so e-books are a good solution for me.  

When you are reading for reviewing purposes do you read the book then write the review before moving on to something else or can you start the next book before you've written your review of the first book?  Do you read more than one book at a time?

C:  I usually start reading another book before I review the previous one. I do this because I need time to chew over what I just took in. Once I wait a couple of days, I usually have everything I want to say in my head. I've tried writing reviews immediately after finishing a book, but I would finish it and then go "Oh, I wish I had written this!"

I don't normally read more than one book at a time, but lately I have been! I've been getting e-copies of books lately, so I'll read one of those and read a paper copy, too. That way when I'm on the computer I can read, but when the computer is not available I always have a book to stick my nose in.

GJR:    Do you make yourself finish a book you don't like or are you okay with walking away from it?

C:  I would normally say that I would never walk away from a book! And I haven't. Yet. But I think I may have met my match. I am currently reading Fallen by Lauren Kate, and I simply don't like it at all. I told myself that I would push through and finish it, but I just don't think I can. I have so many other books more worth my time. This may be the first ever book that I've had to stop, and I'm not happy about it.

GJR:   What is the first book that really spoke to you on a personal level?

C:  The first book - or series - that really spoke to me was Harry Potter. This was the book that made me fall in love with books. While I'm sure that answer has been used too many times, it does not make it any less true for me. I grew as Harry grew, and I became very attached to the series during that time.

GJR:    Love, love, love Harry Potter!  Who are your favorite authors?

C:  If you asked me this a year ago, I could have told you exactly who my favorite authors are. That was when I had only so many books, and I re-read them to my heart's content. Now, I have read so many books that I have a whole slew of favorite authors. I like to categorize them as "new favorites" and "old favorites." 

Here you go:

Old Favorites:

New Favorites:

GJR:    Everyone has a few least favorite books, what are yours?

C:  My two least favorite books that I think of are Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. I wrote reviews on both of them explaining why I don't like them, so I won't get into it here to save you from a long rant. I think Fallen by Lauren Kate might make this list, soon, too!

GJR:   Your blog states that you are web-schooled.  Since the internet didn't exist in it's current form when I was 17, please tell me, how does that work?

C:  I've been cyber-schooled since 4th grade, so about 7 and a half years. It works as I suppose a "normal" school would work: I have classes, write essays, take tests, study from textbooks, etc. I just do everything online. My "classroom" is a window where the teacher can write/type on the screen and use the microphone to talk. Students can instant message the teacher while he or she is talking, and also use the microphone when they pause. I get normal grades and go out on field trips. In fact, I'm going to an amusement park with my school on Wednesday!

GJR:    You state on your blog that you think you have an OCD.  You tell me yours, I'll tell you mine!

C:  I'm not like those people that *have* to wash their hands 30 times a day, but I do have little things that I can't walk away from if they're not done right. One thing that drives me crazy is the dishes: I have these plates with an asymmetrical pattern. Those plates HAVE to match and stack up with the pattern facing the same way, both in the dishwasher and cabinets. Weird, huh?

Another OCD quirk that I have is alphabetization. Books and movies must be alphabetized. My books are all alphabetized by author's last name, and series after that. If the author doesn't make series, but rather just books unrelated to each other (think Sarah Dessen,) then they are sorted in order of most recently published. Movies are all alphabetized by title. No exceptions! 

GJR:    Those aren't bad at all - I have an aversion to wrinkled, creased paper (hence my dislike of paperbacks, because no matter how careful you are, they get worn looking) and a phobia about germs on library books (another time my e-reader comes in handy!)  I alphabetize all my media too!  It's a must.  My husband could probably list off tons more, but those are the relevant ones.  

 Do you have any TV show addictions?

C:  No, I really don't. I used to be addicted to Smallville, but that series just finished off a couple of weeks ago. I don't watch a lot more than that, other than Big Brother, which starts sometime in July. I like movies, but TV? Not so much. Call me crazy, but I just don't get into Glee or Dancing With the Stars or anything like that. 

GJR:    What do you like to do when you're not reading?

C:  When I'm not reading/blogging/thinking about reading & blogging, I'm usually on the computer. I love surfing Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. I also love the Sims 3! I like to play with HTML and CSS, too, but I usually just do that for my blog.

Outside of books and technology, I love to swim! I can't wait for summer to officially start so I can break out the bathing suit and sunscreen and jump into the pool!

GJR:    That sounds heavenly.  Looking forward to that myself.

We want to thank Cheyenne for taking the time to answer our questions, and also for interviewing me, Jenn, on her blog!  (Jenn's interview:  here.)