Monday, June 4, 2012

Armchair BEA: Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves

What is Armchair BEA?  Well this week Book Expo America is going on in NYC... and there are many of us who wish we were there (We do, we do!!!).  Armchair BEA is a way to participate for those of us who can't 'make it there' ...because I've heard if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere.


Girls Just Reading was the brain child of Lisa, our founder. She was initially going to do this solo but then asked Jenn and Julie to join her on this adventure. We've been up and blogging since August 2007 and have pretty much learned how to do this blogging thing on the fly. Two years ago, Alice came along for the ride and we've been fast reading buddies ever since, even though none of us live in the same city!

Alice's 5 Questions

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?

My name is Alice. I’m a 38 year old single female who lives in North Jersey and works in New York City. My love for reading started in grammar school with the Sweet Valley High series. In high school, I fell in love with romance novels and up until about 10 years ago I read them nonstop. I’m pretty sure the reason I have a skewed view of relationships comes from them. I commute about 2 hours a day on public transportation to work, I pass my time reading. I became friends with Lisa, Jenn, and Julie because of Alias (the fantastic TV show). Even though Alias is long gone, I maintained a friendship with the other Girls via email and of course by following their blog. Of all the Girls, the one I am closest with is Julie. We talk via email everyday about life, TV, my love of Angelina Jolie and her great dislike of her, and of course, books. About a year and a half ago, I was asked to be the fourth member of Girls Just Reading. I was scared silly because of all the Girls, I am the least articulate and eloquent. I do read and write from the heart and thankfully, that had served me well. 

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?

Last week I started reading Ros by Dee DeTarsio. One of the great things about reviewing is that authors, publishers and publicist reach out to us for book reviews. This is one of those books. I have admit, I probably would not have read it if Ms. DeTarsio hadn’t invited me to read it. I’m glad I did because this novel is laugh out loud funny, it’s also a step out of my reading comfort zone. I’m not much into Science Fiction, but I do love to laugh. And this book is right on the money with that. 


Tell us one non-book-related thing that everyone reading your blog may not know about you.

I have this crazy love for the Pocono Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania. My parents have a trailer in a community called Eagle Lake. I love it there. Hand to heaven, it is probably my favorite place on earth. In the back yard, between two trees is a multicolored Brazilian hammock that I love to lay in. It’s a great place to nap or day dream. I feel like my most authentic self there. It’s wonderful. 


What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?

My favorite feature has to be our author interviews. I love getting a firsthand look at what happens behind the scenes: How does an author think? How are ideas developed? What does it takes to get those thoughts on paper? Everything about it intrigues me. 


Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

Before I started reviewing novels, my reading tastes consisted mostly of Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction, some Young Adult and Memoirs. I was pretty much a single author girl and faithfully stuck to those authors. Also, before I joined the blog, I didn’t read any books written by men. I think I omitted male authors more in the name of Girl Power than anything else. Since I started contributing to Girls Just Reading, I am reading more male authors as well as Mysteries, Thrillers, and Science Fiction, which I avoided like the plague. To my surprise, I actually enjoy them. The reading challenges also help broaden my reading horizon. Jenn and Julie are constantly pushing me out of my reading comfort zone and truth be told, I enjoy that too.

Jenn's 5 Questions


Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
Hi, I’m Jenn and I am a book addict and TV junkie.  Oh, it’s not that kind of meeting? *sits down*  I am a wife to one superb husband and mother to one princess-doctor-swordfighter kidlet and a rescued dog.  I have been addicted to books since I learned to read… growing up in a neighborhood with few kids my age, I had my adventures through books instead.  One summer, having read my way through the entire children’s section of the library, I was given the opportunity by the librarian to take home the new books in the section before they hit the shelves as long as I brought them back and told the librarian what I thought, so I guess I’ve been reviewing books for a long time.  


Most of my local friends aren’t readers, so when Lisa asked me if I’d be interested in blogging, I jumped at the chance to share my book love with someone...well, I guess with everyone!  I love the way blogging brings the reading community together, opens discussions, and introduces me to new reads.  
What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?


Definitely The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It was fabulous and so different than anything I've read or could ever imagine; it was a little bit like Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock (my favorite YA book from my childhood), only for adults. I also (finally) got into Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series -couldn't put it down- and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. Yes, I'm a little behind, but that's what happens when your TBR piles are towering over your desk.  I am also in love with C.C. Hunter's Shadow Falls series which is under-hyped, in my opinion.


If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

After careful character consideration (Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan?  No, I don't mind forensics, but I can't discuss it at the dinner table.  Meg Gardiner's Evan Delaney?  No, too many people trying to kill her, and Jo Beckett too.) I think I would have to go with Heather Webber's Lucy Valentine. She's caring and sweet ...and can find lost items, which I could really use some help with!

As for an author, I think I would love dining with Meg Gardiner.  Her quick witted sarcasm would fit right in around the dinner table at our house.

Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?

While I think I've read some things I otherwise may not have read due to group reviews, challenges, and suggestions, I would say my tastes have not changed.  As a matter of fact, I think it's focused my likes more and helped me find new authors within that subset.   I've been putting more and more thought into why it is I read certain books and like certain genres ...perhaps I'll put a blog post together about it soon. 


What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?

Group reviews, hands down. Reading is personal and specific to each individual and nowhere is that more apparent than when we read a book together and then put our opinions into reviews.  I think its fantastic when we have completely different reactions, but even when we all like the book, we still have different reasons. 

I love our Children's Corner too, because I'm always looking for suggestions for Kidlet.




Julie's 5 Questions


Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?


That first question is a bit existential don't you think? LOL I am a mother of 2 very active kids and a wife of a very active husband. I am a life long reader who's love of reading was instilled by my mom reading to me every night, my dad reading novels whenever he had time and my aunt who read all the time.


I've been blogging since August 2007 and it scared the crap out of me at first. I had no clue what I was doing and it was definitely a trial by fire. I got into blogging to remember what the heck I had read and to share my love of books with others.


What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?


I love getting a lot of my book recommendations from other bloggers either via reading their blogs or the discussions on Twitter. There are a lot of books and authors I might not have read if not for other book bloggers. In fact because of the harassing I received on Twitter about not reading YA books, I'm going to do a personal challenge in 2013. People swear there are good YA books out there.


I don't know if there's anything to change because I think in general most book bloggers are open and genuine people. You need help and they'll give it. I'd like to see less plagiarism in the blogging world. It's an awful lot of work to see if your hard written review has been stolen by someone else as their own. It doesn't make you look good either as a blogger.


What is your favorite feature on your blog (i.e. author interviews, memes, something specific to your blog)?


I love the author interviews. Our readers seem to love the author interviews. To me an author is like a rock star so anytime I get to send one of them questions and they answer them I'm thrilled. Most authors are open to answering questions.


I also love our Children's Corner that is posted on Sundays. I almost always get some great ideas from Jenn's posts. (Jenn:  I love getting new book ideas from you too, Jules!)


What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?


So far 2012 has been an excellent reading year for me. I've read so many great books this year and it's only June! Here's a little taste of some of the 5/5 books from 2012 so far: The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson, A Good American by Alex George, The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, These Girls by Sarah Pekkanen, and The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch.


Have your reading tastes changed since you started blogging? How?


My reading taste has broadened a bit since blogging. I loved reading before but it was mainly the same authors or same genres. I've stepped out of that and read some fabulous books that I probably wouldn't have if not for blogging. There are still my "go to" authors that I've read for years but I now have new "go to" authors because of blogging.

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13 comments :

Lisa (Lisa's World of Books) June 4, 2012 at 11:23 AM  

Good Morning and welcome to Armchair BEA! It is a pleasure to meet you ladies! I see The Next Best Thing on your side bar, I can't wait to read it!

Lisa

Liviania June 4, 2012 at 11:26 AM  

I liked the comment about being behind. People expect a blogger to be familiar with all the big books, but there are tons that escape your radar when you're trying to read all your review copies!

Ann Holt June 4, 2012 at 11:30 AM  

I'm excited about Tana French's Broken Harbor too! Learning so much from visiting other blogs. Thanks!

TEXT

@HarleyBearBooks June 4, 2012 at 12:04 PM  

Jen- your story reminds me of Matilda. How she was at the library every day at a young age reading everything. lol. Out of Night Circus, Mortal Instruments, and Percy Jackson which one is your favorite? I've been wanting to read all of those.
-Melissa @Harley Bear Book Blog

Amanda Furman June 4, 2012 at 1:25 PM  

I love that all of you were answering the questions, it makes it really nice to get to know all of you!

Happy Armchair BEA!

Amanda

Bookfool June 4, 2012 at 2:03 PM  

Fun reading more than one set of answers! I think I'd really enjoy sharing a blog with other readers. I get a lot of peculiar looks when I tell people I'm a book blogger, so I just say "I review books."

I loved A Good American, too!

Judith Leeswammes June 4, 2012 at 2:27 PM  

Jenn, the Night Circus was great! I haven't read the other books you mention.

Julie, I also love getting book recommendations - it's just... my wish list is getting so long. At some point I have to lock myself away with all the books and only come back out when they're finished so I can't add new books. :-)

Stephsco June 4, 2012 at 3:22 PM  

I'm currently reading The Night Circus - finally! I've had it sitting around for ages. It's such a fun read, I can see it as a movie.

Great blog, I plan to follow :)

Michelle Shannon June 4, 2012 at 11:02 PM  

Long-time follower here!

I like being behind the times in reading. It helps all the buzz die down, and I know I will enjoy a book more if there is not a lot of hype occurring at the same time I am reading it!

Rhonda's Doings June 5, 2012 at 3:47 AM  

I love your blogging together and reviewing books together....kind of like movie reviewers! lol

Jenn June 5, 2012 at 2:57 PM  

@Melissa - I don't think I could pick, they're all so different! If I must, I'd probably rank them just as your wrote them Night Circus, Mortal Instruments, and Percy Jackson.

I always feel bad about being behind the times, but there is just so much great stuff out there! And you're right Michelle, sometimes it's nice when the hype dies down... or when the rest of the books of the series are out and you don't have to wait to dive into the next one! LOL

Amy June 6, 2012 at 10:48 AM  

Hi Alice!
It's nice to meet you especially because you're not far from me at all!
I loved Alias and was disappointed when it ended.
This blog sounds wonderful and it's great that you and the other women here encourage each other to read outside your comfort zone!

Hi Jenn!
I love that you have a rescue dog and your 'titles' for your daughter are funny!
The Night Circus was amazing. I was so sad when it ended.

Hi Julie!
My mom used to read to me at night, too and she was always reading, like your dad.
Book recommendations around here are great, right? And I agree that bookj bloggers, generally are very authentic people.
I haven't read the Weird Sisters yet but cannot wait too and I loved The Night Circus.

It sounds like you all have some great regular featurs on this blog. I cannot wait to check them out!

Have a wonderful rest of Armchair BEA!

Chrystal June 9, 2012 at 8:52 PM  

I'm looking forward to reading The Night Circus. Glad to see it on your list. :)

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