Blogger to Blogger: An Interview with Fadwa @ Word Wonders

One of my favorite ways to find a new blogger is through comments they make on other people’s blogs. Fadwa has commented on diversity, triggers, and marginalized voices, all subjects that are meaningful yet are sometimes spoken without thought. Word Wonders is a blog where Fadwa’s voice is true and her words are meaningful and NEVER without thought. She’s also a YA book lover and gives great recommendations! Get lost in her blog if you haven’t sampled her voice, but come back and read her answers to my ten questions!

Fadwa@ Word Wonders

  • Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live in Morocco!

  • What is the view outside your front door? 

I cheated a little, this is the view outside my window, but it’s basically the same thing. I live in an apartment complex so those are the gardens that connect the different buildings.

  • Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

I feel quite boring haha because I don’t have a fascinating or inspirational reason for starting a blog. I had been following and lovingall kinds of bookish platforms for a few years and realized that I had a lot ofopinions and nowhere to put them so I thought starting a blog could be a goodidea, I was still extremely hesitant but it was something I couldn’t get out ofmy head. The name though is something that randomly came to me while I was in the shower, and that’s when I made up my mind and started working on what’s now Word Wonders, right after I got out of that shower on a January day, three years ago.

  • Describe where you write your blog. Include a picture if you’d like!

I blog in my bed, it’s a twin size but super comfy and cozy. I am currently cuddled up in it so I can’t really take a picture of it how it is now, but here’s a recent one from my Instagram feed.

  • Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack?

I actually do not have one! I’m the kind of person who needs everything to be where it’s supposed to be so if I’m not actively reading a book, it’s in my bookshelf where it belongs. Plus, I’m a huge mood reader so having a stack like that would be useless because it’ll just sit there untouched *hides in shame*.

  • If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

Light contemporary and romance are my two go-to when I’m feeling down. There’s one book I read recently that definitely made it into my “to reread when having a bad day” is Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills, it’s so cute and fluffy and made me feel genuinely happy.

  • When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

I’m a med student so the majority of my time is spentstudying. Other than that, you can find me reading (obviously), taking picturesfor my bookstagram (which you can find HERE), and I recently joined my gym again after a two years long hiatus so you can find me there working out as well.

  • What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

I don’t want to sound too full of myself haha but there are a lot of posts I wrote I’m quite proud of. They’re not perfect or anything but they’re important to me and I put a lot of time and energy into them. One of them, and that’s fairly recent is HowBooks Helped me Acknowledge my Trauma, it was somewhat cathartic to write.

  • Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

I sadly live very, very, VERY far away from anywhere authors would consider doing events at, so I haven’t met any of my favorites.

  • If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question, who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve,and what is the first question you’d ask?

It would be my favourite author, Anna-Marie Mclemore, chocolate cake and I’d probably ask what sparked the idea for every one of her books. They’re so magical and brilliantly crafted and I’m always wondering how she does it.

Fadwa is from Morocco! That’s a first on my blog, and really, really neat! I will second what Fadwa says about Foolish Hearts. Emma Mills has such a sweet, original voice and I really love her stories.

Thanks Fadwa for participating in my Blogger to Blogger series!

If any of you would like to be highlighted in this series, please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for Reading!

Deb

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Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with The Captain @ Captain’s Quarters

I love visiting the Captain’s site for her avast ye matey sang froid and to increase my own repertoire of pirate phrases. Even more interesting is the Captain’s insightful reviews and commentary. How does the Captain find time to read while sailing the seven seas looking for pirate’s booty? Well, I’m sure all Captain’s require an evening off occasionally to read a good book! If you’ve never visited the site Captain’s Quarters then ye should walk the plank, or just click the link below to check it out. Come back though, I don’t think you want to miss the Captain’s answers to my 10 questions!

Click HERE to visit the Captain’s Quarters!

Captain's logo

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I originally hail from the port of Baltimore in Maryland in the U.S.  I have “officially” lived in over 10 American states and in the jolly ol’ Port of London.  I currently be sailing the seven seas in search of adventure, treasure, and fun!

What is the view outside your front door?

Me glorious view be of nothing but winds, waves, and the wonders of the sea, matey!

Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

The Story Behind the Captain’s Quarters…

What’s in a name? I am a pirate captain.  Me ship’s logbook is stored in me captain’s quarters.

Why did I start blogging? I started me blog on January 4, 2016 and have been happily continuing ever since.  It started as an online log for me to keep track of what I read and what me thoughts were on the various ports I visit.  I had no real expectations of getting followers but I have been pleasantly surprised that ye scalawags think me (b)log is of interest.

Describe where you write your blog. 

I write me log posts on me laptop in me cabin.  I’ll not be including a picture to protect me secrets.  Arrr!

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack? 

Aye, matey.  I do have plenty of unread books on me ship.  In me cabin there be 117 books waiting for perusal.  There be 1180 un-owned books currently on me ports for plunder list.  I also have unknown numbers of books on library lists, me kindle, and in the hold.  I keep meaning to tally them.  But I get distracted . . .

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

Me go to genres be fantasy and sci-fi.  They be the focus of the Captain’s Quarters.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

Well matey, the theme of me life be:

Pirate motto.PNG

I have a ship to sail, ports to plunder, loot to be counted, and scoundrels to be run through with me cutlass.  Arrr!  Me formal schooling days be over but I be a lifelong self-educator about whatever subject happens to capture me fancy.  Besides sailing the world, I do enjoy occasionally relaxing on a hammock on a deserted island somewhere.  Of course reading is one o’ me main pursuits.  Occasionally I catch a show when I be in port.  I do hope to see every Shakespeare play performed live at some point.  The tally currently be 18/38 (the histories be hard to find).

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What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written? 

Well matey, me most fun post was when I wrote about readin’ the wrong book!  That book is currently holding the place for best book of the year despite it not being sci-fi or fantasy. (Click links to read)

Curiosities of the Deep – the seven husbands of evelyn hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

The Seven Husbands

The “correct” book review was also fun to write.

On the Horizon – the 7 1/2 deaths of evelyn hardcastle (Stuart Turton) – wherein I finally read the correct book!

Seven Deaths

But the post I be most proud of involved standing up against the use of rape as a plot point.  It burned bridges with a publisher for “author provocation” but me review be honest and heartfelt.  The fallout was nasty. I stand me ground.

Abandoned Ship On the Horizon – hidden sun (Jaine Fenn) – rant that contains spoilers

Hidden Sun.jpg

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

Well matey, I be unusual in this regard.  I have quite a few favourite authors but I don’t care to meet any of them.  I don’t want their personal details, usually politics or history of abuse, to make me unable to enjoy their work.

If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question, who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

Cake.  Yum.  I love Key Lime Pie and Classic Yellow Cake with chocolate icing.  Derby Pie.  Strawberry Shortcake with biscuits.  Pound Cake.  Smith Island Cake.  But not Fruitcake or Cheesecake.  Those Walk the Plank!  I would commandeer all the cake from the any author and flee to savour the goodness.  I suppose I could share with me crew.  Depends on how much treasure they have discovered since the last tally.  Arrrrr!

 

Oh my! After that list of cakes and pie’s I just had to include a couple of images, yum!

I love that the Captain included three of their posts for us to read. I, too was confused by the Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo! I read the first and not the second. I did hear that the publisher inserted the 1/2 into the first title to try to differentiate it from the other. I think they both came out at about the same time?

As far as her third link, bravo! I am so bothered about how some authors use mistreatment of women in the wrong way. If it is needed to move the plot forward and the character learns, grows, and gets over it, great. However, it is not ok to use rape or other types of abuse and abusive relationships in the way the Captain mentions in their post. The one rant post I wrote was about a man who essentially stalked a woman from childhood, controlled her future, then married her and it was considered a romantic book! I was pretty horrified and said so in that post. (Everything for Her by Alexa Riley)

Even though the Captain was a little cagey in letting us see the vista out of their ships porthole, I do think I know them a little bit better and am thankful they wanted to take part in my Blogger to Blogger series.

Have you ever read a book that you didn’t agree with how a woman or women were treated? What was your response?

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deb

Blogger to Blogger: An Interview with Claire @ A Knight’s Reads

A jump into Claire’s blog A Knight’s Reads is like a walk in a dark park at night by yourself where you’re being hunted… Just kidding! It’s actually the other way around! You are the hunter searching for the next crime thriller or mystery. Although it will be hard to choose as Claire’s reviews make them all sound good! If you haven’t checked out her blog, please click the link below, but come back and read this interview so you can get a little behind the scenes info on this blogger that you will soon grow to love.

A Knight’s Reads

Knights logo

Let’s see how she answers these 10 questions!

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live just outside of Leeds, Yorkshire in the UK

What is the view outside your front door?

This is the view from my front door. We live on a small housing estate close to the city of Leeds but far enough out so I can see green fields yards from my doorstep and our garden backs onto some woodland.

Claire 1

Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

Initially I started guest reviewing for Noelle Holten and Crimebookjunkie.co.uk. I started there late 2015 and stayed for over 2 years. I always knew I wanted my own blog but with two energetic young boys, I didn’t have the time alongside the reading. But in January this year, my youngest started at preschool so I knew the time had come to fly the nest and go solo!  I admit that its not exactly a fun story…

Describe where you write your blog. 

I vary where I blog. I do a bit at work, bit in our home office, a bit on my phone but at the moment, I’m most comfortable sat on the sofa in front of the TV (currently binge watching the fabulous Suits).

Claire 2.jpg

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack? 

At the end of every month, I plan what I’m reading for the following month – these are my October reads.  When I get a physical of an advanced copy of a book I pop a little sticker on the spine to plan when I’m going to read it. If it’s an electronic copy, I’ll note in my blogging diary (I’d be lost without it) as to when publication day is and when I’m planning to read it.

Claire 3

Claire 4

The Lingering by SJI Holliday

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there, and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history. When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution. The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalizingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

Lisa is living a lie and everyone is about to find out.

Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job and her best friend Marilyn.

But when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him, too. Maybe she’s ready now. Maybe she can trust again. Maybe it’s time to let her terrifying secret past go.

But when her daughter rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see, Lisa’s world explodes.

As she finds everything she has built threatened, and not knowing who she can trust, it’s up to Lisa to face her past in order to save what she holds dear.

But someone has been pulling all their strings. And that someone is determined that both Lisa and Ava must suffer.

Because long ago Lisa broke a promise. And some promises aren’t meant to be broken.

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

My go-to genre is crime fiction, I love the escapism of solving crimes or having an author mess with my head to make me forget the day.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

As I mentioned in question 3, I’m a mum of two gorgeous boys (I’m biased yes) so they’re a big part of my life along with my husband. I also work four days a week for a third party pensions company. When I get chance, I do like a bit of TV watching.  I’m gradually working my way through US legal drama Suits and some of the excellent BBC dramas we’ve been gifted with.  I also love a good cookery show like Masterchef and the fabulous Marvel series that Netflix are putting out.

My favorite blog post banner

What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

I’ve got two favourites. The first is my very first blog post that I prepared for A Knight’s Reads – it’s my review for Graham Smith’s Past Echoes, the third in his Jake Boulder series which I love. It was the most petrifying moment of my blogging time as it’s all me, not hiding behind the fabulous name of CrimeBookJunkie. Mr Smith very kindly offered to take part in a short Q&A as well to help launch me into the blogisphere!

#Blogblitz Past Echoes by Graham Smith

The second is a guest post that C.S. Duffy wrote for me.  She gave me a number of different titles to pick from and I chose “The Intimate Thriller”.  When I received it, I was amazed. I was inspired by the post!

Dark of Night by C.S. Duffy

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

I have met quite a few of my favourite authors. To start with I was a tad nervous to say anything as I’m not the most confident and out-going.  But at my first time at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, a wise author said to me that authors are just normal people like me and all they want know is that you liked their book. So I tentatively wandered up to Sarah Hilary and told her that I loved her books.  Since then I’ve met a number of authors whose books I’ve loved and I’ve told them that – got to say I love their reactions, big smiles!! 

If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question, who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

I would love to have cake with the late great Agatha Christie. I’d serve her a scone cream tea and I’d quiz her about her disappearance in 1926.

The penultimate mystery for a crime buff like yourself, for sure! Thanks Claire, so much for letting us look into your life. I found some new authors and am going to google Agatha Christie’s disappearance. Don’t hate me, but I didn’t know she had!

What did you all think of Claire’s answers? Did you find any new books to add to your own TBR?

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deb

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Megan and Lauren @ YA Bookers

I’ve enjoyed following Megan and Lauren’s blog YA Bookers because we share a love for YA books. I also love a good fantasy novel and those book reviews always jump out at me and pull me back in to read. Their bookish discussions are so well written and you can tell that they are passionate about what they are saying! I must’ve been blind and dumb, but I didn’t realize that they were twins. TWO women who love books and can put their thoughts into words? Yes!! What a find! If you haven’t visited their blog, please do! The pretty graphics will be the first thing you notice, but what will keep you coming back is the thoughtful content. Visit their link below, but come back and read their interview!

YA BOOKERS

YA Bookers logo

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?
We are twins, and we both live in not-so-sunny England.
What is the view outside your front door?
Just a plain old boring English street. A little dull and, obviously, bad weather.
YA Bookers 1.jpg
Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.
I can’t say it is all that interesting. We were sixteen, just starting Sixth-Form (don’t ask me translate that into the American school system, it still confuses me) and we saw all these amazing book blogs on Tumblr and kind of just joined that community (booklr). It is only in the last two years that we moved our platform primarily onto Twitter and WordPress and found a whole new supportive bookish community! Obviously, being twins, we decided to venture into a shared passion together. We get sick of each other sometimes, but we get over it because we really love books and we really love blogging.
Describe where you write your blog.
A shared desk, where we can never get away from each other. Poorly thought out. JUST KIDDING. We love working side-by-side, jotting notes in our notebooks, and it makes blogging and twitter chats, such as #UKYAchat, run a lot smoother when you can communicate so easily.
YA Bookers 2
Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack?
Megan: My stack is actually pretty small at the moment. I started Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann, which is a contemporary romance which I wasn’t really in the mood for. So then I started The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow, a dystopia. It has been so long since I’ve read a dystopia read as they weren’t really in for a while. So far I am enjoying it. I’ve also got my Kindle there too, because I love reading on it and it is always handy having it close by where ever I go.
Megan bookers stack.jpg
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
Greta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies.

The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered.

Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power.

Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to deliver punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed…unless Greta can think of a way to break all the rules.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Alice had her whole summer planned. Nonstop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting—working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she’s asexual). Alice is done with dating—no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library-employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

Claire Kann’s debut novel Let’s Talk About Love, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, gracefully explores the struggle with emerging adulthood and the complicated line between friendship and what it might mean to be something more.

Lauren: I usually read on my kindle because I get quite a bit of e-ARCs, but right now I’m actually  caught up for once so I’m reading Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (three years after I finished the first one!). The other book in there is a signed ARC of Bloodleaf which I won in a giveaway, and it’s the next book on my TBR! I’m never one to have a big book stack because I’m a mood reader so I finish a book, and pick up one I’m in the mood for. I’m never one for planning my TBR (or planning anything, to be honest).
Lauren Bookers stack.jpg
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets—a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith
A roar of a dark and luscious epic fantasy that’s layered with heady romance, bloodthirsty magic, and ghostly intrigue—an absolutely wicked delight.Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?
If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?
Megan: I really love a good and well researched historical fiction. I’m a history graduate, so history has always been a passion of mine. I especially love historical fiction that feature angry and foul mouthed girls who go against the societial expectation of the time. One of my all time favourite books is Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein which features a stubborn and arrogant scotswoman called Julie who has been captured by the Nazi’s in wartime France, and a female pilot called Maddie who would go to the ends of the earth for Julie. It’s a brilliantly written and researched book that really tugs on the heartstrings.
Lauren: I definitely love a good fantasy when I’m having a bad day. There’s something about immersing yourself in a completely new world when the one you live in is getting you down. I’m not really one for re-reading books, but Inkmistress by Audrey Coulthurst would definitely be one I would go back to after a long day.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

We used to work in fast-food until recently when we were having a really bad day, enough of the long hours and bad pay and verbal abuse from customers and managers, and so we rage quit in solidarity with each other. So we are currently unemployed and looking for something better. But when we weren’t working or blogging we loved spending time with our niece and nephew, the literal light of our world.
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What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?
Megan: One of my favourite blog posts I’ve written is ‘”Contemporary YA is dead”. Really?’ In terms of reviews though, my favourite review I’ve written is for Sadie by Courtney Summers, one of my all time favourite books.
Lauren: I love looking for new, upcoming releases, and they always get me excited for the year to come. My favourite post has definitely got to be our ‘2018 Highly Anticipated Releases’. I’m already collecting releases for my 2019 list!
LInks:
Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?
Unfortunately, we live in the North of England where authors rarely venture up here. If we ever met an author, we have no idea what we would say, probably incoherent babble. We are determined though to eventually make our way to YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention, down in London.
If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question, who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?
Megan: I would love to meet and sit down with Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity. I’d love to ask her about her writing and historical research process for her book! In terms of cake, I think it would have to be a really good Victoria Sponge. Yum.
Code Name
Lauren: Leigh Bardugo, for sure! I own all her books, and I love her Grishaverse. I’d have a million questions and so I wouldn’t be able to pick just one, but I would tell her to never stop writing! As for cake, I’d serve chocolate cake. Who doesn’t love a good chocolate cake?!

These two ladies may be twins, but their reading (and cake!) tastes definitely differ! Although the separation between historical novels and fantasy novels seems to be shrinking in some YA novels. I need to check out their blog to see if one of them has read My Lady Jane  and its sequel, books that are a definite mash- up of those two genres.

Doesn’t reading this interview make you even more curious about Megan and Lauren? I certainly am! It’s also abundantly clear why I follow these ladies. They are talented, well spoken, and truthful in their reviews and discussions. Qualities I admire in a blogger!

Do you follow YA Bookers? What surprised you the most?

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deb

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Jo @ My Chestnut Reading Tree

I am drawn to Jo’s blog, My Chestnut Reading Tree because I too adore mysteries. I don’t review them too often because it’s so hard to not give away the ending when you’ve read a good one! However, if you are looking for a good recomendation Jo’s blog should be one of your firsts places to go to fill up your TBR! You can imagine how excited I was when Joe wanted to participate in my Blogger to Blogger Series. Here’s my chance to find out a little more inside information about the life and reading habits of the woman behind My Chestnut Reading Tree!

My Chestnut Reading Tree

Here are Jo’s answers to my 10 questions…

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live in a village in Cheshire in the U.K.

What is the view outside your front door? 

Pic of view from front door which is looking down the street towards a railway line at the end. Very boring view!!

Jo's View

Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

My neighbours used to have a beautiful Chestnut tree in their garden which is why our street is called Chestnut Drive. I could see it from my spare bedroom where I used to read in the afternoon as the light was just perfect in there then. So I decided to name my blog after that tree. Unfortunately 6 months later we had new neighbours and the first thing they did was cut the tree down! One morning I walked home from taking my granddaughter to school and it had gone!!

Describe where you write your blog. 

I write my blog at my desk in my old dining room which is now an office although it also shares space with a large treadmill (that has been waiting to be fixed for over a year now!) I have all my bookshelves in that room too.

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack?

I have a pile of blog tour reads and also other ARCs that I keep in my study. There are so many books that I’m desperate to read on these piles but I try to read in date order. Here’s a pic of a few awaiting my attention!

Jo's stack

Come and Find Me by Sarah Hilary

On the surface, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have nothing in common, other than their infatuation with Michael Vokey. Each is writing to a sadistic inmate, sharing her secrets, whispering her worst fears, craving his attention.
DI Marnie Rome understands obsession. She’s finding it hard to give up her own addiction to a dangerous man: her foster brother, Stephen Keele. She wasn’t able to save her parents from Stephen. She lives with that guilt every day.
As the hunt for Vokey gathers pace, Marnie fears one of the women may have found him – and is about to pay the ultimate price.

And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott

Cleo knows she should be happy for her brother Mark. He’s managed to find someone new after the sudden death of his first wife – but something about Evie just doesn’t feel right…

When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.

Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As the accused stands trial, the jury is forced to consider – is there ever a proper defence for murder?

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

I love a twisty psychological thriller and it is always these I tend to search out if I want to read away the stresses of the day. I also reread Lady of Hay or Kingdom of Shadows by Barbara Erskine if I need some comfort reading.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

What don’t I do!? I have 2 jobs in my local primary school where I work everyday as a Welfare Assistant and Lunchtime Supervisor. I also look after my grandchildren before and after school and in the holidays. And I have a little eBay business selling preloved children’s clothing.

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What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

My most popular blog post is actually related to question 7 as it was my A Typical Day in the Life of a book blogger post! Here is the link-I only had one of my school jobs at the time so it’s slightly more manic during my day now!

A Typical Day in the Life of a Book Blogger

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

I’m really lucky in that I have met lots of my favourite authors mostly when I attend Theakstons Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate which I have done for the past 3 years. The one that is probably my favourite though, is when I met Linwood Barclay and had afternoon tea at Betty’s in Harrogate with him and my fellow blogger Sarah Hardy. We were both a bit shy but he put us at ease and we had a fabulous chat for over 2 hours about absolutely everything! And the cakes were pretty good too!

Jo and author

If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question, who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

As you can tell I already think authors and cakes go well together as per question 9! I’m really lucky that I’ve met most of my favourite authors but one that I’ve never met, and would love to, is Amanda Prowse. I would serve my favourite carrot cake or a lemon and blueberry cream sponge and I would ask her first how she manages to look so bloody gorgeous in her Instagram pics even first thing in the morning with no make up on!!! And then I would serve prosecco and ask how her ideas come to her for her novels and tell her that I’ve yet to read one of her books that hasn’t made me cry!

 

 

Jo, apparently you and I share a love for cake!  Lemon and Blueberry cream Sponge cake? YUM! If that cake doesn’t make Amanda Prowse spill all of her secrets to you then I don’t know what would! Thanks so much for participating, I really enjoyed all of your answers and found some new authors to read.

Does anyone else share a love of mysteries with Jo? Have you read any of the authors on her TBR? What’s your favorite?

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deb

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Annie @themisstery

My first impression of The Misstery blog is that the feel of her site is very film noir-ish. The picture (I’m assuming it’s Annie!) of the young woman reading on her back in bed is in black and white. Not to be gruesome, but I could very easily see that picture as a crime photo in my mind! Very cool and definitely sets the mood for her blog that is mostly reviews of mystery novels. Annie does veer away occasionally with wrap up posts, discussions and a few reviews in other genre’s but for the most part she stays true to her name. If you haven’t checked out Annie’s blog, please check it out!

Annie @themisstery

Here are Annie’s answers to my 10 questions! Annie was having trouble with her phone and couldn’t send me any photo’s, but her descriptions are vivid and I don’t have any trouble imaging what she’s describing!

Misstery logo

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live in Barcelona, Spain. Most of the bloggers I interact with are from the UK or US, though. I also have blogger friends from Kenya, France, Belgium, etc.

What is the view outside your front door?  

I actually have a library in front of my flat! I never go there, though. I prefer to buy books and I usually read in English and mostly of the library books are only in Spanish. Also, I have an Italian restaurant on my right and a Bolivian restaurant on the left.

Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

As everyone, I started blogging because I wanted to share my love for books with others who share my same passion. I actually started blogging in Spanish but quickly realized that I was reading different books than my fellow Spanish bloggers. So I decided to go International and it was the best decision ever!

My blog name is still one of my favorite things. Misstery. I think it’s pretty self-explanatory given how much I love mysteries!

Describe where you write your blog.

I usually write my posts while sitting on the armchair. It’s so comfortable that I could spend my whole day there.

Misstery armchair

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack? 

I have plenty of books to read, but I keep them all on the shelves. There are like +50 that I still haven’t read!

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If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

My go-to books are police procedurals. I know I will always get hooked. They’re also my happy place, which I know sounds weird for some.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

I work 8-5 so that’s a big part of my day, although I’d rather be at home, for sure. Maybe someday…

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What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written? 

My blogger routine post! Although that has changed over this year!

My Book Blogger Routine

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

I have! I met Dennis Lehane last year, and also Don Winslow. 5 years ago, I met Kate Morton, too.

I told them I loved their books.

To Dennis, I told him that Patrick Kenzie was one of my favorite characters ever. He’s so serious, but it was a conference and I loved what he said.

 

Don Winslow was super nice and I loved his vision. Kate Morton was super sweet too, and she signed all the books I brought.

 


If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question,  who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

I think Agatha Christie, even though she’s dead. Cheesecake and I would ask her what’s the best way to come up with such twisty stories!

 

 

I occassionally love a good mystery and would have loved to know the first three books Annie is going to read next! It’s a little voyeuristic to view your TBR isn’t it? LOL.

I think Annie is the first blogger I’ve met from Spain and find it really interesting that she found that she wasn’t reading the same books as other Spanish bloggers. I know I am thankful she went international so I could enjoy her blog!

Thanks Annie for participating in my Blogger to Blogger series!

Deb

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Lynne @Fictionophile

When I visit the blog Fictionophile I need to make sure I have the time to jump around from page to page. She has numerous topics and reviews ranging from Mysteries to Art. It’s so easy to get caught up in Lynne’s writing! If you haven’t visited her blog, then please click the link below to check it out. But come back! You’ll want to get to know Lynne a bit better by reading her answers to my 10 questions.

Lynne @Fictionophile

Now for her answers!

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Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

CANADA

What is the view outside your front door? 

My view varies greatly according to the seasons.  I live in a suburban area of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. When I look out my living room window, I see houses, streets, and off in the near distance, a lake. For seven months of the year, when I am at home, this is my view:

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For the other five months of the year, when I am at the cottage, this is my view:

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Most blogs have a quirky name and a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name?

As I read mainly fiction, I just changed the word ‘Bibliophile’ to ‘Fictionophile’.  Not too exciting or inventive…

Describe where you write your blog.

The photo above shows where my computer is at the cottage.  The photo below is a picture of my desk at home.

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Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack?

Although I have hundreds of books at home, my ‘stack’ or ‘TBR’ is on my Kindle.  I love that I can take my TBR with me everywhere I go.  As you can see from this photo, I have 634 titles loaded on my Kindle as of today…

Fictionophile 5

A sample from Lynne’s TBR:

Murder on the Marshes by Clare Chase

As the sun rises, a wealthy young woman – Samantha Seabrook – is found drowned in the ornamental fountain of a deserted Cambridge courtyard, the only clue – an antique silver chain wound tightly around her throat.

It’s Tara Thorpe’s job to discover what happened to Miss Seabrook – but the case becomes personal when she learns that Samantha had been receiving death threats… rather like the one that landed on Tara’s doorstep the night the woman died.

Together with Detective Inspector Garstin Blake, Tara tracks the killer to the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of the city. But there’s something Tara can’t quite admit to Blake about her past – and it could make all the difference to whether they live… or die.

She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

For Rose Enright, enrolling in a prestigious New England boarding school is the opportunity of a lifetime. But for Rose’s vulnerable twin sister Bel, Odell Academy is a place of temptation and danger. When Bel falls in with a crowd of wild rich kids who pressure her into hazing Rose, the sisters’ relationship is shattered. Rose turns to her dorm mother, Sarah Donovan, for advice. But Bel turns to Sarah’s husband Heath, a charismatic and ambitious teacher. Is Heath trying to help Bel or take advantage of her? In a world of privilege, seduction, and manipulation, only one sister will live to tell the truth.

In a novel full of twists, turns, and dark secrets, Michele Campbell once again proves her skill at crafting intricately spun and completely compelling plots.

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

Probably literary fiction – though I read a lot of thrillers as well.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

I have been retired for over two years now.  Before retirement I was the fiction cataloger for a large public library system.  Now I enjoy reading, walking, crocheting, swimming, and spending time with my family.

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What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

Wow, that’s  a hard one…  Maybe: My personal canon.  This post caused me to reflect back on my own personal reading history.  According to WordPress, my most popular post ever was my review for “The Lilac Girls” which got 11,635 views in total.

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

I have met some terrific authors including Ian Rankin, Kathy Reichs, Giles Blunt, Maureen Jennings, and Peter Robinson.  I can’t really remember what I said to them – other than that I own some of their work and I admire their writing.

If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question, who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

I’d probably serve carrot cake with cream cheese icing.  As to the author, that is another difficult choice as I have so many.  P.D. James and Ruth Rendell (both deceased) and for authors writing now: Fredrik Backman, Sharon Bolton, Catriona McPherson, and Peter May to name just a few.

Lynne, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my 10 questions! I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that if I had that view of the lake I’d have trouble getting through all of those books on my kindle too! It’s truly gorgeous!

When I was checking out Lynne’s blog before putting together my post, I read her post titled Public Libraries today you’ve got to love them! She gives some great tips on some apps that you can download to check out free ebooks, music, movies, magazines and more!  I am familiar with Overdrive but a couple of the other one’s were new to me so check it out, it’s really helpful for those of us on a strict book budget!

See what I mean? I was sucked into that great content!

Do you want your own blog featured? If so, please let me know in the comments. Or would you like to nominate another blogger whom you love? Please do!!

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deborah

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Trang and Lashaan with @Bookidote

I will admit that I wish I had a friend, sibling, co-worker, (husband?) who shared my love for books and would consider blogging with me. There are a few blogging partnerships that I’ve run across and have even featured a couple on my blog. The partnership on the blog Bookidote seems to be a little different and wonderful.  Trang and Lashaan definitely share a love for books but they don’t necessarily love the same genre’s. They each have their own platform, yet share the same space. I LOVE that!

I was lucky enough that both Trang and Lashaan had the time to answer my 10 questions. Let’s see what they’ve got to say!

Bookidote logo

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

We both live in Canada, Montreal to be exact !

What is the view outside your front door?  

Trang: It’s a pretty basic view hahah not like the beach or anything.

Lashaan: I live in a residential neighbourhood with a bunch of apartment buildings next to one another. I can’t say it’s the prettiest view you could ever land upon! Or maybe I’m lying, and I just don’t want the world to know where my Batcave is at. :O

Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

Lashaan: It was the day I had suggested to Trang the idea of reviewing books in French because of her love for literature, but also writing. Knowing she had quite an amazing writing skill, I believed the idea of writing reviews in French and sharing it on a blog would have been an amazing public journal for her. The world would have been in awe at what she was able to convey. She then however wanted me to tag along and start an English book reviewing blog. While my own reading speed was pretty questionable compared to hers, I still found the idea exciting, especially since I looked at it as an opportunity to also review the little comic book collection I had started to build. That is how Bookidote came to life and grew to change our lives permanently! The idea behind the name is pretty simple. It combines “book” with “antidote”.

A definition for it was also once conceived and shared with everyone back in the day. Check it out:

Bookidote (\ˈboo-ki-ˌdōt\) : Lashaan and Trang’s creation. It is a commitment that holds countless ideas in one word. Three syllables. Nine letters. These two squandered souls firmly believe that books aren’t just a pastime for intellectuals or a mandatory purchase for your studies. Bookidote is so much more. It marries books with antidotes, knowledge with cure, imagination with elixir. It refers to the ability that books withhold in swallowing you into a boundless universe and encouraging you to live a unique and different adventure every time you crack open a book. Bookidote acknowledges the fact that books can help you explore ideas, stimulate your imagination and live innumerable lives.

Describe where you write your blog. 

Trang: I prefer writing my posts in my office or even in coffee shops. When I’m on a rush, I also do it in the subway hahah I always have the WordPress App to edit and finalize my drafts.

Lashaan: Fairly simple. I can’t write my reviews anywhere other than on my desktop computer. It’s just much easier there to get my mind to pour out all the thoughts I want to convey about anything. I currently operate on a dual monitor setup. I sometimes let myself believe that I’m a much more realistic version of Batman in his Batcave. 😀

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack? 

Trang: A bunch of ARCs are waiting for me to get a new bookshelves to put them LOL

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(that’s quite a stack! Here’s the Synopsis for only one….)

Bloody RoseBloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

A band of fabled mercenaries, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, tour a wild fantasy landscape, battling monsters in arenas in front of thousands of adoring fans, but a secret and dangerous gig ushers them to the frozen north, and the band is never one to waste a shot at glory . . . even if it means almost certain death.
 

Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, rolls into town, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side.

Lashaan: I actually have a shelf dedicated for the books I hope to read. They’re queued up and just waiting for me to find time for them!

(Another HUUUGGGEEE stack! Again, here’s one to sample!)

Neverwhere by Neil GaimanNeverwhere

Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed.

Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in the Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. The Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Door, a noblewoman whose family has been murdered, is on a quest to find the agent that slaughtered her family and thwart the destruction of this underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life, he must join the journey to save Door’s world—and find a way to survive.

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

Trang: My go to genre is Fantasy (in novels and graphic novels as well), I think when I’m sad I just want to escape the ordinary world for a bit. As long as I can find magical fairies, orcs, spells and some magicians, I’m happy. If I’m having a heavy day because a lot work had to be done, I like to entertain myself with some light Young Adult reads. It can go from contemporary or even science fiction.

Lashaan: I am not one to go back and re-read a favourite book even if I love the idea itself. Because of my reading speed and the little time that I have for reading, I tell myself that re-reading will be something I’d do after a huge number of years has passed since my last read (i.e. 5 years or more). But my go-to genre to remedy a bad day or to get a quick read in would easily be comic books.

With Batman as my favourite superhero, I’ve got plenty of stories with him that I can’t wait to check out. I also have plenty of other stories I could visit, some that aren’t about superheroes and some that aren’t comic book series, but just a graphic novel too. Comic books are just so easy to pick up, so fast to read, so easy to enjoy! They aren’t to be looked down upon! Some stories are so powerful, they’d blow you away! 😉

Batman

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

Trang: My typical day in the week goes as follows: I’m working full-time for the National Research Council as an artificial intelligence in neurosciences associate. What the hell does that mean? It’s a lot of things but mostly I manage different research project teams, whenever a new technology can be developed to help the brain or we need to evaluate the functions of the artificial intelligence included in that technology, it passes by me and my team. I also do a lot of conferences and public speaking in different institutions to update people on what’s going on.  Around 6pm I spend my time to go through all my social media platform and manage my blogs (food, book blog and my main Instagram page) and turn to some watercolour painting keep my mind sane. Eating supper with my family or go to the food sponsoring events and then go to gym around 8pm until 10pm. I’m becoming pretty serious in working out now, I recently partnered with my local gym for some branding opportunities as well.  I usually read on my way to work or really late at night.

On the weekend I head out to Ottawa to work at the governmental headquarters and come back to Montreal on Sunday evening. I think because I have a lot projects and networking, people tend to think that I’m always going out with my friends. However since my week is packed, unfortunately, I rarely have time to see them so I tend to invite them to special events and see them like one or twice every year LOL

Lashaan: I work at a police headquarters as a crime preventionist. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was a realistic version of Batman. He has guided me through life in ways that no one could possibly grasp! 😀 Alongside that job, I’m also a researcher heading into a doctorate in criminology this fall 2018. As a researcher, I’m contracted on research projects as well as a teacher assistant. It’s safe to say I keep myself pretty busy! Outside of everything work-related, I hit the gym and play basket-ball. Basket-ball is a pretty significant part of my life, although I don’t practice it competitively like some of my friends do. I play it for the fun of the game! I’m also a gamer who enjoys late-night sessions with friends whenever they can. Even though free time for gaming is not easy to come by, I love to stay up to date with the technology and everything that goes on in that world of entertainment! Since the question was about everything outside of blogging, I must sneak in reading! I know, I know. Reading is sort of part of blogging, but man, the amount of reading I put in is insane! It’s hard to go a day without reading. That’s just how life is for me now.

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What is your favorite blog post you’ve written?

Trang: Why We Love Psychological Thrillers – I love the research I did for this post. I learned so many things along the way and I get to experience a new format as well.

https://bookidote.com/2018/07/15/why-we-love-psychological-thrillers/
Lashaan : One of my favourite posts would have to be the one about co-blogging: https://bookidote.com/2018/01/06/the-perks-of-co-blogging/

I sort of really enjoyed highlighting the pros and cons of this particular relationship we have at Bookidote and how well it worked for us.

Review-wise, there a couple of reviews that I really loved writing, but the list could go on forever. As someone who loves to put into words his thoughts about the books he reads, I find myself loving every piece I write (maybe 99% of them), even if there will always be a hater among the crowd. An example of a review I really loved writing is for The Black Prism by Brent Weeks: https://bookidote.com/2018/07/19/the-black-prism-by-brent-weeks/

The Black Prism

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

Trang: I met Marie Lu and Leigh Bardugo back in YALLWEST 3 years ago. I asked Marie Lu to write her favourite song instead of signing my book hahah and she did both!

Lashan: Most of my favourite authors have already passed away a very long time ago. I did get to meet a couple  of authors and artists at conventions, and I guess my favourite of them all would have to be meeting the outstanding author of Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo! As someone who rarely reads Young Adult novels, Six of Crows really blew my mind, and only a couple of YA authors can impress me like that. Meeting her in person was definitely a huge highlight in my life!

I got to see her at YALLWEST in Santa Monica a couple of years ago and I made sure to let her know how much I appreciated her book. Told her that as a researcher in criminology, the amount of research she put into writing Six of Crows merits all the respect in the world. I honestly don’t think I would have changed anything I had said or have anything in particular I would have wanted to say. Maybe I would’ve begged her to turn the duology into a never-ending series. In fact, I haven’t even read Crooked Kingdom yet. I just don’t want that duology to end. I also have super high expectations. The struggle is real!

If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question,  who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

Trang: I would like to sit down with Neil Gaiman while serving tiramisu and ask him what was going on his mind while writing American Gods.

American Gods

Lashaan:  I’d probably sit with Brandon Sanderson and serve him a molten chocolate cake infused with a significant amount of truth serum. Once he’d had savoured his cake, I’d have asked: “How do you write like that?”

Legion

My first thought when reading Trang and Lashaan’s answers to my 10 questions was WOW! Even after the explanation I’m still not sure what an Artificial Intelligence in Neuroscience Associate or Crime Preventionist is and maybe we need to clone these two! Their reading tastes are so diverse and interesting and after getting a peak into their lives I can kind of understand the influences that sway them towards those authors.

What surprised you all the most when reading Trang and Lashaan’s answers?

Have you read any of the books they have on their TBR’s? I’ll admit to having a couple of them on my own, but also and equal mix of never having heard of some of them. Thanks for putting these on my radar!

I really enjoyed their response to my questions. Thanks guys for participating!

If YOU are interested in being featured or know of a great blogger that I should feature, please give me a shout in the comments!

Until next Sunday!

Deb

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Amanda @Cover2Covermom

The first thing I noticed about the Cover2Covermom blog is that it has so much diversity! Amanda writes great reviews, discussions, book events and even has time to do a few tags! How a mom with two small(ish) children has time to read, write, and blog is beyond me. I don’t have kids and it’s tough to find the time and energy. Kudos Amanda!  If you haven’t checked out Amanda’s blog, please click the link below. You will find pages and pages of great content!

Amanda @Cover2Covermom

I was really excited that she could find the time to answer my 10 questions. Thanks Amanda! Here is how she answered them:

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live in the United States, more specifically in Ohio.  As far as states go, we are nothing special. I’ve lived here my entire life.

What is the view outside your front door?  

The view outside my door changed this past December!  We bought a new house August of 2017, and after 5 months of renovations we moved in.  The view outside my front door is a typical neighborhood in the suburbs of Ohio.

You can see our front yard, which still needs landscaped – we are starting landscaping this fall – and you can see my sweet “Mom-ride” in the driveway.

If you look closely on the far right, you can see my Little Free Library that sits in my front yard.   It is fondly called the “Book Barn.”  Yes, I am THAT lady.  Since the view outside my front door is nothing special, I’ll share a picture of my cute front door.

Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

I started my blog back in February 2016.  I have always been a big reader, but unfortunately I didn’t have anyone in my life at that time to talk books with.  I thought a blog where I could share book reviews & talk about what I was reading would help me find more bookworms like myself.   I am also a stay-at-home parent, so I needed some type of creative outlet that would give me that sense of productivity. Maintaining my own blog has been a wonderful way to feel like I have achieved something on days where I don’t feel very accomplished.

I decided on the name Cover2CoverMom because I thought it would make it fairly obvious what the blog was about.  “Cover to cover” is referencing reading a book from start to finish. I added the “Mom” portion because I am a mother, but also because I wanted to have a portion of my blog dedicated to children’s book as well.

Describe where you write your blog. Include a picture if you’d like!

I have a beautiful desk in my home office, but I almost never work on my blog there.  Since my husband started working from home this year, I’ve been forced elsewhere. He spends a lot of time on the phone, which I find distracting, so it doesn’t work out well to share a space.  I typically work on my blog sitting at my kitchen peninsula or when the weather permits – in my 3 seasons room.

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack?

I typically keep my library books & my upcoming TBR books on a stack next to my bed.  Currently those are…

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover *Contemporary/Romance

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate *Historical Fiction

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2) by N.K. Jemisin *Fantasy

The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco *YA Fantasy

A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) by Sabaa Tahir *YA Fantasy

The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicles #2) by Patrick Rothfuss *Fantasy

It Ends with Us Before We Were Yours are book club selections for August.  The remaining books I will be reading in September when I do a “Series September” and work on catching up with a few of the series I need to continue.

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

When I am having a bad day, typically any reading will improve my mood.  My go-to genre used to be historical fiction, but lately I’ve been on a fantasy kick.  It switches back and forth. If I am feeling slump-ish, I’ll reach for a middle grade book every time.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

When I am not blogging, I am a stay-at-home parent to two kids.  I have a 11-year-old son, and a 4-year-old daughter. Throughout the school year my daughter goes to preschool for 2 hours in the morning, but is my sidekick the rest of the day.  Basically my life consists of housework, school activities, sports practices, grocery shopping, cooking, homework, studying, volunteering, and chauffeuring kids around.  It really isn’t a bad gig. I’ve done the working Mom thing too, so I can say that working Moms definitely have the tougher job!

My favorite blog post banner

What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written? Please include the link!

This one is always a tough question to answer.  I’m going to go with my blog post sharing tips on how to get kids reading:Kids’ Corner: How to Get Your Kids to Read More. Children’s’ literacy is a big time passion of mine.  It is so important to foster the love of reading in children, but unfortunately it is harder than ever with all the technology available to them now.

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

I have been very fortunate in being able to attend so many wonderful author events.  I’ve met authors like R.L Stine, Cinda Williams Chima, Mackenzi Lee, V.E. Schwab, Sabaa Tahir, Leigh Bardugo, Celeste Ng, Patrick Rothfuss, Mary Kubica, Lisa Jewell, Kristy Cambron, Mary Doria Russell, Edith Pattou, Maggie Stiefvater, Jenny Lawson, Mindy McGinnis, and Christina Baker Kline.  I’ve also seen Stephen King and Neil Gaiman speak, but did not technically meet them.

I’d probably say that hearing Neil Gaiman speak was my favorite author event I’ve attended, and meeting V.E. Schwab was my favorite experience meeting an author.  I didn’t really say anything profound to V.E. Schwab.  I awkwardly told her I loved her and handed her a banana… There is a backstory to the banana, I’m not a total weirdo.  She had posted on social media that she loved the food gifts that were given to her by fans while on tour, but wondered why it was always junk food?  Why not fruit every once in a while?  Hence the banana 🙂 At the time, I wanted to ask her about all the unanswered questions in A Conjuring of Light but I chickened out.  I now know that these might be cleared up in her spin off series set in the Shades of Magic world, Threads of Power.

AConjuring

If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question,  who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

The easiest part of this question is the cake portion.  I would hands down serve my Mom’s famous carrot cake. Of course she would have had to make it because it never turns out like hers when I’ve tried to make it.  I have my doubts if she really shared the entire recipe or if she omitted something to sabotaging my attempts…

The author is the tough part to this question.  There are so many favorite authors I’d love to sit down and chat with.  I’m going to cheat and pick two authors: J.K Rowling and Nora Roberts.

J.K. Rowling is such a cliché answer I know, but I would love to sit down with her.  I’d ask her if she had ever considered in her wildest dreams that Harry Potter would have ever become the phenomenon it has been for the past 20+ years.   Knowing what she knows now, what would she have changed in the story in any way?  I would then proceed to thank her for creating something that has gotten children across the world so excited to read for the past 21 years.

Harry Potter

I have read a few Nora Roberts books and can say that I’ve never read one I haven’t enjoyed.  My favorite would probably be The Reef.  I am by no means a NR super fan, BUT I’d love to sit down with her and ask her how the hell she is able to write so many damn books?  And not just any books, books that are consistently good quality books across so many different genres. I couldn’t find an exact number, but the internet says she’s written over 225 published books… How is it possible?  Is she really human?

The Reef

There are so many things I want to comment about in this post! First, the Little Free Library. I have one too!  I love to promote reading and I’ll admit, it’s also a great way to pass along all of the books I get every year! I’m excited to share Librarian status with Amanda, even if it’s just our LFL’s. Second, I am totally jealous of your 3 season room. My room is one season and the view doesn’t really vary. LOL. Third, it is NOT cliche to pick J.K. Rowling. I think we all have a questions we’d like to ask her and my fourth comment is What??? You didn’t include the recipe for your mom’s carrot cake? That is one of my all time favorite cakes! Thanks Amanda, for participating!  I am again, amazed and thankful that you found the time.

Would YOU like to take part in my Blogger to Blogger series? Give me a shout!

OR would you like me to feature a blogger that you love? Let me know who and I’ll reach out to them.

Until Next Sunday,

Deb

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Mike of Mike Finn’s Fiction

Mike recently came to my attention with his reviews of Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews books in the fantasy genre. Both of these authors are among my favorites and of course, I HAD to see what Mike had to say! Isn’t that the reason why we blog about the books we love? We want to talk about them with SOMEONE! Mike very kindly responded to my comments and that was the beginning of our blogging friendship. Mike has some great insights that he shares about the books he’s reading and I would encourage all of you to look through his review list and strike up a conversation, he will not disappoint!

I was excited that Mike agreed to answer my 10 questions. Here are his answers!

Mike's LOGO

Blogging is universal and even though we inhabit the same community, we don’t always live in the same country. What country do you live in?

I live in a small Swiss village in the hills above Lake Geneva.

What is the view outside your front door? 

I live in an apartment so my front door is onto a landing by an elevator. I think of my balcony as the front of my house. It faces on the Swiss and French alps, the ones you see on the Evian bottles – they come from that side of the Lake. You get a glimpse of the lake beyond the village houses. Here’s a picture:

Swiss

Most blogs have a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name and/or why you started blogging.

When I started my blog, eleven years ago, I was an introvert in an extrovert’s job. As a consultant I was spending sixty hours a week working with clients and colleagues, most of it in meetings, presentations and workshops. I was also spending more that 150 nights a year in hotel rooms in various countries. Writing a blog gave me a quiet place to think aloud when I shut the hotel room door behind me. These days, I travel less and work less but blogging is now a habit I’m loathe to break. It’s become my way of getting more from the books I read.

Describe where you write your blog. 

Introvert that I am, I live in my head, especially when I’m writing. I don’t have a special place. All I need is somewhere to put my laptop, preferably with a strong wifi signal. Today I’m sitting on my balcony on in the sunshine (I know people think of Switzerland as a cold place but I live in a wine growing region so today’s 28C/82F is typical for July).

Swiss 2

Most of us have a stack of books sitting next to our couch or bed waiting to be read. What books are in your stack?

My book stacks are all virtual these days. Typically I have an audiobook and an ebook in progress at the same time. I use audiobooks for the ten hours or so that I spend travelling a week and ebooks for the times when it would be impolite to wear headphones or when my ears need a rest.

Here are the audiobooks downloaded to read next on my phone:

Mike's books

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money.

Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it.

Full of spellbinding menace and told in Ruth Ware’s signature suspenseful style, this is an unputdownable thriller from the Agatha Christie of our time.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a teenager with an all-consuming crush on her costar, Harrison Ford.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

And here are the ebooks downloaded to read next on my iPad mini:

Mike's books 2

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for what’s to come in this heart-stopping novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar.

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in a never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim.  But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

 

If you have had a bad day and want to spend an hour reading a book, what is your go to genre or favorite book that will lift your mood?

When I want my mood lifted, I reach for an audiobook with Marguritte Gavin reading Kate Shugak or Torin Kerr or Amy McFadden  reading  anything by Melissa F Olsen or Beth Lewis.

When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, Play, School?

At home, I’m a fiction junkie. I read more than a hundred books a year and regularly go to the cinema (films here are often shown in English with French and German subtitles). I love to cook and of course, to eat. I’ve been a vegetarian for twenty-four years now, so my kitchen always has at least four kinds of chilli and lots of spices – a habit that, in iZombie, would identify me as a zombie.

When I’m working for a living I’m usually trying to help global companies take a people-centric design approach to the use of Artificial Intelligence and digital technologies. Well, someone has to do it.

What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written?

I’ve picked my review of Jodi Taylor’s first St. Mary’s book “Just One Damned Thing After Another” back in 2014 because it was the first review where the author wrote to me and told me that they were pleased that I’d captured the spirit of the book.

Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? If so, what did you say to them? Looking back, what do you wish you had said instead?

Introvert here. I meet authors in their text and sometimes in their tweets. I wouldn’t know what to do if I met them face to face. I mean, they’re probably introverts too so I doubt they enjoy the meet-the-fans part. Maybe we could just sit and read out favourite bits of favourite books.

If you could sit down with an author for a slice of cake and a question, who is the author, what kind of cake would you serve, and what is the first question you’d ask?

I’d meet with J K Rowling, as she seems comfortable with the public side of her work. I’d serve lemon drizzle cake as it seems to be her favourite (I’m not a stalker. I just looked it up) and I’d ask her who she felt should be judged most harshly for the way they treated Harry Potter, Voldemort or Dumbledore? (my vote would be Dumbledore).

 

Ooohhhh I love his question to J. K. Rowling..and the fact that he looked up her favorite cake! You can tell from his answers that Mike has a dry wit and that really comes across in his writing. If you are a fan of mysteries, please click on his link because that book sounds really good and his review deserved an answer from the author. That is so great! I think we all aspire to have the author read our reviews (at least the books that we liked!).

Mike’s taste in books is definitely eclectic and I love that. Sometimes I feel like I stay too long in one genre and forget what it’s like to read a great mystery or historical fiction novel and I’m glad he reminded me that there are some other great books out there to be read.

Have you read any of the books on Mike’s TBR?

What did you think about his questions for J. K. Rowling? Would you have asked her a different questions?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deborah