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.
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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.
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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?
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.
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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!

Fictionophile 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?

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:

Fictionophile 2

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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.

Fictionophile 4

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.

My favorite blog post banner

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

 

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Holly from Nut Free Nerd

 

I have always enjoyed Holly’s book reviews, they are insightful, fun and make great points about the books she’s reviewing, but I really became a fan of Holly when she went to school overseas and started writing her Holly Goes Abroad posts. There’s nothing like seeing and experiencing different cultures through another persons eyes. It’s why we read books, isn’t it? If you haven’t checked out Holly’s blog Nut Free Nerd, please click on the link below and check it out. She is worth your time, I promise!

Holly @ Nut Free Nerd

Nut Free Logo

Here are Holly’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 New England in the United States. I love where I live–it’s woodsy and pretty, yet close enough to cities, the beach, and the mountains. What more could you want?
What is the view outside your front door? 

The first thing I see when I look out my front door is my mom’s lovely garden. She’s been maintaining this garden since we first moved in nearly twenty years ago, so at this point it’s bursting with a plethora of pretty flowers in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Most blogs have a quirky name and a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blog’s name? 
My blog’s name is Nut Free Nerd, which accurately describes me in two ways: 1) I’m nerdy and 2) I’m severely allergic to nuts. I also adore alliteration (see what I did there?!) so when I first thought of this name years ago I was immediately hooked. It has stuck with me ever since!
Describe where you write your blog. 
When I’m home for summer or winter break, I usually write my blog posts at my dining room table. If I’m at college, then I most often write them at the desk in my room while eating breakfast in the morning. Blogging is definitely one of my favorite breakfast activities!
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? 
The current stack next to my bed is made entirely of library books that I recently checked out: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo
 is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

DAY ONE: THE NAME OF THE WIND

My name is Kvothe.
 
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
 
You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean, and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprah’s Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.

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 book for any problem (homesickness, stress, heartache, etc.) is always The Hobbit or part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. These books always remind me of when I first read them in middle school, making them the perfect pieces of nostalgia to cheer me up when I most need it.
 
When you aren’t blogging, how do you spend your time? Work, play, school? 
During the summer months I work at a local non-profit writing grant applications, which I love. The rest of the year you can usually find me writing essays and reading articles at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where I attend university as an English major/Spanish minor. In my free time I love to write, knit, tap dance, and watch old Star Trek reruns.
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What is your favorite blog post you’ve ever written? 

Oooh, such a difficult question! I think I’m going to cheat and say that my favorite KIND of post I’ve ever written are my Classic Couple posts, where I pair up classic and contemporary novels. It sparks such great discussions! Post:

 
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? 
Yes! When I was in high school my best friend and I met Michael Grant, author of the Gone series. I asked him if he knew how he was going to finish the series, and he replied something like, “Not like how Lost ends.” I wouldn’t change anything about my question because I love his answer; not only is it cleverly vague, but it also involves one of my favorite TV series.
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? 
 
So many amazing authors to choose from! I think my answer to this is going to have to be William Faulkner because I feel as though I have an endless stream of questions for him. I would hand him a slice of cheese cake and ask, “What is the point of ABSALOM, ABSALOM!?”
Thanks so much Holly! I myself was an English major and a lot of what you said brings back memories. I also had to read Absalom, Absalom and I remember scratching my head over that one! LOL.
I hope you all enjoyed learning a little bit more about Holly, and more importantly will go check out her blog if you haven’t already.
Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!
Deb

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with ZeZee from ZeZee With Books

I have been following ZeZee’s blog for a while now and what keeps me coming back is the look, content, and her insightful reviews.  I have in fact bought a couple of books featured on ZeZee’s blog, which is the greatest compliment one blogger can give to another. If you haven’t checked out her blog, well what are you waiting for!!

ZeZee With Books

How did she answer my questions? Let’s find out!

ZeZee 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’m in the U.S. Right now, it’s my favorite season – summer – but not my favorite weather – hot, very humid, and sticky.

What is the view outside your front door?

Wide-sweeping manicured green lawns bordered by a bounty of blossoming flowers that lead up to brick-front, colonial-style houses that line streets of my neighborhood. It’s a beautiful scene to look at in the spring and autumn when the leaves start to change. Other than the nature outside my front door, it’s a pretty boring area ‘cause it’s the ‘burbs.

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

Erm…(a pause while I look at the blog posts where I talk about my blog’s name because I forgot why I named it so).

So…I don’t why I called myself Zezee. It’s not my real name. When I started blogging, I named my blog Zezee’s Link because I didn’t know then what my blog would be about. I just wanted to join the blogging community and share my thoughts on stuff. When I realized that my posts mostly focus on book-related topics, I decided to change my blog name to Zezee with Books.

…yeeaahh…still don’t know why I call myself Zezee on here other than I think the name sounds cool. It makes me think of zing-zing and zip and zoom-zoom!

Describe where you write your blog. 

I write in the most comfortable place — my bed. I wish I had a writing desk so I could write there. I think it would give me more structure and help me to focus better. I daydream a lot when writing in bed and easily get distracted by things – Facebook, Instagram, the funny patterns on my sheets.

Yup! I shall include a pic for this one. It’s the head of my bedstead that I lean against as I write. I use my pillows as back cushions.

ZeZee's bed

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?

Well, I would have taken a pic but we recently completed a home-improvement project – changed carpets – so my room is a mess at the moment and my nightstand looks alien to me at the moment for all the random shit that’s on it, so instead here’s a pic of books I’m currently/recently completed and would have placed on my nightstand if I had access to it. That’s:

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus

Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

ZeZee's books

The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro

It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito—mute her whole life, orphaned as a child—is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore’s Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn’t know how she’d make it through the day.

Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center’s most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions…and Elisa can’t keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa’s sole reason to live.

But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved. With the help of Zelda and Giles, Elisa hatches a plan to break out the creature. But Strickland is on to them. And the Russians are, indeed, coming.

Developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release—one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of literature and film—The Shape of Water is unlike anything you’ve ever read or seen.

Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb

FitzChivalry Farseer has become firmly ensconced in the queen’s court. Along with his mentor, Chade, and the simpleminded yet strongly Skilled Thick, Fitz strives to aid Prince Dutiful on a quest that could secure peace with the Outislands—and win Dutiful the hand of the Narcheska Elliania.

The Narcheska has set the prince an unfathomable task: to behead a dragon trapped in ice on the isle of Aslevjal. Yet not all the clans of the Outislands support their effort. Are there darker forces at work behind Elliania’s demand? Knowing that the Fool has foretold he will die on the island of ice, Fitz plots to leave his dearest friend behind. But fate cannot so easily be defied.

The City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

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?

Fantasy and most likely I’d reread a Harry Potter book. Fantasy provides a distraction from whatever is stressing me out and Harry Potter books always perk me up (the first to the fourth books).

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

I’m either working or watching TV or at the movies or hanging out with family and friends or walking around the city checking out art museums or architecture or some random artsy event or, sometimes, a party.

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

Oh, wow! Well. That’s a hard question that made my mind immediately go blank. Umm…well, my favorite posts are usually my Weekend Reads posts, which are discussion posts that include the books I’m currently reading. So of the Weekend Reads posts, I think my favorite is… “On Writing,” which is about my struggle to write, and (I couldn’t choose just one now that my brain has started working) “Hooked on Comics,” where I discuss my love of comics.

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, I’m not one to try to meet authors because I’m a bit shy and don’t know what I’d say to my favorite author and am scared that I might embarrass myself by saying something rude, but I did meet Marlon James once and was over the moon that I got to meet him and get my book, A Brief History of Seven Killings signed (haven’t read it yet).

What did I say to him? Umm… I think it was “MARLON! Mi love yuh Book of Night Women and mi mek mi madda read it and she did love it too, but she tink it too violent and it mek her cry!” Then he said something along the lines of “ Well, she probably shouldn’t read this one.”

Marlon James is a Jamaican author. He won the 2015 Man Booker Prize with A Brief History of Seven Killings which is a fictional account of the attempt to assassinate Bob Marley.

A Brief

 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?

At this exact the moment, the author I most want to sit down with is Robin Hobb. We will eat whatever cake she likes and I would ask her a bunch of questions about Fitz and the Fool and the world her Realm of the Elderlings series is set in and cross my fingers that she will answer them all. I’m totally hooked on her fantasy novels at the moment.

Oh my gosh ZeZee your answer on the question about meeting an author in person was hysterical! Then I got to what the book was about and I felt horrible for laughing! That does sound a bit serious… You and I share a love for Fantasy novels! I have not read Robin Hobb, but I think I may need to go on that fantasy journey!

I really enjoyed reading her answers, didn’t you? Which was your favorite?

Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know your opinion!

Thanks for reading Blogger to Blogger!

Deb

Blogger to Blogger Series: An Interview with Jenn, Caitlynn, and Eden from Thrice Read

You know when you read a good book and you just want to discuss it with your friends? When these ladies from Thrice Read dish on a book, they rarely have the same reaction to it. I love that! Their opinions vary and are very interesting to read and really does feel like you are at a book club, without the wine. Although truthfully maybe there’s a little virtual wine drinking behind the scenes of their blog. These ladies don’t just post reviews, but also discussions, tags and other bookish posts. If you haven’t checked out their blog, I would highly recommend it!

Click this link to check out Thrice Read!

They very kindly agreed to take part in my Blogger to Blogger (or in this case Bloggers) post answering my ten 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?

J: We live in the United States.

What is the view outside your front door?  

C: It is summertime here in Florida, so everything is super green and super hot!

Thrice photo

E: It’s very, very hot right now. So hot that I’ve been avoiding going outside at all.

Thrice 2

J: Just like Eden and Caitlynn I live in Florida and it is already way too hot out.

Thrice 3Most blogs have a quirky name and a fun story of origin. Please share the story behind your blogs name?

E: When we were coming up with blog names we had several in mind, however, we wanted them to incorporate the three of us. Thrice Read was thrown out as a suggestion (I actually think it may have been a joke at first), but we couldn’t stop coming back to it. Jenn sent me an emblem she’d made for it just to see it and from there we decided that was what our name would be.

Describe where you write your blog. 

C: I usually write my blog in my living room or at my dining room table. It kind of just depends!

J: Typically I write my posts on my desk (when it’s cleaned off) or in my bedroom.

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E: I write anywhere and everywhere. I wrote a post on my phone a few days ago while on the road to St. Petersburg. If I’m at home I’ll write it on my computer but it doesn’t really matter where I am.

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? (Include a photo if you’d like!)

J: The books I have that are waiting to be read are currently sitting on my bookshelf out of alignment with the rest of the books. I used to have them on a bookshelf beside my bed but they kind of took over.

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E: My stack has actually just recently been put away. They’d turned into a tower next to my bed. Right now though there is one book that has made it back to the stack and that’s The Crown’s Game.

C: I just cleaned off my nightstand, but right before I cleaned it I had The Upside of Unrequited, An Enchantment of Ravens, Without Merit, and Dear Martin all on it

RESTORE ME by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette and Warner’s story continues in the electrifying fourth installment of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series.

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander of North America, and now has Warner by her side. But when tragedy strikes, she must confront the darkness that dwells both around and inside her.

Who will she become in the face of adversity? Will she be able to control the power she wields, and use it for good?

THE CROWN’S GAME by Evelyn Skye

Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red QueenThe Crown’s Game is a thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia about two teenagers who must compete for the right to become the Imperial Enchanter—or die in the process—from debut author Evelyn Skye.

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know.  The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

WITHOUT MERIT By Colleen Hoover

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines, when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Poignant and powerful, Without Merit explores the layers of lies that tie a family together and the power of love and truth.

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?

C: My go-to genre is YA fantasy or contemporary. A book that will always lift my mood is A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.

J: I would have to say that contemporary would be my go to read for a bad mood. They are typically short and simple reads. I don’t want to have to think through and entire political system when I’m having a rough day.

E: It used to be that my goto genre was fantasy, but in the last year I’ve learned that the best genre for me when I just need to read and stop thinking is contemporary. It allows me to stop thinking about the world and just lets me read without having to process a million different things.

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

C: Definitely working if school is in session, if not you will most likely find me hanging out with Eden and Jenn.

J: Caitlyn, Eden, and I are all teachers. So, that’s where most of our focus goes. However, outside of that you will find me hanging out with Eden and Caitlynn or at a theme park. I am a huge fan of theme parks. Especially Disney parks.

E: Like Caitlynn and Jenn said, I work constantly. Whether I’m actually at work or planning for work, my life is a bit consumed with it. However, when I’m not working I’m usually watching tv or reading. I actually watch a lot of tv.

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

C: I think one of my favorite blog posts that I have done was my TBR Of Shame post (The 2017 TBR Shame Book Tag )it was super cool getting an inventory of all of my books and seeing that list grow and shrink throughout the year.

J: I would probably have to say my Thursday Thoughts on Reading Pressure and Trends. I liked switching up the format for my posts and it was my original Thursday Thoughts post. (Thursday Thoughts Reading Pressure and Trends)

E: My favorite post is my book review on The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia. I really enjoyed this post because I thought the writing was pretty decent. Also, Kami Garcia also loved it. During YALLfest she actually told me about how her and Tahereh Mafi talked about how accurate a description it was. I was, of course, on cloud nine. (The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia-Spoiler Free Book Review)

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?

C: We met Susan Dennard and that was an amazing experience! We got to talk about Truthwitch and I don’t think there is anything about that experience that I would change.

J: We met Stephanie Garber last year at YALLFest. It was a very quick and chaotic meeting, but she was wonderful. I would love to be able to pick her brain a little bit more about the world she created in Caraval.

E: I met V.E. Schwab about two years ago. I was so excited to meet her and so overwhelmed by everything around me that I struggled to speak to her. I remember saying something to the effect of, “I also have a tattoo on my wrist!” and then having a conversation with her about it. I wish though that I would have told her that it was her books that really made me understand how much of writing was an art.

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?

 

C: Sarah J. Maas, definitely chocolate cake with buttercream icing and I would 100% be asking her for more details about her new adult series she is currently working on!

J: Leigh Bardugo and I would serve red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. I would ask her to recommend her favorite music, books, and movies. I feel as though I would get some great recommendations from her.

E: Susan Dennard. I’d probably serve white cake with buttercream frosting. The first question I’d ask is if she’d be my friend because every time I’ve seen her speak she’s just so funny and welcoming. Also, I believe friends get the perks of reading books first.

 

I like Thrice Reads posts because their book club posts sound like they’ve had fun discussing the book, which translates into making me want to read it as well and join the discussion. they are also very well spoken and their individual posts are really well written, they have great taste in cake (!), and they all love fantasy and contemporary novels, which as you know are my favorites as well.

I hope you all enjoyed learning more about these talented ladies! Do you have one of the books they’ve mentioned on your own nightstand?

Thanks for reading!

Deb