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Say Hello to Jen in Follow Friday with book bloggers!
Follow Jen form That's What I'm Talking About book blog: http://twimom227.booklikes.com/
In your introduction you write “I began my reading journey at a young age, when I would spend my spare change to buy books”. When did your book love start and what was your first favorite title?
I remember cherishing and hoarding books as early as third grade, but I’m certain my love affair with reading began even earlier - I just can’t remember that far back! Picking a favorite title from back then is hard, but I know that I absolutely LOVED The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle to name only a few. I still have a few of my favorite books from growing up that I’ve shared with my kids.
How did your blogging adventure start?
I started blogging after encouragement from friends I’d made on Twitter. Twitter opened my eyes to the reading/blogging community, helping me connect with authors, readers, and other bloggers; something I didn’t have in my “real life.” I founded That’s What I’m Talking About on January 28, 2010, as a place to discuss in better detail the books we were chatting about on Twitter.
Does book blogging have an impact on your (reading) life?
I blog as a hobby, and my blog is a project of love. I do spend a lot of my free time reading, listening to books, writing reviews, and posting to my blog. So yes, it has a huge impact on my world. As far as the impact to my reading life, I am more open to trying and enjoying books outside my normal genres because I read other blogs and connect to people via social media. I also have opportunities to try books for review that I may not have picked up to read otherwise.
You’re a co-host of the #FitReaders project, can you say more about it?
Oh, I’d be happy to! #Fitreaders is a virtual support group for readers, authors, bloggers, etc., on their individual fitness journey. We offer encouragement, and give readers a place to ask questions, get fitness and diet ideas, etc. The group is open to anyone who would like support on her/his journey. My co-host and I have weekly check-in posts on our blogs, and we also have a group on Facebook.
You say “I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent.” How does your book review process look like and how long does it take to write a book review?
I am a meticulous note taker when I read, which is why I love my Kindle - I can highlight and take notes as I go. I try to keep track of plot points, but also my reactions and feelings about what is happening. I am an “emotional reader,” and my reviews are about what I like and don’t like rather than a literary critique. Once done with a book, I try to immediately write a summary about my overall impressions with a rating (I use a letter grading system). Then, when I find time I write my review, which could be that day or a week or two later (which is why I take notes!). Writing the final review and posting it takes anywhere from one to two hours.
Besides myself, I have six other readers on my review team. They write their own reviews, and each has her own style of writing. They use a preset format for the review and send the completed reviews to me to post.
What are your three favorite book covers?
Since I primarily read on an e-reader these days, I don’t pay as much attention to book covers as I used to. I went back through my shelf of books and came up with these top three: The Pages of the Mind by Jeffe Kennedy, Buns by Alice Clayton, Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh.
How much reading did you need to know your favorite genres? What are they?
When I was young, I loved science-fiction and fantasy movies and books. When I got older, I became friends with a group that suggested I try paranormal romance. I read one book and knew it was for me. For a while I pretty much only read PNR and urban fantasy, rarely going outside those boundaries. However, in the past few years, I have expanded to contemporary romance and historical romance, and now I’ll try most any kind of romance - as long as there is a happy ending. My “favorite genre” bends as my tastes do and what is available to read at the time.
How does a fact of being a mum of two changed your reading life? Are your kids book lovers as well?
I didn’t start my blog, or read as heavily as I do now, until after I had kids, so it’s always been a balance. I do most of my reading in the mornings or evenings when they are asleep. I also listen to audiobooks, which I do while driving to and from work and when I go on my daily walks/exercise. But I carry my Kindle with me at all times and have been known to sit in the grocery story parking lot to finish a chapter or two!
My son has always been an above-grade reader and won a couple reading challenge awards in elementary school. Now he’s more interested in friends and video games, but will still devour a book from time-to-time. My daughter has a learning disability, so reading is a challenge. She’s enjoyed some audiobooks and still likes to collect books for her shelves.
What’s your reading spot?
My favorite reading spot is a quiet lounge chair, in the sun by a pool (cabana boy to serve me food and drinks is optional). I get this opportunity about once per year when visiting my parents in Florida. However anyplace I can sit and read is great! (see answer about reading at the grocery store!)
How do you pick your next read? Cover? Friends? Reviews?
I keep a pretty tight reading schedule for review purposes. If I get ahead, I’ll read a book off my TBR. However, I select books to review based on 1) if it is a book in a series I already read; 2) author that I like or want to try; 3) recommendations from friends; 4) reviews.
Any tips for the beginner bloggers and book reviewers?
Sure thing… I recommend always reviewing from the heart. Be honest about what you like and don’t like about a book, the plot, and the characters. When starting a blog, reach out to other bloggers you like and ask for help/advice. You should blog and review because you enjoy it - don’t let it become a chore. And finally, read what you want to read - don’t waste time on a book you don’t enjoy!
A paper book or an e-book?
E-book (I read on a Kindle Paperwhite).
Three books for a desert island?
Can I just say anything by Ilona Andrews in both ebook/print and the audiobook versions as read by Renee Raudman? I do have a list of some of my favorite books (as selected at the time of reading) listed on my blog.
If you could date one character, who would it be?
I’ve never been a “book boyfriend” kind of girl - I love the romance of a good couple. One of my favorite couples ever is Kate and Curran from Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series.
Shelfie time! Please share your home library photos :)
While I do have several bookshelves, they are all in my closets, so no photos! haha. But most of my books these days are on my Kindle and phone (audiobooks).
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