BBAW 2012 Day 2: Shining a Light on.. Cari’s Book Blog!

Day two of Book Blogger Appreciation Week involves learning about some of the people behind each blog. I was paired with Cari of Cari’s Book Blog. I asked her a lot of questions, from what are her pet peeves, to the highs and lows of being a book blogger. This is what I’ve found out.

OK, the obligatory tell us about your blog question first. For people who don’t follow your blog (yet), what can they expect from Cari’s Book Blog?
I would like to think I’m not your typical blogger who does meme’s. I review books, I share what I’m reading at the time, post pictures from events I have attended, and host giveaways. One of my favorite things to do is interviews, because as a fan I want to know more about the author. There are no set rules to what my blog is, because it changes depending on who I am at that moment in time.

What book are you reading right now, and what drew you to it?
I normally only read one book and listen to one audio, but right now I’m listening to one book and reading three. The audio is The Book of Blood and Shadows by Robin Wasserman and narrated by Emily Janice Card. I heard about this from Maureen Johnson when she was in town promoting The Name of the Star.

For my bed time read: I started A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, because I love the HBO show so I really should read the books, but I’m a little intimidated by the 700 pages!

For my lunch time book: I’m reading Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry this one was sent to me by a publicity company and I went to see Melissa Marr at Murder by the Book and she mentioned it.

I also need to finish Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton. I started the book last month and I’m half way done so I’m hoping to finish it in a weekend.

One of the first things that impressed me about your blog is the space reserved for your signed book shelf! I love it! How did that collection start?

Thank you! That picture is so outdated that my signed books have now taken over a second small shelf that holds about 100 books. A little over three years ago, I discovered that authors went on tour and that you could go and have your books signed! I’m lucky to live in Houston, TX, where we have great indie bookstores that bring events. I slowly started going to any and every event I could find and when an author I love doesn’t come to town I order from other indie bookstores and have them shipped.

Still on the signed books – I see a lot of copies of certain books. I am all for multiple copies (especially for books I love – I want the new covers). What’s the book you have the most copies of (and why that book)?
That would be any book by Maggie Stiefvater. I should explain I love hardcover copies so I have all of those. I also have the advance readers copies signed and a few paperbacks from the UK and US.  I might also have a few extras that I lend to people.

Your living space is on fire, and you have only enough time to grab 5 books and escape! What five books would you grab?
Ah yeah I would just about die. I think I’m pretty realistic and know that everything can be replaced but if I had to make a choice I would say:

  • Signed Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (everyone must read this)
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone (signed advance readers copy)
  • Paperback Shiver that Maggie Stiefvater doodled in
  • The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (signed first edition again everyone must read this)
  • Geektastic signed by Cassandra Clare, John Green, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Scott Westerfield, Sara Zarr, Holly Black, and Hope Larson.

You’ve been blogging since 2009 – a few years now. What’s the best thing about being a book blogger for you? What’s the worst?
Book blogging has opened so many doors for me. I had no idea that book blogging was even a thing and from it I got a job at an indie bookstore and I have made so many friends. I’ve been able to help debut authors by giving them a place to promote their books. I’m not your typical blogger who works with publishers so I always feel like I fly under the radar.

The worst is trying to stay positive when so much drama has surrounded the book blogging community. I think there will always be people who will try and bring you down but I just have to remember to put the blinders on and keep focused on my own blog and do it because I love it.

Do you have any bookish pet peeves?
Ah this is a tough one. I would say that if I lend someone a book I want it back in the exact condition and for it to be returned promptly.

Tell us 4 random things about you that people may not know.
This is really hard because I’m a very public person. I spill my guts on social media and I’m always at book events where a lot of people know me.

  • My favorite place to be on a Friday night is at home alone with books, tv, or organizing my closet.
  • I once took a picture of David Levithan’s butt. Ok so I was trying to take a picture of him signing a wall at the bookstore and I couldn’t get a clear shot. I promised him to never post it online!
  • I worry that people judge my grammar.
  • If you don’t follow me on twitter then you might not know I love fashion. I wear dresses almost every day to work and then to book events because I go straight from work.

Thank you so much for the fun interview Cari! I enjoyed meeting and learning about you. To find out what questions Cari asked me (and how I answered), you can check out her post here, and to discover even more book blogs, be sure to check out today’s BBAW event.

BBAW Day 1: Appreciate!

Day one of Book Blogger Appreciation Week is about other blogs you enjoy reading. This is a tough one because there are quite a few blogs that I follow faithfully. Quite a few. So to make things easier this year, I’m going to take a page from Angie’s book and highlight two blogs that I discovered this year.

The first blog I have to highlight is Bunbury in the Stacks. We just so happened to meet online and followed each other on twitter since we seem to have an overlap in bookish taste (especially with YA Fantasy), only to find out that we shared a mutual friend in real life (who couldn’t figure out how we knew each other when he saw us talking on twitter). We have since used this mutual friend as a book mule to pass books along (it is the source of much glee that there are book mules in my life). Heidi also writes the most excellent reviews with these perfect gems of insight that have me pausing and wishing I had thought of that when I run into them. You should check out her blog, and check out the guest post she did for Seven Days for Sevenwaters today, too (it is lovely and perfect).

This next blog is one I found through Bunbury, and that’s Books Take You Places (I think they were fellow students of the library arts and are in the same graduating class – but don’t quote me on that?). Alyssa is also a friend on twitter, and she strikes me as one of those people who is genuinely enthusiastic when she talks to you. You can tell. She writes thoughtful reviews (I am a fan of those) of YA where she discusses major elements of the story like character and plot, but most importantly she explains how they affected her. I can always tell from her review what her personal reaction was and I love that she doesn’t hold back on explaining her emotions when reading a book.

Go check these two out if you haven’t already. I don’t think they have nearly as many followers as they should!

BBAW Interview Swap with My Ever Expanding Library

Today is the second day of Book Blogger Appreciation week, and I was lucky to be paired with Jackie of My Ever Expanding Library to do an interview swap.  I hadn’t been to her blog before but when I headed over, I was impressed. Looks like we have some overlap in tastes and reading preferences, and I’d recommend you check out her blog.

1. Tell us about yourself and your blog.

Hi, I’m Jackie from My Ever Expanding Library. I’m a single mom of a wonderful 9 year old girl. We live in Bowmanville, Ontario which is about 40 minutes east of Toronto. I started blogging just over two years ago for a couple of reasons. First, I had won a book on that mentioned a review of the book being greatly appreciated, so I needed a place to put said review. And, second, I had this to-do list of things I hadn’t tried, like MMORPG’s, and blogging. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and, well, here I am, still blogging 🙂 I’m also part of the team at I picked my blog name because I don’t really get rid of books. The growth is now exponential….to a scary degree.
For the day to day operations at my blog, I teeter between pro-meme and con, sometimes feeling like I’m selling my soul to get followers, sometimes striving to find my unique voice in the blogging world. I chose Blogger way back in the beginning because I had heard of it, plain and simple. In retrospect, in appears WordPress has the better reputation, but I’m unwilling to make the switch just yet. My weeks are up and down with my blog, depending on how much reading I’ve completed or if I’m working on an online course, etc. I’m inconsistent with posting and feel that’s an area I need to address in the future.

2. Tell me something in a story that you’re sucker for. What do you just plain love and look for in a story?

I never really sought out this element, but the more I read satirical books, the more I do source them out now. I’m working on the complete collection of Christopher Moore’s books at the moment. I’ve also enjoyed Molly Harper’s Nice Girls series, Victor Gischler, and… that’s all I can think of right now. I am looking forward to finally reading Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker trilogy, Douglas Coupland, and hopefully more funny writers’ names will cross my path. I love the intellectual quality of these writers. It’s my theory that you have to know an awful lot of stuff to be able to make fun of it effectively.

3. We’ve taken a look at each other’s blogs, and I think there’s overlap in taste. And I love book recommendations! What are three books you’d recommend I read, and why?

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay – I am a huge fan of GGK and, as such feel, that everyone should read his books. They are nothing short of epic (I say that a lot)! Under Heaven tells a tale of a man in a time and place akin to 7th century China. He has taken on the task of trying to quiet the ghosts of a past war, then all hell breaks loose. Kay writes stories that have so many elements at play that you really get invested in the writing. It’s devastating when they end.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal  by Christopher Moore – I tell everyone to read this book. I’m not the most religious person but I know enough to understand all the chaos that Biff creates for the Son of God in LAMB. Mr. Moore writes in his notes that even people more devote (than myself) have read and loved this story. For me, it made me laugh till I cried, from beginning to end.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones – This was a debut novel, full of humour and interesting characters. I listened to it on audio, and really liked the telling of it in that format. This novel has a different take on what a “grim reaper” actually does. There were a few mysteries going on, some human interest, as well as some potential romance.

4. Give us four random facts about yourself

  • I am a diesel emission tester.
  • I was once asked to fit a man for a bra (no judgement here, but I didn’t feel comfortable being the one to do it.)
  • I’m a 2nd year university student trying to work off the academic warning I received 20 years ago :-p
  • I live in an 840 sq. foot, 2 bedroom condo and have 6 bookshelves in my small space (and I need lots more…)

5. What are your go-to blogs that you visit most frequently to get inspiration for future reads?
The blogs I visit for inspiration vary depending on the type of book I’m looking for. My YA source is my best friend, Mel at He Followed Me Home; she tells me all the great YA reads, for sure. When I need romance, I ask Caroline at Book Lovers Inc. (and The Secret HEA Society.) For Urban Fantasy, I ask Melissa at My World…in words and pages. Audiobooks are a relatively new thing for me, but I find great recommendations from Caroline (again) and Sheila at Book Journey. Goodreads and my Google Reader have also added more titles to my TBR than I care to admit.

Mini-break pictures and additions to the TBR

I was in Arizona last week. I saw a double rainbow in Sedona:

And a dust storm in Phoenix:

I also saw my little brother graduate with honors. Imagine. This kid now has a masters and everything:

It was a nice week, but vacation wise, very short (2 days) because I have deadlines with work as usual. But what vacation I had was awesome, and much food was consumed.

During the trip I made my annual/semi-annual pilgrimage to my Book Mecca – Bookmans. We went to the Phoenix Bookmans, which is a branch I’ve never been to before. I have to say, they have the best selection of any of the branches I’ve been to so far. I love how there was an urban fantasy/paranormal romance section separate from the Speculative Fiction section.

Also, I may have spied on what other people were picking up and may have gushed when I found someone holding onto N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Kingdoms. I may have told them that the book was really good and that I can’t wait for book 3. Then I may have slunk off.

I  got:

  • The City of Pearl and Crossing the Line by Karen Traviss – These buys are a result of positive reviews by fellow book blogger, calico reaction. The first three books(it may be 6 books?) in this science fiction series with a female protagonist has received 8s and 9s (out of 10) from her along with comments about “devouring this puppy in two days”.  Sold, I tell you.
  • Tangled Up in Blue by Joan D. Vinge – This continues the story after The Snow Queen and The Summer Queen, and I think I’m going to use it as an excuse to reread those books.
  • A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin – I bought this because I have book 2 The Midnight Mayor and book 3, The Neon Court thanks to Orbit, and I’ve been interested in the premise (a protagonist who is a sorcerer in London, and who is resurrected? Want!)
  • Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison – I’ve been off paranormal romance for a little while now, but I heard SUCH good things about this one (by people who were also off paranormal romance), I thought I’d make an exception. I’ve read it now, and may review it sometime soon, but I ended up not really loving it as much as I’d hoped to.

When I got home to NY, there were more books (and a DVD) waiting for me:

Beast is a graphic novel I bought because.. well I love Beauty and the Beast. This promises to have really great art and a story that’s not so much a retelling as it is based on the fairytale, and I hear that the ending is ambiguous.

My husband sneakily bought me a copy of Jane Eyre on Blu-Ray. I think I shall keep him.

I bought A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly, and Personally, I Blame My Fairy Godmother by Claudia Carroll, through Bookcloseouts. Both are due to my weaknesses: for deals at Bookcloseouts, and for anything to do with modern day Jane Austen related stories or fairytale retellings. A Weekend with Mr. Darcy has a male regency romance writer who has fallen for a Janeite, and Personally, I Blame My Fairy Godmother is a modern Cinderella homage.

All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin was sent to me by the publisher for review. This is a young adult story with a teen who is the daughter of a mobster and who may be falling in love with the son of the District Attorney. And it’s set in 2083!


Somebody very awesome nominated this blog for the Best Speculative Fiction Book Blog! Whoever you are that nominated me,  thank you. It is very happy-making that someone out there thought of my blog as being a contender as best (!!) in that category. I am very grateful and I’m BASKING in being nominated. I did send the BBAW administration 5 links, but my thought is “maybe more people will find my blog”, rather than having high hopes of winning. I have a lot of respect for other book bloggers and whoever wins, I don’t doubt that they deserved it, but whether you were nominated or not, and win or not, there there are a lot of very hard working people that spend their personal time and energy reading and reviewing. That is pretty cool, and I’m happy that these people exist. Here’s to you.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Forgotten Treasure

Thank goodness for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Work is kicking my butt this week and I am behind in reviews, but I can at least do a post on the daily topics. Today’s is Forgotten Treasure:

Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction. This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!

I’ve been reading the posts on this topic with particular interest. I always love to see the hidden gems highlighted. I’ve been pondering what book to highlight myself all day. There are a lot of books that I consider oldies but goodies but which I see people still pimping (and rightly so), like Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, The Changeover by Margaret Mahy, and Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw. What book should I choose?

I chose..

Pride,  Prejudice and Jasmin Field

This was one of my top five reads of 2008 I think. And I’ve mentioned it a couple of times on the blog. Let me repeat myself. This is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice with a journalist named Jasmin Field as the Elizabeth character and a Hollywood star named Harry Noble as the Darcy character. They meet when Harry is in London directing and starring in a theatrical version of P&P, and casts Jasmin in the lead role, even though he manages to insult her by calling her the “Ugly sister”. It’s very British and there’s lots of friends and socializing and some swearing. And I loved it. It probably falls under “chick lit” but it’s not fluffy by any means. It has one of my favorite modern-day interpretation of the first Darcy proposal scene. I’ve read most of Nathan’s backlist (one book away from reading them all), and this was my first, and thus has a special place in my heart. I wish more people had read it.

By the way, I didn’t sign up for the interview swap on Tuesday (because I meant to and then forgot about it), but I did do an impromptu one at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader!

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Unexpected Treasure

Day three of BBAW, and the topic of the day is Unexpected Treasure:

Book bloggers can be some of the most influential people around!  Today we invite you to share with us a book or genre you tried due to the influence of another blogger.  What made you cave in to try something new and what was the experience like?

Well, this is something that happens a lot. Sitting here I can name many books of the top of my head that I was alerted to the existence of because of a blogger. Often it’s multiple bloggers talking about a book that has me going:

The Lady Julia Grey mysteries by Deanna Raybourn:

Angie from Angieville was the one that stood out as a recommender of this series (she devoted more than one post related to it), but I also saw good things on The Thrillionth Page, The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader, and Persephone Reads (all people with excellent taste). I really need to read Silent on the Moor so I can move on to my eARC of Dark Road to Darjeeling already.

The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald

I love the mix of science fiction with a military feel and a dash of romance (between an officer and a non-officer ranked below her) in this book, and I have calico_reaction to thank for it. I like her taste when it comes to the SFR. We both seem to like good world-building and not necessarily a lot of romance. Anyway, this book was a treasure and has a very memorable kiss in it. I ended up not liking the follow up as much, probably because it moves away from a military setting and starts becoming more fantastical, but the final book is still on my to-read list.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan:

This one went on my radar because of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and then it was reaffirmed by Dear Author. OK, this was a couple of years ago, but I still count it as one that was sort of on my radar because I’d stumbled upon David Levithan’s books a couple of years before, liked them, but didn’t pay attention to when new ones where coming out. The reviews helped me remember and look for this book.

And just for fun, here are books I have my eye on and want to read because of bloggers:

Jane by April Lindner:

Culprits: Tempting Persephone, Angieville

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal:

Culprit: The Book Pushers

Native Star by M. K. Hobson

Culprit: Calico_reaction guest blogging for Dreams & Speculation

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken:

Culprits: Chachic’s Book Nook, Book Harbinger, Angieville, Brook Reviews, The Book Smugglers

Plain Kate by Erin Bow:

Culprits: I think The Book Smugglers and Fantasy Cafe (I can’t find the posts)

Cold Magic by Kate Elliot:

Culpit: Lurv a la Mode (with a very enthused post)

OK, that’s probably enough for now..

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: First Treasure

Book Blogger Appreciation Week has started! If you are a book blogger, even if you didn’t nominate yourself for any awards, you can participate in giveaways and in the memes. The theme this year is A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books and Infinite Blogs, and every day there is a topic related to this theme.

Monday’s topic is First Treasure:

For those of you who participated in BBAW last year, what’s a great new book blog you’ve discovered since last year’s BBAW?
For those you new to BBAW, what was the first book blog you discovered?

While I’ve known about BBAW and mentioned it in this blog, I don’t think I really participated in it except to vote. So I guess I’m new to BBAW. The first blog I discovered.. um.. I recall stumbling upon someone’s website that was specifically about speculative fiction written by women. It was I lurved this website! I think that was back in the day (in 2002 or something) when I mostly relied on Amazon for reviews, and I wanted to find out about books in SF written by women. This website isn’t technically a blog though, but I did like the way she categorized the books: Strange WorldsWarrior Women & Assassins, Women of Magic & Power, to name a few. This website hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s still there and I still look at it from time to time.

The first blog I stumbled onto was actually Romantic SF & Fantasy Novels. This was a blog/website where a group of readers in a discussion board read books and wrote quick reviews and either recommended or discommended them. One of the readers (Preeti) compiled the reviews and put it up on a website. Sadly this blog hasn’t been updated in a LONG time, although Preeti is on twitter now (I got a serious thrill when I found her there *stalker big fan aura*).  I still pay attention to Preeti’s recs via twitter. I was attracted to this blog because there were a lot of reviews of books by SF female authors, but I stayed because I really trusted their reviews and I really liked that there were recommends/discommends on one book from multiple people. Even now I sometimes check if an older book was reviewed over there (their review page has who recommends and who discommends all in one page! It’s extremely handy).

I think after that I meandered over to romance blogs (Dear Author was a big one), and then I was reading a few urban fantasy blogs, and then a bunch of YA ones started showing up on my radar. Now I have 243 subscriptions on my google reader (“Since April 20, 2007 you have read a total of 62,095 items”)  and then a bunch of blogs on livejournal I read via my friends page.  😀

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

Well BBAW is gearing up again! If you know know what it is, this is what it says in the about page on the Book Blogger Appreciation Week website:

Book Blogger Appreciation was started by Amy Riley of My Friend Amy in an effort to recognize the hard work and contribution of book bloggers to the promotion and preservation of a literate culture actively engaged in discussing books, authors, and a lifestyle of reading.

The first Book Blogger Appreciation was observed in the fall of 2008 and occurs every September. The week spotlights and celebrates the work of active book bloggers through guest posts, awards, giveaways, and community activities. Book Bloggers are encouraged to register their participation for inclusion in a database of book bloggers.

They changed the nomination process this year so that blogs can nominate themselves for awards. It feels rather presumptuous to enter myself for anything, but after mulling it over for a while, I think it would be fun.  It would be nice to find some new blogs and be found by others.

I’m registering and also nominating this blog for best SF blog. Since janicu’s book blog is mirrored in three different platforms (wordpress, livejournal and vox), I’m just linking to the wordpress posts for the SF category.

Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre (review)
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (review)
The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia (review)
Pet Peeves – Monster Mashups
First Impressions of the B&N Nook

Around the blogosphere

1) Book Blogger Appreciation week is reving up at My Friend Amy's blog. This is for book bloggers – "Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation."  There's also contests for readers too, so worth checking out if you're not a book blogger too.

This week nominations are starting for your favorite book blogs in a variety of categories. I'm planning to vote.


And there's a couple of giveaways related to books I've reviewed:

2) Ann Aguirre has a contest on her blog where the prize is a $200 gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice – just buy a copy of Wanderlust and prove you've bought it. I've posted a review of this book before and recommend it. My review is here – vox | livejournal. The review of the first book in the series  Grimspace, is here: vox | livejournal.





3) There's also a contest at book binge – win 7 shomi novels! I like the idea of this line. It's relatively new and it has a focus on futuristics with plenty of action and a little bit of romance. I've read:

Of those three I'd say I enjoyed Driven the most. There are other titles out that I haven't had a chance to read yet. I've been eyeing Countdown by Michelle Maddox and Netherwood by Michele Lang.


To enter:

Leave a comment, or post on your own blog and Shomi a link, telling me what Shomi novels you've read or are interested in reading before midnight, Saturday August 30th and you'll be entered to win a major Shomi Prize package.

This contest is open to all (not just U.S. and Canada).

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