OK, Book Chic, please take a seat and don't mind the heat, just the facts first:
What’s your handle? Book Chic
What kind of books do you review? Young Adult books with some Middle Grade and Adult Chicklit thrown in every so often.
Approx # of books reviewed? Oh goodness, who knows… over 100 at least
Where can we find your reviews? http://www.myspace.com/bookchicclub
Reading turn-ons: complex and realistic characters, humor, compelling plot, unpredictability
Reading turn-offs: the opposite of above, haha, although not every book I read has to have humor
Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab
I Heart You, You Heart Me by Lisa Schroeder
La Petite Four by Regina Scott, Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle, and Undone by Brooke Taylor will be coming up soon, and more will be on the way throughout the year!
YAY--That's what we love to hear! Okay, now let's get down to the in depth interview, shall we? We love the crazy handles book reviewers come up with—tell us how you came up with yours! A little bit about how you got into book reviewing would be cool too.
My handle really went through a LOT of changes before I made the site. My friend Lauren and I would spend whole IM conversations just trying to come up with a good handle for the site that would be easy to remember and fun. It’s much harder than it seems. Anyway, “Book” is there for obvious reasons, and “Chic” is there because I wanted the site to seem classy because I was thinking of fashion chic when coming up with it, haha.
As to how I got into book reviewing, the full story is in the first Ask Book Chic up on the blog way back in February, I think. The short story is that Lauren Barnholdt wanted to do promotion for her book Two-Way Street early last summer, so she asked her livejournal and myspace friends to post reviews on their blogs of Two-Way Street. She also said that she would be available for interviews, if we wanted her to. So, as I was coming up with questions, I thought to myself “Hey, this is fun. I should make a whole blog about this.” and so I did. And I’m so excited I did.
We are too! But reviews can be complicated to decipher sometimes, can you describe your grading system and how that translates to the reader?
I actually don’t have a grading system. I just write about what I liked and didn’t like about the book. However, I am easy to please, so I end up giving out positive book reviews all the time, and hardly find any fault with the books I read. So usually, it’s just me telling my myspace friends how much I love whatever book I’m reviewing, haha.
Nothing wrong with that! So, how do you pick the books you review? Or are they picked for you? Do you ever read books that wouldn’t normally interest you—and if so have you ever been surprised by what you’ve read?
I just pick books that interest me. I keep a book calendar, and just look at that for titles that are coming out in the future. Then, I ask the author if I can get a review copy of the book. Other times, I get books from publicists and publishers who email me about reviewing.
I have read lots of books outside of what normally interests me- what comes to mind first are Sarah Dessen and Ellen Hopkins books, which I avoided because of their heavy subject matter. But now I love their books- they’re fantastic, and I was pleasantly surprised while reading them.
We love Sarah and Ellen's books too. Finding new reads can be a challenge, what are the best ways to find new books? Any advice for authors about getting their book noticed by reviewers?
I don’t know about the best way, but what I usually do is just randomly browse the shelves of a bookstore or library and just pick out books randomly. I’ve found a lot of good books that way.
For getting noticed, just email reviewers. I usually take on most every book that is offered to me that is being published by a major publishing house, and I’m sure it’s the same for most other reviewers. Also, be available to answer questions in a quick manner, should the reviewers have any.
If you really aren’t feeling a book—will you make the ultimate sacrifice and finish it for the sake of the review?
Actually, what usually happens is that I put them aside for a while, and move on to another book until I have more time for it. But I will eventually finish it, and it’s not always necessarily that I don’t like it, it just may not be the right time for me to read it. But I usually get around to every book I receive and finish each one, no matter what.
If you really love a book—will you read it again? If so—what are some of the books you just had to read more than once?
Due to the large amount of books I receive, I haven’t re-read anything I’ve reviewed, but I have read books over again. Some include Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (a HUGE favorite of mine!), Boy Meets Girl by Meg Cabot, and Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett.
Do you have a basic philosophy on what should be included in a review—or does it depend on the book itself?
It all depends on the book itself because each book has its own strengths, and obviously each book is different in how things are handled or written. I just include what I enjoyed, and occasionally write what I didn’t like, if there was something. But usually, I love almost every book I read, so it’s usually a bunch of gushing.
Authors love gushing reviews!! Tell us about the last time your jaw dropped open, you laughed, or you cried while reading a book.
Well, I laughed while reading Sucks to be Me by Kimberly Pauley and In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg. In Your Room was just a fantastic, romantic book that really made me smile and say “Awww” after finishing it. It is a great book, and highly recommended when it comes out this October. Sucks to be Me is a hilarious, original take on vampires.
I don’t think I’ve cried while reading a book, but I think I came very close while reading Class of 2k8 author Daphne Grab’s book Alive and Well in Prague, New York a little over halfway through the book.
We didn't mean to make you cry, Book Chic! Let's talk about something else. Is there any character in a book that you wish would come to life? Or any place you wish existed?
Hmm, maybe all the hot guys in teen and adult chicklit fiction? Haha. Not sure there’s any specific ones, though I think Charlie from In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg (esp. if he looks like the same model used on the cover) would be a good choice. I also like JP from the Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot, as well as Gabriel Luna from her new book Airhead. And probably lots more, lol.
What books do you find yourself recommending over and over and why?
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway because it’s awesome and filled with laugh-out-loud humor; In Your Room by Jordanna Fraiberg because it is so romantic and has a great, original concept; Airhead by Meg Cabot because it’s a great new direction for her and different from her previous books; Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman because of its awesome and hilarious take on the Apocalypse.
Great choices! Okay, I can't hold off any longer, time for the Extra Scandalous Question—Really bad reviews—do you ever fear giving them? Ever had an author get upset with you? (It’s okay—you can tell us, just don’t name names!) And what advice do you have for authors who get a bad review?
I do fear giving bad reviews, but I basically never do, lol, because I’m very easy to please. There may be one or two aspects I may not like but overall, I normally enjoy the books I read. My advice though to authors who do get bad reviews would be to just see it as like a workshop-type criticism, and to take it into consideration, especially if the same complaint comes up again and again. Learn from it, and your writing can only get even better.
The only time I’ve had an author get upset with me, and she wasn’t even really upset, was when Alexa Young kept asking me to say something bad about her book Frenemies, haha. She enjoys getting constructive criticism from reviewers because it can help her future writing, and it’s a great attitude to have.
That is a great attitude and we hope getting to know book reviewers such as yourself will help other authors find you and your kind less scary! So thank you for all the great answers! Now if they aren’t scared off by all that bad review talks and an author would like you to review his/her book, what should he/she do?
It’s VERY simple. All an author would have to do would be to email me on Myspace, Facebook, or through my regular email if the author isn’t on either of those sites. My regular email address is: bookchicclub at gmail dot com. And usually, I will say yes, and then just send me the review copy.
Thanks so much for inviting me to be part of this reviewer week! I had a great time answering these questions and, if anyone has any more questions, feel free to put them in the comments and I will answer them when I can (which will be very often as I have no life and will be checking this blog entry pretty much every half hour, lol).
Thanks Book Chic! Stalk Away! But you won't get extra entries for the super giveaway!! Remember to leave a comment to have a chance to win a signed copy of Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab!
"Grab's debut is absolutely riveting and is told with such emotion and tenderness, which made it an absolute joy to read this book. The characters are very realistic and complex, especially Matisse, and it's just fascinating to read about her. She felt very real to me as a reader, and it's great when an author is able to convey and make that connection. Filled with wit, realism, and warmth, this is another debut book you do not want to miss. " BookChic
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