Friday, June 27, 2008

In the Book Reviewer Hot Seat: And Another Book Read

She's shown us lots of love, but that doesn't mean we're going to go easy on her! That's right Tasha, it's your turn in the hot seat! And for our wonderful readers, it's your turn to enter to win Bringing the Boy Home by N.A. Nelson! All you need to do is leave a comment before June 29th. Winner will be announce June 30th. Okay,the Class of 2K8 knows our next guest very well, but you may not--so let's get started with some quick facts!

What's your handle? And Another Read, but I usually go by my real name which is Tasha.
What kind of books do you review? I mostly review YA books, but I'm starting to get into MG books as well. Sometimes there are a few adult books thrown in there as well.

Approx # of books reviewed? Probably around 100
Where can we find your reviews?
Reading turn-ons: When the author makes me think, great characters, exciting plots, and some good romance is always fun!!
Reading turn-offs: Slow and confusing plots, your run of the mill characters, not being able to fully picture the situation.
Class of 2K8 books reviewed:
the opposite of invisible
i heart you, you haunt me
alive and well in prague new york
read my lips
la petite four
bringing the boy home
to come: bewitching season, dragon wishes, a horse her own, samantha hanson has rocks in her head, the magic thief, and my so called family.

You are made of Awesome! Also awesome are 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.

I first started blogging as a way to share books, as not many of my friends read. So when I decided to finally set up my blog I brainstormed with my mom on good names. Not long after we had started did she come up with, And Another Book Read. I loved it as it seems I was always finishing a book, and thus the blog was born!!

Love it! Nothing like the satisfaction of finishing a book, even when we wish the book kept going and going! So let's get to the nitty gritty...the ratings. Describe your grading system and how that translates to the reader?

I don't really have a rating system like stars or out of 10, but I clearly express my feelings in the opinion part of my review. I feel this gives the reader a chance to hear my opinion, but also formulate their own.

That's a great system. Now, 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?

The books I review are usually sent to me or off of my shelf (which contain an amazing amount of unread books!) and sometimes from the library. As my name gets out there more and more I have been receiving more books to review, but I honestly love it and wouldn't have it any other way! I definitely read a ton of books that I wouldn't generally pick up. Some of my favorite books are ones that I have been asked to review that I wouldn't have pick out in the store. I even have found a new love in the vampire books after reading Claudia Gray's Evernight.

Reader Rabbit 1 loves the vamps too. You have heard of Edward haven't you? Speaking of hearing about delicious things...what are the best ways to find new books? Any advice for authors about getting their book noticed by reviewers?

The best way to find new books for me is to either go to the bookstore and pull out every one that has an interesting cover, or read author's blogs. Author's blogs always have great links to new authors and books and also some reviewers. I think the best way for author's to get their books noticed by reviewers is to have a website and/or MySpace. This enables the reviewers to easily contact authors about reviews and make the authors a little bit more familiar with the reviewers.

We have both! (shameless plug coming) Website and MySpace. Sorry, couldn't resist. Now, if you really aren't feeling a book—will you make the ultimate sacrifice and finish it for the sake of the review?

Of Course. I feel that since the author put their time and effort into writing the book then it is the least I owe them to actually finish it. Some great books that I have read have started out really slowly but then ended up good. In my review I really try not to bash the book, but do point out how it got better.

And what about 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?

O yes. I believe I've read some books like 7 or 8 times. But it's not as bad as my sister who loves Lisa Schroeder's, I Heart You, You Haunt Me, so much that she's read it over 20 times!! Some books that I've read multiple times are Silver Dollar Girl by Katherine Ayers, Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng and it's sequels, and of course the Harry Potter books. This doesn't include all the books I read as a little kid as there are so many the list would be endless!

Your sister is also made of awesome! Now, back to the reviews, do you have a basic philosophy on what should be included in a review—or does it depend on the book itself?

I think it depends on the book. I always give a summary of what the book is about and then my opinion, but what's actually in my opinion changes every time. I really like to focus on the positive aspects of the book, but then also tell about what I don't like. This can range from the characters to the plot to even the author's style. It all just really depends on the book!

True, each book is different. Tell us about the last time your jaw dropped open, you laughed, or you cried while reading a book.

Hmm…well a lot o f books come to mind such as Undone by Brooke Taylor, Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones, House of Dance by Beth Kephart and Alive and Well in Prague New York, by Daphne Grab. All made me laugh and cry and just all around were great books. While I'm sure there are others these are the ones that really stood out in my mind, which is saying something as I read a ton of books!

Did you know Carrie Jones was in the Class of 2k7? *waves to Carrie* Oops sorry, back to business...Is there any character in a book that you wish would come to life? Or any place you wish existed?

I totally wish Harry Potter could come to life!! It would be amazing to be able to do magic and just be friends with the all around great guy Harry is! It would also be amazing if Narnia was real. I mean we get to see it in the amazing movies, but it would be even better if it were real and we could experience it. What could be bad about an alternate world where you could stay for ages and then return to reality not a minute older?!

That would be cool! Hey, wait--did you just travel to an alternate universe without us knowing about it? Spooky. Okay, what books do you find yourself recommending over and over and why?

Definitely all of Beth Kephart's book, Molly Moon, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Alive and Well in Prague, New York, The Luxe, it all just depends on the person's favorite genre or what they are willing to try. These books all hold a special place in my heart. They are all amazing and definitely deserve to be recognized. I especially think that these books would work for anyone, so I try and get their names out there.

We love that! But there are, erm, some thing we don't love. And I have to ask... the E.S.Q.—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 have given a couple. I mean I always try to point out the good, but sometimes it's really just not there. I always feel really bad giving them, but like I said before sometime it's just not there and why should we read bad books when there are phenomenal ones out there? I haven't necessarily ever had an author get mad at me, but I've had one ask me to take my review down. This was because it was one of the first links to pop up on google and it wasn't the most positive. I understand the author not wanting everyone to know that someone had a negative opinion of their book, but I don't think that people should form their opinions of a book on just one review. I think author's who get poor reviews should take the criticism and use it to improve their next book. I can't tell you the number of author's who have one disappointing book and then a marvelous one follows. Definitely the author with the best attitude about this subject is Alexa Young. She takes every bit of criticism and uses it constructively, and she's hilarious about it!!

Great advice! Thanks for all the wonderful answers! One last question: if they aren't scared off by all that bad review talks and an author would like you to review her book, what should she do?

For me all the author has to do is contact me. My email is up on my blog or you can contact me via MySpace. I usually accept all requests unless they are for books that don't really fit into the age group of books I like to read. But if the books sounds interesting then I definitely go for it and review the book for the author.

Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win N.A. Nelson's debut novel Bringing the Boy Home (officially launching on our blog this Monday! Same day as winners will be announced), here's what Tasha had to say about it:

"I think this was definitely the most unique and original coming-of-age story I have ever read!" And Another Book Read

And Kirkus loved it too:

"Told in two distinctive voices, this imaginative and beautifully realized novel, set in the Amazon, tells the story of two boys from the fictional Takunami tribe, who on the eve of their 13th birthdays must endure the soche seche tente, a test of manhood. ... Their stories connect in a surprising yet totally believable way, giving psychological depth to this richly hued novel about the winding turns of destiny and the bonds between father and son, tribe and family." Kirkus Review


Bunny B said...

Great interview! I love reading YA novels too!

bunnybox9 at gmail . com

Anonymous said...

Great interview- I love And Another Book Read's blog, and have even linked to a few times during this month!! :)

Debbie Reed Fischer said...

Thanks for sharing your advice. :)

Janet Gurtler said...

Great interview....!!


Lisa Schroeder said...

Great interview, and I really appreciate you reviewing my book.

And give your sister a big HUG for me. :)

Barrie said...

Great getting to know you better, Tasha!

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of not giving a rating, but the opinions. I think it becomes constructive criticism for the authors themselves.

So, great interview. Got a few books you mentioned on my "have to read" list now.

Carmen T

Unknown said...

tasha, you are the best and i loved learning more about your thought on reviewing- great interview! and thanks for the shout out :-)

Jessica Burkhart (Jess Ashley) said...

The posts have been excellent all week, guys! :)

Erin said...

Now I'm really curious about the Molly Moon books.

Thanks another great interview!

Liviania said...

Great interview!

Haha, sometimes a book just needs to be read 20 times.

Little Willow said...

Tasha, have you read Christopher Golden's vampire novels? Excellent.

RR2 said...

Yet another great interview! :)

When I was younger I was completely obsessed with the Molly Moon series.

Kyle said...

I think YA novels are the best, especially the ones from class of 2k8!!


Meredith said...

I have loved these interviews this week!


Anonymous said...

what a great interview!

Costly, though. Now I have several books I have to buy that I wasn't even aware of a few minutes ago.