1) Please tell us a little about yourself. Share any websites or blogs you have. Also, how did you get into book reviewing?
My name is Brandi, and I'm a twenty something girl just living the dream. I'm an avid reader with a desk job, however I wish I could read for a living! Currently I live in Atlanta, GA with my amazing boyfriend of 7 years, and our sweet mini poodle, Molly. My family is my rock -- they are down in Florida, which saddens me, but it is truly only a hop, skip and jump away. I have always been obsessed with reading, as my mom read books to me every night as a child. My favorites were Mickey and the Beanstalk, Goodnight Moon and Mouse Soup. Recently, my mom was telling me about all the books on tape I used to have. She said that I would listen to them over and over again while I had the book in front of me. I guess this was how I taught myself to read, or at least this helped in my love of reading.
I started my blog, A Writer's Review back in January 2010. I wanted to use it as an outlet to keep track of the books that I read. I challenged myself to read 100 books this year, and thought a blog would be a good place to document it all. I had no idea that there was a whole cyber-world of book bloggers out there, but when I discovered this in September I couldn't get enough. I've been blogging and following people ever since. I've definitely found my niche!
2) I'm curious to know if you've ever written a story? If so, what kind of stories do you like to write?
I really love writing, hence the name of my blog, "A Writer's Review". I find that it is a great way to get out feelings and to create an alternate world that my daily troubles have no part in. I've started many, many stories, but never gotten around to completing any of them because halfway through I start to think that they might be boring and not something that others would really like to read. As I said before, I'm new to the world of blogging, and I found out a little late in the game about NaNoWriMo, which I definitely want to participate in next year. Maybe that will motivate me to actually finish writing a book. Most of what I've started are mysteries. I've been working on a sort of autobiography that is mostly fictitious, however extremely intense. It is very personal and loosely based on my life. I really think that it has brought up a lot of emotions that I had hidden away. Hopefully one day I will get around to finishing that and get it published!
3) As a reader and writer, I enjoy Christian author writers. Is there a particular genre you enjoy over another?
My very favorite novels are murder mystery novels. I've always secretly wanted to be in the FBI or the CIA and be some mastermind secret agent. Reading murder mysteries is the closest I think I will really get to it, but it suits me just fine! I love the adventure and enjoy trying to solve the mystery before the book ends. I'm also a lush for chick-lit. I love a happy ending, and swoon over all the wonderful, non-existent male characters.
4) Can you tell us a little about the book(s) you are reading for review right now, and who the author(s) are?
I just finished reading Hope Burned by Brent LaPorte and will be posting my review sometime later tonight. This is the synopsis from GoodReads.com:
A father sits down to write a letter to his son explaining why his hands are covered in blood. He journeys back through his childhood on the farm, through the captivity, torture, and brutality that he suffered from the men he just killed—his father and his grandfather. A reflection on a solitary landscape, this bleak yet moving family tragedy details three generations of abuse, where the birth of a newborn forces the question, Is it better to live or die?
This was a fantastic book that read like a memoir, even though it was fiction. This was Brent LaPorte's first novel and I'm quite eager to see what else he has in store for us. I received this book from NetGalley.com where I receive most of my ARC copies of books.
5) How do you rate a book review? What is good? What is bad?
I think that I am pretty hard on books. I really expect for a book to grab me from the beginning and hold me until the very last page. On my blog I use a five star rating system, with 1 star being a book that just didn't really peak my interest and 5 stars being a book that just blew me away. I really enjoy reading and reviewing books, but I find it so hard to rate a book using such a small scale of 1 - 5. I think that some books deserve a lot more, while others deserve less, but each book on its own can be something special too. I don't really believe that there can be a good review or a bad review, just an honest review. I think that books touch every person a little bit differently, so a book that really relates to me could be something completely meaningless to someone else.
6) What is your typical reading day like? Do you have a particular place you like to read?
If I am lucky and have a whole day to myself, I can spend the whole day reading in my big comfy lounge chair. I love to get snuggled up tight underneath a blanket with my puppy on one side and a hot cup of coffee on the other.
7) You said you wanted to reach a goal of reading 100 books. Have you reached that goal?
I am getting closer and closer to the goal every day! So far I've read 76, I know I've only got a few weeks left, but I am participating in a few holiday readathons on my blog so hopefully setting aside specific time just for reading will be helpful to reaching the goal. I've actually decided that for next year I want to read 10 more books than I read this year, so if I only end up with 85 books I will set my 2011 goal to be 95 books. We will see, life is hectic and always finds some way to get in the way.
8) What was your favorite book you’ve read for review, and who is the author?
I don't have a favorite but I've reviewed some really fun, great books. I really enjoyed reading Francis, Not the Saint by Floriana Hall because it was the first book I'd been sent from a fellow blogger that was to be reviewed for the author. All of the other books I've read and reviewed were books that I picked out myself. It was a great experience, and I really enjoyed the book! I just finished reading and reviewing the ARC copy of Delirium by Lauren Oliver and I thought that was a great read as well.
9) Is there a book that stands out in your mind that you’d like to share with our readers?
My favorite book of all times is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I think this is a great coming of age book that everyone should read at least once. It has probably been over 5 years since I've read the book last but there are still scenes and quotes from the book that I think about all the time.
10) What advice would you give to anyone wanting to be a book reviewer?
I would definitely encourage all readers to review the books they read! I think this is a great way for other readers to find books that they would enjoy reading. I was a little nervous about it at first because I wasn't sure about how to get my name out there. I've found that using sites like Facebook and Twitter have really helped me to spread the word about my blog. I am still new to it all and am having a ball trying to figure out the ins and outs of blogging, but I think that I've found a great community of bloggers that are willing to help. I encourage others to always follow their dreams because you never know when your big break will happen.
11) Any last thoughts or comments?
I'm really enjoying all of the blogging that I am doing, and I hope in the future that I am able to get more and more books from authors to build up my already exploding TBR shelf. My dream is to read for a living...is that possible? I sure hope so!
I would like to thank Brandi for this interview. If anyone is interested in sending her your book for an honest reading, please visit her website and let her know. You can reach her here: A WRITER'S REVIEW I believe she has a great future ahead of her.